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How To Deal With Anxiety And Depression?: My Heart Is On Fire And My Mind Is Sweating 

How To Deal With Anxiety And Depression?: My Heart Is On Fire And My Mind Is Sweating

What Is anxiety and how to deal with anxiety and depression?

Let me just say this before we get too far into this: don’t go self-diagnosing; this piece is not for that activity. But I do want us to be more aware of our bodies and how they react to various situations. So, with that said, what do we know about this feeling? According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure”. Knowing the difference between our regular feelings of anxiety and the disorder are also very important. It can be as simple as what you get anxious about and how often that can determine if your experience can be diagnosed as a disorder.

When we start to have a constant, overwhelming dread of everyday situations, it’s gotten severe and is more likely to be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. This constant anxiety is referred to as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There are other anxiety-related disorders such as panic attacks, which are episodes of anxiety in response to triggers; and obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which the sufferer has persistent intrusive thoughts or carries out specific behaviors.

Anxiety is almost always seen along with depression. This pairing is so frequent that the two are seen as twins of one disorder. Furthermore, their similarities go as far as both affecting twice as many women as men. We’re already at a disadvantage.

It’s normal to see anxiety precede depression, usually in childhood. Though genetic predisposition to anxiety can exist, it is both biology and environment that affect the onset of anxiety. Traumatic experiences also work to reset normal fear-processing systems so that the body becomes hyper-reactive to stress. I hope your counting with me, ‘cause that’s the second disadvantage we have seen.

How To Deal With Anxiety And Depression As A Black Women?

It can be agreed upon that mental disorders don’t see race or gender. They can and will affect anyone they want. We have no say in what our minds decide is the best reaction to our experiences in life. However, what is different, is how we experience things and what, exactly, are our experiences in life. So many mental health advocates shed light on how depression, PTSD, and others, affect African-Americans. Some still say that the same attention is lacking when it comes to anxiety. This especially applies to Black women, yet another disadvantage.

Though this study is directed at Black women in the United States, I have found that many of the findings apply to what I’ve witnessed in Jamaica as well. For instance, the three types of Black women I spoke of in a previous piece, seamlessly apply to women in Jamaica as well. We’re either Strong, Angry, or a Jezebel. All of which have been mentioned in our music many times. And, as I mentioned in that piece, these boxes have affected how we are seen in society, therefore, forcing us to react to situations in ways befitting these titles. Always trying to fit a mold can mess with our thought process and escalate situations to their most undesirable states.

How to deal with anxiety and depression in college and as a black woman. We offer encouragement for individuals to seek out professional help.

How To Deal With Anxiety And Depression In College?

Let’s take a look at this story:

"It was during my days at university that the emotions became unbearable. I had always had my crying spells and overwhelmed moments, but it wasn't until I was barely functioning that I realized that this was not a normal bad day occurrence,’ Tonya Mullings 29 year old from St Andrew told the Jamaica Gleaner’s Outlook Magazine.

"The average person experiences some amount of anxiety about something, but when it's really excessive and affects a person's ability to function, it is considered a disorder,’ Associate Clinical Psychologist Justine East explains. “That is what Mullings thought it was - just another bad day.”

It took a while before Mullings went to a therapist. The reason was none other than a stereotype. A popular one about being crazy if you see a therapist. She thought it was normal. Being unbearably sad was something she came to expect and knew how to maneuver around. Until she couldn’t anymore. Mullings waited until her grades were affected to get help. “Failure was scarier than getting counseling…” according to the article. Her first diagnosis was depression. Fortunately, she was able to function well until graduation, after receiving the professional help that she needed.

Her depression could have well been caused by the anxiety we all feel about being able to graduate and obtain our dream jobs. We aren’t sure if we can do well and try our best to get the grades needed to graduate with honors. But what happens when you graduate and nothing happens? For Mullings, depression returned. Luckily, she was able to find a job eventually and felt fine. Then she started feeling ill and had to find out why.

This time, she was diagnosed not with depression, but rather anxiety. “I was even given some anti-anxiety medication to cope when my symptoms got to the point that it impaired my ability to function daily,’ she told Outlook, admitting that she was not pleased with having to be medicated to function daily. It took some time, with medication and some podcasts, instead of daily bouts of anxiety, Mullings has managed to get her condition under control.

Mullings' case is not unique, East notes that there are different anxiety disorders, based on various types of objects or situations that bring fear, anxiety, or avoidance behavior, and the associated thoughts. ‘A person can be fearful of separating from someone, performing, or being observed by others, and fear of a specific object such as flying or heights, fear of social situations,’ she noted.

What You Can Do For You

People affected by anxiety avoid situations that remind them of what they are fearful of. The nature of the possible attack is seen as unpredictable. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as asthma or a heart condition with medication usually being prescribed for those particular conditions. Regardless of what we think, medical evaluation is important if you see any of the symptoms of anxiety. Don’t diagnose yourself. Not knowing what is going on can be another source of anxiety, causing symptoms to be worse.

Those of us not requiring medical aid for our symptoms, don’t want to take medication or just experience regular anxiety, there are relaxation techniques we can try. But knowing your condition is still very important - never take that for granted. A change in lifestyle can also help. So diet and exercise and rest can also be helpful.

When To Ask For Help

Now. Yesterday. Tomorrow. No time is the wrong time to ask for help. Even if you’re not sure about your symptoms, try to talk to a medical professional.

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