My name is Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley. I am the Director of Outreach for the national office of a mental health non-profit, former therapist, a certified life coach, and Reiki practitioner. I also experience debilitating depressive episodes on a regular basis.
I recently returned to work after a 7-day absence because my depression was bad that I lacked the ability to eat, take a bath, get out of bed, or motivation and energy to leave my apartment.
Depression is far from being a stranger to me. The memories of this darkness entering my life go back as far as the 6th grade. It has been one of the most difficult things I have ever faced. Over the course of my 39 years I have been hospitalized (more than once) and suicidal more times than I can count. I have left jobs, relocated, isolated myself and established unhealthy habits because of this medical condition.
Although I struggle a lot, not all my days are completely bad. I do have moments of laughter and true joy. However, there is always a lingering fear that wonders when my symptoms will return and if I will have the energy to withstand the blows.
I know what I am saying is nothing new to you. You know what it feels like to cry when your alarm goes off in the morning simply because you don’t know where the strength for making it through the day will come from. You understand what its like to have your child in front of you and you are forcing yourself to smile so they can’t pick up on the pain you are in. You know what it is like to stand next to coworkers and wonder why you can’t function like others. You know what it’s like to question your existence and ask what you did in life to deserve this.
I know you understand, and I want you to know that I understand too. This journey to wellness is not always filled with rainbows and butterflies. We tend to suffer daily, and no one knows. We feel like burdens to those around us, so we remain quiet.
At times, we wish that we had physical illnesses so that we could receive the same level of compassion and concern from those around us.
We need people to understand that these medical conditions of ours are more than a “Just take your meds” or “Just talk to a therapist” type of situation. It really is hard work. In 2018, I took extremely good care of myself and saw a mental health professional weekly with medication management. Despite this, I still experienced suicidal ideation(thoughts) 3 times.
Honestly, we get tired of trying sometimes. We get tired of getting sick. We get “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Sometimes we are stable and sometimes we are not. It’s not our fault. We have serious medical conditions that deserve the same care, concern, and compassion as any physical illness. Our conditions are chronic. There is no cure and sometimes they can be terminal.
I know that when people write open letters, they expect them to be inspirational in nature. Well, today I just wanted to write what is real and let you, the black woman experiencing depression, know that someone else (me) understands your daily struggle just to exist.
You are in my thoughts. We are sisters in life, sisters through experience, and sisters on a journey to wellness. Love, Peace, & Joy @HealingBlackWomen