Depression was what happened to Americans, with their self-absolving need to turn everything into an illness. She was not suffering from depression, she was merely a little tired and a little slow. «I don’t have depression,» she said. Years later, she would blog about this: «On the Subject of Non-American Blacks Suffering from Illnesses Whose Names They Refuse to Know.» A Congolese woman wrote a long comment in response: She had moved to Virginia from Kinshasa and, months into her first semester of college, begun to feel dizzy in the morning, her heart pounding as though in flight from her, her stomach fraught with nausea, her fingers tingling. She went to see a doctor. And even though she checked «yes» to all the symptoms on the card the doctor gave her, she refused to accept the diagnosis of panic attacks because panic attacks happened only to Americans. Nobody in Kinshasa had panic attacks. It was not even that it was called by another name, it was simply not called at all. Did things begin to exist only when they were named?
– Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie