I recently came across a post that read, ‘Black women don’t often recognise that they’re struggling with depression or anxiety’. Instead, they think they are falling apart. This is because we aren’t allowed to know the difference because there’s very little room to fall apart.
Living in the 21st century where we are constantly motivating the girl child to become successful and take up space, it as also of paramount importance to let her know that she is equally allowed to break down when things get too much for her.
Sometimes, we are so loud to push the agenda of not being afraid that we set too high expectations for the girl child and the pressure is so much that at times, the girl child does not feel like she is doing enough to meet them.
It is important to teach her that when it gets too much, taking a break from the world and concentrating on your mental health is a higher priority, especially given the fact that most of us come from backgrounds where dealing with our emotions is discarded as being either spoilt, seeking attention or retaliating.
With the recent happenings in Namibia, it is especially important to validate the emotions of every girl child that whatever emotion she is going through, it is not wrong.
It is important to reiterate that anxiety attacks will find you at the oddest times when you are in a cab or walking home because you are in constant fear of your life.
It is also important to make sure that when this happens, she must throw the ‘black woman is a strong woman’ narrative out the window and seek help because endurance to the extent of dying of depression is not part of our generation.
We have to do better than we were taught and grew up with.
We have to constantly remind the girl child that being broken is not a sin and it is not a permanent thing; there is help available – seek it! It exists to make your burdens lighter and your life easier.
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper.