My struggle with depression and anxiety


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*Google Search: How to break your leg*

I couldn’t take it anymore, it hurt and I wanted everyone to see, maybe then they’d understand when I told them I wasn’t feeling well, when I said I couldn’t explain how I felt or what was wrong with me. I remember asking Mr F if he could help, he was too eager in his acceptance sef, I think I should explore that.

I just want to sleep, I’m not suicidal, I just want to sleep. 

I was tired, drained and empty. All I wanted to do was sleep. I didn’t think taking those extra pills of Metformin would count as being suicidal. I just wanted to sleep so bad. Oh and yes I paid for it as I puked my insides out and managed to drag myself to bed. Hearing my GP chuckle as he informed me that Metformin wouldn’t kill me but only make me violently sick. “Point taken Doc, next time I’ll try the Migraleve” I thought to myself.

Depression and Anxiety…..

“You are showing symptoms of depression and anxiety and I don’t know why your prescription has not been reviewed”. I didn’t accept the label, still tried to convince him that I wasn’t depressed and vehemently refused him writing the words on the needed doctor’s report.  Me, a whole ultimate babygeh, depressed!! It is not my portion!!!

Panic Attack…..

I’m here staring at this doctor and the words he’s saying doesn’t really make sense to me. “You just had a panic attack, you need to go back to your GP and have your new prescription reviewed” he said. He then gave me tips on how to control the symptoms and my 4 hour wait at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) ended on a weird note. You see, I had to go to the hospital as it felt like I was having a heart attack and I wasn’t about to let my last image of life be people strolling into ASDA for their late night grocery shopping.

Fear….

I know I should have met that deadline but I was afraid. Every time I wrote in that MS Word document, I could feel my heart constricting, the blood vessels working overtime, blood rushing to my head and that still cold voice whispering to me “you will never be good enough, you will never make it”. Fear was my best friend; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of heartbreak, heart-stopping fear! How could I explain that this beautiful bubbling girl was held captive by fear? So I learnt how to  mask it well; smile, wave, nod your head and they’ll leave you alone. Everyday I could see the lines between my true self and this delusion I created blur until a mesh of confusion was formed. Who am I? What do I want out of life? Why am I feeling this way? Is God not seeing me? Do I really believe in God?

At least it’s not like it’s something obvious, if you were diagnosed with a terminal sickness now, I will understand.

Those were the words someone told me when I opened up about my struggle with anxiety and depression. I was stunned as they were supposed to be learned and experienced in all things mental health. And no, I didn’t reach out to them, they asked me for details but the problem was they already had an opinion about mental health issues and how a child of God should not be depressed or anxious, how they do not need medication and can encourage themselves in the Lord. I was confused as I couldn’t understand how they compared the severity of mental health issues to terminal illness and arrived at the conclusion that it was not substantial or “that big a deal”.

Acceptance….

The first step to recovery is acceptance. Okay so I have now accepted the fact that I have depression and anxiety and I am actively involved in not letting it get the best of me. So what did I do? I decided to live one day at a time, I went out, I danced, I made videos, I put little parts of myself “out there”, I decided to be active and not cower in the face of my mental health struggles. Now I  understand some of the symptoms,so when they set in , I promised to go easy on myself, take in deep breaths as advised by the A&E doctor, go out for fresh air, cry, dance, do ANY and EVERYTHING to make it work.

Mental health and the Nigerian society….

Mental health issues are as real and painful as the economic crises Nigeria is going through, so I don’t understand why we(Nigerians) think we are immune to it. You’ll hear “that one na oyibo sickness o“, “you need to pray harder“, “you’re just being lazy/ridiculous“, “we are tough people joo“. All these may be “good” reasons but they still do not negate the fact that ANY human being can have mental health issues. So I’m asking wondering why we as a society are blind to it, why do we refuse to see that mental health issues exist and it is not as “foreign” as we tend to think? E fit be because crase people plenty for our side and nobody wan hear say him pikin/wife/mama/papa/person wey e know, fit crase. 

Mental healthcare in Nigeria is still growing and people need to know that circumstances, chemical imbalance in the brain and a whole lot of things are linked to it

Advocacy….

Mental health is a sensitive topic for me; like how can you tell someone who has suicidal thoughts that it’s because of sin? Someone who is depressed, feeling as low as can be, who knows all the Bible has to say about the mind, doesn’t need you to reiterate all they know. Contrary to what you think, they are just looking for a way to make sense of what they are going through not judgement or subtle mockery.

I’m a Christian and know what The Bible says about the mind but I have had suicidal thoughts, I have tried to kill myself, I have had anxiety attacks.I know the power of positive thinking, praying, feeding the mind but none of those came to me when all these happened, I couldn’t tell a lot of church people, even friends because I was tired of hearing “pray about it” or “speak the word”.

Seriously, I implore you, if you do not have anything to say to someone coping with mental health issues just keep “chut”, don’t add to the issue by blabbing and trying to analyse what is wrong with them. Most times people going through these issues already know about the encouraging words, the steps and all but what they need most is acceptance not subtle judgement at their “poor” life navigating skills!

I recently became a volunteer for Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative(MANI) and I am glad that we have a movement of people who understand that mental health issues should be discussed and demystified. People who are involved in the education of the average Nigerian and removing the stigma associated with mental health issues. Check out their website and see what they are doing, you can also become a volunteer like me.


Hello Quirkies and welcome to #QuirkyFridays  *Drumroll*

Phew!!! I can’t believe I did this. I am so proud of myself!!! I don’t have much to say after this cathartic writing session, I have been editing this all day and just had to tell myself “oya, it’s enough post it now!”

Please let me know what you think in the comment section. If you would like to share your experiences on the blog, please send me an emailHave a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to brighten someone’s life with your beautiful smile.

Talk to y’all later xxx

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