Let's talk about mental health and depression without being ashamed

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Last week was a rather overwhelming week - Kate Spade, an American fashion designer and Anthony Bourdain, a  travel documentarian - two people with legacies, empires, money and large fan bases committed suicide.

They appeared strong, they did not seem like people who would end their lives. Bourdain was someone who's adventures I followed; he lived life, went on adventures, discovered amazing things and people, he seemed unstoppable. 

As Africans mental illness and depression is not something we acknowledge - I've had someone tell me it’s an ‘oyinbo' disease. Believe me it’s not. 

“People who fight depression are some of the strongest people on the planet”. 

Recently there’s been this Instagram caption/text photo going around telling people: "Check on your strong friend”. Honesty, I've been ignoring it but it keeps popping up on my feed. Funny thing is one friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time sent me a message saying “They said we should check on our strong friends so I’m checking on you.” 

I decided to pay it forward and check on a friend I thought was strong - I’ve spent my evening crying - the friend I checked up on has been going through something. She’s successful, strong, has an outgoing personality but she reveals to me how she’s had to battle anxiety and depression.

If you can, stop being busy for a moment and check on the people around you. And if or when they open up, just shut up and listen. 

When they are done talking just reassure them you are there for them and they are though enough to survive this. And if you are the one going though something, talk to someone a friend, family member or even a professional. You are not alone. 

Blessings and love.