Sunday, February 17, 2013


Situational or environmental depression is a a set of events or circumstances that can potentially overwhelm our normal coping skills. A diagnosis of a major illness, surviving a serious car accident, or a losing everything you own to a hurricane can render us feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. For women of color; unending poverty, domestic violence, a hostile work place are often sources that contribute to our situational or environmental depression. For us, these situations can be unending- leaving us feeling sad, angry, and hopeless about ourselves and our life. Symptoms can develop within ninety days of an occurrence. Again, for women of color, we often experience more than one of these negative factors at the same time. If these circumstances are left untreated or addressed – it can lead to major depression. You should address your situation by talking to a close friend, your minister, a support group, or hot line. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise will help alleviate some of the feelings of hopelessness. If your symptoms persist, you may need to seek the help of a  psychotherapist for short term therapy and /or meds.


Headaches, stomachaches, or heart palpitations
Missing work, school,  or social activities
Changes, in sleeping or eating habits
Low energy or being tired all of the time
Abusing drugs or alcohol


Poverty: Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck which can lead to: anxiety, stress,  guilt, and feelings of helplessness. Being poor can wear us out. Working two or three jobs just to survive leads to: exhaustion, irritability, anger, and feelings of hopelessness. Hidden poverty: we drive nice cars, wear designer clothes, and pay rent or mortgages on luxurious apartments and homes - yet living beyond our means; being harassed by creditors, having our cars repossessed, eviction from our apartments, and/or losing our homes.

Violence: A woman’s assailant can be her father, brother, uncle, husband, family friend, a stranger, or a neighbor with whom she has a trusting relationship. An assault can range from verbal to physical to sexual. Domestic abuse runs in cycles of “hot” to “cold” -tensions build, erupt, then calm, until the next cycle. Victims of violence often blame themselves for the assaults and experience self-hatred, anxiety, guilt, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities ( sex). You can experience physical ailments and injuries after an assault.

Violence and pregnancy: Violence during pregnancy is the leading cause for birth defects and infant death which can lead to: twice as likely to miscarry, and your baby being underweight. We suffer psychological trauma from the abuse; shock, denial of the abuse, stress, isolation, missed doctor appointments, and depression. A pregnant woman is 60% at risk of being abused than that of a non-pregnant woman. An unplanned pregnancy can trigger the initial violent attack. Depression during pregnancy can trigger severe postpartum depression – which can interfere with placental nourishment. Assaults can escalate after the birth of the baby; from the father being deprived of sleep, the mother’s preoccupation with the baby, and lack of attention towards him, and being too tired for sex.

Workplace stress/harassment/hostile environment: As black women, we cope with being harassed sexually, emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically because of our color, age, weight,and/or sex in the workplace. Consequently, we suffer from stress, anger, missed days of work, lack of promotions and raises, and job satisfaction.

Beauty standards: Despite the fact that some white women covet our lips and buttocks, we still struggle with our own images and the impossible beauty standards that are imposed upon us from videos, film, fashion magazines, etc. The wig, hair, and skin bleaching industries rakes in billions of dollars from our need to blend into white society and attain the beauty values that are European based.

Chronic illnesses:  Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  Hopelessness and depression can set in from dealing with a chronic disease or illness that also impacts our lives mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Divorce/Widowed: Grief, loneliness, and depression can set in from losing a loved one.

No resolution for past abuses as a child or young woman such as:

Sexual abuse




Emotional abuse

Women and Depression, M. Sara Rosenthal

Black and Blue is not a substitute for direct, personal, professional mental health medical care and diagnosis. None of the natural therapies and supplements mentioned should be used without clearance from your physician or mental health care provider. The information contained within this blog is not intended to provide specific physical or mental health advice, or any other advice whatsoever, for any individual or company and should not be relied upon in that regard. I am not a licensed mental health therapist and nothing on this website should be misconstrued to mean otherwise.


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