A couple of weeks ago, I heard of the sad passing of one of my former students, Pelumi. She was one of the prettiest girls I have met. She always wore her smile like an ornament. I don’t think I ever saw her raise her voice or flare up in anger. She seemed like one who was always in control. She had moved on to become an OAP with Cool FM in Lagos. For one who was so young and focused, the world would have been her oyster. One of the most enduring lessons in life and literature is the dichotomy between what is real and what appears to be real. Sadly, her beauty, her dreams and her laughter speak differently from the state of her inner recesses. She committed suicide and left what seemed like a suicide note on Twitter. One thing is clear. You cannot commit suicide unless you’re depressed. Please, see my post https://deleoladipupo.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/why-do-people-commit-suicide/
According to World Health Organization, ‘depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed moods, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy , feelings of guilt or low self worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration’. It is instructive to note that depression as a disorder is different from depression as it concerns a time of sadness or disappointment. The difference is, while one is temporary, the other is sustained over a long stretch of time. Depression as a disorder occurs when an individual is unable to move on long after something bad has happened.
It should interest you to know that more than 22% of Nigerians suffer from depression. That’s alarming. What are some of the things that can make one vulnerable to depression? Sustained negative thoughts,lack of motivation, feeling of abandonment and hopelessness, health problems, grief and loss, drugs, poor nutrition among others. Is a person suffering from depression a weakling? If depression is an illness. It follows logically, therefore, that when one has this disorder he is suffering from an illness over which he has no control. To this end, people who suffer from this disorder must not be looked down upon. They are not weak.
Unfortunately, we live in an environment where people judge our actions and inactions. If you’re celibate, you’re impotent. If you have too many male friends, you’re a slut. If you’re thin, you’re poor. If you’re fat, you’re foodie. We’re so relentless about passing judgements, we don’t even wait to interact with people sufficiently before we write them off. This is the reason most people can’t afford to seek help from professionals when they’re down. As it’s typical, we’ll label them ‘mad’.
Do you suspect that you might be suffering from depression? Then, you need to seek professional help. May God bless our pastors and spiritual mentors but unless your pastor is a psychiatrist, you’re talking to the wrong man. Betty Irabor is the publisher of the popular magazine, Genevieve. She sought help. She was constantly misdiagnosed because depression is , sometimes, hard to pick up. She went from one physician to another and each added something to her already long list of prescribed drugs. Her worries are over and she has written a fine book where she narrated her travails and her journey out of the woods.
Perhaps more importantly is the fact that the best way to deal with depression is to get up and fight. The desire to get out of bed each day may be nil, pull the curtains aside and get up anyway. At the end of the day, we must endeavour to make a success out of our stories. If we fail, there are friendly foes waiting anxiously to say: ‘We always knew you won’t amount to anything’. Somebody said: ‘success is the best revenge’. If you’ve been fired, dust yourself and fight. If you’ve been disappointed in love, take good care of yourself and love again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I wish it were possible to leave you with something more soothing. You may have heard of Winston Churchill. I fell in love with him many years ago. I have read a few books about this remarkable man. He said something noteworthy: ‘If you’re going through through hell, keep going’. I’m almost certain he wants us to understand that as long as we continue to make an effort towards getting out a quagmire, we will get out. You should take his advice Take care when you notice tendencies of depression. Don’t keep quiet. Talk to a psychiatrist. You know I love you. Take a handshake over the miles. Hugs and kizzzzzizzz.