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Sharing on this matter is a bold task to undertake. Sensitivity has thus been observed to steer away from offense but rather share on a personal perspective of this recently common fate of many; it goes by the all-too-familiar term, depression.
Stress, ‘things are hectic’, ‘I’m good’, pain, ‘I honestly can’t’, laziness. Different perspectives of a similar yet misunderstood definition of this ail. Some term it an illness, while others insist on it being anything else apart from an ailment.
What is depression?
If you’re looking for it’s definition here, you’ll most assuredly feel let down by the last full stop on this open piece. We may never come so close as an inch to defining what this sudden up-rise of condescending mental health is all about. Is it that easy prescribing a treatment for a suspected patient of depression? What is even more demanding is determining whether the patient is a patient after all.
2 possibilities then occur to us: that the answer could be right on our very faces this whole time, or that it is farther down below the surface that we have just begun to scratch. Which of the two is it?… Well, I don’t have a conclusive answer to that, yet.
Why you tho’?
“Why are you so vocal about this matter? Yes, we understand it is a big problem currently… but why you?” I talk about it boldly because I was depressed.
On the podcast, I shared on a small portion of what I had gone through in the period of depression. Got some feedback on the same. Some was really encouraging. Some, to be honest, was not. Well, you would expect some grace with sharing your personal story… but anyway.
Now, to address the feedback on what was shared on the podcast. It is amazing to know how simple platforms like Saem’s Blog are useful in directly impacting lives. That all the work we do, despite our limps or leaps, is assuredly not in vain. To that, we say thanks to you who is reading & God bless you. Also, we need to note another pertinent issue. Depression as a topic, being a sensitive matter, may rub some the wrong way in sharing about it. Be gracious. Please. We can only know so much.
Back to our main agenda here. I understand that clinicians have categorized depression into various subcategories that try to accurately describe the prognosis of these, if I may, types of depression. Yet it is tricky, as one local paper put it, to exactly point it out with patients showing different signs and symptoms.
Get to therapy & get diagnosed… it’s that easy, right?
Sharing some stats with you in a few. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. In Kenya, for example, there are about 100 government psychiatrists. For a population in the probable excesses of 50 million, that’s a high-stake bet for a jackpot-chance of ever meeting even one such qualified personnel. Depression is presumably higher in the mid-to-low income earners, which make the largest portion of the country’s population. Mental health is expensive, out of reach for the vast majority of Kenyans. KSh 3000 – 5000 per session of quality time with a private professional or KSh 60,000 – KSh 110,000 in public hospitals (consultation fee factored in) are the choices Kenyans have to come to terms with to deal with this matter. If not, the “a friend I know” serves as a cheaper alternative, though riskier & possibly detrimental.
It is worth noting that awareness around depression has grown significantly in that the people know what it is. That it is not age-selective. It can affect anyone. From 9-year olds to 60-year olds. Awareness has contributed significantly to the dip in depression over the years, well, at least before this current surge. Also, the training of specialists is underway in our campuses and respective, relative fields of skill equipment & training to handle the backlog of depressed souls who just may need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen or a willing heart to embrace them. Coming from experienced personnel, it would be a welcome call-to-action point for such distraught souls.
That notwithstanding, we have an issue. It may not necessarily be the years of past psychological experience that matter as the hopeless fellow effortlessly tries to thrust a knife into his jugular vein.
Did You Know:Statistics have it that depressed men are more likely victims of death by suicide than depressed females.
Adapted from “Why more men than women die by suicide”
under Psychology & Health, by BBC Future
It is probably not the years of study in an esteemed school that will prevent her from tying that noose well for her final dangle.
What remains then, friends?
What is there when all is lost?
A story is told of construction workers on the USA’s skyscrapers. Men who work on steel beams that are protruding far into the sky and indeed many feet away from the ground. The men are confident as they walk along the beams and piers. And then one day, one of them slips on some ice and before he falls, grabs a hold of a beam with such might. He grabs it with so much fear that they have to break his arms to loosen him because he will not let go.
