Tag Archives: depression

Pain

Our very first reaction to the word and idea of pain is always physical. After all, pain is something that we often feel, which allows us to have physical symptoms.

But there is that abstract pain that tears our hearts out. It is almost as though our chests are tightening and we are just awaiting the impending death that looms over our soul to devour us and take us home.

That pain is emotional.

Lately that is how I have been feeling.

I am grateful for the high days as they remind me of happiness and a much calmer life where things are mellow and vibrant.

On the contrary, there are those days when I think that my anxiety itself is so overwhelming I probably wont make it.

There are other days when I am able to express myself and say how I feel. And there are those days when I think speaking of my struggles is too much. It it as though every time I speak I am reliving my trauma.

So instead, I stay confused, depressed and alone.

But the funny thing is, “numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it,” J.K. Rowling.

So I try to embrace my pain thinking that at the end of my endurance there should be a happy ending.

And I guess that’s hope.

Precarious

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming, when nothing is certain, anything is possible” – Mandy Hale

There are so many people who had a vision and it came through. It does not necessarily mean that they did not experience any direct or indirect struggles but we see their wins and acknowledge their successes.

On the other hand, there are some of us that are stuck in a never-ending cycle of uncertainty and indecisiveness.

I am some of us.

But what I have learn is that once we are alive we will wake up and be anxious, depressed, happy, sad, nonchalant, indecisive, lethargic, productive and so on.

The point is life carries on whether or not we want it to. We have no authority to put a pause on life itself.

As such, I have employed a few strategies to help me make sense of my uncertainties:

  • Everything that happened was meant to be;
  • Anything that is meant for me, will never miss me;
  • Take a deep breath when uncertainties seem to be overwhelming;
  • Take a moment to be grateful for all the already achieved goals;
  • Change my train of thought;
  • Find new ways to solve current and pending issues;
  • Things will work out if it is meant to be;
  • With effort and dedication on my part careers, hobbies and social/intimate life will fall in place;
  • Everything in life is temporary, nothing, including my struggles and uncertainties, lasts forever;
  • Take a step back and recuperate.

Disentangled

On so many forefronts of my life, I find myself being disengaged, detached and disentangled.

The truth is the unaddressed traumas of life will always linger and subconsciously work to change the ways you view people, the way you operate and may very much influence the next stage(s) of your life.

Sometimes I am so sad, another time I am nonchalant and other times I just want to be left alone by everyone and everything.

How have I recognized that I have changed?

  • For a while I have no interest to talk on the phone or even in person with friends, acquaintances or even strangers.
  • I have outgrown certain themes and topics that usually excite or interest me.
  • I communicate very minimally with others- I hardly keep in touch.
  • I make priorities in regards to what I do or can do for others.
  • I am an avid practiitoner of “once bitten, twice shy.”
  • Lastly, I have learned to say no and put myself first at all times.

I do acknowledge that not all my newly acquired behaviors are healthy or helpful. But recognizing my evolvement is one step towards consciously knowing and accepting that I have grown in some form of way.

There is so much trauma that is still left unravelled and unaddressed. And my anxiety sets in when the world seems as though it is about to cave in.

I, however, know that at some point I have to stop to address all these hurt, pain, disappointments, injustice and heartbreak.

But I will leave all of those for another day.

Triggers

Off the top of my head, triggers can be anything ranging from a person(s), behavior or objects that causes a reaction that affects our mental being.

One of the important tenets of understanding our mental fragility is to recognize our triggers. If we know our triggers, or even know a few of our triggers, we may be able to know what to avoid. Knowing our triggers is also crucial in helping us know why we are in a distressful state. Most importantly, triggers will help us to know what mechanisms we need to employ in order to start feeling better.

So what happens when I am triggered?

As someone who is ever so helpful, I am oftentimes overwhelmed when too many people are looking to me for help. The pressure of thinking everyone is relying on me elicits emotions of distress and anxiety.

To be honest not all the time I am able to know that I am triggered or what exactly causes me to be in a certain mental state.

