Over the weekend we learned the very sad news of the passing of Karyn Washington, founder of “For Brown Girls” and the “Dark Skin, Red Lips” project. At the tender age of 22, she decided to take her own life as a result of her battle with Depression. Sadly, while she was a beacon of hope and motivation for others, she did not have that same support for herself. Trust me, when dealing with depression, it’s really important to have people around you who have enough sense not to shrug off your feelings with a simple “pray about it” or “you’ll be fine”.
Depression and other forms of mental illness are uncontrollable diseases, so while it’s great to encourage prayer, why wouldn’t you also encourage someone to seek professional help? A person suffering from depression is less in control of their illness than a person with hypertension, but we don’t judge and shun persons with hypertension. We must continue to encourage and support those around us who suffer from this painful disease.
Do you tell a Diabetic to pray about it, or do you encourage them to eat the right foods and take their medicine?
Do you tell a person with Asthma that they’ll be fine, or do you pass them their inhaler when they have an asthma attack?
What is Depression? (1) : a state of feeling sad : dejection (2) : a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.
Myths about Depression:
Myth 1. A depressed person has low self esteem. Fact: Depression is not simply suffering from low self esteem. One of the things that makes it so powerful is that it actually has nothing to do with your perception of yourself. Triggers or outside influences are what cause depressive episodes. Which means happy, well adjusted people with depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness can experience severe sadness seemingly for no reason at all or can react with extreme emotional distress to a seemingly small occurrence.
Myth 2. All depressive episodes are the same. Fact: Depression, like other illnesses have different symptoms and different treatments. People who suffer from severe depression have very distinct periods of sadness that can be so overwhelming that the only thing that will help them is medication. Those who suffer from milder forms of depression have varying degrees of sadness and symptoms and often do not require/qualify for medication.
CLICK HERE for more myths and facts about Depression. Signs/Symptoms of Depression are listed below. If you or someone you know are exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, then please consider/recommend a consultation with a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. One appointment could save a life.
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.