What you need to know:
- Since her diagnosis, life is better for Faith.
- She talks about her condition freely and is even planning to set up a crisis centre in her school once everything is back to normal.
Faith Wambui, 22, was diagnosed with chronic depression a year ago but she can trace its roots to an incident that happened 16 years ago, even if she did not know it then.
They had just moved to a new neighbourhood in Murang’a. Her mother was a teacher.
“I was so happy because we lived at the staff quarters where my mum taught,” she says.
One time, when they were playing in one of the classrooms with her neighbours and sisters, a young man approached them asking for direction of the school’s administration block.
“We were hesitant, but he showed us Sh 30 which was payment to anyone that directed him, and this enticed her.”
Faith offered to take him, like any other obedient girl.
“He held me with his hand as we walked to the administration block. I was unbothered even when he led me to one of the classrooms.”
Faith, still, was not moved. She had been taught that adults do not harm, that they protect children from lurking danger. Things escalated so fast, but she was not scared.
“I should have been scared, but I was not. I was confused. My sisters and friends followed me and peeped at the window, giggling. Ashamed of what he was about to do, he ran out of the classroom.”
That was the beginning of Faith’s mental imprisonment. Her mother took her to hospital, she was examined but given no medication. Her mindset switched from adults are meant to protect to a different thing. When she became of age, getting into a relationship, she did that for fun and always walked out in the most unforeseen way.
“I always expected to be hurt, and when I met good guys, I sabotaged the relationship,” she says.
She has contemplated suicide three times. She was in Class Three the first time.
“I was struggling at school, and had esteem issues since my mum kept comparing me to my cousin which made me feel unwanted,” Faith recalls.
The next time, she took rat poison, and the last, in her second year in university. her school intervened and took her to hospital. It is then that she was diagnosed with chronic depression.
Arnelle Amondi, a psychologist, advices that a case like Faith’s could be as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“It is a mental health condition that is triggered by very terrifying events to someone who either experiences it first hand or is a witness,” says Ms Amondi. She adds, “Those who go through traumatic events may temporarily experience difficulty in adjusting and coping but with time, they get better after seeking treatment.”
Since her diagnosis, life is better for Faith. She talks about her condition freely and is even planning to set up a crisis centre in her school once everything is back to normal.
To people struggling with a condition like hers, Faith says, “You are never alone, and the first step to healing is seeking help. And, in as much as the journey might be long, there are people who can guide you through it.”