Monday, August 25, 2014

The time I was "fine"

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 lyteforlife@gmail.com. Even if you have no questions and just need to talk, pray, whatever,  please email me. 

Have a lovely week. 



  

35 comments:

  1. Your post is so real. Clinical depression is real and should not be ignored. People need to be more compassionate about what other people may or may not be feeling. It is funny how i have always looked at to you and admired your put together and bubbly personality. I am so sorry you had to go through all that....Your sun will soon shine. Love

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    1. Thanks for your compassion. At this juncture, I am not to be pitied. I got a new lease on life and I have seen how quickly God can turn things around for good. The pity would be needed if I never got to experience that bit. Awww...put together??? Far from it. Grace always. I know a lot of people would have a hard time reconciling this with the me they know but it has contributed in no small measure to who I am. I am grateful always. A grateful and trusting heart overcomes

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  2. Oh i can relate. I haven't been suicidal but i've had some pretty low moments. Talking about it helps a loooot. As i grow older, i think i've learned to be kinder. In fact, some people harass me for enabling and over-indulging. I think it's because i know not everything is always as they seem *kisses*

    P.S: Mbok, can i give your details to my cuz? Your awesomeness is needed in my family *wink*

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    1. Kindness is essential my dear. You never know the day your kindness would talk someone off a ledge. Things are usually far from what they seem. Though I am still my straight talking self, I'm able to soften the blow with kindness and being as helpful as I possibly can be.

      P.S: Mbok, bring the cousin na. If he's your relative I'm sure he is super-duper awesome! Lol

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  3. Spot on! I have to commend you for sharing. This was like knowing another part of you.
    I 've been depressed before. What I'm I saying? I get depressed, often sef! However, I have come to realise that in most cases, the spirit of depression cannot thrive when you have a grateful heart. You have a choice as an individual to focus on the things you've been blessed with, rather than on the things you are yet to have. It works for me all the time.

    Meanwhile, you just got yourself a hook-up from @ toinlicious!! *tongue out*

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  4. Thank you. It was another side of me. I did away with the bad and I have taken the good of that era with me. I can't tell you how great it was to see that ray of sunshine that told me I didn't have to end it because of a few things when there were so many great things I could and still had to live for. Grateful always.

    Lol @ hookup from Toin. Don't mind the girl, hoarding her cousin since all these days! Lol

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  5. Wow wow wow!!! So much in this one post. I believe you on that engagement part...that you are fine....what is yours wont pass you by.
    I didnt really have any opinion on depression until I lived abroad and if not for support system, I 'm almost sure I would have had it too. Life was so different from what I was used to. I wasnt prepared for it. Having my sister with me was a lot of help. She was high when I was low and vice versa so it complimented well. But I can imagine how easy it would have been to go downhill.
    Your pieces of advice are very relevant. Talk about it...pray about it. Seek help.
    thanks for sharing

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    1. Ish is real out there man! Lol!! If you lean into it, it WILL take you down. No joke. Thanks for reading hun

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  6. Glad to know you're fine, I echo Honeydame's comment on the engagement. Infact I echo Honeydame on everything. *hugs

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    1. *Hugs* Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  7. wow.. thanks for these words of encouragement.
    depression has been trying to creep up on me due to some things that have been happening and its nice to hear a victorious story.

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    1. Thanks for reading dear. Please don't let it. As one comment said, it is a territorial spirit. Once you let it in, it is hard to shake. Keep busy, keep positive, keep praying. I pray it all works out *hugs*

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  8. Thanks for sharing chica. That call to kindness is sooooo important. It's an emotion that needs to be practiced constantly, both in words and actions. I love my Nigerian people but sometimes we can be so callous in the way we speak to one another, especially on sensitive topics. This isn't to say that all Nigerians lack empathy or that we won't encounter other kinds of people with the same insensitivity but if we could all practice putting ourselves in others' shoes, or just learn to listen better, we'd be better for it.

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    1. You said it, gurl! I just think it is common human decency. I'm not the touchy-feeliest of people but I am really able to read a room and read people's tones and expressions and quickly express concern if I sense a down mood. I'm now a serious brother's keeper coming out of this experience. Thanks for reading hun.

