“I’m a truth-seeker and a truth-bearer, so I just [write] my truth and it just ends up being a lot of our truths.”
Singer/songwriter Stacy Barthe is the kind of woman who appears to have it all. The Grammy-nominated Motown artist has written music for Beyonce, Brandy, Rihanna and Katy Perry and her song Flawed Beautiful Creatures serves as the opening to BET’s hit show Being Mary Jane.
But in an interview with #TeamBeautiful at Essence Fest, Barthe revealed a devastating secret struggle with depression, which culminated in a suicide attempt.
While discussing her upcoming album, out July 10, she told us that her new single tells the deeply personal story of feeling that she had no purpose left to live and her attempt to end her own life.
“It’s about a suicide attempt,” she said. “I’m a suicide survivor. I tried it and God was like, ‘I’m not ready for you yet.”
The confession comes at a critical time, when mental illness in the Black community is finally becoming a topic that people are no longer afraid to discuss.
According to Black Doctor, over 5 million people in the U.S. experience depression every year. But for young Black people, suicide rates are staggering, as it is third leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds. Since the Black community in the Unites States is disproportionately young, the number of deaths among youth may have a particularly strong impact on the Black community.
While there are many warning signs that lead to the discovery of your own depression, many Black people can be guilty of internalizing their pain, self-medicating and/or using religion as a coping mechanism, which causes it to eat away at us more than it helps to cease the sadness.
Stacy’s depression was taking over her life and she said, “I had to find a new way to live and that’s when I started my weight loss journey because that was part of my grief–just never being happy with myself physically.”
Most of us can relate to self-loathing, as it’s an incredibly common part of the human condition. But it can be a deadly mix when coupled with depression.
Depression is more than sadness. It’s a condition that mentally affects you and that means that improving it will have to include implementing changes that not only improve your mental state, but your circumstances as well.
Moreover, as Stacy pointed out, negative self-talk can prove the most deadly.
“As humans we have our conscious mind and our sub-conscious mind. Our sub-concious mind is made up of all the things we believe about ourselves that are not true. That’s how we operate, we don’t even know we’re doing it,” Stacy said, thinking through her own depression.
“The thing for me was becoming present and finding things to be thankful about,” she added.
Stacy’s biggest piece to overcome was loving herself physically. She’s still working on it, but it’s a little easier these days.
“All of that shit is in your mind. Weight was my battle–it wasn’t the weight that was a hard thing to lose, it was the mental weight. That’s what we’re carrying around,” Stacy admitted.
“We need to look closer and find things in ourselves to love.”