I started this blog because I’ve struggled with mental health issues for years, and I finally decided to do something about it in 2018. My self-care became a priority for the first time in my life, and I wanted to document the journey. When I started dealing with my mental health, I realized a lot of my black female friends were dealing with anxiety and depression but putting their self-care on the backburner, like a did for years. So, I’m hoping my vulnerability will help folks deal with their issues head on. I’m hoping my journey makes the mental health thing less scary. AND I’m hoping that sharing my failures and triumphs will hold me accountable to what I believe… I am responsible for my self-care and mental health. If something is off, it is my responsibility to take action.
I named this blog, “My Black Can Crack” because African American women have been fed the lie that we have superhero strength. I was taught by example how to push past pain, ignore my needs, and take care of others at the expense of myself. The phrase “Black Don’t Crack” normally means we age well. And we do! We can’t help it. Being fine is in the genes. But I used to believe that statement meant I could handle large amounts of pressure without breaking. Life can suck, but you’ll never see me sweat. I won’t crack.
Well, I’ve learned from experience that I’m not superhuman. I’ve cracked a couple of times under the pressure I’ve put on myself. I cracked privately, but there were seasons when I was so stressed, I started losing my hair. I suffered depression and anxiety in silence, having breakdowns at home. I put on the game face when I walked out of the door and outperformed my peers at work and in school. I was looking good on the outside and miserable on the inside. So… “My Black Can Crack.”
I’ve officially been on my self-care journey for six months now, and we’ve talked about a ton. This week, I want to give you a progress report. What have I been doing over the last six months regarding my self-care?
I play no games with my morning routine. I get up at 5 am, pray, spend some time reading (the Bible and a book on an area I need to grow in.) I work out at 6am for 30 minutes. I don’t drink coffee, so this is the way I wake up my body. No matter how I feel when I start, I always feel refreshed and alert when I’m done. Recently, I’ve made my morning routine non-negotiable. I’m not perfect. There are days that I’m exhausted, and I let myself sleep a little longer. But more often than not, I’m up at 5 am. There’s nothing like having two hours of peace, quiet and self-improvement.
I am still going to therapy. Last October I started going to therapy. I had a one-hour session every week. After a few months, I made progress. We’ve gone from a weekly session to a bi-weekly session. It’s going well. My therapist helped me identify some of my unhealthy thought patterns that led to unhealthy habits, and I’ve successfully made some changes. Overall, I feel more emotionally balanced. At moments, I’m even happy. This is huge improvement from where I was just six months ago.
I attend a small group for young marrieds. My church sponsors small groups to help build community. My husband and I joined one for young married couples. We regularly read books on marriage with the group. We talk out our issues in a safe group setting. We have a small community of couples that we can count on for support, and we are there for them as well. When I started my self-care journey, I really wanted to have a better relationship with myself. My relationship with others is improving too!
Overall, how am I feeling? My emotional health has been stable. I’m not over the moon excited. I’m not down either. Most of the time, I’m good. That’s the best way I can describe it. My soul is quiet. Peaceful. Six months ago, my insides were all over the place, but I’m currently pretty stable. I unknowingly got off the emotional roller coaster.
I have the tools to know when a depressive thought is trying to take root in my mind. I can feel it. I can now talk it through and let it pass. It takes me a matter of hours to work through something that used to take me months. Now that I think about it, I need to take myself out for some ice cream or something. I’ve made some positive progress. I’m proud of myself!
What do I need to work on now? Now that I have the tools to deal with depression and anxiety in a healthy way, I have a new challenge to deal with: boredom. I’m so used to a chaotic emotional life, I don’t always know what to do with peace. So, I’m working on it.
I’m the same way with down time in my schedule. If I’m not working on a project, I get antsy. I have a play coming up, but a couple weeks ago, I almost got a part time job at a smoothie shop because I had some free time. I almost forgot that I would only have the job for a couple weeks before having to quit! I have commitments in the coming months. I just felt like I needed to fill my free time with something. Anything. As long as it was legal and ethical. Your girl needs to work on not always having a million things going on at once.
Over the next six months, hopefully I’ll handle peace better. For now, I’ll just keeping walking it out and sharing my progress with you. Thank you for being here with me and making this experience a rich one.
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.