Happy Tuesday beautiful souls,
I pray August has been a gentleman to you all as it has been to me...everyone who spotted me getting my groove on or even worse remember what happens in August(and during birthday parties) stays in August. I feel so naughty and proud to be naughty because of all the naughtiness...I am GROWN!!! So I set out to enjoy my birth month and it has been exciting but now it is back to business and I am working two jobs, Events by Sitawa and where I am employed and I am so excited about my first paycheck, I will frame it for surviving 30 days under employer rule...think the fact that it constitutes me working from home is what has made me get to end month....yeah I tried employment and it worked, ok I am still in the honeymoon stage and loving every minute of it.
I am currently working on an amazing project that just makes me happy. It is a SUNFLOWER project and no my bipolar has not directed me to start a sunflower farm, I get random like that but it is wait for it...for depression. I know, world apart huh? Well, this year's world mental health theme is Depression; a global crisis and the anti dote is Sunflower, I put up one on my screen saver and I feel the love and joy. So my project is awareness creation based as usual and taking the information to the masses through a family fun day. It is still in the kitchen but I love the love already and I am walking on sunshine. Many people do not know how depression feels or what it does so I will try draw a picture;
"Have you ever lost someone or something you deeply, madly, truly loved or believed in? How long did the pain last? Could you quantify it given measuring instruments? How did you get over the pain and learn to love or believe in love again? Now imagine being suspended in that limbo of pain and being immune or unconscious in it for a prolonged period of time. A place where laughter and joy alien. When you are 'just there' for a very long time you know nowhere else. That is the life of someone living with depression.
Depression is a mental illness that is very common yet goes unnoticed because many people disregard it as an illness and society 'expects' us 'man up', not to pussies, to face things head on, to snap out of it. So those us who spent most of our lives at the 'just there' station are seen as either lazy or unfocused or worse off, bewitched and cursed. I had my first real depressive experience way back in 2003 when I got raped. This was just an year after getting my first ever seizure attack (many believe the rape ordeal was the genesis of my mental health issues, the affair began an year before). I was raped by the bestfriend of the boy, I was 18, I was seeing at the time. Back them Google was at my fingertips, I did not know how to tell anyone, I decided to 'snap out of it' but there are hurts and pains you just cannot snap out. It is a deep dark hole, a black bubble as one of my friends say. So I began writting, that's how I ended up in the poetic world, I wrote about the ordeal how best I could remember it, I was knocked out through most of it but I had recollections, recollections of pieces of my being stolen from me, bit by bit with every pump in and pump out he did and the more I wrote the dirtier I felt, the unworthier I became. Why was I still a virgin to that date only to let it all go? Yes now I know I did not let it all go, but I was one of those girls, I believed in purity until marriage,I believed in faithfullness and true love...deep down I still do but the stakes are higher because the man not only has to respect my sexual not happenings but also my bipolar shifts; my mania and depressive, the twitching...we are a whole package like that. The thing with writing when you are depressed which I have learnt over the years, is that, it liberates. All you have is a blank sheet of paper and a pen, they have no opinions or comments or suggestions, they are open to receive you and your pain or 'just there' mood, they are always there at all times, they let you cry on them and tear and throw them away and tomorrow, they will still be there.I wasn't able to get the medical attention or psychosocial attention I required in good time so from the Sunday 15th June 2003 until September when I joined the University of Nairobi to pursue my Actuarial Science, I just wanted to be alone, I did not want to leave the house, I had a certain view about men and love and trust which I comes out a lot when I am manic. I learnt the art of zoning out which I still practice today. Fast forward to many years later, I know I should have told someone but I was ashamed, I was afraid, I thought it was my fault, then I thought bad thing happen to bad people and I must have been bad in one thing or another. I spend my time when I get the chance talking to girls, standing for sexual and reproductive rights among other related campaigns so that they have smooth transition.
I also pass the lessons of my limbo days so that others know they are not alone and so that they do not suffer in silence and that is why I am so excited that this year, the World Mental Health Federation has decided to focus on Depression and for discovering the SUNFLOWER. I am moving this purple house soon, I am so sure I will paint a big ass SUNFLOWER on the wall. Depression is a real illness that needs attention now. A lot of people suffer in silence, this people are our fathers, our mothers, our daughters, our brothers and we have to act now.Suicide cases on the rise have depression as a base. Causes of depression vary and it is not a matter of weakness; from trauma like my rape ordeal, war e.g the Post Elections Violence in Kenya, some medication, substance and alcohol abuse to lifestyle. Coping mechanisms vary like person types; there are tall and short people,there are naturally slim and naturally curved women and that's how it is when coping with issues. The trick is to be on top of your own game. Know how much you can take and how much is too much. Life taught me the only person I have to prove myself to is me. If I am happy with Sitawa as she is and her values then I am good.
We live in a society where I have to be associated with, be like, be greater than and I won't lie being Number 1 rocks but at what cost? Different people deal with depression differently, here are some great ways;
1. Medication - antidepressants,
2. Support groups help a lot,
3 Exercise or a simple evening walk,
4 Healthy eating
5.Avoid alcohol(I know many guilty souls)
6.Art therapy - writing, drawing, painting
7. Be you
There are a variety of other treatments but the above are simple DIY kinda methods which I would love to share with people when we celebrate the World Mental Health Day in October this year. I am so excited about my new age, I am more excited that I am a person living with a couple of mental illnesses and can still ''gerrit" and I am the most excited that I am me and through my all over the place blog posts and tweets and talks and poems, I make send hugs, kisses and sunflowers all round.
PS: Do you or someone you know have depression? What is the root cause?What coping mechanisms work for you? Share with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or @sitawawafula.
PSS: If you would like to be of help (be someone's sunflower) with this year's World Mental Health Day celebrations in Ocotber holla at me...hugs, kisses and sunflowers all round :)
PSSS: Kenya ni Kwetu, only you and I can prevent the cases of depression caused by some things winthin our reach, like politicians and the kind of lives we live and envision for our future. What you say, what you tweet, what you facebook about someone or something goes a very long way.
Bob Marley sang ' Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can heal our minds' #bewise