Exploring Mental Health for Black Women who Own a Small Business

What the heck do I mean by that? Well, have you ever found yourself so excited about something? A new project, a new relationship, who you are, a noble cause, anything. Now imagine expressing that passion and joy being expressed to someone and that person saying, “That doesn’t matter” or “Great but I want you to care about this instead” or even “Why are you so excited about this?”.

All of these statements feel invalidating right? That’s because they are.

Let’s define suppression so we can better identify it.

Suppression: The act of stopping yourself from thinking or feeling something. Many of us are able to reach down into a moment of feeling invalidated about something that truly mattered to us, and that disappointment of not having a safe outlet is something we told ourselves not to feel again. So how did we ensure we wouldn’t feel it again? By suppressing it or invalidating ourselves first.

We do this with our excitement, joy and passion if it led to passion or pain in the past and what does this lead to? Possible, depressive episodes. Clinical depression is defined as a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Maybe it isn’t clinical depression but you experience low motivation, desire to isolation, feelings of hopelessness, feeling irritable, low sense of self-worth, and so on due to your passions being ignored. So what can we do about this…

1. If you believe you are experiencing clinical depression seek professional help. This can come in the form of psychotherapy, medication management, or both.

2. Life Style changes, sometimes are inability to manage triggering emotions to use is connected to the physical. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet, exercising and getting enough sleep. It is difficult to be mentally well if you are physically unwell.

3. Find a supportive network that supports your passions. This one is huge. Support from others is more important than we want it to be unfortunately. Social support has shown to decrease depression and increase a sense of self-worth.

4. Keep boundaries around work and certain people. Sometimes our passions are suppressed from a lack of time and mental space being consumed by other task. Giving space to your dreams is a form of self-care. Make space for your dreams. Also minimize time around those who suppress your dreams. See previous point for understanding the need of a supportive network.

5. Be your biggest cheerleader. This makes time but your passions are apart of who you are and what you were created to do or make. How they are manifested may differ person to person but remember internal motivation goes further than external motivation. So write down affirmations, listening to inspiring music, speak to yourself in the mirror and remind yourself Queen, your passions matter.

"I realized that I don't have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life." -Kerry Washington

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