Tariro Chasi was born and raised in Zimbabwe in the early 90s and then moved to Namibia to be with her parents back in 2009. She told The Weight She Carries that growing up, she was a very cheerful, loving and ambitious young girl. She was very friendly and sociable, too.
“I have always had a great relationship with my parents and that has moulded me greatly into who I am today,” she said.
Tariro did her tertiary education in Namibia and soon after graduation, she got her first job.
“It was during that time that I met a young man. I fell in love and in 2017, we got married (customarily). My happiness was short-lived, though, and 11 months in, the marriage crumbled,” she said. “I suffered depression as a result and I was incapacitated for almost six months. I managed, however, to get back on my feet and I have been vocal about mental health, particularly depression, divorce and related issues since.”
Tell us about your relationship with your then-partner. Did you see any red flags when you were together?
We started off as friends and our friendship was really great. Then we started dating, but it was discreet and we were both okay with that at the time. I had come out of quite a long-term relationship and I was broken and bitter and definitely not looking for anything serious – well, not looking for anything at all. But my partner happened and I just went with the flow, lol. That was a lame move if you ask me today.
There were red flags; I just chose to ignore them. Mainly because my head wasn’t in it and my heart was definitely not whole. For instance, I never bothered to find out what really happened to his relationship before us and what the status was when we hit it off. It was none of my business according to me. Regardless of that though, we were okay and had some really good times together. I can’t lie and say he probably never loved me or I never did. We did in our messed-up ways.
How did your heart get broken? How did you manage the process of healing?
So, 11 months into the marriage, we had a two-week period of conflict. In the first week we didn’t talk for a whole six days and on the seventh day, we resolved our issue, but things were still awkward between us after that. It had never happened like that before. We had our moments of arguing, but we would never go two days without resolve. I thought it was weird and I thought it had a lot to do with a friend of his who was staying with us at the time. I had had issues with him in the past, too. So, the time in question, I had an altercation with him, and I decided I’d had enough. I could take anything from disrespect and ill-treatment from my husband – well, cause he was my husband – but not from his friend. So, I threw him out.
Tariro said that after throwing her then-partner’s friend out, all hell broke loose.
My then-husband said it was as good as [if] I had thrown him out too and he left. He did not love me anymore, didn’t want to be with me because I was disrespectful, controlling and disobedient, lol. I was shattered, to say the least. I mean, I had wanted to leave on about two occasions, but I stayed because I know marriage isn’t easy and one can’t just give up. And here he was, my first “mistake” and he was ready to throw in the towel. It was heartbreaking, really. My son was barely six months old. During the time we were separated, I even found out there was another woman. So yeah, the pain of rejection, blaming myself, fear of the unknown and judgement and stigma. I got depressed.
I would cry for hours on end, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and could not even work. It was a painful experience. I understood then why they call it heartache. My heart was throbbing. I had no heart for anything, no plan and it looked and appeared as if my future was bleak.
It was during that time that we lost a close friend of my brother’s to depression (God rest his soul). He took his life – turns out he had been battling depression for over a year. That became my Damascus moment, my wake-up call. I realized how fateful it could be to stay in the state I was in for too long.
Tariro decided to go back to the basics.
I looked for God’s face; that was my first instinct. I did not know what else to do for no amount of crying or talking to people was easing the pain. So, I prayed and prayed until the bitterness and pain and burden was taken away from me. I actually remember the day it all went away.
I had been praying for God to grant me His peace that surpasses all understanding. And I literally felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. From that day, everything else became much easier. Talking to the right people, accepting my situation, forgiving myself and my ex-husband and then eventually opening up myself to sharing my story. That was my healing process in short.
How did you get diagnosed with depression? How did you recover?
I opened up to my parents and they recommended I see a psychologist and even offered to pay for one. So, I went for three sessions. I was scheduled for five and after the fifth that’s when they [would] give the diagnosis. But I really felt that I was doing okay by that time and the worst was over. So, I stopped going for therapy before the diagnosis. That, however, doesn’t dismiss the fact that I was depressed. The therapist did tell me a couple of times during our sessions and I knew before going there because the signs and symptoms were undeniable.
