Depression can be described as a disorder characterized by persistently low mood, a feeling of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities. It is a persistent problem, not a passing one, lasting on average 6-8 months. These feelings affect one’s life substantially and could lead to life damages.
On the 19th of March, 2017, Dr. Allwell Orji, a medical doctor with the Papa Ajao branch of Mount Sinai Hospital was reported to have committed suicide. It was a sad incident that got everyone talking. Lips dropped as they were greeted by the sad news. It turned everyone into a potpourri of a mental health, depression, senile dementia and schizophrenia expert; as the most likely reason he took his life can be linked to depression.
Until recently, precisely last year after a friend narrated his ‘depression story’ to me and how he survived. “Depression ke? That isn’t a black man thing” this has always been my thought whenever I hear depression. After the chat with him, I checked up the term on Google, read notes and lots of materials on it by mental health and depression experts, and I also took a test online. After my little research, I learnt depression can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem, but when it negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, how you act, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, and decrease in a person’s ability to function at work, it becomes a serious mental illness. It is different from sadness or grief. It is a respecter of no one. It does not recognise your age, race, gender or even your bank account.
“Depression can come when you least expect it. In moments like this, you become empty and tired of living. Nothing matters to you irrespective of what you have achieved on this earth. At times, you may not need anything but a free space. A space of your own. You may even be tempted to question your existence and why you must achieve. It is accompanied by a feeling of emptiness. You may even wish that life matters less,” the words of Blessing Eneniate, a writer.
Now to the crux of my piece: the causes of depression transcends reason, that’s why scientists have found it difficult to agree upon its exact causes. Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical illnesses, stress, grief, or substance abuse. I know what I’m going to say might sound inconsequential, but in Nigeria as a case study the economy is a root cause of depression. It’s hard not to be depressed in this economy. The government is a bunko. They do not care for the masses they claim to govern. Imagine a situation where salary remains the same and your expenses quadruple; house rent increases and other bills clamour for attention, a graduate of eight…ten years stays unemployed, how can one be happy? How can one help not been depressed?
The economy forced a lot of persons to invest in Ponzi schemes, and in the process they lost so much money. You might want to say it’s their fault for believing the impossible, but who wouldn’t? When a viable opportunity of the kind presents itself in a downtrodden economy, who wouldn’t dive right in? Our youths are now arrant gamblers, drug abusers, and all they think and talk about is sex.
The economy has also forced a lot of persons into a somewhat satanic level of depression that consequentially compels people to smoke and drink uncontrollably. People have drowned, drowned deeper, drowned again, and it has become exhausting. The way Nigeria has become is not how human beings who are surrounded by so much blessing should live. The government do not care; they do not bother to find out how the masses are faring. Because of the fear of being judged, gossiped about, scoffed, and their issues swept under the carpet; relating it to poverty or witches from their villages, these persons bury their sorrows and stay quietly suffering inside, plaster fake smile on their faces, and when it becomes overwhelmingly depressing- they consider suicide.
Nonetheless, if you’re going through depression, please, talk to someone. If you feel you can’t trust someone with your problems because of the fear of been gossiped about to others, post it anonymously on any social media network and you’ll surely read (see) a response that will give you solace.
Accept your weakness: Do not feel like you’re strong enough to overcome your challenges at all times, sometimes cry over your weakness – it doesn’t make you less.
Love yourself: Embrace a positive mental attitude at all times, learn to enjoy your company, enjoy life’s every moment, and always believe they isn’t a life that is better than yours.
And finally, Love God: the importance of God factor in your life cannot be overemphasized. Cast your problems to Him and He will give you peace that supersedes man’s understanding.
Depression is real. It has affected many lives. Take that brave step and get help!
Wilfred Emmanuel is an Image Manager, PR Expert, Event Promoter and a Talent Manager. You can subscribe to his daily thoughts by following him on his social media platforms @echtwilfred on IG and Twitter