She’s Truly A SURVIOR
Let’s talk about one of the most iconic, catering, survivor mentality, make you lose your breath, top-selling female group of all time— Destiny’s Child. Looking from the outside in, these three gorgeous, highly successful, strong and independent women seem to have everything going for them. Until recently, Michelle Williams went on national television and revealed on “The Talk,” that she had suffered from depression since the age of 25. She went on to explain she had been battling with suicidal thoughts during her rise to fame, which should have been one of the most exciting, successful and pivotal moments of her life.
When Michelle told her manager— Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father— he replied with, “You all just signed a multi-million dollar deal. You’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?”
Michelle went on and talked about how she then began second-guessing herself and her feelings and chalked the feelings up to just being tired. She stated that she didn’t realize what was going on until she was older.
Through my many years of psychology/human service classes and through my own personal struggles, I have learned that it is hard to truly understand, let alone describe something that you don’t know anything about. Unlike physical injuries, such as breaking an arm or leg, it is impossible to see the inner damages and suffering of someone who is going through a mental illness. Mental illness is silent, and often times, overlooked and mistreated due to the very fact that we physically cannot view the inner damages and hurt that are affecting the victim. No one can see it or feel it, but the victim. There are ways to heal from mental illness, but the first step is to acknowledge exactly what your mental state is going through.
I want to try to explain this from two different points of view (POV). POV #1 is Michelle—the person dealing with the mental illness— and POV #2 is her manager— the person who is not impacted by the mental illness but is interacting with someone who is. A lot of this thought process is going to be based on my educated assumptions, personal opinions and experiences. When you are depressed, it is very common to not know or understand why you feel the way you feel. Everything in your life could be going completely right. You could be excelling at your job, earning loads of money, just slaying the game, but something isn’t right.
You yourself are asking, “Why am I feeling this way? There is nothing wrong, there is no reason for me not to want to get out of bed in the morning. Not to want to talk to people. Not to want to just live my life.” This is truly demonstrated in Michelle’s case. When you seek out for help or answers and you get questioned about it in return, you then begin questioning yourself and that doesn’t help the case at all.
In POV #2, when you haven’t dealt with anything of this sort, you won’t be able to understand it. You can’t physically see the inner pain and emotional injuries being described by word of mouth. From POV #2, it may just seem as if they are complaining or being ungrateful.
My advice to y’all is this: For the person dealing with the mental illness and are feeling tirelessly confused and frustrated, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The best thing you can do is to trust your feelings, no matter what anyone says. You don’t have to be having suicidal thoughts to think that your feelings aren’t real. Don’t ignore them. Seek help. It does not matter if everything is “right” in your life. Whether it be a family member, good friend or a professional, the best thing you can do is to reach out to someone you think will understand. Your feelings are valid. They are ALWAYS valid. For those of you who happen to be someone who is reached out to, don’t deny them, don’t question their feelings. Let them know that you hear them. Give them a chance to try to process and explain their feelings. Even if you don’t truly understand, be a safe space for them.
Thank you to Michelle Williams for talking about a sensitive subject and being more relatable and open with us. I am happy that you are better and will pray that you continue to live your happiest life.