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Lets Talk about Depression #1

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

-Source: Google.

Let’s Talk About Depression

If you read my Welcome September post, you won’t be surprised to see this absurd topic on my blog. As the title suggests, I am going to be sharing my three years journey (actually two but felt like three) struggling with depression as a Christian and how I overcame it. I did the honors of defining depression above for those who are not clear about what the term means. I’ve written a couple of posts hinting at this fact so you’ll see a few references here and there. My objective with this post though, is to tie everything together and to close that chapter of my life once and for all.

I have been avoiding this topic for some time because it would involve scraping at not-to-old scars but I believe that this is the best moment to address it since I am confident that I am now over that phase of my life. For me to share this story without a hint of pain is proof that I have crossed this hurdle forever.

Just as a disclaimer, I’m going to be addressing some triggering issues here so please tread on with caution if you have had similar experiences. But I do hope that you will be able to get your healing through reading my story.

Documentation of three years’ worth of experiences would be quite verbose so I am going to be breaking this post into four different parts which I will publish throughout this month.

d

A Conflict of Dreams

Since I started to know myself, I have had one prevalent dream; to be a writer. It wasn’t a profession with too many successful people who I knew, so I was well aware of the risks in following that path. What appealed to me about this particular profession was not necessarily the fact that I could just write bestsellers and it would be on bookshelves all over the world, but that my thoughts and ideas could inspire people around me. From the age of sixteen, my personal motto had been:  To be a Beacon of Bright Light. My ultimate desire was to be a lighthouse emitting it’s radiance over the dark raging seas, calling the lost home. I wanted to shine my light throughout the nations, touching lives. I wanted to travel the world, learning and teaching, being inspired and inspiring. It was why I was set on this earth. I know it sounds cheesy like the typical shonen hero with his outrageous dream but that was how my mind worked.

In regards to achieving this dream, I started to work, pray and motivate myself towards that future. I didn’t see any other future than the one where I achieved my divine purpose. It knew it would not be an easy feat to achieve. My tactic was this; have the biggest goals so even though you fall short, it would still end up as a big achievement. I had an advantage, I was young and so my limit was infinite. The future was uncertain so I could do anything and be anything.

Through my University days, my mind was set on this vision; graduate from Uni with a second-class upper, at least, which would give me an advantage in getting my MFA in creative writing abroad, (Apply for scholarships or save towards my MFA: Get a decent job early to fund my dreams by saving trickles of finances) Refine my writing skills and then start to export my morsels of enlightenment to the ends of the earth. I planned every detail, I even made room for failure. I was so laser-focused on achieving that dream. I was a hundred percent sure that if I could cross that boarder, I was unstoppable. University was a struggle on its own but when I was finally done with it, my heart was fixed on the manifestation of my grand dream. But that was when the stand-still came.

Eight months after writing my final papers and turning in my Undergraduate Research Paper, I went home to wait for things to be set in motion. For me, NYSC was just an interruption of my schedule. It was in the way of getting a job and starting to save towards my MFA or getting a scholarship. But after eight months, nothing happened. No result, no job, no growth. It killed me inside to just sit idly doing nothing when my plans had been to do so much. At first, the wait was just frustrating. Not knowing where your life was going next, to be stuck in the perpetual state of limbo, it actually inspired me to write my very first short story, The Loop. The delay was infuriating, but it sowed a seed within me.

depression

I had a very strange dream one night. I dreamed that I was attending my own funeral. I was dead and the mourners kept saying how unfortunate it was that I had just finished my university only to die, that I couldn’t achieve anything. I prayed off the dream but it was then the darkness started creeping in. One thing I know about depression is that it could be defined as a fleeting emotion that comes momentarily like anger or sadness, but it can also be a prison, a choke-hold that just traps your entire being. It corrodes the sense of reason and amplifies, every single day, how utterly inadequate you think you are.

The sense of idleness amplified my feeling of uselessness. It was a massive contrast between who I envisioned myself to be as an adult and who I was becoming. I felt there was nothing more to me than this elaborate dream to be a source of impact. In contrast, I was just wasting away, learning nothing, hardly improving, just depreciating, and losing confidence that my dreams were actually feasible every passing day. I was not even getting inspired anymore, so how on earth did I expect to inspire anyone?

darkness

The depression really started to creep into my life around July 2017. I couldn’t tell a soul that something absurd was happening to my mind. I started to blame myself for having such high expectations for life. I tried to reduce my expectations and just settle for whatever life served me but it just didn’t work. I couldn’t stop having a massive ambition. I came very close to start blaming God for making me to have extraordinary goals when I was so contrastingly incapable of achieving them. The thoughts became so toxic that I didn’t even know why I was devastated anymore, I just knew that I was in a dark place. The dark smoke covered every aspect of my life.

To be continued.

3 thoughts on “Lets Talk about Depression #1”

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