Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
HomeHow is your mind?

How is your mind?

How is your mind?
Is it crowded with colorful dreams and plans, broken records of yesterday’s breakups, the future unknown or whispers of doom from that detestable relative? Nowadays, unusual, embarrassing or disruptive behaviours such as walking nude, eating garbage or loud discussions with oneself are not the only signs of Mental Health challenges; these have upgraded to wearing fancy clothes and lurk behind impeccable talent, their hosts tightly concealing a storm that manifests with the right triggers. A mental health challenge is a mind detriment that alters one’s ability to normally respond to or engage effectively in daily activity. Granted, a bad day or an unexpected occurrence can take one off course and prompt unusual behaviour but a frequent, prolonged, overwhelming display of this is cue for underlying mental challenges such as Anxiety, Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to the more neurologically complex ones like Schizophrenia, Autism and Bi-Polar Disease. This article addresses anxiety, depression, PTSD and Suicidal thoughts as the most common forms of MH challenges among young people in Uganda (Mental Health Uganda Survey, 2021).

Mental health challenges intrude on every mind and can greatly stall creativity and productivity when tolerated. Worse still, Uganda has a huge burden of tackling MH problems, with advice such as: “man up”, “big girls don’t cry ” and “keep it to yourself” reigning supreme over seeking proper counseling, healthy escape habits or medical intervention. Religion will quickly diagnose an infestation with demons and therefore staunch prayer to rebuke that enemy while culture is more subtle, keeping the victim in hiding because the ancestors could be prophesying or deservedly punishing past defiance. Currently, the contributors to MH problems are numerous and include past traumas (child abuse, sexual and physical assault, loss of loved ones), current predicaments like financial and academic struggles, chronic illnesses, societal expectations, and alcohol and drug abuse. The fear of rejection in circles that applaud our prominence and the lack of an effective antidote prompt Masking, for instance, the desire to get numerous likes on a
Social Media post could hide one’s anxiety of societal rejection, a defeat for Arsenal football club can kindle violent frustration from a staunch fan whose underlying problem could be depression accrued from failure to succeed in anything.

Interestingly, MH flaws wear perfect makeup too and usually go unnoticed. For example,
struggles with anger management can be mistaken for one being Bold or Assertive, personalitybtypes, though justified by Psychological studies, create room for tolerance of crippled mental states, for example, having an Introvert Personality can intensify mental depression to the point where suicide claims one’s life simply because one prefers to isolate oneself instead of opening up and seeking help. Extroverts, on the other hand, are more social and outgoing persons but also struggle with keeping up appearances stemming from various anxieties. Furthermore, the advancements in Technology have a lot of anxiety, depression, PTSD and Suicidal thoughts accruing behind screens, within luxurious car interiors and cosmetic body implants. While we can confidently tweet about the affairs of countries that have never seen our flesh, this ease of communication has erased that genuine interpersonal communication and many remain haunted by things that they do not talk about. Celebrities, for example, are faced with huge societal expectations from fans, which if fulfilled reinforce their prominence, and such pressure can accrue MH stresses to which many have succumbed to, notably, actor Robin Williams and singer Whitney Houston.

The Counteraction
Mental health challenges can be a lonely fight of surrender but they don’t have to be. There are many ways in which such can be well navigated. Firstly, reach out to the right support system! A disclosure to those that can help alleviate your challenge such as counsellors, trusted family members, mentors and peer groups is a great start to your healing journey. Trying to tame your “demons” by yourself is a laborious task because many times, they will gnaw back and drag you further from deliverance. Secondly, learn your triggers, those things that you know will thrust you down that rocky road of mental misery, and adopt healthy coping mechanisms for your mental challenge. These may include a few moments to oneself, change of environment, distraction with new skills and activities, routine habits such as prayer and positive thinking. Why insist on watching that horror movie when you know that it brings back nightmares of prior abuse?
Notably though, religious teachings are commonly used in MH rehabilitation because they teach about an exceptional power that enables one to be the best version of oneself and their positive quotes when meditated upon bestow elevation from mental disturbances. Thirdly and most importantly, make the choice to work towards getting better. A truckload of prayer, heaps of advice, people dragging you to attend support groups and even the best MH recovery session will do no good if the victim still wants to romance their MH challenge. The choice to flee from depression, anxiety, PTSD and Suicidal thoughts is primarily yours. A firm stand on getting better is key in reviving one’s mind and a catalyst that drives all the interventions above.

Again, How Is Your Mind?
Every odd action does not reflect a MH challenge…sometimes, stupidity, obsessions, brain
activity enhancers or peer influence have us acting wildly astray from normality. Nonetheless, the mind should always be a space of tranquility, a part of you that hosts no grumblers because that is where all stimulation to act begins. Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Suicidal thoughts will come knocking but one does not have to host them to the point that self image and interpersonal relations are jeopardized. Continually working towards keeping our mental health in check while also being mindful of that of others is a slippery slope, and since these challenges are greatly fuelled by one’s environment, their triumph is an individual quest, requiring each person to adopt and exercise personalized, healthy coping mechanisms that rejuvenate their mentality and overall physical health.

Liz Kawalya
Elizabeth Kawalya is a Scientist who loves to know it all and to compel others to embark on the journey of finding out for themselves! Born in Bweyogerere, Wakiso district, Uganda, she was raised with six siblings by a single mother. She currently works as a medical laboratory assistant and part-time sous chef. Nature, the current social-political environment and personal experience are her greatest inspiration from which she creates original content with the aim of captivating her audience with accurate, relatable and entertaining writings.


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