THERE IS NO SWORD WITHOUT END

Grace Mshanga
Wisdom&Wellness Supervisor

Temeke & Ubungo, Dar-es-Salaam

For newly married couples, no matter how big and how long the conflict may be and take, you still have to forgive each other to live remain in peace and harmony.

DON’T SHUT THE DOORS TO YOUR HOME

Alfreda George
Wisdom&Wellness Counselor

Tuamoyo, Dar-es-Salaam

Extend the field and change your cooking pot when the family expands.

Swahili Wisdom

For newly married couple, welcoming extended family members from your spouse into your home brings blessings.

STRESS REGULATION … What Works for You?

Neema Tembele
Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer TEWWY

You know that feeling…? the feeling of your insides turning, like blood is boiling as it rushes to your extremities? Chest feels like it is physically crushing the heart beneath it, vision is blurry, forehead weighing you down, an additional 10lbs.

The physical experience my body is going through as I type these words is all too familiar now. Sometimes I have it handled great …. some deep focused breathing to help ground me, get me back to center. But as I’m struggling to find my center – try to take control of my breathing, reminding myself that I know what is happening, and I know why its happening …but the ringing in my head is not subsiding.

Feeling anxious for an extended period of time isn’t fun … it really helped catch a very deep breath by checking off some tasks on my daily planner where I set some very attainable goals – and I can promise if I hadn’t written it down to check it off, I might have allowed my anxiety to take control of my life again. To allow myself to go through the whole day without feeling accomplished.

I use Trello to manage my projects and to manage my time. if you haven’t used a project management tool, I strongly advise you look into it. Highly increases efficiency – and apparently manages anxiety as well.

And writing, having this space to share this … thank you for this very deep breath I just took. Until then …

A BIRD IN HAND IS WORTH TEN IN THE BUSH

Rustica Tembele
Founder & CEO – TEWWY

One should appreciate and value what he/she has no matter how small it is, because that is what belongs to her/him, it is rightfully hers/his and it is worth all that you do not have. What you do not have is worthless and meaningless/useless for you because it is not under your ownership and hence you cannot control it.

LONG ROUTE LEADS TO LONG LIFE

Caroline Swai
Wisdom&Wellness Supervisor

Kigamboni, Kinondoni & Ubungo, Dar-es-Salaam

This is a caution from alders to everyone, especially the youth – to remind us all that shortcuts are dangerous. Therefore, we should be extra careful before we decide, otherwise we will end up the losers.

The Loiterer Feasts on His Feet

Suzan Njana
Wisdom&Wellness Counselor

Kizani, Dar-es-Salaam

Mtembezi Hula Miguu Yake

Swahili Wisdom

He who prefers going out for aimless walks, always unsettled and lazy – doesn’t perform income generating activities to get daily bread for himself and family, won’t have anything to feed themselves. Such lazy people are zero earners and are nicknamed as such as they depend on their legs to get their daily bread.

This wisdom is given as a warning and to encourage loiterers to change from laziness/walking and engage in income generating activities to attain better living. This can be accomplished by cutting off all means of financial assistance and supporting them towards acquiring gainful employment instead.

One Size Does Not Fit All

out of the Darkness & into the Light

Only when I accepted that I DO matter, that my life matters, can I say I was truly able to start living again. I was able to start treatment of this depressive disorder. How did I get there? One may wonder – allow me to share my story. This may be a story you’ve heard before, you may be perplexed by what worked for me, but in any case – hope you find some hope & inspiration.

I don’t remember the start of my depression journey – and what a bumpy ride it’s been. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve been depressed for a while. I can shed a light on moments where a Psychiatric degree was not needed to recognize the symptoms of this very depressed young lady – it was as clear as the ocean blue. Drinking was no longer a social thing so much as it was an attempt to block out all consciousness. I couldn’t bare the emptiness I felt deep within. I couldn’t stand the void staring back at me in the mirror. I didn’t recognize her. I stopped loving her. I stopped caring about her. Her life had effectively ended – without the death certificate.

