The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes self-love as to “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.”
“People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them. Act on what you need rather than what you want. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs.”
How old were you when you first heard of self-love? How old were you when you actually learned how to engage in self-love? Let’s be honest, they didn’t teach us how to love ourselves in school. They didn’t teach us the concept of conceit and egotism. They taught us bullshit like “y = mx + b” because finding the slope and y intercept is sure helping me address my mental health and past traumas along with Sallie Mae who won’t stop calling my phone. (BITCH, I DON’T GOT IT!)
I decided to write this post because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY, and if they do, they’re not being real or transparent. Well, for those that know me, I’m giving it to you straight up, no ice nor chaser, JUST TAKE THIS SHOT!
Sunday, February 24th was a monumental moment in my life for me. I was alone in my apartment when my depression got the best of me. I said “alright Shay, let’s go have this good cry,” (if you haven’t gathered what a good cry is, look up Dane Cook’s “Vicious Circle”) except this good cry was different. I cried and cried … and cried because I kept saying to myself, “I don’t want to be here anymore.” Now my dramatic ass has had these moments before but not to the extent where I actually started formulating a plan. My fellow mental health professionals know what “the plan” is and means. I even started writing the letter I’d leave behind in my head. Out of nowhere, I stopped and got up off the floor (told y’all I was dramatic, LOL). I looked in the mirror and thought, “holy shit, I’m the 2007 Brittney Spears.” I had completely and utterly lost my shit for a moment. I broke down after constantly bottling my emotions and telling everyone that asked I was okay when I wasn’t.
Not too long ago, one of my best friends told me that I was the “strong friend.” I had to agree because I am selfless. I’m the type to talk someone off a ledge while my world is collapsing beneath me. I always put others before myself. I was always the type to invest in everyone else’s happiness except my own. Then February 24th happened and I realized that in that moment, all I had was me. I looked at my phone but then realized what time it was and said, “Girl, ain’t nobody going to answer the phone.” For the first time, I had to be the strong friend for myself because when you’re up at 3am crying like Taraji in Baby Boy, all you have is you and God.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, there were 44,193 suicides in 2015 alone with 5,491 of them being youth aged between 15-24. The association conducted a study in 2008 which researched the impact of low self-esteem and lack of self-love and its relation to suicidal tendencies and attempts. They defined self-love as being “beliefs about oneself and beliefs about how other people regard oneself.” It concluded that “depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem are implications of vulnerability factors for suicide ideation” and that “these findings suggest that even in the context of depression and hopelessness, low self-esteem may add to the risk for suicide ideation.”
I say this to say, IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY! It’s okay to think ‘maybe I should find someone to talk to.’ Your friends won’t always have or know the right thing to say, and it’s not their fault. It’s not fair to put that type of pressure on your friends. You don’t know what they may be going through. I have a best friend who checks my mental state before we talk about his shit and I’m thankful for that because some days I’m like “not today, bruh.” I’ve learned to stop answering the phone when I don’t feel like talking. It’s hard giving others a feel better speech while you’re broken inside. So for my black and brown people, ain’t nothing wrong with going to therapy! If you’re going to try and get your shit together, you might as well talk to someone who doesn’t know you and won’t judge you. I’ve been through two therapists so far and I myself as a mental health professional do not like that “So how does that make you feel?” approach. Talk to me as if I’m your sister, let’s have a real conversation! This is why I love April Nichole because she honestly whipped my ass back into shape mentally. I haven’t signed up for one of her therapy sessions yet but I have listened to her podcast, “Nikkie’s Thoughts” and have gotten the READ of my life, LOL.
Love yourselves. Get out of your own way. Life isn’t a walk in the park. Hell, life is like a walk through Jurassic Park honestly but you can make it through. Just believe in yourself, be patient with yourself and trust the process!
Moore or Less …
KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE NECK OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, OR WHATEVER THE WHOLE MOTHAFUCKIN’ WAY!!!