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Living with depression.

figure By Margaret Maina "I need to talk to someone, I think I am falling into depression."I read that Facebook post from one of my closest friends and panicked.

I tried to call her several times but she was unreachable. She later said she needed some time out.

I thought I was overacting at first but some quick research proved otherwise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide.

In 2017, they estimate that450 millionpeoplewere affectedby depression globally while Kenyawas rankedthe 4th in Africa with 1.9 million.

Depression is a mood disorder characterised by a persistently low mood, feelings of sadness and loss of interest. It is a persistent problem, not a passing one, lasting on averagesix to eight months.

class="MsoNormalNation.co.

ke spoke to three people who have undergone depression: class="MsoNormalMartinWachira, 40 class="MsoNormalThe father of two is a Bachelor in Education graduate from Kenyatta University and had been a high school teacher of Mathematics and Business Studies for nine years before his depression symptoms became severe, which made him abscond his duties as a teacher. Hewas suspendedin July, 2018. I was an alcohol addict, and in 2012 I decided to quit but I became very sick.

I had blurred vision, impaired speech and I couldn't walk. When I went to hospital, Iwas diagnosedwith depression and bipolar disorder.

I am now on daily medication," he says. class="MsoNormalMartin says some of his family and friendsstigmatisehim.

He attempted suicide twice by takingTriatix -- a spray for the control of ticks. My sleep patterns changed.

I felt extremely sad, and I was easily agitated and fatigued. I wantedto bealone," he says.

class="MsoNormalMartin went back to taking alcohol again and his family took him toJomecRehabilitation Center in Nakuru. TheyputinNaltrexoneimplant under my skin to help suppress my alcohol urge," he says.

class="MsoNormalDepression affected his dailylife. But he started counselling sessions and he is on the road to recovery.

The only way I could get help is to admit that I needed it, that was my first step to recovery and I feel I am ready to go back to work." class="MsoNormalEvalineMuleka, 42 I had a hard time growing up.

My parents separated when I was hardly two years old. I grew up with my dad and step mother.

Life was really not easy for me," saysEvaline. class="MsoNormalThis saw her dropping out of school in Form Two and getting married at 17. For five years in her marriage, she was a victim of emotional and physical abuse from her husband.

class="MsoNormalShe developed the fear of expressing herself to the father of her three children as she would be severely beaten up if she did so. I smoked weed, tried muguka and drunk alcohol, all in trying to find solace, but I later quit as it didn't help," she says.

I attempted suicide twice. I once bought kerosene, poured it on myself and in the house.

As I was almost lighting a matchstick, my husband came in and rescued me." class="MsoNormalBut one day she decided shehadhad enough and left for Nakuru with her two-day-old baby to start her life afresh.

class="MsoNormalCertain symptoms she was having worried her enough togo to hospital, where shewas diagnosedwith depression. I couldn't sleep and was withdrawing from people.

I became very temperamental and was often disoriented," she says. I remember one day I beat my last born mercilessly until he lost consciousness.

I poured cold water on him and continued beating him. I didn't stop until my neighbours came to his rescue.

" class="MsoNormalIn 2016, she was diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, and she suffered a stroke. She is currently undergoing physiotherapy sessions at Psychiatric Disability Organization in Nakuru and is still on daily medication for depression.

class="MsoNormalEnochMuriithi,28 class="MsoNormalEnoch's father was an alcoholic who used to call him a failure ever since he wasyoung boy. This drove him todrug and alcohol abuse.

Luck seemedto beon his side after Form Four when he was recruited into the General Service Unit (GSU). class="MsoNormalHis father, however, conned him of his hard-earned cash and in 2017, his fianceacutee suffered a miscarriage.

Enoch believes these events contributed greatly to his depression diagnosis later in life. class="MsoNormalLikeEvalineand Martin, Enoch started experiencing depression symptoms too but did not know what it was.

He was sad, withdrawn, talked a lot to himself and had trouble sleeping. I didn't know Iwas depressed.

One day, my fianceacute and I hired a car and we drove off toMalaba. For days, the owner of the car could not reach me on phone and he had to report the car missing," he says.

class="MsoNormalHe simply refused to answer his calls. class="MsoNormalLater, he realised he was suffering from one of the signs of depression -- withdrawal.

Withdrawal and inactivity have been known to feed depression. class="MsoNormalHewas takentoBungomaPolice Station before hewas handedover topersonnelfromGSUheadquarters.

Hewas then takento Nairobi Women's Hospital and later referred toMathariHospital where hewas diagnosedwith Major Depressive Disorder. He was puton depression medication.

class="MsoNormalIt was not until hewas referredto Psychiatric Disability Organization (PDO) that his condition greatly improved. He attends counselling sessions once a week.

I can comfortably admit that I am getting better, my speech has improved, and I feel 28 again," Enoch adds. 9 class="MsoNormalAbout Psychiatric Disability Organization class="MsoNormalIregiMwenjawas inspiredto start Psychiatric Disability Organization in Nakuru after being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at 35. class="MsoNormalADHD isa chronic condition that includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

class="MsoNormalIn 2012, he resigned from his job as a director of Born Free Foundation in pursuit of fulfilment, and in 2016 he started the Psychiatric Disability Organization (PDO) in Nakuru with the aim of bringing together people with mental health conditions. class="MsoNormalIregiMwenjawas inspiredto start Psychiatric Disability Organization in Nakuru after being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at 35. PHOTO| AYUB MUIYURO I wantedto bethe voice to propel advocacy, create awareness and toprovidehelp for free especially to the less fortunate.

Nobody should suffer segregation or stigmatisation because of depression," he says class="MsoNormalPDOoffers physiotherapy and counselling sessions.Iregialso organises monthly hikes, dances and outdoor activities as it is therapeutic for his patients, he adds.

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Oct 16, 2018
Words:1195
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