Depression is a sneaky bastard who sneaks up you when you least expect it and has the potential to send your life into a seemingly endless spiral of doom.
I am a strong black woman who dreams a few sizes too big so that I can grow into them, but that doesn't change the fact that sometimes my feelings of sadness are more than a case of the blues. I've battled the dastardly devil that is depression for most of my life, and I would be lying if I said the struggle didn't come with some war wounds. At this point in my life, I can't say that I've beaten the illness, but I've managed to develop some coping mechanisms that give me a better chance at victory.
Some of these techniques are also used by celebrity, Keri Hilson, who revealed her 7-year bout with depression in March. She posted on Instagram to share with her audience that her path to happiness was not overnight, and came only through the alignment of her mind, body, and spirit. Depression sometimes translates into physical pain, and that physical pain can drain you emotionally. Keri doesn't believe that's a coincidence. She said:
"Ever had emotional pain or worry-some, stressful thoughts that led to headaches or physical pain? Ever been in such physical pain that it affected your spirit? I have...and pretty much any other combination you can think of. I've learned it's because they're all connected. When one is off, the others are affected. (bars)"
Depression does not discriminate and has no definitive cure. Although depression is more prevalent among African-Americans than their non-ethic counterparts, they are least likely to seek treatment. Because we are afraid that we will be scrutinized for what others consider weakness, we suffer in silence without the coping mechanisms we need to rehabilitate and continue living our best lives.
The unanswered epidemic has been deadly among black women, who are more likely to experience depression than white women or black men. This prompted hip-hop philanthropist, Shanti Das to create Silence The Shame, an organization that seeks to eliminate the stigma around mental illness in the black community by enlisting high profile industry professionals to share their own stories. Keri Hilson is one of Shanti's supporters, and revealed in March that depression had caused her to take a 7-year-hiatus from music. She said:
"It all just kind of spiraled for me, and became something I had never been through. I had never recognized myself as a person who can't pick themselves back up. I mean, I was literally on stage crying."
The young singer seemingly had everything she had ever wanted when depression, like the dastardly villain that it is, stole it all away from her. On the heels of her first worldwide tour, she ended an 11-year-relationship which she says all came in terrible timing.
"Literally, 7 years of my life have been a battle with depression."
Keri Hilson said that it took therapy for her to truly start healing, and that for her to begin her real recovery, she first had to experience growth. And as we all know: growth can be painful.
After dedicating years of her life to self-care and doing some serious unlearning in attempt to redefine her perception of self-love, Keri says she's finally found balance. Keri recently reminded us that even when we reach our destination, we should never forget the work we put in to get there. She posted on Instagram:
"And then it dawned on me: Loving myself meant HONORING the growth I've experienced. The worthiness I've found. The strength I've developed. The faith I've grown. The peace I've attained. The happiness I now know…Loving me meant removing anyone & anything that conflicted with any of these, no matter how hard. I've come too far...Honor the work you've done. Honor the growth & healing you worked so hard for... When you are choosing what you'll accept, NEVER dishonor YOU."
Featured image via Keri Hilson / Instagram