In 2022, a term resonated within me like a long-lost melody: “functional depression.” It was during a “Voices of the Village” gathering, a safe space for Black women, that this concept was introduced by a therapist, shattering my perception of depression. For years, I’d felt like a hamster on a broken wheel – inadequate, unproductive, and stuck in a cycle of unfulfillment. Being a mother of two, entangled in an abusive relationship, only amplified the weight of my shortcomings. I was burnt out, yet pushing on.
But the classic depression I’d heard about – withdrawing, neglecting tasks, guilt, reckless behavior – didn’t fit. I functioned. I got up, worked, cared for my children, and cherished moments with loved ones. Yet, life lacked its spark. Work felt hollow, creativity dwindled, and fatigue became my constant companion. I stopped promoting my business, my energy depleted by the daily grind.
This was functional depression, a hidden beast. It claws at joy, steals motivation, and whispers negativity even as you maintain a semblance of normalcy. Its prevalence among Black women, especially under the weight of systemic racism, sexism, and trauma, makes it a silent epidemic. Add to that the stigma, lack of access to culturally competent care, and distrust in medical systems, and the path to healing can be obscured.
But there are whispers of hope amidst the shadows. For Black women, functional depression often manifests differently:
- The burden of strength: We’re expected to be pillars, making vulnerability difficult.
- Prioritizing others: Our families and communities come first, often at the expense of our own well-being.
- Emotional disconnect: As a coping mechanism, we may distance ourselves from our own feelings.
- Hopelessness: Systemic oppression can breed despair about the future.
- Finding culturally competent care: Accessing mental health support that understands our unique experiences can be a constant struggle.
If you, like me, resonate with these whispers, remember: you’re not alone. We juggle so many roles, neglecting ourselves while nurturing others. But it’s time to reclaim our space. Here’s how:
- Self-care is non-negotiable: Prioritize sleep, activities you enjoy, and recharge time.
- Seek professional support: Find a therapist or counselor specializing in depression.
- Build your village: Surround yourself with supportive people who understand your journey.
- Set boundaries: Learn to say no, prioritize your mental health, and communicate your needs.
- De-stress: Practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to manage stress and find calm.
My own journey began with leaving the abusive relationship. The relief was immediate, paving the way for self-care to become my cornerstone. Pursuing a career in mental health, with its trauma-informed training, empowered me to become a certified peer support specialist and domestic violence counselor. This built my support system, helped me establish boundaries, and reignited the joy in activities I love.
Life is a journey, not a destination. We walk through experiences, but they also shape us. My hope is that this story resonates with you, reminding you of your inherent worth. Whether you call it “depression” or “functional depression,” you’re not alone. Navigating this world is hard, but finding balance and embracing your uniqueness is possible. Let’s live authentically, cherishing the one life we have to make our own.
Depression can wear different masks, but its impact is real. In this space, we can break the silence. Share your unique story, your struggles and triumphs, and the lessons that helped you find your light again. Together, let’s build a community of understanding and support.
I’m Teanna LaNise, your new Personal & Professional Success Coach. My passion is working with individuals that have a passion to serve. I am a Medi-Cal Certified Peer Support Specialist, Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, Advocate and Trainer that uses trauma-informed care to support individuals 1-on-1 or in group settings navigate through this journey called life while providing resources and linkages to services along the way.
I know what it feels like to experience overwhelm, stress and burnout while running a business and taking care of family. Everything that I teach and share I’ve been through personally. From self-care, mental health challenges to business, branding, and marketing.
Let me, help you take care of yourself, you matter and should come first, contrary to other beliefs. When we are out of alignment, everything around us is out of alignment.
I have been working with current and aspiring product and service based business professionals for over 15 years who are at their wit’s end when it comes to branding themselves and marketing their products and services.
Let’s take this time and opportunity to become aware of where we are and what we need in order to show up for ourselves with more intention and consistency. I help professionals like you transform themselves and their brands in these core ways:
– Goal Setting, Mindset Mastery and Self-Care planning.
– Crafting the way you want to be perceived.
– Helping you solidify your expert status in your niche.
– Helping you build trust with your audience.