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Mental Health: "the elephant in every room"

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Good mental health doesn’t mean that a person is happy and ecstatic all the time.

If that’s the case it could likely mean that you’re suffering from mania. I’m sure someone will write about the different types of mental health issues later on so they will talk more about mania.

Good mental health means being able to manage life’s stresses and happiness in a healthy way, and also being able to reach your full potential in all aspects of life.

Everyone experiences down-times in life. The ability to cope with negative experiences is part of good mental health. However this ability varies greatly from one person to another and, in large part, determines whether people enjoy their lives.

According to 2018 research, approximately 1 in 4 adults experiences mental illness in a given year. Approximately 1 in 20 adults experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (work, family life, church activities, social interests etc)

With such alarming statistics, it’s saddening to notice the stigma around mental health issues.

One of the major contributors to mental health stigma is that people can’t see it and there is no scientific test to numerically measure it. Gradations of severity are based on subjective (well-trained) opinions. So if a person had a broken leg they probably wouldn’t be so hard on themselves as compared to if they had an “invisible illness” . It would definitely be ok to rest, to go to the doctor to get an off day from work, you know the normal stuff that people with visible illnesses get. But those with these so-called invisible illnesses have to keep going, to keep showing up and there are no exceptions for their limited ability well because they look perfectly ok🤷🏾‍♀🤷🏿‍♂

I know I do not speak for myself only when I say I have had those moments when I felt I needed a little more compassion because well life gets hard times and that can take a toll on one’s mental health.

Earlier on in the year, I had a minor procedure done. My doctor recommended a month of bed rest and mild exercise (walking to the gate and back was good enough 😊). Me being the control freak that I am and thinking that everything (school, work, and life in general) comes before my health managed to convince my doctor that I was ok after two weeks. Since I had a desk job I did not see anything wrong with going back since I’d be sitting the whole day. Little did I know (that’s a story for another day).

Point being that the amount of care, compassion and just plain human decency that I got during that time was overwhelming. The number of hospitals and home visits, the number of calls, text messages, WhatsApp messages, etc. my dad even took time off from work to take care of me, ♥bless his heart. All I’m saying is because I was physically not ok which was clearly evident to everyone, come on I could barely eat, walk or sit for an hour straight without getting tired, it was perfectly ok for me to rest.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health issues you are somehow expected to show up no matter what. We’ve all had those days when you have to get into a bathroom stall just to catch your breath because you’d rather be home curled up in bed instead of being at work or school or wherever. Days when sorrow is the portion and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children, days when troubles harass the soul till death seems preferable to life (I’m a Christain so not mentioning God anywhere in this piece feels like a betrayal to Him).

When these days come I am sure we’d all love the type of treatment we get when we are down with the flu or a broken leg or after a minor procedure.

But alas, it’s either you can’t even get the courage to even bring up that your mind is not playing fair or if you do, you are expected to brave it out for the whole day until you get back home and you finally get to curl up into bed.

Well, the time I allocated myself to draft this piece is up... lol. I have exams in less than a week now.

I would appreciate all the prayers I can get. Please do pray for me to whatever Deity you believe in ♥.

I really do hope we can live in a world where mental health is not stigmatized as it is now. Where the same care you get with a physical illness is what you get with the so-called invisible illness.

Written by: Tsitsi Madyabudzi. A young Zimbabwean; Bachelor of Commerce graduate from Rhodes University and a blogger.



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