Depression: The Word That Must Not Be Named

September 16, 2014 5:36 PM

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Depression: The Word That Must Not Be Named

Growing up, I learned that African Americans do not publicly discuss or "put our personal business in the street." But I believe that, as a community, we must break our silence and openly discuss certain "unmentionable" subjects so that the veil of shame can be lifted and healing can truly begin. Depression has traditionally been an unmentionable subject in the African-American community. I have experienced debilitating bouts of depression since I was about 15 years old. During these bouts, death stalked me daily. I was constantly tortured by a loud voice inside my head that pushed and taunted me to end my life. Sadly, I endured this torture in silence for 29 years before finally deciding to take medication to treat my depression. Given the vice grip that my loud inner voice had on my mind, it is only by grace and mercy that I am still here. Arresting my loud inner voice has been a process. Early on that loud voice was powerful and nearly drove me to the brink of ending my life. I can remember holding a large quantity of pills in my hand, prepared to ingest all of the medication. But something inside would not allow me to do it. I now understand that the mind is incredibly powerful. Through counseling and treatment I discovered that my loud inner voice was not offering comfort, peace, or freedom but setting the stage for horrific pain. Slowly, I learned to take that loud inner voice and the destructive thinking it promotes captive, silencing it before it starts.

At the outset I admit that I hate taking any type of medication. In my case, finding the right medication to treat my depression was a process made all the more complicated because I was uninsured. My then-treating physician started me on 10 milligrams of Lexapro a day, a dosage that gave me only se...

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