We live in a society where sadness, anxiety, or other mental ailments like depression are not considered worthy of attention. Men shouldn’t shed a tear and mothers are not allowed to take a break because they have a household to tend to. Emotions are considered dirty garments that should be squeezed and covered in a basket. You shouldn’t be caught “unfresh”. Your face must always be bright. You must always put up a smile in public and greet everyone that passes by. You are not allowed to take a break from the normal affairs of life.
Never should it be heard that you joined a support group or met someone to share your emotional problems, it screams weakness and “craze”.
This is what we thought and it kills us slowly like cancer.
This same country is one of the top 60 poorest countries in the world with little or no job opportunities, reoccurring ASUU strikes, and a continuous drop in the economy. Every day on tv and on our Instagram feed, we hear of kidnappings, killings, ritualisms, and even dirty things like ladies sleeping with dogs. It is very difficult to be emotionally healthy when you are broke, hungry, or dealing with grief and loss. Feeling like you are not your best is very normal with the different happenings in this present time.
Some of us are in tune with other people’s feelings but somehow lose touch with ours. Even though we talk about mental health, we look at it through a window where we can see other people and not a mirror where we can see ourselves.
Some cover it up by reaffirming “I’m too blessed to be stressed” or “hard work can handle anything”. We forget that we are only humans. Even robots need to be recharged, batteries run down. Computers do heat up too.
Toxic positivity not only invalidates your emotional state but also increases secondary emotions.
The problem is that when we fail to pay attention to our sad, angry, depressed, tired, or grieving emotions which are considered negative, we end up eliciting secondary emotions like shame or embarrassment.
Squeeze papers and throw them at the wall if you are angry. Scream at the top of your voice in a park. Throw stones into the water at the beach. Shed the tear you’ve been holding in then wipe it off with a tissue. If that isn’t enough, talk to a friend or a therapist about it. As humans, we are bound to fear vulnerability but taking the bold step to speak up and be vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do.
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to talk to someone about it. It’s okay to write everything down. It’s okay to lose yourself for a few moments. It’s okay to feel anger. But it’s never okay to watch yourself fall through an abyss and continue watching.
Accept your emotions and tackle them. Share, speak up and the burden will be less.
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Akaji Blessing Odo, currently undergoing an undergraduate program in the department of medical laboratory science is a multitalented creative, who expresses her art in music and hair dressing and recently dived Into the writing world.