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Suffering in silence is common within the African American community. If you’re a woman we’re taught to be tough, hence the common phrase “A strong Black Woman.” If you’re a man you’re taught to hide your pain, because it can be seen as a weakness. I remember being a very emotional little girl, but it was hard for me to embrace that because I would get teased for being “too sensitive”. I learned early on that if I feel offended or hurt by something, the best way to deal with it is by burying it inside, and displaying a tough exterior. As an alternative to displaying vulnerability within our community we joke. We’ve managed to turn our pain into what we like to call “Cuttin Ass,” which basically translates to teasing. This is our defense mechanism. You know the saying “I laugh to keep from crying”? Well, we basically mastered it. If you didn’t grow up within our community, you wouldn’t last a minute without leaving feeling less than you did upon arriving. Walking into a room with my family is similar to walking into a room with Madea and Joe. There’s literally a ROASTING SESSION (another term for cutting ass) every single time.

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When there are serious matters on hand we revert to saying things like, “I’m good, and I will always be good, because I got me!” Which also translate to, “I’m hurt and I need help, but I feel alone.” I guess ill be the first one to admit that, at least the first person I know. Our pain is not seen as being pain because we display anger more often than any other emotion; hence the term “Angry black woman.” How could we show any other emotion when that’s the opposite of what we were taught? Remember that sensitive little girl I told you about at the beginning? Well she needed to survive her surroundings, so naturally she developed an alternative to displaying vulnerability by putting up a wall. What happens to our emotions behind the wall over time is they start to build up. This is why suffering in silence for me is no longer an option.

I know some of you were wondering about what’s the big deal on being vocal about dealing with a mood disorder, or dealing with anything for that matter.  Well, there you have it. We are so quick to post on social media about someone elses suicide, or suicide attempt, and say “suicide is real. Bullying is real,” but fail to realize that it is also real inside of our own homes. Burying our own feelings can lead to suicidal feelings as well. We say “Black people don’t attempt suicide,” but that’s not true. Why do we give more props to the woman who post things like, “I’ll always be good, no matter what! I never crumble!”  Than to the woman who post “I’ve been depressed for a while now, I wish I had someone to talk to.” We pride tough exteriors, and we judge and belittle sensitivity. We see it as being annoying and weak so no one wants to be affiliated with a weak person, right? If you think about the strength it would take to show your true emotions, you’ll realize who the truly weak person in this matter is. It’s very easy to hide behind ANY wall, or tough exterior. It takes guts to show who you truly are, and what you truly feel. It took me until this year to realize that I am now tougher than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’ve cried more now than I’ve ever did, and I talk about how I feel and what’s going on. I’m subjected to criticism and being judged, but you know what? I’d rather be myself in this world, than to hide behind a character I’ve created to mask who I truly am. That’s all we’re really doing in life. Putting on a character for those to see what we assume might be a better version of ourselves, but it is not truly ourselves. We are not who we display, even to the closest people in our circle.

When did the definition of being human become flawless? We are meant to be flawed. If you’re a man who is told not to show your emotions, please understand that you are not just a protector of a household. You aren’t just the muscle of the family, but you are also entitled to having emotions as well. My nephew came home from school one day and said to me that he and his friend made a pact that when they got in trouble, no matter what they wouldn’t cry. My nephew was 9 years old, and it’s something that stuck with me because he’s already learning, just as I did about sensitivity being a weakness. I could understand how as a parent you wouldn’t want your child to display any type of vulnerability in front of other people because then he/she will be a target. I can also understand why our parents were doing the best they could to protect us growing up, and teaching us those same techniques. Without having any words left to say to my nephew about his new pact, mainly because I understand that it’s a survival technique inside of our community. I still feel for him and every other child who has to be taught to survive, rather than just be the best version of themselves, in order to maneuver in the world outside of our homes. I’m not sure how it works in any other community outside of my own, but I know that where I’m from has taught me resilience.

Being vocal about anything personal is a BIG DEAL. I guess you can say I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and into the unknown. My goal is to set a new trend within our community. This trend will hopefully alter our perspectives on what we view as being weak, and ultimately allow enough space to be who we were born to be. This obviously won’t happen over night, but it will open the door to freeing our souls from hiding behind the expectations of our community.

