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 below and share your thoughts in the comments section
The pictures I will use this week as the blog post cover photos were taken for another Mental Health Awareness Website. Thank you to both of the creatives for allowing me to use their work
This is a quagmire. A grim issue that has been on my heart for a while now so you can imagine how I felt when Sinawo asked that I join the ladies to talk a little about Mental Health with reference to relationships. I’m in all sorts of emotional places right now.
One of the hardest things I have experienced in life is having a relationship with myself; learning to accept me for who I am. This has been the main cause of my emotional and mental melee. And I believe it is also one of the reasons why lots of people are baking in a heat of depression and other mental health disorders.
When you grow up in a community that has little respect for individual differences, a community that is reckless in dealing with the ‘minority’, then chances are you would be a very unhappy child.
You will wonder why you are so different. You will wonder why you cannot be like everyone else. Why you can’t fit in. You will wonder what you did wrong. You become an angry child. You become bitter. Your emotions are sour. You have social phobias. That is not all…
You will want to belong. You will want to belong so bad the cost wouldn’t matter. You may become clingy, too clingy, it will push people away. Then you will hate yourself the more.
You will wake up every morning and cuss at daylight. You will pull the sheets over your head and sleep some more. You will sleep. And sleep. Because sleeping is a good escape.
It gets worse when you are awake. When reality hits you. You are still you, despite all your efforts. You are miserable, and nobody understands. You don’t even understand. You sink deeper and deeper into a black hole. Sometimes you wish you’d hit the ground already.
You begin to think of punishing people around you by hurting yourself. After all, that’s the only way to get their attention. You begin to foster suicidal thoughts. Maybe you try it. You are all these sorts of a mess because someone, some people irresponsibly sowed a seed of worthlessness in you, which you watered, because you found some truth in it.
Teen age is very fragile. During this time, sensitivity is high. Lots of mental disorders begin from here through bullying, mistreatment, harassment and oppression. And disorders that stem from this level usually are deep seated.
Loving and accepting yourself for who you are, and not who people want you to be is one way to mentally de-constipate. Having a positive relationship with yourself is a great step to mental liberation. Understanding that you are different and knowing that nobody has control over your thoughts except you, is energy.
Our relationship with people matter, but our allegiance must first be to ourselves. We cannot continue to die while others underserving of our suffering live. Our happiest place should be within us, and we can only achieve this if we become ours first.
It doesn’t matter if the world runs itself into confusion. We must create a safe haven, within ourselves, where the negativity cannot seep in. We each deserve to be in our very own rainbow bubble. Each of us is good enough. Let no one tell you otherwise!
V Naa Takia (Ghana)