While I always try to write from a positive place, I am sometimes I’m just tired of all the things us Black women still have to deal with. It’s great to see the mental health conversations and debates being held online and in society. Being reminded to think about our feelings. Knowing that it’s ok not to be ok, are all good for managing our mental health. But there are some things that if us Black women do not mange them carefully, they are a serious threat to mental and emotional health.
Tired of the same struggles
While us Black women are aware of the good advice available and use it to support eachother and ourselves, we still have the same battles affecting our emotional and mental health. Where do I start?
The angry, Black woman label still follows us around like a shadow, There’s those occasions at work where we’re told our tone is too forceful or our voice is ignored. But when a white colleague says the same, it’s accepted.
Being asked the question – do you wash your hair? Can I touch your hair? Or worse, when our hair is touched without our permission. Yes this struggle still persists. The microaggressions us Black women deal with are particularly dangerous – especially for our mental health. Having our decisions and authority at work questioned and undermined. When we share information about our personal lives, like a trip to the spa or a holiday and we’re told that’s “really expensive”. Being ignored in meetings or having our contributions to a project relegated. These are all under hand ways of chipping away at our confidence and creating stress, draining us of any joy. Leaving us just plain tired.
We’ve see how Black women and our achievements are treated in society and the media. This can range from language aiming to reduce our achievements to nothing or being ignored. Certain issues, e.g. when a Black woman is abused or murdered has been treated like a ‘lesser’ offence, compared to when it happens to a white woman. This struggle for equality in every way creates additional, long running stress. It’s just exhausting for us.
Some suggestions for protecting our emotional & mental health
I can’t say I have all the answers or can cover it all in this Blog. But for #WorldMentalHealthDay my suggestions are based on my personal experience and conversations with others:
- Always priortise your wellbeing and selfcare: Whether it’s the soft touches of having your nails done or going for a massage or having a ‘tough and honest’ conversation with yourself. Find the time to do things for yourself.
- Be honest with yourself about how you really feel. Don’t hide behind the ‘strong Black woman’ label: Whether you have been treated badly at work and are denying it to appear ‘strong’ or you have anxiety and depression. Giving yourself the permission to be honest about your feelings, can start your journey to finding solutions for any issues.
- Give yourself self-love – and then give yourself lots more. There is a difference between being egotistical and knowing that you deserve the best of everything that life has to offer. It might be difficult and there’s no time limit for managing our feelings. But when we are tired from microagressions and feeling drained, our confidence and self-love has to be our foundation. The place to build ourselves up and overcome the tiredness which threatens to rob us of everything we deserve.