Today is April 7th, which is the World Health Organisations’ (WHO) World Health Day; and this year they are focusing on Depression. “Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.” WHO
To help raise awareness, we journey with Amina Jasho as she diarises through 7 days of contemplating depression. She first shared this series on her Instagram. We were so moved by her that we requested to compile the entire journey for you here. Both Amina and the team at Hairpolitan hope and pray that this helps someone understand and come to terms with their depression.
Day 1: Let’s talk depression
Let’s talk about being not fine. I know I generally appear to be a well-balanced and happy individual and sometimes I am. But sometimes, life gets to me. I stop moving and talking to people and this affects my health and my work. Sometimes, even getting out of bed is hard. Eating is difficult. The most difficult thing to do though is answering the question “What’s wrong with you?” Most times you don’t know and even harder to even articulate.
Day 2: Food Choices
Let’s talk about depression and your food choices. Some people find themselves over eating when they are having a really bad day but some people don’t or can’t find the will to eat at all. I’m the second type. I usually don’t like to eat and when I do I nibble on junk food. What do you reach for during your bad days? Are you overweight and lonely or underweight and sad?
Day 3: Friends
When you can’t leave your bed because you are not ok. Your bestie comes through with that Netflix and chill and some bad chicken. That’s how you know you are loved. How do your loved ones help you during your bad days?
Day 4: Mental Health Day
Do it. Take a mental health day. No excuses and no expectations and no Adulting, because sometimes we get tired, stressed and anxious. These states of being aggravate the bad days. I know when I need to take a break from when I become irritable and completely mean spirited. I don’t laugh with anyone and I am super emotional. I know to take a break. What about you? Do you take mental breaks?
Day 5: Isolation
When I’m having a bad period I isolate myself in my own world and socially withdraw until I feel I can rejoin the world again. During this time I can even take on any responsibilities they wear me down. Friends make me feel guilty. Why do you isolate your friends?
Could it be that it’s a piece of you knows that if your friends actually knew how you feel, the truth, the real deep truth of your feelings, they actually would care and want to help you?
Could it be that if they offered to help, you’d be afraid to take it. May be a piece of you feels defeated, unsuccessful, because you are in this depressed state. And people who care would want you out of that… Which means changing, which can feel scary right now.
But what if feeling successful and well again could actually come from sharing what’s truly going on with those who care about you, having a real chat, and allowing them more deeply into your heart? So don’t isolate your friends during this time.
Day 6: Finishing Up
Let’s finish this talk with a few pointers for you to remember. Depression is one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can have. It’s sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling empty, and sometimes feeling absolutely nothing at all. There are times when depression can leave someone feeling paralyzed in their own mind and body, unable to do the things they used to love to do or the things they know they should be doing. Depression is not just a bad day or a bad mood and it’s not something someone can just “get over.” Remember no one chooses to be depressed.
REMEMBER: Saying things like “it’ll get better,” “you just need to get out of the house,” or “you’ll be fine” is meaningless.
Saying these phrases to them only create more tension within, making them feel as though they’re inadequate, and like you’re not acknowledging what they’re going through by trying to put a band aid on a much larger issue.
What you can say instead:
- I’m here for you.
- I believe in you.
- I believe you are stronger than this and I believe you’ll get through this.
- What can I do to help you?
- What do you think would make you feel better?
Day 7: Thank you!
I want to say thank you, asante, merci, gracias and talk to everyone who texted me, messaged me and overall showed me love this last week. Just because we don’t talk about stuff doesn’t mean we don’t go through it. Let’s talk to each other and love on each other. And remember it’s ok to not be ok surround yourself with love and remember to love yourself first and always.
Love ❤ Ami.