SEND THEM TO THE EVIL FOREST
What if it was me? A peculiar thought. The angst; manic reactions; constant unease. What if I felt a sadness so profound that breathing became a conscious act? — 1, 2 Inhale. What if, as I looked around at all of those who love me, I felt nothing? I couldn’t reconcile their presence, their smiles, their warmth with the perpetual loneliness that was my skin.
Would I get help? Would I dare acknowledge it, let alone confront it? Or would I simply brush it aside as a Nigerian? After all, I am the true son of my father. I am not a bastard. Mental health depression — these are oyinbo constructs that only exist in the abroad. A result of idle hands and drug abuse, maybe the occasional village forces. I am Nigerian, therefore I am of sound mind. I don’t have time for such thoughts. There’s just one problem — we are all mad in this country, but we have no-one to tell us.
Once upon a time our thirst for knowledge filled us with compassion. If it was taboo, we wanted to understand why. Not to judge or reaffirm, simply for the altruistic value that comes with understanding. For the fulfilment of our basic moral/civic duty to our fellow man. With the hardships we faced, compassion and empathy became a burden we could no longer afford to carry.