Missed me? I certainly missed you! Do forgive the over-zealous behaviour. I’m feeling happy, blessed and loved… a bit fatigued too, but that’s besides the point. It’s my first post as a 27-year-old (yesterday was the actual birthday, yay!) and I’m super-swamped with work so it’s all about brevity at this point… or not. I almost skipped doing it, to be honest, but I always feel it’s best to write when I actually have something to say rather than churn out frivolous posts just to fill blog space, and what I’m discussing in this one is quite powerful. Something we should all take into consideration. As you can see from the picture above, I’m wearing (in addition to a bright smile) yellow to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10, 2013), something that strikes a poignant chord with me as someone who suffers from depression. *gasp* Did I just say the ‘d’ word? Yes, actually, and I will say it again. I have been struggling with depression since age 13. I know very well what it feels like to have suicidal thoughts, and as much as I am a lot stronger than most other people where will power is concerned (meaning it’s highly unlikely that I will ever attempt it again), fighting the thoughts has proven to be QUITE the task, and there are also many others out there who are not half as resilient as I have been.
I’m no expert. I am still learning about mental health and I just happen to have a shoe in due to the fact that I not only have a mental illness, but also have a clear view of how it affects the lives of the afflicted and those around them since there are persons within my family who also suffer from mental illnesses. I thought it appropriate to write the post today in recognition of what the day stands for, but I really have been toying with it in my head for quite some time. Actually, I recently learnt the word ‘eccedentesiast’, which Urban Dictionary describes as “someone who hides behind a smile, when all they want to do is hide and/or die.” and that’s where it all began.
Then I saw this TED talk (below)… and it was just SO real! I couldn’t have explained it any better myself. People always assume I am a jovial, happy-go-lucky person with so much zest for life (which is true in a sense) but the reality is that much of this gets shrouded in depression. That means being armed with a sledgehammer to constantly knock away at it when it starts encircling everything around me. No small feat! Over the years I’ve become brilliant at concealing it from others… almost to the point of it becoming second nature. It really is a difficult thing to discuss (it took me at least three hours to write this… go figure), especially given the stigma surrounding it and the way many people instantly disappear or react differently to you when they find out you have a mental issue. Plus, as much as I am sociable, I am not friendly. I am very private. I rarely speak about myself and I do not ‘let people in’ easily, so chances are, even if I have known you for years, I probably have never spoken to you about it or let you even vaguely detect when I’m walking around with a fog over my head. How do you explain to someone that you’re consistently at war with yourself?
Putting myself, my innermost thoughts and feelings out there like this… I can’t even begin to explain how hard it is for me, but I do believe it needs to be done. Hopefully in doing this I might just be able to help one person to fight harder or realise someone they love probably really needs professional assistance. (Or at the very least, love and a true friend). Friendship and love have saved me from myself countless times.
The journey is indeed difficult, but all I can do is have faith, continue to be strong and trust that God will continue to help me through it. It is one that I contend with every day and there’s so much to say about it that I probably would need 100 more posts to do it properly. The good thing is that I am now older, wiser, much better able to understand what I am going through and how important it is to prevent it enveloping my being. And now that I’ve successfully absorbed you into my dark cloud for a bit, I thought I’d cheer you up again with a song written and performed by one of Jamaica’s youngest and brightest upcoming reggae stars, Chronixx.