Tyler Durden – ‘I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war… Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off’.
I remember when we were little kids and we would joke about how strong Africans were and how it was so good and amazing to be black. I am not denying the fact that back then we didn’t realise the difference between being black and white and how white people just seemed to astonish and catch our admiration but this was just face value and never went deeper than the skin. When it came to comparing capabilities, we had all the good ones mostly and our jokes and stories proved it. From white people not being able to chew bones and that one white man who came to Ghana and had to get sent back home in a freezer because he just couldn’t stand our weather and the heat. These were fun times but as we grew and our ignorance faded, indeed we did come to realise that ignorance is bliss! The more we got to face reality the more it seemed we did get our ahead of ourselves back then with our jokes. That doesn’t mean I still don’t smile whenever these jokes come to my mind but after that joy comes the sad pain of the realisation about how we tend to ignore certain and things all in the name of being black and strong. We are blessed with physical strength and a strong mind set no doubt but just like every other human being irrespective of your race or colour we are prone to breakages. These breakages are fixable but then again very damaging when left unattended to. The African man be it out of poverty, pride, shame, or almighty ignorance have been failing to detect or realise these breakages not to talk about trying to fix them. The ability to do work determines the strength of the African man mostly, so to be physically fit or healthy and strong means everything and has come to be valued more than that of mental strength or heath. We rarely recognise our mental health and capabilities as the astonishment comes from the farmer who using a hoe could clear a 200 acre farming plot single handed or the footballer out there in the western world out playing almost all the white players. Power and strength of the mind for us is in the field of academia and we tend to downplay the influence of our mental health in our everyday activities and how it affects our mood.
The best things in life are free they say and it’s the little things that makes the world go round! The very things we seem to take for granted and easily forget about. I think the most important thing in this world is happiness and as Bob Marley once said ‘money is only hard to come across and own because we spend it trying to find happiness’. To be happy is everything for it means to be human and to accept yourself first and foremost and also love yourself. They say depression will probably be the leading cause of death by 2020 and this means we are not a happy generation. There is something wrong with us or should I say most of us and it is all in our minds. The western world seems to have recognised this and are busily trying to find ways to solve this and depression has come to be accepted as an illness. In my home Ghana and Africa as a whole we tend to think of illnesses like depression, dyslexia and other complicated diseases as the white man’s sickness or western world diseases. Then there is almighty malaria, diabetes, cholera, cancer, hepatitis B and others that we consider African man problems. Even cancer and hepatitis started getting the acceptance and recognition here not long ago. That isn’t to say these diseases never existed here or killed us but it took us a while to realise the harm they were doing to us. There is old common cold too but I guess both the western world and Africa gave recognition to it early but we Africans just don’t make a fuss out of it or quarantine people with colds. We go about our business with our cold spreading it proudly and blowing our noses loudly in public. What am trying to say is we always fail to realise these problems on time to start finding early solutions to them. We mostly have to rely on whatever information the western world already dug up and sometimes such information doesn’t really benefit us. It is evident depression is amongst us my sister and brothers and its taking or destroying the lives of our loved ones while we watch ignorantly and blame the wrong things like witches or marijuana. To think a disease that is becoming the world leading cause of death did be on the lips of almost everyone down here it’s not and rather it’s how NDC or NPP has messed up our economy. Parents and guardians, what about how you have messed up your children’s life or haven’t played any active role in helping them not get sucked up by life? What do you say? Is that more important than politics or it’s not? As a young adult myself, I can tell you for sure we are one of the messiest generations of all time and it’s all in our heads. Everything we know up there in our minds you know not apart to expect good results from us from school and somehow think that guarantees us happiness and a good job for us in future. Oh how wrong you are! There has never been a generation more exposed than us to change and there has never been a time where change is so fast in this world it’s easier to get left behind or get caught up so ahead you leave important things behind. Information has never been more available and poured out onto us than now and how we soak and soak it all up but for some reason always seem to just never know enough or know the right things. To talk of technology is actually mind blowing and ironic, how the very things we created to help make our lives easier and help us connect more have made us more distant than ever. The closer we are, the more the distance between us so much that you can be in a crowded room full of people and still be lonely or not even get a ‘hi’ just because everyone on is locked onto a screen of some sort. It is easier to get a blue tooth connection that to get an I love you a sorry from your parents especially down here in Ghana. I totally agree our culture plays a significant part where as it puts the value of the adult over that of the kid and demands the kid always listens to the adult for the adult is always right. We were never taught to speak up or speak for ourselves so we tried to take refuge from within and even that failed and we desperate resorted to digital screens where we could be someone or something else and put all the pain away for minute. We are failing to have conservations with ourselves because we don’t even know who we are, just who we want to be. This fast changing world has become a poison for our very humanity it was created to nurture and we pollutants to it for we are not in sync with nature. We are very unhappy and sometimes we don’t even realise it because we are busy chasing mirages or the illusion of a better world with money. When we do realise it, it’s almost too late or the pain is just unbearable and we have almost no other option than to shut down. We are not living as we should thus easy victims for depression. Depression has a hold on most of us and we are dying slowly. We are scared, ashamed and afraid of this disease and some of us don’t even know we have it but it doesn’t make difference, for if no intervention takes place the end result will probably be suicide or long sad life full of torture. How many Ghanaian parents can claim to be best friends with their children or claim to know their favourite colour, friends, hangout spots or even the hobbies of their children? Apart from our academic track you keep an eye on and our physical health mostly, you know nothing else about us and probably raised strangers you only shared a roof, food and blood with. The family being our strongest emotional support system is failing and in a world continuous getting crowded we are getting lonelier every day. A lonely victim is an easy victim for depression.
Our culture might not really promote showing deeper affections that much or even create a space for your children to speak up to you but it’s only a culture and it’s all up to you to reach out to your kids, not to educate them on this or tell them what to do but just to listen! Listen and not utter a single word, when your children are done talking extend your hand and reassure them you will be there for them. This doesn’t only end with children but with ourselves as humans, time we opened up more and reached out to each other. Am not saying it will end all our problems or stop depression but it will surely help make a positive difference!
Depression is not a choice or state of mind can just snap out of but it is treatable and it’s a process where the presence of love and support can make a big difference!
AFRICAN PROVERB – IF ALL HUMANS CAME TOGETHER, WE COULD MEND A CRACK IN THE SKY!
NAA ABU MOHAMMED SADAT