Kala Slade is Simply Beautiful

by Terry Watson | September 18th, 2017
Kala Slade (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Kala Slade (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

A story of transparency is a scary thing to unveil especially when you expose your emotional and mental proclivities to the community where you were born, reared, and work daily. What’s most challenging is opening yourself up and becoming vulnerable to those who see you on a routine basis believing that you have it all together especially when you adorn a sweet smile, your make-up is flawless, your hair is stylish and your wardrobe is well put together. On top of that you have achieved the traditional American dream of being married, having children, and possessing not one, but two successful businesses. What more could a person possibly ask for? Depending upon who answers that question, in particular, a person suffering silently with depression, the answers could sound something like this: “How about having a sound mind instead of having a mind that constantly tells you how worthless you are?” or “You don’t mean anything to anybody and the world would be better off without you.” Unfortunately, these responses are all too real for those struggling with depression.

Meet Mrs. Kala Slade, wife, mother, friend, and business owner of Simply Beautiful Hair Studio and Boutique and Simply TuTu Cute. Kala is a woman who has been medically diagnosed with depression. Like millions of people, Kala struggles daily to push past the mental and physical pain of depression. What some would consider the ordinary task of waking up and putting both feet on the floor doesn’t come so easily to Kala. She shares, “There are days that you wake up and you’re fighting mad that you did wake up.… You’re tired of having to smile when on the inside you’re actually crying.” Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding from your family and friends and receiving professional care by a certified psychologist or counselor or taking prescribed medication so you can live a balanced and healthy life.

It wasn’t until Kala fell apart emotionally from the constant highs and lows of daily life and had to be hospitalized did she understand that she had been struggling with depression for a great portion of her life. Since her diagnosis, Kala has received professional help and has learned how to recognize her symptoms. She shares, “The biggest thing I want people to understand about depression is that it’s not something as simple as I’m not feeling well emotionally today because I had a disagreement with somebody or my money is funny. It’s not circumstantial; instead, it’s waking up every day feeling hopeless. It’s everyday feeling like you’re not worth anything. That’s exactly what you feel daily. That’s what you struggle through daily.” This internal conflict for most is a passing phase, but for those suffering with depression this daily fight can be a debilitating reality.
Prior to being diagnosed with depression Kala sought multiple ways of self-medicating her symptoms by reading self-help books, attending church, studying scripture, fasting, praying, and reciting words of affirmation, but nothing seemed to work; however, she didn’t waiver in her faith. Eventually, she realized that God had enabled professionals in the field to be able to assist her medically. Kala would like those suffering with depression to seek and maintain professional help. She’s convinced that professional help is the key to surviving the emotional and mental rollercoaster ride.

According to Kala, depression doesn’t have a single cause and anything can trigger it like having a simple conversation. She shares, “I would wake up feeling fine, leave the house feeling fine, but then by the time I finished working I would return home a different person. That has been difficult for my husband because as a man he wants to fix everything for me but he doesn’t know how. Even a simple conversation can be challenging because of the thoughts going on in my head when he’s talking to me trying to figure out what’s wrong or simply asking about my day. While he’s talking to me my thoughts are telling me that I’m unworthy of him and he deserves better than me but he doesn’t know what’s going on inside of me so a simple conversation that we’re having can end up causing me to withdraw.” Kala is eternally grateful for her husband’s understanding and support because he has endured her mood swings and has been there for their children even when she was emotionally unable to do so.

The struggle is real and Kala want’s others to understand that those suffering with depression shouldn’t hide from it or feel ashamed. She is encouraging those individuals who are suffering with the highs and lows and feeling that internal bottomless void to seek professional help from the agencies within their communities. She desires that open discussions be held about depression even at church because the church is where the “sick” are supposed to be able to go and receive help without fear of condemnation and judgment. It is her strong desire that mental illness be called out by its’ name so it can stop lurking in the shadows of our communities. She’s hoping to use her testimony and life experience dealing with this illness to help others be who God has created them to be so they can live peaceful and productive lives. Kala realizes that this forthrightness is much larger than her.

The concern she has about being judged by her friends and community for sharing her story are almost as debilitating as her illness; nonetheless, the desire to be a platform for those who need her help is far greater than what others may say or think about her. According to Kala, “I’m really an introvert and it’s hard for me to believe that I’m sharing my story, but I have to realize that all of this is greater than me. If my testimony can help someone else push past another day and keep fighting then it’s all worth it. Ultimately, you determine if you’re going to give up. I’ve chosen to stand and help others fight.”

The smile beaming from Kala’s face is genuine as she proudly showcases her Salon and boutique adorned with unique accessories and fashionable clothing consisting of blinged out t-shirts and colorful tutus. “You know, often times when you look good on the outside that helps you feel better on the inside,” she shares. Depression is a treatable illness. You don’t have to suffer in silence. You don’t have to be alone.

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