Anti-depressants made me drowsy and would make me fall into a sleep so deep that it scared me. As a result, I decided to stop taking them along with my bipolar medication. It was a difficult journey because my body started fighting me being that it had gotten pretty used to the intake of medication.
Siya (not her real name) is one of many young black women who suffer from a host of mental illnesses which Society is pretty silent about. From bipolar disorder to schizophrenia; there’s a misleading belief that it is a white man’s disease or a sign of demon possession in many parts of Africa. We would rather pretend it doesn’t exist than accept the possibility and figure out ways to spread the word around mental health issues to reduce the stigma around it.
Siya decided to stop the medical route in a bid to try to get her body to co-operate with her. These were some of the steps she took:
I found this app called: ‘abide’. Different verses in the bible which highlight your preferred selected topic are read out in the most calming tones as you sit in a comfortable position and just focus on the words. It helps to calm and centre me.
2. Keep a Journal
I used to journal by writing down every thought that came to mind, no matter how terrible. However, I got quite paranoid worrying about who could potentially gain access to it. This fear stopped me from carrying on with it for a longer period of time. I recently went back to it after finding out that there are several apps available for use on both the google play store and the apple store which allow you to document your thoughts in a protected and safe environment. The best way to journal, i’ve realised is ensuring that it becomes an assessment tool. I constantly go back to my journal and read the things I had written to assess myself when I feel better. Think of it as becoming your own therapist.
3. Have a support system
I moved countries to surround myself with the right kind of people away from toxicity. For you, it could be changing your circle of friends or moving cities and sometimes, the toxicity can even be projected by your family. Protect your sanity and peace by ensuring you’re surrounded by people who value and love you. It helps to know that I am loved, no matter what.
I pray everyday even though i never used to before. It helps to balance me out. I pray through my feelings, thoughts, night mares… It gets scary in my head sometimes but I never stop praying, ever!
5. Express yourself through an Art
If you have a love for poetry, write some-even if it’s just a few stanzas weekly. Paint on a canvas or on paper if you’ve always loved art. Remember that the goal here is not to sell your work but to release yourself in the form of an expression of some sort.
Please ensure that if these steps do not work for you, contact your local psychologist for more guidance.