"Depression is for White People"

"Depression is for White People"

Shauna Toomer
3 min read


Depression was a "white people thing." When it entered my life in 2010, I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't THAT. I had no clue why I was chain-smoking or why the sight of my then-boyfriend made me sick. Why the sound of everyone's voice irked my last nerve. Why activites that I loved slowly turned into dreaded chores. I just wanted to be left alone. The only thing that gave me joy was food. It tasted good, felt good and didn't talk. This was my life, off and on, for the next ten years. During that time I never considered myself suicidal, but if the time came I knew exactly how and where. After year five, I put away my "black people don't get depressed" ideologies and accepted it for what it was. I was depressed– AF.

Ain't no way!

After I came to terms with my depression, it took another five years before I was forced to do something about it. COVID forced me into seclusion. This little room in the back corner of my parent's condo was a jail cell. I worked, slept and ate in this room. The posters on the wall and massive bean bag in the corner no longer excited me. The broken ladder turned bookcase, and jewelry organizer was – meh.  My home life was a mess. A black man's murder covered every tv network and social media outlet. I was dealing with my own shit, carrying the trauma of an entire race of people and grieving for a man I'd never met. I had no choice but to take the next step before...

Photo by Cherise Eldridge on Unsplash

I snapped. Some entitled asshole who couldn't remember his password said, "I need someone who can punch in numbers better." Excuse me?! I was *this* close to losing my mind. After letting him know he was rude and condescending –among other things– I put his ass on hold for 20 minutes (He actually thought I was getting him help) and called HR, "I'm on edge, and I need a break." They clocked me out, and my first 30-day mental health break began. I don't know what happened to the asshole, and I can't say that I care. By the next week, I'd scheduled my first therapy appointment. Months prior, my girl Nadirah put me on to a black female therapist in the area. I'd saved her number but never used it. Just so happens, that week, she was right on time. Daniella was dope. She understood me on a deeper level. I trusted her. Because of my experiences with therapy, I recommend it to everyone I know. Here's why…

It introduced me to myself. I thought I knew; I had no idea. Therapy offered a safe space to release everything I'd ever held on to. The process helped me to understand my family dynamic better. Which, in return, explained the "why" to many unanswered questions. My conversations with Daniella gave me the tools to navigate through this wildlife. It made me better. I learned my triggers and how to deal with them without cursing out a group of confused people who had nothing to do with my issues.

My therapist offers me complete control. My number one rule was to avoid medications that I could get addicted to and she educated me on all my options. We discuss topics when or if I want to, and she's never pushy. The common belief is that therapists judge you and tell you all about yourself without having met or spent time with you. I can, wholeheartedly, say that this is untrue. Therapists are guides. They allow you to walk yourself to your realizations and work out possible solutions with you. If you haven't tried therapy or didn't enjoy your first experience, please try again. I promise it's necessary. That one hour per week saved my life, my dreams and my goals.

Moment of transparency: Medical insurance in the US is bullshit, and therapy can be expensive. It's my prayer that you don't let this detour you. Please Google "free therapy near me" or something similar. You'd be surprised by the number of resources your city may have. If you're working but are not insured, ask about your companies Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Often, there are free counseling sessions available. If you need help with resources or have services you would like to offer, please send me an email. I'm more than happy to help.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

Suicide & Crisis Hotline: Call or text 988

If you're looking for ways to help. Check on your friends, have a real conversations and learn their love languages. Smile at a stranger and try not to judge people based on their upbringing. Rich or poor - we are all deserving of love, consistency and stability.