- A young Nigerian executive has shared his experience with depression
- Hamzat Lawal, a prominent anti-corruption activist, said depression have become part of young people everyday living
- The influential activist, however, shared tips on how he handled the situation
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Hamzat Lawal, the founder of Follow The Money and Connected Development [CODE], has shared his experience battling with depression.
In a piece sent to journalists on Monday, June 22, Lawal, the winner of The Future Awards Africa Nigeria Prize in Advocacy, 2019, revealed that depression, anxiety and fear have become part of our current everyday living.
His words: “It happened to me at the beginning of 2019. Having nurtured Connected Development (CODE) and our flagship project, Follow The Money, to global status and universal visibility, I received a raw shock when our first partner and donor, the Indigo Trust, withdrew her grant support.
“The greenhorn inside me was not used to such setbacks. So, without warning, I sank. Nevertheless, it is instructive to note that none of my colleagues noticed my emerging mental state.
“I continued my life as if everything was okay with me. I carried on with all the paparazzi and razzmatazz that my status as the Chief Executive of CODE and Leader of Follow The Money demanded. I kept my appointments; I was always punctual at work, as usual. To my colleagues and friends, on work and off work, it was the normal me.
“Something else suffered. While Hamzy the CEO was intact; Hamzy, the person, was falling apart. At home, I was a nervous wreck. It was as if immediately I crossed the threshold into my home, the full weight of my mental state came crashing down on me. I would become fidgety and broody. I would sit and stare morosely into empty space for hours on end.”
He, however, stated that with what he went through last year, there is no crisis that can consume me again, literally speaking.
He went on to share how he dealt with the situation:
1. My first prescription is, talk to someone. I talked to my wife and then to my mother, and because my wife and my mother are close, it became easier for us to create a tripartite “therapeutic” roundtable.
2. Secondly, in spite of the fearful situation you find yourself in, try as much as possible to keep breathing. This means making a resolve to remain alive and well, and taking care of yourself.
3. Thirdly, be patient with yourself, and keep smiling. When I experienced that dark time, I never saw it coming. So, sometimes when I remembered the tragedy that befell me, I would just smile. Allow the emotions to flow through.
4. Finally, keep moving; and start thinking new things, designing new strategies, trying new directions, making further plans; set a new routine and reach out to people that you can work with.
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