by Faith Ongeziwe Qinga
After an eleven-hour rest, I still woke up sad. And that’s what an odd morning feels like for someone who is going through an uneasy psychological space.
Three weeks back, I opened my eyes to find myself in an unfamiliar environment; ¾ bed, medicine surrounding the tiny room, and a drip on my right hand. It’s just after 1am and I am in casualty! A gentleman walks in, “How are you feeling this morning ma’am?” he asks in a friendly gesture as he prepares to take off the drip. “Where’s my cousin? Where’s my phone? I feel better but ndinentloko. Yhu ha.a ndiyagoduka ngoku” I respond in discomfort.
The doctor walks in, introduces herself and utters the best news first. I’m good to go home, whew! What a relief. But then she asks about what is “depressing” me, a trigger! I interrupt her before she can even finish her question. “No, Doc I am not depressed. I was just stressed and frustrated, but I’m going for counselling so the ghel will be fine,” I said hastily.
I don’t know why I refer to myself in third person whenever I address uneasy matters I’m dealing with. I don’t know, maybe it makes me reason in a calmer mode. Anyways, back to the trigger. I do not like it when my psychological space is referred to in a harsh word. My psychologist has given me a new word to describe this feeling, sadness. “Sadness” is less emotive and that is how I prefer to describe how I’m feeling, “sad”.
Undergoing sadness, people around me have to be sensitive. My parents for one are unlearning a lot of misinformation they had about what causes sadness. As religious leaders, they had the notion that it is the devil who causes sadness, and that such feelings are caused by evil spirits. But having to support a daughter that is undergoing sadness, they are unlearning a lot. A person who is sad is not demon-possessed, they are sad.
People must read up on sadness, to understand how to deal with a person who is sad in order to avoid triggering or adding to their sadness…Here’s to unlearning misconceptions and raising awareness about mental health. Yes, young people are the most affected by sadness, due to the environments triggering our psychological space. Learn to be kind, for you do not know how one will receive your harsh words.