I was saddened to hear about the death of Karyn Washington, founder of the blog For Brown Girls. Not only because she was so young but because she served as an inspiration to many and had such a promising life ahead of her. Even more so because reading the news story along with her final blog post made me feel as if I was reading about myself.
I was twenty-one when my mother died and if it had not been for the fact that I was seven months pregnant at the time, I would’ve went the same way.
Looking back at my earlier years, it’s easy to recognize that depression was always there, lying just beneath the surface. However, like so many others in my community, I was taught to keep my problems to myself, go to church and pray about them. While prayer is still at the forefront of my life, it took the death of my mother, something that rocked me to the core, to understand the importance of seeking alternative forms of help and healing. Rather it be the listening ear of a friend or the couch of a therapist, I am no longer held prisoner by the issues I face.
The news of a life lost by suicide is always troubling to me. It’s like I want to help solve everyone’s problems but know that realistically, I can’t. So I will just say this. Depression and mental illness is real. It’s not something that will just go away or something that should be swept under the rug. You never know what a person is going through and just because everything looks good on the outside doesn’t mean all is well on the inside.
If you are experiencing a difficult time, DO NOT be afraid or ashamed to reach out. If it’s someone you know, even if you only have a slight inkling that something is off kilter, don’t hesitate to ask them about their well-being.
My condolences to the family, friends and other fans of Karyn. May her soul be met with the peace she so desperately craved.