I started hearing more and more suicide stories, especially of young University of Cape Town (UCT) students. Then when UCT’s professor Bongani Mayosi committed suicide due to depression, I immediately knew that something was wrong and thought it’s ridiculous that we were not talking about this very pressing matter.
We can no longer wait for psychologists, the government or whomever we can pay, to come fix this problem. I’m not a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, but I can use my platform to bring the right attention to the issue.
My hope is to start a conversation about depression that will be reflective of exactly what is happening. The generation before us helped bring apartheid to its knees, so what plight are we going to take on that will stand out in centuries to come?
I feel like we are still struggling to define our plight and it could be that our revolution is of the internal kind. For us black people, for instance, survival was our aim for the longest time. Our parents were trying to put food on the table, pay our school fees and simply get through this thing called life.
Mental health is a real issue – but we need resources in order to seek the right intervention. Much understanding and knowledge is also required because not everyone can afford to throw money at depression.
How do you take care of yourself, practically?
At the beginning of my self-care journey, I had a conversation with myself and vowed to give myself a beautiful life.
My morning ritual is a 15-minute meditation session, followed by a green juice with a lot of celery or anything green, and I also drink lemon water. Following this morning routine makes me feel like there’s order in my life.
Some of the other small things I do for myself include taking time to oil my body after yoga and setting time aside to base my scalp with coconut oil. Whether I’m driving somewhere, meeting friends or preparing to spend time with my boys, I always utter the words, ‘Let It Be Great!’ It’s a mantra that helps change my attitude before approaching all situations and experiences in my life. I also love buying myself flowers and playing music — and before I knew it, this was a way of life.
All these activities are a beautiful proclamation of self-care — It’s basically me saying ‘I’m worth all this time!’