It is okay, it is okay to ask for help. Asking for help can be done without shame, without apology, and without feeling of weakness. If you ever feeling down, or lost and helpless please speak up and keep fighting till you get the support you need. Hate will always have a more visceral presentation than love. Hate is loud and wayward. It is destructive. Love is patient. Love is kind. With love, you’d feel the hate doesn’t exist anymore. It just feels that way. Love is all around us and we can still double down and multiply it in plenty.
Self-care can be found even in the simplest moments. Waking up to a new day and reminding yourself that God loves you and this would be your day would be enough to keep you going. Mental health is just important as physical health. At some point we have lost people we love and care due to the struggles of mental illnesses. Call your friends and families be there for them. Reach out to a person whom you might feel they’re not okay.
There are events in our lives we can’t control. We always look for that ideal plan. Often there are challenges in front of us and the inevitability of meeting them head on. We need to talk about the different experiences that shaped us. Celebrate the differences between us. Mental health is important. Not everyone is okay when they say they are. Be there for somebody. Everyone matters, life matters.
A matatu driver yesterday told me his story as I was heading to church for the early morning service. I felt sad and sorry for him. I realized that a lot of people are struggling out here. I remember boarding the matatu in a hurry so that I couldn’t get rained on. As I was doing so I said Hi and asked him how his morning was and if he slept well last night. He switched the gear to neutral as he waited for other passangers to board. He gripped the steering wheel tight, and took a deep breathe. He said I was the first person to ask him about his well-being. No other soul had bothered, not even his makanga. He said he wasn’t in best form. He had a long night. He didn’t quiet eat well. He had to sacrifice his portion to his child. He took out his phone and showed me a picture of his daughter. She was beautiful. She had a toothy smile. He had bags under his eyes. His face was sunken. It told much. He did not seem to have enough sleep last night. I told him to give me just a minute. Across the road, there was a cafe, I alighted the mat and crossed the road and went into the cafe. Bought something for breakfast and went back and boarded the jav.
He was shocked, and bewildered as I gave him the packaged food. He was grateful and said many thanks. The conductor signalled him that the vehicle was full. He switched the gears into motion and the ride began. He opened up to me and said that he had been facing problems because his little girl had recently began school. His wife left him when the child was barely two years old. She left him for her ex who was back from Poland. I could feel a tinge of sorrow in his voice when he said that. He had that far away look as he drove. He did not ask a thing from me but I felt it was humane to reach out. He is 27 years old. He was trying to make ends meet. He wanted just to say what he had in his mind and what had been eating him up.
He says sometimes when he goes back home, he sits and breaks down. He cries. He does not remember anything of being a bad husband and the likes. He is at the end of his tether. He feels emotional and mentally drained. At times he always wondered why bad things happened to good people. He says he is ready to heal, he just wants to focus on his daughter who is four years old. It was time to alight.
“What’s your daughters name?” I asked him as I alighted.
“Tamara.” He said.
I wished him a good day a head and closed the door behind me. I noticed people go through plenty of turmoils. For him to open up to a stranger he barely knows – then I’d say he is a champion.
To everyone struggling; remember you’re beautiful, you’re loved, you’re valid, you’re not crazy. Not everything is just all in your head. One deserves love, respect and to be heard.
This May, is the month of mental health. We are facing mental health crisis as a nation. Yet too many Kenyans are receiving this treatment they need due to lack of access or stigma. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s on us to change the narrative.