Today marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, and the theme is KINDNESS. Mental health is such a broad and complex issue, it comes with all sorts of stigma, misunderstandings and just downright abuse. Mental health has so much irony to it, as human beings, we despise people for being mentally ill, but when you think about it, it’s never anyone’s fault that their mind is gone. But then again people also do very evil things because their mind is gone, and that will be their fault to have an insane mind. That’s what I mean when I say that mental health and mental illness is a very complex and broad issue, it’s not that easy to solve and is the highest form of spiritual depravity.
This is one of the many reasons I left psychiatric nursing and did not find it rewarding at all, it drained the sanity out of me. I battled with my morality and the heinous crimes that people did under the umbrella of “mental illness”. I was working in forensic secure mental health hospitals. I had one patient who was so lovely, a Ghanian young woman, but she was locked up because she set her own child on fire during a psychotic episode, in my opinion, she was demon-possessed when she killed her child. Again it was her fault, but it also wasn’t her fault, because she was psychotic. She truly believed that someone bewitched her in Ghana and she went mad.
I also had another patient, a Muslim man who was a surgeon, who stabbed his black maid to death during a “psychotic” episode. He showed no remorse whatsoever in what he did and because he was a doctor, he understood “psychiatry” and clearly blamed the cold-blooded murder on his mental illness. My job was to look after such people, and be KIND, caring and compassionate to them because they were “mentally unwell.’ This I could not do. And in this article, I will put this complex side of mental health aside, its way too controversial for me.
I want to talk about the other side of mental health, the side which doesn’t include murdering, torturing or raping people. The side of mental health where just being yourself, in your own little corner, without hurting anyone can upset so many people so much that within their context and culture you are labelled mentally insane and even treatment or certain measures of discipline are forced upon you. Normally, almost always, in this diagnosing of mental illness KINDNESS does not exist at all. In fact, mental health patients in forensic hospitals who have killed people are treated with more kindness and compassion than the “patients” who are diagnosed in the local communities.
The only reason I am writing an article on mental health awareness week is because I liked the theme of KINDNESS.
Like I said before, to me, mental health is a very broad issue, from demonic possession, to pure wickedness, to chemical imbalances in the brain, to mental abuse, and even culture. I believe that culture plays a huge part in mental health. A lot of times, mental health is even subjective.
What is considered mental illness in China is different to what is considered a mental illness in Kenya. I find the eating of dogs and live bats in China to be some form of depravity of the mind. It is not normal to me, I find it even demonic. But in the culture and society of China, cruelly cooking a live dog or eating a live bat is considered normal behaviour.
In Zimbabwe, the culture detects that a mother is worshipped and sacred and can never do any wrong and even if she does, it doesn’t matter she’s a mother. A child pays for the sins of the mother. I find this to be abnormal and a total depravity of the mind. This is a mental illness to me especially a non-existent belief in a curse called “Kutanda Botso” where a child is punished by the Zimbabwean spirit mediums or gods for not respecting the mother.
Zimbabweans have a very strange belief that a person should never go against the culture, if they do, to them that is the highest form of mental illness. Where I grew up, being different is actually classed as madness.
Now imagine a child in China, who loves animals and doesn’t want to take a live dog and cook it. The child would be an outcast and the branded mad by its own people. So in the context of the Chinese culture, a child who loves animals such as dogs and refuses to torture them will be labelled mentally unstable and I’m sure disciplinary measures will be put in place to correct the mind of the child. And again in such cases, KINDNESS does not exist.
I personally hate anything to do with blood. I hate to see any kind of suffering even on an animal. I am so sensitive to anything gruesome, I can not even look at an open wound. I can not even watch a person being killed in a movie, I turn away. My children will be like, “Mum it’s just a movie.” But I can’t do it. That’s why movies have warnings about gruesome content because they understand that some people are traumatized by blood and violence. When my children get hurt, I am not able to physically look at their wounds. That’s how serious this is for me, all my children know me, and they know that “Mum can’t do this, Mum hates blood, Mum can’t look at open wounds.”
Yet when I was a child, my “mother” made me slaughter chickens with a knife, and I found this process to be so traumatizing and I can not describe in words how it made me feel inside. My “mother” could see the pain and trauma in my eyes yet it gave her so much pleasure to watch me kill the chickens and she said it is what a girl child in Zimbabwe aught to do. Again KINDNESS never existed in her world.
