Bill Kasanda, a professional biker and Mental Health Awareness Ambassador had a normal childhood and life up until the age of 26, on October 2015 when everything changed for him. He was out one day racing and having fun with friends when he was involved in a motorcycle accident that claimed his foot.
“I was rushed to the hospital to try and save the foot but it was too late. I was in a lot of physical pain but the emotional pain was too much to bear.”
Bill had two surgeries and spent two weeks in the hospital and went home confined to a wheelchair.
“Getting home was very traumatising. I had left my house in order and when I got there, my reality dawned on me when I walked through the door. My family and friends had installed railings for support in the house and made adjustments to suit my new life.
It was a lot to bear because I had just started motorcycle racing, people were cheering me on and there was a lot of expectation. I had to watch all that go down the drain.”
Conversations between my friends and I had changed. They didn’t know what to tell me to make me feel better and I didn’t know what to tell them either. I had disconnected from the rest of the world, left to my own thoughts.”
Bill who considered himself athletic before the accident gained over 30kgs while confined to a wheelchair. He was tired all the time and no longer found anything exciting.
“I was depressed. I was now disabled and I had lost everything I had worked for my whole life. My job and I spent all my savings on medical bills, checkups and physiotherapy.
People used to tell me, you need to talk to someone but they never told me why. The more they encouraged me to see someone the more I got frustrated.”
He admits that he couldn’t talk to his friends and family because they didn’t understand what he was going through. He later on found the courage and strength to talk to a psychiatrist and that was the beginning of his journey to recovery. His therapy sessions reminded him that it was okay not to be okay.
“I know there’s so many men like me out there who are suffering with depression because they haven’t reached out or found someone to talk to. I encourage you to come out and share your story. You don’t have to talk to the person right next you… talk to someone who you feel comfortable talking to.
Be courageous, share you story, redefine your life and do things that make your life exciting. That’s the best thing you can ever do for yourself.