December 6, 2021 at 4:12 pm #1494058Angie UzoParticipant
It’s so crazy how we could be going through a lot emotionally and mentally, and we’re still expected to lead our normal lives; get up in the morning, go to school, show up at work early, take care of our kids, smile to cameras, laugh, live.
Most times even when we’re not ‘expected to’, we force ourselves to act ‘normal’, pretending to be okay, even though our emotional and mental health is entirely upside down.
Is it maybe because society expects us to never be ‘not okay’ ?
You are allowed to be ill physiologically but most people never take into consideration that you could ever be mentally or emotionally unwell. Therefore, people are forced to act like they’re okay, when they are really not okay.
A lot could be going on with someone emotionally and mentally and then they act and seem very okay because that’s what society expects them to do and they’re so good at it, you can’t find even the tiniest trace of depression in their daily lifestyle, yet they’re dying inside.
People sharing memes, yet they’re very sad. People smiling and laughing, yet they’re so down emotionally. People acting normal, yet they’re very far from okay.
It’s so crazy. It’s almost like you’re not allowed to ‘not be okay’ emotionally.
A physiologic illness like malaria is enough reason for someone to take excuse from school, work, etc, but emotional and mental health instability, no matter the degree, isn’t. Even if there are a thousand aliens in your head, nobody really cares. If you wake up feeling sad, you still have to go to work or school and be at your optimum best. If you feel terrible about yourself, or you feel emotionally unstable, you still have to carry out your daily duties and carry them out very well.
Nobody cares if you’re choking on tears. Nobody would accept “I woke up feeling like crying” as an excuse to stay away from work or school. Nobody would even dare pose that as an excuse. People could accept “I have a cold” or “I’m down with fever” but definitely not “I don’t feel good (emotionally) today”
People expect you to behave in a certain way. If you fall short of their expectations, they judge you, no matter what you’re going through emotionally, they measure you with their expectations, not caring about the battles you’re dealing with.
They could make an excuse for you that you didn’t carry out that particular duty well because you were physiologically ill (maybe down with fever), but nobody would excuse you because you are depressed.
There’s a popular meme about Nigerian parents not caring whether you’re going through heartbreak, they would still send you to wash plate. Remember?
But would they send you to wash plate if you were down with a cold?
I’m not saying that physiologic health illnesses shouldn’t be given adequate attention. That’s far from my point. All I’m saying is, just as a health breakdown is valid, so are mental health issues too. That I feel sad and I’m choking on tears all day is a SICKNESS. SICKNESS, in every sense of the word. Sickness like COVID 19 or Malaria or cold and it should be given equal attention.
Depression is VALID. It should get the same attention as HIV or polio or any other sickness because it could affect my work, it could affect school, it’s a valid enough reason why I could fail an exam, it’s a valid enough reason why I don’t carry out my daily duties efficiently, just as malaria or typhoid is.
Why can I tell my Nigerian parents that I’m down with malaria and they’d send in money for drugs, but I can’t tell them my mind is always judging me and they’d send me money for therapy?
Why can I pose a physiological breakdown like a broken limb to a business partner as the reason why I’ve been unable to work effectively but I can’t pose emotional imbalance because that would be giving out too much information, informal and unprofessional?
Why can’t I freely tell anyone that I’m emotionally drained without fear of judgement?
Because If I told you I was sick with typhoid, would you judge me? Would you say it’s invalid? and expect me to carry out my duties as If there’s nothing wrong?
Even though campaigns promoting mental health are improving especially on the online space, I still feel like mental health issues have not been completely normalized. It’s still not completely okay to “not be okay” and I feel like we should work hard to create that balance because a mental health issue is valid. Mental health issues, come to everyone once in a while just as physiological sicknesses do. It’s of no fault of the person too, just as you get Ill without wanting to. It drains you, affects your life, school and work, just as any sickness would. I should get ‘treatment’ for my mental health issues, just as I would get for cold.
(Nigerian) parents should become willing to pay for therapy just as they would pay for drugs.
I should get a leave from work because I’m depressed.
I should be able to say “I’m not okay emotionally” and not feel ashamed about it because I wouldn’t be ashamed if I had a cough.
People should easily be able to share emotional problems with friends and family without feeling bad or ashamed.
People should easily be able to seek ‘treatment’ for mental health issues, without feeling ashamed.
Students should be able to say without any atom of shame; “I’m depressed so I can’t take this exam till I feel better”, just as they could say “I’m down with malaria so I can’t take this exam till I get treatment ”
No one should be expected to act okay and do everything efficiently like there’s nothing wrong when they’re “SICK”.
Mental health problems are VALID. No one deserves to be forced to act okay when they’re not.
Hope you get my point.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.December 6, 2021 at 6:36 pm #1494192Itz JudyParticipant
Thanks so much.
Depression is a sensitive subject to be dealt with for sure.
I have suffered though i just mask it.
Coz even though u talked about it, u wont be taken seriously.December 6, 2021 at 9:38 pm #1494237ÅñdrøîdParticipant
OkDecember 6, 2021 at 10:56 pm #1494254LadyGParticipant
Well spoken .
Jar bless.December 7, 2021 at 11:16 am #1494306GraceParticipant
ThanksDecember 11, 2021 at 5:39 am #1495042Paddy2xParticipant
Good job although I didn’t read till the endDecember 13, 2021 at 2:44 pm #1495490sheegokeysParticipant
This is a great piece