Depression is a White Man’s Disease.


Behind the Curtains of life Depression Lurks.

Photo Credit: Phil Hearing from Unsplash

Craving maternal love? What does that even mean?

My sister’s friend (18) died recently. It was a terrible loss for her family and close friends because her mother had died not too long ago. After a solemn ten minutes of reading her last words, one of her friends present asked…

Craving maternal love? What does that even mean?

Another seconded it.

Her suicide note had said she misses her mother and craved her love and care. But some of her friends did not understand why she would take her life because she craved motherly love – since every mother dead or alive would want their child to stay alive.

Do not get me wrong they were all furious that their friend had killed herself, but somehow her reason seemed implausible to some of them.

Only the Strongest Human Bond Ever

The mother-child bond is the evolutionary basis of love and compassion. Weeks back during the last moments of George Floyd’s life the one person he called out for was his MOTHER. That bond between a mother/child is so incredible that in times of difficulties we instinctively reach out for our mothers.

After Rey’s (not her real name) question. It dawned on me that many people out there do not know the feel of a mother’s love or what it means to love another unconditionally. They have never experienced the warmth of a mother’s embrace, or the love in her chastising. They have never known the worry on her face when her child has a fever, or the anger in her heart when her child is maltreated even by their own peers.

Only a mother’s love totally embodies the word UNCONDITIONAL.

Truth is, Rey will never understand what it means to have a mothers love.

As a young child she was constantly molested by her step father, it started when she was just 10. And when she told her mother that her husband had touched her inappropriately, she was slapped and called a liar, and then warned never to mention such lies to anyone.

The abuse continued and everytime she got pregnant by him her mother would give her some herbs to take out the growing fetus – this happened about three times. Then one day when she was 15 she left the house and never went back.

So when Rey voiced her doubts I wasn’t surprised, her mother isn’t one of the hero Mommas out there who would climb mountains and kick down walls for their child. So it was difficult for her to understand the importance of something she never had, or appreciate a love she never got.

My sister’s late friend was very close to her mother, they were like twin souls. They did everything together. Her mother had her at 16 so they were practically buddies.

Even though I had my own personal fears after her mother had died I never voiced them. I still beat myself up till this day. Maybe she would still be alive if I had voiced out my fear, maybe I could have found a way to help her.

Susceptibility has nothing to do with color

My sister constantly blames herself for not realizing how much her friend was suffering until she ended it and left us all with a guilt that would remain with us for the rest of our lives. If only we had paid attention, if only we had tried to talk her out of that grief, if only we had been there to wipe her tears when she cried herself to sleep at night. If only we had probed further when she said I AM FINE over the phone.

After my sister’s friend suicide we all realized it was time for a reality check, especially on the silent killer – depression. Most of all it was time to actively spread the importance of mental health awareness to family and friends.

DEPRESSION has taken many greats, it is no respecter of person, status or race. Just like narcotics it slowly messes up a persons mind until they believe their only way out is to end their life.

So many people do not believe that the mind gets sick, especially here in Africa.

I was talking to some people about depression recently and a friend who survived the disease recently had this to say.

She also shared this with me after I told her how someone mocked me for being depressed.

We are blacks we can’t be depressed – those words gets me everytime.

Every time I hear someone died from suicide brought on by depression I think to myself – we failed someone again…

the world has failed someone again.

Every human being has a mind, this simply means that depression has a ground to thrive. It is there inside everyone of us Black, White or Brown waiting to be ignited. Sometimes a difficult situation like grief, poverty, hopelessness, heartbreak, abuse and other life trials beyond our control can trigger it. And these are problems every race must face at different stages of life.

I have personally suffered its torments and I am not white. That is why I am very vocal about it.

The world of depression is very warm and hospitable and almost impossible to abandon for the real world and it welcomes all both Black, White and everything in between. Many who enter into that world never come back to the real world.

People who suffer from depression are experts at hiding their sordid affair with the disease.

So many people have woken up to the news that a friend has died from suicide due to depression.

Sometimes that friend may have been the strongest person you know. But because of their outward cheerfulness you cannot see that they suffer on the inside. They throw on their poker face when they are with friends and family, but on the inside their mind works against them setting them up for a fall.

Sometimes when they speak up no one takes them seriously – only a few people took me seriously when I spoke up.

It is important to let people no that it is okay not to be okay, that the mind gets sick and sometimes people die from it.

Depression is not racist.

I told a friend weeks ago that this is the era of great depressions. After decades of hiding in the shadows the disease has come to stay. It is even more viral and global than the economic phenomenon of 1929 that popularized the term.

The world hasn’t had a great depression in years. But the masses suffer greatly from depressions. It is picking us off one after the other.

It is no longer just a western phenomenon or continent thing (my uncle use to say things like – an African man cannot be depressed…he cannot kill himself because he is sad, we are not weak people) He has long taken back those words, now he knows depression and sadness are miles apart.

In time I discovered that it takes strength to end ones own life and even more strength to ask for help.

No one can fight depression alone, so I’d say speak up, ask for help it is the greatest show of strength.

Do not think you can beat it. So many people suffering from depression do not know that they are depressed, because they believe it can never happen to them. They believe erroneously that only weak people suffer from depression.

We should all be alert, even the strongest minds bows in the face of depression, in the same way nations cower in the face of depression. The word depression is a term strong enough to wreck nations, imagine what it can do to an ordinary man.

There are still people out there who believe depression is a white man’s illness. The same way some erroneously thought cancer is the white man’s disease until it started taking them out too…oh and COVID too.

Depression is not racist, it is very much color blind. It does not discriminate – oh this is a black person, I do not attack black people, let me go torment my white buddy instead. Obviously thinking like that is choosing naivety.

Till this day there are people out there who still live in the dark, both black and white and I know a handful of them. The human race should be aggressively enlightened on the hazards of depression. We cannot keep living like this disease does not exist because it does and it does not give a shit where you are from or what color you come in. It will mess with your mind regardless of your race – no disease is racist.

Every human is built the same and we are all liable to suffer the same diseases. No disease is limited to a certain race. The need to actively spread mental health awareness is paramount especially in African nations, but first we must start from our homes and communities.