I wrote about my trauma of killing chickens as a child, and I remember Zimbabweans in their thousands mocking and laughing at me and calling me mental “for even saying that killing a chicken traumatized me.” They found it so strange that I could even think like that. I loved chickens as pets, they are so funny and adorable, and I enjoyed their company. I used to build brick houses for the chickens, again this behaviour in Zimbabwe is considered a serious mental illness.
Yet here in the UK it’s even unthinkable to force a child to slaughter animals. Its abuse, no two ways about it.
A few weeks ago there was a trending abuse storyline on my favourite British soap Coronation Street, where a husband forced his wife to eat her favourite pet chicken. British viewers were horrified by the scenes and found the episode hard to watch, yet for Zimbabweans, they will not see such an action as abuse, in fact they will laugh at the wife who was made to eat her own pet chicken.
My mother failed to be kind to me, and just understand that I am the way I am, and treat me with dignity accordingly to my individuality. She was cruel to me, and used the so-called “Zimbabwean mental illness” of refusing to kill animals as an excuse to abuse me.
So for me, this is how I understand mental health on a broader perspective. When I hear the words Mental Health, I just see a world of cruelty and abuse and being singled out for who you are. And I like that they added the theme of Kindness to the mental health awareness week this year.
What lacks in a lot of cultures when it comes to mental health awareness is KINDNESS. I find this to be so true in Zimbabwean culture which breeds cruel abuse in the name of labelling people “mental”.
Historically, a lot of people were tortured, especially women, and put in mental health institutions for simply being different to the norms and culture of the society they were living in. Men would silence their wives by calling them mad.
Sadly for Zimbabweans, the abuse culture of cruelty continues even in the UK because most of them are nurses, mental health nurses, and they use their psychiatric nursing badges to now further abuse people under the guise of “I am a mental health nurse.”
My ex-husband diagnosed me almost every month. His sisters who are all mental health nurses called an ambulance on me and tried to get me sectioned during a church service. They told the paramedics that they knew that I was “mad” because they were mental health nurses and have experience with mentally ill people. I was lucky that the paramedics were God sent and were able to see I was a victim of domestic and cultural abuse.
In Zimbabwe, there is a strong belief that you can not be alone in what you believe to be right and fight with “everyone” as they call it. They say that if you have a problem with everyone, then it means you are the problem, and you need help. I had my siblings say this to me, my “mother”, my relatives, my ex-husband, my ex-in-laws, my former paedophile pastor, my Zimbabwean readers especially the Facebook Celebrities. I can not even bring myself to understand the logic that if you don’t “get on” with “everyone” it means you have a problem. Talk about an oppressive culture in its highest form. I find it barbaric to even think like that.
It’s like telling a victim of African female circumcision that she can’t fight against the whole system, her country, her mother, her father, her whole clan, it means she is the one with the problem because they all can’t be wrong.
Or telling a victim of child marriage in a country were its “normal” that she can’t fight with “everybody” it means she is the one with mental health issues. I remember a documentary on BBC about a paedophile in Zambia who was raping all the girls, as young as 12, with the consent of their own parents, local elders and chiefs. The paedophile was seen as an anointed man who taught girls how to be women by sleeping with them, the whole community found this to be noble and normal. It took just one woman to stand up against EVERYONE and get the pervert arrested, yet with the logic of Zimbabweans, that woman had mental health problems because she stood up against CULTURE.
Ironically Zimbabweans, true to their abusive nature, culture, and hypocrisy absolutely adore and worship Meghan Markle because she is mixed race, yet this woman has a problem with the whole Country, the British monarchy, the staff, the Queen, her own Father, her half-siblings, the mainstream media and the only people she gets on with is her husband and child, oh and her mother though its been disputed.
I don’t have any problem with my husband, my children adore me and to my in-laws, I am a light to them and they absolutely treasure me. I also don’t have any issues with Ghanaians, generally, they are KIND and warm and I find myself feeling like I am finally home when I am among them.
So in conclusion, as a former victim of Zimbabwean culture when it comes to mental health and KINDNESS, or rather their lack of it, I had to write this article because that’s the only perspective I see mental health.
When I see people who are labelled as mentally ill, especially by certain communities, I see them as simply victims of societies and cultures who are maybe trying to fight a system which has imprisoned them for so long , just like what Zimbabwe taught me.
The Genesis Of The Revelation By
Mary-Tamar was Jean Gasho