Source: Conquering clinical depression | The Herald October 10, 2019
Leroy Dzenga Features Writer
Kirkpatrick Chidamba was a copywriter with a local content consultancy firm.
He had a hectic, but fulfilling schedule, waking every day to formulate creative concepts for the different clients. Those who knew him at the time described him as a happy person, always bubbling with energy, but little did they know the man who made everyone laugh carried a frown within.
He did his best to insulate his inner feelings, closing out the world in the process.
“I might never know how depression crept on me but I woke up feeling like I was dropping into a bottomless chasm. In the midst of all that, I felt quite comfortable. I did not care,” Chidamba says.
He started having blackouts mid-conversation which would disorient him.
Only those who worked with him closely noticed changes and fortunately for Chidamba, they suggested scientific interventions.
“I was finally saved by my former boss,” he said. “She booked a session at a local therapy centre (which is suprisingly a free establishment). I did not like the idea of answering personal questions, especially when I had to bare it all to a stranger.
“The sessions were brutal, I always felt like the counsellor was intruding way too much. So, I quit after 5 sessions.”
Chidamba finally went through therapy and got a proper diagnosis.
“Clinical depression. Got by referred a psychiatrist who ordered an electroencephalogram (EEG) scan. Nothing came from it, so I had to do a full blood count and a CAT scan (to understand the source of the blackouts,” says Chidamba.
After following the strict therapy it took him six months to beat clinical depression and he is now helping other young people who find themselves in the same situation he was.
Some are. however. not lucky like Chidamba, who on countless times toyed with the idea of self-harm. They lose everything in their battle against mental health, especially depression and sometimes are consumed by it.
This is why professionals have been advocating for personal approaches instead of generalised forms of remedy.
Cassie Ndoro, a therapist who uses art in her work, says the delicacy of the process needs to be respected to ensure, patients go through the whole therapy without reneging.
“The idea is to go through the healing process with someone, treating it like a journey. People backslide and relapse, not everyone is the same. Just like students, there are some who finish the course and some who do not.
“But the idea is to make sure that every case is treated different and due care is given to each patient,” Ndoro said.
The World Health Organisation seems to be in concurrence with the sentiment that mental health issues need to be properly diagnosed and handled with care.
Today is World Mental Health Day and their theme is suicide prevention.
Suicide prevention can only be achievable if more information is made available to society on mental health and the sensitivities around it. Many a times, people try and substitute diagnosis through conversations with figures like pastors, although it is a good start, there is need for professional diagnosis.
Suicide cases relating to mental health issues can also be reduced if there is clear understanding that it is okay not to be okay and ensure there should be mechanisms to identify those in need of help.
When those in need of help are found, there should be easily accessible platforms for help.
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