Personal experience with what depression can do

Living with depression after being diagnosed is not the end of the world. It may seem that way and you may come across or in contact with people who don’t fully understand your condition.

Depression or clinical depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks (Nimh.nih.gov, 2016). Depression can be caused by a number of factors such as abuse, sexuality, medication, conflict, death or loss.

Depression is known to take lives. A depressed person might feel alone in the world and that no one will truly understand what he/she is going through, constantly having a fear of opening up and receive judgment for being different. Opening up to someone about how you’re feeling and describing what it you’re going through and having the person you confided in not understand what you’re saying or taking your situation lightly, adds an even more effect to the depression that he/she is suffering from.

Having someone close to you who is suffering from depression is challenging as well because you may not know how to address any conflict with the person without being afraid that you might say something that would escalate their condition and they might end up in a dark space with dark thoughts.

I had a personal experience with someone who was suffering from depression. I did not know how to react when she confided in me, I thought that it would be okay, she’ll eventually get over it and unfortunately that was not the case. She took her life not so long after that. After finding out what had happened, it stays with you and you constantly go back and forth with yourself, telling yourself that you could’ve tried harder to understand what she was going through and be her support system.

In some cases there may be nothing that you can do to prevent something like that from happening. Depression should be a topic that can be spoken about freely, having these conversations with whomever can prove to be educational and that is all it comes down to – education. Knowing how to be a support system to any one suffering from depression can go a long way and might be what is needed to save a life.

 

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Road infrastructure causes tragedy

As a developing country, South Africa has plans to rebuild its poor road infrastructure, as they should. The country’s current road keep’s getting worse as the years pass by without maintaining the roads. The damages to the roads are caused by heavy vehicles travelling on the road, rain causing pot holes and infrastructure.

There are many roads in South Africa that needs some repairing to be done. But one road caught my eye this past weekend as I was travelling on that very road. I spent the weekend from the 28th to the 30th of October in Lephalale, Limpopo with my family and as we were traveling at night on Friday evening, on the R33 road from Vaalwater to Lephalale, we came across a lot of road signs warning us to slow down. As we were approaching what seemed to be like a huge ditch in the middle of the road.

On Saturday morning, we drove that same road leaving Lephalale heading towards Vaalwater for an outing and we seen a wrecked Audi laying in the ditch on its roof. It was hard to imagine anyone surviving the accident. The infrastructure has been like that for two years and was caused by the flood that Limpopo had experienced early 2014.

On our way back from our outing in Vaalwater with my family, we arrived just in time at the scene of the accident as the car was being towed. The guys that towed the car said that accident had occurred in the early hours of the morning. The driver was fortunate to survive the crash as he was there while his car was being towed out of the ditch. There was no mention of any casualties. It was difficult and uncomfortable for me to approach the driver because I did not want to seem insensitive, as he seemed traumatized from the event while looking on at the damage to his car.

Incidents like these are reasons enough to start repairing the roads in South Africa. Securing tenders will help decrease such accidents from happening.

9 signs you may be OCD

This all started when my boyfriend called me in the middle of the night to tell me, “babe? I think I suffer from OCD!” I then asked him “what makes you think that?” he said because he went to the bathroom 3 times in a space of just 3 minutes.

So I did what any sane partner would do, hang up. That morning I woke up to 3 “Good morning” texts, I know right? More like OC Crazy. But it got me thinking what if you or even my boyfriend may actually suffer from OCD but they don’t know what the symptoms are? Well I’m going to provide you with 9 signs to help determine if you suffer from it or not and how you can get help. But first things first…

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD can be defined as a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over (Nimh.nih.gov, 2016). There are different treatment options available for OCD, including medication, behaviour therapy or a combination of both.

The 9 signs are:

