I have a closed group on facebook of beautiful Black women that I love and admire. My goal when creating it was simply to give us a space to be us, and love us, and support us. Yesterday one of my friends called and thanked me for creating the group. She said she had used it to help her remember her goals and as a source of encouragement to make it through times where she felt depressed. This amazed me and I am so humbled that my small group is able to impact her life in this way.
She also asked me if I had ever struggled with depression. My answer was yes, I have. The worst episode being two and a half years ago, during my second year of graduate school. I had a horrendous schedule and very little money. I was averaging about 12 hours of sleep for the week and practically lived in my car and the library. There were several nights where I literally sat in the middle of my living room floor and cried for hours. On the weekends I did not leave my home. If I did not have to work I would be at home for days at a time. I talked to few people. Typically I only ate once a day. Really, food was the only thing I ventured outside for. I had a very unhealthy relationship with Domino's Pizza.
No one really knew what was going on with me. I was lonely. I was hurting. I was struggling in so many ways. When I think back on it, I know that I was just trying to survive. I knew that school was temporary but it seemed that my professors were doing all they could to hold me back. I literally fought my way to graduation knocking down one obstacle after another. I did things in that program that no student had ever done. I received no recognition for those things. It hurt. I cried a lot. No one cared. To make matters worse, this was at a so-called Christian college. The lack of compassion I endured was a disgrace to Jesus Christ. My degree program was 31 graduate hours. I completed an additional endorsement of 21 hours outside of my degree. This means I completed 52 graduate hours in 2 years! I took a full load of courses every semester including the summer. I was not always perfect and I did fail one class but damn it I gave it all I had!
By the time of my emancipation from that college, I was convinced that it was time for me to move on. New city. New home. Two days after my graduation I boarded a plane to Texas to interview for an international teaching job. I didn't get the job and quickly moved to plan B, relocate to Virginia and live with a friend until I got on my feet. Plan B has proved itself to be the right and best choice I could've made. Graduating and relocating brought me out of that depression. There would still be other episodes though not as bad. When my cousin Mike transitioned in found myself in various stages of depression. This time it was manifesting in my sleep patterns. I went from sleeping very little to sleeping all the time. I just wanted the days to pass quickly. I didn't want to think.
My episodes of loneliness are deeply rooted and started when I was a child. As a 30 year old woman the only thing that has changed is that I've learned how to cope and manage better. I still get sad. I still feel lonely at times. I still feel misunderstood and painfully awkward more than most people will believe.
I can honestly say therapy has helped me tremendously. If you can afford it, go. If you can't afford it, seek out free group sessions in your area. Go to the library. Do a Google search. Do whatever you can to take care of yourself!
I'll be writing more about my journey with therapy and depression in hopes that it could help someone. Feel free to comment and share about ways that you manage day to day. Also look to the right and subscribe. I'd love to hear from you!
Kanika: Poet. Lover of Words. One who tells the stories of the mundane and inanimate. Bearer of Light, Water, and Sky.