Depression

The simple title is misleading…this is not a simple problem. In our generation its a shared struggle. Whether caused by self awareness,  genetics,  socialization…who knows? But what  is the solution?

That is something that’s  been weighing  me down these days.

I am a problem solver. So in an attempt to solve this problem (depression) for me, my family, friends and even strangers (cause im that ambitious), i started reaching out to friends.

This morning a friend reached out to me with this. His name is George Okuro.

 

My battle with depression. At first I was in denial, thinking that well no man suffers from that stuff. Was it even real or just a social construct for people with social issues and then calling it a disease so that they can hide behind the fancy terms it is given by the medical people? It began as feelings of emptiness that came and went when they pleased. The little things people said would get to me. As time went on the emptiness I felt inside increased. My days became routinely boring. It was a cycle of wakeup, eat, sleep, think and think even more. The emptiness ate away my personality and changed me in a way that only those who had known me since the beginning could only notice. I wanted to be left alone. People drained the little energy I had. Funny enough at the same time being alone hurt as much as being with people. I felt so alone in a world so full of people. A darkness ate away the inner parts of my being. Things that used to be my source of trouble became my source of pain. One of the things that made it worse were the people around me. They noticed the sudden emptiness I had and called it an affinity for attention. I could only hide behind my humour but that too began to fade away. People began to call it being cold yet it was just the sadness tearing me from the inside. Most of my days I felt like crying but the pride of a man held me up. Growing up in a world that has stereotypes where men cannot cry meant even though I had secluded myself my inner self told itself it would not shed a single tear. But somehow bundling all these emotions inside made them even bigger. The constant thinking and worrying drain my energy. Sleeping was no longer a cure and that’s when I knew, it wasn’t my body that was tired but it was my soul. I had fallen into a hole I never saw myself escaping from. All hope and faith were lost. The little voices in my head always repeated the same statements, “No one loves you and no one cares. If they did they would have saved you by now”. Explaining it to people never seemed like an option.  They would only ask a simple but yet complex question. Why? It was not a matter of why. I myself did not have the answer to that question so how was I supposed to tell someone else. The other thing that made it worse was that growing in a society and culture that believed in the non-existence of such psychological diseases it was harder to call for help. At my lowest point I felt and thought all hope was lost. I had nothing to live for. I contemplated suicide. But how would that help me? It was simply running away from a problem. I thought about how the people I would have left behind would feel. But the thought of having to end all this pain and sadness was comforting. Life itself lost meaning. Everyday tasks became burdens. I tried to find meaning in a world full of chaos. You would think that it’s easy to explain that level of sadness to someone. Where you are just empty and lost each and every day you live. Well it’s not. I was lost in a world of negative emotions and I thought I could never swim out. But in all of this pain came something beautiful. Writing made it all better. I could create a reality where I could express my pain and emotions without being judged by anyone. All those thoughts crushing in m had where turned to ink. I can’t say I am a good writer but those are my feelings and emotions. They are representatives of what I feel deep inside. Now it’s not that I have overcome it. Everyday it’s a constant battle. It’s only a matter of choosing if you want to walk through it right there or just shelve it for later. You can never learn to live with it.”

I hope this helps someone. And even if it doesn’t. Mental health matters….matter.

 

*Ivy Mutheu Sumbi

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TWO FEELINGS

 

That feeling after a hot shower

My body warm and dry

Afro moist and shrunk.

Embracing my nakedness.

My body sighs as I sink into bed

Fresh sheets and cozy blankets

These are my small luxuries.

 

Memories of lovers past and present

Bodies intertwined in fantasy

Feeling the skin of another on mine

The breath of another in me

Those are my choices

Whether bad or good.

They are sweet

They are mine.

 

The crunch of lettuce in my mouth

A toasted sandwich in a café, alone.

Coffee burning my tongue, warming my chest, kissing my lips

My music plays in my ears

Only I can hear it

Only I dance

As I sit and eat.

This is my indulgence

 

It is the feeling of ecstasy

My mind empty of thought

Body moving at its own accord

Dancing to no music

Or music not at all my own

It’s a taste

It’s a feeling

Its freedom.

Five, honestly.

Being honest with myself, with you, in prayer is always something I have been glad to do.

The relief of telling someone all that is and might be going on within me is a treasure few know of.

I am glad that you’re the kind of friend that listens without saying a word.

And no sounds that indicate you hear me when all you want to do is reply.

You are honestly my best friend. By that I mean that you are always there, constant.

Even when I wish you would leave and let me drown in this, you stay.

Right there, a sort of silent assurance than lonely is never permanent and happy is always something I can come back to.

Honesty with you make me want to be true with all others.

You make me brave. You still my heart. You focus my mind and calm my being.

This is a little written prayer to say I am grateful.

That is all.

Two people

Your  existence means everything to me
It means its true
God makes people for people and for himself
He made you
Calm and formidable
Talk, dark, handsome
And then some
Stronger than any mountain i have ever climbed
With your father’s charm and looks
And your mother’s heart
Your sisters’ hands
Your brothers’ minds
A love for charity and children like i have never seen
A kindness and caring at a level that shouldn’t exist
You shouldn’t exist

I remember telling God i didn’t want a soldier.
The pain of losing him seeming more than the joy of his presence
I would sit there and underestimate a love i had no idea about
I had no intention of taking a bite out of this
Making you my meal
I’d belittle myself, self hate goes deep.
Not knowing that my ability to build these bones back up would become astronomical.

God did not crown me fragile
My diadem resembling ice and pain.
He made me a soldier.
A weapon.
I didn’t know

That He would gift me with a soul so precious
That i can’t write one poem about him without  crying.
Gushing.

It is as if He took all i lack and part of who i am
Breathed life into it and gave it a name.
A perfect parcel of His love for me in human form
A gentle giant castle
With rooms a many i am yet to explore.
A mind like inception met Dr Manhattan
Someone i don’t even have to try to respect
Or love
I do
Like I am.
I can’t picture my life without you

This love burns
In my flesh and blood
Skin and bones
Soul, mind, spirit

You are magic, i mean it.

One story

I am finally realizing what love means

After years of guessing and being afraid to say it

Years of saying it and not knowing what it means

Now I say and mean it

I am in love with you

 

Its not as romantic as I thought it would be

Its practical and messy

Honestly you annoy me sometimes

Trying to solve everything like a puzzle or a sum

When I want to discuss it like a poem

 

When we started talking a year ago

I got the feeling I was a problem you needed to solve, I didn’t want to be

You called me insecure

Told me I needed help

 

I didn’t ask you to help me, but here you are.

 

I told you yesterday that its stupid of you to ask me to promise not to be someone that will nag you in the future.

 

Yes.

 

And its stupid for me to say I love you forever and always, when I just started

Its idiotic for me to want you here constantly and yet be so frightened that you will bore me.

It doesn’t make any sense that it feels like you’ve been mine for longer than I have been.

That I am so aware of every moment we’re together, I keep it logged in my mind.

 

How I feel

How I think you feel

How we breathe.

The way the sunlight touched your face in the matatu on our way home.

How you say home when you mean my place, when you mean me.

How you say you will never leave and I believe.

How I am crying as I write this.

 

I confess I have never felt this soft

As if loving one immensely makes you kinder

Pliable like the clay I am

Yet you have never tried to change my shape

More sensitive to everyone’s feelings and thoughts

More likely to take risks, to fall, not because you will catch me, but because you fall with me

More vulnerable to joy and pain

And for some reason closer to God, more likely to pray

More determined to stay by your side

 

I don’t ask that you don’t break my heart

Because I know I will survive that, I will love harder and deeper after that

I don’t ask that you stay, because I know you will

I ask that you would be honest with me

See me for who I am

Take in the aggression with the silence

The kindness and insults

The many mistakes

The physical pain and complaints

 

Hold out your arms and take me all in

I am yours.

 

And if you find yourself wishing you were anywhere else, with anyone else just tell me and leave.

 

Because you are too beautiful of a soul to live unfulfilled.

And I am too blunt of a sword to be wielded by someone that doesn’t know or understand my power.

I am a selfish lover, demanding to be your only weapon.

I am hard work, missed signals and misunderstandings.

Playing anything other only has never interested me.

 

Don’t try and keep me with promises of a flowery future.

I prefer wild creeping plants, deep greens and tall dark trees with lichen.

I can plant my own garden

But I chose to do it with you.

Run out.

Is there much of a place for someone who can’t accept criticism? Can’t build on people’s well ment comments. Can’t add to themselves.

Is there any room for one who insists on who  they are without getting to know who that is and what that means?

I mean what room is there for growth without making the effort to discover how?
How do i sit here and be. Waiting to change. While consciously, purposefully avoiding all chances of that happening?

Listen.

There is self acceptance from self knowledge. Bringing self love.

And there is self deception.
A laziness from words stored inside you wont let out. There is fear of judgement from people who are better or worse. There is pretending you dont care and that this is not something you want. Or wanted.
There is jealousy of the successes of those who give enough of a fuck to put in the work. There is envy for the success and recognition you dont deserve.

There is me. Running around with all these words. Unwriten. If written, unpublished. If published unperformed. If performed not effective. Inneffective. I am.

Is there any room, any place at all for a poet who has run out of words? Out of buildings. Out of steam.

Songs into the darkness

Somehow it still hurts
Not belonging to someone
I have tried being okay with it
But there is something in me that craves commitment

Is it the fear of being alone?
The fear of losing ones mind?
I think if you are alone enough
You see yourself too clearly
And everything you have done
Is naked before you
You look yourself in the eye
And you cry
Trying comfort yourself
As only you can

That’s the way things have gone for me.
And in my order.
You meet someone.
Declare love.
Commit.
Change your mind.
Leave.
Repeat.

But i know that are we not just bodies
Trying to cling onto other bodies
While our minds run away.
Our spirits, our souls.
Change with each encounter
And i don’t know who I am becoming anymore.
I don’t know if it’s me
But what would I be without all these mistakes?
All these decisions to connect?
You and I are constantly running away from truths
That we know deep in ourselves
Because honesty with self is too hard.

And it’s become a habit
Loving a friend as more than one
And not seeing anything beyond that.
I haven’t ever had anything beyond that.
More than friends with benefits
When the only real benefit is a delusion of a relationship.
We get to feel all the emotion without the commitment
And I have sold myself the lie that I don’t know what I want.
I like to think that I want to belong to someone.
I like to think that I can wait for that.
I have learnt that I can’t.

So I will keep thinking
Convincing  myself that I am okay
Either way
Wasting
My time, energy and money
On things that fill me empty
Leave me hollow
Wanting more flesh
More fill
To be more full of something worth anything more than what I am right now.

And if you are honest
Tell me
What void are you attempting to fill?
Because late night poetry
Songs into the darkness
In the quiet
Help no one

Yet we still do this
Its empty release
Confused words
By an incomplete person.