Victor Khamisi, the founder of ‘Check on a Man’ initiative, shared a touching story detailing how he had to walk for 73 kilometres to escape from the clutches of a man who had almost driven him to suicide, his uncle.
“Because of the constant abuse. I walked from a place called Kowino in Migori to Homa bay in search of my mother’s best friend,” he revealed.
Khamisi’s childhood reads out like a movie script, having been raised by his mother as he had lost his father even before he was even born. He would later lose his mother, brother, a step-dad and his fiancé all in quick succession.
The 26-year-old, who has battled depression since childhood, explained that he was taught that men are not supposed to show emotion and that he should always take every challenge thrown to him ‘like a man’.
This societal expectation weighed on him, pushing him to attempt suicide. The events of his life turned him into an empty person; one who would wear a smile while out in public, but deep down was battling with loneliness and self-rejection.
“The first time I attempted suicide was when my uncle tied and beat up for no apparent reason. I was about to hang, then something stopped me. I saw Christ,” he stated.
Having been a victim of sodomy as a teenager, Khamisi was in constant emotional and physical pain, yet he never spoke out about his struggle.
“I decided to go live in the streets, but I still had a lot of unresolved issues which led to further depression,” he narrated.
When he finally decided to share his story online, he was subjected to cyberbullying, which drove him even deeper into depression and self-rejection.
According to research, depression is mainly characterized by the onset of low moods or loss of interest in usual activities.
This is often accompanied by notable behavior including changes in appetite or weight, changes in sleep quality and quantity, excessive guilt, sense of worthlessness or hopelessness, irritability and often suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Depression is treatable and most people are able to continue with their normal life after treatment. It is therefore crucial that anyone battling with any of the tell-tale signs seeks medical help
In June 2020, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe described depression as “a silent, invisible killer that is affecting our nation and the globe. The CS was speaking during a press briefing in which he highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of individuals.
Khamisi has since given his life to Christ, and despite losing two jobs due to his mental health issues, he has since taken up doing house chores for a living.
Having attempted to take his own life six times, Khamisi was compelled to start his initiative to help out any man who was facing similar challenges.