  1. Fear or contamination – The use of hand sanitizer constantly became a common tool used to eliminate any form of contamination. The urge stems from a fear of germs which is the most common obsession seen in OCD.
  2. The repeated cleaning of one or more items – housecleaning is a way of easing a “germaphobe”. Although cleaning can help chase these obsessive thoughts away, the relief does not last, and the urge to clean is often even stronger the next time.
  3. Constant Checking – whether it’s every hour on the hour, checking 3 times that the kitchen door is locked. This behaviour is the most common compulsion associated with OCD affecting nearly 30% of people with the disorder (Nimh.nih.gov, 2016). Checking can be driven by a variety of obsessions, ranging from a fear of getting hurt to deep-seated feelings of irresponsibility.
  4. Constant Counting – some people with OCD perform tasks according to a certain numeric pattern or count to themselves as they perform everyday activities. This type of behaviour is mainly influenced by superstitions.
  5. Arranging items to face a certain way – People with OCD can perfect their organising skills. Things have to be arranged in a certain manner, face a certain direction, either be odd or even.
  6. Fear of violence – we all have thoughts about the possibility of being affected by violent crime or falling victim to Lemony Snicket’s series of unfortunate events. The more we try to avoid such thoughts, the more they play around in our heads and this appears to be especially true for people with OCD.
  7. Persistent sexual thoughts – to the non-OCD person, you might be thinking why and how? To sum it up; It’s just sexual thoughts about inappropriate behaviour that frequently occurs with those suffering from OCD. Patients may imagine for an instant that they are going to grope their co-worker or molest a child, or wonder if they are gay instead of straight.
  8. Seeking reassurance – one way people with OCD deal with their anxiety, is by asking for the opinion of their friends and family. For example, if they’re worried that maybe they embarrassed themselves at a party, they may repeatedly ask a friend to replay the incident.
  9. Hating your looks – Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a condition related to OCD in which people fixate on a part of their body they consider abnormal or unattractive. The obsessive thoughts associated with BDD are very similar to those seen in OCD. Many people with BDD also have OCD and worry about the cleanliness of their body in addition to how it looks (Health.com, 2016).

Should you or a loved one require any further information on OCD or help with treating your condition, the SADAG website (www.sadag.org) can provide you with a better understanding of the condition and information on support groups. Don’t wait till it’s too late, get the help you need.

Cyberbullying – the horrible truth

Cyberbullying as we know it, is when bullying such as hate speech, invasion of privacy, and stalking and blackmail takes place over electronic devices, in the form of social media, text messages, chat rooms and websites.

Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying (dosomething.org). These bullies tend to tear down their victims’ self-esteem, stalk their victims and even blackmail their victims. The impact and control that they have over their victims are severe. Cyberbullying has been linked to cause suicide and depression and self-harm amongst teenagers.

There have been a few cases of cyberbullying that caught everyone’s attention as it gained extensive media coverage as their stories went viral on the internet.

Amanda Todd began using video chat to meet new people online, she was convinced by a stranger to bare her breasts on camera. She decided to post her story on to Youtube which had been viewed more than 17 million times. In the video entitled “My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self-harm,” the teenager uses flash cards to tell about her experiences of being blackmailed and bullied. A little over a month after posting the video, Amanda took her own life. Amanda’s stalker would watch her every move even when she switched schools, he’d create a fake profile to become her Facebook friend (nobullying.com).

Studies on Cyberbullying and social media covered a variety of social sites, Facebook was the most common — between 89 percent and 97.5 percent of the teens who used social media had a Facebook account (livescience.com). Facebook started out as a social network for friends and family and now it is a platform for bullies to seek out the youth and victimize them.

Teens are afraid to stand up against their bullies and therefore they suffer in silence which can cause depression and anxiety for the teenager. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse (dosomething.org). They fear rejection and not being taken serious because cyberbullying is rarely seen as a criminal offence.

Tyler Clementi was another victim of cyberbullying. After Tyler turned 18, he started disclosing his sexuality to his closest friends. His roommate Dharun Ravi invaded his privacy and streamed Tyler kissing another man. Tyler found out what his roommate done through Ravi’s Twitter feed and seen that he had become a topic of discussion at university. Tyler unfortunately took his life and a week later Ravi and his accomplice were charged with invasion of privacy. A jury convicted Ravi of 15 criminal charges. Cyberbullying may often be treated as a civil, rather than a criminal matter (nobullying.com).

Prevention tactics of cyberbullying should be instilled into the minds of our youth to avoid life and death situations, when they feel alone and depressed and can’t find any other alternative. Raising awareness on cyberbullying can help the affected teenagers feel like there is hope and there is another alternative to overcome the abuse that they endured and to get their life that’s been held captive by their abuser that won’t result in death. It will empower them to stand up for themselves and remove the bully from their life. Having a strong support system from family and friends will benefit the affected teenagers coping with the unfortunate situation that the internet and social media has brought upon.

A telling tale of a type 1 diabetic

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Meet Chris Samuels, he is an ambitious 22 year old student and has been living with type 1 diabetes for 16 years. Chris’ aspiration is to be the first coloured homosexual male to dominate the African media industry.

Chris describes his journey as a 6 year old type 1 diabetic as painful and difficult when he and his parents first found out about his diagnosis. Chris was too young to understand what was happening. As a parent, you only want what is best for your child and protecting your child becomes your first priority. With Chris’ diagnosis, his mother, Cecilia became very cautious around Chris, only allowing and making sure that he eats correctly to avoid getting sick, which led to fears and tears. Any energetic 6 year old would become confused when told that they cannot enjoy their favourite snack, sweet or drink. Chris’ condition wasn’t properly explained to him and didn’t fully understand the changes that were happening right in front of him. As a 6 year old, all Chris knew and understood was that he couldn’t eat what his friends and cousins were eating.

