Hi, I’m from the Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache tribe. I face depression and anxiety. I was wondering if you have a way of solving the depression and anxiety?
Thank you so much for writing in. I commend you for following your gut to get help.
There are certainly things you can do to manage your depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, there are no quick solutions that will help you to “solve” these conditions. This is going to take some time working with someone you trust like a mental health professional.
Just to give you a little background, I’ll give you the definitions of each:
What is depression?
Popular theory suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic disposition, biochemical imbalance, as well as environmental and socialfactors. Three main types of depressive disorders—major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder—can occur with anyof the anxiety disorders.
What is anxiety?
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. People with the disorder experienceexcessive anxiety and worry, often expecting the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and may be overly concernedabout money, health, family, work, or other issues. GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not, for at leastsix months, and has three or more symptoms.
In general you can expect a few options for treating depression and anxiety.
What are your options?
Here are a few options, but if you want to talk to someone immediately, please text START to 741741.
- Take Medication – after you have been to a doctor they may recommend you take a prescription to get your symptoms in check. You can meet with your doctor regularly to ensure you don’t have any potential side effects and check your dosage.
- See a Counselor – finding a counselor might be helpful, especially if you want to talk through the reasons you may be experiencing depression and anxiety symptoms. You should feel comfortable with the counselor you select, respected, and have a sense that this is someone from whom you can learn. My recommendation is that you don’t give up and continually keep trying until you find someone that works. To find a counselor, check with:
- Tribal Clinic
- Your School, or University
- Mental Health America has a zip code locator to help you find clinics near you with low-cost or sliding scale services. They also have a Crisis hotline you can call: 1-800-273-TALK.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America also has a zip code locator you can check out.
- Counselor & Medication – if you’ve selected to not take medication and you’ve been meeting with a counselor regularly, but it’s still not cutting it. Talk to your counselor to see if a combination of counseling and medication could help you with your depression and anxiety.
You can also talk through your options with medication. For example, if you want to work through your symptoms with your counselor without taking medication, or if you would like to put a plan together for weaning yourself from meds by a certain date, or plan when you should be taking medication and your plan for ‘checking-in’.
Other Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, it’s a good time to look at your lifestyle and if there are things that may be adding to thesesymptoms.
This can be tricky because the symptoms of depression can lead you to isolating yourself, avoiding activities, and/or using alcohol or drugs. If these things are a part of your lifestyle you may want to seriously consider putting your efforts into working on your lifestyle. Some things that can improve your mood and boost your serotonin levels with everyday things like:
- Passing on the alcohol and drugs
- Spend time people you can confide in and trust
- Try to get out and socialize
- Participate in activities, see what’s going on with your tribe and get involved
- Eat well
- Reduce your stress
Again, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional.
I am giving you a big pat on the back for taking your health into your own hands. That’s no small feat. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.