However, at times I feel myself wanting to be in isolation, my sleeping pattern is disrupted, and I prefer to lie in bed all day without interacting with anyone.

The increase of such patterns always let me know that something is resting on my mental psyche. And the best part is, I do let myself wallow in my depression and anxiety.

Sometimes we all need a break and personal space.

People and life can be overwhelming.

But as I grow and learn more about myself, I realize that I have adopted certain actions or refrain from certain actions and relationships that will cause me to feel depressed.


Certainly, life is unpredictable and uncontrollable so I am not always able to take control of the circumstances that I experience.


But here are a few things that I have done to help me when I am triggered or to prevent me from being triggered:

  • I refrain from being in constant contact with people who always seem to need from me.
  • I refrain from having relationships that are parasitic.
  • I refrain from being amongst people who always have negative things to say and who want to convince me that the worse things are good for me.
  • I do not associate myself with those who will whisper all the bad and negative things others have said about me.
  • When I am triggered, I try to change my chain of thoughts (not to happy thoughts) but to understand what I am going through and see what I can do to start feeling better.
  • I also take the time to feel the pain, hurt, sadness and anger before trying to work on feeling positive emotions.

Despite what we are facing and going through, I know some days are better than some.

And the truth is we all have days of feeling low.

Sometimes we prefer not to feel our pain, hurt and are scared to embrace our diminished mental state, but we should all remember that we are all human. And while we can aspire and work towards perfection, no one is perfect and nobody’s life is perfect.

So do not beat yourself up too much when you are going through a low time. Always remember there is hope and while our current distress may seems like forever evrything in this life is temporary.

Disappear with Me

A few years ago one of the sweetest couple I know suffered an unimaginable accidental loss. There is always something about accidents and loss that almost always remind us of three things:

  • as humans we are vulnerable
  • we should always cherish the life we live and
  • our life can be shorter than what we have in mind.

There are things that happen to some people who we may say are undeserving of the pain and suffering that was haphazardly brought upon them.

I remember talking about how beautiful the wedding looked, the food and the chef. And in the moment when I thought it was lone celebratory happiness, we received the devastating news about an accident that had occurred.

In that very moment, I pledged that I will always be happy by surrounding myself with only those who care, who had ‘good vibes only,’ and those who ensure my tranquility and peace of mind.

For a while I was doing well but as usual life happens.


There are some things about the dark that are absolutely unsure.

When we think of the dark or darkness, we think of total absence of light, evil or danger. On the other hand, darkness can also alludes to tranquility, solace, control and isolation. The truth, however, is that you cannot always tell what you will find in the dark.

There are times in my life when I can feel the darkness creeping in. My chest tightens, my heart rate elevates, my sleeping pattern is disrupted, I am extremely lethargic and I can barely make it to the bathroom to take a shower. In those very instances I am overwhelmed, depressed and I begin my days in isolation.

If I may be transparent, oftentimes I do know my triggers but there are days when things that I might have tucked away in my subconsciousness resurface and take a toll on my mental state.

It might sound weird but the truth is whenever I disappear I enjoy raveling in the dark ALONE until I am able to find ‘myself ‘again.


I have a couple friends that within 48- 72 hours of disappearing, they will immediately text to ask when I am coming back to the real world- they have learned how I am. There are others who think I am just ignoring them. Some even think that I am busy with my other sets of friends.

I almost never clarify the misconception. I, sometimes, am too overwhelmed by my own personal happenings or mishaps to explain the struggles that I am experiencing. I also always find it to be so painful reliving my darkest moments. As such,I choose silence over explanation and try to pick up where we left off.


About three years ago, some sweet lady asked me a series of questions, vetted my answers and then gave me some advice.

Everything that was said is what I already knew but had never put into perspective. I came out of that conversation with a plethora of information that helped me accept my flaws, weaknesses, strengths, vulnerabilities and myself.

All of the above mentioned tenets laid a new foundation with how I handle both my social and intimate relationships. I think my biggest flaw is embedded in my strongest feature. I am vulnerable because of my ever so willingness to help.

