Not Dealing With Depression

Being in For Colored Girls reminded actor Hill Harper how we often refuse to take our mental health as seriously as we do our physical well-being.

Hill Harper and Kerry Washington (Quantrell Colbert)

We all have to take care of all aspects of our well-being, as well as the well-being of others. Crystal (Kimberly Elise) in For Colored Girls experiences great loss and is overwhelmed (understandably so) by feelings of pain, guilt and mourning. Her friend and neighbor, Gilda (Phylicia Rashad), helps bring her out of her darkness — literally and figuratively — and tells her that she cannot live her life waiting to die. She must rebuild, and seek and find happiness and joy and color in her life once again.

It’s hard to remember that things will get better, that time can heal. It’s hard to think that things will work themselves out — especially when everything feels wrong — but there’s nothing wrong with reminding yourself that it is going to be OK.

No matter what challenges we are facing, we must develop the tools to overcome and live our best lives. We must seek the help of others, if need be — not close ourselves off.

Prayer is one of the most effective tools I use to remind myself that whatever state I’m in is only temporary. Another way I was taught to remind myself is by using self-affirming mantras: looking in the mirror and simply saying, “Everything is going to be fine.” Or, “You are ‘FINE’: You are fantastic, interesting, necessary and exceptional.”

The pride of having been a part of such an exceptional cast in For Colored Girls further reminds me that all of us have our own unique, brilliant voices to share with the world. And if you are reading this now, take it from me: You are brilliant, beautiful and amazing. So smile more. Live, love and laugh!

Hill Harper is an award-winning actor, best-selling author and philanthropist. He stars on the TV drama CSI: NY and is the author of three New York Times best-sellers. He is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youths to succeed through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs. Hill holds a B.A. from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a master’s from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.