I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. A spoonful of rice and peas looks at me, dauntingly. I try to eat, but I can’t. Every grain of rice seems pungent to my taste buds.
Food is scorned by my digestive system, for in this moment, I am too miserable to eat. Ironically enough, I need to eat to survive… but am I really living? As my unhappiness encapsulates me, it seemingly rejects anything I consume.
Every night that my head hits the pillow, my mental health hits its lowest point.
It’s a cycle of disdain and suffering. Struggling to break through the walls of hurt that confine me. Crying out for help but it falls on deaf ears.
Mental health issues are so discarded amongst the people of Trinidad and Tobago that those afflicted are subjected to enduring their agonies in silence. For when they speak up, they are ridiculed for being weak, accused of being attention-seeking or quite simply just not taken seriously.
“Telling me “to just be happy” won’t make everything alright.”
I am not “calling sickness on myself”. These were the words spoken to me by my very own mother when I reached out for help; just imagine the feeling of dread that rolled over my body when I heard her say that one morning in the car on my way to school.
Depression is more than just temporary sadness. Here I am, aged 20, five or six years later, still a victim to the entrapment that is my mind. Here I am, living proof that it wasn’t just an “angsty teenaged thing”. Depression isn’t something you can change at will. Telling me “to just be happy” won’t make everything alright. It isn’t a cool trend.
Please stop blaming and shaming those who struggle with this ailment. No one decides one day that they want to be severely unhappy. It takes a lot out of someone to speak out to another. Please don’t ever put someone down for this.
“Stop blaming & shaming those who struggle with this ailment.”
Depression can be lying in bed all day, feeling hopeless and stuck. Depression can also be pushing through each day, even though it hurts, because you have a purpose.
It’s not a mask you can see; anyone can be suffering. Many are battling silently and you wouldn’t even be able to tell. Some days it’s wanting to be alone and others it’s wanting someone to be there to listen.
Sometimes I find myself lashing out at loved ones irrationally. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed with stress, my brain becomes foggy and unclear making it difficult to think straight.
“The change of outlook on mental health in Trinidad and Tobago starts with our way of thinking and then our actions.”
What can we do?
Lend an ear. Be a shoulder to lean on. Check on your quiet loved ones. Check on those who seem the happiest. Pain often hides behind a smile. Most of all, keep an open mind and heart. The change of outlook on mental health in Trinidad and Tobago starts with our way of thinking and then our actions.
Written by Kareayne Adrianna Fairman, Writer + Poet. You can see some of her work at her website: https://kerryaneaf.wixsite.com/portfolio.
The more compassionate, kind and understanding we can be of people with depression, the more likely we are to help. If you or someone you know needs help, please visit our directory of free and reduced cost resources: here. Please ask for help if you need it. You matter.