Part 4: Mental Health and Money
Chances are, for every time you have felt low, money was one of the major contributing factors. The gutting failure to make more, or the redundant regret that comes after spending aimlessly. Not to mention the pain of adult kawu — you know the one where your beeping yaka meter is the back ground for your problems, naps are equivalent to food, lotion is finished and pay day feels eons away?!
Kawu is slang for broke in Ugandan boarding school. Usually a week to visitation when your grab and money are done
We can all attest to how uplifting the ensuing excitement of a mobile money message is. I could go on and on about the vicious cycle of poor mental health and the failure to make and manage money, but you probably know this.
The truth is, considering the kind of education system majority of us have undergone, we may lack the experiential knowledge required to actually make, keep and grow money — myself included! However, by doing simple things like working with my emotions, reading more financial books and following content creators who make the money conversation palatable, I have realized a little progress.
But how will you manage money you don’t even have? Let me tell you a story…
How to find work and nurture a positive money mindset…
There is a looming fear of sounding like an out of touch motivational speaker whenever I share my personal stories. Which is why I always emphasize the need to do what works for you as these are things that have worked for me.
I am presently an administrator, a budding freelance writer, emcee and many other things that are yet to bring me money. How I got here with no academic qualifications is purely luck, God’s grace and favor; but of course, I leaned into my strengths and I would love to share that with you.
Before you roll eyes and stop reading, understand that each and everyone of us has privilege (for example: your ability to access this article, your experiences, supportive parents and good friends). Even if it varies from person to person, accepting your privilege serves as a starting point. When you approach your personal growth and development from a capacity building angle, the work becomes easier. Acknowledging your capacity gives your mind a map to filling up the gaps. Do I make sense?
So after Makerere did me dirty, I got more depressed than I ever imagined!!! I was sooo thin and just wanted to die. There’s nothing you could have said or done to get me out of that hole. I had only 30mins of peace in a day… and that was those few half asleep half awake moments. Bruno would come in and begin his disco the second my eyes opened! Did I mention that the first nation wide lockdown was issued around this time? So all that visit your friends was impossible and yes, I was alone.
Suicide crossed my mind a couple of times (like the normal suffering human I was) but I could never bring myself to doing it — none of the options from ropes to pills were dignified and euthanasia is reserved for the 1%. These are not things you tell your parents without attracting a crusade and catholic exorcism.
What saved me was friendship. Yes, my friends! You probably feel like shit and don’t want to smell for your friends but without Rachel, Paula, Kasobya, Josie, Roy, Douglas, Denis, Ronah, my family and my darling Aber who called me everyday to gist and laugh, I would have taken the less dignified path. All this is to say that I somehow understand how you feel but I also know that you can get out with help if you speak.
Rachel and I grew up in the same neighbourhood. Due to the fact that our homes share a wall, our families have been acquainted for over 15years and we both happened to be around during the lockdown. She would come over to my house and chill, watch movies, take walks. She would bring me food and I would cook for her occasionally. It was nice. However, she had never known I was unwell till she came over one day and I could barely speak. I was just tearing man, and it was embarrassing for me because on the outside, I was so full of life!!
Evidently shocked, she sat on the chair next to me and said “I am not leaving you!” she asked to pray for me which I declined because how could God allow me to reach that point? She started picking me up everyday at 5pm for walks. There are parts of Luzira I would have never even seen! We would laughed at literally everything!
“You should get a job.” she suggested one evening while we walked along Butabika road. I scoffed at her suggestion and reminded her that I had no papers and knew no one anywhere crazy enough to hire me on vibes. In response, she kept telling me all the things I am good at as we walked. At this point, she had taught me how to pray and meditate so I indulged her with a little more hope.
“You speak so well, you can write, and you’re so fun to be around, I would hire you! Also pray like you already have the job. Dress up nice and go ask for it.” She added. I thought it a ridiculous idea because I wondered where I would start from, who I would ask, what I would even do?! Much as the lockdown had been eased a bit, there was still a lot of restriction i.e. no bodas were allowed to move but I had to find a way.
With good interpersonal abilities, I thought I would be a good front desk officer. I also had internship experiences and capitalised on those. Lucky for me, there was a company around my place looking for receptionists. I took a walk and asked about the position just a day before the deadline and applied with my fingers crossed! My belief has always been that once I get the interview, the job is mine. Everything worked in my favor and here I am today!
But what really worked?
Leaning into my privilege: as I said earlier, all of us are privileged in small or big ways. Lean into your parents, friends and the things you enjoy. Having time to indulge your hobbies is also a privilege, one I no longer take for granted.
Asking for help: Try to be as clear and concise as possible. As Josie likes to say, “Life is generous!” When you ask for help, you give your people a chance to be good friends. Something that equally uplifts their spirits.
Allowing my friends to be friends: I understand the fear and regret of oversharing. Nonetheless, how will you know who is a source of comfort, perspective, solutions, vibes etcetera among your friends if you do not exercise the relationship? Life is an endless game of trial and error!
Gratitude: The more thank you’s you say, the easier giving and receiving becomes. Be grateful for your family and friends, your experiences and what they have taught you. Your various abilities. Your vulnerability. Cringe as it is, you have to give yourself some hope and saying Thank You often is a good step.
Getting active: Try not to sit in one place for so long and walk as much as possible. I tell myself that I am touring my hood so I do not get bored. This is how I discovered a cool hangout spot a stone throw away from my house! Walking is also a great way to release excess energy.
Prayer, with thanksgiving, changes things! Romans 8:18
Making and Managing Money…
I am no financial expert but I know 2 things — I love money and the lack of it makes me sick!!! In respect to the assumption that we feel the same way, check out Tonie Tone’s podcast and Patsy Mugabi on Instagram.
Their content helped me understand money, get financially literate and reduce money induced mental breakdowns. They also led me to more material and gurus who simplified money
Few things to note:
- Working is not synonymous with making money so be smart.
- Not everything is fit for you and your situation so keep your mind wide open and do more research.
- Simplify the process and know that things take time.
- Start or join a savings group.
- Self awareness is the beginning of freedom!
I know this has been wordier than usual, but I hope it was a worthy read. Keep on Living🌻