At age 22 I was just getting a formal diagnosis of major depressive disorder. In retrospect, I realize that I experienced my first depressive episode when I was 19 but it was not until age 22, that my ability to function completely broke down. Over the next two years, I became increasingly isolated while a pain that I can only describe as what I imagined it would feel like to be outside in a hail storm with no skin pervaded my entire being. My ability to envision a future ceased and then slowly, slowly entered those early suicidal thoughts. The idea that death would be a relief (from all this pain) became a common refrain.
The news of Karyn Washington’s death graced my inbox 3 days ago when a dear friend and fellow social media maven forwarded a link to an article sharing the tragic news. I felt a pang of despair and pondered over this loss. I did not know the ForBrownGirls.com and #DarkGirlsRedLip project founder and was scarcely familiar with her wonderful work. Nevertheless, the fact that this generous and creative young spirit decided to take her own life was clearly a tragedy. Here is yet another opportunity to implore Black women…to implore all women of color to speak up and speak out about their battles with mood disorders and other mental illnesses.
GOT THE BLUES? OR IS IT DEPRESSION? Ever feel like you are the only one who is sad in a world of happy people? Everyone experiences stress, sadness and anxiety from time to time – it’s part of life. These feelings often happen when you a lose a job, children move away from home, during divorce, with a death in the family, or during retirement. But when changes in mood and behavior interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities, it could be a sign of depression.