It was a journey into the unknown. It was terrifying. It was in a dark pit of depression and l didn’t know what was happening to me. No one was explaining anything to me. My children had questions. My husband too was on an unfamiliar journey.
This was nine years ago, when l was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. My mind was a mess and l needed help. I had bottled up so much pain inside and when the explosion happened it was what doctors called a “mental disorder”.
Two years into treatment, l finally gathered the courage to ask my doctor what he was treating. All along l was taking medication without knowing what was being treated. He got a piece of paper and drew a hill and valley. Then he said, “When you are depressed it takes longer than normal, that is the valley and when you are excited it is above the normal degree.”
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He went on to say that for this condition l would be on medication for life! I preferred to look for answers in the Bible. I began to seek for deeper revelation; Jesus is our healer and He did not say there are certain diseases He cannot heal, I thought to myself that He can heal me. I read about the man who was possessed with legion but was set free and was on of sound mind.
I was tired of taking medication. Five years later l walked into my doctor’s office and told her that l was done with the medication. She looked concerned and worried at the same time. I was done with years of side effects like trembling hands (l couldn’t firmly hold a bottle) and being overweight. I desired a new lease on life.
I looked for alternatives on my journey to recovery, l trained as a peer counselor to use my experience to help others on their journey too. I reached out to others to break the stigma – l went public too. I co-founded a nonprofit organization: My Story Initiative, in Uganda, to have a bigger platform to advocate for the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
I began to dream again. I began to live again.
It was okay not to be okay sometimes
I continue to “preach” about mental health awareness and sensitization in church, corporate workplaces, rotary clubs, and social media.
I feel this insatiable hunger inside to keep going and let the world know that it is time to bring change starting with transforming mindsets. I desired to give people, who for a long time, have been considered “invisible”, a chance to be part of development of our nation, and the globe. Change has come. Change is now.
This article was written by Angela Nsimbi.