I do however, and very vividly so, remember my first panic attack, as if it were happening as I am sharing this with you. Of course, had you asked me at the moment, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was going on with me. It was a weekend, and I was bartending. I wasn’t feeling too well. I wasn’t physically ill, but I had an uneasy and unsettling feeling before I even left the house, so I didn’t drive myself to work. About 10 mins after I started getting ready for the evening rush, I started getting this tingling feeling creeping slowly from my fingertips. From God knows where, my hands were sweaty and trembling; my heart was racing so fast and beating so hard I could discern the rapid thuds in my ears. I started feeling lightheaded and then my whole world was spinning out of its axis. I wanted to scream but I didn’t know why. That tingling feeling manifested into painful tonic spasms. My fingers couldn’t be pried open – and try they did. My whole body cramped. At this point tears were streaming down my cheeks but I wasn’t crying. The faint sounds of sirens in the background were deafening to my ears. I don’t know when or how I ended up in an ambulance. The only thing I thought then I knew for sure is I was having a stroke. Rushed to the hospital by paramedics, a whole new world of pain opened up to me.

I AM DEPRESSED – what’s next? I had stopped caring. A long time ago, some part of my brain decided it didn’t matter whether I existed or ceased to exist altogether. It didn’t make a darn difference. So why even get medical help? Why plan for my financial future while a future is not something I saw for myself? Why make the effort to live & love & enjoy life? I had nothingness waiting for me – and so nothing is what I did. I waited for the day when this pain will be no longer. I waited for a time to come when I wouldn’t have to make an appearance. I didn’t fight the hopelessness; I didn’t fight to find my place in society, my place in this world. This “surrender” I was so content with met a force greater than myself. A force I struggled to keep at bay, and today I thank God I lost to that force. My FAMILY. While I had quit on me, they didn’t. When I didn’t care, they never stopped. It didn’t matter how much I pushed them away, how much I wanted to be left alone to my despair – in one way or another, they made sure I knew they were there, even from a distance I felt how strong the love they had to offer me was. I wanted to be left alone to my miseries. It was easier to lock myself away in a dark room. Easier to shut the world out. Easier if I was never there. They were not in consensus. I was alone in this feeling. Suffering alone was less and less of an option every day. While my family didn’t push me to be okay, they were okay with who I was then until I was okay to be who I wanted to be.

So I sought medical mental health support. I was seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist. I was put on medication for depression and anxiety. I did it because I knew a world when this wasn’t me. When I felt it not working, I continued because I knew I wasn’t hurting alone, I knew my family was suffering  along with me, I knew my pain was causing my mother a world of hurt. I finally stopped because it – plain & simple – just wasn’t working for me. Prescriptions didn’t do the trick. The Xanax felt numbing, the Ibuproprion could have very well been sugar-pills. The therapy was not therapeutic. I wasn’t going to do it alone, that much I wasn’t delusional about. So I started sharing & caring.

Opening up about my feelings to the people in my life I loved & who loved me made it bearable. I could be functional again. I didn’t always need to lock myself in a dark room to be left alone with despair, I could step into the light now. It wasn’t as frightening as it was before, I wasn’t walking alone. I always had a hand to hold by my side if I needed it. It was okay if I felt anxious. It was okay if the world was upside down & overwhelming at times. I was no longer an island. I was truly NOT ALONE. And everyday since, I’ve made a choice to step into the light. I have made a choice to live, love and appreciate myself. I chose life. My life matters. I have, since then pushed all suicidal thoughts aside. Do I still get them? YES. Will I attempt to act upon them? NEVER AGAIN. It can be an ugly and lonely world. I now make the choice everyday to live in a world that loves and appreciates me. Medication and prescribed therapy is no longer what I turn to to feel “normal”. I share. I care. I listen. I laugh. I love. Most importantly, I LIVE.

The Patient One Eats What’s Ripe

by Rustica Tembele
Founder & CEO – TEWWY

Mvumilivu Hula Mbivu

Swahili Proverb

Life in general can be very complicated. Starting a project is not an easy thing. You have to go through so many obstacles which can make you give up. You use a good number of approaches but in vain.

A good example is about the process of establishing Tewwy. It was not that easy. The procedures of starting an organization is cumbersome and there comes a time when you feel it is not worth it, so why bother. But then you think again and again and convince urself that it is worth being patient because of the benefits associated with what you want to do.

The patience eventually paid. TEWWY finally gathered the support it needed from the community and government agencies to provide effective psychosocial interventions which serve both the providers – the Wisdom&Wellness Counselors – who now proudly serve their underserved communities with the wisdom they have acquired through life and living, as well as the community they are building.

But of course, none of the work TEWWY has been accomplished wouldn’t have been so without the tireless efforts of the retired elderly women dedicated to uniting their communities in mental health and wellness. To support our efforts and to ensure continued psychosocial interventions, please join us in raising awareness and promoting mental health by donating at GlobalGiving.

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