What these distraught souls seek, consciously or unconsciously, is hope. They are willing, upon sight of the slightest wisp of it, to hold on to it and not let go. Problem is, they go in search for this hope in all the wrong, mortal places. Therefore, what should we do in response to being enlightened with this reality? We need to bring back hope. A truer, more firm, deeply anchored hope is what they need to see… and see it off of us. Not on us. Actively inspiring not dully intoned.
Basically, a restoration of hope is all that is aimed at in the fight against depression. If our story-telling offends but at the end, points to no hope, it is all in vain. When one is down & out, our standing with them or even sitting down next to them shows that there is still a next breath to be caught. That when one’s entire world crumbles, they need not crumble along with it while they see us watch it happen. We can do something about it. That thing is to be instruments of delivering that true message that has been doing the rounds for thousands of years. That very message of hope.
A sure message of hope is then to be sought. One that isn’t a rhetoric but dynamic and applicable in every way for every situation. One which is tested and found infallible. Does such kinda hope even exist? Is there something, some material that is close to being hopeful as such?
The answer to that is a resounding YES!
As I held a sharpened kitchen knife to my neck one morning back in early 2017 after the most traumatic period of my life (Losing 2 close loved ones at once, a third one’s demise still freshly imprinted), I cried out in anger, in melancholy, in brutal realisation that my life had taken a drastic change. It passionately hit me, for one was a ‘breakup’ and the other two were deaths. That I would never hear from some of my confidants again, at such a young age, made me non compos mentis. The clasping didn’t last long and I stopped holding the knife with what was literally a death-grip.
Loosening my grip on it, I returned it to its respective drawer. I fell to the floor, knelt with my head bent over and cried out in deep pain, in much anguish. Why, oh why! I had talked this out with trusted friends. I had deliberately decided not to contact my former potential girlfriend. According to me, I had done what was expected of me thus far. Why was this unforetold pain still languishing within?
If my mission that morning in that part of the house was successful, you would not have been reading this. I would be another addition to the statistics in some field research by some data-hunting polling firm. Another “Oh mehhnn… ” in the lips of the Kenyan mother watching the 9pm telly program, who knows all too well how difficult it is raising up a child in such trying times. So, against all seeming odds, why am I not another 6-foot-under pile of bones?
And I’ll direct you to where I found it:
The summary of all of which I have just listed is that my hope was not found in the philosophies of men (I have studied Skepticism, Dogmatism & other relative philosophies eg Platonian, Indian Syadvada etc), nor was it found in the books and articles I have read ( and continue to read) on dealing with such kinds of pain. It was not exhaustively founded in sharing it out with friends and family, though they played an extensive role in easing the weight off of my shoulders and my chest.
I found my hope in God. Like the psalmist in 42:5, 42:11 & 43:5, I chose to yet trust in God. Though He slay me, I chose to trust Him. I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t even know what was ahead of me next month. I had university and bad grades to worry about. Being broke to worry about. Personal pet peeves, like being called a “bag of bones”, to worry about. Now add the fact that I had just contemplated suicide. Everything was misty. Nothing was clear enough. But I chose, despite the easier option, to call it quits, I chose to stick with the one sure thing I could find. The one thing that had traces of signs of any hope in my dark world. Friends, God took my hand… and since then has been walking me through journeys of Making Room for Him in my dark rooms, breaking Cycles of depressive thoughts, affirming that He fully knows what path I tread and yet fully Loves me. That I need to Trust and Obey Him… and, most recently, He would want me to find Confidence in Him and be Available for His use.
God is our sole hope if we are to conquer this trouble called depression. It is not an everlasting demon of darkness. It is not bigger than what we have made it to be. Reality check: Depression is still in fact not bigger than God! God is still Sovereign. Jesus still victoriously sits at the Throne. The Holy Spirit is still our Helper and Guide!
