MENTAL HEALTH

Olympian Dennis Ombachi opens up on battling depression

Dennis Ombachi has opened up on fighting depression as he hopes to decontaminate the disorder in Kenya when he spoke to Olympics.com recently.

Dennis Ombachi on October 8, 2019.

Dennis Ombachi is definitely not a new name to Kenyans, especially with vivid memories still lingering in people's minds after he converted a try in November 2015, against Zimbabwe that took Kenya to Rio 2016 Olympics while playing for rugby 7s.

The self-taught chef also tweeted in 2021 for the first time to tell the whole world at large that he was suffering from a bipolar disorder.

Just like any other athlete, Dennis Ombachi suffered an injury during the 2017/18 season and he admitted to having episodes of self-harm and also suicidal thoughts in his career.

Ombachi stated that it was by sheer luck that he was even having the interview with Olympic.com stating that it usually takes a single psychotic break and one is no more.

As an Olympian, Ombachi is using his profile to help create awareness of mental health in Africa, especially in those places where the stigma is deeply rooted.

“I keep telling people, it's just like any other disease, like diabetes. Once you're on your medication, life goes back as normal.” Said Ombachi.

Ombachi during the interview uncovered how Kenyans refer to mental disorders are always associated with witchcraft as he rallied for those affected to speak up rather than 'dying like a man'.

Ombachi also recalled how he lived on the streets for a whole week since he sneaked after being bullied while in form two. He was later found by the riverside taking a shower after search parties had been dispatched to look for him.

Dennis Ombachi took almost 20 painkillers during the Rio 2016 Olympics just to harm himself as he was not ready to talk to anyone about what he was going through at the moment.

Ombachi was also at his lowest during the 2017/18 season when he broke his leg as he felt as if the world around him had come to a standstill.

"But for your mind to be able to get back to the stage it used to be, it takes quite a while and it needs help. You need someone to talk to. You need someone to coach it, the way you coach the body." He said.

Ombachi's turnaround in life came when tried to bleed himself to death when his wife was 8 months pregnant and the ordeal nearly induced labour at the time.

He embarked on taking medication as he deeply regretted the whole incident. He went back to the psychiatric ward and was admitted again for over two weeks.

If you're struggling with mental health issues, please seek advice from a qualified professional.

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