On emotional health and being cold- hearted

If you know me, then you’re aware that emotions and I are on different paths. Once in a while we meet and it’s a mess. However, when we get back on our own paths, I am good for a while. Or so I thought.

~~~~~

What is “depression” in your mother tongue?

I didn’t and still don’t know what it is in my mother tongue . How then do you explain something you don’t have a word for? We’ve all be in those situation where words fail you and you wishing you could crack open your skull and go ‘see!’. You’d want to point ‘here’, ‘here’ and ‘there’ so that people can piece together what you feel.

It’s annoying.

~~~~~

I come from a long line of men and women who don’t know how to express their emotions or cannot do so appropriately. On my dad’s side, people are cold as ice. Aunt Emily, if you read this, let your siblings know I said so. I’ll tell your brother myself LOL!

On my mother’s side, it is nine women who have a hard time expressing themselves appropriately especially when overwhelmed with emotion. I’ve had extensive conversations with mother and my aunt in Chuka and they tell me I don’t even know the half of it.

My cousin’s aren’t better either. Humor is poured on everything intense with no regrets or care. Opening up to who? Why? For what? Even with those I talk to, it’s clear that they and I don’t handle emotions well.

(Stops to stare at the dirty laundry I’ve typed out. Moves on because I know someone somewhere can relate.)

So I have this ice cold personality coupled with an inability to handle extreme emotions well. I either become aggressive or drink myself silly. Yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation: Worrathose???!

~~~~~

I’ve just had a conversation with my life partner* about how I just realized my inadequacies in the areas of emotions and self-expression. Like I would say I love him, but not really meeeaaannnn it even though I did. Like, you get?

It’s like telling someone that you care about them and then that’s it. Sure, you’ll do things to show you care but it’s more of ticking boxes off a checklist society has given you. You feel nothing when doing it; at some point it feels like a chore because your heart isn’t there.

Cold-hearted. And that’s how I’ve been going through life. Sigh.

It sucks to think that I’ve never loved properly because my emotional health was non-existent. But now I’m looking forward to healthier relationships all round. But it’s a journey.

(*If you ask about him, I will ignore you.)

~~~~~

Friends: I love/ miss you

Me inside: What am I meant to do with that information?

Me outside: Aw! *pauses for several seconds* I love/miss you too!

In essence I am writing this to shed light on the topic of emotional health. Secondly, it’s something I have to work on. Because it is ABSOLUTELY horrible!

How bad?

During one of my therapy sessions my assignment was to go look up feeling words. You know, like words healthy people use to describe their emotions? Because my vocab was wanting in that area (in a lot of areas but you get my point.)

How do I feel right now? Relief. I’m now less shity of a human being.

Grow and bloom my friends,

Cheers

Be kind to depressed people, they are already beating themselves up

Today I was called out. I was not amused. It was basically “are you sure you can handle this new role especially since you were unable to fulfill the previous one?”

They had a reason to say that. Totally warranted. When I thought about it further, I realized the reason I had lost flavor for the role at the time was because I had lost flavor for life itself. Getting out of bed was an issue. What of an official role in a group?

My point is, be kind. Especially if you know the person struggles with depression. I am not saying don’t tell us when we are wrong, just ensure that you do it in private and from a loving place, not with four other people on the table and questioningly.

We don’t stop doing things because we are lazy. It’s, quite literally, we’d rather sleep and not wake up on some days.

If someone has told you they are legit depressed, be kind. It won’t cost you anything. Otherwise, it might cost a life.

You really should go and love yourself

I thought I share this realization I had recently.

Of course this has a lot with going for counselling but I have come realize that the more I love myself, the less space I have for things that don’t make me happy. Once I note that something doesn’t bring me joy, I cut myself from it.

What I’m saying is, if you have a lot of things around you that are making you unhappy, check your self-love levels. It could be that you are allowing pain, disappointment and frustration in your life.

Think about it.

Cheers.

Yo, depression isn’t sexy.

Allow me to show you my thought process.

Me: Why are you writing about this again? You sound obsessed.

Me 2: ….

And here I am. That is my thought cycle for most of the time. They say confidence is sexy. This is not sexy. Being constantly unsure of myself has me bored on so many degrees. Picking the kind of socks to wear to bed becomes a whole thing, peppered with everything “wrong” I did and said over the weekend.

I am getting better at not obsessing about my thoughts but overall, battling and managing depression is hard. Taking a shower is right up there on the list of achievements along with brushing your teeth. When I write here, I do so to educate people through my experience. I want people to know they are not alone if they are going through depression, and secondly, if you know someone who’s showing signs of depression or they’ve verbalized it, it is as bad as they show and say it is.

I am glad that the media is bringing it to light, but I, like many others, are irritated by some narratives that are out there about depression. We are just getting over ‘wewe ni mwenda wazimu’ (your are crazy) stigma yet here we have people glorifying it. “I’m sooo depressed, like omg!”

Stop.

I think the issue is lack of knowledge. Not everyone- actually only a handful of people- will sit down and read the DSM-5 so they won’t know what it actually means to say you’re depressed or suffering from a mental illness. I suppose I am also ignorant in some ways like when I say that my period cramps are hell while another person will end up in hospital for the same.

In that regard I’m finding that I have to be more sensitive to people who are going through something I cannot relate with. As a good friend said, she doesn’t understand mental illness, but she can only try and listen and support me instead of assuming and trying to relate, because she can’t. And that’s what we need more of.

Another example of how NOT to glorify mental illness: I’ve had panic attacks but I cannot say I suffer from anxiety because they happened all of three times. Sure, they were bad, but it would be pretentious of me to throw in “I also suffer from anxiety,” never mind I don’t have a diagnosis for that. And yes, I’ll get a second opinion on the diagnosis of bipolar II and questionable singular sign pointing to psychosis. If you’re seeing a psychiatrist, I suggest you do the same.

I’d be so happy to come here and say “something is definitely wrong with my neurotransmitters but thank God it’s just a bad case of depression.” If it’s not… oh well!

We soldier on. Not because we feel like it, but because we are warriors.