“Growing up was a real struggle honestly, the first few years were fine, then I became naughty, stealing sweets and sugar at school, eating all the wrong stuff just so that I wouldn’t be looked at differently from other kids”, says Chris, however things did change. As an adult Chris would get looked at funny or stared at for taking his insulin when he is out in public. It’s not something that Chris or any type 1 diabetic can avoid. When the need arises for a diabetic to take their insulin, they have to no matter what environment they are in, same as breastfeeding a baby. Chris however does not pay attention to those stares anymore, “I can take insulin at a store standing in a queue without flinching”.

As a family with a diabetic member part of the household, it all came down to teamwork. Chris has four older brothers, who constantly watched over him as a child and made sure that Chris would follow the rules that were set by their parents. Chris said it was difficult for his parents to raise a 6 year old diabetic who didn’t understand the consequences of not following his diet. As Chris grew older and took responsibility from his parents and started caring for himself, he realised the emotional toll it must have had on his parents. In the beginning Chris described taking on this responsibility as “emotionally exhausting” having to inject himself 5 times a day, check his sugar 6 times or more a day.

Being a student nearing the end of his studies; juggling assignments, tests and the most stressful one – job hunting. With everything that is happening in Chris’ life, keeping his sugar levels controlled on days when he just doesn’t feel motivated enough is challenging.

As a media student Chris wants to use his influence in the industry to empower diabetics to not look at their condition as a constant set-back in their life, but to rather embrace it as part of their lifestyle. Chris has a message and one message only to his fellow diabetics and that is “to look after yourself. Getting a limb amputated or having your kidneys fail or even going blind is not fun”.

Margaret Van Wyk speaks out.

Margaret accidently shared an explicit image of her private part which was meant for husband, to her daughter’s parent’s hockey group chat on Whatsapp. A member of the Whatsapp group took a screenshot of the chat and shared it on social media platforms. The image went viral and has since caused strain on her family with the extensive media coverage that the viral image got.

Margaret and her family fell victimized to social media bullying and has been depressed since the incident occurred. Margaret described that her family felt like they have been close to hell or death and that no one wants to see their family hurt and can’t understand how people would intentionally torment her children on their social accounts. Margaret’s representative said that she is a mother first and social media has since tarnished that.

Her representative further stated that Margaret does not see anything wrong with occasionally sending her husband a photo like that with her reasoning being “to keep the spark alive” in her 24-year marriage.

Her representative shut down rumours that the picture was not meant for her husband Chris but rather for another man that she is allegedly having an affair with. When asked about her husband’s recording that leaked to the media in which he made threatening remarks to anyone who texts him regarding the image of his wife or continues to share the image via social media, Margaret’s representative clearly said that their client is Margaret and not her husband and cannot excuse his behaviour.

Margaret will not be taking any legal actions against the person who initially shared the explicit image of her on social media platforms as it is still unclear who leaked it and how her identity was linked to the image. Margaret does have grounds to take legal action as there are laws that will act in her favour but chooses not to because she doesn’t want her family to endure more pain and scrutiny that they have already experience when the image first went viral.

Pretoria Girls High contradicting press conference

The Pretoria Girls High held a press conference on the 22 September 2016 addressing the issue on how black students should wear their natural hair according to the schools code of conduct regarding the protests that has been taking place outside of the school.

Pretoria Girls High has been getting a lot of media attention with each social media post containing the hashtag #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh which has been going viral on various social platforms. This hashtag has helped bring awareness on what is happening at the high school for girls. The young girls has been getting support from other students in other schools, parents, teachers and celebrities, nationally and internationally.

Pretoria Girls High was founded in 1902 as a multi-racial school, but now has the reputation of being known as a “white” school and that discrimination against black and coloured students have been taking place at the school. A student came forward during the protest and said: “a teacher took me and placed me in front of a mirror with my peers present and told me to ‘tidy myself up’ referring to the style of my hair which was in braids”. Students are being bullied and discriminated by the teachers in front of their peers.

An unnamed teacher at the school told a pupil that her afro was too high and that it had gone past the ‘limit’ and as this question was put to the school’s representative as to what exactly the limit is regarding the girls’ afro’s, he referred us to the press kit which does not address the question he was avoiding to answer by referring us to the press kit.

The current policy rules includes “no dyeing, bleeching, highlighting, colouring, colour rinsing, relaxing of hair causing a change in colour or shaving of hair any way allowed”.

