Former First Lady Michelle Obama says she’s suffering from a “low-grade depression.” “I’m waking up in the middle of the night because I’m worrying about something or there’s a heaviness,” in her ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’. “I try to make sure I get a workout in, although there have been periods throughout this quarantine, where I just have felt too low.” – CNN
As a world, we are living through a very intense time in history. With more than one thing happening at once, people are around the world are struggling to maintain good mental health. Garry L. Jones, a retired lieutenant with the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, is all too familiar with the subject.
Suffering from depression since he was six years old, Jones uses such things as regular exercise to improve and manage his mental health. “I was just a regular kid. No different than any other kid, at least I thought I was. During that time, this heavy feeling came over me, a feeling of sadness. At six years old, you don’t really have any reason to be sad,” said Jones.
When Jones finally mustered up the courage to tell his family about the thoughts and feelings he was dealing with, he says it took them by complete surprise. “They were shocked. I have always been upbeat. The life of the party. A smile on the face. I was masking it.”
In his book, “Still I Rise & Manage Depression: Learn to Live a Balanced Life with Mental Illness,” he details his struggle with depression and ways he learned to fight it and live a balanced life. One of the reasons Jones thought it was so important to share his story and write his book to help others is because he says that depression can be a taboo subject in the African-American community. Statistics show only 1/4 of African-Americans seek mental health help, but they are 20% more likely to experience issues than the general population.
In the book, Jones shares ways to fight the feelings of depression, heal yourself from the inside out, and practice good mental health. The book can be used as a resource for Americans now more than ever before as the COVID-19 global pandemic grips the lives of countless people in America and around the world.
COVID-19 and the economic downturn that came with it is negatively impacting people’s mental health in addition to creating new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness. Recent data shows that nearly half of all adults in the U.S. reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.
During the pandemic, people may not be able to or may be worried about traveling to the doctor’s office and speaking with a doctor or therapist about their mental health issues. It Jones’ hope that “Still I Rise” can be used as a resource for hope during these unprecedented, devastating times.
A lot of African-Americans, in particular, may also feel a sense of hopelessness right now in America as racial tensions escalate and police brutality continues to be an issue. This kind of atmosphere can negatively impact mental health and create feelings of despair towards the future. Turn to “Still I Rise” as a resource during these times and find ways to deal with the feelings of despair and live a balanced life no matter the circumstances. Jones says that masking the struggles, like he and so many others try to do, is not the way to go about healing.
“Find someone to confide in,” said Jones. “The healing begins when we first share mental hurts and pains with someone: whether it’s a friend, doctor, pastor, or someone you trust. If you find that is hard to do, go somewhere and cry to release the pain.”
Early detection of depression, even low-grade depression can make for a better life and ultimately save a life. In “Still I Rise,” you will learn practical steps to manage depression and other mental illnesses while living a balanced life.
The book is available at www.vmbooks.com