Welcome to our final day of “Suffering in Silence” week. Drake and I have tackled this very taboo topic and we hope that by bringing awareness to this topic, more people have the courage to not only speak out but to have more compassion for those who suffer from depression and other mental illness. For those who suffer, we want you to know that there is hope, you can overcome and you can find victory through treatment.
I’ve experienced depression in my life and my therapist at the time diagnosed me with situational depression. Situational depression is a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various traumatic changes in your normal life, including divorce, retirement, loss of a job and the death of a relative or close friend. My grandmother passed during my sophomore year of college and this caused me to go into a depressive state. I had difficulty getting up in the morning, attending classes and completing assignments. Although to most I seemed fine, I was struggling inside. There would be times I would cry uncontrollably or just at the thought of my grandmother. It was during a presentation for one of my social work classes that I broke down. My instructors who were very understanding and sympathetic suggested that I seek therapy after I told them what was wrong with me. I attended therapy on campus at school and it was one of the best decisions I could have made to help me overcome this tough time in my life.
Treatment for Depression
The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that although depression can be a devastating illness, it often responds to treatment. The key is to get a specific evaluation and a treatment plan. Today, there are a variety of treatment options available for people with depression.
- Medications including antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications
- Psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy and interpersonal therapy
- Brain stimulation therapies including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
- Light therapy, which uses a light box to expose a person to full spectrum light and regulate the hormone melatonin
- Alternative therapies including acupuncture, meditation and nutrition
- Self-management strategies and education
- Mind/body/spirit approaches such as meditation, faith and prayer
I am an advocate for therapy for treating mental illness and just for when life is challenging. There is such a negative stigma with therapy in the African American community. For whatever reason, we don’t believe in seeking help for mental health related issues. When I went to therapy for the first time during my bout with depression, it was such a cultivating experience for me. It helped put into perspective exactly what I was feeling, I was able to express my thoughts and feelings in an objective atmosphere without judgment and I learned so much about myself that I would not have otherwise learned. Although I don’t suffer from situational depression any longer, I still attend therapy on a monthly basis. I know from my first experience with depression that I am susceptible to that experiencing that again and from going to therapy I now know what to look out for in my emotional patterns and how to effectively get through. Because of my experience I have since worked in the mental health field for several years and have been on a quest to bringing more awareness to mental health illnesses.
If you or someone you know exhibits signs of depression, I truly suggest seeking help. Seeking the help of a professional shows strength. Don’t allow yourself to sit in this thing. God has a plan for your life, but if you allow yourself to get deeper and deeper in that pit, you will miss out on the life God has for you. Talk to someone, you owe it to yourself and those who love you to get help. Just taking medication and not talking about it won’t help. Sure the medication helps to stabilize you mentally so that you can get throughout the day, it only treats the symptoms and not the problem. It’s time to get to the route. There’s a reason why you’re feeling the way you feel.
In addition to therapeutic treatment, try engaging in some of the other treatment options above. As Adyre Mason mentioned in yesterday’s interview, you must be intentional in what you do because it can either help or hinder your victory. I want to sure you that there is victory in treatment. I’m a living witness that you can overcome, you just have to take that first step.
If you are looking for more options or just need some guidance, feel free to email me. I would love to hear from you! Don’t forget to drop by drakejbarber.com to learn more about treatment options for depression and for an overview of our “Suffering in Silence” week. Thanks for joining us and be sure to share with a friend 🙂
Until next time…