Alarm goes off at 6:30am*
As I psych myself up to write this, I ponder on how many things I have had to psych myself up for already today…getting out of bed, having a bath, laying my weave, eating, driving to work, focusing on conversations, meeting deadlines, remembering what I have to do and in what order, and this is all before midday. This has been a part of my ‘routine’ for the last 4-5 years and it is exhausting.
I reached for my phone to tap the snooze button 10 times before actually getting out of bed. My anxiety boils inside me and my depression clings beside me. I sit on my bed side trying to give myself a pep talk and convince me that everything will be okay before I get ready for work.
I lived a double life(like Hannah Montana😂), a private one and a public one, with depression and anxiety for many years. To the outside world I had a great life – a lovely family, successful career and healthy lifestyle. But inside I was battling almost every day to simply survive, thinking I didn’t deserve any of it.
People are scared of the terms ‘mental health problems’ and ‘mental illness.’ It makes many people uncomfortable; turn their heads, look at their shoes, anything. When you say you have a mental health problem in Nigeria, they associate you with the mad man on the road but mental wellness is the same as physical wellness just that the mind is the focus.
I go to work pretending to be the happiest person on earth with my dazzling smile. I hang at a party with my friends after and they all seem so happy and excited, I want to leave, but I don’t want to go home because that means I’ll be alone but being at this party makes me realize how lonely I really am.Then the night comes, it’s time to go home and I knew that by the time I get home I am going to breakdown and fall apart, behind closed doors I cry my heart out begging the God I once believed in to just take it all, the pain, the constant exhaustion. I cry myself to sleep with a heavy heart wishing I don’t wake up the next morning, but I do. You wake up. You wake up to put yourself back together just to fall apart again at night.
The routine that you thought you’ll get use to, but you don’t. Because depression hurts every time.
How do I live with depression?
I Pretend. Cry. Sleep. Repeat.
I’m a happier person, do I still have bad days? Yes. But I matter, I’m loved, I deserve to be happy. I take long walks, I journal, I surround myself with positive people who inspire me to be happy. I’ve found peace and happiness in myself, I’ve confronted my pain and hurt. I chase my dreams and celebrate my accomplishments. I deserve to be happy, I deserve peace, I know my worth and I’m a blessed person.
I honestly enjoy this life because my whole life is centered around me now. My career choices, my love life, my health, and my daily routine all honor me! So anything or anyone that seems to have a strong possibility of shifting that dynamic has to go. I’m learning to live more unapologetically and be a light to others.
It’s amazing knowing that, slowly but surely, I’m getting back to me again. Pieced back together, the layers may never perfectly fit, but you can be better, you can do better, you can achieve consistency and happiness, talk to someone today, put your pain to sleep and choose life – everyday. I’m rooting for you.
MY ADVICE TO EVERYONE
Sometimes, a little push is needed to get the ball rolling. Despite the fear of being perceived as nosy or intrusive it’s important to remember that when it comes to mental health, checking in with someone reminds them they aren’t alone quiet.
A simple gesture, a simple ‘Hey, how are you?’ can make all the difference in someone’s day. Talking about how the world around you is closing in on you, how you feel alone, how it’s raining gasoline and you’re trying your hardest to resist the urge to set yourself on fire can be very challenging to talk about especially if you’ve never had that space to talk about it before.
Your friendly neighborhood slay queen 👸