MENTAL HEALTH: PART TWO She deepened my Anxiety
It was a cloudy sad evening, Brian and Ally were settling in for the night. Brian wanted to watch some ridiculous show and Ally wanted to watch Keeping up with the Kardashians. Brian asked for only thirty minutes then the TV would be hers for the rest of the night. Ally snapped, she walked into the kitchen, picked up the only nonstick pan he had invested in and smashed it on the ground. He came rushing from the show, a mix of laughter from his ridiculous show and distraught for what was going on in the kitchen. By the time he got into the kitchen she had already manhandled some more of his utensils. She was angry, you couldn’t see her veins, but she had turned purple, he tried to contain her, tried to embrace her and tell her everything will be okay. All this for a show? He looked at his disfigured nonstick pan, and learned the hard way never again to mess with her shows.
On one romantic afternoon, they were walking in town, holding hands giggling at each other’s naughty jokes, just being the ‘it’ couple that everyone stares at and feels a lump on their throat, maybe a potato I presume. They started talking about something she did not agree, she got angry, he could see her turn purple again, she started boxing him, then she shoved him to a well-manicured fence in town, something pricked him, his leg was hurt, he was bleeding, he still has a scar to date. She didn’t stop she wanted to dispense more of her anger to him, people were staring, she just couldn’t stop. He tried taking off or rather limping off, a man advised him not to because when you are a man running in the streets of Nairobi and a woman is chasing you, people assume you’re a thief and your fate is sealed to the mob. So, he stopped took a couple of detours and managed to escape.
Third time is the charm right, this night they got into a heated argument, he can’t remember what it was about, he doesn’t recall any of the argument’s basis, but he remembers the events that took place. He sat down to watch the news, see if Kenya was exploding as much as their relationship was, she went to the kitchen, took a knife and stabbed her leg, she started screaming, there was blood everywhere, he tried dressing the wound and took her to hospital the next morning. She ran away after that, went to her friends, their friends; since she had made him give up his friends so that they could spend every waking breath together. She told them all that he had stubbed him, that he was an abusive boyfriend. Of course, they all believed her because this was the easier story. He ended it.
He felt betrayed, maybe anger more than betrayal. He loved this woman, they had shared three years together, his whole campus life, he had sustained her, cared for her, lost his virginity to her, but she still betrayed him besides crashing his masculinity. They got vulnerable, shared both the silly stuff like suffocating each other with their fart and the deep stuff like the heavy underlying issues from the past. Brian had had a few encounters in the past. One cold night in a dorm room in Meru, someone crept up in his bed, by the time he realized he was being assaulted by a prefect, you know power is a funny thing, some people ache for the tiniest power and once its handed to them like a magic wand, they use it to create lifetime scars in people’s lives.
“It wasn’t even the first time,” he tells me looking outside the city view as matatus hustle to get a faster way home. The guy had a set of weird behaviors, two nights before him, he had maneuvered his way to another boy’s bed just like Brian. Luckily Brian was able to overpower him before things got hot and heavy. “You see, this made me question my sexuality at such a young age, because I had already been exposed, I had already started noting my anxiety and this only made it worse. I genuinely feared girls.”
Eventually when Brian got to high school, he saw things, he saw more molested boys, he saw abuse of power from the principle to the CU officials who both played a hand in bullying and sexual molestation. Brian escaped untouched, with his heightened sense and response to crisis, he was fast on his feet and wise on the places to avoid the kona mbayas. He never went back to the school again. These and so much more were the things he confided in Ally. For a while she showed him true love at its finest and finally, he felt like he had found the one.
He was left with one friend, a friend who saw her beat him in public once and was concerned, they bonded over that. Brian had a webcam, for video calls with clients of course, some videos came up to prove his innocence, but by this time the damage was irreparable. Brian has severe anxiety, he noticed it from an earlier age, he would profusely sweat for hours or just shut down and barely functioned at times. He couldn’t turn to alcohol or drugs because drugs generally make anxiety ten times worse. He turned to food specifically matokes, the man would eat maybe a whole stalk of matoke in a day, he had insomnia, he developed depression, he was out of it.
“have you ever contemplated suicide,” he asks. I shake my head as I look at him munch away his fries, he’s like a telenovela I can’t get enough of.
He thought of suicide several times, he gained so much weight, had no friends and could barely sleep at night. I ask him to describe more of these moments and he tells me he just can’t, it was all too painful. He didn’t seek for help, he got himself out of it, like a real man. It took him over three years trying to heal. He tells me he’s barely healed, tells me he has no idea if he’ll ever get into a relationship again. Tells me he’s more cautious, now more than ever, he sweats every time he meets people, especially girls, but he talks himself out of it. He found other hobbies, other than metal rock he does photography and lives for adventure.
“I don’t know how to be happy anymore, I just live, I get some good moments, but I’m not truly happy,” he mumbles as we walk down the stairs.