As I write this, I’m an 18 year old Black woman residing in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve been through my fair share of turmoil and hardship throughout my young life, being diagnosed with dysthymia, a depressive disorder, at the age of 16. For those of you who don’t know, dysthymia is a depressive disorder characterized by constant depressed mood, experiencing little to no joy/happiness within at least a 2 year period.
I mention that I’m 18 because frankly, I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far. For years I struggled, I experienced pain I would never wish on my worst enemy. Depressive disorders are no joke, they are real and they are valid and they are a painful experience. For about four years, I experienced each and every one of those things alone—I thought reaching out would mean I was weak. So I decided to be “strong”. I was strong for so long that being strong almost killed me.
I say all of this to say that you do not need to be slave to this idea of “strong”. That idea being that fighting your own battles alone is what makes a strong human. Seeking help is beautiful, and I’ve only gotten better at coping with my dysthymia with the help of my awesome therapist.
I implore each and every one of you who have happened to come across this post to reach out to another human if you feel there is a burden in your life you no longer have the strength to carry on your own. That human can be anyone from a friend to a mental health professional. I believe in you. You deserve to live your best life, never forget that. You deserve it.