May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is a time to raise awareness of trauma and the impact it can have on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of people. Different factors affect our mental health without us knowing it. In this article, I asked seven Nigerian women about the things that affect their mental health. Here’s what they had to say:
Every day on Twitter, I see something that makes me want to stay at home and never leave. These days, there are more incidents of kidnapping and it makes me scared. I left my job which was about ten minutes away from my house for a completely remote one because I am scared of what could happen on my way from work. The news I read online tells me that I could die no matter what I do and I am just a pawn in someone else’s chessboard.
There are some complications in my relationships with family and work that make life difficult sometimes. Even though I am the last child of my family, my dad and my older sisters see no problem with emotionally dumping on me. Because I am an empath, I end up wearing their problems as mine.
At work, things are weird for me because of my boss. He likes picking on me. He has gone as far as giving me a new name. I have been applying for other jobs but my field is predominantly male so getting a job as a woman is hard. I am also going through a marriage annulment and all of this just makes everything else heavy.
I hate how men gaslight women online especially when it is about a woman’s experience with another man. I had a conversation with a man recently and he kept going on about how women enjoy playing victim and how he doesn’t care what happens to women. In that moment, I almost had a panic attack. Every word he said triggered me and all I wanted to do was cry.
I don’t like when my loved ones say mean things to me. Sometimes, I cry. About a few weeks ago, my mum said some cruel things and I couldn’t eat afterwards. When she was apologizing she said, I provoke her to say those things to me. That doesn’t even make any sense.
My job earns me little or nothing and I have not been able to get another job. I have no interest in the job and sometimes I am afraid I will lose it. I have no savings and that scares me. I am grateful for my parents, but the truth is I can’t depend on them forever.
Every time I come online and I see the word ‘rape’, I am immediately triggered. These days on Nigerian Twitter, more and more cases keep popping up. I don’t know what to do other than blocking the rape apologists I come across.
I am the first daughter and first child of my Igbo family. This affects my mental health because I’m expected to act a certain way and live a certain life. I have more or less been controlled my whole life to be a particular person and it’s very difficult to break free from that. My parents are narcissistic. They believe they are right no matter what. I love them but I hate them at the same time.
They found out I am queer last year and since then I’ve been going through mental, emotional, and physical abuse because of my sexuality. As a result, I have been diagnosed with anxiety and PTSD. Every day my mental health suffers but I am doing my best to get through each day.