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Michelle Camilla – “Listen”

Dear black Zimbabwean parents,
Depression neither a demonic possession,
Nor is it a “white people’s disease.”
Depression is many things,
Many sleepless nights,
Begging ourselves to cry silently or risk being heard.
Days that bleed into nights.
Depression is placing mascara onto lifeless eyes;
And lipstick over the voice that wants to cry for help.
Depression is many things,
Believe me, I know;
I can tell you for a fact that it is not a choice.
I searched for others like me
Endeavoring to find others who face the demons I have faced;
Fight the fights I have lost,
Cried the rivers that I have cried
I found none.
I can understand why people dismiss it.
I mean who wants to entertain the thought of an intangible phenomenon killing their
In the face of hunger, poverty, political and economic instability,
Surely it can’t be a priority.
There are bigger issues at hand.
“Choose your battles” and all that, right?
While attempting to place bandaids on our bruised economy
Stitch on our dilapidating government,
Please take a moment and speak on the grim reaper in the room.
Mental illness.
The state of our country is even more reason to start these conversations.
To start making it a priority.
Don’t you understand?

We are growing up in an environment that is anything but conducive for us to follow
our dreams.
Believe me when I tell you the pressure of trying to:
emancipate your family and yourself from the nightmare that is our economy,
and still hoping to remain sane,
Is almost as distant as the stars they told us to reach for when we were younger.
We’re taught the “right way” to do things. Taught that in order to get from point A,
To the prosperity at point Z,
We need an education. But they forget to mention the stumbling block at A known as
We were never informed of the reality at D that is depression.
The potential set back at F known as failure.
It happens.
I know this.
Believe me.
The hurdle at M that stands for mental breakdown.
So we went in blindly.
The mental obstacle course we’re faced with,
We were neither told to expect,
Nor taught how to deal with it.
You never encouraged to ask for help.
So we don’t.
We struggle.
We either cry ourselves to sleep,
Or stay up and confide in the moon because she offers no judgment.
She listens.
That’s all we want.
That’s all we need.
A listening ear.
A non-condemning,
non-berating listening ear.
Won’t you listen to us?


Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash

1 Comment

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A’ishah Aliyureply
May 23, 2020 at 4:10 am

Yes! Won’t you listen to us? Hear our silent pleas please…. This is so beautifully written Michelle Camilla. Thanks for sharing. It resonates so well with me.

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