The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely be one of humanity’s longest-running problems to be solved. Since the virus became a pandemic, it has shifted the spotlight from other important issues that need addressing as well.

Mental health, before the Covid-19 crisis, was one of the most talked-about issues around the world, with depression being the focus of such discussions.

Hamzat Lawal, an award-winning, seasoned campaigner passionate about service delivery at the grassroots and mobilising citizens for action, has shared his experience of depression not just to tell his own story but also to give a few tips on how anyone finding themselves in a similar situation can climb out of it.

When his company, Connected Development (CODE), lost the partnership of their first donor, the Indigo Trust, Hamzat, who was the Chief Executive Officer, was in shock and soon began to sink into depression despite keeping up appearances. He said, ‘While Hamzy the CEO was intact, Hamzy, the person, was falling apart. At home, I was a nervous wreck. It was as if immediately I crossed the threshold into my home, the full weight of my mental state came crashing down on me. I would become fidgety and broody. I would sit and stare morosely into empty space for hours on end’.

After slowly finding his way out of depression, thanks to his lovely wife who cried out for help, Hamzat gathered a few tips he felt would benefit anyone who found themselves in a similar situation, especially given the increase of mental issues due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Hamzat said that the first step is speaking to someone about it, especially with the current normalcy of online presence. He stated, ‘In these days of social distancing-inspired online presence, it would not only be fun but deeply healing for people with kindred spirits to come together and share their fears and anxieties, instead of sharing only bad news and gossip all the while hiding real issues and personal struggles’.

His second prescription is making a resolve to remain alive and well, constantly telling oneself, ‘You need life more than life needs you’. With thoughts of suicide and death being some of the most prevailing symptoms of depression, it is imperative to remind oneself to remain alive and well.

He follows up with ‘be patient with yourself’ as the third tip. His final prescription is the thoughts of new things, designing new strategies and trying new directions.

Source: Hamzat Lawal

Photo source: Hamzat Lawal

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