karyn washington for brown girls founder

I woke up this morning and reached for my phone. My morning ritual is a deep scrolling of Facebook. After a few posts I noticed a familiar name, Karyn Washington. But the post wasn’t from her.


The post declared that Karyn Washington, founder of For Brown Girls and the popular campaign #DarkGirlsRedLip, had committed suicide. I paused and immediately hopped up out of bed. This could not be true. Searching for the answers, or hopefully the lies, I clicked around Facebook. I went to Karyn’s Facebook profile and instantly broke out into an uncontrollable bubble-snot cry.


Her friends and people that knew of her had begun to leave their goodbyes and messages of sorrow. I cried harder.

I cried because I couldn’t save her. I was way too busy saving myself. You see, her story is a reflection of mine.

Rewind to August 2013.

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I remember being out somewhere when I received her email. I literally stopped what I was doing to respond to her, something that NEVER happens.

Because I was so deep in my own grieving process, I replied with two posts that I had written. It was all the comfort I could give her at that time. One about how to cope with a loved one who has cancer, and the other piece I had written to read at my mother’s funeral. I confessed to her that I often re read them both to get me through the day. A statement that is still very much true.

We had so much in common. We both were from Baltimore, we both loved beauty and we were entering a deep state of depression.

We exchanged more emails throughout that day. I gave her some tips. Things I wished I had of done when my mother was alive.

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Almost a month later, Karyn was on my mind. I wondered if her mom was still with us. More importantly I wondered if Karyn was ok. Because I was not!

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You know I bubble-snot cried after reading the email above. Even though I knew what the outcome would be, I was hoping for a miracle. As I did with my mother. I read Karyn’s message and could feel the hurt. It was painful for me because I hurt all over again hearing her story.

Over the holidays we were both sad and deeply depressed. I am not sure if she admitted it to herself. But I knew this feeling I had wasn’t normal, or maybe it was. I reached out again as Turkey Day approached the calendar, just to check on her. She said she had found a meet up in Baltimore that dealt with coping during the holidays and she was also going to church. Looking back I should have asked if she found someone to talk to.

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But I think what Karyn needed was honesty! And she needed it from me.

I should have told her I had thought about suicide. That…I think about it daily. That…I wonder how much easier my life would be to not wake up everyday in tears. That…I wonder what my mother is doing without me. Although I’ve never had suicidal ideation (plotted my death), I still wonder what would happen if I just wasn’t here. If life just stopped.

When I heard the news this morning, that’s the first thing I thought. I should have shared my thoughts about living without my mother. And how I didn’t want to. I wanted to join her in heaven. It has too be easier up top.

But I was/am too ashamed to admit it. I can hardly believe that I am even typing it and sharing it with you. But fuck it, I’ve thought about it. Does that make me crazy?! NOPE!

I’ve learned in this past year that it doesn’t. It’s what makes me human. I blame social media a bit. We all try to illustrate these perfect lives. Who really shares the bad days? And more importantly, who doesn’t judge someone when they do?

I checked on her one last time in January 2014. I left my number again, just in case she needed to hear my voice. But Karyn never called.

As I continued to fight off my own depression with cocktails, tears and hugs from my boyfriend Karyn still lived inside of me. Karyn isn’t alone. All too often we look down on Karyn. She’s that unstable creature (insert B word) who hasn’t learned to deal with life’s obstacles. She hasn’t learned how to become this beacon of strength that represents all Black women.

But I am Karyn Washington!

Try and look past my glamorous lifestyle. My perfectly curated Instagram pictures that tell just one side of my life’s story. That big smile I wear, that is usually covered in red matte lipstick, is hard to curate on most days. But I’ve learned to live through the pain. How?

That’s a really good question. I’ve never been to a therapist, and maybe I should have went after my mother died. It’s never too late, perhaps I’ll get there soon. But I’ve found my own comforting rhythm. A beat that soothes my yearn to end it all.

People say all the time, You’re so strong! That’s so far from the truth. I AM WEAK!!! I know that’s what has gotten me through my tragedies. I don’t judge myself for bursting into tears in the middle of a meeting. I don’t judge myself for eating the entire pint of butter pecan ice cream (although I just signed up for the gym)! And I cannot judge myself for not being able to save Karyn.

I live inside of my weak.

Who says I have to be strong? Why do WE have to be strong? FUCK THAT!!! My mother died and I don’t wanna. #IAintGonDoIt (insert laughter because this post is heavy).

I wanna pout for a few minutes. I wanna bubble-snot cry. I wish someone had told Karyn Washington that she didn’t have to be strong. She didn’t have to hold the world’s glaring eyes on her shoulders. That asking for help was ok. No matter how you ask for it, it’s ok.

I’m still nursing my depression with cocktails, tears and hugs from my boyfriend so no need to worry (that much). I just thought you’d like to know that there’s a little Karyn Washington in us all!


Things My Mother Taught Me Before She Died

3 Healthy Ways To Cope With Cancer

FML, I Should Have Never Said I Was Depressed On The Internet

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  1. April 11, 2014 / 10:47 am

    I am in utter shock… Thank you for passing along this information, opening up and sharing your feelings on this matter. We are all dealing with so much.. I agree completely with you. XOXO #hugs

    • starr granby
      April 12, 2014 / 7:53 am

      thank you so much for this post… I had never heard of this young woman….but my heart ached and I stopped what I was doing to mourn for her….I have young daughters and i thought about them….and how they are coping on this hard journey in life…. i make it a point to plant seeds of strength and hope evey chance i get…..this is really sad…

  2. April 11, 2014 / 10:55 am

    I think that’s the scariest part. The fact that we know exactly how she felt, to know what if feels like to no longer want to go on. I wish there wasn’t dark cloud around therapy, suicide and depression. Just a simple conversation has the ability to save a life.
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    • starr granby
      April 12, 2014 / 7:55 am

      there is a simple conversation that has the ability to save a life….talk about Jesus!

      • April 12, 2014 / 12:52 pm

        @ starr, once upon a time i believed, as you do, that
        Jesus is the answer to everything. Heck, i even wore a
        t-shirt to loudly proclaim as much. Today, a little older,
        somewhat wiser, i now realize that “leaning on Jesus” will only
        carry one so far. As I read about Karyn and this post, I am
        holding in my arms a 3-year old brown skinned girl that I
        have to raise in a world that will do everything in its power
        to destroy her both physically and psychically. My point,
        please think deeply before approaching someone on the
        verge of ending their life with “Jesus” as it can be somewhat
        insulting e.g. “I’ve already tried Jesus – now what?” As others
        have aptly stated, mental health issues are very real and
        as such, demand real-world solutions like professional therapy.
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      • April 13, 2014 / 5:48 am

        Starr Granby,
        I believe in Jesus. I believe in Him wholeheartedly. But when someone is in pain, acute pain, Jesus is not a trite bandaid that you just whip out and say “There you go!” I have been depressed, and it took me YEARS of prayer and therapy to find my way out. It just helps if you try to identify with someone’s pain and experience before you try to “solve” everything with Jesus in that way. Sometimes Christians want to just put everything into a neat box, just like a pill to cure a headache. But life is messy and I believe Jesus is with us in the middle of the mess. But that doesn’t erase the need for some sensitivity.

