The alarm clock goes off. The sun gently kisses my face and my eyes pop open.I spring out of bed and open the curtains so I can look at the world. All I can see are possibilities. I dance around from room to room singing the latest Beyonce hits. I take a quick look in the mirror and smile, because I have no doubt that it is going to be a great day!
Eight hours later, I am paralyzed on my bed surrounded by tears. With a knife in my hand, I am begging for God to just let me die. I text my mother, “ I don't think I want to live.” and proceed to silence my phone.
So, what happened in those few hours?
To put it simply, depression.
I have always been the ‘happy girl”. I have always had a peppy demeanor and a smile that could light up the darkest room. I am an expert at hiding pain under layers and layers of false realities, because I never thought the world could handle anything other than “Happy Tiffany”.
That day, I guess, I was one of the “lucky” ones that was able to be pulled away from the ledge. In the weeks to follow, my world turned upside down. I would rush home to seclude myself from the world. Crying in a fort of blankets, listening to slow R&B, I would scream, “Why God? Why Me?”. The fear, the uncertainty, the constant panic attacks, it was all just too much to handle. Depression completely took over my life.
Cowering at rock bottom, we tend to find comfort in unsuspecting places. I was never big on writing, but It became my escape. In a pink leather journal, I begin to write about everything. The words felt like comfort food for my soul. Slowly, I regained control. I woke up feeling like a new woman. I sang. I danced. I laughed. I was whole again. But like seasons, the pain would come and go as the time passed.
My biggest struggle was wearing two masks. I was smiling for the world, but crying between my own four walls. I mean, who wants to be labeled “the depressed black girl” (or worse the “crazy” girl) at work, church, or school?
But one day, I decide to share my pain. The good, the bad, and the ugly all came out in a simple post to facebook. My anxiety was on ten that day, but to my delight, I was given unwavering support. I received text messages, calls, and comments from women who had gone through the same thing. Women who were nervous and ashamed to express their experience with mental health. I began to have so many questions. where do other women of color go when they want mental health support? Where can we connect and uplift each other?
With those questions lingering in my head, I knew we needed a place to share our stories. So, I created Blaque & Blue to empower women of color to speak openly about mental health in our communities. The network we have created has quickly grown to different states, countries and media platforms. Best of all, we have an encouraging space where we can support our sisters and women can be themselves no matter what trial they are facing.
Ladies, I can not say this enough... There is power in being broken! I was hiding my mental health issues, because I did not think the world could handle my broken pieces, but I found freedom in sharing my story. Life brings pain, but let your pain bring hope to others.
Tiffany is a self care and mental health blogger. She travels the country empowering women of color to speak openly about mental health in their communities. She loves to travel and is an avid supporter of all things #BlackGirlMagic. Connect with her at blaqueandblue.com