Sharing my story makes things easier

I was diagnosed with depression during my final year of medical school. Since then it’s been a struggle of relapses and recovery. Sharing my story makes things easier. If I tell you my experience it’s easier for you to share yours.

I remember I wrote a sort of suicide note when I was 12. At that age I self-harmed as well. I didn’t speak to anyone about how I was feeling. What was I going to say? 

That was the first time I started feeling something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what it was. Even at medical school, I still couldn’t figure it out.

Mental health is still spoken about really badly in Kenya

The diagnosis of bipolar eight years ago was a huge relief because I finally knew what was wrong with me. I was so relieved because I said – ok, so I am not lazy, I’m not erratic, I’m not unfocused. I’m sick. 

I got the diagnosis before I got married. My then boyfriend (now husband) was ok with it. But some of the people in his circle were like, “no, no, no, no… you should not get married to her, how you will be able to cope with her condition?” 

This is not a conversation had in any Indian household. Ever.

I come from a typical Indian family, where in the past, mental health was simply not a topic for discussion. Today, I  help connect hundreds of people with therapists and direct them to basic mental health resources. Here’s a slice of my journey:

In Kenya, mental health conditions have been criminalised by the systems

As a child I was very curious. I was restless and always fidgeting in class. By the time I was a teenager I began experimenting with different things. I was always looking for a high. I wanted something to make me happy, because most of the time I felt sad.

That’s how I got into high-strength alcohol and started smoking weed. It reached a point of no return and I couldn't work anymore, I could not fit into social circles.

I was subjected to electro convulsion therapy due to a diagnosis of substance-induced psychosis. But in the real sense, I had depression.