*Lisa M. Brown is the author of “Strong On The Outside, Dying On The Inside.”
She is on a mission to help others by sharing her own story of overcoming depression.
Within hours of the news of Whitney Houston’s death, Lisa was sought after by radio hosts and columnists nationwide to finally address the often overlooked conversation of depression, particularly among blacks. Don Cornelius’ shocking suicide was evidence that the strong and silent types can break under the pressure of constant pain.
EURweb asked Lisa Brown to describe the difference between normal moodiness and a more clinical diagnosis of depression. She responded:
“Depression sets in when there is a prolonged period of chronic sadness and unspoken pain.”
The death of celebrities pushes the subject of abuse, depression and suicide into the headlines, when in truth millions are plagued with issues of mental health. The upside of media attention is that it can intensify the cry for help. Still scores of deaths due to depression and mental health fall beneath the news wire.
The story of Al Green being doused with hot grits made the news in 1974 and continues to be a long running joke. But does anyone remember what happened to the woman who perpetrated the act or know who she was? According to our research at Rare Soul archives, the woman was a married Al Green fan who had fallen for him and was tempted to leave her husband and children. When she learned that this would not happen, she plotted the grits episode and then shot herself in the head. Knowing the aftermath takes the sting out of the punch line when the fact is that someone lost their life and a family lost a loved one. When mental and emotional imbalances go unchecked it can result in untimely death or a prolonged season of mental distress.
We also wanted to know why many black people (and women especially) are hesitant to confront issues of depression and mental health by seeking a diagnosis or counseling?
Lisa M. Brown: “We’re hesitant to confront issues of depression and mental health because many of us believe that depression is a rich, white woman’s disease. We believe that we are hard wired to be strong and that we can withstand anything that’s thrown our way. We hold it down at work, sing in the choir, serve on the usher board, volunteer with the PTA, help the children with their homework, encourage our mates to pursue their dreams and serve as a listening ear for our best girlfriends, sisters and mothers — sometimes all in the same day! But inside we’re broken and in pain and will take our last breath before we let anyone know it. Being broken inside doesn’t compute with the image we believe we HAVE to portray on the outside!”
*In her book “Strong On The Outside, Dying on the Inside,” Ms. Brown challenges readers to deal with depression with the same fortitude that they successfully deal with the other challenges in their lives. But first they must drop the ever popular ‘got it all together’ façade.
Are you Strong On The Outside and Dying on The Inside? Ask author Lisa M. Brown at: Lisa@StrongOnTheOutside.com