The first time I heard about Depression was six years ago. It was a prayer point at Church; My Pastor was Praying fervently against it but I had lacked the knowledge of what it entailed. I surmise then, perhaps, it was something so scandalous because the sweat dripping from his face is almost likely enough to have a shower. What a waste of resources – I con-cured like I was having a discussion with anyone else asides myself.
As time went by, I heard the oyinbo’s (The whites) were taking Anti-Depressant drugs. I shrugged, as I reasoned why Depression was a sickness, when Pastor had prayed about it in church like – though he were casting off an Evil Spirit. I had to allow the whole idea of depression slip through my fingers like it was a bogus lie.
I am a young lady born into an African world. Words like Depression and Suicide almost seem abominable; These two seems docile, as population pay more attention to Domestic violence (particularly the case of women being abused). When it concerns sanity, it is like everyone is running away. They feel it is something they need to deal with in private, within closed doors. No one talks about it so loud because yet again, we are Africans. We had thought that Depression was a thing, a thing of technology and over time, we fail to educate ourselves about it.
The Time I realized I had fallen into Depression was three years ago. I must say, I was petrified – afraid of voicing out. I could not tell anyone about it because I had not admitted it to myself. I was in denial. Trying to fight against what I thought did not exist. It was visibly, a zero to ten chance than I would have won. I was transfixed most of the time, engulfed with a sour state of mind. I would often get lost in thoughts and amnesia was the dividend I got from over-thinking. I forget where I was most of the time and could get lost in any land that made me feel been down. It was like, I enjoyed been down and that was the scariest of it all.
What amazes me was how I was still able to get myself together when people needed me. I could be the muscle to their problems, shoulders for their tears, you know – Always giving every portion of myself out to people and forgetting I had wanted to be seen or heard too. I had also begun to make research about the state I was in. The instance I took interest in finding out more, I was seeing different posts. I was soon to realize that Depression had nothing to do with colour (Black or White).
So many of us, without realizing it, are suffering from Depression. It comes slowly like the first rain in the year, coming to brisk us of it appearance. It comes on and off till it eventually showers rapidly. I was soon to discover that you can’t fight what you know nothing about. The importance of a candle is when you have the ability to lit the match stick on it.
I was quick to make a research, eager to find out I was not alone and was also learning that depression was a “mental sickness”. It is also true in the spiritual context that depression is demonic but knowledge is key. We can’t always go to church to cast out demons, we can get facts online. Depression is like having a snake bite you, it’s venom spreading uncontrollable waiting patiently for you to die. With Depression, you lose interest in activities, nothing excites you and the constant need to end your life creeps in.
In Nigeria, more than 1.5million cases per year; Depression is not a taboo, it is not fallacy; It is a fact. It happens more often than recorded. It should not be brushed asides like every normal discussion in African homes – identifying it with every normal sickness. It is treated by medical professionals on a medium term, resolved within months. Sometimes, it could be so chronic that lap test or imaging is required.
I am not saying we should out-rightly cancel spiritual guidance as nothing is too impossible for God. I am not ruling spirituality out. I had been depressed for months but I was able to get myself together through God’s teaching and learning to love myself. This process took a while. I was lucky because I was in positive family and even though I could not share what it was that was bugging me, I was surrounded by love. A sense of appreciation slowly become to caved into being. I am among the few lucky people who survived depression, yes, through spiritual guidance. I was depressed for months and I am incredibly grateful I am right here, three years after to talk about it like it never happened. I am not here to throw bullet points on how you should rule out spiritual help, I am saying you should be opened minded about medical treatment. Most people do not last a week with depression because it could be so severe. God gave medical practitioner wisdom to help people, so there don’t be ignorant.
My friend once said, you only become interested on issues when it affects you. I was ignorant back then and I am thanking for the enlightenment now. Now I will know how to talk to people better, how to show love more because each of us have one or two things we are struggling.
I can only hope that depression is talked more in families. I wish Nigeria will get to this point in their lives where talking about issues as it concerns their sanity will be a thing of pride and not shame. Stigmatization should be cut off. Being happy all of the time does not mean that a person is not depressed. If you recall what I had said earlier, people see depression as a thing of shame, so they put on this facade when around people, petrified of been judged. So check up on the happy ones, they are struggling the most.