Depression is an old friend of mine – one I wish I did not know so well. Having battled it on and off for about 10 years now I know the depths of hell it will take me to if I don’t struggle and fight to get myself the resources I need. So the moment I experienced a little peace of mind, I dug up my therapist’s number and made an appointment to see her. I don’t know if I would have been able to write these past sentences a few years ago. To be honest, we as a people (Black people) have a way of trying to undermine and ignore the heaviness of mental illness. We tend to think that if we chill, pray, go out we’ll be okay. It’s about time we realize these quick fix solution we keep offering up is causing more harm than good.
This past weekend was a dark one for me, and it got darker as news emerged of Miss Jessie’s co-founder Titi Branch’s suicide. To be frank, I’m tired of Black women suffering in silence so severely that death becomes the peace they crave. Karyn Washington‘s death shocked me, Titi’s death simply broke my heart. As I clawed through blogs searching for more information on this passing, I could not help but continually ask myself “how does this keep happening??” It’s one of those questions I already know the answer to, but in my grief and shock I could not help but go back to it.
The issue is Black women are deemed so super-human in our community that our own people forget that we are still complex beings. The pressures placed on us weigh tons and yet we’re still expected to walk gracefully as if our feet are touching clouds and not solid ground. A couple of weeks back I came across a collection of tweets discussing how singleness is shamed in certain spaces on social media. I added my two cents and agreed that women, as much as they may choose what parts of their lives get the most attention, are expected to chase the “I have it all” dream. And what happens with this mentality is we begin to live in a world where we believe lies about ourselves. We chase the perfect man, marriage, the perfect career, body type, style, kids, and everything else under the sun to paint a picture of great wellness. Behind closed doors we struggle with the weight of these over piled plates and punish ourselves over and over for the mistakes we can’t help making. In essence we’re slowly crumbling, some of us to our death.
I don’t know what Titi’s life and issues were like. However, I truly do wish she had known how important her life was to so many, that she was allowed to hurt though her life looked perfect on the outside, that she was allowed to feel, to seek help for whatever bothered her, to know that she was and still is love and respected. Though it is too late for her to know this, it is not too late for those of us who are here to accept these statements as our truths.