Depression… something people aren’t open to discussing in the black community, but it’s an issue we need to become more comfortable talking about. When we don’t discuss this issue we are left to struggle in silence.
Why we don’t seek the help we need to conquer depression:
Myths we believe.
As a black woman I can attest to the fact that we are not open and honest about our internal battles due to fear of shame. We don’t want stigmas attached to us that are associated with mental health barriers. How many times have you heard someone with a serious mental health barrier being told they need to stop acting like a “bitch” or stop being “weak”? Unfortunately, many of us don’t have an awareness of the realities of mental illness. We suppress the pain we feel, which is an indication that an inner change is required in order for us to breakthrough and experience freedom. Depression is not a sign of weakness. It’s time to put an end to the myths we hold about depression.
We tend to normalize depression.
Depression is not normal. Neither is depression something we have the ability to just “get over”. Healing is a process that takes verbalization, treatment (therapy), time and patience with self.
Depression, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression.
Every thing in your life that has an impact on you has a root. When I hear the word root I think of the beginning where something started. What I have recognized with depression is it creeps in when there is a lack of ownership of personal power and we are out of touch with the reality of who we are. Something happens that causes a total shift in the way that we think and perceive truth.
I personally have battled depression and it was a long journey to healing and finding joy and inner peace.
Symptoms of depression:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, loneliness, worthlessness, inadequacy, hopelessness and despair
- Excessive crying and anxiety
- Lack of appetite
- A loss of desire to engage in normal activities and routines, lack of energy and fatigue
- A lack of sleep or sleeping too much
- Not eating or overeating
- Suicidal threats or thoughts about death
- Difficulty making decisions or thinking
- Digestive issues and pain and or headaches
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression I urge you to speak to a doctor who can properly assess you and refer you to a mental health specialist. Don’t battle depression alone. Many black people often turn to spiritual leaders. Though spiritual leaders are good avenues to turn to for spiritual counseling they do not hold the expertise to diagnose and treat depression.
If you are currently uninsured check out free community health centers to access available options that are publicly funded.
National Suicide Prevention Line (800) 273-8255 Available 24/7
Milwaukee Crisis Line (414 257-7222 Available 24/7