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Mental Health – Voices

“Keeping things to myself and bottling up have been a huge factor to my depression.”
New York, NY
I have never really fully told my loved ones I suffered from depression. I wouldn’t say I was diagnosed with depression. However, I know the feeling of depression and that shit is not what’s up.

With my upbringing, you are not supposed to talk about depression in the black community. Being from DC and raised in a Nigerian home, we do not talk about depression and mental health. All African parents do is tell you to try harder in life and give your problems to the Lord.

As a young black woman in graduate school, black women are always pressured to have it all together. Perfect job, perfect education and especially perfect relationship. Black women can’t be sad.

We have to put up this front that we are stronger than we look, and we have it all together when clearly sometimes we don’t. Black women aren’t taught to ask for help. We use our thinking caps and we fix it ourselves.

During my dark times in college, I have tried to scream help to my parents, knowing I can’t. Till this day, I still have bottled up anger from something that happened years ago. Keeping things to myself and bottling up have been a huge factor to my depression.

Whether it was about relationships or school, I don’t talk about them because I was raised to not talk about it. My depression can be on and off sometimes, but I still suffer from anxiety.

Luckily being in New York, I have met other young black women like myself to talk about these things. I am usually not the type to open up to just anyone but for some reason, I confide in them. I am still working on not bottling things up and not let my depression get the best of me.

But I will say, things are looking up for me. I graduate from grad school in May and I am going to Los Angeles for a job opportunity. I am strong, I will say that but it is never too weak to ask for help every now and then.

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