Depression – more than just something imaginary

Have you ever stopped to look around, look at the people around you, literally? How many of them are holding it together outside but are torn on the inside; how many of them are so torn inside, they are barely holding it together outside?
Depression is defined as a serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Depression is more than just something imaginary, it is more than someone seeking attention and it definitely is not something one can just snap out of. Now isn’t that common, ‘just snap out of it.’ ‘Get over it!’ What, you think I don’t want to just get over it, you think I like feeling the way I’m feeling, surely this feeling MUST excite me!?
Depression is extremely overlooked, especially in Africa. A lot of times, the response is, ‘she has a good job, a car and is doing well for herself, what does she have to be depressed over.’ In other instances, ‘at his age, depression? He hasn’t even started paying bills.’ Well, I’m sorry to break it you, but depression doesn’t quite wait for you to start paying bills to kick in, nor does it see your beautiful X5 parked outside and skip right by to find a more befitting candidate.
The World Health Organisation estimates that about 350 million people suffer from depression with it being more prevalent in women. Research shows that people are likely to suffer from an episode of depression at least once in their lifetimes. Others recover from this, but for others it may reoccur depending on what type of depression it is.
It is extremely important that people are more aware of depression. It is even more important that people realise it is not a myth and it should be something we have conversations around. Approximately eight hundred thousand people commit suicide each year and most of them it because of chronic or severe depression.
Mental illnesses are there in Africa, in our homes, in our families and amongst our peers. So many people are only pretending to be okay because they know how ridiculed they would be if they dared to speak up, they know they do not have the answer as to why depression chose them. They can’t answer why they couldn’t just snap out of that abusive relationship or upbringing like Ndapewa or Susan. They remain, no we remain silent because it’s a struggle to explain why it’s happening to you to others, yet we do not even know the answer.
Not all the people partying every night do it because they enjoy it, not all the people involved in substance abuse engage because they enjoy it; but for some, this creates an escape. At times your mind is unbearable to live in, the pain in your heart is so unbearable to feel and all you need is an escape- a way out.
A lot of us have found ways to live with it, we have found ways around it, we have found coping mechanisms. Talk to someone about your depression, don’t bottle it in. Find a healthy way of coping, a way that doesn’t bust your wallet and lead to addictions. I have found that prayer and worship carry me through, others go to psychologists and there are many more ways that a lead to a better healthier lifestyle. Don’t let depression take your life away. Remember, ‘some people feel the rain and others just get wet.’

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