World Mental Health awareness

Name: Ropafadzo Charity Muzari

Age: 27

I regard myself as a Mental Illness Warrior because I have lived with this illness for more

than 15 years, I have accepted who I am, and I know the strengths I possess as a result of this

illness. Living with this illness means life hasn’t been easy and rosy for the past 15 years, and

even up to now it hasn’t been perfect.

Growing up in a Christian family meant my illness was regarded as some form of demonic

possession. Being “moody”, isolating myself from everyone, crying (melting down), over

sleeping, shutting down, and all the other signs of having a mental illness would mean a

demon would have possessed me, therefore I had to go into a separate room and pray for this

demon to go away. I also learnt not to talk about these “demons” as it would just mean

“glorifying” them. This did not make having the illness any better, but instead resulted in its


I was diagnosed with the illness during my last year of high school, after I had survived an

attempted suicide, but again, that was a demonic possession, which wasn’t talked about after

the day I survived. Fast forward to my university years, and that’s when everything started to

come out in the open. I would have endless meltdowns, anxiety, panic attacks…you name it.

That is how I started researching on the issue, getting help from counsellors, getting support

and getting my whole family on board over the issue.

Living with mental illnesses

Coming out about my illness and accepting it does not mean it’s gone. I live with it daily.

This has not been an easy thing, but I am getting better at handling it day by day. I now know

what triggers my meltdowns, and I have certain coping mechanisms for almost everything

negative I go through. I still have terrible, really terrible days, but I survive through them.

There are also times when I have terrible meltdowns which can go on for days. I have learnt

to embrace them, and allow myself to heal slowly. I haven also learnt to be stronger because

of them.


There is a lot of stigma that is associated with one being mentally ill. Once I came out in the

open I realized that I lost friends, and a few people who used to associate with me drifted

away. But obviously it is those people who do not have any knowledge on the issue that walk

away. It is not easy telling people that I survive with a mental illness, as most people have the

wrong impression of the illness, and would want to disassociate themselves with me as soon

as they learn of this. It is also not easy to get everyone to know about the illness, as society

already has its own view on the illness. It is high time society gets to know that mental illness

is just like having a headache, or a tummy ache, and there is no shame in one talking about it,

or trying to get help.

Surviving the illness daily

My survival tricks on a day today basis include praying, journaling, exercising, finding

something to laugh about each day, watching at least one episode of a comedy every day, and

working on my projects.

I am very grateful for family and friends who check on me and take care of me when I am not

well. They have made surviving with this illness easier.

My project; The Afr-I- CAN in me

I recently started working on a project titled The Afr-I- CAN in me, whose main aim is to end

the stigma that is associated with mental illnesses, basing on my personal history.

Facebook: The Afr-I- CAN in me

Twitter: @theafricaninme

Instagram: @theafricaninme