The first book to focus on black women and depression, seen through the personal journey of a young black woman's descent into despair.
Danquah, a black single mother and Ghanian-born immigrant, who moved to the U.S. at age six in 1973, has battled melancholy and despair, culminating in episodes of overwhelming depression. A performance artist and poet who has worked as a creative writing instructor, she discusses movingly how she overcame clinical depression in this candid memoir. Addressing the special circumstances of being both depressive and an African American woman, she notes, for example, that talking about one's parents is frowned on in African as well as African American culture. Her parents divorced when she was growing up in Washington, D.C., and she carried around suppressed rage at the father who abandoned her and the mother whose lover she claims sexually abused her. After she fled to Los Angeles in 1991, her world fell apart when, as she tells it, her common-law husband threw her out along with their two-month-old daughter. With the help of therapists, Danquah ultimately confronted these traumas and the self-hatred induced partly by pervasive racism. Yet antidepressant drugs numbed her and drove her to alcohol. She kicked both habits and now overcomes the blues (the book's title is from a Billie Holiday song) through music, meditation and vigilant monitoring to avoid self-destructive situations and moods. She tells her story poignantly and affectingly. (Feb.)