Stop It

“Depressed ke? Do you have kids to feed and send to school? Are you running a company? So what are you depressed about? Mr friend! You better think yourself out of that bad mood.” — Every ignoramus in existence.

Stop talking and start listening. I’m not asking you to do this- I’m telling you do so. No, your child isn’t seeking attention and your friend isn’t just moody. Sensei, your student isn’t dodging schoolwork and Oga, madam isn’t simply overthinking.

In life, its a normal thing to have bad days, feel moody and go through periods of sadness. Wanting to be left alone, not having the strength to smile and just feeling down- I can relate- its part of being human. But it stops being a phase when you feel worse than this for more than 2 weeks and its not normal anymore when thoughts of suicide are added to the mix.

Depression. A mental illness that affects your perception of life and how you handle daily activities. Yes, its a serious illness that isn’t taken seriously by many people. Along with intense sadness, people who are depressed also experience: a feeling of worthlessness, lack of interest towards everything, guilt, negative thoughts, disturbances in weight, sleep, sex drive and energy, and suicidal thoughts. Now, an illness is an illness, whether physical or mental. If you can tell a depressed person to “just be happy”, you might as well ask someone who just suffered a cardiac arrest “couldn’t you just breathe?”

“It takes a lot of help and strength to heal from depression. Speaking from experience, depression also takes a lot of time to overcome. I couldn’t speak to anyone at home about it, I didn’t want my problems to written off as another episode of “seeking attention”, I wasn’t alone but I was alone. Depending on whoever is experiencing it, depression can be triggered by basically anything. Most of my childhood events were traumatic and as a result, they affected me deeply- together with what I was also going through at that time in my life. I needed help, but I was ignored. I tried to get myself up, doing it all alone- all my efforts were futile. Things got worse when I was told to “Kill yourself if you like, as long as we know where your corpse is…”, I developed immense hostility towards the person that said this to me. To the glory of God, after a few years, I was able to overcome this illness. It took time, letting go of the past, good company and God.

To those who are depressed, repeat after me: “I am not worthless, my existence is important. I am beautiful, I love myself, I am loved. I am not a burden to anybody and I will surely make it in life.” Even if you feel forsaken, remember that the Lord has told you in Hebrews 13:5 “…I will never leave nor forsake you.” I implore you, speak to someone about what you’re going through. If you feel like you can’t discuss it with your parents or anyone else around you, then please seek professional attention from any healthcare centre near you. You are important.

To those who know anyone who is suffering depression, please and please, don’t ignore their cry for help, no matter how silent that cry seems. If you suspect anyone, watch him/her carefully, even the tiniest details could be a distress signal. Don’t unlook please.

“Never mock a pain you haven’t endured”. Stop being that dimwit that belittles the effects of depression, stop listening to people’s problems just for gist, just stop it. Depression is bone-chillingly real, so reach out to someone now: the next minute might be too late- literally.

Like what you read? Give Ikeoluwa Odunjo a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.