If you’re African, you are constantly reminded not to sound or act “white”. Truth be told, our fear of “appearing white” has resulted into we Africans burying our heads in the sand and sweeping critical issues under the carpet. Stress and depression is a problem that has been ignored for a long time, and as a result, Africa continues to lose a great number of people through cancer, HIV/AIDS, depression, etc. I have lost a couple of friends through suicide. Having had my encounters with stress and depression, I can tell you it’s not a happy place to be.
I may not reach the whole world with this post, but I believe that getting to two or three people will be a worthwhile first step. Ripple effect, if you may?1.
- S&D don’t mean a person is moody and sad all the time. Being sad and moody may be symptoms of stress and depression, but they are not definite SI Units. If anything, there are many people succumbing to stress and depression yet they appear happy and jovial. For a majority of people suffering from Stress and Depression, they are in a constant state of numbness. They are like a void- with only extreme feelings of anger or pain, and even extreme happiness.
- Stress and Depression is not caused by witchcraft. Yeah, I understand that we Africans hold our beliefs sacred, but sometimes, they have resulted in fatal mistakes. As mistaken as the belief that malaria is caused by spirits or that HIV/AIDS can be healed through rape, believing that S&D is an effect of witchcraft is misinformed.
- S&D is not a death sentence. Just because someone succumbed to the effects of S&D, in this case, suicide, it doesn’t mean that you will too. Anyone and everyone can recover from S&D, if and when appropriate steps are taken.
- Seeking professional help for S&D is not weakness. S&D is not weakness. It is a disease. Seeking professional help isn’t weakness either. Men, especially, get stigmatized for seeking professional help. At the end of the day, is it worthwhile living a troubled tormented life just because we fear what people think or say?
- S&D is not a hormonal problem. It’s not because you have flaring emotions, or because your hormones are barely ever in check. No. Even emotionally balanced people can have spouts of S&D.
- S&D is not a white-people problem. SIGH. Really. Africa is losing thousands of vibrant people full of potential to this menace. S&D isn’t a respecter of race, color or religion. Everyone is vulnerable. No matter how “African” they may feel.
- S&D is not the same for everyone. We all react differently to different stimuli and problems. It is the same for S&D. We will all have different manifestations and different processes. Our time and modes of recovery will also differ. Don’t compare yourself.
Was this helpful? Do you know of persons suffering from S&D? Do you know of anyone willing to share their story? Why not share and help spread awareness? One person at a time.