Feeling Depressed? 10 Things You Can Try Before Calling Your Doctor ~ Helping Black Women Effectively Manage Depression!
Are you feeling depressed? Just as you don’t have to call your physician for every slight ache, pain, and sniffle, you don’t have to run to your doctor because you’re feeling a little depressed. Of course, if you’re severely depressed or are considering harming yourself, call your doctor right away.
Take a quick survey of your life. You might have a good reason to feel depressed. Therapy and a daily pill won’t miraculously alter your life automatically, but they might put you in a better position to rebuild your life.
Then again, you might be able to get yourself back on track with a bit of work.
Never Underestimate Depression
Before moving forward, I believe it is essential to speak to the gravity and prevalence of depression in our society. While the following steps can be immensely effective in helping to relieve symptoms of depression, everyone should understand that the severity of depression can vary. In severe cases, it is best to seek professional help.
It is also essential to possess at least a limited perspicacity associated with the fact that although depression isn’t racially exclusive, how particular groups are impacted by it can fall along racial and gender-specific lines. Women are more likely to experience prolonged bouts of depression, especially true among African American women.
To exacerbate matters for African American women, while they tend to report their bouts of depression at a much higher rate than African American men, they are less likely to be treated for their symptoms. There is a widening canyon of those who are feeling depressed and those being treated for depression.
Are there ways to measure the severity of your symptoms or use your symptoms as a means of determining if your current bout with depression is minor or more severe? It all depends on who you ask. When using the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to evaluate a potential case of depression, an equal representation of severity applies to all symptoms. No symptom is more severe than the next. Conversely, The ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases) considers the type of symptom when classifying severity.
In a recent study, There were differences between the symptoms of depression in their association with severity with suicidal ideation, depressed mood, and anhedonia having the highest correlations with severity, whereas some symptoms were not significantly associated with severity distinctions. Future descriptions of the severity of depression should not consider all criteria as equal representations of severity.
To be safe, if you are uncertain of the severity of your condition, seek professional support to be on the safe side.
Everyone goes through stages of depression. It is when depression becomes persistent and overwhelming that it becomes problematic. For minor bouts of depression, the practices below can often provide relief.
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- Take care of your body. When your body is poorly taken care of, your mind suffers as well. One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling depressed is to put some emphasis on your body. Eight hours of sleep, healthy food, and a reasonable dose of exercise can do wonders for your mood.
- Spruce up your environment. Feeling under the weather psychologically? It’s time to declutter. Buy a plant. Hang some artwork that you love. Pick up your bedroom and make your bed.
- Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine can be just what you need when your mood is poor. Go for a long walk and just enjoy being outside. Listen to the birds or your favorite music. Get out of your head for an hour.
- Play a game. It could be a board game, lawn game, or video game. Play a game and have some fun. If you can do it with someone else, that’s even better. Who doesn’t like a good game?
- Create something. Paint a picture. Build a deck on your house. Hang a shelf in the garage. Make a website. Bedazzle your jeans. Create a scrapbook. Create something and notice how it impacts your mood.
- Use affirmations. Fill your mind and attention with positive thoughts and ideas by using affirmations. Make a list of 10 positive things you can say to yourself and repeat them as much as you can. Whenever a negative thought appears, try using your affirmations and see what happens.
- Stay busy. This one is tough because you likely want to sit around and do nothing, but that’s likely to make you feel even worse. Use your time wisely by giving some of the other tips on the list a try.
- Interact with others. Avoid spending all of your time alone. At the very least, find someone online to chat with. Ideally, find someone you can see in the flesh and have a conversation with them.
- Remember your accomplishments. Give yourself something positive to think about by remembering all the great things you’ve done. Relive that little league home run, graduating, or finishing your first road race.
- Make a reasonable plan for the future and begin working on it. Depression leads to getting stuck. One of the best ways to get unstuck is to create a vision for the future and begin working toward that. It might give your mood a great boost.
Depression should be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean that every bout of depression requires professional medical care. There are things you can try before calling your physician. Again, if you’re really under the weather or have thoughts of hurting yourself, ensure that you see a mental health professional immediately.
Wallace, R. (2016). Racial Trauma & African Americans. The Odyssey Project.
Wallace, R. (2017). Born in Captivity: Psychopathology As a Legacy of Slavery. Houston, TX: Odyssey Media Group & Publishing.
Wallace, R. (2018). The Burden of Depression Among African American Women. The Odyssey Project Research Department.
Wallace, R. (2020). The Undoing of the African American Mind. Houston: Odyssey Media Group & Publishing.
Zimmerman, M., Balling, C., Chelminski, I., & Dalrymple, K. (2018). Understanding the severity of depression: Which symptoms of depression are the best indicators of depression severity? National Library of Medicine, PMID: 30282058 DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2018.09.006.
 (Zimmerman, Balling, Chelminski, & Dalrymple, 2018)