When I was younger I used to think cancer was the white man’s disease. I used to think spirituality depended on the Ten Commandments. I used to think your mental health just meant how good you were at mathematics. I used to believe in a lot of false things #BULLSHIT.
With lack of better words to use life started to deal with me when I was 4 and I am 22 now. In between those 18 years I was tremendously blessed with a large family, the best friends and everything I usually wanted I got. With that alone I should have been happy but I wasn’t because in those 18 years I had lost a family member and a friend to death , I was abused and with the privilege of discovering the world I was afforded I discovered dark things about me that didn’t want to stay passive. I tried to believe in different things to refuge me from my tumultuous life but the more answers I asked the more questions confronted me. And on this journey while trying to be sane I also had to participate in the motions of life, being an obedient child to erratic parents, excelling academically despite my lack of interest in most subjects and participating in a hypocritical Christian religion. I was a ball of energy on the outside and on the inside I was a flickering Matchstick.
I am a Nigerian and I suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental illness is real and realizing that you might be going through it doesn’t make you less of a human being, it doesn’t make you mad, it doesn’t make you terminally ill it just means there are a few cracks in you and a little darkness got in so it’s time to get it out.
My first advice is to not deny yourself of the feelings you feel. Biologically depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain of the neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This is triggered by traumatic events and are characterized by various symptoms i.e. overeating/appetite loss, irritability, insomnia, pessimism, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt and helplessness, indifference, anxiety, indecisiveness, loss of interest and suicidal thoughts and attempts. My heart goes out to every Nigerian dealing with depression. I know it isn’t easy. I pray for us all, I pray against the cultures that have been created to work against us especially the men, I pray for the mothers suffering depression after childbirth, I pray for the struggling breadwinners trying their little best, I pray for the wealthy men trapped in a cycle, I pray for the addicted begging for an end, I pray for children confused on their sexual identity, I pray for those who suffer and suffered from sexual and physical abuse, I pray lovers who never get loved back and I pray for all those whose loved ones were claimed by death. I pray to whoever is listening.
There are certainly many ways one can bounce back from mental illness but I believe in just one way. I believe in loving yourself and surrounding yourself with love. I play a lot of video games which gives me the best metaphor, when you get struck down there are usually medical kits around to aid you back up. You crawl to it before you bleed out or you call your partner who holds down the X button and strengthens your life bar. In all of us is an inner strength to turn lemons into lemonade, to turn touch it into touch remix featuring Missy Elliot . In our Ups and Downs everyone loves the ups and no one hates the downs. The downs shouldn’t always be seen as an irregularity but as just part of the process. No one is perfect this is life not heaven. Healing yourself starts with looking at yourself in the mirror, confronting the worst things as just events that cannot define you and then finding healing in the best parts of you. Whatever you do don’t go looking for restoration in the people and places that cut you in half. Not everyone will know how to love you because you are different but that’s fine so you will be alone, you will be safe, you will be in control, you will find someone, people and they will be perfect for you because now you will know what you need and you will not settle. So guard your love, hold it ready and when you start to find the people worthy of it place it gently on their chest. Knowing how to be alone and comfortable is central to the art of love. The point is to learn who you are before life destroyed you and who you want to be.
Never surrender your power to life, if you find a flaw in yourself fix it do not be weak. If you can’t fix it then embrace it and turn into something good. If you are brought down by difficulties then fight against the tide if you cannot win then let the experience sink in and then turn it into something good. The truth is life is meaningless. Bad things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people and opportunities come to all. So never be to down for opportunities to do what you love because when you do what you love you do it well, when you do it well you feel useful and when you feel useful this pointless world makes a little more sense.
Swim, shower or drink a lot of water, water can wash you, hold you and replenish you
Listen to music. Before God created light he created music
Start again. Start from scratch. Reinvent yourself.
True Religion is truth, love and giving. Not church
Stay away from bad people. Stay away from most people.
Help people. Give without expecting to get back.
Be your first priority. Unapologetically put yourself first.
Be patient. Be patient. Be patient.
Of all emotions pain is the purest because it cannot be taken away it must run its due course but most all it is natural. Feel it, use it and create something from it.