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  9. I can relate to this post 100% from broken engagement to depression. I remember making a very pathetic comment abt Robin Williams' suicide and later on i was like are you crazy you should know how it feels. Am glad i didn't take the short cut either...yes talking and praying really does help aloooot. As for the engagement bit God knows better.

    www.mchantella.blogspot.com

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    1. I believe that God knows better...I believe that with every fibre of my being. All things work together for good o. Thanks for reading and commenting

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  10. The question is what would have happened if you didn't have a foundation in God? I shudder to even think about it. I understand depression, I have been there, and I wouldn't wish it on my enemy. It is terrible. I remember telling you about it at your flat. When I was going through mine, family knew, but there wasn't really much they could do/or even did to help. My coming out was nothing short of miraculous.

    Yes, I agree that it is a spirit. And it is actually sometimes territorial. I remember during that down time, I went somewhere, and it descended heavily on me that I started crying, I had to run somewhere to hide my tears. Everyone was wondering what was wrong. I left the place like 1 hour later, and when I got to the express way, the whole thing lifted. Nkan Mbe, abi?

    The QC girl's name is Motunrayo Ogbara. She was quite popular. Please, when next are you coming to Lagos o?

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    1. Wow...I remember you telling me about it. I always wonder how people that don't have God muddle through life. It just beats me. Lagos ke? I'm running away from ebola o. Lol. Probably next month by God's grace sha.

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  11. Nice to have you back. I have also had times when i was really low and i would cry and just be unhappy but somehow God brings me out of that situation and makes me count my blessings.

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    1. Isn't God the absolute best????When your back is just to the way, He proves Himself as a breaker and makes more room behind that wall!!!! Praise God!

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  12. Welcome back dear, it's nice to have you back.
    Thank you very much for sharing your personal story.. Until someone goes through something, you can never really fully understand it..
    Thank God for you Cherry - for everything..xx

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    1. Thank God for EVERYTHING. Thanks for the comment hun.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your experience of feeling low. Depression is like a cloud and it inhabits like a resident. I've had clients said this to me, and having suffered traumatic events myself, I know what that is like. Like you said, it's important to seek help, do things that keep the mind away from negative thoughts, focus on the positives in life, etc. They are all coping strategies that would go a long way. Glad that you're in a better place. Helping others with advice and support is a fantastic plus. I found that this helped put things into perspective. There's always someone out there suffering a whole lot more...so we consciously or unconsciously become more positive and thankful. I reflect on these experiences in my poetry.

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    1. You are completely right. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  14. As per the broken engagement, it is well...One day you will look back and totally understand why it didn't work out (that's if you don't know it yet.) Your future is waiting. The future always has a plan, we just need the right boots and a working compass to step right in. All the best.

    ~Adura x

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  15. Cherrywine Cherrywine Cherrywine - I'm thankful for you.
    I'm glad you're fine and you will continue to be. Depression is no joke like everyone has said. When I hear about people who actually go through with suicide, I always wonder what God's response would be but as humans we can know how they actually feel or what they felt that led to that point. Thankful you didn't go there.The person wearing the shoes knows where it hurts not the person admiring it. Re- the engagement, you'll get a better one that would make you marvel in more ways than one. Wishing you all the best Missy!

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    1. Thank you Missy. It must be a whole lot of pain to make you go through with a plan to take your own life. I told someone during the week that I've come to realise that no matter what you are going through, life is a gift so let's not waste it. Thanks for your kind words re the engagement and for reading and commenting

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    1. Darling Sisi Yemmie, I'm great. Thanks for checking. So very awesome of you. *massive hug*

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  17. Cherry, I couldn't agree with you more. Many people are quick to judge others not minding the stories behind the veil. I have learnt from you and I hope it gets better for you. P.S- I love your writings. I laughed so hard yesterday until I almost peed.

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    1. @Nma Nazzy Agada: Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comments always make me smile. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  18. thank you for the insight.

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  19. I lost someone, I love dearly because I did not give depression the seriousness it deserved and I still almost cant forgive myself, now i get mad when people say it cant happen to me because am Nigerian, BS. As in bloody BS, depression and suicide statistics worldwide is rising daily and I cant understand the reason why but i also know that we must ensure that we talk about it so thanks for telling your story so we stop thinking that it is one foreign disease!

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  20. I can relate to this, I found social media kinda helpful for me, especially twitter when going through depression. Always made me laugh, and that stabillized me.
    Good to know that you are over that phase now

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