For 15 minutes she was in her own world. The only thing that crossed her mind was how she had abandoned herself and her family.
Then as a student with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Technical University of Mombasa, her life suddenly became miserable.
She met her first love and courted him when she was in second grade. Her parents had tried to separate her many times, including hiding her university admission letter because her boyfriend was working in Mombasa. Instead, they insisted that she attend a Kenya Medical Training College near their home in Lugulu, Busia. But their efforts had failed spectacularly.
“When I started my first year at university, he rented a house for me in Nyali and sorted out all of my other bills except school fees. While my friends lived in hostels, I lived in a furnished house and paid about eight times the hostel fee. For three years I was the envy of some of my friends because my friend was very rich, “recalls Queentah Naliaka.
” My parents finally came over and into the village. Where we both come from, we were the exemplary couple. During my third year on campus, I made a surprise visit to his house and found him in bed with another woman. When I caused drama he said I was his ex-girlfriend and our relationship ended. I was stressed because I didn’t know how to adapt, “she recalls.
” I went home and told my mom about it and then went back to school, where I started smoking and drinking carelessly. My circle of friends changed and the only one who took care of it asked me to start modeling again. I had to go to the gym, ”she recalls.
While pushing her body and heart to recover, she met another man at the gym. They courted briefly, then got intimate and she got the fear of her life when a friend spread the rumor that he was HIV positive.
“I confided in another friend that I was Fear was infected and she spilled the information. Everywhere I went people pointed and whispered. I was ashamed of myself and my parents and I didn’t think I had anything else to live with, ”says Queentah.
The day she stood on the bridge and about suicide thought she was on her way home from class.
“That day on the bridge a voice spoke in my head and asked me,” Why exactly are you still alive? You lost a seven year relationship. You are now HIV positive. Why are you still alive “
She doesn’t remember exactly how she was saved, but when she came to, women scolded her and asked her why she wanted to die. The next stop would be a psychiatrist office.
“I was locked in a room and questioned and said I wanted to die because I was HIV positive. However, I had run several tests that confirmed my status as negative and even asked the man to test. When his results were negative, I told myself it was because he might have been taking antiretroviral drugs and therefore his viral load was undetectable. The therapist referred me to Kenyatta National Hospital and they got more tests that came back negative, but I didn’t believe them. My therapist concluded that I had post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, ”says Queentah.
She was taken to a psychiatric center for rehabilitation for a month. When she finally recovered, she started a mental health campaign at her university and even fought as president of the university.
“That’s when I realized the importance of mental wellbeing , and decided to use my story to influence life. Therapy had helped me accept my situation and all I needed was to identify my triggers. I’ve talked a lot about what got me a lot of publicity, including media interviews. “
But advertising would come at a huge price that almost ruined your life.
“ When I was on the news in November 2018 was introduced, my ex-boyfriend at the time posted video clips of me in a compromising situation. He sent them to my parents, to my co-workers, and to a WhatsApp group at a church where my father served as an elder. My father is also the headmaster of a high school. My mother is a politician. We come from a really respectable family and we did a lot of damage as the firstborn and only daughter, ”says Queentah.
She explains that the leaks threw her back into a dark ditch and gave her Suicidal thoughts. Although depressed, this time she didn’t try to kill herself, but instead chose to face her demons directly.
“My parents sat me down and asked for one Explanation. It was very embarrassing and psychologically devastating because we can never access the videos and I have to live with it. But they supported and protected me, took me back to therapy and asked me to focus on my studies. I knew I had to make it up to me, and when I gave the opening speech on my graduation day, they got proud of me, ”says Queentah.
She went back to school she was studying Counseling Psychology and graduated as a certified psychologist last year.
She founded Girls for Girls Africa, a foundation that advocates this campaigns for mental health awareness in Africa.
“Our mantra is that we are a semicolon stem. Just like a semicolon, it means that your story is not over yet and that the chapter you went does not define your entire life. You can turn around and start on a new page, ”says Queentah.
She currently works as a psychologist with the UN women in Mombasa and offers psychotherapy programs for people with mental illnesses < / p>
“I encourage yoga and meditation, good nutrition, emotional, intellectual and financial well-being. This is a holistic approach that takes into account the connection between the mind, body and heart. Some of us have mental health problems due to unemployment, family background and childhood trauma, ”says the psychologist.
On October 10th last year during World Mental Health Day she has published her book called Self-Care Kit to Mental Wellness, which helps readers address their mental illnesses.
“Therapy sessions are expensive, so I decided to to have a book that can be used by generations. If you read this book today, your child can read it and benefit from it. It’s sustainable because a book can be kept for years, “she explains.
This year, on World Mental Health Day, she plans to bring out another book.
“The second is like a workbook. So you have to write and be honest with yourself. It’s a mental health planner that induces introspection,” explains Queentah.
” My journey was very painful, but I’m enjoying the class. I am still healing and met people along the way who are on the same journey. They held my hand and I had to learn from them. It gives a community of people who have had bad experiences and can still afford a smile. I hope my story inspires them to love themselves enough to take a step towards spiritual wellbeing, “concludes Qu eentah.