Real talk

Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown on clinical depression: “It kept getting darker each day”

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown has opened up about his struggles with clinical depression, and how he wants to fight back against societal mental health stigmas.

In a special interview with CBS This Morning, Brown disclosed how he fought depression for years, even to the point he became a drug addict and considered suicide.

“For me it was waking up and feeling like the sun just wasn’t shining as bright as the day before. And it kept getting darker each day, and yet I couldn’t understand why,” Brown says of the depression that began to plague him during high school. Brown said he felt isolated, alone, overwhelmed and fought to get out of bed every day. When he appealed to his family, he didn’t find the help he needed. “My mother and father were just like, ‘Pray it away. Pray. You know, God will help you.’ And I do believe there’s a space for prayer, but I also believe that there’s also a space for finding help right here. But what do you do when you can’t find the help?”

Related: When ‘Queer Eye’ star Karamo Brown came out, it ended his relationship with his father

Brown also said that he didn’t believe he could seek mental health support from professionals. “Because watching television I saw only rich white girls going to rehab and getting support. It’s what I thought – anyone who looked like me, I never saw them seeking mental health support or talking about their mental health,” he says.

For Brown, reaching out for professional help was a turning point when he realized he could have a “better life.” He learned to set daily emotional goals to find happiness each day. “I wake up in the morning and I say, ‘Today, I plan on being happy.’ If there’s things happening where I don’t see myself being happy, I try to find support from other people or I try to figure out what I can do within myself, what education I can get,” he explained. “And I think that’s important because when we talk about our emotions, we think of them as this ambiguous thing that’s happening. Or I want a good year, as if like every day doesn’t happen that changes that.”

Karamo’s transformation led him to his life coaching on Queer Eye, and becoming a mental health advocate for the LGBTQ community.

“A lot of us suffer bullying. We suffer rejection… We suffer depression, anxiety,” Brown observes. “You’re already feeling isolated from your family or groups of support, so where do you turn when you feel like this? And for me it was important to make sure that I reach back out to LGBTQI youth. I worked in social services for many years, helping those youth to understand there is a place and there is support for them. That they don’t have to live in this dark cloud every day, that they can get help.”

Well said, man.