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Fighting My Way Out of My 'Dark Place' as a Black Woman With Depression in America

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Two weeks ago, I returned to my dark place. My unforgiving place. The place that is as familiar as it is scary. The place that tells me I am a burden on the ones I love. Perhaps you know the place. Maybe you’ve been there before, to your dark place.

Two weeks ago, I felt really alone, like no one in the world cared or understood me. How could they possibly understand what I was going through? What my struggling was like?

Two weeks ago, I convinced myself that if I were no longer around, the world would be better. I was a dark mark on the world, I was sucking the life out of my friends and family, I was a horrible person who needed to be extinguished.

But two weeks ago, I reached out to one of my best friends. It wasn’t the most helpful, but it stopped me from hurting myself beyond repair. She made me wake up my husband. I had people. And even though the dark place was still tugging at me, I eventually found the light.

Now, at first, this was going to be an article about the dark places we all face. But Saturday changed that for me.

On Saturday, I saw Serena Williams play tennis.

On Saturday, I saw the umpire make a bad call and I saw Serena Williams stick up for herself. However, based on the reaction of the umpire and the officials, her voice didn’t matter. Based on reactions from a lot of people, her voice didn’t matter. She was just the “angry black woman.”

On Saturday, I wondered why should my voice matter? I’m not rich or famous or the world’s best anything. I’m just an ordinary black woman in America. If Serena Williams gets treated so poorly, what can I expect?

And just like that, dark place.

On Wednesday, a racist cartoon of Williams went viral. Just as I was healing from my dark place, another reminder of the world in which I live. The cartoon harkened back to the style of those done in the early 1900s. Exaggerated and grotesque features turned my sports goddess into a caricature fit for The WASP magazine.

On Wednesday, I remembered that black people are shot just for living in their own homes.

On Wednesday, I entered my dark place and vowed to stay there until I died. You see, my dark place isn’t just about being a burden. No. My dark place is the manifestation of the weight of my people – of black and brown bodies – being slaughtered, beaten, mistreated and ignored and the masses of indifference in response.

W.E.B. DuBois asked, “How does it feel to be a problem?”

Dark place.

But today, I am searching for healing. I am creating my safe space. I am asking for help.

Today, I asked my friends and loved ones to write me letters letting me know that I am not a burden to them.

And today, I vow to wake up fighting, every day. And this is a multi-layered fight. This is a fight for my life. This is a fight for the lives of black and brown bodies. This is a fight against suicide. And this is a fight for justice.

Because as a person with depression, I am not alone. As a woman with depression, I am not alone. As a woman with a chronic illness and depression, I am not alone. And as a black woman with depression, I am not alone. And as a person fighting racism and the patriarchy, I am definitely not alone. #AloneTogether

Getty Image by b-d-s

Originally published: September 15, 2018
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