Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Letting It Out

I didn't really want to talk about my depression because only 1 other person knows that I go through it and that i'm not pretending. But I think that it's time that I let this thing out of the bag. I can tell you first hand why people who suffer from depression don't want people to know. They do it because people can be cruel. When people find out, they think that you are "crazy" or something worse. People look at you differently. They think that they have to talk to you in a soft voice or touch you on the shoulder when they talk to you. Basically, they judge you.

When I was in college, I went to see a psychiatrist because I was severely depressed. It got to a point where I didn't want to go to work, go to class, or interact with anyone. Since I had been in my teens, I would go through these periods where this would happen. I had no idea that it was depression. Like most black people, I thought that it was just "the blues" and that "the Lord" could make it better.

One day, during one of these depressive periods, I decided that I had had enough and I actually thought about driving off a bridge that I was about to go across. Just before I was about to make a decision whether or not to do it, my phone rang and it interrupted my thoughts. I didn't do it. But because that was not my first time having suicidal thoughts I decided that it was time to seek professional help because I knew that I really didn't want to die.

I also had been having panic attacks at least twice a week. If you have never had a panic attack, you don't want to ever have one. If you remember when Terri Joseph on Showtime's Soul Food was having them, that 's what it's like. Shortness of breath, profuse sweating, a perceived rise in body temperature, and extreme thirst. Your heart feels like it's about to stop or has stopped and you feel like you are about to die. The bad part about it is that there is nothing that you can do about it. The only thing that made me feel better was cold air and cold water.

The panic attacks would happen anywhere at any time. I once had one in class and had to grab my stuff and run to my car. When I got to my car, I turned that air on high and sat there until it subsided. Another time, I was in the mall shopping with my ex-boyfriend and it started. Once again, I ran to my car and turned the air on high.

I started seeing a psychiatrist in February of 2000 right after the incident on the bridge. Of course we started with the usual "why do you feel that way", "what made you react in that manner" type of questions. But he did delve into my childhood as I expected. He helped me to realize that some of the things that my parents did were not meant to hurt me and may have even been to protect me from harm Although he did agree with me that their methods may not have been the best. He helped me to let go of some of the resentment that I had for my parents AND my sibling.

I also told him about the fact that I was adopted and just never felt fully connected to and accepted by my family. I always believed that I was treated differently (I was) from the other children. The therapist helped me to just let some of that go (not all of it).

All in all, I was helped. But I couldn't afford to keep going because the ish was expensive and I didn't have insurance. But I think that it's time that I start seeing a therapist again. For a while, I thought that I was over the depression and panic attacks. But over the last year, it's started back. I have only a few panic attacks this year, but the depressive episodes have become more frequent.

So now, it's time for me to review my insurance and get a referral to a psychiatrist here in Atlanta. Yet Another Black Guy said it best when he said that "nobody should go have to go it alone".



Blogger E said...

I'm glad that you were able to put your thoughts down. The funny thing is that I was totally thinking about Teri Joseph when you were talking about the panic attacks. You know the DVD for Season 2 Soul Food is coming out in two weeks. I believe Season 2 is when Teri started having the attacks. Sorry for the off-topic.

I'm glad that you're taking steps to work through your issues. We as blacks have to get over the notion of not wanting to seek help. I may consider doing so myself...just to have the opinion of a party that doesn't know me and won't be prejudging.

Thanks again for sharing.

11:39 PM, July 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get some of those good drugs too! lol You know I'm behind your ass 100%! What does "hollywood" Think of all thhis?

8:11 AM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Mr. Jones said...

I've been there...still am. The good news is that, depression can be managed with the right prescription. I experience these extreme highs and lows (or mania and depression as my doctor likes to say). I take a lithium carbonate to help with that. I'm not ashamed of it and you shouldn't be ashamed to go in for treatment.

YABM is right, you shouldnt go it alone. Too often Black people choose to sweep these types of issues under the rug. There's a solution to it, you just have to ask for it.

Good luck and thanks for sharing this with us.

10:14 AM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Cocoa Rican said...

Get help. Life is too precious and too important to let depression come between you and living.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

11:27 AM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger ThisMightBeMe said...

I have been there.....still there. I'm still working at it. I was so glad to see that I'm not alone out here. Depression truly hurts and I wish you the best in your journey, man. Everything will be fine. We'll get through it.

11:33 AM, July 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must agree with everyone here on kudos for getting your feelings out in the open. It takes a lot of courage to do this.

It's amazing how interconnected we all are. I love this circle of bloggers for we all give encouragement and support to one another.

No matter what man, you have people here who truly care about your well-being, including me. = )

12:15 PM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Ladynay said...

Here is to hoping your recovery is speedy.

1:55 PM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger D-Place said...

You are taking the 1st steps to feeling better already. You have recognized that you have an issue and taking care of it. You are the most important person in your life. And you are doing a good thing. Get what you need.

9:41 PM, July 25, 2007  
Blogger Valentino said...

Truly commendable for sharing...you'll get better...

10:34 PM, July 25, 2007  
Anonymous Steve said...

N - you may be strong, but it's never wrong to seek help when it comes to depression. Don't be too quick to get on the drugs if you think just talking will get you through the slump - the side effects can be not so fun, so be sure to ask about that.

Someday, if you feel it's something you'd like to share, I'd like to hear more about your take on adoption.

Take care.

12:28 AM, July 26, 2007  
Anonymous kennyking78 said...

That's the name of your blog, right? You are just "Getting Yourself Together".

It does take a lot to step out there as a black man and handle your business in such a way. Obviously your post was therapeutic to many. Hopefully it was therapeutic for you.

Thanks for sharing.

4:05 PM, July 26, 2007  
Blogger yet another black guy said...

man i'm so proud of you for doing something to help yourself. WANTING to get real help is a big start, something so many people do not do.

you're right that people tend to look at someone different if you tell them you've got problems, but mostly because they truly do not understand the nature of the problem in itself. of course that does nothing to stop you from feeling ostracized, but please remember that a true friend wants to help, they just don't know how.

12:00 AM, July 28, 2007  
Blogger BuddahDesmond said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. This hit very close to home. It's not often that you hear stories about people dealing with depression, especially from other black men. It's nice to know that I'm/we're not alone.

You get nothing but love from me not only for sharing but for taking the steps to get better as well. So many people are in pain, struggling, or having issues and just brush it to the side. They think it will go away or that they can manage it themselves. Sometimes you need to get help. Knowing that you need help and then actually going get that help is a sign of good character. I'm sure you'll be fine.

9:34 PM, July 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love you.

7:57 PM, August 02, 2007  

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