Fame and Depression: A look into life in the media

The lights, cameras, and action around being well known, or in an industry that focuses on looks, charm, and outward beauty, it can be hard to be your authentic self. Many media personalities have struggled with the various challenges that come with being in the limelight and mental health challenges as well, some have been outspoken about it, whilst others have been silent. The likes of Tim Njiru, Jimmy Gathu, and Tom Mboya are a few who have been vocal about their struggles during their time in media and the limelight.

A recent story shared by journalist Kimani Mbugua, of his struggle with his mental health, is a tangible example of how the pressure of work and life can sometimes get the best of us, and the importance of having someone to talk to. With regards to how it all began and how he would deal with the pressure, he begins by saying, “It’s the curse of fame because a lot of famous people seem to have a lot of people around them, but when you go back home and it’s just you and yourself inside the house there is really very few people that you can talk to and so for me, I found solace in smoking marijuana.”

At a moment when Kimani decided to take a puff on his way home, he went through what doctors would call an acute psychotic episode, which is one of the effects of marijuana. Kimani says “For me, it was traumatizing because you are seeing things that are not real. They’re not real in this world but you are seeing them, it’s like you are inhabiting another reality all together. To me, at that point, it seemed real.”

For most people who fall into depression, like Kimani says “It is hard to tell. It happens gradually. You get depressed with how you sleep, slowly at first and then all at once.” When life is happening around you the fears, anxieties, and stresses that sometimes overcome us, ware us down to the point we do not realize when we are slipping into depression.

He continues, “The point that a lot of people get to in this business (media) you get into a lot of pride.” Kimani states that you get to the point you do not want to talk to anyone because you feel nobody will understand.

Dr. Andrew Huberman, a Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, gives insight into depression with some scientific findings and explains the pleasure-pain balance, “The pleasure-pain balance is the circuits in our brain that control the sense of pleasure and pain and ultimately whether or not we remain happy in pursuit of pleasure or not. This is a crucial aspect of the way that we function in everyday life and especially under the condition of mood disorders. What most people don’t realize is that the pleasure system is also directly associated with and is the very same system that modulates psychological and mental pain and anguish.”

Looking at how the human mind operates, it is safe to say that we were created with the innate ability to recognize both pain and happiness. Mental health has many angles, but today let’s ask ourselves, what is the path you will choose when faced with either of these occurrences? That is pain and happiness. There is a way that we can balance it all if we are first aware of our levels of happiness and pain, and live to be fully present with what is happening within us.



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