Naming It for What It Is

Documenting Depression: Naming It for What It Is

“If we are to defeat certain poisons that threaten our joy, we must acknowledge them first.” —Upile Chisala

I am not doing okay. I haven’t been okay for a while now. I have been trying to hold myself together, but I can’t anymore. And maybe I shouldn’t try to.

There. It’s out in the air. Perhaps I can breathe a little bit easier now that I have just admitted it to myself and the several people who would care to read my thoughts.

Just a week ago, someone I look up to as a mentor (she doesn’t know this, but she genuinely feels like the more wiser and mature version or rather a reflection of me) said to me, “I noticed that you haven’t written on your blog for a while.”
I shook my head, with a somewhat somber face. “I honestly can’t get myself to. It’s too hard.”
“Just try to, even if you just write to yourself and the world never gets to see it. Or you get home and just write one sentence. That’s still enough.”

And I understand where she was coming from, she understood and knew what writing is and means to me. She knows that writing is the most sacred and honest place where I can unburden, heal and simply listen to the soul of my heart.

But it was still far too hard. I know what writing does to me, it’s the only place where trumpets are blown against all the walls of my pretences and facades, and they have no choice but to come crashing down. With that mighty falling comes weeping. There’s no longer any chance for me to try and be strong when that’s the last thing my fragile and vulnerable inner state is capable of being.

And these words that I am writing, that are taking an incredible amount of effort and courage to write are coming from a place of immense pain. A place where I feel like an illness, depression to be precise, is taking my life away and I absolutely have no idea how to reclaim it.

It’s 10 a.m. as I write this. For the last hour, I’ve been trying to sommer up the strength to eat my food from last night’s dinner (because my appetite is pretty much non-existent) but food tastes like cardboard or bitter medicine that my body just wants to reject at every gulp of it. All of this made me tear up in helplessness like a baby whose food has been taken from. It hit me quite hard, the little realization that a food-lover like me barely wants anything to do with food because just like with everything else, my head seems to be on that “what’s really the point?” tip. And day, after day, I see my weight shedding and body wasting away as my own inner world shrivels away… And the feeling of powerlessness that comes with it because there’s nothing I can do to change the state.

“Happiness takes so much toil, sweat and blood when your own head continuously rejects the idea of pure happiness and even goes to great lengths to sabotage it when it does show up.”

Did I also mention that I haven’t bathed in 3 full days? The only drenching in liquid is the one of being soaked in tears that usually catch me off guard when I’ve exhausted all my distractions and slip into my grave, depressive thoughts.

The space I’m in terrifies me and I wish I could press some skip button on it. I hate carrying around so much melancholy and sadness. The realization that I struggle to comprehend or imagine the idea of being a completely centered, functional and genuinely happy human being is one of the things that weigh me down and make me feel so utterly broken and worthless. The fact that quotes and phrases like “happiness is a choice” are a complete sham to someone like me, that I can’t simply want and chase after a happier state and “poof” it’s there. Happiness is a lot of hard work for someone who has lived all their life with depression. Happiness takes so much toil, sweat and blood when your own head continuously rejects the idea of pure happiness and even goes to great lengths to sabotage it when it does show up.

“…being able to name your monsters and put a face to them may not make the battle any more easier, but at least you know that they are not you and you are not them”

I think right now the best way I can be there for myself is to first admit to myself, and then the people that I love, that I’m in a vulnerable and fragile state. And perhaps learning to make peace with the fact that maybe this can never be completely cured of my life and that throughout my life I’ll probably always be finding new ways of managing the depression so that it does not derail or wreck my life progress and everything else that’s significant. Because prior to this, I convinced myself that I’m done with depression in my life, for good, I’m just not going back to that dark place that feels like being stuck in a maze with no way out. Lol! And how arrogant of me to have believed this because, its as though out of the blue it abducted me, saying, “Beyps, I’ve always been there, why would I just pack up and leave? Just because you think you all grown up and you can do stuff on your own? Sit your ass down! Sofa s’lahlane dali!”

Ever since I knew what I was dealing with or had been dealing with, from the first time I visited a psychologist’s office, I have grown immensely. I can now separate myself and my own thoughts from those that come from depression and anxiety. It has taught me that being able to name your monsters and put a face to them may not make the battle any more easier, but at least you know that they are not you and you are not them. And that’s a bit of enough light to carry us through the darkness.

My hope and prayer (for myself and anyone who is reading this and finds resonance) is to let whatever little light that may linger inside us to sustain us through this dark valley, which my deepest faith says we are merely just passing through, never to encamp. And perhaps that is all the hope we need, to remind us that we have never been our depression and never will it ever be us.

Light & Love,

4 thoughts on “Documenting Depression: Naming It for What It Is

  1. Ever since I notice that when i am approaching that time of the month I get moody and negative towards life, i could separate my thoughts and me around that time and started understanding that my thoughts around that time are not mine.

    So really putting a name to your monsters helps.

    Thanks for putting it in proper words ?

    1. Exactly! It’s very important that one masters that and I’m so glad that you had been able to make that necessary separation.

      It’s only my pleasure Qhama, thank you for reading. ❤️

  2. Thanks so much for sharing friend.

    I truly applaud you for finding the strength to face the monster and expose it, so that it doesn’t keep you shackled in darkness of fear and shame. Adversity flourishes in darkness, but once exposed to light, it loses all power. I can find resonance in the words and scenarios you’ve described here, and I know that it a very dark and horrible place to be in. A place where life seems to stand still, and at some point ceases to matter, and you’re just surrounded by darkness, apathy and zero cares to give…

    But above all, once a separation has been made between you and the illness has been made, life is more bearable because you realise that you are not depression, and thoughts that result from depression and anxiety are not your thoughts. Once that separation is made in your mind, it is easier to pick up the pieces and continue with life.

    Thanks again for sharing friend.

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