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Silent Suffering


Silent Suffering

Chet Anekwe

Perusing Facebook, in my normal routine, I clicked the "On this day" link. This is where FB shows you previous posts, on this very day, over years, from your timeline.  Click bait?  Yes, of course! And I bite every time...

Today, it showed a post I made 3 years ago, about the death of Robin Williams and how I have struggled with my own battles with depression.

I read it again and realized how important it is to acknowledge and be aware of the silent suffering people with depression struggle with, everyday.  Since Mr. Williams death, depression has taken many others. Most notably Linkin Park's, Chester Bennington.

I felt I should post my original FB comment, unedited, from 3 years ago, today.  Too many of us suffer in silence.  And given the stigma mental health carries in the black and African communities, many struggle alone, feeling like there is no-one to turn to.  No-one to help.

Reach out to anyone you know silent suffering, and let them know, they are not alone.  And there is a light in the tunnel.. The light is in them...

Posted to FaceBook Aug 13th 2014

I was reading the FB wall of my niece Aisha, and her usual brilliant thoughts on the death of Robin Williams, depression and suicide, and started posting this as a comment on her page, but when done, I felt I should post it as my status.

I have never mentioned this, and very few people know, but I too, was diagnosed with depression... Interestingly when I would have bouts of uncontrollable crying in Nigeria, I was told, and sadly believed, it was juju (black magic)... Don't laugh...  I had no explanation as to why these thing were occurring, why I was at times, immeasurably sad, and that explanation was a good as any... I had written haunting short stories of suicide, using my own name, where lead character says "Bravery spawn by cowardice" before he leaps off of the ABU water tower, into the abyss, to his death.......

It was many, many years later when I was diagnosed in Atlanta, that I understood what I had been facing...  I refused to fill my first, and only, prescription, I ever got, which I kept for many years, just as a reminder, and tackled it with exercise amongst other things...  I have had it under control for over 15 years now.. I can feel it coming, I can sense it.. I sometimes turn to my wife and say "I feel it coming" and then I actively, workout, play sports, even play my favorite video game FIFA, and try to alter my thoughts and mind... Most times I succeed, sometimes, I don't...

I am lucky... Mr. Williams said, better to be alone then be around people that make you feel alone...  I am not...  I was lucky to have found, and married, the "one"... And she is always there...  I am never alone, for she walks beside me, at all times, even when we are not physically near...  She is there....

Mr Williams death has stuck me deeply... I have cried unexpectedly, at times, thinking about him... I guess, I see the path that lead him there... And it saddens me....I wish he had found the peace in life, I hope he has found in death....

 - Chet Bashari Anekwe -