      • Felicia Real
        April 15, 2014 / 1:34 pm

        I too am Christian and know what kind of healing God can provide. But God also gives us wisdom and free will and I don’t think He intends on us suffering in silence when there are things we can do to find healing. I have beat myself up for not having the peace that surpasses all understanding like the Bible says thinking that I have done something wrong; that I lack adequate faith and shame myself into seclusion. Depression is real and the same way God wouldn’t have us sit in a bathtub of water we’ve prayed over waiting on Him to heal us from cancer or diabetes or a broken limb, He also wouldn’t have us sheltered in our own thoughts, alone hoping for some intangible miracle. So yes, I have the conversations about Jesus and with Jesus but I also see a therapist and tell my friends when I am struggling with sadness. As much as you think your response is loving and the best advice there is, it is actually very damaging and can push people more and more into a dark mental state so be careful.

  3. April 11, 2014 / 11:05 am

    I’m supposed to dong homework now, but had to stop and read this when you came in my feed. Two of my siblings have lost one of their parents, and this only makes me think about what they’re gong through daily. Suicide is something that I know a lot of people have thought about, but never come and tell people. Hell, I’ve only admitted it once during a heated argument with my folks and they told me that that’s something only white people do. It’s not.

    You are not crazy if you have these thoughts and people need to stop attributing these feelings to only one race or “crazy” people, because it’s not.

    Thank you for sharing this post. Hopefully this helps people reach out to their friends and loved ones who’ve gone through the same thing. I’m gonna contact my sibs today to make sure they’re okay.
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  4. April 11, 2014 / 11:06 am

    Thank you for the beautifully written, honest post. The stigma associated with depression baffles me to this day. You don’t know how many people you may have saved with your words. Someone may reach out to that person they know may be struggling. I know I will.

  5. April 11, 2014 / 11:12 am

    You made me bubble snot cry. I have not lost my mother but I did lose a part of me, my innocence at a young age. Life has never been the same. I fight depression and aged daily. And yes the thought of suicide was there and sometimes out of nowhere I wonder?!?!?! Thanks for sharing your story. Your honesty. Your weakness and yes your strength. You did a beautiful thing by connecting with Karyn. I pray you find comfort in that. Rest well Karyn.
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  6. April 11, 2014 / 11:20 am

    Thanks for sharing. The pain of losing a parent is one of the worst feeling, along with the pain of losing a child.

    I pray that you find healing and never actually act on your feelings. Even though things may seem too hard to deal with right now, eventually, and with the help, love and support of your SO, Family and Friends, you’ll get through it.

  7. April 11, 2014 / 11:20 am

    Amazing post. I read about her passing this morning as well. It’s very unfortunate but I totally get it. I haven’t had a parent pass away but I have been in deep depression. It’s such a stigma in our community. That’s the sad part. I love that you opened up about this as well. So many people look at those they admire as being fearless and invincible. It’s refreshing to know that they…you…deal with things just like so many of us do. That brave face hides some real emotion and feelings. We should all be here for each other to encourage and uplift.
    I would say “stay strong” but fuck that. Just make strides everyday to make it.
    Much love.

  8. April 11, 2014 / 11:22 am

    I’m sitting at work trying not to ugly cry, and I was going to text you, but thought it might be a lengthy text, lol. Since around the age 14, I’ve spent everyday of my life wondering, if it’ll be the day that my mom falls deathly I’ll or abruptly dies, not from cancer, but from Lupus. My mom has had the illness since I was 9, but it wasn’t until around age 14 that unrealized the power of the illness. With each passing year, I hear of young ladies dying from Lupus and wonder when it will be my mom’s turn. I write that to say that I can’t fathom what you nor Karyn have felt in the recent loss of your mothers, but when I think of my mother potentially dying each day, I imagine that I wouldn’t know how to go on living with life. Along with this, I’ve considered suicide before, for other reasons, and I know that it doesn’t make you crazy, nor should it give reason for anyone to look down on Karyn or anyone else. My heart breaks for Karyn, for what she must have been feeling to no longer be able to cope with life, but I’m thankful for you and your honesty and your strength through your weakness to share in hopes that others will keep coping with cocktails, giggles, hugs with boyfriends, unexpected breakdowns, therapeutics shopping trips, or whatever else it takes to keep us here and living. I didn’t successfully get through this comment without crying, but it’s ok, because great strength comes from moments of weakness.
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  9. Marianna Ross
    April 11, 2014 / 11:27 am

    Thank you so much for this post. Prayers go up for Karyn, you, and anyone else who is suffering the loss of their mother. You are supported and loved.

  10. April 11, 2014 / 11:28 am

    What an amazing post! I totally agree with you that social media gives a distorted view of reality. I recently shared my struggles with crippling anxiety on my blog and I admire you for being transparent and allowing us a glimpse into your struggles. All that glitters isn’t gold and knowing the people that we admire most delay with some of the same issues will hopefully put things into perspective. Thanks again for being open and honest!

  11. April 11, 2014 / 11:28 am

    Beautifully written!

  12. April 11, 2014 / 11:33 am

    Thank you for sharing this Ty. There is indeed a piece of Kay in all of us, that part that wants to push ahead and the part of us that wants to give up, give up on it all. I am really regretful that I never followed through with collaborating with Kay on idea that I posed to her and she was so willing and agreeable. This makes me realize also how important it is that I, that we, go beyond the laptops, Instragram screens, and really connect with each other on a deeper level. I cried yesterday at the reality of the pain that seemed to have overwhelmed this beautiful soul. I did not realize that she was at Morgan. I feel I need to do more with connecting with the beautiful ones who really inspire me on a daily basis who are behind computer screens.

    Blessings to you Ty and everyone we are connected to, May the peace of God rest rule and abide in our hearts and minds.

    xoxo to Kay

  13. April 11, 2014 / 11:33 am

    This post will help many people. I know it helps me. It’s good to hear you don’t have to be strong. No one says that. We all hear the reverse regularly… I’ve lost two very close friends to suicide. I think about them often and I often think what could I have done to prevent it…I still don’t know, but I’m comforted by the fact that I loved on them regularly. I give my friends all of me and I though I get burned from time to time it leaves me with no regrets. Thank you for opening up. I’ll open up too…my biggest fear is loosing my mother. She is my everything.

  14. April 11, 2014 / 11:36 am

    Thank you for writing this. I did not know Karyn but I could not agree more that it is SO critical that we share our struggles as well as our joys…especially online. It is so easy to get caught up in this false image of what we think our lives our *supposed* to be like that you do think that you are crazy when the reality doesn’t live up to the movie playing in your head. Also thank you for sharing your thoughts about how to capture those last precious days with an ailing loved one. ((((Hugs))))
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  15. April 11, 2014 / 11:37 am

    Thank you so much for posting this and being so transparent. I found out the news this afternoon and was in total shock and sick. It’s so unbelievably heartbreaking. As a fellow brown girl I was truly inspired by her, For Brown Girls, her DarkskinredLip Project and her beautiful spirit! I can not imagine the pain she must have been feeling losing a parent but I totally agree social media will have you thinking the world is one bright sunny place while you are stuck in deep dark depression. So many of us don’t share how deep our thoughts go because we’re embarrassed or ashamed but I salute you for sharing your story. Our story! One so many of us, including myself have gone through. You both are in my thoughts, heart, and prayers. Thanks again for the post and sorry for the novel…XOXO Bless!
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  16. Erica Washington
    April 11, 2014 / 11:39 am

    Hi Ty!
    I’ve only been around you twice since I’ve moved to New York…The 135th Street BBQ and at a salon when Beautiful Textures tested their new straightening system on models..I think you are incredible! Flaunting gray hair is something I rarely see young women do, but you wear it well! I loved this story and yes I cried! I couldn’t help it…I haven’t lost my mother, but I needed to read this! Thank you for letting us know it’s okay to not be strong all the time. I know you say you’re weak, but I think that’s what makes you strong 🙂 GREAT post!

