Hello Everyone, I’m Depressed

depressed_400

Okay, so this has been in my drafts for way too long.

I wrote a letter to God when I was 13 or 14 years old and in boarding school. I cannot quite remember the details of the letter. Anyways, I threw it to the skies; with the hope that it would somehow get to Heaven. I kid you not, this happened. It really happened. Of course the folded piece of paper did not rise above the roof of my hostel. Somehow, I was sad even though I knew it was not going to get to heaven. Still, I hoped.

Depression is a desperate feeling. I do not remember what was bothering me, but I know it was mind-shattering; at least to me it was. Why on earth would a seemingly sane person write a letter to God and throw it to the Heavens? I wish I kept that letter. Depression makes you forget every positive thing you’ve ever done or said. It temporarily obliterates all atoms of happiness. It is almost addictive, more so than happiness.

You would rather be happy, but wallowing in your burden or nothingness seems more realistic, more convenient, and less deceitful; it seems more ‘you’. I have struggled with depression for most of my life. It may be obvious but it is probably not. It is not ‘African’ or ‘Christian’ to be depressed, so we hide under the guise of “black people do not commit suicide” and “a Christian cannot be depressed”. Until someone very dear to my heart started taking medication for depression and a possible bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, I thought it was an ‘Oyinbo’ thing. I can say without a shred of doubt that knowing Jesus has helped me in my battle; a battle that I have never really spoken about until now.

The weird thing is that I am one of the most easygoing and most positive people I know. I probably come off as a ‘not a worry in the world’ kind of person, except of course you have read a ton of my writings. Life is a pot of beans. This is not necessarily  a post about the solutions to insecurity or depression. This is a PSA. Hello everyone, I’m depressed. But I am fine. I enjoy life a lot of the time, I laugh at everything. I know how to fight this battle, most of the time.I love people and I love that Jesus loves me.

But if I could recommend an alleviation to depression, it would be this: Admit that you are prone to being depressed. Work your way from there, whatever works. Not illegal drugs or alcohol, as they create an illusion-filled happiness. Please if you are reading this and you are struggling, seek help. You can send me an email (tomilade@live.com). Discuss with a counsellor, a doctor, a friend, a trustworthy stranger, etc. Mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of. Do not let the fear of “you have nothing to be sad about, some people would kill to be you” stop you from seeking help. Please! you are loved.

Keep discovering yourself. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “stay classy”

In the Loving Memory of Robin Williams. He gave so much laughter and yet……

Ps, An outwardly gentle person may be raging inside. An outwardly happy person may be frowning inside.

♠ Tomi.O

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37 thoughts on “Hello Everyone, I’m Depressed

  1. A lot of people are worried about being stigmatized (no religious inference intended) if they seek help. When someone says, “I have cancer,” he gets sympathy. When he says, “I am depressed,” people tell him to cheer up or ask him what he has to be depressed about. If someone says, “I have mental illness,” he is often ostracized. When need more modern thinking on this planet.

      1. If someone offered you a glance through a time window to 50 years in the future (not your future, just the world’s) would you want to see? I’d hope to see a place where people aren’t judged and treated with hostility for being different.

  2. I’m not a hugger, but here’s a hug from me to you! *hug*

    I was talking to my mom about depression last night. She was complaining about the constant reflections and tributes about & to Robin Williams that were running all day on CNN. To her, he was a man selfish enough to take his own life because he was tired, so she didn’t understand why they cared so much. She also said depression and suicide are unAfrican, primarily because we have so much more to worry about.

    I didn’t argue too much sha, because I remembered something from 3 years ago. My mom had stumbled upon something I wrote once when I was going through a very wonky stage in my life and she was so worried. Her worry actually brought me to tears. Her reaction then wasn’t to tell me I didn’t have enough on my plate, or that I wasn’t serious, or anything insensitive. She wanted me to know I could talk to her and that I had my music, my friends, things to live happily for. I didn’t want to remind her of that incident yesterday but I guess my point is, depression is one of those things that’s difficult to understand for many people unless it’s right in front of their faces.

