World Health Day: Let’s Talk Depression By Toyyib

It’s another April 7, the World Health Day. This year, it’s about depression. I read an article awhile back that says a large proportion of the population suffers from at least one mental issue (medical science says it’s behavioural), one of their explanations why only a few people can be 100% healthy.

Physiologically with every passing day and consequent cell deaths, we are killed a little more. Religion tells us with every day we are closer to our graves. That is about our body what about the mind?

I think it’s quite important the World Health Organisation is changing the narrative. Not a lot of people are open to the idea that they need to listen more, care and help more or that there is a reason to. Only the person labelled or diagnosed ‘mental’ (in Nigerian speak) is considered to need a form of help.

We forget that a lot more need our help. That nice, decent, young man or woman you know dealing with some issues could be struggling. The struggles of life makes it that everyone is in deep pursuit of their dreams they forget the next person. As if that is not enough, we create artificial gaps because of ethnicity, religion and status. I want to continue with an illustration of struggles within oneself as well as with the society as it affects me.

We forget that a lot more need our help. That nice, decent, young man or woman you know dealing with some issues could be struggling. The struggles of life makes it that everyone is in deep pursuit of their dreams they forget the next person. As if that is not enough, we create artificial gaps because of ethnicity, religion and status. I want to continue with an illustration of struggles within oneself as well as with the society as it affects me.

The struggles of life makes it that everyone is in deep pursuit of their dreams they forget the next person. As if that is not enough, we create artificial gaps because of ethnicity, religion and status. I want to continue with an illustration of struggles within oneself as well as with the society as it affects me.

I want to continue with an illustration of struggles within oneself as well as with the society as it affects me. My struggles – Well, I have had some things like other people on earth that I am not proud of, one of which disturbs me and I will like to talk about. It is about a particular problem that has its complications. I will not bore you with the details. It makes me paranoid about some things; visiting or talking to family, friends, my hometown and nowadays speaking on the phone especially when the caller starts speaking the dialect. Those moments, I am faced with it over again. One of the complications is that people naturally believe I should have answers. It means elders decades older than I am are saying that I can be the solution. Somehow by accident of birth position and gender, I am to have this genius move up my sleeves or come up with a perfect speech that will put things in place.

I will not bore you with the details. It makes me paranoid about some things; visiting or talking to family, friends, my hometown and nowadays speaking on the phone especially when the caller starts speaking the dialect. Those moments, I am faced with it over again. One of the complications is that people naturally believe I should have answers. It means elders decades older than I am are saying that I can be the solution. Somehow by accident of birth position and gender, I am to have this genius move up my sleeves or come up with a perfect speech that will put things in place.

One of the complications is that people naturally believe I should have answers. It means elders decades older than I am are saying that I can be the solution. Somehow by accident of birth position and gender, I am to have this genius move up my sleeves or come up with a perfect speech that will put things in place.

Somehow by accident of birth position and gender, I am to have this genius move up my sleeves or come up with a perfect speech that will put things in place. Now, I am not saying I don’t have a role to play in the matter but to put that immense pressure on one single being – my young self, something leagues of men and women haven’t achieved feels a little daunting too much.

It is not anyone’s fault, they have obviously tried everything else. It means that I am to grow overnight with no manual or guide and just fix this somehow. I am some years over two decades trying to figure out my life, not even sure any decision I make is the best.

I struggle to fix my bills, not employed, still learning and evolving. I have to deal with this somehow. This alternate construct means I can’t be home, have a discussion with a family, friend, visit the village without having to deal with the issue (at least in my mind if no one asks me directly).

It means I can’t have honest conversations with anybody that is involved or privy of the situation without getting the aura that a particular response is a result of the matter. I can’t get an opinion from someone I respect whom I am really eager to get one from without having to consider if the response or conversation would not be weird.

It means that I am to grow overnight with no manual or guide and just fix this somehow. I am some years over two decades trying to figure out my life, not even sure any decision I make is the best. I struggle to fix my bills, not employed, still learning and evolving. I have to deal with this somehow. This alternate construct means I can’t be home, have a discussion with a family, friend, visit the village without having to deal with the issue (at least in my mind if no one asks me directly). It means I can’t have honest conversations with anybody that is involved or privy of the situation without getting the aura that a particular response is a result of the matter. I can’t get an opinion from someone I respect whom I am really eager to get one from without having to consider if the response or conversation would not be weird.