As a consequence, I have made it my duty to incorporate certain things in shaping the person who I am today:

  • I have learned that it is perfectly fine to not save everyone who comes my way,
  • to know that not everybody who asks of me will receive,
  • to always ensure that I reserve some of me and,
  • to not give all of me away because no one is deserving to get more from me than what I give to myself.

I know it all sounds so selfish. But if you truly know me that would probably be one of the last adjectives you would use to describe me.


Now that I have let you all in on some cup of ‘tea’- as my fellow young generation would say, I want anyone who is reading this to know that it is perfectly pleasing to love every inch of you. Do not feel guilty to change how you operate within your relationships, especially if your new actions will bring you satisfaction, peace and happiness. Protect your heart, body, mind and soul from friends, family and strangers who will ruin you and bring you running into the darkness.

Take some time away from everyone if that is what works for you because the truth is you may never know what will happen if the darkness consumes you.

Disappear with me in the dark to self- evaluate and reconstruct because it is better to seek control and understanding than to be destroyed by it.

The Black Woman and The Weight on her Shoulders

There is so much stigma when it comes on to the expectation of who the black woman should be. For those who are black and a woman, if someone should ask you to describe who you are as a black woman, what would you say? I am sure that some of the words that you would use are: strong, powerful, beautiful, sexy, subservient, angry and resilient.

Angela Neal- Barrett (PhD) sums up the renowned characteristics of a black woman as being ‘The Strong Black Woman,” “The Angry Black Woman” and “The Jezebel/Video Vixen.” The first two adjectives are pretty straightforward. The latter may not be so plain sailing but for those who do not know it describes the black woman as a sexual being.

But are we only those things? Are we only capable of being those things? Why should it be rewarding to only be those things? Most importantly, why should we be ashamed to be vulnerable, depressed and speak about the burdensome circumstances that we have endured?

In fact, there are many studies that have conclude that black women are underrepresented in regards to addressing their mental health issues.

Today, I will no longer neglect the fact that many black women are suffering mentally.

As a black woman, have you ever wondered how it is so easy to sit with all of your friends and speak about your toxic relationship, about the man you are keeping who belongs to someone else or even the girl you are planning to attack?

It is, however, not so easy to sit and express to ALL of your same friends the things that keep you up at nights. To share with them how powerless, depressed and anxious you feel.

And someone somewhere may be saying, why do you have to bare it all to your friends. What about your family? The heart-wrenching truth is that while as a black person we say and act on the premise of family before others or family being everything, we are the first to hide our self-loathing and struggles from our family.

We do this because we are scared of their judgment. We do this because we fear how it may affect their perception of us. We do this because we are afraid that instead of advice we are given ultimatums.

Worse, if you are from a Caribbean background like myself, some of the first responses after self-expression to friends and family are usually nothing is wrong with you or why are you so dramatic or, the one I hate the most, there is someone somewhere who is going through worse situations than you.

Support like these will definitely push a turtle back in its shell.

In todays world, we have to be more mindful of the silent cry from our ‘strong,’ ‘angry’ and ‘sexual’ black women. Do not sweep the cry for help under our rugs because we think nothing should be too stressful for our friends, our mothers or our daughters. Society’s expectations of us have indeed cast a shadow on how in touch we are with our ‘negative’ emotions. But this definitely does not mean that we cannot try to start making a difference.

The most alarming thing in writing this article, is the discovery of the lack of evidence to support the topic of mental health in regards to Caribbean black women. I am sure somebody has done some research. But clearly it is so limited to the point that a search on google will take countless hours before you find a single article.

Of course, our solution does not lie in research. It lies with us. We have to start accepting that as a black woman we are not only confined to being strong, angry and sexual. We have to know that there is nothing wrong with addressing our personal struggles. We have to remove the negative stigma that is associated with seeking professional help that can save us from self-loathing and self-harm. We have to do this in order to remove the weight from our shoulders.

We should try and start today. Do it for ourselves. Do it for our children and our children’s children. I know it may sound cliche but we need to do this so that one day we may be able to break the racial and generational cycle.