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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Depression and the Privilege to Stay at Home


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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

When a woman who lived in my building became overcome by depression and decided to take a hiatus from work, and went to live with her parents who lived only a few hours away, I remember how jealous I was.


If you are wondering what exactly I was jealous of, then I must let you know it wasn’t the depression. Of course, I too was depressed, and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder only two weeks before. I was jealous of the fact that she could take some time off.

Imagine how amazing her days were because she did not have to jump out of bed and hurry off to work or anywhere else. She didn’t have to bother about what to eat or to save money to parents. I kept wishing I could do what you had done. I kept hoping I could go back home and be mommy’s little girl.

Of course, she didn’t have to leave because she was on vacation she simply existed with as much bravery as possible from one day to the next. After all, depression makes us fighters, and it reduces us to people who struggle to survive.

Even though I understood why she had to leave I still profoundly wished I could take the much-needed break.

Postpartum Depression

Someone wants a depression is a condition that makes you feel homesick even when you are home.

And often in my encounter with mental illness, I have discovered that I felt homesick a lot of the time not for a place but just for the ability to lay in bed the entire day and not bother about going anywhere or doing anything that requires me to step out of my house.

What this means is that depression makes you feel homesick for space, time, and a break.

A lot of us have heard stories about how depression is a severe condition that changes people to their beds for days and gets bad enough that they lose their jobs and have no choice but to move back in with their parents.


As much as I would love to say that this claim is totally untrue, the fact remains that it is the ugly truth and it is a hazardous thing.

No denying the fact that no one with a mental illness is lucky. Depression on its own is a liar, and for those who are bipolar, it feels like a never-ending battle to appear normal to the rest of the world even though you know deep down you are breaking.

So while a lot of us dealing with mental illnesses desire to have a home to go back to not all of us are privileged enough to have a home outside where we live as adults.

Living with a mental illness and usually deliver often feel like mutually exclusive things; the same activities you want to engage in when you’re not well at the same ones you need to do to make ends meet.

Mental illness is like a slave master; it is a predictor that is persistent and tenacious. Whether you have work to do or you have a vacation a mental illness does not care.

When you need a break, and you’re dealing with a mental illness, things begin to feel very complicated, because you know if you decide to take time off school you will be losing financial aid.

And if you choose to take some time off work, you would be missing paychecks and probably lose your job.

Technically depression is a condition that is covered under the Americans with disabilities act and wiper it requires to be diagnosed documented and finally signed off on by a medical practitioner.

It involves a lot of paperwork that is excruciatingly difficult to manage when you are depressed. And even when you decide to go through the process of getting a diagnosis and all the paperwork only a few individuals qualify for government assistance.

While the employers of people that have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are required to make some reasonable accommodations which may include letting them work remotely or allowing them time, that does not mean that these employers comply others they even make the employees aware of what they are entitled to under the law.


This confusion and misinformation are what since a lot of people dealing with mental illnesses. Homelessness in America and other parts of the world is usually a systemic problem, but also it is as a result of lack of support for individuals who actually need a break.

It has been discovered that about a quarter of individuals living with mental illnesses are homeless in the united states.

Let us take homelessness out of the equation for a minute. For people who have homes and seem to have stable lives but are living with mental illnesses, they find themselves every day on the brink and they use every iota of strength within them to show up and hold down their jobs it is not easy trying to keep up and not being able to share your experiences with anyone.

A problem shared is a problem half solved so a lot of us have been conditioned to believe, but then there is this thing called shame. As long as you’re able to make it seem like things are beautiful then every other person has assumes that things are okay with you.

a lot recently people are beginning to feel more comfortable discussing their mental illnesses with friends and family as well as going as far as seeking professional help.

I am one of the very few people with mental illnesses who have been able to build a career for myself that allows me to work remotely this has given me the opportunity to create space for days when I feel like lying down and doing nothing at all.

Mental illnesses create a feeling of complete isolation, but that is not the only reason why people with mental illnesses are not bold enough to find help the absence of social safety nets in general for individuals living with mental illnesses is orphan another reason why they would rather keep to themselves.

I have come to understand that the only thing worse than living with a mental illness is leaving with one in secrecy.

Sometimes the only thing you need to feel better is that opportunity to take a short walk, breathe deep, or just lie down and count the ceiling.

Going to the bathroom to quickly shed a few tears is another way you might want to relax but because you have so much to do at the office sparing that time just might be costing you a lot.


Staying at home with all the food and support you can get is the best thing that can happen to anybody living with mental illnesses.

Not because interacting and associating with other people is terrible, but because sometimes we just need that comfort and the knowledge of the fact that we do not have to meet with anybody, or have to do anything that will be mentally tasking.

So while it may be impossible for you to go home or stay at home whenever you feel the need to, you can also find a home in seeking professional help.

So it is safe to say that the privilege of just staying at home it very healthy for people living with depression, but not everyone can afford it.

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  1. This is horrible, embarrassing and should have never been published. Who made you czar of depression treatments? How do you know there isn’t more to your co-workers story? Do you really not have a friend or family member you could rely on if your life took a dark turn? You should be ashamed for writing this and I encourage you to get off your pedestal and lift other mentally ill people up, instead of tearing them down.


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