“Un-follow People Who Tension You On Social Media” – Betty Irabor Advices In ThisDay Interview

Betty Irabor This Day Cover - OnoBello

Nigerian columnist, philanthropist, writer, publisher and founder of Genevieve magazine, Betty Irabor decided to turn her ‘pain into purpose’ as she spoke about her mental illness phase with Konye Chelsea Nwabogor while she beautifully covers the front page of ThisDay Magazine.

Looking elegant, beautiful and chicky in the cover, the 62-year old mother and entrepreneur shares her experience and struggle with clinical depression. Although opening up about her struggle with the mental illness in her memoir ‘Dust to Dew’ left her initially feeling like a weakling until she changed her perception and convinced herself that “Only the Strong could afford to be vulnerable”.

When asked how her life was before she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, she said:

When asked how her life was before she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, she said:

I was depressed like forever, so it’s a bit difficult to remember what a normal day was like before I took ill. However, I would say my day to day was a bit crazy which comes with our lives as entrepreneurs, mom-prenuer, wife-prenuer, self-preneur and all other prenuers… Living in Nigeria can suck you dry and doing business here is hellish; the odds just stack up against you. You fail almost at every attempt to succeed till failing begins to look like the only reality you know.”

 

Betty Irabor further opened up that what she suffered from was Clinical depression which was triggered by work related anxiety, all manner of pressure, stress, grief, which in turn affected her sleep and led to chronic insomnia. Her journey to recovery was stampled upon when she lost her younger brother Fred to sickle cell, a severe blow that dragged her back into the dark state – this time; deeper and darker than before.

Betty Irabor This Day Cover- OnoBello-52

She however, began to find light when she started co-operating with her therapists, worked on her diet, exercised more and left her work life for her team to handle; most importantly, she had to work on her perspectives and how she saw things.

Speaking on the stigmatization revolved around Mental Illness, she reckoned with the fact that the society still chastise people with Mental Illness, which is obviously worsening the case.

“The Office of the Deputy British High Commissioner Ms Laure Beaufils with UK Nigeria recently hosted a panel discussion on De-stigmatizing Mental Health in Nigeria. We had a lot of deep and very honest conversations that evening. I remember being told I won’t get a board appointment if I spoke about my mental illness openly. It was the worst kind of Stigma. People shame and Judge what they are ignorant about. That’s a big shame.” She said.

Mrs. Irabor equally gave her opinion on a question revolved around the social media and mental health, she opined that mental illness is a “pathetic Joke” on social media, alluding to an instance of people trolling others who post about their conditions, and even going as far as giving “5 quick steps” to someone who is on the verge of committing suicide.

“Society puts pressure on all of us and so do social and cultural conditioning. We must break free from those mental yokes and live free… If social Media gives you a complex because everyone else seems to be balling, then take a break…un-follow people who “tension” you and go on a digital detox now and again.”

The philanthropist also made mention of her network called ‘My beautiful Mind Network’ by Betty Irabor under the TFD Series by Tara Durotoye. She stated that it’s aim is to address conversations related to mental health; a Nigerian tour starting from Uyo, Kano, Warri, Port Harcourt, Abuja In May and June has already been scheduled.

Urging women struggling with Mental Illness to Open up, talk to friends and family members, she advises them to seek help and not shut everyone out of their lives.

Having overcome the dark phase of depression by mastering the act of not allowing herself to get overwhelmed, Betty is ready to turn the pain into purpose with the ‘My Beautiful Mind Network’ platform. She confidently said “the best of her years is ahead of her and she is here for it.”

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