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  • Writer's pictureRenée Purdie

Airing your dirty laundry

By Denise Renée Purdie

I’d be willing to bet that 95% of the Black population in America has been told, “Do not air your dirty laundry!!!” And when the kids looked blankly at that and said, “But Mom, what does that mean???” the loud, sharp answer was, “You know what I mean!!! Just don’t be telling my business out in those STREETS!!!”

I’m actually pondering whether this attitude is correlated with the fairly low rates of Black people who have regular therapy sessions. I, for one, have never had an official one but I plan to fix that this year. One, I want to see what it’s all about and two, if it can really help to speak to an objective person I am all for it. A lot of us don’t get regular check-ups for physical things, let alone mental health checkups, but particularly during / post-pandemic (I feel like we are still in the pandemic), I believe like this is extremely important.   

“You are always depressed.” I was told that this week and another statement comparing the pain of death versus the pain of estrangement, but I’ll cover that in another blog post. My initial reply was that I’m not sure where they got the idea as we don’t interact often, but that I do share how I’m actually feeling rather than hiding it under the guise of “faking it until I make it.” (I did note though that I need to update my mental records on who I share this with if I’m going to get that kind of  unhelpful feedback!!!)

There’s another factor going on that I feel prevents Black people in particular from getting a mental health practitioner involved when they are going through some things and that is paradoxically “sanctimonious saints”who believe that you don’t need therapy because you’re a Christian. Yep, apparently Christians aren’t supposed to get depressed!

My suggestion to the person who made the statement was to look up some Scriptures and examine the prophets who were by and large depressed. That isn’t to say I’m encouraging people to be depressed simply because they are empathetic, or have an understanding of the prophetic and intercede and counsel regularly thus bearing the brunt of the things people tell them … not to mention not so pleasant dreams and the revelations from God that can be heavy as they speak of challenging times ahead. I hate to say it, but sometimes ignorance is bliss … Dipping a quick toe in the American story, there’s another mitigating factor … I’ve always said if you are a Black person in America and you’re not depressed sometimes, you probably aren’t paying attention!!!

With all this said though, I am in a good place, literally and figuratively. I am working on getting rid of the last toxic people in my life and I’m shedding behaviors that do not serve me well. I’m excited about the future and I hope you are too!

Keywords: therapy, depression, toxic people, mindset, prayer

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