Today, I read Linda Villarosa’s article “When Depression Strikes the Black Superwoman” on TheRoot.com. It features Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence (www.essence.com) and founder and CEO of the National Cares Mentoring Movement.
- The 21st century has been good for many black women who have followed in the footsteps of women like [Susan]Taylor and [Terrie] Williams. Two of the world’s most visible and accomplished women are African American—one in the White House, the other on daytime television. Black women are going to college and starting businesses in record numbers. We’re also hammering away at the glass ceiling and more of us are rising into management positions. And a few, like Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox—and subject of a glowing New York Times profile last week—make it to the very top. But success can come with a price. We’re the first to arrive and the last to leave as we grind through 10-hour work days. We’re the ones everybody relies on—first at work, then after hours during the second shift of home and family time. We work ourselves almost literally “to death” especially now during this economic storm. Or for some of us, we “feel” like we have to continue to be the “superwoman.”
- Even as our collective accomplishments have bubbled to the surface, the pain is often simmering just below it. Certainly many of us have found happiness and joy in our lives, whether singled or partnered, mothers or not, with or without that high-status, six-figure career. But too many others are lonely, sad or angry—and too proud or too afraid to talk about it.
Here are several key comments Taylor made in the article.
- “My sadness and depression came out of giving myself to my career before I would give myself to myself… Everything for Essence; nothing for me.”
- ““I sought help, and everything began to unfold.”
- “Hiding sadness makes you more and more sad because it closes you off to your healing.”
- “Giving voice to what you’re feeling is part of the healing.”
These four comments really hit home with me. They made me think of my own journey and the journey of my main character Karma Francois in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq). Karma is a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. Love’s Troubadours begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is.
What do you think about Black women and depression?
Enjoy your day!
Peace, Creativity, Joy, Compassion, Gratitude for healing,
Thanks for posting this. The more Black women come forward to dispell the myth that we never need help, the more of us will get the help that we need. And we’re realize that “depressed” isn’t always just a sad feeling, sometimes its more than that and we need to acknowledge when we have a real problem.
I am glad you liked the post. You make very good points. I totally agree.