Interview with olivia SHEPHERD
Olivia Shepherd has initiated an activity blog called “BlackGirlDown“. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina and currently owns a small housekeeping service. She also just received her Bachelors in Community and Organizational Leadership, also an Associates in Early Childcare. She’s happily married and have one son who is currently serving in the United States Army. Her life is pretty boring at the moment but love that she just started this blogging thing. We’ve conducted an interview with her today.
How much strength did it take for you to confess your depression openly?
I’m still not sure that I have the strength to talk about me having depression because it still has this stigma around it, especially in the African American community. So I still have a hard time trying to convince people that just because you can’t see doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
How did you feel instantly once you started walking by your own rules?
I felt some sense of relief, I felt like a heavy burden was lifted. I get to decide or not to talk about my depression not just some wants to be sarcastic when asking me about it. I feel free and strong because I know I’m sick and I don’t have to hide or pretend anymore.
What exactly is it that you’re intended to achieve with “BlackGirlDown” and how?
Starting Blackgirldown is very liberating for me, I get to talk about depression in black women since it’s so little known about it. Black women are supposed to be Super Women able to do anything because we are strong. Most black are the head of the household and showing signs of weakness is unheard of. I want to bring awareness to mental illness because so many people of all races suffer from it but it’s just the horrible stigma around it in the black community. Most of the time they tell you to “shake it off”, or “pray about it”. You can’t just shake it off like the flu. I plan to blog everyday about my journey with suffering from depression and hopefully bring awareness to it.
How has been your involvement and response so far among black women for your movement?
Well it’s funny I just started fully trying to get the word out there, for so long none of my friends, family or spouse wanted to hear nothing about it. It was when I was in school this summer and to write my senior thesis, that I found out how little people knew about depression and that no one actually care. I hope to be invited to groups or shelters to tell my story and have women be ok in their skin about depression. Having this illness doesn’t mean you are weak, it means have decided to take your life back and live it our way.