Ele Amodu is a Model , Speaker and the Author of “How to Strip it Off” . This young lady is not afraid to live her truth while inspiring people along the way. An ardent follower of Christ she shares her story on how she overcame depression and how a mentor/ parent figure helped her heal. She also writes about how a parent can help their children deal with a range of issues.
Sometimes when we hear the word “mental health” we often associate it with some stigma, like it’s a taboo certain people go through not understanding that you personally may have gone through an episode at some point without associating it to mental health issues. Mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their emotional and psychological well-being. Issues could be anxiety attacks, depression, eating disorders etc.
I’d like to share a personal experience from my book “How to Strip it Off” that affected my emotional well-being and how I was able to bounce back.
I started dating this guy towards the end of my 2nd year in university. He was slightly older than me and I considered him to be my world. We did almost everything together. From dropping me off at school on certain days to going to the gym together, shopping together, spending holidays together; we were literally inseparable.In fact, we met our parents on several occasions. It was certain that we were getting married. We even went for counselling together. But then, a minor break -up happened (those ones you come back to when you’re done “forming” for each other).
I was devastated. At this point, I had graduated, with my whole life ahead of me, but the problem was that this guy and I were no longer an item. Since I considered him to be my entire life, I didn’t keep friends, and the few friends I had were our mutual friends. When we eventually broke up, a while after this he got married to my then best friend. I said to myself, my life is over! It was an awful experience as everything I had ever wanted was gone! I was extremely afraid and scared of the future. I was at such a low point in my life. I had no friends and no boyfriend and I lost my self-esteem. I lost sight of every vision and dream I ever had.
I went through a very, deep emotional pain that I could not comprehend. This experience caused me to drown in depression for months. I was devastated, very low on energy levels and had absolutely no motivation to carry on in life. The things I used to enjoy doing no longer interested me. I cut off contact with the world for the most part and was locked up in my room.
At the time I did not know what I was experiencing was depression until I spoke with a counselor few months after that. I allowed the jaws of depression to sink deeply into me and I wallowed pitifully about my life.I did not know myself anymore. I had no one to talk to. I was suffering in silence! I hid what I was going through from family and far distant friends. The shame was too much for me. With each passing day, my tears got heavier, depression deeper, eye bags bigger and my heart, completely shattered.
I finally opened up to a friend who lived far away, she cajoled me to a women’s empowerment conference, and I got some much-needed help from there. I began speaking with a lady I considered a mentor. This was one of the major factors for the turning around of my life. She took me like a daughter and explained so many personal stories with me. She stayed consistent in calling me, making me understand that life happens and giving me practical tips on how to pick up broken pieces. As believers we also prayed, meditated on Gods words, learned and practiced forgiveness to name a few.
Now that I am much older, and more experienced, my mentor showed me that the role of a parent in the life of their child is VERY important. The more you know as an individual and are willing to share, the better and more impactful your life will be to those around you. And this goes for a parent as well, the more you know and are willing to share with your children, the better their lives will be.
A parent can greatly help their grown child deal with such issues through various ways:
- Endeavour to make your child both your friend and their parent from an early age. Friendship is very important, friends open up about things they will otherwise not share with anyone else. If your child trusts you enough as a friend and this relationship has been cultivated, they will more than likely share things with you, especially personal intimate things and struggles.
- As a parent stay up to date, understand that generations are changing, and your child will be in a different generation than you are. Understand what their specific generation deals with and don’t get stuck up in your mind as to what you “think” they should do or wanting them to follow your own patterns. This boils back to understanding your role both as a parent and as a friend to your child.
- If you have ever been in a similar situation that your child is dealing with, then be very open with them about your own story or struggles. If you haven’t been in a similar situation seek professional help for your child to the best of your ability, don’t ignore them or insult them (This is very common in a lot of African homes). Don’t point fingers, let the child understand that anyone can be a victim of such circumstance.
- Go through this season of life with them, be there for them, understand and give them their space when they need it. Understanding is a major key.
Follow her on IG @gracebyele