There’s an honor in being described as a strong, black woman. Like the women in my family and the many I encounter on a daily basis, I take great pride and even sass when I declare that I’m a strong, independent black woman. However, I silently suffer with depression and anxiety. Why silently? Because I, along with the other millions of black women who share this same struggle, have been conditioned to believe that mental health issues do not apply to me and that regardless of how I’m feeling, I must remain strong or “get over it.”
We, as black women get stuck in this Black Superwoman Syndrome, where we feel we must take on every care in the world, seeking no assistance from anyone, ultimately neglect our own and disguise it as strength. But even Superman had a weakness. We must stop putting on a facade and take our mental health seriously. Using phrases like “our ancestors went through much worse” or the classic Christian line “I’m too blessed to be stressed” are all sayings we use to minimize the pain and mask the reality that we can’t do it all and we are indeed depressed.
So to help combat the dark thoughts, mood swings, and the never ending roller-coaster of emotions we as black women suffer through for the sake of not appearing weak, here’s some tips that can help you be an even stronger black woman.
Educate Yourself; Read A Book
They say reading is fundamental and knowledge is power. And what better time to catch up on your reading than when you’re stuck in bed in a funk. Here is a link to four books that are geared for black women suffering from depression. Check one out.
Sometimes you need fresh air to clear your mind of the troubles your facing. When you exercise, your body is releasing toxins in your body and endorphins are replenished. Don’t have a gym membership? Take a walk around the block. Just get up get to moving.
Change Your Diet
Studies show that eating better makes you feel better, so try switching out some of your favorite meals with a healthier alternative. Here’s some ideas you can try at home.
Seek Counsel, Not Jesus!
Now before the saints faint, hear me out. Black women are among the most undertreated groups for depression in the nation, which can have serious consequences on the African-American community. It takes more than prayer to combat mental illness. If you’re a believer, you should know the popular scripture James 2:14-17
“14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
That applies in all things. It’s great to know that our God is a healer and deliver and can bring you out of this rut, but what good is praying about it, if you refuse to do anything about it?
You must take the steps to help yourself. The most important step of all is admitting that you need help and seeking it. It’s a two part effort. Having the aid of a professional licensed therapist in conjunction with spiritual support is the best form of treatment to overcoming your mental battles.
Try these few steps and see your depression improved. We must remember to take care of ourselves first, so we can best take care of others. You’ll be a stronger black woman because of it.