“Treating Depression” by Maya Williams


Depression is something so fluid and transient in a person that it’s not fair to place it in one solid box in regards to the best way of treating it. Perpetuating the idea of a one size fits all in regards to mental illness is perpetuating the idea of it not being a big deal.

But it is a big deal.

Just because we don’t talk about it enough, it doesn’t make it unimportant. It doesn’t make it not worth bringing to the light.

Over the summer, I wrote a piece about having depression in the black community, focusing mainly on the responses of black religious community members who didn’t trust mental health professionals as authority figures, or believed that if you were depressed that meant that you weren’t loyal enough to God.

Speaking from personal experience, some family members would support the idea of therapy, and some family members will not. I directed my focus on the family members who did not, because that affected how I viewed therapy and anti-depressant medication as a sign of weakness.

Nevertheless, although it took a while, I went to therapy in order to treat my depression. Along with therapy, I was encouraged to use my religious and spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation in order to mitigate the side effects of my depression.

I did not use medication, but I learned to no longer see it as a sign of weakness of those who do use medication; because, if anything, it makes them stronger to be the ones to break that stigma in order to get the help that best suits their needs. It makes them stronger to use other avenues.

Treatment for depression is not a one size fits all formula.

At the moment, I no longer attend therapy, but that doesn’t mean that my depression has disappeared. Nor did it mean that all the therapy was for naught either.

There are still moments of not sleeping, not wanting to get out of bed, not knowing how to cope with external and internal stressors. However, I now have the tools to know that this is normal, and it is treatable. I also have the tools to cope with depression the way I want to once I have a moment. Those tools for me include prayer, writing, reading, but not a lot of meditating anymore, though (I should start that again).

Consider this as an encouragement to finding the best tools for yourself.