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