SURVIVING DARKNESS

SURVIVING DARKNESS

I read a Facebook post made by a friend about how he recently went through depression, and his story struck a chord inside me.

Because I could relate very much to that struggle.

I think my mental health began taking a hit after the Nigerian Police robbed me. That incident where my entire life savings were cleaned out of my account did a number on my mind. For days on end, I was torn between regrets, rage and a deep sadness. Realizing that I had to start all over again to build up my finances filled me with so much fear.

I was thinking about this, and soon, I began to spiral into all sorts of other thoughts. The misery and feelings of insecurity that came from being flat broke after the police took everything from me became a gateway for all sorts of unhealthy thoughts to flood in and take over my mental space.

Thoughts about all the ways that my life wasn’t working. About the plans I made when I was a bright-eyed boy in school, and how those plans had not gone anywhere now that I am busy adulting.

Thoughts about my family and the struggles that we’re all facing, and how I had been falling short in providing for my mother in the way I envisioned I would provide for her at this age.

Thoughts about work, and how for several months, after I was promoted to a more demanding position, I was still getting empty promises of an accompanying increase in my salary. After so many complaints for my salary to be increased to go with the heftier duties that I am now responsible for, all I have been getting are promises that never amount to much. It was even more humiliating when I learned that my colleague, whose position I was promoted into so we could share responsibilities, had been earning way more than I was initially even made aware of was the salary amount for that position.

And on top of that, because of COVID-19 reasons, the company has even slashed our salaries.

And then, this person I care about very much – who knows me more than anyone else in the world, and who has the power to talk to me and somehow calm me down and make me believe that everything will be alright – traveled.

And for the three months he was away, despite the fact that we talked on the phone, I’d never felt as lonely as I felt during that period. Being apart from him was crushing. It was as though everything was coming to a head, and he wasn’t there to comfort me and guide me through the storm.

And, I didn’t know it, but that was when I started sliding into a very dark place. I began to get withdrawn. To dread going out. To not relate well with people. My job suffered as I became listless, making silly mistakes that cost me, as deductions were made on my salary as a consequence. I stopped paying attention to my environment and to me. Coworkers often remarked that I was starting to look different, and I didn’t know what they meant –

Until one day, when I went into the restroom at work and caught sight of my reflection in the large, wall-length mirror.

I didn’t recognise the person who was in that mirror.

I looked bad.

I had gotten dark and disheveled.

I looked like I’d been crying for months.

I looked like a shell of myself.

I realized then what those who said I looked different meant: for the past three months, I’d gotten so listless that I abandoned by skincare routine. Nothing mattered to me anymore, not even my looks. And you know it is bad when a self-proclaimed narcissist like me STOPS CARING HOW HE LOOKS.

That was when it hit me: that all this time, I’d been suffering depression. That the dark place I’d been in all this time was depression. First it was me thinking and worrying and being sad about my circumstances, and then all that sadness and worry had gradually snowballed into something big and dark that overtook me.

What was I doing? What was I doing to myself? How was losing myself like this going to fix anything? I was staring at my reflection and asking myself these questions.

What was the point?

That was when I decided to start making an effort. To rescue myself from depression. To start the journey back to the guy I used to be.

It was a tough journey. Everything I did to get back was always deliberate, intentional. I strived to smile more, because if I could project happiness, then I could trick my brain into believing that I am happy. So I smiled.

I also drank lots of water.

I actively sought things that made me laugh: I watched movies and TV shows where I could get lost in the magic of the things happening there.

I got off social media – Instagram especially. Even unfollowed some people, those who displayed beautiful, upwardly-mobile lives that triggered me into thinking bad thoughts about mine.

I worked hard and I am still working hard. Happiness doesn’t come cheap and I am constantly reminded that depression is not something you see coming.

Happiness is an effort I am making and living it is a choice I am making.

Written by Bobmanuel

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  1. Isaac
    November 25, 08:21 Reply

    Hi Bobmanuel.
    I’m happy you’re getting better and I love the progress!
    Sending love your way!

  2. Delle
    November 25, 09:33 Reply

    It only gets better, sweetheart. You’re loved

    • Rudy
      November 25, 11:48 Reply

      You’ve got this! Just realise that all & everything that you seek around you, lies WITHIN YOU.
      Tap into that energy inside of you & keep on smiling.

      I send to your way floods of peace and contentment this morning!

  3. DBS
    November 25, 10:37 Reply

    You will be alright
    Keep being strong

  4. Rudy
    November 25, 11:51 Reply

    You’ve got this! Just realise that all & everything that you seek around you, lies WITHIN YOU.
    Tap into that energy inside of you & keep on smiling.

    I send to your way floods of peace and contentment this morning!

  5. Mufasa
    November 25, 19:53 Reply

    Sending loads of love your way. Super glad you’re able to take active steps towards getting better <3

  6. chubbylover
    November 25, 21:43 Reply

    It’s sad when good people go through this gate of hell. Kepp loving yourself for you. Spoil yourself ocassionally. You will come out if this bigger and stronger.

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