Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ex-KTN’s anchor Michael Oyier’s battle with depression, here are lessons we can learn.

Ex-KTN’s anchor  Michael Oyier’s  battle with depression, here are lessons we can learn.
By Shem Beverton Mukalo

I never got to watch Michael Oyier that much during his stint as an anchor at KTN but those countable times that I did I was gripped by his polished baritone as he read the news. He read news with the fluency of an Englishman and the gravitas he brought to bear on interviews was out of this world. I still remember his 2007 interview with Raila Odinga, posing those hard-hitting questions to the veteran opposition leader. Had Oyier spoken to you from behind a curtain with his face hidden from your view you would have been forgiven for thinking that you were being addressed by an Englishman, born and bred in England.

At that time Oyier was at the top of the food chain; a sure lock for crazy ratings for KTN. Viewers flocked to KTN like moths to the light not because the station had better news or scoups but because it was Oyier in action. What Kenyans never got to know was that inside Oyier was in a downward spiral. He was disintegrating, nursing wounds that were invisible to the eye. Bold, fluent and charming onscreen but inside he was in a state of turmoil. He was in the throes of serious depression. It got worse to the point that he would wake up one morning and feel like not going to work. 

Despondency crept in and he increasingly adopted a fatalistic view of life. He became a shell of his former self. Work came to an end.

They say when you are at your lowest you know who your real friends are. There are those who hang on, and walk you through your dark tunnel until you see light. But there are those who drop off because being around you no longer serves their selfish interests. That's what tragedy when it strikes does: It clarifies relationships. Oyier would lose scores of friends but there are those few who stayed behind and saw him through the whole hog.

Fortunately, he overcame his battle with depression that lasted for seven years. Imagine seven years trapped in a dark hole without purpose and a sense of direction! Today Oyier, a trained psychologist, runs his own firm that offers services to those battling depression with the express purpose of helping them overcome as he did.

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