Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

I remember the first time I met Timehin – ok maybe I don’t really remember because I’m not sure if it was this year or last year – but it was after one of Glory Edozien’s events. Glory has a dialogue series where women come together to talk about issues from finance to beauty to self-esteem, was such a joy to attend that one on beauty. Anyway so a few of us chatted for a bit when it was over, Wana Udobang, Francesca Uriri, Glory, Timehin, and I, and we went from reflecting on life in secondary school, to the pressures of being a woman today (size, marriage, accomplishments, etc.) and it was so much fun!

On the drive home (I remember we had such a laugh even though Fran kept ‘threatening me all over the place’) and Timehin said we were crazy. Good crazy of course (adjusts halo). I saw a tweet from her later, something about looking for friends in Lagos (took me a while to place it was the same person) and so I sent a DM and we’ve been ‘cool’ ever since!

Timehin is a brilliant writer. Full stop. Even though I don’t agree with her stand on some things sometimes (which is alright because we’re not Siamese twins), the brilliance with which she expresses her thoughts is not up for discussion. She’s very frank in this entry, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written one of these year-in-review things, or ever had any desire to. Time as we understand it, broken up into well-defined blocks, only gives me anxiety. The urge to compare myself to others, to look back at the vast expanses of ‘waste’ where I didn’t do things to advance me on whatever course I’ve chosen (or been thrust into), the desperate attempts to do better ‘next year’… Anxiety.

2015 was a strange year for me. I haven’t been an adult very long — I’m 24 — and 2012-14 were so full of almost back-to-back upheavals that the relative stability of this year felt unreal. I coasted into a new job and a new flat. My daughter started school. My boyfriend and I celebrated two years together. I employed live-in help. I was living like a ‘real’ adult, and the entire time I felt like an impostor in my own life; like I wasn’t doing enough, like I had been set so far back in previous years that I’d never ‘catch up’, like I was still a lost little girl hoping to be taken in hand by a kind person who knew the way. I worried all the time, and my mental and emotional health suffered.

I spent a lot of days in a black hole, and on one of them, it occurred to me that I must figure out a way to take things one day at a time. Weeks of waking up crushed by the weight of something that felt too much like failure forced me to go easier on myself. I learned that I don’t have a handle on things, and that’s okay. I’m winging it, groping in the dark for what feels right, hoping for the best. I’m grateful for the chance to be somewhat kind to myself.

I forget too often that nothing is permanent, and very little is as disastrous as I think it will be, and most importantly, that time does nothing but pass. I worry too much. I regret spending energy and time being afraid, instead of just taking the steps I knew I needed to take. I regret kicking myself when I was down, allowing other people’s misunderstanding of my inability to put one foot in front of the other to define me. I wish I had sat with my sadness more, instead of escaping it as quickly and for as long as I could. I apologise to myself.

I didn’t happen on any big answers this year. I eased into discoveries; that I have depression, that I’m actually quite funny, that no one will look after me better than me, that I am responsible for defining the boundaries of my life. I learned to let my daughter climb in bed with me and talk about all sorts first thing in the morning, even when I’m working, because she won’t be three forever. I learned I deserve to be looked at with awe and love; that the person in her eyes is indeed me, and I am as wonderful as she thinks me. I learned that it is okay to ask to be loved the way I know I need to, and it is okay to refuse anything less. In this moment, I am closer to my centre than ever before, and the feeling that I am getting to know my own self, and to love her wholly, is more wonderful than anything else. It is wonderful enough that I am perfectly content to give the process as much time as it needs.

My name is Timehin, I’m a Nigerian living in Lagos, and I’m a writer.

Screenshot 2015-12-22 09.13.50

Gorgeous girl! Of course you’re a writer! Here’s to greater progress on your journey in 2016, and happier, less unpleasant days! Mwah!

Advertisements

Yesterday made it exactly two months since my darling aunty passed, and it still feels like one day she’ll knock on the door and all of this would have been a huge, cruel joke.

I miss her like crazy, everything still screams her, but I’m learning to be grateful for the times we had, the things she taught me, and the fact that she’s resting in the bosom of the Lord, far above any type of pain at this time.