  17. Janiece Johnson
    April 11, 2014 / 11:39 am

    My mom died when I was 19 yrs old that was twelve yrs ago. It doesn’t get any easier especially when u reach new milestones or u have new experiences that u want to tell them abt. I agree with u it is healthy to bubble snot or sometimes have days those bad days cuz u miss that person so much. When days like this occur for me I talk to my mom via writing a letter or talk to her like she is sitting right there. I know this would not bring her back , but this is how I feel reconnected to her.

  18. April 11, 2014 / 11:47 am

    OMG….This post left me in tears! I feel for her and her family and I also feel for you. I had to bury my mother at the tender age of 10 and honestly…I never really went through an official grieving process. Every now and then situations like this would occur that would allow me to shed a couple tears and release. One thing that I’ve learned is that depression is real. Emotional vulnerability is real. Death is real. Pain is real. Sometimes we just don’t know how to deal with it all. It’s so sad because this young lady had such a promising and bright future ahead of her. I know that you will keep her spirit and cause alive. Peace, Love & Blessings.

    -Natasha B
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  19. April 11, 2014 / 11:48 am

    Thank you for this

  20. Rachel Walker
    April 11, 2014 / 11:53 am

    And now I’m crying. I’m So sorry for the loss of your friend and of your dear mother. I lost my father to heart disease when I was 19 and one of my close friends committed suicide in November 2013. I have been through every emotion in the book, it seems: pain, regret, anger, doubt, unbelief, depression, the list goes on and on. Reading your post and your e-mails to and from Karyn made me remember my own thoughts of regret and thinking I could have done more for my friend. That all of the acting out was a cry for help that I didn’t pick up on. She and I had gone through our fights and periods when we weren’t communicating so after not hearing from her for months, I was extatic to get her invite to meet for dinner. We had such a great talk that night. One of forgiveness and full of laughter about the fun times we’d had in our twenties. And after that night, even though we didn’t hang out again, we kept in touch through texts, calls, and Facebook. So part of me was shocked upon hearing of her passing but part of me kinda knew all along. Everything made more since…her behavior towards her husband, her sudden party girl phase, her new and quite young boyfriend. She was clearly hurting but I was too wrapped up in my own life to see that. So,I understand the feeling of “what else could I have done?” I have had to come to terms with the fact that her actions were out of my control. I honor her by making sure that if one of my girlfriends is in need of a shoulder or a helping hand, I’m there to do what I can. RIP Grizel.

  21. April 11, 2014 / 12:09 pm

    I’m sitting here sobbing. Thank you for opening up. I was so shocked to hear of Karyn’s death. I cannot imagine the pain you both went through, and you are still going through. Thank you for being transparent, this post will help so many.
    I’m in agreement with you about the role that social media plays. Praying for comfort for Karyn’s family and for you as you continue to heal. God bless.
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  22. April 11, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    Hi Beautiful One with the Epic Smile,

    It took such balls to write this post. I often thought you were being super strong judging from your fabulous posts on Instagram. Just writing this post made you one brave, beautiful girl with balls.

    I haven’t lost my mother but I have had to come to terms recently with a not so great health diagnosis of my sister. I hate not controlling things. I think that’s when people feel there is no hope, when we feel we can’t stop something dreadful from happening.

    There is no real point to my comment other than to let you know that I read it and this post alone will help someone. I do think people shame themselves for being human. I often joke that I am going to start Instagramming when my past due bills roll in or when my bank account is on its last leg. I feel like social media makes us think we are perfect and no one hurts and no one suffers and that’s so far from the truth.

    We are hurt. We all feel.

    Anyway, big hugs to you. This is when social media has its advantages. To share and to help.

    I can’t imagine how many people this one post has helped. Depression is real. Grief is real. And it’s okay to say #iaintgondoit sometimes! lol!
    Pray for me, while I pray for you.

  23. April 11, 2014 / 12:37 pm

    i have tears and I cannot stop them. My mom just finished going through a 2nd round of chemo last November (we lost my Grandmother to cancer in 2010) and then my Dad ended up in the hospital for 10 days right after. It was all too much. I started to fall apart and had to call my brother from ATL to come and help and even then, I couldn’t cope. I felt the weight I had unknowingly been bearing crushing down on me and it was all I could do to get up each day.
    When I finally said something publicly people were shocked because I put on such a good front but I’ve gotten so good at masking the pain I didn’t even notice. It’s so very hard to reach out, to ask for help and to be open to receive the help we ask for. It makes all the difference and you never know what folks are going through or need unless we make the time to stop, ask, check in. We are so “busy” these days that we put off personal interaction and connections and reaching out even when we know we should. this is a tragedy but also a reminder that life is short and we need to be there to support whenever/however we can. thank you for sharing.

  24. April 11, 2014 / 12:44 pm

    This hurts me so much, and I’d never heard of her until today. I’d heard of the blog, but never went to it.

    I suffer from depression also, and I know how much it hurts. She was so young and had her whole life ahead of her…yet I can understand how she didn’t feel that way.

    For some reason, mental illness is still taboo with Black people. I hate that. I hate that when we’re depressed people will say to pray or to suck it up because someone has it worse than you.

    If anything, I hope her death will save a lot of people who struggle with depression. It’s ok to get help, it’s ok to see a therapist, it’s ok to take meds. Do what’s best for you to live your best life.

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  25. April 11, 2014 / 12:52 pm

    Ty, my dad died 2 years ago, 4 weeks after I gave birth to my son. I, for months, was in a fog of post baby/Daddy dying grief. I felt like I was existing but walking through sand. By the grace of God, and with the support of all of us who were mourning my dad. I got through. But I know that place of emptiness. I was not okay. I am better. I will always miss him. A parent’s death rocks you to the core. Thanks for writing this.
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  26. SW
    April 11, 2014 / 1:05 pm

    Thank you for posting about your exchange with Karyn. Often, people who commit suicide leave more questions than answers behind as to what was wrong and why they did it. You post helped to answer a few questions that I had. Thanks so much. (Hugs)

  27. April 11, 2014 / 1:09 pm

    Hi Ty, I saw your post on the BLM group and came over to support. God bless you for being so honest, and for sharing your doubts and lowest lows. I know your strength is a beacon to others, but so is your “supposed” weaknesss. Sharing that you feel weak shows us all the reality of life! That is what life is like sometimes. Sometimes you are weak and sometimes you are strong, and more often than not, you may feel weak. Please don’t feel guilty. You were there for Karyn the best way you could be at that time. Thank you so much for sharing your story and hers. God Bless.
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  28. April 11, 2014 / 1:16 pm

    I sincerely applaud you for your honest. Being vulnerable is hard to share especially on a topic like this. This actually made me look a depression in a more compassionate light. It just makes me wonder if people who are not as open as you or are willing to share, how can we help reach them before it’s too late? My mom always says you never know what someone else is going through so try to be positive everyday.

