Depression: What Can You Do About It?

Ryan Stephenson has the outward appearance of confidence. As she walks her walk, slow and deliberate with a smoothly defined shutterstock_25552642sway in her hips, she exudes certainty and assurance. She is a successful accountant with a prominent Detroit based firm. She dresses in expensive couture and drives a high-priced foreign car. Her dark chocolate skin, silky black hair, and coke-bottle figure are sought after by every man she encounters. But no one knows the anguish she endures from within. She’s suffering  from depression and she doesn’t know how to cope with the pain.

Excerpt from Who Is He To You:

A blanket of silence covered the small office. Ryan’s eyes watered as she prepared to answer her therapist’s question. She felt like the walking dead, a zombie in the twilight zone. She had been feeling that way for weeks. She could barely make it out of bed in the morning. Her body was heavy and her head pounded with a migraine. She showed up to work two hours late. She hated her job. Once she got there, she cried for no reason until her supervisor sent her home. Her appetite was almost completely gone. She ate only when she reminded herself to do so; most of the time she forgot. She was irritable, lonely, and miserable. She felt like she was dying from a slow death. Her life was falling apart. She was losing her mind.

There is an apparent cultural divide when it comes to treating depression with therapy. It seems that African Americans are less likely to embrace the idea of baring all and sharing their feelings with a therapists. It is considered taboo to seek the help of a shrink and even more so to talk about it. Why is that? Is it that we’re afraid of being labeled as crazy? If you see a therapist does that mean you’re crazy? I don’t think so. I see nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with an unbiased professional. Sometimes you just need to let it all out to someone who won’t judge you or allow selfish motives to override his or her ability to give viable advice. Talk, let it out, especially if you’re depressed. Depression is often caused by a build up of emotions, events, stress, and/or dysfunctional relationships. What happens when you hold all of that hurt, anger, and pain inside? Overload. You need an outlet. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are depressed and you need help. Yes, there is a chance that you can snap out of it on your own, but the chances are slim and the problem may be reoccurring. Why go at it alone when you don’t have to? Holding it in can lead you to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol or self-injury. Then you have whole new problems to deal with.

It may be hard for some to admit that they need help, but what is the alternative? You sink deeper and deeper into a dark and dismal existence, battling feelings of hopelessness and desolation. It’s a dangerous place to be. Black people, it’s okay to talk to a therapist! If you don’t want anyone  to know, don’t tell. But if you are suffering through a depression, it’s important to let it out. TALK, get someone on your side and start your road to recovery. You are not alone.

Do you know anyone that is suffering from depression? Have you been depressed before? Are you depressed now? What can you do about it?

To learn more about depression and what you can do about it, please visit: www.depression.com

To learn more about Ryan and her battle with depression, pick up a copy of Who Is He To You at www.MoniqueDMensah.com

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3 responses to “Depression: What Can You Do About It?

  1. Depression is something I’ve dealt with most of my life. I’m told it’s clinical. Maybe it is. Although it happened when I was six yrs old, I believe my lifelong depression is due to molestation. I developed insomia as a teenager. Anytime I was in a situation I had no control in, I was unable to sleep. The longest my insomnia lasted was 3 months. The end result was hospitalizion for 2 wks. That was in the 80’s. To this day I can’t sleep without aid.

    Without anti-depression meds I’m off kilter. The first time I took them I stopped because I was afraid they were addictive. (The last thing I ever wanted to be in life was a neck scratching junkie). I would get sick again, I would take the meds and stop. Finally a few years ago I realized to be normal I needed the medication. I got over my shame of suffering an illness I have no control over. I will without hesitation see a therapist. The important thing is to find a good therapist, one that is good for you and don’t believe in prescribing a lot of mind numbing drugs.

    It’s good to talk to someone about your deepest, darkest secrets and not worry that all your friends will find out later.

  2. I was asked to post my comments here in regards to my dealing with depression…and it has taken me about a week to actually decide to do this…but after reading Me’s post I decided to do this for her.

    I have suffered from insomnia and depression I guess looking back since I was in my early teens…I also was molested by family friends from the time I was 6 to about 10. I also when confronted with difficult issues or situations the insomnia gets worse.

    I have been on antidepressants since I was in my early 20’s…first was elavil…I couldn’t function…but they were treating me for chronic migraines…not depression. It wasn’t until I was 33 that I was diagnosed with clinical depression…and then the game began to find one that worked…Prozac…horrible…Effexor…did nothing…Paxil helped but everytime they put me on something that works I build a tolerance to it…with the Paxil with the increased dosage I developed adverse effects of abnormal bruising…so I decided to withdraw from all medications.

    That was probably the worst thing since I could not function as a normal human being…I shut down completely.

    I finally went back to my doctor…told her that I couldn’t cope and they put me on the new Paxil CR which surprisingly did not have the same effects as the regular Paxil. However true to form the lowest dosage is no longer working and I am experiencing the same effects as with the regular Paxil. The recent episode of depression resulted from the deaths of two very close friends and then an extremely stressful work environment and a bad relationship that I am in with a controlling mentally abusive spouse.

    I have shared my experiences with others before and do believe that it is cathartic to a degree. If I can help someone else it seems to help me. Therapy has never worked for me since I over analyze everything the therapist is trying to get across to me. I deal with a lot of my depression through drawing, writing, and trying to help others with similar problems.

    I wish that this was something that would go away…however all of the females on my mother’s side of the family have suffered from some form of depression…my mother, her sister, and my great grandmother all were diagnosed and suffered from manic depression.

    The thing that bothers me the most is the reaction that people have when you say you have depression. We are not crazy, nuts, or anything else…it is an illness just like cancer and heart disease. I just wish more people were educated to that fact. My spouse even tells me that I do not need medication and that if I just exercised more or ate a better diet or just put it out of my mind that I would be “cured”.

    This is a disease…period and I wish more people understood that.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I believe that child molestation has a life long negative impact on children. It is my prayer that if the depression doesn’t go away completely that it be controlled. I’ll keep you in my prayers always. The medication I take now is Lexapro. I’ve been on it now for 4 years and am functional and feel in control. Love, Me.

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