I'm Sorry, Karyn Washington

As some may know by now, another beautiful person has taken their life. Her name is Karyn Washington, creator of For Brown Girls, and she was only 22 years old when she committed suicide in early April 2014.

I delayed writing about this because I wasn't sure I wanted to address it; and then I wasn't sure how to address it. It was receiving so much attention that I wanted to sit back and wait to see what the over all outcome would be. I'm ready now to discuss some of the comments I've seen. At the end, I'm going to give you 3 suggestions on how to identify the 'Karyns' in your life.

"But she was so pretty!"

Yes, she was absolutely beautiful! But hasn't anyone ever heard the phrase "beauty is only skin-deep"? What's going on with someone inside can take quite some time to uncover. I have a history of a clinical depression diagnosis from 2007-2009. During that time, I was flawless on the outside. Flawless! Face made up, hair silky and straight (I had a relaxer back then), and a colorful wardrobe complete with fabulous accessories. Now, I will admit, in other times throughout my depression cycle, I could barely peel myself out of bed. My point is that it's difficult and sometimes impossible to tell what's going on with a person based on what you see.

"How is she going to help others when she needed help herself?"

I'd have to say that my first reaction to this statement was "that's a silly thing to say!" Then I realized that it's a question that very many people have. Have you ever been so overwhelmed at work that, instead of eating in the break room, you needed to leave the building for lunch? I've eaten in my car in the parking lot before! Have you ever craved a vacation just to get away, even if it's only overnight? At times, you need to escape. For those that don't necessarily want to deal with their own stuff, it feels wonderful to do something positive for something else. I believe this was a vision of hers, but I also believe that it put her in need of even more intensive mental health therapy. I'm a clinical social worker and my colleagues and I have a saying: "every social worker needs a social worker".

Cinnamon Key, MSW


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