  29. April 11, 2014 / 1:30 pm

    I lost my mom when I was 17, two months before I graduated from high school. I remember people telling me how strong I was and how they just “couldn’t imagine” what I was going through. For me I had this sense of being set free from the moorings that I so desperately needed throughout my burgeoning adulthood. I went to at least four therapist before I found one that helped me help me to cope. I truly appreciate your admission of suicidal thoughts (been there more often than I’d like to remember) and your honest declaration of feeling weak sometimes. I am so sorry this friend of yours took her own life and I am praying for you. XOXO

  30. April 11, 2014 / 1:42 pm

    All I can muster is “Thank You.”
    I am Karyn Washington too.

  31. Tyrika
    April 11, 2014 / 2:35 pm

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the this. You are so spot on, social media distorts realty, and those that do bare their emotions are often scrolled past and ignored. Depression, mental illness, and suicide have directly impacted and altered my life and its a pain and struggle that too many of us feel forced to suffer with in silence. My heart broke when I heard of her death, and it aches for those of us still trying to figure out how to go on and find our easy back to happiness. May Kayrn finally rest in peace and suffer no more.

  32. ADD
    April 11, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    Thank you for your words, your strength, and your honesty. Thank you for being you.

  33. Shavonne Reel
    April 11, 2014 / 3:05 pm


    Thank you for this post. I was too saddened by the news of Karyn’s suicide this morning but I feel better knowing that I am not the only one that deals with depression. I have not dealt with the death of a loved one, and I don’t even want to imagine that pain but I thank you for sharing and I thank you for not being afraid of saying you are weak. We are always trying to be strong. This post made me feel like it is okay to be vunerable, so for that, Thank You!


  34. Irnise
    April 11, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    I am teary eyed reading this because she was such a young woman. I lost a friend to suicide and I still hurt so much from it. I pray for her friends and family. I thank you for your frankness and your ability to put into words so many feelings that we all share. We are only as strong as our community that supports us and the support we allow in when we are weak.

  35. April 11, 2014 / 3:24 pm

    I cried so hard reading this and I thank you for writing it. I don’t know you or Karyn but we have similar stories, although my Mom has dementia and she’s only 72 and looks 52. I also contemplated suicide at one point as a result of not understanding things she said and did from her dementia. Please, please, please go see a therapist. I, too, have sisterfriends who were and are there for me but I still needed that professional assistance and now that I am on the other side of my grief and pain (she’s alive but still…), my life is soaring and I feel much better even AS I continue my anticipatory grief. My therapist is a wonderful Black woman and I do not know what I would have done without her. Please go. Still. Even now. Love you and Thank You.
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  36. April 11, 2014 / 3:32 pm

    I just bubble snot cried as I read this! And then Aaliyah I missed you came on the radio! I damn near lost it. Ty you are strong for writing this! I admire you for being so open! I pray that God comforts you as well as others during this difficult time. Now I’m going to call my mother!

  37. April 11, 2014 / 3:33 pm

    Hey Ty,

    This post was amazing, and I have to give you props for writing it. It’s always easy to think of the “should of, could of, would of’s” after the fact, but I think you should be very proud of yourself that you did connect with her in some way. I’m sure your words of encouragement gave her some type of peace- even if it was just in that moment.

    I love reading my favorite fashion and beauty blogs but I love it even more when I can make a genuine connection with my favorite fashion and beauty bloggers. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about Fashion Week, or what Rihanna wore, or how to contour my face fiercely. Sometimes, I just want to connect with women/bloggers on how to make it in this world as a woman. Sometimes, you just want to be reassured that life gets better no matter how dark it is today. Thank you for showing us that better days are ahead and that there is still genuine bloggers in this world.

  38. April 11, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    FUCK. DAMN. I LOVE you TY. I will always tell you and get all mushy and bear hug the shit out of you every time I get. This post was too damn heavy and beautiful at the same TY.

    Sends you west coast hugs.
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  39. April 11, 2014 / 3:57 pm

    Dang man!! So sorry first off for your own loss Ty! Second I am so sad to hear this news about Karyn (though I didn’t know her) and also how she felt hopeless enough to take that plunge.

    I know it’s definitely human to have those thoughts, because sometimes life just because too much!! For me when it gets to that, I regroup and remind myself, Jesus didn’t just put me here to suffer and be depressed. He made us all fabulous, and despite life’s mishaps and misfortunes, we’ll be better. When I remember that, it helps me to see that there is going to be a better day always.

    I am happy you wrote this post to remind us it’s so important to be open and share what’s really going on with others. Because too often we want to keep everything bottled up and let no one in, and that’s my struggle. I can help others all day long, but when it comes to my own internal struggles, it’s like pulling teeth. So thank you for the reminder to just release when we need to.

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  40. April 11, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    Wow, thank you soo much for being so brutally honest and raw. I, too, woke up this morning to the news about Karyn. Not knowing her personally, but not really mattering, I teared up. She was so young… No more words, just thank you for being you.

  41. Diane
    April 11, 2014 / 4:11 pm

    Despite all the things you saying, you were there for her. But I totally get where you’re coming from. But the courage had to come from her too. She needed to say it. To you. Or someone. Sometimes the words are too hard to say and we lose ourselves in the pain. Please don’t guilt yourself. Please give yourself a break. I wish more women would be willing to give themselves a break. A break they deserve.

  42. Denise Johnson
    April 11, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    Been reading posts & responses about Karyn all day. This awkward brown fifty-something is feeling some kind of way, and the one thing that keeps coming back is the need for all of us women of color to come together and lead our communities in the reality of mental illness and mental health.

    I’ve been blessed to hang around long enough to finally see a therapist after I turned 50. As a freelance journalist I see the increased need for mental health outreach as an alternative to the slow death of domestic violence, hopelessness and shootings that crush our neighborhoods with the force of a tsumani.

    I want to see an uprising of strong Black people known and unknown, celebrities, athletes, leaders (grassroots, church and political) standing together to declare that mental health is a part of legacy that we must embrace in order to survive. Yes, our ancestors had horrific obstacles to surmount, but now the obstacles are blurred and we need to embrace mental health as a vital tool to create a future for ourselves and those who follow us. Prayer in it of itself is not THE solution for everyone.

  43. April 11, 2014 / 4:47 pm

    I lost my mom three years ago. Oh and my heart just aches reading all of this. I know the depression. I know the sadness. Even now, people don’t understand why I have waves of grief. You don’t know until you’ve been there.

    I’ve written about the grief in hopes it helps someone else. Written about the depression a little less, for the same reasons you talk about here. That stigma is a bitch, ain’t it?

    I would love to talk to you about putting a campaign together in Karyn’s name. It’s time we banded together on this.

    Your fellow motherless daughter,
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  44. April 11, 2014 / 4:59 pm

    Thank you for this. Dealing with the death of a parent is HARD! June 27th will be three years for me and tears flow as I type the date… I wonder when I’ll stop counting the days, months, years… but dammit in the meantime, I’ll continue to count and cry. Thanks and know that you’re not alone.
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  45. April 11, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    Thank you soo much for being transparent with your emotions. I read your post earlier and I immediately posted a YT video. I was extremely touched by what you wrote because I have a Brown Girl. I didn’t know Ms. Washington personally, so I don’t know all of her struggles, but you sharing the connection you two had, touched me and I want our Beautiful Brown Girls know that they are worthy of praise. You and Ms. Washington’s family are in my thoughts and prayers.
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  46. April 11, 2014 / 5:18 pm

    Ty, I admire you for being there in a fashion that were able to be while going through your own state as well. Often people do not seek help or even know where to start. Society and our families wants us to believe that we are strong enough to get through it all. But some of us are and some of us aren’t. I lost my grandmother to cancer in 2000 it took me 8 years before I started going to therapy. Although it was years later it was well worth it. Sometimes we mask what we really know out of fear. I know I did. But I saw the therapist as a means to an end and she helped me with coping mechanisms. It’s ok to see one if not for you, for Karyn. Prayers and blessings to you.
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  47. April 11, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    I too lost a loved one to Cancer. My grandmother. It did not hit me until 2 years later and I think about her EVERYDAY! I hate to hear this because I know as a woman we are mostly strong and can endure lots of things, to hear of a woman getting to such a low point in her life saddens me deeply cause I can only imagine the hurt or her thinking process to the point she just wanted it all to end. This is why as WOMEN we should support one another as much as possible, listen connect and pay attention, and get out of our won way! Exhibit love and empowerment toward each other. I wish nothing but the BEST for all women! I appreciate your transparent post and pray that you stay encouraged and vow to be a blessing to the world. We have so much power as women! Each woman is a force within herself but together we are UNITED and can make phenomenal impacts on others! WE ALL HAVE TOO MANY REASONS TO LIVE! THIS WORLD NEEDS US!!

