by Dami Odiachi
Maybe it’s the same for depression. The other day I got an email from a reader. He said that his boss was a toxic individual and believed that quitting would alleviate his depression. Maybe it might. Maybe he’s right. But, there’s a chance that he isn’t. Sometimes we eat undercooked chicken and we get food poisoning as a result of salmonella. Sometimes the disease passes after a day or two, and sometimes it stays, requiring an appropriate dose of the appropriate antibiotic to treat.
Removing yourself from the situation that made you depressed may not be enough. You have to treat the illness itself. You have to blame the illness itself. We need to change the way we think about mental illness. Identifying cause, isolating effect, attacking both.
The truth of life is that everyone has a reason to die, a trauma they’ve suffered, a thing that makes them feel useless, a voice that says it isn’t worth it, give up! It is the nature of life. When you’re healthy, mentally, it is very easy to bat these voices away, affirm yourself, to go forth and achieve. When you’re not healthy it can become impossible. So the question is do you know when you’re ill?
Mental illnesses have symptoms. They are many and varied: insomnia, tiredness, delusions, hallucinations, aggression, low energy, substance abuse, excessive mood changes, changes in eating habits, trouble socializing, excessive hostility, trouble focusing or paying attention. If you see the symptoms, you must get help. When mental illness descends you either fight or you die.
We need to normalize getting help, professional help. We need to end the stigma that surrounds mental health because if we don’t, we’ll continue to lose people. I think I’m going to get therapy again, check myself in for a nice little exam. And I’ll listen, I’ll pop the pills, I’ll take the advice, I’ll do the work. Now, nothing’s particularly wrong with me – not anymore. I’m good, but could I be better? That’s the question.
I don’t want to be just good. I want to be great.
Every day, sunshine and every day rainbows.
So I’ll do the work till I get there.
Joy, Inc. is a teaching and media company mainstreaming the research and evidence on human flourishing and positive emotions to transform the culture and build a new generation of Africans focused on the greatest happiness for the greatest many.