Days after Kate Spade, an American fashion designer was found dead in her home, an American TV personality, Anthony Bourdain, was also found dead in his house and both incidences were described as suicidal.
Following the news about these Americans, who killed themselves as a result of depression, Stella Damasus shared her mental health story to get people to understand that depression is real.
Noting that Africans especially do not pay attention to mental health, she explained that it is very real and can lead to suicide.
According to Stella, the death of her husband, Jaiye Aboderin in 2004, took a toll on her mental health. She was a young woman, saddled with the responsibility of caring for her two children.
She was thrown out of her home in Lekki and had to resume work to put her life together again but she was thoroughly bashed by the media. But for God, her family, friends and the thought of her daughters, she wouldn’t have been here.
Read her story below
I have being through depression because of loss. I have lost a lot in my life. I lost my younger and only brother. I lost a husband at the age of 26 with two kids. I lost a father. I’ve lost a lot.
When I lost my late husband, I fell into depression because I was a young girl with two children. I didn’t know what to do in life because I had planned my whole life based on my husband and all of a sudden, without warning, he died. He wasn’t sick, he just died and the media decided to tear me into shreds, forgetting that I am the one that lost a husband.
So, it was like going through hell inside hell but what saved me was God and the bible that I held on to my chest. My mother looked at me and said, “no matter how long we stay with you and pet you and tell you sorry, the only comfort you can have in your spirit and in your soul, that will take over your spiritual and mental state is the grace of God. Hold on to your bible and the grace of God and he will comfort you.”
I held on to my Bible like this and I was going to church. I thank God for the friends that were very close to me, that stayed with me through. Thank God for Benna, thank God for Kate Henshaw. Thank God for my children.
Thank God for my sisters. My sisters took turns to stay in my house for months. You know why? They were worried… “What if this girl decides to do something to herself because the pain is too much? What if this girl decides to do something to herself because even though she’s going through this? …the media are just bashing and doing their own.”
People are saying their own… I was BROKE! We had just invested all our money in a business that he was doing, because he was travelling to South Africa and back. I was broke with two children at 26, living in a rented house in Lekki.
I was kicked out of my home. I had to find another house. I had to move my two children. I had to look for a way to pay their school fees. And when I started trying to work to take care of my children, I was bashed again, “she didn’t even mourn up to one year, she didn’t even cry very well, she has started working again,” as if anybody was feeding my children.
But nobody knew what it took from me to be inside my home alone and wondering “God what is this”… Why did you take him? And why are people saying this? Why are they doing this? Don’t they understand how painful it is?” Coming out became a problem, going out and speaking to anyone became a problem.
But you know what, in all of that…I valued my life because God gave me the life and he has not ended it. I looked at my children, I valued my children. I said I can’t leave my children. I looked at my parents, I looked at my siblings. I said, “If for nothing else, for the fact that God loves me and I have a family who has my back and very few friends who will say, you know what, “I go stay your side,” my bible pull me through.
But we didn’t know at that time that there’s something called grief counseling or a therapist, because when you say you are going to see a therapist or a psychologist in Naija, it means, “ahh you don dey craze, oh Yabaleft, oh mentally unstable.”
Watch her talk here