A common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression can cause feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home
Though categorized as a mental illness it can also have physical symptoms which can become debilitating for some. Pain in the joints and limbs, fatigue, disturbance in your sleep patterns even flare-ups in eczema and psoriasis can all be present themselves in the early phases of depression. Now add to the feelings of sadness or worthlessness to these symptoms and I'm sure you can imagine how it can be for one to function on a day to day basis. In 2015 a study showed that 7.5 million African Americans had been diagnosed with a mental illness and up to another 7.5 may be affected but will be undiagnosed. Now let's look at how this affects the African American woman.
The Black Woman
Since the inception of slavery, black women have been conditioned to "grin and bare it" and be strong. Kidnapped, raped repeatedly, gave birth and had to go right back out in the fields and now because we're lactating; nurse Massa's baby too. But while the world always examines the effects of slavery on black men and their mindsets, What about us? We've been nurturing, kissing boo-boos, loving and consoling since the beginning of time and they have the nerve to call us bitter and angry. Naw son, we're tired. In this day in age black women are out here raising our children, running corporations, supporting our husbands and his dreams, starting businesses, caring for our elders and oh yeah, looking good while doing it.
Black women are the most under-treated group for depression and anxiety disorders in the nation, according to a recent study conducted by the CDC. With the majority of homes being run by single black women, it's no wonder that we rarely reach out for help and treatment as it pertains to her mental health; because we just don't have the time.
My goal is to not only bring awareness to the mental health issue but bring relatable, real and honest accounts of how black women are affected by the disease and how they got through. I will be sharing my personal experiences along with stories and interviews with 10 women who have battled depression and won or who are still fighting.
It's time to remove the stigma and shame and begin to heal one woman at a time.