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
When you are born into a world marred with extreme poverty, extreme disease and it’s sibling hunger, quickly you learn that emotions (experiencing them, talking about them or even spelling the word) is a luxury you can’t afford.
It’s interesting that I get to write about mental health and relationships this week because my sister just had a hellish week emotionally to which the doctor said “There is a period in your life that you were sad. Sounds to me that you have been depressed for a while”
I thought to myself in that moment,
“I have known for a while that my sister is not okay”
But because it wasn’t physical, I assumed it would go away or at the very least it wasn’t serious. However after watching her suffer in a way that she couldn’t explain, lose all appetite to eat, struggle to get out of bed or actually sleep, that’s when I realized that I wanted to pay attention.
Mental health in Africa or at least here in Uganda where I come from, is not prioritized and there is a part of me that understands why.
However, without the functionality of our mental faculties am afraid we stand to lose everything.
When you seem to be under a lot of stress, it’s brushed off with either a snide comment telling you are not African enough,or a reckless hint that a witch doctor got his pay day to mess with you.
You are not allowed to pay attention to your emotions, not even when your father walks out on you when you are 13. The sad part is it’s not anyone’s fault.
I have experienced some profoundly low moments in my life. Things nobody trusted me to come out of still intact emotionally or mentally but I’ve seen myself overcome it all. What I seem to question, is the how part.
A relationship with God is how.
Am not talking about, a big gigantic guy who sits on a golden seat deep in the sky and speaks with a thunderous voice, am talking about, a still small voice in my heart.
The world is very noisy and almost everyone’s life is pretty chaotic, so I guess we all find a way to cope.
So let me tell you about this sanity pill called a relationship with God.
Growing up when I dropped something or fell down, and yelled ‘mummy’, mother dearest would tell me to call Jesus instead.
She would, say “Jesus is the only constant, I won’t be here next time you fall”. So it grew on me.
Am just a girl who has learned to trust in an all knowing awesome God, to make up for all the emotional voids in my life.
It’s not work. I declare everyday to be a good day, knowing He releases a fresh full dose of mercy and grace to carry me through whatever that day may bring .
I trust Him to figure out everything that concerns me, from the least to the greatest, because frankly the times I have trusted in my own ability to make these decisions, it hasn’t worked out so great .
Mental health requires relinquishing control to someone who knows better because that way, you lean not on your own understanding and oh the peace that comes with!
Trusting in the constant is how I keep my sanity.
Fionah Komusana (Uganda)
Writer. Lawyer in a year.
Hopes she will never have to choose between the two.