When blogger Karyn Washington committed suicide this spring, it sent ripples across the internet, particularly Black media. There were plenty of post that said we needed to have a conversation about depression, as always conversations end. SInce then we have lost Robin WIlliams and Recently well respected Wayne Brady has gone public about his battles with depression. Well I’d like to talk about some more, and continue the conversation it in a 3 part series.
We will begin with understanding the difference between anxiety and depression. While these terms are used side by side they do have separate meanings. We will then explore what they REALLY look like. We cannot help our loved ones or ourselves if we do not know what the enemy looks and sounds like. Let’s start with anxiety.
WHAT IS +ANXIETY?
According to traditional definition, anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
The question is when does this state of worry start to affect your life, so much that you or a loved one may need therapy? Here are a few signs:
1. BEING EASILY FATIGUED: You just went to grab coffee and pick up dry cleaning. Why so exhausted? If this has been happening to you for more than three months and you’ve checked your diet and exercise, this may be a sign.
2. RESTLESSNESS OR FEELING KEYED UP: That girlfriend you keep saying is WAY to uptight, everything is always on fire, she NEVER stops worrying. This may be a sign of Generalized Anxiety DIsorder (GAD). Not sure why the smallest thing your partner does annoy you beyond reason? Is your partner always telling you to calm down? Do you find yourself feeling bad about always blowing up? If it’s been more than three months, you may need to understand that something is going on that you need to deal with.
3. HAVING DIFFICULTY SLEEPING: Your friend keeps mentioning that they don’t sleep, or they NEED pills or a drink to get to sleep.
Lack of sleep is very serious and the idea that successful people don’t sleep has always been a silly idea to me personally. Sleep is very important to a productive mind. Without sleep the previously mentioned symptoms become more intense.
One of my go to methods of anxiety is talk therapy. Many people have access to low cost or free therapy via their jobs. Companies often realize that their employees deal with stress and offer free or low cost counseling via the job. ALL of these options are confidential and will not interfere with your work.
Talk therapy offers you the option to simply talk out your fears, worries and stresses to a person who is a third party who has no hidden agenda. The goal is that by talking about these issues, the you will be able to gain insight, to your own issues.
I find this to be the biggest reason people don’t want to deal with the reality of their anxiety. The idea that medication, is waving a white flag and that you are giving up, is far from the truth. In reality medication helps you to see things clearly without the interruption of irrational thoughts. Medication is not lifelong. It can be just as temporary as your unemployment, or your grieving process.
Medication is not giving up, it can make you strong and give you a clarity of your issues that you did not have before.
So there you have it. Part one. Next time we’ll talk about +depression, the signs and the treatments.
Updated Nov. 6th