Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

As someone who’s struggled with depression from my teens, I found it imperative that I participate in adding a voice to the #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek2016. I, alongside six other African female bloggers have come together to share our experiences for 7 days, under this year’s theme which is: RELATIONSHIPS. The motive is to hopefully spark a conversation, to change perceptions, to reflect and to empathize not only about our own struggles but of those in our lives as well. Please read my story below and share your thoughts in the comments section❤

Cover Photo By: Sipho Biyam
Model: Asithandile Mbalu

The pictures I will use this week were taken for a Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Thank you to both of the creatives for allowing me to use their work ❤

I don’t really know when I first had depression but I can trace its symptoms all the way back to about the ninth grade because that’s when I started failing school. I guess repeating grades is not all that unusual for teens but my version came with chronic insomnia, migraines and the hopelessness that imprisoned me with unexplained sadness. I would miss weeks and weeks of school just spending my days at the town library, losing myself in all the novels that became a necessary escape. I would wander off for hours consumed with a fictional world that made my own reality disappear even if just for a little while.

I was sick but I didn’t know how to expose the source so all the adults could help me. And every time teachers called my mother into the school to tell her about all my absconding, I always got an undeserved hiding. I wouldn’t get out of bed most days just absolutely repulsed at my own young life.

The depression became an unwanted companion which has gone by many names over the years; laziness, misbehaving and even disappointment. Looking back now I realize I was always kinda screaming for help, it just happened to be in a language that a lot were not equipped to understand and translate.

I still get gloomy days that still seek control over my life but dealing with depression demands that you armor up and fight the invisible dark forces. Some days all the fight you need is texting a friend and letting them know you are not feeling like yourself again, other times it’s ensuring that you are building for yourself, a life that is still beautiful enough to push you beyond the heaviness you feel in your heart. For me it’s creating experiences that inspire passion and fulfillment, so that anything else that drains my energies is eliminated.

The best relationship I am trying to have every day is with myself. I’ve acknowledged that I’m on a selfish journey of protecting my emotional and mental well-being. A lot of my time is spent introspecting and investigating my thoughts and actions, so that I am always highly self-aware and alert to triggers.

I am always trying to maintain a lifestyle that ensures that I don’t succumb to depression’s entrapment. And even though I fight, I still know the magnifying pull of its desolation sometimes. I can’t tell anybody else’s story, I can only tell mine and mine is made up of prayer, baby steps, great solid humans that I call friends and really loud music that helps to usher me to my happier place…


11 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

  1. Pingback: When The Past Comes Looking For Me – Sinawo Bukani

  2. Pingback: We Are Stories – Sinawo Bukani

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