I thought 2019 was the worst, well 2020 was probably chuckling when I cursed the previous year. Personally, 2019 was the worst in terms of mental health for me. In March last year, I went to get anxiety medication only to be told am depressed. I used Doctor Google to determine what was ailing me. Lol, don’t use google just go to the hospital. Shocked but glad that I was getting medication.

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Before I went for medication, I had countless nights of crying myself to sleep, nightmares, anxiety, sadness, dark thoughts and monotonous days. I hated waking up or even going to work. In a nutshell I hated my life. I would cry in the restrooms at work during my breaks then go back to work. No one noticed, I made sure of it. That’s the thing with depression, you get so good at pretending and it’s almost like you have a personality for everyone. You show any other side of you except the depressed one.

I couldn’t sleep without piritons or weed. They were my two best friends at the time. I was addicted to them. I needed these two for me to sleep peacefully.

It was my off day, and I had cried for hours. Questioned my existence and if it was worth it. I was sad and in pain. I honestly don’t know how I got there but I was there, helpless, hoping for a miracle and yearning for just one normal day in my life. I lost myself in depression. I didn’t know who I was or how I felt to be normal. Every day was a struggle for me. To just wake up and not have dark thoughts, to laugh, and have genuine smiles but all that was something I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I had had enough and decided to seek professional help. I visited Nairobi Homes, a hospital in Mombasa, Bamburi. They were very nice and I remember telling their nurse the reason why I hadn’t visited the hospital for the longest was that I thought they would stigmatize me. The nurse was amazing she even shared her own battle with depression, motivated me but also helped the injections go easier, I hate injections. They gave me hope and even got me a therapist who helped me a lot in the few sessions we had.

The first thing I said to the therapist, was I wanted to feel normal. To wake up and go about my normal day and not have myself feeling sad and depressed. I got there eventually, even though I have depressing days even to date but I manage fine.

Apart from therapy and medication, I started being proactive in my life. Started living a more self -conscious life. I started observing how I behaved, reacted, and my thoughts as well. Changing how I thought and perceived things.  Started by appreciating the little things in my life. Gratitude is life-changing. Every day I would write down 5 things that I was grateful for. Before sleeping I would be mindful of my thoughts. I forced myself to think positively.

I didn’t do a lot of therapy; it was expensive but the little that I did changed my life. It gave me hope and energy to work towards being who I wanted to be.  My therapist was understanding and very encouraging. Never did he ever make me feel invalidated.  I became intentional in a lot of things I engaged in. Fast forward, I read a lot about depression and general mental health. A lot of self-help books and much more. I observed how I behaved, how I reacted to different stimuli, and how I responded.

I realized that depression had no power over you.  You can get rid of it by first accepting that you are depressed, seeking help, and being proactive. Making changes in your life and taking responsibility. That’s the only way. Denying it and saying depression is for the rich is only going to make it worse. Riding on that wave of denying that there is an issue with mental health and something that needs to be done is just being ignorant.  

A year and some months later I can say, it’s not easy, and mental health stigma is real but it’s your responsibility to seek help and offer help when needed. I sincerely apologize for those I pushed away and I’m deeply grateful for those who held my hand all through the struggle. The truth is there is light at the end and yes, mental health should be taken seriously.

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