Dear Culture!

I am Rwandan and I live with depression! Shhhh Never say that!

Highly classified as an oxymoron this sentence is actually an open secret from me to you.

Agahinda ntikica kagira mubi (Sadness does not kill it makes you UGLY) 

Growing up, we have been taught to deal with pain and cope with anxiety and control ourselves; yes you heard it!  Control ourselves so we do not appear to be fools crying in public, we have been taught never to speak up when we are hurt but to give  a plastic smile and keep life going!

I mean society has drained the truth out of our emotions from childhood, so why would it impress you that people have trust issues

Why this cultural alarm though?

Amalira y’umugabo atemba ajya mu nda ( A man’s tears flow inwards) 

In 2017,  a Rwandan student who lived in the USA committed suicide at age 19! He had been saying he didn’t have peace of mind for several weeks and i guess y’all been telling him “Ihangane” But will we ever do more than that?

had he had help on time would He have had committed suicide?

Depression and Suicide go hand in hand “Suicide is considered a possible complication of depressive illness in combination with other risk factors because suicidal thoughts and behavior can be symptoms of moderate to severe depression.”

Among the youth depression can sometimes be just the beginning.

Agahinda k’inkoko kamyenywa n’inkike yatoyemo

(The sorrow of a hen is known by the enclosure in which she fed herself)

John Lennon said, as soon as you are born they make you feel small…. ( working class hero by John Lennon)

The causes of depression can vary really from one person to another, but what exacerbate the situation is not “talking about it”.

Do African parents allow us to talk about our first love and or our heartbreaks, with them?  NO

Do they bring us step moms that love us so dearly? Oh that one

Do our moods depend on their mood some days? I mean You can go on with the list

My best friend Leyla is an Upcoming psychologist, and she really taught me how to love someone with anxiety and depression.

Rwanda needs Leylas indeed

As we step in 2018 let us stop stigmatizing people with depression, let’s stop labeling them with names such as “Drama queens”, “oh they have mood swings” etc

Depression manifests itself in a multitude of ways. It plays no favorites, chooses no sides and runs from no one.

It lives inside some of the people we all love. Throughout their lives, they’ve attacked it, tried to reason with it and searched tirelessly for freedom from the moments it has plagued. They’ve sought out love and found that some pieces of who they are cannot be understood or accepted. They’ve had moments of invigorating, phenomenal joy and also moments of dark and unexplainable despair.

They’ve endured fear invisible to those around them. They’ve learned to cope, control and live. They’ve climbed mountains no one knew existed. And most importantly, they’ve discovered love in you, even with a mind that so relentlessly tries to convince them otherwise.


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