Depression and other mental illnesses are severely misunderstood in our Kenyan societies. In fact, they are taken as a joke. Even introversion isn’t something that people take to kindly yet it’s a personality case, story for another day.
I identify with mental illness because:
a). I am a sufferer of depression and postpartum depression
b). I have been misunderstood and even ridiculed.
c). I am a Forensic Psychology, Psychology and Education student and all these disciplines touch specially about the mental health and well being of an individual.
I am beginning to believe that they should be a segment called:
Mental Health and Awareness: Psychological Illnesses in Kenyan Schools.
Have you ever asked yourself if Kenyans are a depressed lot or if they are aware of some of the troubles affecting us as a society?
I have asked severally especially since being a sufferer of ”madness” like this?
Do you know there is a point in my life I wanted to commit suicide because I had had enough?
You did? What exactly was wrong with your head? Suicide? But why?
I had a severe bout of depression that left me motionless, numb, painless, hopeless, sick and tired, I had reached at the end of my tether.
Really? Then what had happened?
My mum came to visit and found me a shell of myself. I mean I had very long hair but it had bunched up like Ugali, from sleeping.
A skunk would be embarrassed at my smell, my sister didn’t understand. My mother thought I was just lazy and my younger sister wondered what the hell was wrong with me.
And my mother told me to get my lazy ass up and stop being stupid and get a job!
At the time, it was lack of a job that made my self pity escalate.
It was the ambitions that I had carried with me that I saw crumble right before my eyes that made me vanish into the oblivion.
It was the sadness of not being able to provide for myself and family, as an elder sister that made me feel like a failure.
I had no one to talk to because who would understand?. Every corner I had turned was so brutal with its answers and people moved on with their lives.
I starved myself to see if I could die slowly and painfully, yet, I never felt the pain. I thought about jumping off of a building and ending my stupid life.
I had thought about nothing but my miserable life and how I was creating trouble for everyone else.
How did you then live to this day?
My two relatives had called me stupid in two different situations. My mum thought that I had become lazy and stupid.
I shouldn’t have opened my legs to lay down with a man yet I knew the consequences which include getting a job and fending for my kid.
I’m having it too easy to allow my younger sister to provide for me yet at the time, she was a newbie at her engineering job.
I was a loser in her eyes.
My sister on the other hand remarked jokingly how nobody will play with her hard earned money that she would deal with them accordingly.
She would actually sue them. I was so vulnerable and felt overlooked.
These two most trusted people were standing above me, not understanding me and where I had come from.
But these two people made me stand above again with their mean words which wasn’t their fault.
Because I am not lazy, I am never stupid and those words hurt more than anything in this world. That’s when I felt God calling me for a purpose, a purpose I have been chasing for eight (8) years not really knowing why.
Is that how you came off of your depression? That must be a depressing tale.
Yes it is and that’s why until today I speak about depression, to my friends and family. I speak to people who feel helpless, hopeless and worthless and the heavy load of the world is upon them.
I vowed to make others aware about it, but felt ashamed about it because seriously who would listen or where do I begin?.
In fact, some of the materials I had written years ago, I carry them with me to this day, in my first ever laptop, purchased by my partner to me.
So what are you trying to say?
People never understand or have misconstrued ideas of what depression is without knowing the real facts.
And you know?
Having been a sufferer , YES and firmly. I read and kept myself informed. At the time, I checked if they were Doctors to help me with treatment but I found none.
I felt discouraged and demotivated so I kept reading and understanding what this was all about.
HOW COULD I SUDDENLY LOSE IT?
And what is it that you want us to understand today as Kenyans?
I would for you to understand depression by answering the following questions:
- What is depression?
2. Is depression taken seriously in our Kenyan societies? If no, why do you think so? If yes, explain.
3. What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
4. What are the causes of depression?
5. Can depression lead to drug use?
6. Is depression a Psychological Illness or a Mental Illness?
7. Can depression be cured?
8. When I’m depressed does it mean I have lost all my mental faculties and now I’m mad?
9. Are mad people depressed?
10. Are there any help centres in Kenya dealing with depression?
11. I want to be a study depression, what do I need to study or know?
12. People judge depressed people without understanding why, I want to provide counsel, how?
13. Are people with depression mentally ill and a danger?
14. I am ashamed of speaking about my depression, should I?
15. How is depression treatment administered? Or does depression have a cure?
Depression isn’t a joke yet we joke about it. If you don’t know what someone else is feeling or going through, kindly care to find out before you perceive to know it all.
Want to talk? I have a very friendly service called Listening Service which I introduced last year in my vlogs on YouTube and I’m providing it free for those who are my email subscribers for a limited period.
Otherwise, reach me on GERTRUDE. AKINYI AT GMAIL DOT COM to find out more and the pricing for the service.
Doesn’t matter where in the world you’re at.
TALK TO ME: Would love to hear you tell it all.
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