Recently, I recorded a Podcast interview for my friend Shanti Das. Her podcast is entitled Silence the Shame and it raises awareness on mental health, depression and trauma many of us have experienced in our lives.
During the interview, I discussed the abandonment of my Father in my childhood. I talked about how his absence during my adolescence had a grave effect on my self-esteem and the types of relationships I pursued as I got older.
While recording, I felt like I silenced a bit of my own shame. Having grown up watching my Father on television, but not having a relationship with him left me scarred. After my Parent’s divorce, I felt like I was never good enough, pretty enough or worthy of his affections. I carried those scars throughout my adult life and in many ways it crippled my growth.
Although my Father supplied my financial needs, my emotional needs were never met. In search of a Father figure, I set out on a quest to find love from men who never measured up and mimicked the same unavailable behavior of my missing Father.
Like most little girls whose Fathers never make the family portrait or school performances, my abandonment issues deeply effected my self-esteem. I learned how to deflect my pain early on. I became self-sabotaging and internally destructive. I suffered silently; digging a hole of deep turmoil inside. I learned, that the hole could never be made WHOLE until I began to peel back all the layers that made up my sadness, my grief, and my need for my Father’s love.
For years, I was told like many of my friends suffering in silence to just get over it. I was told that Black people don’t have time to be depressed; you don’t need therapy. When I finally made a full commitment to heal myself, there I was sitting on the therapist couch.
I didn’t go to therapy because it was the trending topic, I went because I was tired of feeling angry. I was exhausted with being triggered by text messages from my Father that I could not decipher. I was sick and tired of being emotionally manipulated by men who latched their claws into my brokenness and due to my emotional frailties, I was too weak to fight them off.
Trust me when I tell you, it got ugly before it got cute. I wrote letters, I starved relationships and I shed so many tears. I looked myself in the mirror and had to have honest talks about who I was, what I wanted and how I wanted to live my life going forward. I promised myself freedom. Every week my North star became that couch. Therapy saved my life.
It is our duty to remove the shame and stigma of mental health, depression and therapy in our community. Let’s start the conversation and push our sisters, friends, Mothers and Daughters to silence their own shame and get the help they so desperately need.
Healing is on the other side of our traumas, but we must be willing to go BEYOND to confront them head on. I am a much better woman, sister, daughter and friend because of my willingness to open my wounds up so they could truly be cleansed. My prayer is that you too will take the necessary steps to find your personal freedom and never let it go.
Click the link to watch my interview on the Silence the Shame Podcast https://youtu.be/dR4xLYv_fag.
Love and Grace,