Depression is a global issue that affects the mental health of almost 300 million people worldwide.
In Cameroon, most youths are depressed, with a range of reasons to account for their deteriorating mental state.
However, Cameroonians who suffer from depression prefer to suffer in silence, until they get a wakeup call. One of such people is Cameroonian born Anrette Ngafor. She is a vibrant youth and social media advocate on depression, resilient and a lover of fashion, food, fitness and music.
Anrette opened up to LouChat about her struggles with depression, a situation that almost took away her life. Here are the highlights of the touching interview.
Thank you once more for taking off time to help others understand depression through your story.
It’s a pleasure!
Q: You have been vocal about your journey to victory, with regards your fight against depression.
When did you realize you started losing your real self?
Omg! When my sister died, I traveled shortly after that so part of me always felt she was in Cameroon. Something was never right as a young student in the UK but I kept pretending. A few years later, I was totally losing it sinking into depression.
Sad part is, loosing me as a person yet hiding it from family because I truly didn’t understand what was going on.
Q: Could you please describe the emotional roller coaster you went through?
OMG… anger, pain, fatigue, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest in everything I loved and activities, mood swings, or sadness. I also had severe back pains, migraines and I use to blackout a lot.
Yet I pretended because I didn’t want to accept it was happening.
Q: How did this affect your relationship with friends and family?
Seriously, I had friends no doubt, but the sad part is none of them ever knew I was suffering. I have always been there for others but I guess when you are that kind of character, it’s hard for people to realize when you suffering. This is because you keeping it to yourself and solving their own problems by just listening to them. Yet you are dying within.
Q: That must have been tough! What made you decide to keep everything bottled up? Fear or indifference?
If you ask me, I seriously don’t know. I have always been out spoken, I guess I was just heart broken and refused to accept I lost a sister and friend.
Q: When did you finally decide to get your life together?
The day a tram (rail vehicle) nearly ran over me in the city of Manchester. It was a wake-up call as a gentleman pulled me off the tracks and ask if I wanted to commit suicide.
I was in a trance. I really wasn’t aware about what had happened, but after that I knew I needed help especially for my parents sake.
I went straight to my doctor who referred me to see a counselor and psychotherapist.
I was put on anti-depressants for a while which made it worst after some time.
Until one Faithful when I decided that after all the help I had received, I needed to deal with my grief and learn to cope with it.
However, the final straw was actually facing the place where my sister had drowned in Limbe so I could finally let go.
Moreover, seriously I made peace with her since that journey.
I saw her smile as I cried and I realised I had to start smiling more when I think of her.
ALSO READ: Overcoming Depression audio-book on sale.
Q: After all you went through, what can you say to those going through the same thing?
I will tell them to speak up. So many things can trigger depression and people must realise it comes gradually and if you don’t get help, it becomes worst.
I advise all to speak up get help. Find that one person you can trust to talk to.
Follow your treatment and seek alternative natural forms like fitness, which helps the mind towards growth.
We thank you for your time, and the advice. On behalf of the team, we wish you all the best.
We’ll keep in touch as we help others find happiness.