Depression: The Signs, Symptoms & My Story

8

“ I think I’m depressed”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, I am sad all of the time, I don’t want to do sh*t, and this isn’t like me”

This is a conversation I had with myself a few years ago.  Yeah, this was one of those conversations you have in your head, but some of the questions you answer out loud.  For months, something wasn’t right because I’d been feeling down.  I’d have periods that I felt OK, but my overall mood for months was sad.  Outside of being sad, I just wasn’t myself.  I was irritable, and always tired.  I either overate,  didn’t eat at all and I had difficulty focusing on my job.  For months, I felt like I couldn’t get a grip on my life and I began to feel the effects.  I gained weight, I quit pursuing my Master’s degree, lost my desire to go out with friends and I eventually got fired for my low performance.

What brought on my depression?:  The short and simple answer is I was trying to handle all that life was throwing at me on my own.  (This is my opinion)

What took me so long to get help?:  I thought I could shake it off.  I thought I was just stressed about recent events so I exercised, I forced myself into social situations, and I prayed for direction.  I didn’t want to go to therapy-again.  Not that my first experience with a therapist was bad, I just didn’t want to accept I needed help.  Could my employer have helped?  Read my thoughts here

What made me seek professional help?:  I knew it was passed time to get help when I was at my desk crying for the second day in a row, and I didn’t know why.  A grown woman crying at 930 am at her desk, and I was unsure why-yeah that was my eye opening moment.  (Thank God, my cubicle was in the corner of the office)  

What I learned and I want people to understand about depression is this:

A person with depression doesn’t look a certain way.  I know women, myself included, that didn’t miss a beat with their outward appearance despite how they felt on the inside.  People with depression will hide certain behaviors from friends and family, behind closed doors is the only time the “mask” comes off.  This is why conversations about mental health with our friends and family are important.  Start the conversation by discussing mental health topics in the news, ask how someone is handling recent events, or ask even share your own story.  (You’d be surprised how often people will open up once the fear of judgment is gone)

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) list the following areas in which people with depression notice major changes:  

Sleep: Sleeping more than normal or difficulty in falling asleep

Appetite: Decreased or increased appetite leading to significant weight loss or weight gain

Poor concentration: The inability to make decisions is a result of not being able to focus on a single topic or task long enough.

Loss of energy: This is different than just being sleepy, this is a reduction in mental and physical speed. Responses to things going on around you are much slower than normal.

Lack of interest:  This can be seen in not wanting to do certain activities or no longer enjoying those activities.

Low self-esteem:  Excessive feelings guilt and hopelessness or extreme feelings of insecurity or worthlessness.  These feelings can lead to thoughts of suicide.

-Hopeless or guilt:  There is a feeling that things will not improve, or taking the blame for certain events and not forgiving oneself.

-Movement changes: These changes include they way a person responds to certain events. The responses may be very nonchalant or very agitated.  

Feministas, do you think Black women refuse to believe they can be depressed?  Are we in denial, is there a lack of awareness or a lack of resources?  

[info_box type=”alert_box”]If you want to practice self-care, you have to care for your finances.  My book, The Happy Finances Challenge, is designed to help you learn to make money decisions that will lead to long-term financial happiness in just 42 days.  [/info_box]

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