Book Review: Black Pain – It just Looks like We’re Not Hurting, by Terrie M. Williams


Real Talk For When There's Nowhere to go but Up
Real Talk For When There’s Nowhere to go but Up

This is not the book I had hoped to review while I travel to the US for the first time. I mean I should be writing exciting stuffs right? But, there is so much pain in me as I travel there. My Brother’s birthday is tomorrow June 6th. He would have been turning 34. Yet, as the sub theme of this Terrie’s bestseller puts it; It Just Looks Like We’re not Hurting.

Black Pain

Terrie Williams
Terrie Williams

I have been through much more than I would have loved to go through in the 36 years of my existence. Yet, it sure did look for long like I was not hurting. It sure still looks that way to many, and yes even to some close family members. Notwithstanding my thrilling memoirs, the pain can’t still be seen. It is Black!!!

In my last memoir, I shared in the acknowledgments that 4 main authors were my inspiration in this other healing journey via my keyboard. This is what I said of Terrie’s book Black Pain:

” Really, I first thought the Black referred to Black as in skin colour. I now think it fits the Blackness of Melancholia which could so engross you and really make you pick up a knife like I once did”.

Does it have to get to such a desperate point before help is sought and given? So many questions abound. Here is what Terrie says:

Black Pain identifies emotional pain – She knows because she’s one of them.

Terrie had made it: she had launched her own public relations company with such clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. Yet she was in constant pain, waking up in terror, overeating in search of relief. For thirty years she kept on her game face of success, exhausting herself daily to satisfy her clients’ needs while neglecting her own.

Terrie finally collapsed, staying in bed for days. She had no clue what was wrong or if there was a way out. She had hit rock bottom and she needed and got help.

She learned her problem had a name — depression — and that many suffered from it, limping through their days, hiding their hurt. As she healed, her mission became clear: break the silence of this crippling taboo and help those who suffer.

Some personal takeaways from reading this soulful book

I came across this book on New Year’s Eve in Vienna, and I knew I was going to find myself in several instances in there. I read it like a text book, making notes and preparing myself for when I’ll have to take my Mental Health Advocacy to the next level. I share some below:

  • Page 2:  “People Should Understand that depression is not an attitude problem. It’s not a character weakness, it’s not a spiritual weakness. It may reflect in those things, but depression is related to changes in the brain, and what people should know is that you just can’t snap out if”. David Satcher, MD, PHD, Former Surgeon General and Director…
  • Page 31/32: “I’m not your Superwoman – Overworked, Undervalued, and Under Pressure. I was known for holding it together for everyone. Always worried about whether other people were over their limit, stressed or overburdened. But when it came to myself I had no mercy”.
  • Page 38: Your silence won’t protect you. Trauma doesn’t go away just because you push it to the back of your mind. Not acknowledging trauma is one of the most common causes of depression. The truth is, we’re not to blame, shame won’t help us, and we’re not all powerful.
  • Page 109: We were conditioned from very early on to divorce ourselves from our feelings. You had to deal silently with the stress that was a constant part of growing up. No one ever talked about the pain, the Trauma…
  • Page 127: If we want to deal effectively with depression, we have to go right to where it starts: we have to go right to childhood. Unless we take children more seriously as fully human beings, (that means having them at the table with us!) – and take the issues that trouble them just as seriously – we are dooming them to repeat the worst pains of our own lives.
  • Page 295: We heal by Sharing our stories, our struggles, our victories

It is only then that we can conclude that we’re having Real Talk – The type you have when there’s nowhere to go but up.

As a conclusion

I am most obliged to Terrie for puttling it all in that book. She shares her innermost struggles, and she says even her own family never knew about them until she published an article. Would they have believed her before she crashed? How can I give this book any less than a 5? Such inspire me to the core, such motivate me without measure. I am grateful for my healing journey and the opportunity to help several others too.

Do yourself a favour and check this book out especially if you or some one dear to you is hurting.

More on Terrie Williams

Terrie’s community outreach and mental health advocacy work began with her book, Stay Strong: Simple Life Lessons for Teens. Her latest book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, recounts her personal struggles with depression and the impact the stigma of mental illnesses has, particularly on the African-American community.

Who says you can’t talk about it and still thrive on?

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