By Njura Ivy.
Mental health issues have been a topic in everyone’s mouth. Some talk out of knowledge, others out of concern but most talk from a point of ignorance. The worst part of it is that it is a generational chain of unhealed traumas, wrecked souls, and forced smiles.
Last weekend I attended an activity organized by an NGO in Nakuru County that deals with psychiatric disorders and from what I gathered, hell has found its way to our minds. The subtlety that comes with these disorders is the actual nightmare here. Talking to a couple of people that decided to share their stories got me thinking of how fast our generation is getting buried behind closed curtains, unbathed skins, drowning our sorrows in alcohol and escaping our realities by dosing on high levels of dopamine-producing drugs.
This welled my eyes.
The judgment that comes with leakage of the knowledge of its existence is even worse. Uncouth practices that are carried out to deal with mental illnesses are another bunch of traumatizing events. People with mental illness bear the burden of gathering the strength to live a normal life and fit in, while in real sense they have lost themselves in the fantasy trying to escape their demons.
Anxiety can be as simple as hearing your phone buzz when there is actually no sound. Depression will keep you away from the bathroom for days without even realizing it. Bipolar will attack you with a consistent chain of false highs and true lows; words from different champions battling with these illnesses.
A recent event that will get to most of us if not all is Caroline Kangogo’s spree of uncalled-for actions. In her suicide note that went viral on social media had a clear depiction of how heavy depression can take a toll on an individual. Divorces have seemed normal lately that we tend to overlook the aftermath. Heartbreaks have become a reason to laugh at our peers and in the haze of the moment losing sight of how severely they affect our day-to-day lives.
Sitting from the other end of the room, I can attest to the fact that it is always a struggle of putting on a brave face when brushing off the fact that it sends you down an abyss of unending darkness, loss of self-worth, self-esteem, losing the meaning of life and eventually killing a part of your humanity. Turning off your emotions is the worst stage a human would get to in the face of events that appeal to the core of humanity.
Men happen to be on the losing end on this one because society has placed the emotional bar at unreachable heights causing them to have the most successful suicides.
The rise in unruly killings and inhumane crimes is a cause for alarm but we choose to judge and talk in circles of whispers because that is easier than having to face the elephant in the room. It is always easier said than done anyway. On my end, having had first-hand experience of mental illness, I would advise that we as society and individuals take it upon ourselves to create safe spaces for everyone and allow healing to take place. Otherwise, we are dwindling into a state of complete destruction hiding behind happy photos on social media and shallow conversations to avoid judgmental whispers if not laughter and faces. Mental health should be taken as seriously as any other killer disease we know on earth.
Njura Ivy, a second-year student at Maseno University is a mentee of the U.S sponsored mentorship programme by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.