Tag Archive | mental health

Thru depression into gratitude: my journey

​(This entry was written a few days ago but due to certain challenges beyond my control, I could only post it late)

Fighting depression is difficult. Many a time you look to ppl who you love n who love you back to reach out to but they are not available. The devastation can be lethal n it often is. Depression isn’t really timed to come up when it is convenient. It just hits you and one minute you were this happy person looking forward to doing the next thing n the very next second you’re this weepy, teary person who can’t find anything worth holding on to. 

It is a mental battle, whose gravity I’m beginning to appreciate. Sometimes there are triggers so if you are aware of them, you steer clear but often times, it’s subconscious…. your mind is battling issues, blowing them out of proportion or telling you that you can’t resolve whatever issues, or convincing you that you are indeed alone, unwanted, unloved, worthless etc. You might have the most supportive of family/ friends/ partner/ colleagues but all those pale into the shadows of this strong mental battle that rages silently in your head. We live in this world where we got lots of struggles and are pressure to deliver, to keep time, to meet deadlines etc, and we often push these ahead of people. We often forget that we’re in this hustle for others (be it to provide certain things- a financially stable life for family; products and services for bosses; salaries for employees; clean and safe home for family; gifts for friends etc). In our bid to meet these targets n deadlines, we push away n ignore the very ppl we are doing this for.

I was moved to write this after reading Max Soutter ‘s Facebook post (When you’re late for a meeting and your son is finishing his “I love you, dad, drawing for you n it’s important to him that he gives it to you) Many a time, we’re caught in these scenarios- two equally important things need our attention. One of these things is important to you (the meeting, in this case) and the other is important to someone else (the drawing, in this case.) When was the last time you made someone who’s important to you KNOW and FEEL that they are important to you? When did you last pay attention to those who are important to you? Do you even know who is important to you? How do you show/ tell them?

It is often difficult for someone to reach out and tell you that they wd want your attention. Trust me, the feeling of guilt is huge. They already know that you have many demands on your time and attention as it is. Picture this- you have a deadline that’s already running late and you’re working from home. You’ve got kids and your spouse who also require your attention. You also have family n friends who know that you’ve clocked off n therefore assume that it is time to catch up etc. This deadline is a  make or break for the company/organisation and must be met. (I’m already feeling pressured by this scenario I’m creating as it is) Now, if your partner or relative wd want just a few minutes to offload/vent or to sound out something/seek your confirmation on something, they already know how under pressure they are (or they might not) 

How you handle their reaching out to you for your attention becomes critical. Most of us tend to speak from a position of pressure- irritated/angry. The tone and/ choice of words often speaks more to your spouse than what you’re actually saying. Of course, they shd know better than to try n reach out to you than when you’re under such pressure. BUT that doesn’t make snapping or ignoring them the right way of handling the situation. Maybe they have been struggling for weeks now to tell you that they are being retrenched and today was the day they finally gathered the courage to tell you because tomorrow you’d hv gone on to make that booking to some holiday that you’ll no longer be able to afford. Maybe today was the day they wanted to tell you that they have been struggling to tell you that they were diagnosed with some terminal illness three months back n time is running out on their life. Maybe today wd be the day they finally gathered the courage to tell you that your parent/sibling has been keeping away from you some devastating news. Maybe just maybe today wd be the day they WD open up about how they think that they are useless/worthless/problematic and it’s better off they die.

I don’t know what today cd mean for them or for you. But for me, as finally the words n encouragement I’ve been receiving from my dear friend n family behind to sink in, today means I take stock of what’s important in my life. I take stock of who’s important to me. I am important to me. I need me at my best before i can be of any hello to anyone else. Only when I’m in a better mental space can i make sure that I can love my family and friends and reach out to them, listen to them when they want my time and attention. After today, I can reaffirm them of my love for them. I am deliberately setting aside time to focus on PPL because I realise that it is ppl who have helped me stay sane,  who have held my hand when i had given up, who carried me when i didn’t see the need to walk on, who listened when I was overwhelmed by stress, grief and pain, it is ppl who validated me when I felt worthless, unloved and unwanted. It is ppl who have reminded me that being loved isn’t only about the feel good time but it is about the willingness to get into the mud of despair, hurt, pain, grief etc and do what it takes to bring me out. It is ppl who have prayed for me, shared scripture with me, encouraged me with songs, words and offered their ears n shoulders. 

It is a difficult getting out of bed on some days. It has been difficult to eat even. It had been much easier to sleep and cry and complain n feel rejected, unwanted and unloved. It has been much easier to listen to the voice in my head telling me that I’m worthless. It has been much easier to pretend to hear what my friends n family have been saying about loving me, appreciating me, than it has to silence n drown that voice that speaks of darkness n worthlessness. 

I am a fighter and have this sunny disposition but there are demons I battle every once in a while. They are dark and powerful and I don’t take them for granted cz they can easily overpower me. I’m learning to reach out to friends n family when they come but it’s not easy. (I don’t want to hear the  disappointmentt n shock at how someone like me can be so despairing of life. I don’t want to hear the  judgement in those holy ones who see me as being blasphemous when I question my faith or God. I don’t want to take precious time away from my family n friends cz they have more than enough on their plate already- I don’t wanna be selfish. I fear that what I’m falling to cope with is going to be trivialised and ridiculed….. the reasons are many) 

Today, I am grateful for my very life. It might not be where I want it to be but its definitely not that bad. I might not be the person I thought I’d be by now, but I’ve surely come from far from where I started. I might not have what I wanted to have had by now but I surely have learnt a lot of lessons, achieved more than I can count or be grateful for, I have a whole lot more storms I’ve survived, there are more scars that show me that I’ve overcome that I’m stronger today than I was yesterday. I can accept this self comfort knowing that the clouds are blowing away and tomorrow I look forward to smiling for a longer time and crying for a lesser time. I might even dance but above all, I’m actually looking forward to a tomorrow! 

