Tafadzwa was dying inside, the Zimbabwean situation had gone beyond his control. He was crying inside, hurting, distressed but could not talk about it you know why because he is a man.
Men cannot cry, they have to be strong and this is what society has taught groomed our boys.
Everything was going South for Taf, how could he tell his wife he had been fired from work? The company was no longer generating income and had gone for a straight three months with no salary.
Prices for basic commodities were sky rocketing on a daily basis, transport from his home was $3 in the evenings $5. He had three children going to school, one in college.
Life was not working out for him, all the side hustles he tried failed, dismally. Every night he would wait for his family to sleep just so he could cry bitterly through the night and pretend everything is okay when the sun is out.
You try to keep up with the day but it hits you all of sudden and you are in a dark, horrid space. He wanted to be alone and think. The thoughts were consuming him, he felt like a failure and the pain was right from the pit of his stomach.
Walking through the streets of Harare, Tafadzwa felt like he was going crazy. The conversations he had with himself, the sleepless nights were just too much. Expectations were high from home, but he kept a straight face and smiled through it.
It was 22:00 when Taf got home. No electricity, no water and family was already in bed. He tip toed to the kitchen making sure he does not wake them up, opened the oven drawer and took out a plate of sadza served with dry vegetables. He did not remember the sight of shiny vegetables, let alone meat.
He could not even swallow the food, the big lump in his throat formed and hurt. He had failed as a father and husband. He felt trapped as he could not do anything to stop it.
Tafadzwa tip toed again into the pantry, took a rope and hung himself right in the kitchen.
His suicide sent his family into cage, they were trapped, broken and hurt. What did his death change, nothing at all.
Where am I going with this? Mental health is a subject we are supposed to talk about immensely especially during this economic collapse in Zmbabwe. Are we checking on our family and friends? Has their behavior changed? Are they eating and sleeping well?
But my main target in this post are the men. They are dying inside, they are the bread winners in their families and sometimes the burden is heavy leaving them without a powerful sense of pride, purpose and meaning in life.
Substance abuse is becoming predominant especially among men, young and old. These are some of the things we are supposed to be paying attention to.
Men don’t always show the signs we often associate with depression, like sadness and hopelessness. Instead, they might appear angry or aggressive, making it easier for doctors and loved ones to miss the signs that something is wrong. As a result, men might miss out on the treatment they need to feel better.
Admitting to someone that you have a mental problem is probably the hardest thing to do and that is why we have a lot of people struggling with depression.
Let’s talk about mental health and let people, especially young adults realize that they are not alone in this battle with mental illnesses. No matter what the illness, no one is ever alone, no matter how lonely it seems.
To all those going through a tough time, keep your head high and keep living.