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Mental Health In Trinidad & Tobago | ELRON ELAHIE





How are /were you affected by mental health? 

In 2015 I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety. This came after weeks of walking around in a constant daze; foggy-visioned and unable to cope with daily or even mundane emotional responses. At times, I feel as though I am in a deep, dark hole and I am constantly screaming - sharps sounds bouncing off the walls and constantly piercing my ears. At times I cry if a wind blows or if my coffee runs out. And then at times, I am okay - I manage to carry on without feeling impending doom clinging to me. 

But if my depression isn’t stifling me, anxiety is making me sweat. For some months, my skin would relentlessly itch when I would feel anxious and I would lay in utter irritation for hours. And then at times I get a fever, feel like throwing up, have a headache, and get blurred vision when I become too anxious. 

I have been prescribed medication but the side effects include tiredness and lethargy. But my energy became too precious - work, pursuing my masters and making sure I could be the best husband, brother, son, friends, and person I could take precedence to losing energy or risking falling asleep behind the wheel.


How are you being supported?

I am lucky to have the most amazing family and friends - and I’m not even kidding. My parents are understanding; so much so that I sometimes believe that they can feel what I feel. My sister is my rock and my husband is the most nurturing person. I also have an amazing group of friends and my co-workers, who I also call friends, allow me to work within my limits while ensuring I am my best. 

I am very hard on myself and a perfectionist so having both anxiety and depression do that make that affliction easier to deal with. But having constant support and reassurance from those around me equip me with the tools to, quite literally, survive. 


Do you feel that schools have the tools to support the youths suffering from mental health illnesses? 

Not in the least. And tools aren’t the only thing lacking. I am not convinced that teachers and staff are trained in dealing with mental illness - even within themselves. I still keep in contact with some of my past teachers and a few understand, appreciate, and support my struggle. But the ‘Caribbean’ perspective on mental illness is a caustic one and it has infected SO MANY. 

Further, the sheer rigor of the current curriculum, both at the primary and secondary levels, leave little space for mental health awareness. And the lack of support coupled with the exponential increase in demand makes for an even more dangerous situation. 

Connect

If you’d like to know more about me or my experiences with my mental health, my blog can be found at http://tidbitsandpeaces.weebly.com and I can be found on Twitter using my handle @elron_elahie. I’m always happy to chat about experiences and find ways to help others and create a more peaceful and inclusive society.