-Love, ELLiE


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The moment I decided to separate Effie from Ellie marked the start of a new journey. For years I’ve blamed myself for being inadequate, and seemingly weak. I never understood the revolving question “Why me?” It wasn’t until recently, after years of searching outwardly for answers that I finally decided to ask a different question. Why Not me? What entitles me to being exempt from the defects that come with being human? After all, no one is perfect right? In my world dealing with PMDD is the worst thing to live with, but is it really? Well, of course not. Still, this is my truth and my struggle, so I deserve to express that too. I’ve searched everywhere for my own truth. I’ve looked towards doctors, family, drugs, alcohol and money for definition. I needed to define myself because I couldn’t differentiate who I am, compared to who I thought I was. Who I thought I was is nothing more than a comparison of myself to society standards. I’ve spent so much time feeling as if I wasn’t enough; but who set the standards? Who am I building myself up to be enough for? When I realized that the answer to those questions is ME, it totally changed my perspective. If I’m living up to my own standards, why do I care about what anyone else thinks? What is the pride in hurting in silence? Why can’t I be beautiful while displaying all of my flaws?

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The thing is I’ve known all of this, but at the same time I didn’t apply it. I’ve posted inspirational quotes on Facebook, but was I living in my truth? No. I only displayed what I thought people wanted to see and hurt in private. I displayed the fun, inspired, party girl; while hiding the depressed, suicidal broken girl. Now I’m not saying that everyone should go and tell all of their business on social media of course.  What I’m saying is if pain and suffering is a part of being human, why are we only talking about the upsides? Why are we taught to hide our flaws, instead of embracing them? The truth is embracing our flaws leads to a wholesome, more complete feeling. So why does society teach us to hate ourselves? The reason why is because businesses feed off of our emotions. Their job is to make us feel as if we’re missing out (FOMO), or missing a piece of ourselves because it’s the only way they can make sales. Weight loss commercials aren’t even about health at all; it’s literally about image. Why aren’t there more commercials about coping techniques and support groups? Society does a good job brainwashing us at an early stage. It took me 29 years to figure it out, so BRAVO! For 29 years I basically was a slave to my own brain. I’m rambling about all of this to say this is what led me into falling prey to the effects of PMDD. Everything in my world up until now consists of problems, and quick fixes. I see a problem and guarantee there’s a product out there to fix it, or at least mask the symptoms.

So for years I’ve searched for quick fixes to my problem; only to realize there’s no quick fix, only “PAUSE.”  I can press pause on my problems, but I can’t fix them. Why? Because you can only fix what’s broken, and I am not. I’m only human, and being human is beauty AND flaws.

Separating Effie from Ellie for me meant taking ownership of both sides. No matter how much I hate the down side of dealing with a mood disorder, I also embrace it. It’s no longer a hidden topic.  What I didn’t expect is what happened next after embracing my WHOLE self. After years of searching for happiness, guess what happened next? This might sound like a bit of a cliché, but the moment I consciously stopped searching and found peace with all sides of me; that’s when it all stopped. I was no longer a victim searching for answers. For the first time in my life I had control of my own life. Instead of searching for a quick fix, I started to record when I experience shifting in my mood, and what it feels like. I also pin pointed when I felt closer to my true self (Ellie), and I separated the two while still embracing the oneness of both identities. Doing this granted me full control over my life. I no longer see PMDD as the enemy, but as a tainted part of my being. It’s my flaw in this imperfect world. My storm because the sun doesn’t shine forever; my darkness until there’s light. The more I acknowledge the differences, as well as the oneness; the less control Effie (PMDD) has over me. So here’s my F*CK YOU to society Standards.

-Love, ELLiE


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Talking about my struggles have both freed and challenged me at the same time. It’s easy to hide my problems acting as if they don’t exist, while blending in with the rest of the world who appears to be more functional than myself. Although I’ve made it my mission to be open and honest, it’s still difficult to bear when you have people openly judging you. It’s easy to say I don’t care about what other people think, but that again will be a cover up to what I really feel. I do care about what other people think. That has been the main source holding me back from achieving anything authentic in my life; what lies right beyond that emotion is fear. It seems like fear plays a part in every thought and action in life whether it be good or bad. There’re times when I’m superwoman without the cape tackling all obstacles, and everyone surrounding me is exposed to my infectious energy, as I spread smiles all around. During these moments I’m making all the right decisions, and saying all the right things. My energy is through the roof and whatever problems yesterday held, no longer has an impact on today’s outcome.

“It’s easy to hide my problems acting as if they don’t exist, while blending in with the rest of the world who appears to be more functional than myself.”

