I want to highlight, in this post, a matter we seldom talk about in our communities and churches: mental health. This is a big issue that only receives little attention. It affects more people than we realize. It is a bomb that is ticking over my generation. Let me explain.
In my book, THE SHIFT OF A LIFETIME, I wrote about the SURVIVAL race many in my generation have thus far been running. There are millions of Nigerians in Diaspora approaching their 50th and 60th birthdays, whose dreams of SIGNIFICANCE are still afar off; whose potential for greatness is still untapped. Before we know it, the 2020 decade will come and go, and the buzz word among this cohort would be “retirement.” At that time, would you and I be able to look back and say “I have run a good race”? Or would there be regrets about the things one did or could have done?
Everyone looks good during a Sunday morning service, but underneath the fashion layers are feelings of despair and the murky valley of unfulfilled aspirations. The higher calling of SIGNIFICANCE and the deadly claws of SURVIVAL leave the mind reeling under the weight of unimaginable stress. We have learnt to cope – only just – but, perhaps need to do more to avert this threatening epidemic. We all need to find our course and run our race before it is too late. Literally, you need to step into the open and run a kilometre or two. This physical activity is beneficial for the mind. This is what I found.
I know what mental strain and depression feels like (so did Charles Spurgeon, David King of Israel, and countless other greats). I also know that running can help one beat the tide of mental depression. Running does improve mental health (by running I mean both the physical race in a pair of trainers AND the race of life in pursuit of purpose). Living out your passion is an antidote to unfulfilled dreams. Anchoring your hope in God is the ultimate help above all others.
I dedicate this short post to everyone who is quietly battling with mental health issues. More shall be said in due course Much kudos to those who are speaking openly about it and creating awareness – thank you Lade Hephzibah Olugbemi, Patricia Adewumi Hon Bolah-Olivia O-Joseph and many others.
I am running for this purpose, to see my generation SHIFT towards SIGNIFICANCE before the Tsunami called Old Age breaks forth upon us. If we SHIFT now, we will ride the wave with joy; if we continue with business-as-usual, the casualties would be too many to number.
SHIFT Now! Don’t stop running!