Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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University helped to lessen my social anxiety

I love learning. Particularly about the mind and behaviour, in both humans and animals. This was my reason to go to university, to pursue the desire to learn, coming out with a better understanding of a topic I was passionate in. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.

My anxiety made me feel like I had to be liked

When my husband and I first started seeing each other, he would ask “how do you know them?” a lot. We’d go into shops and restaurants and I’d start chatting on to the assistant or waiter like I’d known them for years. I love people and I love talking but there was something bigger behind it. The truth is that for a long time I chatted to everyone I met because I wanted them to like me. In fact I couldn’t bear the thought they might not, even if it’s likely I would never see them again.

There is no shame in having a mental illness

Mental health awareness is being raised everywhere at the moment. It is a vital step towards ending the stigma surrounding mental health. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is a start. Stigma is still out there and it is silencing people struggling who need our help!

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?” 

How are you – really? Being open about my mental health

It's very easy to avoid answering the question ‘how are you?’ - and to be honest, how many of us ask this question out of habit, not really expecting an honest answer? I know that I sometimes do and would be quite surprised if someone said, ‘I feel pretty rubbish actually’.

I know that I avoid being honest when someone asks me this question as I'm worried that others are not really interested, that I’m boring and that I may be perceived as weak and unable to ‘cope’. I blame my childhood and the fact that we had to display ‘a stiff upper lip’ and just ‘get on with it’.

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