Todays podcast episode is about the importance of women supporting women in all aspects of life. Often, I read negative comments on Instagram from women stating their opinion about another woman's physical appearance, which encouraged me to talk about this matter and share my personal experience regarding the occasional lack of support from women. The remarks are often unsolicited and nasty in nature, which leads me to ask "why?" What's the purpose of putting someone else down that is doing nothing to you and instead, living their best life?
Over the years, as my relationships with women have evolved and transcended into various dynamics, I've become much more aware of the people I choose to share my time with. Primarily, this became important when I noticed that it was much harder to celebrate others than to be available during the challenging times. Today, I look for confidence as a key characteristic when choosing my friends because the more confident a woman is, the less likely they are to "hate" on other women.
From wearing makeup to embracing your own sense of style, some women across all social media platforms share their thoughts (both negative and positive) if a another female is stepping into their own identity. In today's episode on WOWW Podcast, I discuss why I think this is and how we can learn from the moments when we find ourselves playing the comparison game. Often times, it can highlight if we're living in a scarcity mindset because somewhere, we believe there isn't enough for everyone, especially us. Other times, when we're hating on other women, it can serve as a reflection for the things we're secretly insecure about. In both circumstances, confidence is lacking.
If we want the world around us to change and acknowledge our presence, we must encourage each other to do it among ourselves first. By uplifting and celebrating one another, we set the example for the rest of the world to see and follow.
I am not a mental health expert or medical professional and therefore, only speak from my personal experiences with depression and what has felt like a life-long battle with something I have little control over. As I've mentioned in previous podcast episodes, I lost a close family friend to suicide when I was 16 years old. I, personally, had a front row seat to his depression, which exponentially became worse in a short amount of time. Because I witnessed the stigma and consequences of remaining silent, I now speak up about these issues in an effort to help someone in need.
Data shows (thank you, CDC) that suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 10 and 35 years old. Between 2005 and 2016, suicide among this age group has increased by approximately 38%, which is higher than the rate at which the total US population has grown (9.4%). These rates are alarming because it tells a story about what is being uncovered in our society, but it often not discussed until it is too late. People with depression often suffer in silence and since the symptoms can be hidden from the public, treatment is not offered unless it's sough by the patient. When we hear of someone who is terminally diagnosed with cancer, it's common to find people around them that offer meals, time or words of encouragement. Often, a terminal illness can deteriorate a person to such a degree that if you have the ability to see, it's obvious something has gone terribly wrong. But with depression, the person may look different and therefore, everyone continues with their day while a dark illness hides behind the many masks one can wear throughout the day.
I speak about this on the podcast because it's essential that we begin to address and acknowledge that mental illness is a serious matter that is currently becoming worse by the day. On average, about 123 people commit suicide per day. People need our help as well as the resources and information to seek the help of others as well, especially professionals.
When my depression was at its darkest moments, I craved interactions with people the most. I simply needed to be reminded that I was loved. For me, this is where I began to develop an even greater spiritual practice. But for others, this could mean receiving a "just because" phone call on a consistent basis. We're living in a digital era that revolves around social media and communicating through Instagram stories or Facebook posts. But at the end of the day, we are all still human and still carry the same neurotransmitters we did 20 years ago. We are all still capable of feeling emotions such as loneliness, joy and sadness. Our gadgets may have changed, but we have not.
Accepting that treatment for depression may be an ongoing procedure is also a great tip when it comes to helping someone with depression. If you know that a few words of encouragement may suffice that day, but may be needed again tomorrow, you're more likely to view mental illness with a different perspective. Be patient and consistent with people that suffer from depression because living with a cloud of darkness is not the kind of life anyone desires. If they knew how to take it away, believe me, they would.
Many physical illnesses can be complicated and therefore, when someone is diagnosed, those around them become curious by asking questions regarding prognosis, treatment, symptoms, origin, etc. It is a support system that allows many people to attend difficult treatment procedures that impact their mobility and quality of life. Knowing that you're surrounded by people that genuinely care about your well-being is fuel and many times the differentiating factor in a recovery process--the same principle applies to depression.
I remember feeling even more isolated and sad after friends and family found out I was severely clinically depressed. They expressed compassion for the first 24-48 hours, but quickly forgot about my illness. Because I did not have to report to a treatment facility or undergo surgery that would later cause vomiting, they did not understand. The few that became inquisitive about my emotions on a daily basis were the ones that felt like a ray of sunlight in the long-run. Become curious about the person that opens the door to have this conversation. Often times, it's a cry for help and consistent support and unsolicited love is the dose of medicine many need to seek the path that'll lead them towards recovery.