I know that path of depression. Having trodden it, it is realer to me when I get to hear about it from those who undergo it. It is a gradual healing process with little wins here and some setbacks there. The latter of which, personally, I generously embrace. Now, I am well friends!
If you may have noted, I shared a lot in past posts on this blog in that period but diverted attention from the gravity of the matter. At least, I can finally bury the hatchet on that unfortunate period in my life.
My sincere prayers, to that person who is all too well familiar with this trek, is that; may you find peace. May you know that it is a burden to search for answers to questions that any heavy a heart may bear, much like yours I suppose. Nevertheless, ask those questions. Feel those emotions. Cry those tears. What you would rather do, do it & do so, guided in wisdom. Be you before all you encounter. And where better to be you than in God’s comforting presence, under His wise counsel, surrounded by His Love and Grace. May you run to His Word and find an embrace in His Grace that redeems, Grace that restores joy to a crushed spirit (Philippians 4:6).
Conclusion of the matters
And after all these, may you enrichen your thoughts. May you give first-priority in your mind to that which is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous or worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8). Even in this simple way, if you didn’t know, you would be worshipping God. The battle against depression is waged first in the mind & heart, so… I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. If there ever was an important point raised in all of this writing, this last paragraph contains it.
Hey there. Do you need some help? Can we help you out with the search? Here with us, we have some contacts of trusted professionals in various fields of counseling services (psychologists, psychiatrists… just to name a few).
Do feel free to reach out to them, as their contacts are listed below:
- Name: Hope Counseling
- Mobile: +254709861150
- Notes: Found in CITAM,
- Consultation – Services free
- Name: Dr Mucheru Clinic
- Mobile: +254701079863
- Notes: Psychiatrist. That’s the clinic’s number. Located at Healthy Mind Consultants, Krishna center, Westlands
- Consultation – KSh 4000
- Name: Dr Watene
- Mobile: +254254722874027
- Notes: Psychotherapist. Located at Yaya center.
- Consultation – KSh 4000
- Name: Dr. Njenga’s
- Mobile: +254738499124
- Notes: Clinic in Upperhill
- Name: Mrs. Kang’ori
- Mobile: +254725717980
- Notes: Located at ACK St Peter’s Church, Kahawa Sukari, Nairobi
- Name: Befrienders
- Mobile: +254722178177
- Name: Befrienders
- Mobile: +254722178177
- Notes: Befrienders office. They’ll link you up with whoever you may need.
- Consultation – All services free.
- Name: Befrienders Counsellor
- Mobile: +254721205541
- Name: Mental 360
- Mobile: +254710256888
- Notes: His name is Mr Bright. Founder of Mental 360. He’ll refer you to whoever you may need.
- Name: Lydia Ngunjiri
- Mobile: +254720568901
- Name: Chiromo Lane Med C
- Mobile: +254729359501
- Name: Gilead MH Consultants
- Mobile: +254720291231
- Name: Bustani Medical Center
- Mobile: +254733778609
You could also directly import the contacts into your phone and save them as desired under one group (eg Professional Counsellors). You could also view the full contacts’ list. Click the button(s) below to do so:
Hello my dear friends. So as promised, we will deliver to our international viewers contacts on where they can get help. This will be updated from time to time & you can also share recommendations of which corporations & organizations you would want featured here. Without further adieu…
Project Semicolon is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors and operating under the nonprofit laws of the State of Colorado. Project Semicolon works at the international, national, state and local levels to prevent suicide using a public health model in suicide prevention; concentrating its efforts on education and awareness. Project Semicolon operates by the guidelines published in the Surgeon Generals Call to Action to Prevent Suicide (1999) and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (2012). Over the years, Project Semicolon’s Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers have included survivors who bring a special affinity for suicide prevention, along with other skills, to ensure organizational growth, development and effective management and operational talents to the agency.
PS: If you need immediate help, please dial 911 or Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at +1-800-273-TALK (8255) , 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. You are not alone.