I’ve never considered myself to be someone who required counseling or self-help tools. Since I can remember, I’ve been the idea that I am a “strong Black woman.” I’m a self-starter who has an impressive job and two adorable children.
I believed that I could handle any issue that came up on my own. I was incorrect.
In 2004 I met the person I’ve always wanted to be with My husband of a few years. We were both in the process of getting out of marriage at the time, and we had kids both on our sides. This wasn’t going to go as smoothly. However, I didn’t realize the extent to which difficult it could be.
We were moving to a rural area of England, and the countryside was a lonely place. After leaving my family and friends in London and reuniting with my husband’s family, who was going through a divorce that was painful I struggled to deal with. I slowly fell into a deep depression.
Had I been aware of mental health during that time I would have noticed the signs of anxiety, inexplicably emotional and hopelessness. I noticed that I was desperate to be by myself all the time. I started drinking more and more alcohol. I began experiencing panic attacks and many mornings; I seemed like it took a Herculean effort to climb up.
Along with a loss of hope and feeling stuck, I’d lost my enjoyment in activities I previously was a fan of, like making meals, writing, or playing music.
I was even contemplating suicide in the morning — this was shocking to me as I’ve never before had suicidal thoughts. It was like my brain suddenly flipped from one point to the next and I ended up lying on the floor in my laundry room, crying, drinking one Tylenol after the next.
Fortunately, my husband spotted me and brought me to the hospital.
I was examined by an official in the field of mental health who, in a surprising way, did not identify me as depressed. He advised me to see a GP, who diagnosed my suicide attempt as the result of marital issues. The advice he gave me was to wait for several months to examine how I did.
I was astonished by this. I realized later that the doctor who was from the rural region of England in which there are hard people if any Black people did not have cultural competence or deep knowledge of depression.
So, I carried on my day trying to reduce drama and to keep the hurt from myself. But, it wouldn’t go away.