When I’m in this state of bliss, the only thing that can damper this moment is a reminder of the damage PMDD caused, and will continue to cause. We all have a past but what happens when that past is reoccurring in your present life, and we have no control over the damage it causes. I wish I could wake up one day and put it behind me, or at least put it into remission. The scars from PMDD are UGLY and REAL. Each time I look for a job, or try to rekindle a broken friendship; I’m reminded of the scars that’s still lingering. Will a school understand that you can be a straight ‘A’ student for a month straight, and suddenly become their most unreliable student? Will a job understand why getting up to actually go to work at times is nearly impossible? Will a person get that you’re a great friend some of the time, then other times you’re emotionally unavailable to them? I’ve been so afraid to start projects because I have a record of not finishing them, and I’m reminded every single time I’m forced to look at my progress. Holding on to meaningful relationships is even harder when at times I’m seemingly not the same person they fell in love with. It gets depressing knowing that I have what it takes to conquer anything in life, but I also have a disability that hinders me from achieving mostly everything I set out to do. Acknowledging that I deserve a chance to be great is what keeps me in the game. Scars represent healing, strength and resilience. It shows that you’re indestructible and you didn’t quit.

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I haven’t written anything in over a month because the fear of constant exposure has been haunting me. During this time I’ve been so disconnected with myself it’s almost unbearable. How can I give up when so many woman need to hear my story? How can I give up when so many of us are silent in fear of being judged? A close person once asked me “How many people do you think attempted suicide in their lifetime?” This forced me to search suicide statistics, and according to “On average there are 129 suicides per day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. In 2017 there were an estimated 1,400,000 attempted suicide attempts.” (1) This isn’t shocking to me, but the question that followed is what triggered something in me. She asked “Well how many brothers do you have? How many of them do you think attempted suicide, and never spoke about it?” That question still brings tears to my eyes. I was so worried about coming out about my suicide attempts that I lost sight of the purpose of this whole website Speak’N Up. My main objective is to talk about things that we don’t talk about ENOUGH.

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We hide our pain and scars to present a tough exterior, but at the same time forgetting that our souls need freedom too. I told myself that talking about my struggles with mental illness and suicide attempts is not an act of weakness; it’s an act of courage. It’s the strongest I’ve ever had to be in my entire life. I want people to be aware, and understand that the person next door from you could be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. The prettiest face in the crowd could be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. The wealthiest, seemingly happiest, healthiest person can be struggling, and you wouldn’t know. As a black woman in America I’m often portrayed as being dramatic, or hormonal if I were to show any type of emotion. This made it difficult for me to voice what I felt growing up in fear of being thrown into that box. I’ve mastered being a Strong Black Woman on the outside, while hiding inside of the bathroom and attempting to slit my wrist, and coming back out covering myself up with sleeves over my wrist with a smile on my face. I grew up around my brothers who I’ve never seen them cry. I could imagine what their holding inside of them, and for what? This is what we do as a society. We don’t talk about the major truths, but we praise the illusions we’ve created to cover them up.
There’s beauty in the struggle, don’t be afraid of your truth.

-Love, ELLiE

If you need help, and you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts, please visit and also



Relationships are hard enough as it is, but dealing with PMDD and building relationships is even tougher. I often refer to those imbalanced moments as my alter ego named “EFFie”, which is just a name that my partner and I came up with to differentiate the two. Now here’s my Truth…

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It’s not me, It’s PMDD (PT2)

I’m never myself when experiencing the symptoms associated with PMDD. During that time of the month Effie takes over, while Ellie is stuck in the back seat.  I mean I can’t even call shot gun when Effie is driving. She’ll put “crazy” and “irrational” in the passenger seat before she even attempts to let me. Maybe that’s partially because if I get any closer to the bitch; ill be able to grab the wheel and take some control, But nope! I’m the back seat driver that no one listens to in my own damn vehicle, Go figure! Allow me to give you some more insight into our “situationship”.

Emotionally unstable EFFiE

Firstly, there’s two types of Effie. There’s the Nonchalant “I don’t give an Fuck about nothing” Effie; and then there’s the emotionally unstable “I hate everyone around me” Effie. Now before you go labeling me any further than I’ve already been labeled, please LET ME EXPLAIN.Some may call this Bipolar; I wouldn’t disagree with that assumption. Some call it Multiple personality disorder and even that sounds accurate. Some may even go as far as calling her Psycho; again, sounds pretty accurate to me. The only thing that separates Effie from all of these titles is one thing, and one thing only; she only comes around during those times of the month RIGHT BEFORE MY CYCLE. Yup, I have an intruder in my body that seems to have some type of monthly unwritten agreement with whoever decided to allow her inside in the first place. I swear I feel like my body is posted AirBNB; and once a month Effie comes in town for a few weeks, just to fuck shit up and leave.