(The album Open Heaven by Hillsong is on repeat and has helped me to smile. Kari Jobe’s Holy Spirit helped me to recenter myself when the tears would not stop. Somehow, my friends, family n prayer circle have kept watering my faith thru this difficult time. I’m grateful)

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Help! I talk to myself….On second thoughts, I AM normal!

Damn it! I talk to myself. Yes, ndinotaura ndega. I talk to myself so many times a day and it helps me function “normally”. I hate it when I don’t talk to me because I forget my thoughts. Imagine, I have just scrolled thru my phone yet I forgot why I wanted the phone in the first place.

i also tend to go back to the task or room I was doing/ at so that I recall what I want in the room I have just entered. Yes, I do that a lot. And I do that a lot when I forget to talk to myself. When I talk to myself, I remember much more easily what I want or why I am where I am and the like.

I also tend to hold conversations with myself. There is a difference between talking to myself and holding conversations with myself. In talking to myself, I tell myself stuff that I do not want to forget…stuff such as, “go back and edit that Facebook post you want to post because they will surely pick you up this time” LOL. In holding entire conversations I tend to just talk to myself and respond to myself. Yes, I do. It is like there are two or more MEs who are having an exchange of sorts. Not necessarily heated but words are shared. Not gossip, although I tend to do that, too. Well, it is safer than doing it with someone else- kinda like a masturbation of gossip. LOL

Anyway, when I have entire conversations with myself, I tend to experience a whole host of emotions. kinda like:

Duh, you can be quite a mouthful, at times, R.

Of course, I am. What did you think I would be? A boot-lick like those Zanu apologists? (LOL, a part of me even laughs right now. It is just not the part that is recalling a recent conversation, so go figure.)

You can be more subtle, you know?

Subtle?? Ha!!! Does she even know the word? (Yes, another part of me interrupts rudely, uninvited and like that random stranger on the kombi ride who butts into your conversation forcing you into an awkward silence. You know the one I am talking about… I have been her. 😉 )

Shut up and mind your business! (I will rarely be silenced, even by that rude and random part of me. RMEs- rolling my eyes)

So what did you say this time around? (Another part of me, this one is the really curious one and she almost always gets me into trouble when she pitches up. She always wants to know the WHAT or else the WHY. I suspect that she is the one who pushes me into discovering they HOW of it. Ayaas)

I did not say anything I did not mean. (The sheepish side responds. I even see her looking down. I don’t know how she is even a part of me. Shy?? ha!! she needs a bit of spine! I will teach her!)

Yet you said what you meant, right? (That rude stranger again. #sigh this time she is spotting a huge smile. The one that has lit up her semi cat-eyes and they are sparkling with that insatiable need to be confirmed right. I am kinda reminded of how a piece of sh@&t you have walked past is somehow lingering in the air making you think that you probably have stepped on it but are afraid to look beneath your shoe. Why does that image come to mind?)

Don’t answer that! (I have no idea as to where or who or which part of me said it but one part of me decides to listen and that is where this particular conversation ends)
I want sadza. (Is that even a thought or it is a new conversation?)

Sadza and what? You have hate meat so why bother? (yes, it is a new conversation.)

Yes, I had sadza yesterday and eating it again is like…. aaargh! and I am talking to myself again! (Who is talking now? Me. But which me is it?)

Can I ju….Hello? Hi. (I interrupt myself to start a proper conversation on the phone. At least this one is with people who answer back. Wait a minute…I answer myselves back. #sulk)

They are boring. He is boring!! Just hang up. (must be the trouble maker, the one who is ill-disciplined. Needs a thorough bottom-whipping to instill the fear of mother in her. I wonder how my grandmother and father missed out on instilling discipline in this one. She must have surfaced later on in my life. Kinda like how a little worm/ maggot surfaces in sadza just as you are about to dish it into dad’s plate. Do you get relieved because it surfaced at just that moment rather than later? Or you get annoyed that now you can’t eat because you know what was in the sadza?)

No, that would be rude. Just excuse yourself and hangu up. (Evidently, this one is just a talker and did not see the worm/ maggot.)

Same difference! She will just have to hang up at the end of it. (This one is as stubborn as skin pigmentation…no matter how light skinned these cheap, under-the-handbags creams can get you, all your blackness aka brownness will insist on settling on your knuckles! To proudly help you knock on any doors of opportunity, loudly declaring to you that you are a dark skinned woman running away from yourself like police officers at the kirawa yamadzibaba. ROFLMAO. Ok, not really, I am walking around somewhere and laughing my tail off. Imagine how all that pigmentation is running away- it can be Usain Bolt-ing, or it can be Haile Gebrselassie-ing, but run to the knuckles, it does.

Yes. I am still here. I was just lowering the volume. What I would give to silence these really loud MEs inside of me! (I will not even bother to ask who has taken over but my phone conversation is now so different with all theMEs just jabbering on inside me.)

It is lots of fun to talk to myself (hey, we are quite a few of you in here) #giggle