“Here’s the thing about therapy and why it’s so important. I love my mom, but there’s so much I couldn’t talk to her about during my Hoe Phase. I couldn’t tell her that I couldn’t stop crying and that I hated everything about myself. Whenever I did try to open up, my mom seemed unconcerned. When I was sad about something, she told me to ‘get a thicker skin.’ When I was upset, she told me to ‘stop nitpicking.’ My mom has always had faith that things would be okay, but saying ‘tomorrow will be a better day’ wasn’t enough for me,” Sidibe recalled.
“When I first told her I was depressed, she laughed at me. Literally. Not because she’s a terrible person, but because she thought it was a joke. How could I not be able to feel better on my own, like her, like her friends, like normal people? So I just kept thinking my sad thoughts — thoughts about dying,” she added.
When she got to college, Sidibe said she suffered from panic attacks, which culminated in her deciding not to eat, sometimes for days.
“Often, when I was too sad to stop crying, I drank a glass of water and ate a slice of bread, and then I threw it up,” Sidibe recalled. “After I did, I wasn’t as sad anymore; I finally relaxed. So I never ate anything, until I wanted to throw up — and only when I did could I distract myself from whatever thought was swirling around my head.”
However, eventually, she was able to find help.
“I found a doctor and told her everything that was wrong with me. I’d never run down the entire list before, but as I heard myself, I could sense that dealing with this on my own was definitely no longer an option,” she wrote. “The doctor asked me if I wanted to kill myself. I said, ‘Meh, not yet. But when I do, I know how I’ll do it.’ I wasn’t afraid to die, and if there was a button I could’ve pushed to erase my existence from earth, I would have pushed it because it would have been easier and less messy than offing myself. According to the doctor, that was enough.”
Now, she is managing her depression, but it is a battle she fights every day.
“For years, I have not felt that way. But if I ever do, I just have to remember to do the things that make me feel good as opposed to the things that make me feel bad.”