Of Mental Health

mental health awareness

Mental health is a mostly avoided and greatly misunderstood topic in African countries. Some of the beliefs are steeped in years of cultural practices that make opening up difficult, when you read and hear the stories people have to share, you realise people struggle by themselves.

Generally speaking, when you speak of mental health it is assumed you are referring to the kind of mental illness which leads to one being committed to a mental asylum under heavy sedatives or roaming the streets in ragged clothes in deep conversations with the unseen. Word on the street is this caused by anything from genetics, stress, taking drugs, committing murder or adultery, witchcraft, as a sacrifice in a money making ritual or forsaking  your ancestral kin.

If you randomly ask someone about their mental health they will look at you as if you just asked them if they are crazy……..

We all have that or have heard of that uncle or aunt whom nobody really talks about who occasionally gets whisked away to get treatment and medication, when the moon is a certain way. I remember reading something a long time ago about how the moon affects lunatics not exactly quite unlike the way of werewolves.

They say Lunatics comes from Lunar…. (The lunar lunacy effect)

Moon howling

Even William Shakespeare had something to say about this in Othello:

“It is the very error of the moon.
She comes more near the earth
than she was wont. And makes
men mad.”

Othello Act 5 scene 2

I have an uncle, he taught me Latin when I was six years old, I thought we were speaking gibberish and I indulged him because as I understood it he got headaches. I only discovered when I went to a Catholic boarding school that I could recite the Lord’s prayer in Latin. He is a genius, he studied at a university abroad, on some scholarship in the 70s, smoked some weird stuff and never got quite got back to himself.

The last time I saw him, he was trying to build a resonance machine, which would vibrate your brain cells at the natural frequency of a genius mind and if you had not studied mathematics at high school level your brain would blow up, leaving a world of only intellects…….

Conversations with him are always intriguing, I understand what he is talking about sometimes, maybe because I know how resonance works; someone else just listens and decides he speaks gibberish, when he actually speaks fluent German. No one quite talks about it, I don’t even know what he studied. Sometimes I worry I have those genes, a crazy genius who might take a bad trip and never come back?

Then we have the silent killer Clinical depression which has a list symptoms indistinguishable from what people generally call being moody, sad even lazy and yet battling darkness at their core. Its easy to look happy, when everyone wears a mask. I have seen people who refuse to accept that depression is an actual medical condition and not some made up excuse to be sad

Smiling Mask Sad Face beneath

No one seems to take it seriously right up until the time someone ends their life. Then suddenly people are trying to understand when you got such dark thoughts or how they didn’t realise that the extent of your depression was not just sadness but something deeper darker…..Needed treatment/therapy not just telling some one to man up or be positive or simply try harder

Unfortunately no one ever really knows whats going on inside you, the case of The Strong Silent Man.

It’s Ok to say “I am sad and I don’t know why”……… nothing to be ashamed about. You could even write it down, it’s a form of therapy, some of the best writers are really tortured spirits and paper was the only friend that listened and offered no judgement.

~B

Day 14 of my blog everyday challenge

if you are in Zimbabwe and need to contact someone you can try The Samaritans.

Samaritans – Bulawayo
PO Box 806
BULAWAYO
Contact by: Face to Face – Phone – Letter:
Hotline: (9) 650 00
24 Hour service:

Harare Samaritans
PO Box UA 267
Union Avenue
HARARE
Contact by: Face to Face – Phone – Letter:
Hotline: (4) 726 468 – (4) 722 000
Hotline: Toll-free: 080 12 333 333
24 Hour service:

The Samaritans
MUTARE
Hotline: (20) 635 59

Or Find other free organisations in the post by The Quarter Wife

If you know of any other please add them……. What are your experiences with mental health like?

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Of Coffee And The Untimely Visitor

If you were having coffee with me, I would say it is a pleasure having you here. I may not tell you enough or at all that when you drop by for a visit and we chat; sometimes you say a word or two sometimes I do all the talking; I appreciate you.

g0agdOne must always let people know how much they are appreciated because…. Life has a funny way of unravelling even the best laid out plans. That’s life, It Happens and it goes on……

fragile things

Fragile things

God’s a connoisseur of fragile things and decorates His cloudy outlook with ornaments of finest glass

Dr Sleep, Stephen King

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I have just come back from my friend’s funeral. It is hard to bury a friend, but even harder to watch a parent bury their child. A parent’s grief is heartbreaking.

My friend was one of those outgoing people who easily made friends with people and so the funeral was well-attended; considering burial was at an out of the way farm they recently resettled to. Getting there was quite the adventure, since we didn’t know the directions and the driver and conductor of the bus we took; had never heard of the bus stop we would get off….

By a stroke of luck strangers also in the bus, going somewhere else, happened to overhear our conversation and knew my late friend’s family; they weren’t going to the funeral, hadn’t even heard of the death. They gave us directions, of where to and how we would walk when we got off the bus. We left them quite distraught that they couldn’t come with us and asked us to pay respect on their behalf.

If I learnt anything, it’s that things have a way of working out, our life is littered with many coincidences, maybe its fate, destiny, karma or simply The Lord’s mysterious ways.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that my friend used to joke that they would rather have a party at their funeral and liquor to poured on their graves than have tears shed for them. So we had a colourful send off as we paid our last respects. If it wasn’t for the coffin sticking out as a stark reminder of the untimely visitor who waits for each of us at the end of our path….one would not have been faulted for thinking people were singing and dancing at a party. A few feathers might have been ruffled as the older generation felt the younger generation was hijacking tradition and turning what’s supposed to be a somber affair, into a circus and that the liquor might have been flowing a little too freely, but all in all I think everything worked out; it usually does.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I was shocked to learn of the death of Chester Bennington from the Linkin Park Band. I heard the news in a car I got a lift from; coming from my friend’s burial, death never takes a vacation….

I have been a huge Linkin Park from when I listened to their debut album Hybrid Theory almost 17 years ago; and it was an escape and an outlet for all the words inside I had never said, and now, now I write.

Chester Bennington’s death was a suicidal hanging after battling addiction and depression. Mental health awareness is something that must be spread people, are out there fighting a darkness within and no one ever realises it; not until its too late.

Once upon a time I wrote this: Of The Strong Silent Man

#RIPChester

#RIPChester

Linkin Park has launched a tribute website Chester.linkinpark.com with links to help you; In case you or someone you know needs support…

If you are in Zimbabwe Click here to  see a post with local places you can find free support and counselling

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that you must always be reaching out to your friends because you never know, a simple “hello; how are you doing…” could save a life.

~B

PS The first thing I did when I got home was to check my garden I have gone for a couple of days and I kept wondering how the plants in my garden were doing since I wasn’t there to  water them…. I guess they are growing on me…

onions and carrots

 

 

Photocredit: chester.linkinpark  Dj Khaled