Sometimes I want to run far away to a place where no one would find me. Not even my family or my friends, a place so far away not even the enemies that wish to ruin me will follow. I will start again there.
It feels weird writing again. I can not exactly say why I stopped but I know I am back now. I started writing as a way to explore my feelings and thoughts that were beginning to fill the prison that is my mind, pushing to its limit and almost driving me completely insane. I started writing to understand my prisoners and come to terms with them while trying to find myself in all of the chaos. I figured them out, down to the very last one but I never truly found myself. Instead I found this waste of space, an emptiness that was fading away, I found a pain that I buried deep inside of me and had completely forgotten about, I found a broken person and I got scared. I had come face to face with my demon and after all the lessons I had taught myself through my writing I fell to my knees and trembled with fear at the foot of my demon and she laughed. She laughed at my pathetic whimpering and made mockery of my pleas.
Today I hear her sniggering at my thoughts of running away; she is a constant reminder of woes.
But Africans don’t suffer from depression. I am not a weak person; I am a strong African woman.
“Why are you depressed? If our people could make it through slavery, we can make it through anything.”
“When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable.”
“You should take your troubles to Jesus, not some stranger/psychiatrist.”
– A revelation-
It is not possible for you to understand my thoughts, nor would I ever want to reveal the darkness and hurt within me because you will shut your eyes and close your ears, nobody wants to be told the things that go on in my head. Nobody deserves to feel what I feel and so I will not share the demons of my mind with anyone, not even to my worst enemies. However, I will explain them in their most generic form.
I lack the motivation to do the simplest things. To get out of bed in the morning is a struggle. I don’t see the point in starting a day that will be filled with constant bullshit, wasting my energy on people that will eventually walk out of my life like everyone before them has done, so what is the point? Why would I want to put myself through the stress? I am most comfortable in my room, in my bed, I refuse to go out with my girls, I don’t want to go to the gym anymore, I don’t want to eat, I just want to sleep all day and all night. The things I love so much I don’t do anymore, because I simply cannot be bothered. It has become an effort to cook, so I don’t eat anymore, I developed painful ulcers that seem to be ugly little monsters clawing at my insides, eating away what’s left of me.
When I walk, I walk with demons on my back, pulling me out unto the road waiting for a car to run me over, throwing me over the bridge, pushing signs on me till I fall into a coma. Every single time I walk. It aches to feel the sudden pressure to attempt suicide, then having to rejig my mind to focus on moving my feet in my original direction. It is all both physically and mentally exhausting and sometimes I want to give up and end it all.
The crying never ends. It’s spontaneous, triggered by nothing, sometimes just a simple thought and I’m spilling waterfalls from my eyes. I am constantly filled to the brim with emotion that I have tried my best to hide but I can’t take it anymore.
I developed a social anxiety. I don’t want to be seen in public, I don’t want anyone to know me, to know I exist; I want to blend into the walls and escape as soon as possible. I used to enjoy going out, it was fun, I loved the loud music, the dancing, and the attention of course, but now, I get sick to my stomach before going out, it suddenly feels like I am naked in a room full of staring eyes. It makes me uncomfortable, yet I don’t want to be alone. I crave the company of another person, I want someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone that will always be there because most people that suffer from depression believe they have no one, and they don’t want to make attachments for the fear of being left alone and so they push people away. Out of the 7 billion 47 million people on this Earth they don’t believe they have the right to matter to anyone, they are sure that they are the problem and never the solution. Yet, they will smile, they will laugh with you, joke with you, be there for you, they won’t show you this side of them because they don’t want you to see what they are going through, they can not tell you and of course, you will never ask.
To me, the worst thing about the disorder is the way people react to it. You confide in someone and of course they will hug you, tell you everything will be okay, check up on you from time to time. In the beginning, everyone is there, but then they forget and you are on your own. But you don’t want to remind them because you don’t want the sympathy; you don’t want to seem like an attention seeker so you just deal with it internally, let it eat you up from inside out, and plaster a smile on your face, a joke on your tongue and say “I’m fine” even with tears in your eyes and scars across your wrists, and no one will ever question you.
There is a lack of understanding when it comes to mental disorders, people still say a lot of things that are not only wrong but incredibly harmful to people suffering from depression. Depression isn’t just feeling sad or down for a few days, it is a mental illness that affects you physically, emotionally and obviously, mentally. I could start listing all the things you shouldn’t say but what good would that do if you’re still going to think it? There are those that will tell you “cheer up!” ‘Lighten up!” “It can’t be that bad”, then there are the ones that will call you an attention seeker, tell you that you are selfish and you what you say you are, ones that will tell you that your problems are not as big as theirs. Some will give you what they believe is good advice, “smile more” “get a boy/girlfriend” “get a new hobby” “go to church, your depression is a punishment from God.” There’s the outrageous, “try chamomile tea” ”you’re a writer? This should be good for your blog right?”
“Leave me alone”
“Deal with it”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you”
“Your depression is punishing the rest of us”
“I know what you’re going through”
Please don’t ever say any of these to someone that comes to you with his or her problems. The strength it takes to confide in someone is tremendous; you don’t know what this person might be going through. Be there for them, listen to them, and help them where you can. I beg you to educate yourself and educate people around you, let us remove this stigma around mental disorders.
If you know anyone that you think might be suffering from a mental disorder or if you feel that you might be, see a GP, it might just be the best decision you make. If you’re not confident enough to go on your own, get a friend to go with you or call one of the helplines below.
(Depression) Mind: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
(Eating Disorders) Beat: 0845 634 1414 (Mon-Thurs, 1.30pm-4.30pm)
(Panic and Anxiety) No Panic: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)
or talk to me, let me share with you what i’m going through and help you find a way out of it as I am.