  48. Rhonda
    April 11, 2014 / 6:58 pm

    I sincerely relate. My mom passed away right after I lost a job I loved. I’m currently working through some issues with my daughter dealing with her own mental health concerns of depression and anxiety. I’ve learn to be vulnerable. I wasn’t strong. I wanted to cry and scream. My cousin told me to FEEL IT.

    We have to support each other out loud through our hurts and pains.

    God bless you and blessings to the family of Karyn.

  49. April 11, 2014 / 6:59 pm

    Thank you for being transparent about your relationship with Karyn. I lost my mother at 14 years of age and still today at 32 wonder if I have fully grieved her loss. Although I have never been diagnosed with depression, I have had periods of emotional lows that family & friends helped to pull me out of. It is not a feeling I would ever image myself having considering that many see me as a leader..the strong one.

    It is a subject I think needs more discussion as there are many young women who lose their mothers but still have to navigate through life and attempt to fill a void that others may not understand. My heart weeps and although I do not condone the act of suicide, I do understand the pain when a motherless child has to continue on and find her way in the world. Many blessings to you Ty and I am here to chat if ever needed.

  50. April 11, 2014 / 7:28 pm

    this was beyond beautiful (as I snot cry). thank you for your courage in being so open.

  51. Tired mommy
    April 11, 2014 / 7:47 pm

    Thank you for writing that. I am currently on meds for the first time in my life and wonder why I hadn’t before. It’s helping. I have suicidal ideation frequently. Since I was about 14 or 15. I’m 39. I’m still here. I have a friend who killed her kids and tried to kill herself. I understand where she was coming from. Therapy is good. It helps. But it’s hard. Sometimes I need therapy due to my therapy. Everyone looks at me as so strong. I too am weak. But people don’t seem to know how to help stron people. They just tell them how strong they are. Even when you are admitting weakness. It’s weird. I fell sad for this young lady but Ntozake Shange didn’t just pull that title out of thin air.

  52. April 11, 2014 / 8:56 pm

    Thank you so much. I am going to do the things you suggested with my mom and MIL this weekend. I’m so sorry for the loss of Karyn, but so happy you were there for her when she needed a guide. Hugs to you.

  53. April 11, 2014 / 9:35 pm

    This was beautifully written Ty. I have not lost my mother, but I have dealt with depression for over 2 decades. Karyn’s passing broke my heart and I must confess I thought “I talk about mental health online but I didn’t save her”. Then I read your post and it evaporated that thought immediately. Thank you for sharing. God bless.
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  54. Jay Woolridge
    April 11, 2014 / 9:40 pm


    You did so much here with your article. You honor Karyn’s memory with your powerful confessional. Your strength is exerted by confessing that you’re human. The power to function at the level that you do with a heavy heart is an incredible feat that I’m sure your mother and friend would be supremely proud of! We need women, (correction) a human like you in the forefront to teach us how to carry burdens and be inspirational.

    You have given us glimpse of the gravity of your grief. Please. Please. Take joy in knowing that you are a power force that moves and motivates. You have moved me with your courage to follow your dreams when you moved to NY. Despite the loss of your mother, you haven’t stopped touching us with your writing, photography and just being an iconic figure for Afro-American women out of Maryland. We need you. Let our words wrap around you like a warm embrace of love.

  55. April 11, 2014 / 11:11 pm

    Beautifully said Ty. I saw your post over on the BLM Facebook page and had to read on. Whew…big knot in my throat but kudos to you for being able to share this. I’m sure there is someone that needed to read this.

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  56. April 11, 2014 / 11:38 pm

    Thank you for this eloquent post. I can’t lie, it made me cry. You are a brave person for sharing your struggles with us and as someone who has struggled/still struggles with depression and suicidal ideation, it’s important that people have the tools and support system to deal with it, which unfortunately, is not always the case. I feel that there’s still so much shame and stigma attached to mental illness, especially with the black community. People should not be afraid or feel guilty about seeking help. It makes my heart hurt so much to hear about her passing.

  57. April 12, 2014 / 12:50 am

    Beautifully written Ty! I thank you for being so transparent with this post. I remember meeting you briefly a few years back in NY at a blogger event lol, loved your hair =) I’d like to share this link with you, and hope you find time to read it. http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g201404/go-on-living-why/ It speaks about suicide, depression, and why we should Go On.

    I study the bible with Jehovah’s witnesses, and have come to know the hope that all of us have, that is gaining everlasting life on a paradise earth. Revelation 21:4 states “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” Jehovah God will do away with all of the pain and suffering that we face on a daily basis. By coming to know him, and his son Jesus Christ we can gain that hope. John 12:3 “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”

    We also have the hope of knowing that we will be able to be reunited with our loved ones. http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/dead-live-again-tract/dead-live-again/#?insight%5Bsearch_id%5D=81b42364-fc57-460b-8bc1-d6b9a93ff077&insight%5Bsearch_result_index%5D=0

    I hope this message finds you well Ty. All the best =)

  58. April 12, 2014 / 5:28 am

    I met Kay online a few years ago. She was so generous of spirit, she had time for everyone, from every background. She made everyone feel included, her positivity just rubbed off on all, near and far. She was a shining light. I had no idea she suffered so much. My heart and thoughts go out to her family and friends, and to all like her who have felt this deep pain. Please reach out when you need it. Kay, I hope you are at peace beautiful girl. You are so very missed.
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  59. Jocelyn Bagby
    April 12, 2014 / 6:28 am

    Beautifully Written.

  60. Petrina
    April 12, 2014 / 7:13 am

    Wow, is all I can. You did a great thing by sharing your experience and even though I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent and I don’t suffer from depression. I have a heart and it hurts to hear of her passing and your experience too. I pray we all can be a helper to someone in our lives. Help, support, words of encouragement go a long way. Sometimes it may not be enough but to know that you reached out to be a sounding board or a friend means you cared. I’m truly saddened by this. Suicide always makes me feel like I didn’t do enough even when I don’t know the person. Please take care of yourself and thanks again for sharing.

