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.

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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.

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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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.


Photos: Courtesy




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How’re you?” Is most probably the greatest sentence we misuse. It has become so routine, so much a greeting, that we have forgotten to actually pause and think about the weight of those three simple words. Do we really want to know how that person is? Do we have the time to listen? Do we even care?

And just like that, we answer “I’m fine“. Because that’s what we should answer when asked how we are. We have learned that that is the appropriate answer: even when we don’t mean it. So we crush and suffer and rot inside because we cannot bear to let the world in on how we are. Shame, pride, even fear… these have become more important than truth.

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We are all liars. We ask questions we don’t want answers to. We answer questions in ways that mask the truth. We mustn’t lose our image, we remind ourselves. People must see that we are social and caring enough to ask how people are doing. They must see we are strong enough to keep our lives in good order and have everything fine.
So what happens to that person who wants to actually tell you how they are? What happens to that loved one who wants to let somebody -you- in to their story? Their pain… their fear… What happens? Are you ready to hear them? Are you ready to listen to their story? Are you ready for their truth?

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My name is Shredded Innocence. And I know for a fact that none of us is okay.





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Last week was bad

He was very drunk and

His backhanded blow knocked me

Hard against the wall

My ribs hurt and

My ace is bruised and swollen

But I know he is sorry because

He’s brought me flowers


He broke a tooth

When he hit me Saturday

My eldest tried to shield me

They’re fighting for me but

I don’t want them to hate him;

I want them to understand it’s

Just his temper; he doesn’t mean it-

And he’s bought me flowers!



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Yesterday he hurt me so bad

I had to go to hospital

But I didn’t tell them how it happened

He’s my man and I

Married him for better or worse

He’s the father of my children

And I know he’s sorry because

He’s brought me flowers.


My mother wants me to leave him

But, if I leave, where can I go?

How will I take care of my children?

What will I do for money?

I’m afraid of him

But I’m too scared to go

And I know he needs me- look;

He’s bought me flowers!


Photos: Courtesy