    Before I was 14, I had a friend that cut herself. Another friend was bulimic. I know someone that tried to drink bleach. And we were all Nigerian small girls in a very Catholic school. This idea that depression, suicide, mental illness (that doesn’t make you walk naked in public) is selfish and unAfrican needs to change. Happiness is a choice, yes, generally speaking- but does anybody really voluntarily want to be depressed?

  3. I’m not a hugger, but here’s a hug from me to you! *hug*

    I was talking to my mom about depression last night. She was complaining about the constant reflections and tributes about & to Robin Williams that were running all day on CNN. To her, he was a man selfish enough to take his own life because he was tired, so she didn’t understand why they cared so much. She also said depression and suicide are unAfrican, primarily because we have so much more to worry about.

    I didn’t argue too much sha, because I remembered something from 3 years ago. My mom had stumbled upon something I wrote once when I was going through a very wonky stage in my life and she was so worried. Her worry actually brought me to tears. Her reaction then wasn’t to tell me I didn’t have enough on my plate, or that I wasn’t serious, or anything insensitive. She wanted me to know I could talk to her and that I had my music, my friends, things to live happily for. I didn’t want to remind her of that incident yesterday but I guess my point is, depression is one of those things that’s difficult to understand for many people unless it’s right in front of their faces.

    Before I was 14, I had a friend that cut herself. Another friend was bulimic. I know someone that tried to drink bleach. And we were all Nigerian small girls in a very Catholic school. This idea that depression, suicide, mental illness (that doesn’t make you walk naked in public) is selfish and unAfrican needs to change. Happiness is a choice, yes, generally speaking- but does anybody really voluntarily want to be depressed?

  4. Bless you! I think people labour with the idea of other people being depressed. Like you said, it is difficult to understand until it is right in front of their faces. I think the stigma that comes with openly struggling with depression needs to be hurriedly addressed; like you said again, no one voluntarily wants to be depressed. I hope your friends from back then found light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you AB.

  5. Hello everyone, I’m depressed. But I am fine. I enjoy life a lot of the time, I laugh at everything. I know how to fight this battle, most of the time.I love people and I love that Jesus loves me. My name is Adeola.

    Thank you Tomi for sharing this important message.

  6. Beth Johnson

    Clinical depression is often categorized as a mental illness. I know we all know people with varying degrees of mental illness–do we “visit” them in the sense of ministering to their needs? Beginning at Matthew 25:32, read the account of what will happen to all of us who do not truly care for Jesus’ people, whether they are sick physically, emotionally or mentally.

    After reading, you finish the sentence. “I was sick and you _____________.”
    Now, if we’re talking about heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, I’m pretty sure we could fill in the blank with “visited me.” But what if we’re talking about mental illness? Might the the sentence more truthfully be completed as follows: “I was sick and you avoided and talked about me?”
    I’m convinced that Christians (individually) and churches (collectively) have room for improvement in the way we minister to those who suffer from mental illness. I’m afraid that there is a “whisper factor” involved with mental illness, and those who suffer from it live in fear of being discovered. Consequently, they suffer alone, in silence, with little to no support.
    But why should there be a stigma attached to those who suffer from mental illness? Are chemical imbalances in the brain any less real than clogged arteries in the heart? Would we stigmatize a person whose body doesn’t produce the right amounts of insulin, and therefore has to be medicated to regulate his levels of insulin? Of course we wouldn’t. Then why would we stigmatize a person whose body doesn’t produce the proper balance of chemicals to keep the brain functioning properly?
    The National Institute of Health estimates that 26.2% of Americans, ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. That’s one in every four adult Americans. That also means our churches are filled with people who are suffering with mental illness. So the question begs to be answered, and answered Scripturally. “I was sick and you ______________.”
    May God help us to create a community of compassion and understanding. May we create an environment in which people feel safe seeking help and support. And may our response to those who suffer from mental illness be no less compassionate, loving, and Christ-like than those who suffer with other illnesses.

    1. Oh Beth, you could not have hit the nail on the head better; even if you wanted to. ” And may our response to those who suffer from mental illness be no less compassionate, loving, and Christ-like than those who suffer with other illnesses” Amen Beth, Amen! Thank your for you very elightening comment. Bless you.