The school’s representative said that the rules apply to everyone and that if a student black or white has long hair, it should be neatly tied up into a ponytail. However a statement was made that if the students has curly hair and tied up into a ponytail, no matter what their race is  are encouraged to ‘relax’ their hair as per the policy states. The representative then further stated that when the parents enrolled their children in the school, it suggests that the parents can afford to regularly buy hair relaxer for their daughters to comply with the rules in the policy and that there’s nothing they can do about it because the decisions and rules are been made by the SGB who represent the parents. When asked how much the general income is of a standard member on the board, they failed to answer and provide reasoning as to why such a rule and decision has been made without considering how much the average income is of the students’ parents/guardians.

The school’s representative said “if your child has frizzy hair, then they should not be at the school”. However they are reviewing the policy and will be making changes where necessary to accommodate each child’s race, ethnicity and identity.

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MY FIRST EVER FASHION SHOW!

I attended the Mercedes-Benz fashion show at Nelson Mandela Square and while I was waiting for the show to begin, I had an ultimate fan girl moment when I spotted DJ Zinhle. I was completely star struck that I couldn’t bring myself to walk up to her and ask for a picture.

The show was about to start and as soon as I walked into the venue and got ushered to my seat, I could instantly feel the vibe that was in the room. Everyone was excited and patiently waiting for it to begin whilst everyone in attendance found their seats.

I sat in the back row, at the start of the runway and seen a bottle of water and chocolate waiting for me on my seat. I kept myself hydrated and had a little snack to keep my stomach from growling, what a way to watch a fashion show. The chocolate and bottle of water gesture immediately made me feel important which in turn prompted me to attend more shows in the near future.

Joanna Hedley opened up the runway with her beach cult collection. I personally don’t go to the beach or enjoy swimming in the beach, but her swimsuit collection made me want to get out of my comfort zone. The swimsuits were trendy, she implemented summer patterns, just in time as spring was closely approaching.

As the show progressed with designer Tina Ngxokolo showing off her cultural mix with a modern day element collection. The colour and style of the clothing looked effortless on the models as they walked down the runway.

Designer Khosi Nkosi fashionably closed the show with the most beautiful collection which was also modern day culture. The garments were pieced together with traditional print and had models of all sizes and length to preview the clothing.

Khosi’s collection which is affordably available at YDE.

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2016 Municipal Elections – My View.

Voting is a way of letting “your voice” be heard which is a bit cliché. By voting, you have a chance to make a change, a change that might just become a revolution, but who is to say? Who is to say that the party you voted for, that made all those promises to you will pull through? Will they deliver on their promise? How long will it take for them to deliver? Talk is cheap.

There are no cooperation between each party. The DA has been campaigning on promises that they will deliver a positive change to the situations we live in, the ANC promised the same thing and so did the EFF etc. There are so many political parties to choose from, how do we choose? Who do we trust to let “our voices” be heard? When it comes to elections, you don’t know who to trust but you have to allow yourself to have faith that the party you vote for, will deliver on their promises.

Young people are the ones that the community should be supporting and encouraging to vote. They are young and might not feel as if they will see change because they are used to their environment and the governments continuous disappointment to try and implement the promises that have been made to them.

Voting is all about making your town/city a better place. Voting could further stop crime from happening, help young children not fall prey to drugs and abuse and provide education. Voting is a chance to change and help your community to be a safe environment for the next generation.

The point I am making is that it IS important to vote because even though the party doesn’t deliver, you get to go to bed with a piece of mind knowing you done the right thing by voting and letting YOUR voice be heard by marking that X.

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About me part 2

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I’ve been residing in Johannesburg since the age of 6 months after my family and I moved from Kimberley. My love and passion for journalism comes from my father. He introduced me to the newsroom at a young age as he worked for the Mail & Guardian most of his career. Seeing the dynamics of the newsroom inspired me to read a lot as a child and to practice my ability to write.

As I grew older my interest in the lifestyle of a reporter heightened and because of my connection to the Mail & Guardian, I was lucky enough to get an internship for 2 weeks as it was mandatory for my journalism course that I enrolled for at Boston Media House. I have gained a lot of knowledge within those 2 weeks and fell in love with journalism all over again.

Journalism is my first priority. I love writing about varies topics and hopeful to break into the investigative journalism world.

I am a true believer in the finer things that life has to offer, therefore my work inspires me to create and bring about diversity in what I do and a passion to dig further into a story to find it’s backbone. I tackle topics that some are afraid to and that’s a quality of mine that most admire about me. My personality makes me who I am, and strengthens me to ask all the hard questions and photograph the difficult scenarios. I make sure that my stories are fit for newspaper and online target markets. Being part of this industry means that you have to be flexible and take on as much as you can to further develop yourself.

As a journalist, the industry that I am in is evolving. I had to learn more skills in order to evolve with the industry. In addition to being a journalist, I do photo journalism as well as writing content for my personal blog and brand.