With the holidays coming up I’d like to post about a topic that is taboo to the black community. Mental Illness/Depression. “Social circumstances often serve as an indicator for the likelihood of developing a mental illness. African Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience social circumstances that increase their chances of developing a mental illness (source nami.org).”
At times life is just tough for all of us. Everyone deals with loss, grief, and stress differently. With that being said I’d like to post a few of my own DO’s and DON’T of dealing with someone who may be depressed or feeling down in the dumps. Let me preface that I am NOT a physician and that the best resource is your local primary care physician, or 911 for emergencies. This was just simply on my heart and I wanted to share with everyone.
DON’T tell them to “pray about it” I am sure they have either done that or are wondering if God’s even listening or they wouldn’t feel so down. These types of feelings are normal. It takes more than just prayer when someone is depressed
DON’T tell them to “get over it. ” I am sure that if they could get over it or snap out it they would have done so already.
DON’T tell them “it could always be worse.” You have just dismissed or minimized their current thoughts or feelings. They can’t relate to “worse” only to what they are feeling or experienced.
DON’T offer to have a drink with and talk – although relaxing, alcohol is a depressant.
DO – Let them know simply that you care about them.
DO – Invite them to work out or take a brisk 15/20 minute walk. The endorphin’s from the exercise will help temporarily lift their spirits.
DO – Invite them to join you for a social event or just to hang out – being with people (especially ones that care about you) is better than being alone.
DO – Check to make sure they are eating OK – you may have to bring food to them or invite them out to eat. Low appetite is common for depression and can add to the depressive symptoms.
DO – Go with the flow of the conversation. If they need to talk let them, if they don’t want to talk, don’t force them. Do not give your advice or opinion, or judge. Simply listen and be present.
Again – I am NOT a doctor by any means but I’ve been there and I am witness that LIFE GETS BETTER! God truly does love you and your friends and family really LOVE YOU too! I know my friends love my special self – you know who y’all are <3.
As always consult with your doctor for appropriate diagnosis and care.
Happy Holiday’s everyone and be safe!