Fredinard: Short story cover

Why does my head hurt?

The pain was intense. His eyes were closed yet the brightness of the otherwise dim lightbulb made him wince. He could tell that he lay supine on a hard surface. Slowly, he opened his eyes to a ceiling with peeling green paint.

Where the hell am I?

Casting his gaze over the ratty mattress, stained bedsheets and soiled curtains, he concluded that the place was a royal dump. There was a thick fog in his mind, he realized as he rose slowly.

With shaky steps, he explored the tiny room, wondering how he got there…

The world has come a long way in the prioritization of mental health. We have begun to understand that poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health illnesses and vice-versa.

More people are being open about their various mental health struggles, friends are helping and speaking out for friends, families are rallying round in full support and while this is very encouraging, we still have a long way to go.

One of the problems those living with mental illnesses face is the stigma.


“Raven! You silly bird! Stay away from the shelf!” She croaked, shooing the bird away.

Grimhilde, clad in her black balaclava, crown perched precariously on her head, heaved a sigh of relief as she found the vial she was searching for. She hurriedly emptied its contents into a small wooden bowl on her cluttered work table.

The summer solstice was in three days. On that day, the sun would grace the sky the longest, it’s power the strongest.

It excited and saddened Grimhilde for once the sun kissed the horizon, a certain thing would come fully into her powers…

What is Talent?

According to Merriam Webster, talent is

  • A special, often athletic, creative or artistic aptitude.
  • The natural endowments of a person.

In simpler terms, it’s a skill you’re born with.

The other day I was in “my zone”- Passionately singing with violent gestures, belting out lyrics I wasn’t too sure of, aggressive head bopping and the whole nine yards. My sister was laughing at me so I had to ask her what the problem was. She said,

“You can’t sing. You can’t dance. You’re here doing nonsense while your mates are winning Grammys”

Now, in case you need to know, yes…

A cool breeze wafts over me, bringing with it a combination of smells. Wet wood, grass, manure and something else.

Hmmn burnt jollof rice?

It must be Mama Yaya again, she just never gets it right. Anyway, the smells are quite comforting, a lot better than two distasteful weeks of enduring the sterile smell of bleach, Izar and whatever the hospital cleaners use to disinfect their floors.

It also reminds me that I’ve been here, in the yard, for a while.

One rat, almost as large as a small cat, tries to wiggle its way towards me. I see it…

You see a picture, watch a video or listen to a piece of music that might seem quite ordinary to someone else but to you, it’s not.

There’s something in it, you can’t quite say what if asked, that just touches you, your soul, your being and dare I say, your entirety. It lights you up, makes you all warm and tingly inside, wraps around you like a hug, makes you feel like you can do it all and you’ll be just fine.

That thing that pushes you, I want to call it an inspiration.

Joan Obi

Mental health enthusiast. Aspiring author and medical student in a toxic relationship with coffee.

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