Health and Fitness

May is Mental Health Month. What Brings You Peace?


There’s a month for everything, isn’t there? But May being the official month for mental health sort of makes sense. Spring is FINALLY here, and everything around use is undergoing renewal and transformation. As someone who has suffered from Generalize Anxiety Disorder for most of my adult life (and maybe even during my teenaged years) peace was something that evaded me for a long time. I worried about everything. My heart pounded in my chest constantly.I oscillated between anxiety and depression, and could cry at the drop of a hat and sleep an entire day and night away. My disorder distorted how I saw the world…and myself.

But once I got my help–with a comprehensive application of therapy, medication, tapping into my spiritual source, eating right and exercise–I was able to overcome. I am on the other side. The disorder will always be with me, looming in the shadows, just at the corner of my eye, so that means I have to stay vigilant if I want to keep it at bay.

These days, my gardening and family and the security of my unit gives me a tremendous about of peace. I’ve build a clan of people whom I love and love me, and we all feed each other’s spirits in one way or another.

Finding peace through through the beauty of nature. Through perfect divine design…


Too many of us are embroiled in so much pain, so much anxiety and anger. It literally eats us from the inside out. May is just a good a month as any to shed the cloud of gloom that might be hanging over you. I know many of you might have been taught that anxiety and depression can be overcome with prayer, or that to express these feelings somehow means you are deficient in your faith, and that if you prayed more, fasted more, tithed more, these symptoms will go away. I’m sorry. It’s simply not true. You are not spiritually deficient if you are having a mental health crisis. This is a lie that unfortunately that MANY well-meaning Christians and black churches dole out with little thought of the widespread damage it does.

Dr. Prakash Masand is a former consulting professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, and a New York City psychiatrist who is president of Global Medical Education.


His top 10 list of facts that everyone should know about depression:


  1. There’s more to depression than just feeling blue.  Symptoms include: psychomotor activity changes, trouble sleeping, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of guilt or hopelessness, decreased energy, trouble concentrating, appetite changes, and some people have suicidal thoughts or attempts.


  1. One in six people will develop major depression in their lifetime.  Major depression affects 121 million people worldwide. Two out of three individuals with depression do not receive adequate treatment.


  1. Depressed individuals are five times more likely to commit suicide and 35,000 people commit suicide each year due to depression.


  1. Depression doesn’t have to stop you from living if you get help. Some very successful people have had depression including: Billy Joel, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, J.K. Rowling, Buzz Aldrin, Calvin Coolidge, Eric Clapton, Terry Bradshaw and more.


  1. Depression is the leading cause of medical disability for people ages 14 to 44. On average, people who suffer from depression can lose $10,400 per year in income by age 50.


  1. One out of 10 new mothers will develop post-partum depression.  This is by no means a character flaw or weakness.  Symptoms of depression or the “Baby blues” can occur in many women, but if they don’t dissipate after two weeks, it could be post-partum depression and you should seek treatment immediately.


  1. Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men, and although depression can strike at any age, the average age of onset is 32.


  1. Patients with depression are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes compared to non-depressed individuals. If you develop depression after a heart attack, you are four times more likely to die with the greatest risk being in the first six months.

” If you have physical symptoms in addition to a sad mood or loss of interest in pleasurable activities, get a complete physical examination from you family physician to rule out other illnesses.  If everything comes back good, make an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional.  A full mental health evaluation will typically be done to accurately diagnose depression or the specific type of depression.  If you are diagnosed with depression, understand that you can get better.  There are many medications that can help.  First line of treatment would be antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs.  Psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy can be very helpful, and may be as efficacious as antidepressants in mild to moderate depression.  Lifestyle plays an important role in treating depression. Get plenty of exercise, make sure your friends and family support you and truly understand what you are going through, eat well, get enough sleep each night, and remain positive.  Some people do well with yoga to help alleviate depression as well,” Dr. Masand recommends.

So for those who have found their “inner zen” what gives you peace? Share and pass it on. 


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