I’m different. I’ve always been different. I’ve never understood why I’ve been “against the grain” if you will.

I mean let’s just take a snapshot at how different I am. I’m somewhere between 6-3 and 6-4 not nearly as athletic as my stature would assume but I’m different in another way, I’m an African American male who suffers from depression.

Being an African American male who suffers from depression is like having a purple shirt to wear at Diddy’s all white party. You try to hide as best as you can but the more paranoid you are people will see your purple shirt, the more you stay away from everybody out of fear and backlash from those with the finest of white garments

What does my depression look like? Well, there’s a look and a feel to my battle. In some of my proudest moments I still feel a sense of feeling like I hadn’t done enough or reached my full potential, even when some say otherwise. My body feels weighed down even if I’m just in boxers and a shirt as a sense stress and worry with no reason and lack of origin. Even as I type this, my mind feels jumbled and out of whack trying to formulate this opening up of my soul. Honestly, I hate the feeling of being more comfortable in my bed curled up than I do out in public as I feel a sense of inner shame being a black man with depression.

But I no longer feel shame, in writing this I’m coming clean and wanting to feel a sense of freedom as for the first time I feel ready to tackle this issue and speak out for those who can’t speak or are too afraid to speak. While some may read this as someone who’s revealing too much information, hiding this would make me feel fake and phony as I attempt to make an impact on the world through journalism.

One thing that has helped me throughout this process of self discovery is my mother and my sister. I’m lucky. There’s black men across the world who struggle with these issues who don’t have anybody to open up to. A support system is one of the most vital things one can have while dealing with depression. Having people who won’t judge you or shame you for “falling short” of how a black man is supposed to be, not once have the called me soft or weak. It’s strange to be labeled as strong for admitting a weakness, maybe it’s because there’s so many who’ve struggled to admit their faults and I just so happened to admit that I struggle and I wanna get better.

So here I am.

I’m Steven Andrew Hammond, I’m an black male in america who suffers from depression and I’m ready to fight this battle because God didn’t place me on earth to be just another silent statistic who’s in pain. I’m writing this and fighting this battle not only for myself but for those who may be afraid to speak and don’t want to suffer any longer.

God didn’t place you on earth to suffer mentally or physically, he put you here to be great. Let the suffering end and the greatness begin.