May 28, 2008

"It crept up on her in small steps until the morning she woke to find the full weight of her old enemy sitting heavy on her chest. "I’m back," it leered."

For some, Ayo’s experience in from Dusk to Dawn is exactly how it happens. Instead of the unpredictable vibrancy of every day, life slowly turns to flat line shades of gray. “What difference does it make? Why bother?” are the answers to every question. The only reason for getting out of bed is responsibility to a loved one who needs you or a job that puts gas in your tank, a roof over your head and food on the table.

Depression is a condition I describe as being shut behind an iron door with no windows, no knobs and no way out. Well-meaning friends and family offer their opinions and advice. If you’re peri-menopausal, post-menopausal or anywhere in between, it must be the hormones. Some chalk it up to a temporary blue mood -“don’t worry; you’ll be alright. ” Others insist that all you need is prayer. But when the blue mood stretches into days and weeks, seek help. Think about it; you might pray for relief from a toothache, but you'd still call the dentist! Depression is an illness, not a weakness. And God helps those who help themselves.

Are African-Americans more inclined to see help for physical ailments rather than mental illness?

As descendants of people who have endured and overcome, do we see mental illness as a weakness?

Are men less likely than women to seek help?

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