I would like to talk about mental health.
At the age of 8, I was in a world of depression having left my home. I was surrounded by children around my age and some adults (boarding school staff) assigned to look after us. When I told someone that I couldn’t focus, they told me I was a bad student. When I told them I was being bullied, they made me shake hands with them hoping that fixed everything.
One night, I found myself unable to breathe and unable to move. For more than two minutes, I was terrified. I felt like my body wasn’t my own. It was like someone had sucked all the air out of the room. When I finally found my strength and tried to tell someone, they checked my temperature, told me I could take a day off school and said that I was fine. Because it’s easier to ignore symptoms than to accept the ugly truth that even a child can face such ordeals of depression and trauma. Age isn’t a factor when it comes to mental health.
With no one there for me, I had to be there for myself. This was not me being motivational or inspirational. This was me clawing back out of depression because no one else was around to help or listen. It required all the will power I could muster to focus on the good in my life and make the journey on my own. To discover my passion for reading and writing. To stand up to bullies. To deal with emotionally stressful days by reminding myself that it would be alright. To know that it was going to be alright.
As I eventually learnt to rise above the depression, I knew I had a clear goal in life. To be there for people like I wish someone had been there for me. I am grateful that I was spared and I am thankful that I now know the consequences of standing idle while people go through things. I have lived those consequences.
And now to you, the person reading this.
Reach out to people. To those who stopped responding. To those living in difficult conditions. To anyone, really. Reach out and talk. Don’t just voice solidarity online and then go back to your life. Practise it by talking to someone. That’s honestly all it takes. Ask people how they’re doing. Talk about your day. Give some time to the sea of people out there going through bad days.
As for me, there is no choice to make. I simply cannot stand by and let someone walk down that path alone. If I do, all my efforts to rise above my poor mental health state will have been for nothing. So I am here for you, reach out, contact me through the social media on my blog or anyway you know how. I will not judge you, I will not ignore you and I will do my very best to offer the highest level of support of which I am capable. You are not in this by yourself. Not if I can help it.
I AM HERE FOR YOU