Last week there happened to be several comments made by people dealing with depression and other mental health issues. I suffered from depression very briefly in my early 20s, it wasn't something I would wish one anyone. It's like wherever you go you're shrouded in the cloak or darkness, like there's a dark cloud hovering just a few inches over your head the follows you everywhere. You can't find joy in anything whatsoever, the tiniest things cause you immense pain and sorrow, the tiniest things like seeing a chicken with a bad leg could set you off on a deep dark path that only ends in tears and exasperation. Nothing is good, nothing makes you happy, you just want to be left alone in your cloud of darkness. Going out and actually having to face real people becomes horrific and dreadful, you would rather chew your own flesh than have to socialize. And everyday you cry and cry and cry, whether you know why you're crying is another matter entirely. But you just cry because you're so deeply indescribably immensely sad.
Sometimes it's not that you don't want to go out, you actually do, you wish you could go out and be normal like a normal person, go to the grocery store, go for a run, go visit a friend, you actually want to but the emotional and mental capacity to so completely eludes you, so you stay hidden in your room where it's safe. And on those rare moments when you actually find the strength to go out, that brief moment of respite, you hurriedly put your clothes on and on your way out to catch of tiny glimpse of yourself in the mirror and suddenly your emotions plummet immediately; your clothes look all wrong, your hair is a mess and your arms, why are they so fat? Immediately you struggle out of your clothes and fall back into bed where you're safe, where no one can see you.
It's feeling ok one minute and the next you feel so terribly low, so low you almost can't move, so low you feel like something is choking you. It's this feeling you just can't get a hold of that's gnawing away a part of you. Unfortunately like a cold or fever there are no physical symptoms and people can never tell so they'll call you weird, they'll say you're a loner, some will say you have low self-esteem and that causes you social anxiety, some will go as far as telling you you have inferiority complex, but no matter how much they erode your sense of self and happiness, the real erosion of self and happiness comes from within you. It's like a cancer that eats away at your being, your happiness, your sanity, your spirit, your life. Someone once described it as "a room in hell that has only your name on the door".
Someone who caught a glimpse of what I was feeling but couldn't make any sense of it always accused me saying; "you've got white girl problems". And that's the problem, mental health is not taken seriously in Nigeria! I've heard people say things like Nigerians don't suffer from depression, or depression is 'white people's sickness'. In a comment someone who's dealing with an issue described what could easily be Schizophrenia but is patiently waiting for God to [sic] bring him/her back. The sooner we begin to realize that mental health issues are real and do something about them the better. I am no expert, I was fortunate enough to have mine blow over just the way it came. But clinical depression is real, as are other mental health issues. And although like I said, I'm no expert, one thing I know about illnesses is that the longer they go untreated and untended the more they deteriorate. Mental health issues are illnesses just the same way Malaria and Thyphoid are illnesses, and just like those, they too require treatment and medical attention.
Finally I believe just like Luke 18: 27 says there's nothing too difficult for God to do but bear in mind that God helps those who help themselves. Be proactive, do something about it, get professional help and place your faith in God to make that help effectual and effective. The people I've heard from said they did pray and all but it wasn't till the sought and received professional help that they began to get better.
And lastly, please not every problem is spiritual. (Mental) illness isn't always as a result of witchcraft or what one wicked man in the village did or didn't do...
Have you ever dealt with mental health issues or do you have a spouse that does? How has the journey been? Have you sought help? If yes, where and how? What coping mechanisms did/do you use? Please share, you just might be helping someone.