Mental Health Friday #24

Mental Health Friday #24

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I had a pretty good childhood until around the age of six, that was when I was raped for the first time. I was a kid, I didn’t tell anyone and I didn’t know how to handle the trauma. I turned to smoking at that young age. We had a security guard in the estate and he introduced me to it. The assault didn’t stop at the age of six and by the time I turned ten, I’d been raped two more times by different men. 

We moved from that area to a different state, but I was already hooked to smoking (I went on to smoke for about ten years); maybe it was a coping mechanism for me.
I was ten. I knew I was depressed and became suicidal as well. I tried to kill myself but didn’t go through with it; I guess, despite it all, a part of me wanted to live.

When I got into grade 10, I had a really bad time there, which forced me to look within myself. I realised, my life was a mess but I wanted to be better; I felt that I could do better. I overheard my parents talking about a colleague of theirs who was a psychiatrist, so, I stole his contacts and called him. We talked on the phone and he fixed an appointment for me. All of these, I did, without the knowledge of my parents.

I was diagnosed with depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He put me on medications but I never took them; Compliance to medication is not my strong suit.
Still, I kept on seeing him once every week. It was liberating, talking about everything without feeling like everything that happened was my fault, the rapes were my fault. I was fortunate to have a great psychiatrist.

My parents didn’t know I was seeing their colleague as my Psychiatrist, and so, one time, we met in public and my parents introduced me to him as their daughter. We exchanged greetings and he pretended he didn’t know me. I loved that he did.

I kept on seeing him secretly until I graduated from high school, I never went back after that. (I’ve been thinking a lot about going back now ). Although now, I can say that I learnt what I need to do for myself and how to take care of my mental health.

Still, I have so much anger bottled up inside about our attitude towards mental illness, molestation, child abuse and just things like these- I mean it is right there, happening before our eyes, but we just don’t see it. People think that if you are depressed or traumatised, there’s this somber image you fit into- but I wasn’t. I was the noisy bubbly child, the people pleaser and did not fit into “that image” at all. We are so self absorbed that we never pick up on the little things.

I find it brave of people who put a face to their mental illnesses and the trauma they’ve experienced.
So, this is it, my story. The journey of a child victim to an adult survivor and warrior.


This week’s Mental Health story is about someone who requested to remain anonymous and I respect that. Thank you very much for sharing the story of your bravery and for reminding us once again- Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault.

To everyone who showed up every friday to read these personal stories of our journey with mental, thank you very much for supporting this; with your stories and your emails and your likes and comments and shares. It is a blessing.

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’d love to have you. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com.

 

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From the eyes of a child 2

From the eyes of a child 2

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When I awoke, the sun had begun to set and Ahmed wasn’t back yet. An uneasy feeling in the way only a seven year old could explain come to my mind, and I had racing thoughts of Ma and Baba. The events of the afternoon felt unreal and the thought of home clouded my judgement. In that moment, I forgot everything Ahmed told me and instead raced as fast as my legs could carry me towards the direction of home without glancing down.

As I got towards the main town gate, I stumbled; fell down and rolled over on things that felt like a mixture of cushion and wood. It was uncomfortable, not to add the skunky smell that filled the atmosphere. I managed to find my footing, stood up and took a look at the mattressy-wooden thing that I had rolled over on. Staring at the sight in front of me, I shrieked and screamed. My legs were numb, my hands shivering, tears flooding- I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Lying beneath my feet, in front of me where hundreds of bodies, draped in white with patches of red all over. This couldn’t happen in reality, no, I was only dreaming. For the first time since I had left school, I looked up and around me. To my right and left, men and boys with blood stained clothes were dragging bodies and dumping them at the edge of the already huge pile. Women were gathered together a little away from me, in clusters, weeping, sobbing loudly. Some were on the floor and rolling in tears, others were sitting with hands constantly flared up. Some of the women were seated, with babies clutched to their breasts, a blank expression on their faces- a lot of the women, I recognized. It seemed nobody noticed the little girl in brown skirts and a white shirt, ruffled thick black hair, standing behind a pile of dead bodies, shivering in fear with tear stained face. Too many lives had been lost that day for the living to be noticed. Humanity was lost in Baga, and that wasn’t the only thing lost sadly.

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