Last week, I shared a story of a friend. She is currently at Mathare Mental Hospital, not confined but receiving counseling from experts at the hospital.
My friend Jackie has a job. She earns 20,000 shillings per month (after statutory deduction). She pays 8,000 for her rent every month. She has two brothers in secondary school who depend on her. At the end of every month, her parents at home, together with two other siblings expect her to send some money to sustain them.
Jackie has always been smiling. Little did we know that within, depression was weighing down on her and that she was at the point of breaking. She started talking to herself, the following day she stripped naked and all she could say was “nimechoka!” (I am tired).
Sometimes the little job we have is not for us, but for our families who look up to us. As an African, it is not good to have something on the table as your siblings go hungry. Most of us, therefore, sacrifice the little we have for our siblings.
Sometimes the sacrifice becomes too heavy on our backs, especially when the siblings become too demanding, mistaking your favor to mean their right, pushing you to the wall to the point of breaking.
One constant thing about depression is that it never comes from strangers. 99 percent of depression comes from within your circle, mostly family. Nobody cares about your depression. You have yourself to take care of. The very people you are giving your all will abandon you as soon as you are confined in a mental hospital.
I am not saying that you should stop helping your family. No. What I am saying is help as much as you can but when it starts eating up your mental capacity, to the point of running you into depression, stop.
The problem with the majority of us is the inability to say NO. We feel saying NO to our siblings is a sign of selfishness. Learn to say NO when you can’t handle it. Be true to your health because your body has no spare parts.
Talk To The Right People
The worst mistake you will ever make when you are depressed is talking to the wrong people. With depression, not everyone is worth talking to.
A friend of mine was depressed. He told his boss about it, hoping to relieve some pain. One day, he entered the office unannounced and found his boss make a joke about his problem with other employees. He resigned. He fell deeper into depression.
Sometimes depression weighs us down because there is nobody to listen. People are always too busy with their lives. Those who appear to listen are often pretending and once they are done, they will talk about you to others.
Talk to people who are always there for you. Ignore those who only see you as an option. In most cases, avoid sharing your depression problems with your colleagues at the office. 90 percent of your colleagues at the office are not your friends and give no damn whether you are healthy or dead.
If you can, look for a professional counselor. A professional counselor will give you an ear and will advise you accordingly, even if it will be textbook-like.
Live Your Life
Every time you struggle to be like someone else, the best you will ever go is to be second. Do not let the lives of others drive you into depression. Be you. Live your life and let others live their lives.
Make your intentions known. Let your family know that you will always share the little you have but they should understand when the same little is too little.