Imade Nibokun “Depressed While Black” Interview

Our society hasn’t exactly made it easy on those with mental illnesses. But as Imade Nibokun explains in the latest video for Project UROK, people of color face unique challenges in getting help for mental health issues.

“Depression was something that was hovering in the background that I just got use to,” Nibokun says. “[It was] almost like a pair of shoes that you wear in.” She found herself in grad school racing along the highway “wanting to die,” which made her realize that she needed to get help.

On her blog, Depressed While Black, Nibokun writes about the particular stigmas and barriers to care for people of color with mental illnesses. “Growing up I thought depression was a ‘white person disease,'” Nibokun explains in the video, “that depression is just not something that we do as Black people… I really had to learn that I am worth the care.”

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Alone and Depressed During the Holidays

Image: Winter by Alphonse Mucha
Winter by Alphonse Mucha

Dealing with clinical depression during the holidays can be difficult, to put it mildly. If you’re going to be facing the holidays alone and you have depression, the situation may seem like more than you can bear. By Christmas Eve, your depression voice might be telling you that you’re a sad loser – unless you come up with some countermeasures. Keep these thoughts and suggestions in mind:

  • If you’re alone because someone close to you has died, or because your marriage or relationship has ended, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  • Ask yourself – are you actually okay with being alone during the holidays, but feel that you should be spending it with other people? We’re all bombarded with images of happy families spending time together during the holidays. Remember that as wonderful as it can be to be with family, it’s also very stressful.
  • Don’t tell yourself that it’s not worth decorating or cooking when it’s just you. What’s wrong with decorating your place or cooking a special meal just for yourself? Chances are that doing the holiday activities that you’re used to doing with family or friends will give you a lift.
  • Don’t hide the fact that you’re spending the holidays alone from acquaintances or colleagues. If you’re frank about it, there’s a good chance that someone will invite you over for Christmas dinner.
  • Don’t drink. Alone and drunk is not a good combination. Chances are that you’ll become sadder and more depressed.
  • Line up a special treat for yourself, like a museum visit, a concert or something else that will get you out of the house and make the holidays memorable.
  • Do some of the things that you did as a child, like watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or driving around looking at holiday decorations or making Christmas cookies.
  • Remember, you don’t have to be alone at the holidays. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
  • Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. Volunteer your time to serve or deliver holidays meals for people in need. Ask your local hospital if the children’s ward needs volunteers to read to the children who can’t go home for the holidays.
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I am depressed and I have decided to get help – John Woodcock MP | UK news | theguardian.com

When I fell off my attic ladder last year and ended up in hospital, it was the latest in a string of physical mishaps that led some of my friends to call me parliament’s Mr Bump.

First I had done in my knee running for a vote and ended up on crutches. Then I was assaulted on a train in a way that was not in truth very serious but people imagined was painful, particularly when a CCTV image of my rather well-built assailant was released to the media.

All of this was a bit embarrassing but nothing to hide away or be ashamed of. Hell, I even agreed to let my local paper, the North-West Evening Mail, come and take a picture of me in hospital after my ladder escapade.

via I am depressed and I have decided to get help – John Woodcock MP | UK news | theguardian.com.

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BYU study shows how depression blurs memory | Deseret News

You’re standing in the parking lot at work, trying to figure out where you put your car. In the back of your mind, there’s a niggling notion that you should look at the side lot — or maybe that was where you parked yesterday.

Most people have had that feeling. But a new study by researchers at Brigham Young University indicates that such "pattern separation" is particularly difficult for those who have depression.

The study is published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.

via BYU study shows how depression blurs memory | Deseret News.

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Reflections on Depression

How it feels

The Bridesmaid by Sir John Everett Millais

Note: Quotes in italics are mine.

I tell people it’s like being dead. It feels like being a ghost, maybe. You float through your days feeling insubstantial, cut off from warmth, light and all feeling. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a coffin buried alive. You’re screaming inside your head, but no one can hear you.

“It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

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What does depression feel like?

Image: Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward
Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward

“It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.

I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (getting out of bed was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.

    • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
    • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
    • You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
    • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
    • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
    • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
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