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Lessons from the Winter Blues Part II

Hey fam, 

Glad you are back because this next lesson I learned during my depression episode was a tough one as simple as it sounds.  

Y’all. I learned to lean into vulnerability!  

Before you say “big deal, we all are vulnerable,” check yourself and ask yourself this – whatever your deepest, darkest, biggest struggle or fear is, have you shared it with anyone? And if you did, did you really feel heard and supported? And lastly ask yourself, are you willing to share on the level with someone again? 

Mmmm hmmm I know at least a few of my readers right now are like dang, okay, maybe sis got a point!  

Because vulnerability is hard y’all! And this world hasn’t made that easier. 

As a black woman, the world has long told me that my vulnerability is a falsehoodAs magical a myth as our need to be healed from generational and personal traumas. But being a “strong black woman” doesn’t replace my humanity, but shines a light on it. And this depression episode showed me that there is strength in my vulnerability. And there is freedom there as well.  

In this experience, I decided to live in the space of vulnerability and do what I have never done before. I talked about it to those who are closest to me. In past episodes, I avoided my family and friends because I didn’t want to have to explain what I deemed a weakness. “Hey sorry I can’t show up to your girl’s night or baby shower, I’ve been depressed, none of my clothes are clean, and I can’t see myself having any energy past getting in the shower.” That’s a very transparent statement to voice to someone, but most people, me included don’t know how to be that honest or open in their life struggles. But this go round, I drew on courage and said what I said, okay! I didn’t bother to hide the worse of my symptoms.  I was clear when I could not show up like normal. I communicated when I couldn’t show up at all, and I gave myself permission to redefine what showing up looks like in this season.  

If all I can do is text, that’s what I have to offer. 

If all I can do is send Amazon boxes to your house every other week because I can’t show up as auntie, sister, daughter, friend in more visible ways, then that’s what I have to offer.  

My worth in any of those roles weren’t determined by this episode, because I wouldn’t let it. I gave what I could and I for the first time, was honest about the rest. 

I even decided to take a huge step and give my therapist permission to document my episode clinically. I have always ascribed to the fear people of color have of having their mental health documented – I didn’t want it to be used to criminalize me like so many other black and brown people. While I know rationally that my mental health disorders don’t make me “crazy,” something about putting it on paper brought on a personal fear of how I would be viewed once someone reads that. But I acknowledged that my therapist is my safe space and documenting this journey was one more way I could take control of my story and reach a different kind of acceptance of my mental health.  Being on the other side of this depression, having that clinical data to work with is important to being prepared for any other changes in my depression cycles. I can now operate from a place of awareness than avoidance. 

And that’s a major win for me!  

There are definitely more lessons to share but I hope this one encourages you to see your vulnerability differently. It can present opportunities to become closer to others, but most importantly yourself. Because you deserve to be honest in your experiences.  

Know I support you in that.  

And know if no one else sees you, I do.  

Come back for Part III on  Friday 5/21!