Thursday, 1 December 2016

SO KOKO Life Topics | ARE YOU M.A.D?

We say it so much, so let's talk about it

Are you Mad? Are they Mad? He's Mad! You're Mad!  Nah, she's actually Mad!  Am I Mad? Nah, I'm Mad.

All of these expressions do not fall short of daily utterances in one way or another. Whether to elicit shock, anger. doubt or to actually draw a conclusion, it's so easy to say, yet so hard to talk about.

But where does our fear and resistance stem from?  Social acceptance? Religious or superstitious beliefs? Cultural perspective? Family attitudes?

For a lot of Africans, there's nothing to discuss here. "Are you the only one?", "You're not the only one that has problems". "It's your father's mother, I saw her in my dream"

Have you ever been pestered by your mum/dad to tell them what's wrong, what's upsetting you, how you feel, what you're going through and immediately regretted it?

"You better snap out of it before you make yourself ill!" or they list every financial issue, marital issue, household wickedness and career failures, every sacrifice made FOR YOU, that you feel even worse because you know you can't help them?

While a lot of the above is true (well, they can be true) , there's also a lot of generalisation there too. The above doesn't describe every parent, every situation- every African home is different.Similarly, every person is different. Every state of mind differs. Every symptom listed in this week's graphic doesn't equate to having a mental illness.  But every symptom can affect your mental health.

No one wants to be associated with (poor) mental health, but many of us can associate with feeling anxious, stressed, alone or just down. We don't have to be comfortable with what it's called but we need to be comfortable in how we feel and how we manage in the short and long term.

We may not identify with some of the theories on causes, treatments and diagnoses but we do need to identify with the importance of our mental health, of staying healthy and staying aware :

Here are just three areas to keep an eye on


She's just in one of her moods 

Life isn't a walk in the park, but it will have your mood swinging. Let's be honest, there are some things we experience that no school or parent can prepare us for or prevent us from- they just happen. How quickly does you mood change? How long does it stay there?

Helpful Link :

He's a doubting Thomas

How will they react? How should I react? What if it doesn't happen? Well, what if it does? Feeling nervous about something isn't out of the ordinary. What you want to avoid, is a panic attack. Our mental health can affect our physical health too.

Helpful Link:

You're just a Debby Downer

Like all, depression is not to be taken lightly. It's one we all may not experience but you are not alone.

Helpful Link :

The only way to help breakdown the stigma around mental health, is by being open about it. Every one has their battles, so much can be hidden by a stretched smile. You don't have to be an expert to understand and you do not need to understand (fully) to listen.

So while some people may just act up, let's not ignore those acting out. Let's continue to interact, we can wait for next Mental Health Awareness Week, next mental health event or we can shine a light on this dark issue, daily.

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