  61. April 12, 2014 / 9:02 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am complete lost for words. (In tears)

  62. Randi Williams
    April 12, 2014 / 9:15 am

    I used to attend Morgan state, I wish I knew her. All she needed was an ear, a hug, and some laughter, but consistently. Someone to stop for a second and check up on her through out the day! No matter what I do in my life everyday all day I send my family members funny post because I’m 8 hours away form the United States. Her death definitely has encourage me to love more, hug more, and not be hypocritical to how many people choose to live. Death is not an easy thing to cope with, EVER. I was 8 years of age when I lost my great grandmother… I was depressed, didn’t eat, didn’t sleep for more than 6 months, and barely did my school work. #IAmKarynWashington, not because we share the same story because we don’t, but because my beautiful black sister wasn’t able to speak on her coping with death. She wasn’t able to be saved. So tonight when I go out I will put on my red lipstick and include her in my journey of life.

  63. April 12, 2014 / 9:28 am

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read. Pain is real. Healing takes time. We need to be patient with ourselves and others.

  64. Stephanie
    April 12, 2014 / 10:28 am

    Thank You for sharing and being so transparent. You made a good point we only show the good days on social media, never the bad. We want the world to think we have it all together. Thank you for writing about mental health/mental illness, a topic that often times gets NO attention within the black community.

  65. April 12, 2014 / 10:53 am

    My heart is so heavy for the both of you. I too admire your courage and willingness to candidly share your story. Its not easy to write, let alone, share experiences like this. My prayers are with you and Karyn’s family. Its so heartbreaking.

    Thank you for sharing.

  66. April 12, 2014 / 12:23 pm

    I wrote a blog about this VERY thing over a year ago. My heart aches for Karyn. I too, am Karyn.

    I admire your bravery in this post, Ty. And although you speak about not sharing your full truth with Karyn, you are sharing it now – and it is always better late than never. About a year ago, I “outted” myself in my blog about seeing a therapist. I had been “hiding” it because of the stigma attached to it. I wrote about how that stigma keeps us from seeking the help that we often need, stops us from even talking about it, and it offers resources for those who may need encouragement taking that first step (http://daniellenavonne.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/this-woman-id-been-seeing/).

    Not that everyone NEEDS to go, but many do. And because of this “strong” persona we’re encouraged to wear, we often don’t. We think we should be “strong enough” to deal with whatever we’re going through on our own. I actually think the bravery – the strength – is in the honesty. I honestly don’t know WHERE I would be without reaching out for help when I needed it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your truth, and I encourage any sister reading this to not be afraid of therapy. Seriously! The right therapist can literally be a lifesaver… I am speaking from experience.

    Peace to Karyn… and may her life and death hold a purpose for all who encounter her story.

  67. Katrina
    April 12, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    I am very saddened to hear about this beautiful young Queen, with a beautiful heart, of Gold, who tried and succeeded in uplifting many of her fellow Sisters and was a great inspiration. I’ve seen many posts from her site, being promoted all around facebook. It was equally as devastating to be sent a horrible video made by some sick minded, self-black hating youtuber, who made a video disrespecting her honor before she could even be mourned or buried. I hope everyone who loved her, goes to youtube and flags this video down, which is making negative comments and lies about her. Here is the link. Her family should be notified and he should be sued. Many of us have tried to have the video taken down but have not heard back from Youtube yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSW_cLrCjrc&r=1

  68. April 12, 2014 / 1:03 pm

    Thanks for your transparency. My mother is deceased. It will be six years on April 28th. She died suddenly to the decision of a careless driver. My mother was my everything. I was her only child. I also went into a depression after her transition to her heavenly home. Therapy helped, I even started a website in her memory. I shared some of my feelings there. It was therapeutic. I also had horrible thoughts of joining her in an after life. It has been six years and I still have my moments. I keep her voice on my phone, I can hear her tell me that she loves me. It helps. I’ve learned that time does not heal, the pain just becomes a part of you. I am thankful that God gave me 27 years full of happy memories with her; He didn’t have to do it. Hang in there, Ty. I pray continuous strength to you and the so many others that are grieving the loss of loved ones. God bless.
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  69. April 12, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    …speechless…thank you for sharing this…I never comment on things…I don’t even know what to say now….but thank you….

  70. April 12, 2014 / 2:08 pm

    I lost my mom to Leukemia this September and so much of this story rings true. The taping of her voice, the picture of us holding hands, in my minds eye I can see my hand in hers all though out my lifetime. The pain isn’t anything that anyone else can really explain away. It takes time and each day the survival mechanism is a little different but I’m making my way through. I’d love to listen or chat via FB or whatever. Black girls feel pain too we are not immune and the more we reach out to each other the better we all will be. Peace.

  71. Kechia
    April 12, 2014 / 4:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m so sorry for your loss and sad for the loss of Karyn. And I am tired of the stigma around mental health issues. Sometimes it is hard just to get out of bed. And I haven’t lost a parent like you have. People say pray for the strength to go on. It’s not that easy. It’s a constant struggle.

  72. anonymous
    April 12, 2014 / 5:44 pm

    I’m in pain from reading this. My mother died when I was 22 and it DID nearly kill me. I barely survived Blackistan telling me to ‘hurry up and get over it’ on the 6 month anniversary of her death. Blackistan = degreed medical professional practicing psychiatry who was also a relative. The same relative who, having signed me out of mental healthcare 3 months after my mother died, looked at me and said “I shoulda let them take you. They were going to lock you up. But what are people going to think about ME if my relative is in the nut house. You need to get saved (I was baptized at 18 by my personal choice).”

    Yeah, we’re great at keeping secrets and putting on a show of success in OUR community. We’re also great at screwing people over and telling those who are suffering to ‘get over it’ or ‘man up’ or whatever. And now we have to add another body to the heap of denial, that mental illness, depression and suicide are not white diseases but human diseases.

  73. Netty
    April 12, 2014 / 6:08 pm

    Thanks Ty for being so open, honest and real about your true feelings. this brought me to tears. I have also been there in my teen years, thinking about what if….. Beautyfully written piece of honesty….. I hope we all would learn to reach out when in need, that that kind of thoughts would not even cross our minds anymore. May you continue to feel the love and support of your fans and family…and that you continue to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit so you can learn to grow through this phase and continue to bless this world with your given gifts…

  74. Maggie
    April 12, 2014 / 7:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. My mom passed away from cancer just last July, and a lot of the time I find myself wondering what would happen if life just stopped for me too. I’ve never talked to anyone about it before, but it feels like a relief to know that there are others who also feel this way.

  75. April 12, 2014 / 9:22 pm

    A very powerful piece! Thank you for pouring yourself completely into this work.

  76. XicanaWrites
    April 12, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    I usually don’t comment on blogs I happen upon, but tonight, I have to reach out and tell you that I appreciate you, your words, and this space. From San Antonio, Texas– XicanaWrites

  77. Jessica
    April 13, 2014 / 2:24 am

    I don’t know how to start.. I’m very saddened to hear what has happened to this beautiful young girl. How I wish there was something that could have stopped this.. but the sad truth is that too many people are struggling without getting the help that they need. A believer or not, needs professional help and it shouldn’t be anything shameful in it. Isn’t it why the medical institutions are there, too help us. That’s why we have doctors and psychologists because God has established them there to use them.
    I don’t know what you’re gong through this moment but know that you are not weak because you search for help, whoever you are. Rather brave, because it takes great courage. My sister has been medical ill and I know it isn’t easy, but I know that there’s a way out of it with all the help that’s out there.
    My prayer goes out to the family of this girl and every other girl or boy and families that is in pain and going through similar situations this moment, that they may find the help that they need to receive their healing in Jesus name.

