There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. ― Laurell K. Hamilton,
dɪˈpreʃn: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason
Growing up in an African household, mental health issues were never a topic of discussion simply because, in our culture, it is often dismissed as a “ problème de Blancs” – something that is only found amongst westerners. It is also in our culture to appear and remain strong no matter the situation. But as a result of this, many are scared to speak up regarding their mental state and suffer in silence. When asked, they’ll say it is only fatigue, not wanting to appear weak, less capable, or possessed by a mischievous demon if anything.
What does depression feel like?
Everything and nothing at the same time. Like you’re trapped in a cycle of nothingness. There is no longer a meaning to life, you cease to live and contempt yourself with existing. Your demons fight battles in your head and there is no greater force to stop them from wrecking everything else. You are constantly left to your own negative thoughts; the longer this goes on, the harsher they become.
It is one thing to feel down from time to time, but when your lassitude turns into feelings of nothingness, that is when it should become a concern. So no, it isn’t only in the head, it isn’t a phase, it isn’t something you grow out of. Once you hit rock bottom, finding the will to achieve anything becomes a great challenge.
To those who are going through this, as hard as it is, know that you are never alone. Stepping up and recognizing that you need help is the first and most important step. Even when it seems like there are no better days, try to tell yourself there are. Battling depression is one thing, but fighting it alone is another; seek help, surround yourself with people who care for you – trust that they exist.
To those who may know someone going through this, or showing signs of depression, please take them seriously. It is in their moments of vulnerability that they need you the most. Just being an ear that’s there to listen already makes a difference.