Sunday, November 2, 2008

Shakir Stewart of Def Jam Records Dies

shakir stewartHow can anyone be so young, appear to have it all, yet die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound? It appears Shakir Stewart, 34, died by suicide. He was Jay-Z's successor at Def Jam Records, a Morehouse graduate and the man who signed Beyonce to Hitco. Both Huffington Post and BET have reported this story. Billboard also reports his death as a suicide. Stewart died yesterday in Atlanta, according to news sources.

I haven't read anything that says Stewart suffered depression. He may have gone through an immediate crisis that led to the act, but suicide usually goes hand in hand with depression and committing suicide may indicate a depressive disorder. Sometimes depression is the result of external factors, such as tragedy, combined with a chemical imbalance in the brain bringing on deep sorrow. Self-medication or turning to drugs only makes it worse, and many people who suffer from depression begin to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help.

We African-Americans are often ashamed to admit we're depressed and need professional mental heath help. We must work harder to get over the fear and stigma, and learn to recognize signs of depression in loved ones. Here are some of the signs of depression.
Symptoms include:
  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • (NIH)
If you're depressed, get help, dark moods pass. You have to hold on.

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