  78. Brittainy Hall
    April 13, 2014 / 2:45 am

    I weep at this post! It’s gut wrenching yet so powerful & transparent. Thank you so much for sharing your story, the story of two women fighting the same battle (like so many other women)! I read this with sadness & joy, two feelings that don’t typically go together but sadness because of the pain & hurt that you both went through but joy because you all shared a beautiful time together. Thanks again & rest in peace Karyn. For you are remembered!

  79. April 13, 2014 / 9:31 am

    This was a really heartfelt article. I really like the way that it was organized with the screenshots of the emails. I also appreciated the comment about how social media wants us to portray these perfect lives. Then when something like this happens, everyone is really shocked. The topic of suicide and depression from “happy” people seems to becoming more prevalent and needs more attention. Great read!

  80. April 13, 2014 / 12:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this about a subject that needs to be talked more about. We don’t ever know what goes on inside of people and many people think they need to handle their depression themselves. My 23 year old daughter took her own life 4-11-13 as a 3rd year medical student. She never told anyone she was depressed. She never reached out for help. Thank you for being brave enough to write this. It is needed. I am so sorry that your friend is gone.

  81. Missingher
    April 13, 2014 / 3:38 pm

    This was so deep and touching. I completely relate.

  82. Yumnah Najah
    April 13, 2014 / 4:30 pm

    Hi Ty,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article about Karyn. Please do not beat yourself up or feel guilty for what you feel you were not able to do. Karyn had so much light, love, compassion and understanding in her heart & that is what we should remember to have for ourselves when trying to cope and understand this trial that we are being faced with. I am writing you in hopes that you might RP or Post the video I did on Youtube in Honor of Karyn. There is so much information being spread on the internet about her passing and a lot of the information is untrue and is being promoted by people who did not know her or what she stood for. I want the women and young girls she inspired and touched to be know, and be very clear, that she was not struggling with self esteem issues and it was her mother’s passing that put her in a deep depression that she struggled with. If you doula all find the time to watch and/or share this video all of Karyns friends and family would greatly appreciate it! Sending you so much love & light. <3 – Yumnah :: VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGg6G87v7v8

  83. Jennifer
    April 13, 2014 / 4:42 pm

    Hi Ty, now here come my tears. I too an from Baltimore. 2 months ago cancer stole my dad away from me exactly 6 months after it stole my grandmother. I didn’t have a chance to record his voice on my phone because I live in CA. I don’t have a vm message because I would answer immediately whenever he called. But the things that I do have…are great. Thank goodness my father was a writer. A real gentleman and a scholar. I have his words. I have cassette tapes of him interviewing folks so that I can hear his voice even if he was not speaking to me. My husband and kids are certainly of great help. You probably have heard of my father. Gregory P. Kane.

  84. Misty Martin
    April 13, 2014 / 7:11 pm

    I am Karyn. I am you. The thought of suicide sits in the back of my mind like a constant companion. Of course, I’ve never said those words out loud to anyone. Even turned down counseling because I figured I can handle this, don’t want people looking at me, like I can’t cope. We’re Strong Black Women, the rock of our families and communities, so of course I can cope. My truth: I’ve lost so many people I love to cancer in the last 3 years, it’s utterly incomprehensible. Plus, I am also battling cancer for the 5th which make the thought of suicide that more inviting. I often ask myself, what is the point to our existence and why must there be such heartache while we endure it. More importantly, if we choose not to endure and live through the madness, sadness, sickness, pain and hurt, are we the weak or the strong?

    Am I strong if I remain here and fight? Am I weak if I throw in the towel? Am I selfish to want to be with those I’ve lost and loved? People often say, you are so strong! Yes, you are one strong sister! If only they knew how I cry in the night and wake up begging for peace. I feel alone, at times abandoned, I’m trapped in a perpetually diseased body and I’ve lost my faith, too boot.

    Sigh…but still I endure. Why? One reason. I know, my mother would be so disappointed and utterly T’d off, should I cut short, what she and my father fought to bring into this world. They waited so long for me and tried so hard, I’m sure they’d both meet me on the other side and whip my tail! So I endure. Through the sadness, madness, lonliness and yes, anger and bitterness. It took me a while to admit I was anger.

    I can not and will not judge Lady Karyn, it is difficult to walk in life’s shoes when you feel like you have no feet and ground beneath you. I wish her a safe journey and hope she finds the peace there that she could not find here. I want peace for us all!

    Show those you love, how much you love them. Today. Not tomorrow. But today.

    • Ms. T
      April 14, 2014 / 6:57 am

      Misty, I truly hope that you will be healed. Please take care of yourself. Smile, someone cares.


  85. April 13, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    Hi Ty.
    I just came across your article and it stopped me in my tracks.
    It’s so sad to read about the tragedy of such a beautiful spirit in such pain.
    We as women, especially women of color, have closed the door on our VILLAGE,
    our BIG MAMAS, our UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for one another. Dealing with death takes time, love and never ending support. Everyone mourns differently but we should never have to mourn alone. As we ‘tip-toe through the two-lips’ of our lives where our female counterparts are constantly running their mouths , passing judgment on our pretty ,well groomed , perfectly decorated or not womanly exteriors, we all ACHE in some capacity or another. We have come to accept our artificial existence to be real. I call it MANAGEABLE DEPRESSION. It’s were you have that I’M FINE look on your face, but through and through, your once happy spirit and excited soul are slowly dissolving into a deep, dark space of uncontrollable and slippery DEFEAT. I recognize the pain, sometimes not wanting to lift my head up off my pillow, because the daily battle of wearing so many damn hats becomes UNBEARABLE. At times I just want to EVAPORATE, and magically have ‘Scotty’ to BEAM ME UP. We as women, I believe, have become numb to the pressures of our mere existence. It can be somewhat overwhelming being a mother, especially a single mom, head of household, wive ,lover, nurturer, confidant, chauffeur, and the list is goes on and on and on. We need to find our mandatory OUT, just for a day or two, or three. We have to put our ‘LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, ALL I WANT RIGHT NOW IS CHOCOLATE, MANGOES and a 2 hr MASSAGE sign up. (my personal selfish desires) Bottom line is that we need to be our SISTERS KEEPER, throw out the LOVE LINE, STOP JUDGING one another because we are ALL one in the same. The UNI-VERSE is calling the Queen Spirits back to the middle. Let’s go!

  86. Ms. T
    April 14, 2014 / 6:52 am

    I never heard of her, but I am truly saddened by the news. I understand…believe me. I lost my mom in 1997, my dad in 2012. Time does not heal, time gives you time to deal. That’s IT. My advice to anyone in this situation is to live your life as if your loved one is right there beside you. My parents are the reason I have stayed out of trouble and TRIED to ‘do the right thing’. I’m not perfect, but I strive to be a good person EVERYDAY. I did it when they were alive and I am a reflection of my parents, so I continue to do it without them here. People, we are going to have good, bad, long days…we will feel happiness, sadness, fears, intimidation, confidence, etc……no matter what, try to find a ‘silver lining’ in every situation, and strive to make every minute better than the last.


