Forgive me blogsville for I have sinned....it's been a month and seven days since my last confession...
Hey y'all! How are you doing? Sorry for the radio silence. I mentioned in one post a while back that I was going through some stuff. I am going through it but God is taking me through it as usual. For those I announced to formally and informally about my engagement, my sweets, the engagement has been called off. Long story for another day but all you need to know is I am well, I am happier for it (hard to believe...but it is so true), I am blessed and more importantly, gentlemen...I AM BACK ON THE MARKET! Yaaaaayyyyy!! Lol. Ok, enough upbeatness. I will address the broken engagement topic another time. Maybe not right now, out of respect for the ex. My topic for today is not a very upbeat one for a Monday morning. I've been meaning to do it for a while, I believe there is no time like the present...so indulge me.
One of my favourite things in life is stand up comedy so it stands to reason that I am completely saddened by the death of Robin Williams, one of the greatest comedians of our time. I enjoyed his body of work immensely and he brought me great joy and laughter. He was indeed one of the best to do the genre.
Depression and suicide are not a topics I enjoy discussing. I am a staunch believer in the fact that nothing is bad enough for me to take my own life. In Nigeria, our motto should be "hope springs eternal for where there is life, there's hope" . We are generally very optimistic people who believe that it is darkest before the dawn and suicide was considered an abomination. In fact, in some communities, a person who has died by his/her own hands would not be buried among his/her kinsmen because it was considered sacrilegious.
Given this backdrop and the fact that what saddens me the most about death is its finality, I took a hardline against the emerging news of suicide in the Nigerian community both at home and in diaspora. I condemned the people who committed suicide as extremely selfish people who spared no thought for those they were leaving behind and I just flat out refused to consider any other explanation as to why they would take such a drastic and final step...until I contemplated suicide.
First of, there is no cause for alarm...I AM TRULY FINE and the darkness has passed. Secondly, this was three years ago (this is why I said this post was long overdue). Lastly, members of my family that read this blog have not heard this story before and I would like you to revert to the first sentence of this paragraph.
So yes, I contemplated suicide for a split second.
In 2011, I was in a really, really, really, dark place. My sister and I lived together in Abuja but she moved away after we concluded our service year to take up the best job on earth in Lagos, so I was all by myself. The job I thought I had firmly in my grasp had fallen through and I had just been dealt a relationship blow. I was completely alone, no job, no man, no friends that I really wanted to share with, my mother was harping on about when will you get married? and it was just altogether a dark time. I'm actually welling up as I remember it. I would sit alone in my flat and cry for hours. I had no place to be so I would simultaneously pray and cry...for entire days in one spot. Imagine thinking, crying and praying from when you wake up till when you go to bed, no breaks in between cos I had nowhere to go and noone to see...well, that was my life. I fell into a depression but it was imperative that I hid this state of affairs from my family. So when we would speak, I would wipe my eyes and force some cheer into my voice. I don't know till this day why I felt it was important to hide what I was going through, but I felt it was. The one person that got a glimpse into what I was feeling didn't even know that I was in a depression and talked so condescendingly to me about why I was single and if there were no brothers in my church. Nice!
I can't really articulate what the depression felt like, how it happened or how it stopped in words but I will try.The one thing I can tell you about depression is that it descends on you like a cloak. The deeper you fall, the heavier it gets. I knew I wasn't right and I knew something was upon me, physically. I think what helped me through that period that I didn't sink any further was because I was constantly praying. Anyway, after the condescending conversation, I resorted to my default mode of crying. I cried and cried and then a voice came to me and said 'you know you should end it all...all this sadness and loneliness can go away if you end it all'. That was when I had a breakthrough. The voice that came to my heart was clear as day and God's response to it was equally clear. It is hard to believe but at that point, I literally snapped out of it. My spirit refused to entertain such thoughts and I got up, wiped my eyes and began to count my blessings...basically listing all that was good and perfect in my life. I began to give thanks and I committed what was left to be done in the hands of God trusting more than ever that if he could deliver me from the throes of depression, he could perfect all that remained outstanding in my life. I had to struggle with the heaviness but it felt like a window opened in my life and I was looking in on myself and I was unable to believe the thought that had just crossed my mind. I fought through the heaviness and just continued to believe God for all that I felt was missing in my life and that was how I basically overcame that situation through the grace of God.
I relocated to Lagos shortly after, got a job in a law firm where I did litigation for a few months, moved on to another law firm where I practised in a corporate and commercial department for about a year. I am now back in the job that I thought I had lost earlier. I have gone on to have other relationships both romantic and platonic and my life that seemed bleak three years ago has basically blossomed. In fact, my friend, Gemstots, believes that the lull in jobs was God's way of allowing me fulfil my dream of really practising law before I traded it in for civil service. I now believe so as well.
I will issue a disclaimer at this point to state that my situation at the time made me depressed and it may or may not have been clinical depression. I am not saying how it worked for me (which was nothing short of miraculous) is how it works. Clinical depression should be treated with the gravitas that it deserves; with love and urgent and continued medical attention. I have learnt that the brace up and face life, life shafts us all is perhaps not the best approach to someone feeling depressed. My depression came shortly after an ex-QC girl (I forget her name now) was found dead, having committed suicide. I was scathing in my remarks, I tell you...scathing! It was perhaps important for me to go through my own episode which must have been mild compared to what she felt. I believe God wanted to teach me an important lesson and use my experience to help others.
The bible says blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comforts, who comforts us in all our tribulations that we may be ale to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Cor. 1: 3-4) This is the comfort I received from God in that hellish time and I now pass it on to someone who needs to hear it. All the things that seemed so important and unrealisable back then, fell into place eventually. I ended up with double for my trouble. I came out with a more enriched life experience and a firm knowledge that all things work together for the good of those that believe in God. The bible tells us that there are many voices in the world and there is none without significance (1 Cor. 14:10). If my spirit had allowed that voice fester and become louder, who knows what would have happened? There was light at the end of my tunnel and I almost lost the opportunity to witness it.
I am still a firm believer in the fact that nothing is so serious that I would end my own life. I am just more kinder in spreading that message these days. We could all use kindness in our lives. The guy that spoke so harshly to me had no way of knowing that his statement almost broke the camel's back...but it very nearly did...if not for God. Let's be kinder and more understanding. I don't believe depression is a disease...I believe it is a spirit, it is more tangible than a disease. It is very present. You walk in the room with it, you walk out with it. You sleep and wake up with it. It grows bigger and fatter the deeper you descend which is why it becomes heavier and heavier because it feeds off your descent and in the end...you snap! I thank God I snapped the other way...out of it and I pray that this is useful for someone who is contemplating the unthinkable.
My advice is:
1. Pray...A LOT
2. Don't keep it in or to yourself. Find a sympathetic ear and talk it out. Depression thrives on you keeping it hidden like a prostitute. Expose it and shame it! Stop saying you are fine when you know you are not.
3. Seek medical help. Please!
For anyone going through a hard time, I know the aforelisted are hard. No one understands how hard it is to do these three simple steps when you don't even feel like washing yourself, let alone talking to anybody, but I think these things would help you more than they can harm you.
Sorry for the depressing rants but I hope I got to whoever I was meant to get to on time. Happier gist will come later. I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have. If you don't want to leave it in the comment box, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you have no questions and just need to talk, pray, whatever, please email me.
Have a lovely week.