My recovery was not from medication, but the therapy did help. Talking to people close to me and really letting it all out helped. Talking to strangers and sharing my story helped a lot. But most importantly, prayer helped. I got strength to get up and stop feeling sorry for myself and the zeal to want to make it despite my situation. I got the clarity I needed to move on.
Tell us more about your blog, Diary of a Resilient African Woman. What pushed you to start working on it?
One of the things I did very often when I was down and under was check out Facebook, just to pass time. So, it was during that time that I came across a lot of people that were going through what I was and most didn’t know how to deal [with] or handle the situation. So, I commented on one or two. Such posts saying I was a depression survivor if they just wanted to talk.
Well, I got more than two people in my DMs and that how I realized I needed to do and say more. To help someone out there. I believe my pain would have been in vain if it doesn’t help the next person. That is really why I started talking and sharing. Realizing that people don’t engage enough about depression, mental health illness and other social ills like divorce and single parenting. There is a lot of stigma and ignorance and that only fuels the decay of our society. Instead, why don’t we talk, debate and use our unfortunate experiences to make the lives of others richer and better and inspire the younger generation?
I must say, I made a lot of mistakes in my marriage. Well, even before marriage, my dating game was flawed, but I didn’t know. I couldn’t have known. It is smart to learn from your mistakes, and it’s wise to learn from the mistakes of others. If one or two people can learn from my mistakes and build their relationships and marriage on a stronger foundation than I did mine and preserve their mental health and well-being while at it, I will have won even though I lost my marriage.
So that is the vision, really. To raise awareness to whoever who will care to listen.
How did you manage all the labels being stuck on you? How have you managed as a single mum?
Labels ain’t got nothing on me. I can’t lie that it wasn’t hard, especially from him, my ex-husband. I mean, this is someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. It diminished me for a while. Heaven knows I even lost myself there for a while trying to prove [to] and hurt him. Thank God I realized before it was too late that it does not really matter what they say or think. The strength of our existence is in truly knowing who we are and who and what really matters. I found my footing when I realized this and that rendered all labels and names powerless. As long as I’m forging ahead with a clear vision, my past is just but a reference point
Being a single mum, that’s a tough one. I can’t lie. It was hard especially at first considering that I was unavailable to work. But it gets better with time and I strongly believe women are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Also, the universe really concurs with us when our intentions are pure.
There is no way, absolutely no way, my son will ever sleep hungry or go unclothed. God provides. I constantly make this prayer that God is my son’s Father. He is my son’s Guardian, so he cannot lack. It has miraculously worked for me thus far. I’m not working at the moment, but we are surviving still by God’s Grace (so it shall be my daughter’s name). There are helpers everywhere. God put the right people in my path at the right time. My parents have taken my son like their own. All is well.
What is your advice to other women on relationships and healing from a broken heart?
On relationships I would say, pray about your relationships before, during and after – very important. Trust your instinct, go with your gut feeling and just let things be. Do not force or fight relationships; if it’s meant to be, it will be.
If you’re heartbroken, take a step back. Look at yourself from outside. Be honest with yourself; you most definitely will know where you were at fault and forgive yourself when you identify your mistakes. Do not be hard on yourself. Take your sweet time to heal; it is needed. But above all else, ask God to get you through and redirect your path.
What is your advice on rebuilding your life after heartbreak and depression?
Don’t be hard on yourself. Take each downfall as an opportunity to do it right and better. Imagine getting everything you have ever wanted in life, just much later. That can’t be bad. It’s possible and it is doable especially when you have had a taste of how it is to fail. You will appreciate it even more this time around.
Also, cut off people who are not good for you. Even if it’s just temporary. Toxic people are bad for the healing business.
Lastly, give yourself enough time to heal. Don’t be in a rush. A lot of heartbroken people make the mistake of trying to compete with their exes. You’re worth investing in. Your emotional and psychological well-being is crucial for your overall success in future relationships, so take your sweet time.
What have your key achievements been?
Post-divorce and depression, I would say being alive today is a great achievement. Most people don’t make it past that. I’m healthy. I’m more aware of my surroundings and more driven than before. Starting the page is something I’m really proud of and it’s still a work in progress and it is going to be great. Watch this space. I’ve helped a lot of people through depression in real time. Most importantly though, I am genuinely happy and at peace. That is a life goal and I’ve got it.