Finding contentment in the midst of the Anglophone crisis

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It’s not only a gunshot that kills people during crisis. Sometimes people may die because of too much worry which leads to adverse health conditions. It’s alright to worry, but worrying too much about circumstances we cannot control is dangerous to our health.

Fear from gunshots
I come from the minority English speaking region of Cameroon popularly called the Anglophones. For the last two years, every Monday is a ghost town. Sometimes there’s even up to a 10 days lockdown of the region. Most often I feel like I’m in a house arrest for a crime that I didn’t commit. Everyone is afraid to step out due to the fear of being shot by a stray bullet from either the separatist fighters or the government forces. I can’t go about my businesses the way I want to, and this has economically drained me and a lot of others in the region.

One morning, I woke up to the news that seven people had been shot dead just around my neighbourhood. The terror was so intense that everyone was running out of our beloved town of Buea. I started feeling really depressed, traumatised and confused like never before in my life. I thought of whether to run out for good like many others did or stay. But then I said to myself: this is where I’ve lived my whole life. I can’t just abandon everything overnight and run away. There’s got to be a way to deal with this.

Turning to inner peace
Then I decided to make use of the skill that I learned in the self development program. Together with some friends, we started a Peace Club where we shared safety tips and practiced mindfulness meditation as a tool to relax the mind and find inner peace in the midst of chaos. This greatly helped me and others deal with the trauma that we were going through. Every time I meditated, I controlled my thoughts to let go of the outward realities that I could not change and rather focus on strengthening my mental health. As such, even when there were gunshots, I heard them very far off though it was near. So meditation became like a bullet proof to my mind and that’s how I’ve been able to manage my trauma till today.

Take responsibility for yourself
It’s very important to know our limitation in every given situation. In my case, I know I do not have the political power to make the fighters drop their weapons but one thing I know is: I can choose to manage my mental health and help others do the same. The quality of our inner peace depends on how much we let external circumstances define our thoughts and feelings.

If everyone of us took responsibility for our own well-being, we could have the strength to support those in need. As the rule goes, we can only give what we have. So, don’t worry about the things you cannot control and try to find contentment in what is within your reach.

Photo credits: Google

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