“One moment you’re the most likely to succeed.
Next, you’re the charity case.” – Sands Pusher
There is something pleasant about dating the woman of your dreams, being perceived as successful and starting the rest of your life and living happily ever after.
i still remember the moment well. It was a wet, cold, dark Friday morning. Lying in bed not sure what life has in store for me. Panic attacks are horrific experiences by day, by night they worse. The boys (as always) came to visit me in hospital to share a few jokes and laughs. They all smiled and waved and looked so happy. i smiled and waved and acted happy. i had loved and excelled in my work; it was the same with sports, the same with my friends, the same with my family, the same with books, and the same with life. However, i had lost interest in all of them. Losing interest in people was the worst. Where once i would have felt sadness at seeing my friends heading to where i had always wanted to go, i now didn’t. Something much larger, deeper, darker had taken hold of my mind. Sadness, despair, and hopelessness were not strong enough to survive alongside what i was feeling.
They say something has to crack to allow the light in. At about 3am that morning, i finally cracked. i couldn’t do it anymore, all my strength at keeping up my pretences had gone. My body sort of curled up, i began to cry. i called my mother in a state of panic sobbing, and i am sure she had no idea what to do. She plainly comforted me with a simple “it’s okay, i will come see you later”. i cannot remember if that calmed me or not.
i was sent to see a psychiatrist at the hospital. i was 24 years of age and my thoughts were this is not what people my age deal with. Surely i am not the only young person suffering from depression, i thought. The psychiatrist explained that there might be a chemical imbalance in my brain, asked me my symptoms and prescribed a mixture of anti-depressants, anxiety and sleeping pills based on what i told her. She explained that it would take time to get the right cocktail of tablets for my type of depression. i had an uneasy feeling about the whole thing. Something deep inside in me told me this wasn’t the way forward and this wasn’t what i needed. But i didn’t know how to solve this type of pain.
i now stayed in my room all day, not even to go to the bathroom. i locked the door and it was only opened to allow nurses to bring me some food. i didn’t want to speak to anybody. i cried nearly all the time.
Depression is difficult to explain to people, i don’t think there are words adequate to describe its horror. i have been through unimaginable physical pain but nothing comes near to the mental torture of depression. It permeates every part of your being. It is never ending waves; waves of utter despair and hopelessness, fear and darkness flood throughout your whole body. You crave for peace but even sleep doesn’t afford you that. It wrecks your dreams and turns your days into living a nightmare. It destroys your personality, your relationship with your family and friends, your work and social life. Your ability to give and receive affection is gone. You tear at your skin and your hair with frustration. You cut yourself to give some form of physical expression to the incredible pain you feel. You want to grab it and smash it, but you can’t get a hold of it. You go to sleep hoping, praying not to wake up. You rack your brain seeing if there is something you done in your life that justifies this suffering. You wonder why god is not answering your pleas for relief and you wonder is She there at all or has She forgotten about you. And through it all remains the darkness. It’s as if someone placed a veil over your soul and never returned to remove it. This endless, black, never ending tunnel of darkness.
We all suffer from imposter syndrome. Add that with having to reinvent yourself and the emotional quotient of the bottom 1 percent is the reason i choose to share part of my story. i want people to know that they are not alone when suffering with depression. Life’s burden of living compounded by black tax can be overwhelming. No matter how hard you try, push to succeed, there is something or someone preventing you from living. Part of the problem is the older generation refuses to see it for what it is. To them it’s either usile or uloyiwe.
i am not sure how many of our conditions are explained by our spiritual understanding but i will say that mental illness is not something that can be prayed away nor prophesied over. We have our individual struggles and with help one can learn to either cope or deal with it.
It’s been 3 years since my 1st breakdown and i still have good days and bad days. The only thing that i can say swayed me from my suicidal thoughts and actions is that i convinced myself asking for help was not a sign of weakness. i came to realize that people can surprise you. i am not a fan of the human race but there are some special people out there that can give you a reason to think, to fight, live, even if you don’t have one. Seeking help was a huge step for me and because of how far i have come i can only urge you,
please take that first step. Things can get better.
The “i” small cap is a conscious imagery of not being bigger than the group.. The Cartesian principle is “I think therefore I am.” In Afrika we say, ”i am because we are and since we are, therefore i am.”