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Don’t Stop Believing!

Of late, there have been reports of numerous suicides and this continues to break my heart. Science tells us that this is a mental condition and that we need to seek psychiatric help ergo medication to deal/cure this.

Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.

Be this as it may, I believe that our lack of self-awareness plays a significant role in this as well. By the time one is thinking of taking their own life, one’s sense of identity and worth is undermined and eroded. The contributors to this are factors like poor family relationships, poor self-image brought by our environment, consumerism, the world’s definition of who is “enough” among other factors.

From my work, I have come to understand that many of us do not feel like we are enough. Our parents did/do not spend a lot of time affirming us as children and we are left to be affirmed by our teachers, our peers – society. You attend school and you do not excel in your studies and therefore you are labelled a failure – ergo not enough! You are unable to get into med school because you did not score an A = failure! We are all so caught up in what the world views as acceptable. We have forgotten to love each other, be human and be there for one another because it is uncool. When someone is struggling with the feeling of being “stuck”, they are not able to come out and speak up because society will label them as “having a problem”. The voice of others is what seems to be driving us these days and we no longer take time to introspect and truly go for what we believe is the right for us. We are stuck in jobs that we hate; yet we are taking home huge paychecks, we have children whom we no longer know, friends who we no longer spend quality time with all in the name of “trying to make ends meet”. We are all so busy….God knows doing what, that we miss what is most important – relationships!

John, (not his real name) was 15 when he committed suicide four years ago. He was found hanging from the ceiling in his room. He left a note saying he felt “neglected” by his parents. As an only child to two successful professionals, John had everything a teenager would want. He went to an upmarket school and enjoyed unrestricted access to all the fancy gadgets his peers could only dream of. He also had, at his disposal, all the money someone his age could ever want. He was chauffer driven to and from school and had a spacious bedroom that was expensively furnished. He had everything to live for, or so it seemed, until he took his life.

Then there is Samuel, who, at 19, was the envy of his male friends – he was intelligent, charming and popular with the girls. Samuel set himself ablaze inside his parent’s home in one of Nairobi’s middle-class suburbs. He doused himself with gasoline and struck a match after an altercation with his father over unauthorized use of the family car. He died on the way to hospital.

What a sad state of affairs! We forget what an incredible danger it is to live life without knowing who you are.

So what can we all do to avoid getting to this place?

1. Seek help. Talk to someone about what you are going through! Reach out to us for a consultation
2. Break of feelings. When you don’t know who you really are, you become a slave to your feelings, constantly reacting to them and becoming confused when they change. Learn to feel for a few minutes and then distil the facts from the feeling. Write down all that is going on in your mind on a piece of paper and then distil the facts from the feeling.
3. Recognize that you become whatever you think about most of the time. **** When you derive your sense of self from a cultural image communicated through the media, that image will come to control you – turning you into a poor imitation of who you were meant to be. Focus more on what is real, the facts!
4. Deal wisely with your desires. Constantly review the ways in which you let your desires pull you into doing things that make you walk away from your true self. When considering a particular desire, ask yourself: “Is this desire moving me toward who I truly am or away from who I truly am?”
5. Reconnect with your Maker – Life is so loud and unless we are intentional about spending time with God, we will be disorderly and chaotic. According to neurosurgeon Dr. Carolyn Leaf, our brains are actually wired to be in constant communication with God. When we’re distracted or overwhelmed our lives lose the most powerful weapon we have against the enemy…intimacy. Let us be silent and listen to that soft inner voice.
6. Ask yourself questions. Who am I? What defines me? If I said the word identity what would you think of? What comes to mind when you think of your identity? Are you defined by the career or title you hold? Are you defined by the person you are with? Your financial status? A loss of a loved one? What others think of you? Your current situation? Where you’re at in life?

I want you to remember one thing. Your past does not define who you are. You might feel like you are drifting along looking at yourself from a helpless lens while your body just does what you’ve trained it to do. Excitements are few, challenges are sparse, and the routine has taken over. Knowing that you’re feeling lost is a good thing. It means you’re in the homestretch. Congratulations are in order, because you are further along than most. There is no shame in this.

If you need to talk, someone to listen, someone to help you find clarity or help you get “unstuck” I am here for you and only you. I will help you clarify things and help develop strategies that lead to you finding yourself. Click on this link to book your consultation

I believe in you and I want you to LIVE!

Njeri MuchunuDon’t Stop Believing!
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