by Dami Odiachi
Some people are battered by tragedy. Mother dies, father dies, murder, rape, violent assault, unemployment, ailments of body, and they find it within themselves to face every day without fear or anxiety or crippling sadness.
Some people are not so lucky. They could date a tolerably abusive person and come down with the most violent case of PTSD. They could pick up a bottle of vodka and find themselves completely unable to put it down.
We tell them that they are weak, we blame others for their circumstances, without ever taking the illness that has arisen into full consideration. Maybe they’re at fault for exposing themselves to the things that could make them ill, and maybe they’re not. Is HIV caused by a virus, or is it caused by promiscuity? Is depression caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that we can treat, or is it caused by shit landing on your doorstep? It doesn’t matter.
The only thing that matters is the illness. That’s the true problem that needs solving. Sometimes the solution is a change of environment- trauma eradication by distance, some pills, time. It varies and it will continue to vary, as long as we are human, every one of us uniquely blessed and uniquely flawed.
We need to accept that mental illnesses are illnesses, just like Covid 19, just like HIV, just like tuberculosis. Once we accept this the problem becomes easier to solve. Depression loses much of its fatality, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, with appropriate help becomes a manageable condition, Borderline personality disorder loses its sting.
It is difficult to defeat life, place all of its many variables under your control, know the traumas you’ve likely sustained? Do you know the factors adversely influencing your behavior and delivering undesirable outcomes? Have you gone to therapy? Have you met with a Counsellor? Is your illness the reason why you’re an unbearably toxic person?
Who do you talk to about these things? Your friends? Do they have the range to help?
Dami Odiachi is a writer/multimedia journalist. When he’s not having fun with friends, he’s building his media platform, The Roam. You can check the first piece in this series here.
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.