Updated: Mar 21, 2021
The smiles you see everyday on the faces of people may be a facade to exactly what they are going through.
I have always been a fun, loving, outgoing and energetic person. Everyone I encountered loves my energy and feeds off it, because it was always positive and infectious. Beneath all that bubbly appearance, I had always felt this void in my life, which I couldn’t quite pin what it was, so I searched for acceptance in my romantic relationships. I dated quite a few men and some I would say were healthy relationships, and the others, not so much. I got disappointed all that time and didn't take it lightly and this is how it all started.
I begun exhibiting some of the symptoms of depression but ignored it because I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me. All I knew was that something was off. This continued for a number of years until I finally decided to take a break from everything most specially relationships and reflect on my life especially where I fell short and find solutions.
I begun searching within myself just to know me even more and discover new things about myself that I didn’t know interested me. But before I go there you need to know that one thing I loved growing up more than anything was Art and looking good. I loved fashion, experimenting with different styles, textures, colours etc. For me, Art and Fashion was the best way I could express myself.
I realized anytime I was alone I felt dissonantly sad and down, and it was becoming persistent. I lost interest in making up, dressing well, and also started gaining weight. Within a few months, my weight had increased from 75 KG to 98 KG. I couldn’t sleep well and ate lot of junk food and sometimes no food at all, my energy level dropped drastically.
The climax was when I started having suicidal thoughts, and they were not just thoughts, it even manifested into reality. I tried to end my life number of times and but couldn't go through with it. I was either interrupted by a phone call, a knock on my door or a text message. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to happen.
I’m sure you might be asking where was my family and friends when all this was going on? I live with my family but funny enough they couldn't see through me and didn't realized what I was battling with or how I was dealing with my demons.
Subconsciously I tried number of things to help myself feel better, but it got even worse. I smoked weed but realized it made me paranoid. I also tried meditation, but my mind was racing with too many things I just couldn’t focus, or perhaps I just didn’t know how to go about it. I know everyone has their beliefs and what they turn to in times of difficulties. If I’m being honest my mum brought me up with Christian beliefs and so I resorted to my Bible and prayer which helped for awhile until news of my father's demise reached me and I something sparked in my brain, literally! Everything went haywire than before.
Through it all, I didn’t go out or show myself at public gatherings because for some unexplainable reasons I didn’t want to see anyone. I wasn’t feeling very confident in myself anymore; myself esteem was very low. Anytime I had a phone call for a party I turned it down with excuses. I lost myself completely!
I guess you may be wondering why I didn’t get medical help? I always thought seeking mental help would mean I was a lunatic. I didn’t even understand what I was experiencing and I was afraid of what other people would think and say. Anytime I had to meet up with a client I quickly put up a mask to prove I was OK when nothing was OK.
The charade went on for a while and I knew I needed help, but the question was “Where do I start from”? After a little research I realized that I might be suffering from depression. Firstly, I learned I might need medical help, but I also learned there were basic remedies that I could start with, so I started with that; eating well, exercising, being positive minded and talking to someone.
I eventually visited a General Hospital for help and had some tests done just to know more. That was when I was diagnosed with clinical depression.
Clinical depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.
I engaged my mom who is the closest to me and explain to her what I was going through. We had a long chat just to get some closure on certain things in my life I didn’t understand, and believe me, it really helped. At least I believe it took lots of pressure off my mind. I realized I was very bitter about lot of things, so the first thing I did was to forgive myself, forgive all those who hurt me and those I know I hurt so that I could move on.
Fashion played a major role in my healing process and as I mentioned earlier, “I loved to look good all the time”, so I decided to go back to designing more clothes and dressing well since that made me feel good about myself.
I don’t know how you may go about yours, maybe yours might be reading, writing, dancing, singing, etc. but what I have come to understand in my journey with depression is this; do things that makes you happy and mine was appearance amongst others things and believe me when I say it helped me forget about what I was going through.
Once, I was driving and saw a woman standing by the roadside looking unkempt yet beautiful and it dawned on me how I looked when I was battling seriously with depression and said to myself “no one knew what I was going through" just like this woman. Perhaps she may be in dire need of assistance. But because she’s not saying it you cannot tell. But if someone musters the courage to ask for help, try not to judge.
I will conclude by saying this; those who are so quick to judge others and shaming them because of their conditions, please stop it because it could happen to anyone. We can be there for those who need our help and it will amaze you how good you get to feel about it.
Mind you, this is a scary thing for me to do because no one knows this about me and I’m very secretive about some very personal things. I know someone will benefit from my story so that is why I’m sharing it.
I am sharing to let someone going through the same predicament know that they are not alone and there is treatment for depression. Taking your life is not the answer to anything you are experiencing now. “It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” and the only thing it achieves is to pass on the hurt to another person. We all need someone to talk to and that someone could be your family or a good doctor.
I have an appointment with a psychiatrist for further evaluation or should I say diagnosis just to be sure of my mental status and health conditions. I am excited about doing the right things to help myself get better. I am a working progress!