By Nazeerah Abdullahi

In every African home, the first born of the family is more like the second set of parents to the remaining siblings. I, for instance, learnt how to take responsibility, make compromises and handle certain situations from a young age. 

Most times, I put everyone’s needs above mine, because I got satisfaction from seeing them happy. I remember on so many occasions, I would get emotional from seeing the less privileged kids; stranded or lacking some of the basic necessities of life. I always tried to help, in any little way I could. In fact, this desire to help others made me vow to take of the needy once I was financially stable.

However, the fact that I always put people’s needs above mine made me ponder once, why no one ever bothered to ask if I was okay! My head became clustered

with ideas that weren’t helping the situation.

My best friend was there to answer my whys, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the answers. I felt no one cared for me as much as did for others; became lonely and distant but still wore the face everyone would relate to.

For days, I was in my shell and couldn’t relate with any one because I was lost, feeling distant and confused. This went on for a while and no one still asked if I was okay!

I found myself reading motivational articles and frequently saying God should give me the strength.

Also, I realised I didn’t want to get to that point that I won’t be able to be helped anymore but at the same time, I didn’t want to confide in the wrong set of people, so as not to been seen as weak.

Before long, I randomly saw the flier for volunteers for JDI, and I thought to myself why not give this a chance and see? Moreover, its in line with one of my aspirations so it could be a stepping stone.’

Ultimately, I chose mental health so I could be in the midst of people that I relate

with and not be judged.