I struggle to fix my bills, not employed, still learning and evolving. I have to deal with this somehow. This alternate construct means I can’t be home, have a discussion with a family, friend, visit the village without having to deal with the issue (at least in my mind if no one asks me directly). It means I can’t have honest conversations with anybody that is involved or privy of the situation without getting the aura that a particular response is a result of the matter. I can’t get an opinion from someone I respect whom I am really eager to get one from without having to consider if the response or conversation would not be weird.

It means I can’t have honest conversations with anybody that is involved or privy of the situation without getting the aura that a particular response is a result of the matter. I can’t get an opinion from someone I respect whom I am really eager to get one from without having to consider if the response or conversation would not be weird.

I can’t get an opinion from someone I respect whom I am really eager to get one from without having to consider if the response or conversation would not be weird. Each of those moments have killed me a little more. And because of my person, I never even discussed it with anyone until recently. If not for the lights and processes that make one look beyond these, these are things in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert ‘that make one start drinking gin at 9am’ (my religion is against gin at any time anyway). I will be forever grateful to my family, close friends, teachers, elders, mentors – those that don’t allow it define our relationship especially those that do despite knowing what’s going on. They make it easy. They have come to realise, ‘it’ does not define me.

If not for the lights and processes that make one look beyond these, these are things in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert ‘that make one start drinking gin at 9am’ (my religion is against gin at any time anyway). I will be forever grateful to my family, close friends, teachers, elders, mentors – those that don’t allow it define our relationship especially those that do despite knowing what’s going on. They make it easy. They have come to realise, ‘it’ does not define me.

I will be forever grateful to my family, close friends, teachers, elders, mentors – those that don’t allow it define our relationship especially those that do despite knowing what’s going on. They make it easy. They have come to realise, ‘it’ does not define me. Dealing – A lot of times I question my mental status, maybe because of my thinking process or action. I am not trying to take the light off those that really need our help. I have had my own share of challenges and struggles, typical of being human. And if this is true with a lot of the population, that all men have things troubling them. Then, we need to do more. I am described as a ‘silent’ person (at least to everyone not my very close friend). My friends say I am too serious and can’t have a social conversation for long, although I find that exaggerated and untrue. When I discovered writing, I enjoy it a lot better because it means I can say more. This way there is some more communication. Another way I could express myself. A lot of times my writings end up in sheets or jotter and locked up in a locker or a bag. Sometimes, I lose them. On rare occasions, they make it out to one of my social media account. On those few occasions I realise that people reacting can’t really understand the message, they don’t get the whole scope.

They do not know the paradigm behind the message. And since I don’t have to explain, everyone is happy. I mean you click the ‘like’ button below a sad news (maybe the death of a person) on Facebook, what more?

So, people put a happy smiley in reacting to a message I drafted with some disturbance. The truth is when I write, it takes the discomfort away whether it’s in a sheet of paper (hidden in a locker or thrown away) or it makes it to the internet.

Even when the reactions are not as I imagined when it makes it out, I still feel better. I don’t get to be disturbed again at least not as before. I can’t explain it but I have come to believe that is one of the essences of communication. Let’s talk – The trouble with our mental health is the immense pressure. The pressure of our various desires and goals, the pressure of the family and kinsmen, the societal pressure, pressure from friends, work, neighbours, and so on.

A lot of these are needed to get to the desired land. But there are some that we can do less with, the family and kinsmen are not supposed to be pressure builders for example. That is not why the institution is there. Our societal institutions have inherently over the years focused on building rather than guiding. They have taken up the roles of the schools and work too. The reason for tribe and family is so to listen, guide, care and help. Not to berate, escalate and abolish.

Our religious houses, families, friends, guiders should be for refuge in mind and not just the body. It is enough to deal with pressure for achievements at school or work, maybe a few societal but we do not need the others. We all have to listen more. We have to encourage and help people speak more. Some people are able to deal with the immense pressure, others are not. Next time you notice someone struggling, take some time to ask and listen. We do not have to wait till they are broken. Then it might be a wee too late to help them up.

THANK YOU.

Toyyib Oladimeji ABDULKAREEM [email protected]

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