Reflections Of A Convoluted Mind
Dr. Samke J Ngcobo
Mental illnesses and academic disciplines which deal with mental health struggles are still realms that are misunderstood and therefore poorly embraced. As a result, those who struggle with mental health issues find themselves under the harsh glare of stigma and judgement.
I am all too familiar with this struggle; both as a patient who struggles with a mental illness and as a doctor who has managed those who struggle with their mental health. I choose to shy away from labelling those who have mental illnesses as sufferers because it renders them as victims, incapable of overcoming this challenge.
I have been living with Bipolar Disorder since the age of 14 and am all too familiar with rejection and judgement both from a religious, cultural, and social perspective. Although it was painful to be confronted by these adversities, they ignited and strengthened my resolve to support those like me, so they would not suffer from the same intensity as I did. I fully empathise with people who have mental illnesses and those affected by them, through loving them.
I am passionate about mental health advocacy and activism and believe that those who struggle with their mental health should unashamedly and unapologetically speak about their journey without fear of being victimised or being subjected to stigma. I intend to be a beacon of hope to those who struggle with mental health issues, and I want those who are in my shoes to embrace their journey by acknowledging it and talking about it.
Early last year, I experienced my most recent relapse and found myself in a mental health facility. Following this admission, I was overcome by feelings of shame and defeat. I felt like I had failed both myself and my loved ones and it was very difficult to process. With the intention of not allowing my pain to go to waste, I channelled my thoughts and feelings in the form of my debut book called REFLECTIONS OF A CONVOLUTED MIND which contributed to my spiritual and emotional healing. I hope it has the same effect on the reader as it had on me while writing it.
My passion projects include my non-profit organisation called Sisters For Mental Health and my company called Vocal Mentality. Both entities are dedicated to positively engaging with the community and corporate environment about mental health and wellness.
I look forward to the day when mental health struggles are legitimised and treated with the same importance as other illnesses.
Dr. Samke is an author, a medical doctor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. She was diagnosed with a mental illness at the age of 14 at a time when mental illnesses were poorly understood and therefore not embraced by her social and religious community. As a result, she was faced with the challenge of stigma to contend with, which was further psychologically damaging.
She believes in the cause for mental health awareness and most importantly, understanding the life context of individuals who have mental illnesses. As a result, she shares her journey in order to achieve this.
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