Thank you for bringing Ciera Graham to The Herald’s opinion page. I appreciate her thoughtful insights and learning about her experiences as a woman of color. As a white woman, my experiences will not be the same as hers. This is all the more reason for listening and learning from her, finding our commonalities, and working to make our world more equitable for all. I truly look forward to reading more of her work.
Thanks now to Ms. Graham for writing about Michelle Obama, mental health, and taking care of ourselves. Since I’m not a podcast person, I missed Ms. Obama’s discussion of low-grade depression. Thank you for amplifying her announcement. As someone who has dealt with depression in the past, I appreciate those in the public sphere talking about it. It is vital to break down the stigma.
Mental health struggles can affect anyone. Depression doesn’t care if you are strong, charismatic, and successful. It can creep in. It doesn’t matter if you appear to be holding it all together. It will gnaw at you anyway.
But, there is hope and actions can be taken to break it up, loosen its hold. Personally, counseling (cognitive behavioral therapy, to be specific) worked well for me. There are medications that can help, if needed. Plus, there is a growing body of literature showing the benefits of self-care, such as moderate exercise (especially in nature), eating healthy foods, mindfulness, and finding what truly restores our psychological reserves. These are things we can do to counter the low-grade depression. In other words, surrendering our cape and getting some rest.
A good resource online is the National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.namiwa.org