“It’s very easy to post nice quotes on mental health awareness. But we often forget to practice compassion and empathy” – Activist Lucia Ayiela shares her struggle with depression

Lucia Ayiela, the straight-talking activist on Tuesday shared a personal story of how she has in recent times struggled with suicidal thoughts.

The below is taken verbatim from her Twitter page.

THE FACE OF DEPRESSION. Most people wonder how or what anxiety depression looks like. This picture is a clear face of what depression looks like. This photo was taken at a time when suicide was constantly on my mind.

2021 has been full of life lessons & character development for me. Betrayal has been my biggest trigger. People I trusted and believed to be friends betrayed me and it broke me down.

The above photo was taken about 2 months ago. 2 days after this photo was taken, i wrote 2 suicide notes, 1 for my mom and one for my friend. The plan was to light the jiko, close my windows and go to sleep.

I called my friends Njoki Gachanja at 3am & if she hadn’t picked that call, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now. This girl listened to me breaking down for a good 30 minutes. She cried with me & she then calmly talked me out of that dark place. Sis, you are my shujaa for life!

Anxiety & depression are not things you can pretend to have. They are things you pretend to not have. Anxious and depressed people are so good at hiding it, you’ll almost never know something is wrong until it gets out of control.

The stigma associated with mental health means that we who suffer from it have to hide our condition so as not be judged. So that our conditions are not used to marginalize us and deny us opportunity.

It’s very easy to post nice quotes on mental health awareness. But as we advocate for awareness, we often forget to practice compassion and empathy.

Be kind & compassionate to everyone you meet. We are all fighting battles. The world needs a little bit of our hearts and less pieces of our minds.

Am personally at a better place now, my friends came through for me during this difficult period and gave me so much support without judgements or Woiye’s. I can’t mention names, but they’ll see this & I want them to know am super grateful!

Please don’t woiye me. It doesn’t help. And if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing at all. Life is full of choices, make a good one today. Also, hug a friend.

Yesterday, it was revealed that over 480 Kenyans committed suicide in the past 3 months.

In 2020, the Taskforce on Mental Health recommended that mental illness be declared a National Emergency of epidemic proportions, to prioritize mental health as a priority public health and socioeconomic agenda.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue of mental health.

Mombasa County Governor Hassan Ali Joho has even called on the govt to lift all Covid-19 restrictions due to this, arguing that people now know how to protect themselves.