You are African.
You are Ugandan..
Do you know how many real problems people are dealing with?
Mulago hospital doesn’t have a cancer machine.
Girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary towels.
We really are busy.
Let’s just say your insomnia is not on top of the ‘problems food chain’
Pray that God gives you sleep.
So you pray.
72 hours later, you are still awake.
Your anxiety level is sky high and your appetite non existent.
You can’t stop pacing.
Despite the fact that you are really exhausted.
Now the family is worried.
Your sister walks into a pharmacy.
I would like some sleeping pills she says!
We only give them out on prescription the pharmacist tells her.
But thank God for this country, a small lie gets her one pill.
You take the pill.
Hours later you are still awake.
It’s four days now.
They make an appointment for you to see a psychiatrist.
Now your family is really worried.
You are frustrated that something as simple as sleep has you checking in to Nakasero hospital.
But you need answers too.
So you sit across from this good doctor.
He asks you what feels like a million irrelevant questions.
Lucky for you, your talking machine of a sister went in with you.
She fills in all the gaps for the good doctor.
After what feels like years, he turns to you and makes a shocking revelation,
It sounds to me like you have been depressed for a while..
Ps:For the next few posts this month I will be sharing my sister’s journey with depression through my eyes.
It was the hardest thing I have had to deal with and it’s still a journey, but if it taught me anything, it’s about how much I didn’t know.
And also how much stigma surrounds the issue of depression in Uganda, or at least the part where I come from.
So I promised myself that at the very least I will be part of the people that participate in opening up a conversation about mental illness and health in this country.
And to shine a light on the fact if you find yourself depressed, there is help.