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25 Common Misconceptions about Depression in Black Women

I hear you gasp. Didn’t you know back women suffer from depression? I hear you wheezing now. It’s true. Sad but true. All this nonsense of black women are the strongest people on earth (which we are) so they can’t appear weak and suffer from depression (which is a blatant lie) has gotta go. Here are 25 common misconceptions about depression black women. They are things REAL people like you and I say. You have been warned.

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1. “You’re a black woman. Depression doesn’t exist in your vocabulary”

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Number 1 because just about every depressed, black woman has heard this one. There is a stifling stigma that makes it almost impossible for black women to open up about mental illness and get the help they need. Forget that, they’re too scared to ask for help. THIS MUST END NOW.

2. "Depression only happens to old, white men/white women."

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If this were truly the case, madam or sir, then why are there depressed, black women in existence?

3. "You’re weak as eff if you’re black and depressed."

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How can suffering from a mental issue be a weakness? When it’s little Becky she’s so strong for facing this, but when it’s Teniqua, she’s weak and hasn’t been paying her dues to the Lord. Negro, please.

Depression is NOT a weakness, especially not in the strongest group of people on earth (yes, that’s us black women).

4. "You’re lazy."

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If I were lazy, I wouldn’t have written this article. So many depressed, black women wouldn’t still be working hard to look after their families, even though they don’t have the energy to work or function. Hush your mouth and let those contributing to the success of the country keep doing their thing.

5. "You want the easy way out in life."

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The easy way in life is death, sweety. I’ve chosen the hard way of still being alive, trying to find relief in the land of the living.

6. "There’s no depression for a Jesus believer."

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Jesus was perfect but he also felt tired. True, he didn’t suffer from depression but at Luke 5:31, he said: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but those who are ill do." The good Lord himself said the ill need help, so who are you to say there’s no depression for a believer of Jesus?

7. "Your father/mother’s a pastor. You don’t have depression."

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How do you know I don’t have depression BECAUSE of them? Growing up in a “spiritual” home with pastors is one of the toughest ways to grow up. Whitney Houston is a prime example of what happens when you live and let go. RIP.

8. "You must have sinned against the Holy Spirit to have depression."

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Another church misconception has made its way on the list. See how black people think having God in your life means you’ll be exempt from all pain and suffering? Even Jesus said his followers would suffer MORE than unbelievers. So just know that Jesus finds me a worthy subject of his Kingdom and is confident I will overcome this trial successfully.

9. "You have what? You lyin’."

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This person is blatantly disrespectful. They didn’t even hear me. More accurately, they heard me but pretended not to. They don’t want to know. So let them not know. I'll suffer in silence. Damn.

10. "It’s all in your head."

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It is all in my head which is why it’s so damn difficult to get anyone who’s NOT in my head to understand it.

11. "Are you saying that it’s in our blood? Are you saying I’m crazy?!”

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This would be the typical response you get from your mother when you try and open up to her. She starts saying you’re making the family look bad, her look bad and all that. When was this confession ever about you, mama?

12. “You’re naturally crazy. It’s not bipolar.”

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Yes, at some point in our lives, all black women, mentally ill or not, have been dubbed crazy. This is not an excuse, though, to say it’s not legitimately depression. Did you know depression has levels? Major, postpartum, bipolar…

13. "You’re just feeling blue which isn’t depression."

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We all feel blue at some time, but depression is way deeper than the normal blues. If you’re not informed about depression, rather you don’t go telling your sister she’s feeling blue when she’s really feeling depressed.

14. "You’ll snap out of it."

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This one grates me so badly. If I could snap out of it the way I do my fingers, don’t you think I’d have done it already? Do you think I enjoy feeling like this 24/7? Not knowing if it will ever end? Screw you.

15. "Get over it. Life’s tough for everyone."

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The gif says it all.

16. "You can’t afford to be depressed."

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Yup. 'Cause suffering from depression is a luxury nowadays. Some people have actually said that. Not to me, but it’s been implied. People think depression is all about medicine, therapy and all that. Which costs money and with black women at the bottom of the food chain…

17. "You're depressed because ... your man left you?"

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Um, no. Today I actually DON’T know why I’m depressed. We don’t always know why we’re depressed neither can an answer be found for that. So sit down.

18. "You don't look depressed."

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Am I honestly going to go moping around the whole day or better still, with a sign that says “Hi, I’m depressed?” Come now. You don’t look at someone on ARVs and say, “You don’t look like you have HIV/AIDS,” do you? If you do, you’re a despicable human being.

19. "You’ve got so much going on. Why would you be depressed?"

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I could be Beyoncé and still suffer from depression (which, ironically, she did.) I could have the man I love, the job I’ve worked hard for, five kids, a fancy car and all the good things of life and still be depressed. Your status in life isn’t always the reason you’re depressed.

20. "You're playing, right?"

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Said in an attempt to brush off the seriousness of the situation at hand lightly. It’s not a light situation nor is it not serious. I’ve never been more serious in my life and here you are toying with my emotions. Like this.

21. "You're seeking attention."

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If I was seeking attention, I’d have tried to kill myself, thank you very much. OK, horrible example, but I think you get what I mean.

22. "Prayer will heal you."

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For like 10 minutes. I need something more. True, prayer is amazing, but sometimes you need something physical like a hug or a text message or good food.

23. "Black don't crack."

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This is usually said about black women not aging, but people have applied this to depression, too. Black DOES crack, it just takes way longer and you don’t see it until it’s too late. Think about that for a minute.

24. "Your people made it through slavery. Depression is not an option."

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So painful. Oh, so painful. I’m sorry I don’t have the strength of a million slaves in this new technologically driven world where women’s rights and others are being spearheaded with a fierce abandon.

25. "There are people worse off than you. Yours isn’t so bad."

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I'm done with mankind.

26. What misconception/general feeling about depression in black women especially grates you? Comment below.

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