Sex and mental health made me who I am: I am Sitawa Wafula and I live with both epilepsy and bipolar.
At 18, I was raped but was never treated for the trauma I went through. That is where the bipolar disorder came from, a mental health condition where one shifts between periods of mania and depression.
I was told that during mania, I would experience days without sleep, moments of talking too fast and that I could be a spendthrift.
No one told me that this illness would come with an excessive desire for sex.
Every time it happened, I beat myself up. I thought that if I was a man, that would be acceptable, but a woman with an excessive desire for sex?
There was just no place in the world for a woman like that! I questioned myself a lot and asked myself why I had desires that saw no moral barriers.
Desires that ran against the notion that men were the only ones allowed to have lots of sex, desires that slandered girls and labeled them whores.
There was no way to ignore the desires. They demanded fulfillment and often fulfillment from more than one person.
These desires saw men like shoes. I was not satisfied with just one pair. I wanted them all- the stilettoes, the wedges, the flats, the boots. Each shoe has its purpose. There wasn’t just THE SHOE.
Trying to fulfill my desires, I have had lots shoes and I was never attached to any of them. I never saw anything wrong with wearing up to three pairs of shoes in a day, sometimes with no socks.
I never saw it as cheating on the other pairs. Whenever I stabilized from my mania, I would feel devastated.
For the longest time, I thought to myself that to change I would need to choose my battles wisely. Otherwise, I would just be a Christian African woman who had an excessive desire for sex and no way to be normal.
Over the years, as I have understood my illness better, I learnt that my hyper-sexuality was only one symptom of a larger illness. I have also learnt that I am not my illness.
So, I decided to embrace myself as a Christian African woman with an excess desire for sex due to my bipolar diagnosis.
I also made a bold step to master owning just one all-season pair of shoes. This pair understands my depression, my mania, and my in-between state.
It has been two years since I have had this pair of shoes. Coupled with understanding my illness and striving every day not to fall into depression or to be overtaken my mania, it has really helped reduce my hypersexual activities and exposure to the risks it comes with.
Sometimes, maybe one pair of shoes is all you need to help keep you stable and comfortable.