  7. Afoma

    Hi Tomi! Sending you a huge cyber hug! You are such a lovely young man and “knowing” you has been a pleasure! Thank you for sharing this with us. We love you! 🙂

  8. reading this post makes me happy because I am not alone… It is painful and yet the pain is pleasing and comfortable… i tell myself I will get out of it but it feels like a better place to be… Thanks fr d word, i will check it out

  9. I can totally relate with this. I had this phase at one point in my life and nobody could sense it. I thought a lot about suicide but I was too much of a coward so I stuck to crying myself to sleep and writing depressing things on my then blog. I’m glad I got better eventually. I shared a beautiful poem by anis mojgani on my blog recently that touches a bit on stuff like this. You can check it out if you like

    http://www.cassiedaves.com

    1. Hello Titi. Please reblog, i do not mind at all. It is a joy to share personal challenges in a bid to help others. My absolute pleasure. God bless you too and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. What I find amazing is your courage Tomi and what I find more amazing are the comments of this wonderful people who are not shaking their heads at you, telling you, you need help in a mocking manner or telling you its more of spiritual than mental and psychological. Rather, they are giving you an open arm and I’m stretching out my arms right now as well though I don’t know you and
    I only stumbled on your blog just now.

    It’s beautiful and also encouraging that you are sharing your experience with us and letting us know we are not alone should incase we battle with depression as well. I studied psychology for a bit and during my study, I learnt more about depression, it’s explainable causes and how it’s not a crime to be depressed. Those that are depressed only need to be shown love and not treated like they have an infectious disease. Sweetheart, live your life, love your life and love God who really is our everything. Enjoy every beautiful thing life has to offer and try to recognise all the miracles that comes with each day. And if feeling of depression comes, talk to Jesus and talk to amazing people. Then write about it and read those happy poems you wrote. Lol! I feel like my comment is too long *covers face*
    http://www.mateyscott.com

  11. Thank you for being open and vulnerable and sharing your story. I think the more people share about their struggles with depression and mental health issues, the more our society will do to help those who struggle with it.

  12. Okay then, here’s a confession of my own.

    I used to be one of those people (you’ll know who in a bit). There are sometimes i am still tempted to act like the problem of depression is a; “Here, drink this tea-spoon of sunshine and you’ll be juuuust fine” kind of thing. I’ve always known it isn’t but that didn’t stop me from reacting to some situations like that.

    I guess it was some sort of defense mechanism for me in the past. I really REALLY like it when people are happy and cheerful (i know, who doesn’t right?); like not in the ‘There’s not a problem in the world’ kind of happy’, but the ‘This situation/experience/struggle/internal turmoil isn’t my world’ kind maybe. And so whenever i encountered people who were going through some deep DEEP stuff (which happened pretty often), my insides would almost get completely twisted with anger or deep pain or sadness – depending on how i perceived the issue anyways. I might over reacted from time to time quite alright but i disliked how their experiences made me feel and almost every time felt obligated to do everything humanely possible to ensure they didn’t feel that way (though, logically they probably felt a lot worse – and had been feeling that way loooong before they shared with me). Bottom line is, i wished i could fix their issues, but i couldn’t; so instead i encouraged most people to ignore the issues and smell the roses or something akin to such gibberish.

    But I have repented of such. And grown. And before i turn this comment into a post of my own, I’d like to say ‘Nice one.’ ^_^

    1. Hmm, I’m glad that you now see depression as more than something that can be cured with a ‘tea-spoon’ of sunshine. For many people, it is a clinical disease and requires endurance, therapy, and in many cases, medicine.

      The fact that you dislike seeing other people ‘suffer’ without necessarily being able to help them, is indicative of your kind heart. I’ve learnt that sometimes even when encouragement is not enough, it is still a grand step in helping anyone overcome anything.

      Thank you for commenting. God bless you. May your passion to make people happier never cease.

  13. flowers

    I relate with what you said Tomi”it is unafrican, it is unchristian” . I’ve been told that. Most times people around me wonder why I’m depressed. But like African butterfly said”till it stares you in d face”. Only then do you know. Thank God you shared this. I pray we open up our mind to knowledge so we can continue helping others

    1. I pray so too. On African scepticism: We have such a long way to go, but I think we are going there. This is me sending virtual hugs to you, hoping that you always find rest no matter how heavy it gets. Blessings to you!

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