Palak, 20, Lusaka, Zambia

“It is never easy to talk about your mental illness especially when our society does not take mental health so seriously, but I’m glad I found the courage to talk about a topic that is so personal to me, because if I can help or inspire even one person in any way, then I’m willing to share my story!
I suffered from severe depression and also living with anxiety but I’m glad to inform that my anxiety is under control and I’m managing it well.
My depression started at a very young age, the reason was however unknown. It was always hard for me to understand and explain what I was experiencing.
My depression got worse last year as it was a very rough year for me or I shall say for everyone in general!
It had started affecting my physical health,
I got panic attacks all the time, shortness of breath, weakness, headache, chest pain, choking,dizziness,vomiting and so much more!
I had lost myself, somewhere dark to be precise. i felt blank and directionless. Im a foodie but I had also lost my appetite, I mean surviving on cold coffee only and skipping all the meals had become my life!
Sometimes it’s hard to understand yourself, depression made it worse, I mean crying for no reason at all, feeling empty and nauseous and just feeling numb to literally life itself everyday is not easy.
There were days when I would sleep for more than 16 hours and days when i had sleepless nights.
The fear of waking up and facing a day was horrifying because for the time being, sleep was my only escape from reality.
I also remember putting a fake smile in front of everyone, and then going to the bathroom and breaking down for no absolute reason.
Sharing how I felt did not seem like the right thing to do hence it kept suffocating me. But I cannot stress on how important it is to accept your illness and share how you feel, because you can only heal once you accept your illness and not feel embarrassed about it.
I have been the luckiest because I’ve had the best family and friends who understood my depression and took it seriously, especially my parents!
Suffering from depression is hard but loving a depressed person is equally hard, so if you’ve parents and friends to support you throughout this journey, you’ll get the strength to face it.
I was on medication and the medicines helped release chemicals that were not releasing in my brain hence making me feel depressed and anxious.
However there is always a way out, I’m a dancer and dance has played a huge role in my life, helping me come out of my depression.
I cannot stress on how much yoga and meditation helps release happiness chemicals.
And most importantly keeping yourself busy, improving your sleep schedule, journalizing your thoughts,eating healthy food and not skipping meals makes it easier to get out of it, because keeping yourself busy will shift your focus and help you become more productive!
Fighting back is always better than escaping!
Also it’s okay not to be okay sometimes, God wants no one to live like this forever and will be kind enough to give you all the happiness you deserve, there is always hope 💗
And lastly you’re not alone 💗”

Follow Palak on her instagram.


Are you aged between 13 – 21 and need someone to talk to? JHD Counselling has partnered up with Snow-Camp Charity to offer ⚠️FREE⚠️ counselling.

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