I have an intruder in my body that seems to have some sort of monthly unwritten agreement with whoever decided to allow her inside in the first place. ” 

Effie even has different vision from Ellie. I (Ellie) have 20/20 vision, but Effie see’s everything in a blur and in only one color, and that color is Red. Red being signified as anger, pain, hate, you name it!  She even paints my walls Red! What kind of agreement she has with my body that she’s able to alter shit. There has to be some type of vendor, client rules set in place within this agreement somewhere. Why should I have to clean up HER mess every month? Also someone needs to give this chick Effie some color correcting glasses, because she clearly has vision impairment; every thing she looks at turns red.

What kind of agreement she has with my body that she’s able to alter shit.”

My mother is about 17 years strong in putting up with Effie; I got to give it to the lady, she’s definitely stronger than I am. Shit I can’t even put up with Effie when she’s in town, which is why I pack my shit and LEAVE! My mother listens to Effie little sly remarks, nods her head and keep it pushing. Whew better her than me; I’m telling you as soon as I know Effie is on the flight on her way in, I’m already settling in somewhere else. I just cannot deal with her intensity. When my mom came and visited one day, Effie had a cigarette burning, a bottle of cognac, a blunt rolled and about 10 pounds of water weight just lingering. This my friend, is emotionally unstable Effie; the Effie that can’t deal with all the different emotions, so she resorts to recreational drugs to attempt to mask the emotions. It never works though; this attempt only ever fools the people who aren’t too close to Ellie, like the ones who I primarily get drunk with and party. Those people would never know the real Effie because she does a good job with hiding her identity behind the booze.  Effie only has very few friends, and they’re all honestly my family. I think they just had to learn to accept the fact that I share my existence with this intruder. Now that you have an idea of what Emotionally Unstable Effie looks like, it’s time for you to meet “Nonchalant” Effie.

“I think they just had to learn to accept the fact that I share my existence with this intruder.”

Nonchalant EFFiE

I never know which Effie is coming to visit me; and honestly, sometimes it seems as if they’re both staying here, although they only check in 1 guest when booking. This may sound sort of selfish but I prefer nonchalant Effie over emotionally unstable Effie. See, when Nonchalant Effie is in town it’s a different vibe; she feels, and cares for nothing. She is the true definition of un-bothered, and while this is okay for her and I to deal with; it’s not so much okay from our love ones standpoint. Going to meet nonchalant Effie is like meeting a brick wall in the winter time with frozen icicles hanging off the top of it.  You’ll be lucky to get a text message saying “hi” from this Effie, and even that has to be forced. This Effie has more of an awareness of her being absent, although she doesn’t care much; deep down inside she knows that it may effect other people so she forces words out like “HI, or I’m fine” in an attempt to offer some sort of comfort for them during this brutal, cold time. I pray for any new relationships I try to form around the time this Effie is around.

“Going to meet nonchalant Effie is like meeting a brick wall in the winter time with frozen icicles hanging off the top of it.”  

My hormones sometimes are so erratic that they have no other choice but to send a message to the brain to shut down certain parts associated with emotions; just to have a sense of order during this time. When that happens, that creates my super power known as nonchalant Effie. I refer to her as my superpower because it’s fucking insane the level of numbness she’s able to achieve; what was once a beautiful flower turns into an unnecessary object that’s taking up space. The only thing that this Effie ever feels good about is food, oh she lovessss food. This is the only commonality all three of us share, aside from sharing the same body. Still, don’t ask this Effie how’s her food. She’ll give you a dry response accompanied by a “Why are you talking to me human?” look on her face. This Effie is cool if you just leave her alone, and act like she doesn’t exist.


Ellie is the bombshell of the crew! She forms all of the meaningful relationships, leaving a beautiful vibrant impression on everything and everyone around her. That’s me, the creator, writer, lively soul who dances to the music in my head while using the pavement as my dance floor. You cannot come into contact with Ellie without your soul being lifted in so many ways. This is who I am, unfortunately I have enemies within. Those enemies are invited in every month, causing confusion to my disoriented and erratic hormones.

That’s me, the creator, writer, lively soul who dances to the music in my head while using the pavement as my dance floor.”

In conclusion, You never know which Effie you’re getting until you shoot your shot. Go ahead, shoot your best shot. You’ll either miss the shot with nonchalant Effie, or hit the rim and the ball bounces back and knocks you in your face with emotionally unstable Effie. Either way, Ellie comes back home and she’s always ready to patch up any bruises, cuts or damages Effie’s may have caused. Ellie is the reason I’m able to survive these months, she’s stronger than both Effie’s put together because she’s the only rational thinker. Ellie is the only one who was here before the cycle begin, and she’ll be here long after it ends. After all, no matter who’s visiting this will always be MY home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love, ELLiE