My Words, My Music, My Depression
“I’ve been searching for an exit
But I’m lost inside my head
Where I spend every waking moment
Wishing I was dead.”
I’ve had my fair amount of battles with depression and anxiety but until I head the opening lyrics of this song by The Amity Affliction, I couldn’t really describe what was wrong with me. I knew I was depressed, but how could I even begin to tell someone how I felt? So, when I heard it during one of my ‘blue episodes’ I was totally blown away. I was like, “Whoa, this is me right here. Finally, someone gets it!”
It’s been hard talking about this. I’ve for the most part, been the go-to person for my friends.
I listen to them share with me, their joys, fears and vulnerabilities without judgment and help out however I can. But it’s been hard doing the same because while I feel knowledge is power, ignorance is also bliss, and in this light, Knowledge can be a burden unto others. They don’t know, so they’re fine because they won’t need to bother about me. Right?
It’s good to talk. I tell everyone that, but I haven’t really taken my advice until lately. Before that, I somehow get this invisible but awfully heavy weight on my mental shoulders. And when it gets like this, I’m more or less inclined to pray for death. Someone said that depression is like living in a body that tries to live while struggling with a mind that tries to die. I couldn’t agree more.
There are people around me and I feel alone still. I go to bed hoping not to wake up because I’m so scared of what lies ahead. For me, I’ve been a busy person and with time, as I began to look deeper into some triggers of what was wrong with me, I realized that while I appreciated having my hands full, stress overtime takes me down a very slippery slope. You’re so busy you unconsciously yell out, “What’s the point of all this? Let me just die please!”
Someone said that depression is like living in a body that tries to live while struggling with a mind that tries to die. I couldn’t agree more.
Yeah, being depressed can make one suicidal. For me, I never for once thought of ‘offing’ myself. I wouldn’t harm myself but I thought about death a lot; very early in the morning, and late at night. I just wanted to die because I was so tired, physically stressed and mentally fatigued. And sometimes, it doesn’t help when you’re broke but that’s not even half of it. I could be fine all round and still end up depressed. What was amazing was that with everyone, I was still making jokes and being goofy on the outside, inside, I was dying. I wasn’t ready for new challenges, opportunities scared me shitless and I just wanted to disappear.
Music and writing changed it for me because while I didn’t want to talk, or I wasn’t at that stage yet where I was comfortable ‘sharing’, they gave me an outlet. So, I could say or express how I felt even though I wasn’t really ‘saying’ anything. Someone else felt how I felt and was brave enough to say it — sing it, to tell me. And that was such a huge relief.
I listen to heavy music even though I’m a relatively quiet person. With it, every agonizing scream I can’t let out gets expressed. It fed my spirit and as crazy as it sounds, encouraged me to get up and go again. It encouraged me to see those around me who loved me and never lose that for anything. That even though life can sometimes be suffocating, I’m not short of air and I could still breathe. It counts.
So, when I’m under that blanket of gloom, I get help. Today there are a few people I can talk to who are always ready to listen. There’s MANI, an awesome NGO encouraging people to speak out, get help and help out, and for me, there’s still music. It’s not a cure so it’s fitting when someone sings about the depths of darkness and despair we sometimes find ourselves in but chooses not to dwell on that alone, but also to tell us that there’s a way out.
“You’ve searched your soul for far too long,
Your friend was lost, you carry on.
You bear the burden of sorrow’s past,
But you were built, you were built to f****** last.”
Talk, get help and well, it doesn’t hurt to sing and dance a little too.
Contributing Writer Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative
Originally published at Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative.