By Beatrice Mokwunye
I attended a conference, recently, at the Enterprise Development Center (EDC)–Lekki. During the question and answer session, a woman took the mic and stood up. She asked her question as simple as possible, but she didn’t seem to be satisfied at the level of her brevity. As a result, this lady spent close to ten minutes narrating the reasons for the question: Her business is going down despite the amount of time, effort and money she had invested in it. Soon, we got tired and wish she could hand over the mic; then she made this striking statement “every day, I struggled with depression,” she said in a low bitter tone, “I don’t know if anyone knows what it feels like to be depressed…” That statement touched me hard; indeed, I could feel the depth of her pain, but looking around, my heart dropped in reproach: I saw some members of the audience murmuring, others giggling at the lady’s statement with a clearly painted attitude that reads “ki ni big deal (what’s big deal)?”
Over 40 million Nigerians women, between 17 and 35, battle heavily with depression. Moreover, studies have shown that this prevalent mental disorder is the underlining causes of several other mental and physical diseases, including diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer and other terrible diseases. But, the saddest thing is: no one cares. Little or no attention is given to victims of depression. In fact, the most painful thing is when you try to explain to someone how heavily depressed you feel, they turn to you with such attitude that simply says “and so?” This level of “who-cares-attitude” from the society got me thinking and at the same time, asking “do they really know what it feels like to be depressed?”
Life in depression is like a graveyard, like thick fumes of dark soot—no breath, no light—everything dulls and bores. Only sadness and bitterness, self-loath and resentment exist.
Sometimes, it flashes upon your soul like a turbulent wind, and within the speed of light, your happiness withers, laughter dries up, tastes subsides. Then, swam of Goosebumps grip your entire body like a winter night, and the next thing you see are streams of hot tears gushing out of your eyes. What happened? You can’t explain.
Your eyes ache, the head pounds, and fever feeds on the remains of your body. A continuous heating sensation is felt right inside your brain that get your asking “have I lost my mind?” You can’t even think of anything meaningful order than the trio depression.
You feel irritated by people and activities and prefers to stay alone especially in a cool, remote or dark areas.
You’re forced to adopt insane habits such as wearing one pair of clothing repeatedly for days; you find comfort only in wearing darker colours. You don’t even give a ‘damn’ to make-up, flashy bags, shoes or accessories anymore.
You lean on gluttony (excessive eating) and consume excess brandy, baron or whisky, not because you wish to.
Simply put, a state of depression feels like a body pressed down or crushed by a heavy duty crane. The more you try to get out, the more addicted feel towards your pain.
The most terrible message depression gives you this: “there’s no hope for you!” “no one cares about a miserable soul like you!” “there’s nothing interesting anymore about like.” It gets to a point whereby these thoughts drives its victim to suicidal attempt. You probably might have felt it once or twice when you feel “this pain is too much to bare…”
Has any of these ever happened to you? If “yes,” please share with others. Remember, when you share your experience, it might resonate with someone else and, consequently, bring hope and encouragement to her.
So, keep the ball rolling by sharing those bitter-sweet experiences