Many fans are still reeling and dissecting Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade, which chronicles a woman's range of emotions as she tries to come to grips with her man's infidelity. But what probably goes unnoticed are the riveting illustrations of a Black woman's trauma.
Trauma is something women of color are often taught and conditioned to endure. In Lemonade, Beyoncé ackowledges that her husband is cheating on her with another woman, and in the opening track, "Pray You Catch Me," she accepts her reality. The entire project is a cinematic interpretation of a woman scorned. But more deeply, it's about a woman battling with bouts of depression.
While most people wouldn't typically classify heartbreak as a form of mental illness, depression is, believe it or not, a very common result. The trauma of the love of your life betraying you and violating your trust can be emotionally and psychologically damaging.
It's called situational depression, which psychologists describe as a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various traumatic changes in your normal life, whether it be getting fired from your job, or your man sleeping with the maid.
Beyoncé embarks an emotional journey--one that arguably can be likened to that of many women who've walked in her stilettos. With Lemonade, Queen Bey gives us the ultimate playbook on how to conquer depression--fiercely, of course.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PAIN
Though she's utterly heartbroken, Beyoncé at least acknowledges her pain--the first step on the road to recovery. Keeping it real with yourself is the best thing you can do, particularly during times of marital strife. Just think about the many women who choose to ignore that a problem even exists. Bey gives us the courage to step out of the dark, and walk toward the light.
Though we don't recommend busting the windows out of anybody's car, Beyoncé displays a very real and honest emotion: rage. Anger is an actual symptom of depression (known as irritable depression). With that emotion may come manic behavior like destroying property. Again, we're not cosigning.
GET YOUR LIFE
Psychologists suggest that people struggling with depression make it their business to keep up with social activities. Though one may feel more inclined to retreat from life and disengage, it's important that one is around other people. In "Sorry," Beyoncé gathers her girls and embarks on a night out of fun. "Headed to the club, I ain't thinking 'bout you. Me and my ladies sip my D'ussé cup," she sings. In other words, rather than laying up in the house sulking in your misery, Bey shows us that there's solace in sisterhood.
TURN TO LOVED ONES
Mental health professionals say turning to friends and family while battling depression is a great way to cope. They don't necessarily need to be able to "fix" you, however, their presence and listening ear can aid in your ability to move forward. In Lemonade, Beyoncé returns home (the deep South) and seeks love and support from those who will embrace her with open arms.
SEEK SUPPORT GROUP
When family and friends aren't enough, psychologists also recommend turning to a support group. This group is comprised of women who understand your plight and can sympathize in ways others can't. This sense of community allows everyone to share their experiences, encourage one another and give valuable advice. In "Love Drought," for example, Beyoncé joins like-minded women who bond in their collective pain. Out of that communal exchange comes healing.
FIND YOUR INNER PEACE
The greatest takeway from Lemonade is Beyoncé's pilgrimage to find inner peace. In every movement on her voyage, she gets closer to finding her happy place. Through the anger and the tears, Bey finds her voice and discovers that despite what she's going through...she's enough. Knowing you are enough and deserve happiness is truly the key to life.
Find information on mental health services in your community. Call or email the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.