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Trying to Be Heard: My Depression As a Woman of Color

I surround myself with a strong community of family and friends who are there for me in times of joy or hardship. But sometimes I feel alone, like no one can understand what I am going through. In large part, this is because, for years, I tried to hide one very important aspect of my life — my depression.

I am a woman of color, and I am a woman of faith. Within the Black and faith communities, mental health issues are stigmatized. I received my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), a type of depression, nearly 30 years ago when I was in my 20s. Over the years, I have felt shame because as a Black woman of faith, I was expected to pray my depression away and find happiness in the many blessings in my life. I’ve also felt confusion because mental health is not commonly discussed in the Black community. This silence around mental health has made it difficult for me to express how I feel when talking about my MDD.

I’ve described my depression as “running in quicksand.” The more I ran, the deeper I sank. I felt sad, fatigued, and had trouble thinking clearly. I lost interest in things I enjoyed doing like spending time with my family, reading, and being out in nature. I began to have suicidal thoughts and recognized that what I was experiencing wasn’t something I could fix on my own. 

If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

MDD manifests as a complicated set of symptoms including (but not limited to) depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in things once enjoyed, trouble thinking clearly, being tired often, and being restless or moving slowly. The tricky part about MDD is that each person’s experience can be different. Only a healthcare

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My Depression As

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