  87. April 14, 2014 / 3:45 pm

    DEEP, great article!
    RIP Karyn Washington… <3 <3

  88. CC
    April 14, 2014 / 10:23 pm

    Ty, you are human. So being weak, sad, happy, etc. is all part of the package. Reading your article n’ the comments caused me 3 rounds of ugly cry and I feel #4 starting. sigh.
    My mom passed 2 months ago. I have no control over what will triggered a memory of my mom and bring on the ugly cry. Grieve is ok. For 10 years I watched dementia take it’s tole (sp?) on my mom. I knew the stages of dementia and what to expect and really though that when her time came I would be ok, that I wouldn’t grieve. Wrong. Like you and so many other I have good days and bad days and that’s ok.
    What’s not ok though is depression. My suggestion for anyone is to start with a conversation between you and your doctor to determine your mental state and figure out if you need therapy, medication, or both. As I understand it, medication (SSRI) works to correct chemical imbalance in the brain. (Apologizes if this is too much of a blanket statement. I’m not a doctor nor do I work in the medical field, it’s just how I understand the complicated world of SSRI. Also, I don’t mean to or want to take the focus from the subject of depression/suicide/Karyn). If you choose to work with a doctor or therapist, please know is not a quick fix. It takes time. If you choose to take meds that takes time too. You may need to try a few difference prescriptions and dosage to find what works for you.
    This brown girl, speaks (here for the first time) from personal experience. Depression is misunderstood throughout many cultures including our own. Karyn purpose in this world may very will have been to start the long over due conversation on mental illness in the black community. Thank you Ty for stepping up. And thanks to everyone that’s posted their experience. I wasn’t familiar with Karyn’s work, but her passing hits home cause I’ve been in that place where you feel that you do not want to live another day. Her passing is a loss to our communite, but only if we let it. In Karyn’s honour, let’s bring awareness to mental illness in the black community.

  89. April 14, 2014 / 11:35 pm


    I am Karyn as well. I decided to take off the mask 2 years ago and become a strong advocate for Mental health and increasing awareness. We need to talk. Please call me at 215-715-1761. Also, visit my blog….my story is throughout. http://www.dorimray.com. Be sure to link into my original blog….that’s where I first came from behind the mask. #iamkaryn

  90. April 15, 2014 / 10:10 am

    Ty, I’m in tears reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your story and also for sharing Karyn’s story. Most people would write it off as another suicide but those thoughts that occur before events like this, those words, those feelings that were clearly captured in her emails to you, those things bring real perspective. In high school, I lost a childhood best friend to suicide. He hung himself and even though I know it wasn’t my fault or probably anyone else’s, I felt SO guilty. Why didn’t I call him that week? Why couldn’t he share with me how he was feeling? Why didn’t I do enough to SAVE him? It’s not an easy thing to deal with.

    You may feel that you are weak but to the rest of us looking at you, you ARE strong. The fact that you have the courage to tell this story and inspire other people is strength. When you get up every day and keep living and smiling, that’s strength. You don’t even realize how many people you’ve affected by being so open and honest about your journey and dealing with the passing of your mom. Aside from comforting those mourning loved ones, you give us all an appreciation of the people we have. I try to cherish every single moment I have with my mom because I know she won’t be here forever. And thanks to you, I know that one day when she’s not here I’ll be sad but I’ll survive.

    Man I can’t wait to read your book. NY Times Bestseller chile…
    LoveBrownSugar recently posted..LBS Chic: Transitional Weather Must-HavesMy Profile

    • April 15, 2014 / 10:19 am

      Someone asked me via email, how do I share such intimate thoughts so easily. And I realized that I don’t think things through sometimes. Especially now that I am writing a book and I am forced to think about the before, in between and the after. When I am writing posts or sharing on social media, I legit just write. I let whatever feeling flow out into words. I proofread and publish. I never think about if it will help or even hurt someone. I guess that’s a good thing?!

      But thanks for reading and being a huge supporter through the years. You guys mean the world to me and have helped me get by more than you know!

  91. April 15, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    My daughter (18) just lost her best friend, they buried her Sat. They had been planing prom, and graduation… then last week she planned a balloon memorial in her honor. It turned out to be a huge gathering including the entire city. I told her how proud I am of her, and that she was so strong. I realized even the strong need to be propped up sometimes… After reading this, maybe I will seek out someone to talk to her, to help her through it. Thanks for sharing.

  92. Janey Tate
    April 15, 2014 / 9:20 pm

    Wow this post is deep and very real and very true for many of us. Mental health is important to deal with just as much as physical health. I applaud your strength in sharing your weakness. I feel you, I have been where you are… xoxo

  93. Shirlene Peterson
    April 15, 2014 / 10:22 pm

    Thank you for this article. …!

  94. Ebony
    April 16, 2014 / 1:59 pm

    And I sit here reading your blog I am in tears because I never had the chance to meet you or Karyn but at this very moment I feel as though I know both of you. Even though I cannot relate to the death of a parent I can relate to depression and the thought what if I would just like to tell you thank you and God bless you for sharing the story of two strong black women Karen did not lose this fight her death was not in vain. I believe her death will prevail more than her life and we all know that she had a lot going on
    That helped a lot of women in this life. Anytime you need to talk I am currently in school seeking a masters degree in professional counseling and trust me I am all ears on anything you may need to share. We will be able to help each other because I feel like I hv established a relationship with two women one thru spirit one thru love

  95. Teresa
    April 18, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    This is a great article and is much needed. I appreciate the comments and think that many will be of great help to others who are hurting. We need to continue to show compassion to those who are hurting when a death occurs and try not to place judgement. Many times people frown at someone with mental illness, and critisize behavior. This never helps the situation, never underestimate the power of tomorrow… you never know what lies ahead for you. The same judgement that you place on someone may fall into you lap. Compassion and empathy is key.

  96. Tammy
    April 21, 2014 / 11:15 pm

    Ty, I have don’t have the Words that will make you feel any better . I’m very sorry for your Loss I cannot imagine what both you and Karyn must have went through.Thank You for this it has hit home with me and has me feeling some kind of way.

    Depression is very real but how can we as Black Women being raised by Parents that Teach you that Depression is A Cop Out?The stigma surrounding Mental Illness is and has gotten way out of hand.

    I didn’t lose my Mom but I did lose my Special Needs Child I went into such A deep Depression that I felt there was no way back.When I say I was out of my mind with grief I really was, my Husband at the time cheated and blamed me 6 Months after my Child was laid to rest.Mentally I was destroyed because I still remember my Mother telling me as A depressed Teen that Depression is A Cop out.

    I to sought Therapy after almost 2 Years of suffering in silence I went through 3 Doctors before I found the right one but suicide was definitely on my mind every waking Day for almost 3 Years I would look in the Mirror and have no idea who the person was that was looking back at me I just wanted the pain to go away.

    Sothis has really hit home with me especially since my Sibling and myself care for my Mom that has Dementia and who is also dealing with Depression She lost her Husband almost 5 Years ago and I no longer know who my Mother is still at her age all she does is talk about getting the help she needs but never takes action.It wasn’t until most recently here I figured out why She would tell me that Depression is A Cop Out it’s because that’s what She was Taught.

    Sadly she still believes that at 70 Years of age but unlike me She doesn’t suffer in silence because I’m here for her.

    Thank You Ty

  97. Tammy
    April 22, 2014 / 8:51 am

    Excuse my Typos dang Tablet.

  98. December 6, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    My name is Brittany Robinson. I am a Mother and Blogger. Recently ran across your article on Karlyn Washington and it really broke my heart. In our African American community we struggle with suffering in silence. When I decided to break the cycle writing became my outlet. We are told to be strong black women and suffer in silence. But I choose to kill that narrative because I will not silence my life at the expense of my peace. When you have a chance check out my blog http://www.brittmonet.com. I have a few post dealing with mental health of my own personal experiences.
    -Am I okay? Or am I over looking my issue?
    -Dear Mercedes
    -Living with a closed mouth
    -Letter to my 9-year old self

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