4 min read

Exploring my mental health

I've been meaning to write about this for a while but I hadn't  been able to figure out how to go about it or what to focus on exactly. There's anxiety, depression, being suicidal and a bunch of other stuff.

I've dealt with depression for a long time, likely since secondary school. That's still a pretty dark period in my life and one I'd rather much forget. I went through each day, at some point, with no motivation to do anything. Couldn't get myself to read, to focus in class, I don't know how I passed certain exams. I loathed the environment and everything in it. This worsened by the time I got into university and I would have short periods of highs and long periods of feeling low. I always felt like a failure even though everyone around me thought the opposite. I'd have conversations with my classmates about how I thought I was going to graduate with poor results and they'd look at me funny. The thing with depression is that its irrational. When I tell people that I'm depressed, they tend to conflate it with being sad and think there's something that can make me snap out of it and it's never the case.

By the time I started working, I started devolving a bit more. I was in a job that drained the life out of me and gave me no sort of joy. This was where suicidal thoughts started to come into my life. I felt worthless, like I could never amount to anything and it would be better if I was no longer here. It continued for a while and stopped. I switched jobs a couple of times and finally found my dream one, but I still got depressed by the end of my first week there, and felt like I would never be able to succeed there. I had a lot of episodes throughout my stay there, culminating with one of my worst suicidal spells till date. I would wake up every morning with what felt like a dark cloud over my head and go to work, pretending that I was fine. No one picked up on it, not my close friends, my colleagues or my therapist. I just didn't want to be here and I could not shake the thoughts out of my head.

I've had a few periods where I've been suicidal since then and nothing seems to get me out of it. My therapist considered an official diagnosis for clinical depression which would have placed me on meds but she took an alternate route instead, choosing to look for anything in my past could have led me to the point that I thought about killing myself.

With anxiety, its another ballgame on its own. My anxiety disorder started to manifest fully in secondary school too. Because I was unmotivated to do anything about my academics, my grades suffered, which led to me worrying about repeating classes every single session. This continued well into university, where I was actually putting in  a lot more effort. I could never shake the fear that I wasn't good enough. With work, I always feel like I'd get fired for not performing, even when I am performing optimally and getting praises from my manager and teammates.

I also struggle with a lot of health anxiety, courtesy of my parents and them constantly listing out of the health issues that I could get from either my eating choices or from watching TV or playing games. A constant barrage of that can be pretty damaging and it's not something that's easy to get past. Health anxiety also means that I sometimes think I have something when I absolutely do not. I tend to look for symptoms where non exist. I gave up on scouring medical sites for information on various diseases, or I would just have my mind spiral out of control.

Social anxiety is something that I've struggled with since I was much younger. Always being afraid to talk to new people, worrying about what they might say or how they might treat me. I put in a lot of effort into this from when I got into university but it never really goes away. Whenver I'm out, I can't bring myself to talk to people. It always feel like I'm being judged for not talking a lot or being reserved. I've once been asked to come sing at an open mic that I went for and I could not just wait to go back to my seat. One way I got around this was texting. I found out that I was more comfortable meeting people if we'd been texting beforehand.

There was a point in my life where I used to tell everyone that I met about both struggles, as a way to bond with them. Now, I no longer want to do that, even with my close friends. I get tired of being told to snap out of it, as if I choose when to be depressed and when to come out of it. Or like I choose to be anxious about things beyond my control and can as easily drop them. When suicidal thoughts show up, I can't think of anything that anyone would be able to do when they help and when they ask, I have no answers for them. I started getting good at keeping a facade when in an episode and it's something that I hope to improve in the future. I don't really know how anyone helps and it feels like it's best not to bother them with it.

I kept going over whether or not I should write this post and could not bring myself to do it. The thing that finally spurred me was thinking about my life expectancy, how people like me have a much lower one. There was a point in my life where I thought that people could just power through, but now I see that its rarely possible. It gets to a point where living just becomes a chore and you're left wondering what exactly you're meant to do. Not to mention the myriad of genetic and/or medical issues that could affect you living long. I started trying to come to terms with it, instead of being afraid. Maybe I'd go on meds for both issues later on, but getting meds in Nigeria has proven hard so lol. I came close to burning down my parents house once because of an issue that got diagnosed almost 10 years after and for which I've still not gotten any treatment for lol. Anyways, bye.