I thought about her all day yesterday, and when I got tired of listening to Michael Kiwanuka‘s ‘I’ll get along’, I thought I’d write a bit, say a big thank you to people who have been there for me in this period; this time of great grief and sorrow. People in whose arms I’ve cried, in whose words i have comfort and solace, in whose prayers I’ve found strength – people whose friendship I don’t deserve, but I have been fortunate to have been blessed with.

To Olamide Craig who missed a day of school that Monday morning, came over, stayed with me (spent literally the entire day) and only left after I had slept, God bless you. This our friendship sha! Made in heaven ke nan!

To Ace, rockstar! You have been there through all of this, up to when you had to scold me to get it together, I saw your love (and worry) right through. Thank you!

To  my bestie of life and destiny, Miss Wumi Raji! Even though you were dealing with a tragedy of your own, you still found time to check on me, worry about me, tease me, even insult me sef! Love you to the moon and back babe!

To Nike Coker, a friend who is closer than a sister, I love you!!! I won’t ever forget you showing up on the day of the funeral, straight from the airport sef! Whatever did I do to deserve your friendship? God bless you for me o! Massive hugs to Bukky and Tony who showed up to be there for me because you asked them to. God bless you guys loads and loads.

To a friend and boss, Chude, thank you. Who else gives their staff two months off work? When we were in hospital, when she passed, I didn’t have to worry about my work suffering, because you let me off anyway. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. How many times can I say that really?

To Zoey, of the tapestry treasures blog, whoop! What would I have done without you? We’ve never met but at some point I could hear you talking to me just by the comments you were leaving on my posts! God bless you for all the words of encouragement, the prayers, the personal stories you shared, I’m more than grateful! Thank you Zoey…

To Matilda (daughter of Zion ke nan), Anino (whatever would I do without you), my iBlend family, buddies on social media, people everywhere who showered love and affection, who called, who prayed, who sent messages, who still check to see that we’re all holding up ok.

God bless you.

Thank you.

Did you watch ‘Speak Out’ as a child? That question is directed to people 22 years and older who spent their childhood in Nigeria.

I did, and even though all I remember about it is the montage with the very loud ‘speeeeaaaak out’ at the end – I remember that I always looked forward to that bit so I could ‘scream along’, much to my mother’s chagrin.

I read a post on Bella Naija recently;  someone wrote about 7 things she wished she knew before she turned 25. Beautiful post, poignant points, real life lessons. One of them stood out for me, and I’ve copied and pasted it below.

People are willing to help: People are more willing to help than you think; all you need to do is ask. This is very true, but fear of being turned down or lack of confidence in yourself would stop you from asking most times 

Certain events in the past week have impressed one thought in my heart, no man is an island – if we weren’t supposed to have support systems it would have been one person to one country or one person to one continent. God in His infinite wisdom knew that we’d need one another at different times, for different things and that’s why we’re born into families, we live in communities, we take classes with other human beings, we fall in love, remain or fall out of it, and one way or the other birth offspring to start this process all over again.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen, I hope I have been able to convince and not confuse you (lol) that we need each other, and should speak to each other when we have issues we cannot tackle on our own.

I know that deep down in your mind you might counter my ‘ a problem shared is a problem solved’ with ‘ people who can’t solve your problems compound or share them’ but the  fact that someone fell down a bicycle doesn’t mean you won’t ever ride. I don’t ride bicycles anymore but that’s a totally different story. We have all had bad experiences from things we tried out but it doesn’t mean we stop trying, just shows one more way not to do whatever it is we did. Right?

Suffering whatever challenge you might be facing alone is not the smartest thing to do, believe me. Take a second, think about it – it’s probably a challenge because you haven’t been able to answer a question, correct a deficiency, or get yourself out of an unpleasant situation. You haven’t been able to do it yourself, you refuse to seek help, and yet you expect the situation to change. Seriously? Ever heard the “insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results” quote?

My Darlings, speak out, help for whatever you’re going through is closer than you think. Don’t shortchange yourself. Life is too short to live one that isn’t a 100% fulfilling; it’s too damn short.

If you’re extra concerned about your privacy (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that), seek counsel or help from a different state, city, country even, and you don’t have to travel; just do whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Let’s do life together, there’s no reason to go it alone.

Hugs.

courtesy peopleoffaith.org

courtesy peopleoffaith.org

P:S – Happy Mothers Day to mothers everywhere!!!! You rock!