Meet Stormy Wasiwasi, this morning she had to navigate through town to the nearest clinic that she could find open. She cannot take it any more, this is the third panic attack in a span of two days, coupled with her memory loss and sense of loss of control. A glimpse at her friends’ social media status updates and happy photos and it seems that she is the only one undergoing turmoil she cannotcontinue with her day to day any more.
And that is where she finds herself this morning; instead of the usual office Monday banter comparing notes of the weekend with her colleagues, she is now at Afya Njema Clinic having a chat with the resident doctor.
‘These past six months of my life have been hell on earth, to be honest I do not know how I have been able to make it this far. You see it has been calamity upon calamity befalling me and I keep on asking myself ‘Why me?’, ‘Where could I have gone wrong?’’
‘My friends deserted me when I filed for divorce from my abusive spouse. It has not been easy bringing up my two sons on my own. Since this natural hair look wave hit this city, I am afraid that the returns from my budding salon have been dwindling. Mr. Wasiwasi has not made it easy for me by refusing to meet his end of the bargain of our sons’ upkeep.’
‘Being the only child that made it past high school, I am afraid that I am not able to keep up with extended family financial demands. Our aging mother recently suffered a heart attack and it has been both emotionally and financially draining managing her disease. It pains me to see our once beautiful and energetic mother degenerate into a shell of her once vibrant self.’
‘I just received the second reminder from my bank concerning a loan that I have defaulted on.’
‘I truly hate the place I am in now, Dr. Afya Njema, I am truly at a bad place in life. All these and I have not even mentioned to you the daily threat of insecurity in this city, the daily commute to and from my salon. Dr. Afya Njema, 3.50a.m! Yes, 3.50 a.m.!’ that is the time I reached home this morning after last night’s heavy down pour. I think I may have to relocate from this town, if I am not able to move my family to higher ground.’
Dr. Afya Njema is taking meticulous notes, it is as if Stormy Wasiwasi is describing his own life minus the divorce part. He is currently in a stable relationship that keeps him sane despite his mother’s chronic illness and the incessant calls from the village begging for his assistance.
‘Stormy, I am afraid you are suffering from stress. Which is the cause of your panic attacks. If we do not nip it at the bud then there is a chance that a few months down the line you are going to come to my practice seeking treatment for a more serious condition.’
‘You see stress can be caused by a myriad of factors beginning with one’s own perception of life.’
‘Broken or problematic relationships like the divorce that you are currently going through can be a source of stress. Major life changes like divorce, death, losing your job, moving to a new town to name but a few can be a source of stress.’
Other causes of stress can be poor health,emotional problems like guilt, low self esteem.
‘Increase in financial obligations too beyond what one can comfortably handle can be a source of stress. Taking care of elderly or sick family members can also be draining and can be a source of stress.’
‘Traumatic events such as rape, violence can also cause one stress. Very high expectations of yourself and not being able to meet them can also be a source of stress.’
‘Unfavorable workconditions can also be a source of stress .Did you know that even the environment you live in can be a source of stress?’
‘Going against your belief and value systemcan also be a source of stress. These are just but a few of the causes of stress in one’s life; because the causes of stress in people vary depending on several factors – age, economic status, social status, cultural and social values, family and societal obligations.’
Can you recognize any of these causes of stress in your life?
Always strive to maintain a stance of optimism and never take more than you can handle. I write from an African perspective where sometimes we feel guilty of saying ‘No.’ to turn down a request from people we feel obliged to. Never bite more than you can chew and get rid of toxic elements in your life that may emotionally drain you.
It is never really that serious…. We live to fight for another day.