Bits of ME
It may start as carelessly stated as, ‘I am unhappy’, ‘I am sad’, ‘I don’t like my life’, then for others; ‘I am tired of my life’ or ‘I hate my life’ then, the mother of ALL: ‘I hate myself too much’ for one to say, ‘I want to take my life’?
Have you and I been anywhere near those lines?
I was there!
It started in a room that only weeks past had been full of baby bliss painted in suitcases of little pinks and creams overalls, coveralls, onesies, pyjamas, a baby bassinet … all pink with purple flowers that would turn even an ugly smile into a fair one.
But there was no baby!
Baby Mutesi was by that time six feet under and perhaps already turning into earth.
With such grief, the fury of loss handcuffs any pride to having life; taking it away becomes remorseless.
Do you remember where I started?
It may start as carelessly as, ‘‘I am unhappy…’
Standing in that empty room daily with no baby but a painful scar tissue left of my C-section was a deep end. Years later, I will forever be thankful to those that pulled me up before I drowned.
But what about YOU?
Bits of YOU
Are you at the deep end?
Are you the kind who extends a walking stick to those mentally hanging on, or the ignorant bully to whom a mental health victim is weak, confused or acquire it genetically?
In one WhatsApp group I subscribe to, a member texted an account of one whose hands were deeply under the waters, ‘…tolina kyewalide nti ofunye depression mukule banange…’ loosely translated to mean how can one complain of being depressed because they don’t have what to eat, grow up folks!
He followed up with, ‘depression is for rich people…’
With today’s increased societal pressures, economic demands, social status, a near breakdown in the social support system, inadequate relationship management skills- especially among intimate relationships, Kansiime Evas Atwine a therapist, relationship and life coach at ICFC says these are bound to increase stress and trigger depression.
Those situations are not lenient to social status: I am answering the WhatsApp group mate
Kansiime says the sense of helplessness, chronic worry and hopelessness become familiar unwanted visitors in our lives
With that invested, Kansiime says be mindful of loss of interest in daily activity, withdrawal from vital relationships, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, or too much sleeping due to loss of energy, clinginess and insecurity.
With that, depression is now an ally!
Kansiime says at that point, we need to equip people with positive coping skills to avoid suicidal thoughts
Barely a week after the news of a Makerere University fourth year student who committed suicide after making posts asking followers to help her choose life or death, I came across this post on twitter by one of you.
“it’s been a hard day, very painful, very sad, I didn’t mean to scare anyone, Yes I attempted to end my life. Still hurting but am pushing on…”
The increasing suicide cases are a response to the upsurge in stress, anxiety and depression rates over the past one and a half years.
Covid-19 has particularly been a major stress trigger due to the associated challenges: job loss, loss of income, illness and death, and restricted human interaction.
“There is a lot of stigma associated to mental health…and guess where people run to – social Media to pour out. It’s called Talk Therapy. They are looking for someone who offers an ear, or advice,” Kansiime said.
In Uganda, Therapy/ Counselling Services not an obvious remedy, the Ubuntu phenomena is thus a reliable saviour: When you observe the indicators, pose this simple question “are you doing OKAY?”
It may save otherwise hopeless lives.
For that question communicates care and concern.
As a result of this, they will open up to you for help, then be the hero or heroine and not the bully.
Measures for policy makers
- Allocate resources for mental health prevention and treatment; there is need for deliberate investment into mental health campaigns at all levels.
- Workplaces need to have a Staff Wellness / Mental Health programs as a matter of policy
- Need for Policy makers to address key stress triggers. For example, inadequate parenting skills and dysfunctional families are a major source of Adverse Childhood Experiences, stress and pressure amongst children and young people. Other Triggers are unemployment, Finances and livelihoods.