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Allow me to take a minute…might as well take it with me.
Being 23 has been a lot like that. It has been a compilation of me taking a lot of minutes. Minutes that I may or may not have had or still have the most valid of reasons as to why they were taken. As I write this now, that minute I just took was to entirely decompress the surging anxiety of trying to come up with what I would deem the right words that would sum up this post. I have a lot and I have nothing. Being twenty-three has felt like the beginning of life and the edge of death all wrapped up in one scantily bow. To reassure me more than you, my reader, it is best I make it known that this will be a telltale sign of just how all over the place being this age has been for me.
I presume that had I known being 23 would have been like a free fall off a rollercoaster, I genuinely would have been fine skipping through it all together. But we both kinda know that it would have been a failed mission from the start. I am still 23 for those of you who may be wondering and I still have a month and a few weeks to go before I can otherwise say I no longer belong to this clusterfuck of an age. It is in these past ten months that I have felt no better than an invalid whose sole purpose has been to merely exist and fight the reigns of suicidality. And I quote, ‘’ To have no known purpose in life, is to seek a defined purpose in death ‘’. It is at this age that I have sought out a purpose in life but immensely still feel lost in a maze of how exactly to play out the beginning aspects of the said purpose. Just before I began to write this, I have been overcome with an immense fear that maybe what I have mapped out as my purpose, may actually not be it. The thought itself was whether what I think is my purpose isn’t in alignment with what is God’s purpose for me; it is an absolutely terrifying thought to have. At 23, figuring out a purpose is all I seem to have achieved with no laid-up plan on how to begin.
I am a very complex human being. Patience isn’t a favoured virtue of mine. Being 23 has tested this virtue vehemently. Straight out of college and my life, as complicated as it has been this far was meant to have a meaningful trajectory. I was meant to at least have the mental capacity to distinguish between my feelings as a 23-year-old going through a beginner’s life crisis and my mind’s trudge through having a mental illness. To say I still don’t have a distinguishable balance between the two would be putting it mildly. It is quite a dilemma. My sister is often my constant reminder that this part of being at this very age at which life seems not to have a designated direction makes it the most basic aspect of experiencing a beginner’s life crisis. She keeps insisting that it is perfectly fine that I don’t have my shit together despite the fact that I have been spending the last year and a half smoking cigarettes and sleeping at six in the morning; which I should state will be the case again tonight as it is already dawn. It has been hard to contend with my feelings that any part of my routine for the past year, most especially since turning a year older is supposedly normal for anyone in this transition from college. I can’t help but think that maybe my lack of any progression in life has been due to the definite failure of my mind to function in a remotely less ill manner. For me, struggling mentally has become the definition of who I am. I cannot begin to place where my depression and/or anxiety start or where it indefinitely ends. Like I said, a scantily wrapped up bow.
I wish there was a long list of things I could say that being this age has happened for me besides the greatest existential crisis of my not-so-long life. It is now I have wondered just how wrong my mind might be. I pride myself on how in tune I am with the subjective nature of psychology, it is what I will it to be as my purpose in life. It is in this same nature that I can’t help but wonder whether all that I may have thought to be the real underlying issue was actually just the beginning of a very tumultuous journey in my mental health. These ladies and gentlemen are what it is like to be a hypochondriac. To question if you are a sitting duck for an unidentified mental illness that is yet to fully flourish just because you are at the prime age at which it emerges. Again, as I said, I am a complex and highly complicated 23-year-old girl.
And finally, to be 23 has been to experience a deep-sated sense of isolation. Before this age, I wasn’t generally a social person but in the past couple of months, my need to be away from everyone has been incessant. I have intentionally stayed away from friends and family in the wake of very chaotic feelings.
That is kind of the million-dollar question right now. Is what I am feeling part of the overall despondence brought about by my mental illness? Could the harrowing exhaustion, anger and hopelessness that is completely incapacitating me be tethered to my being a ‘basket case’. I have well for months now racked my mind on whether my lack of motivation to be a remotely normal functioning human being was because I damn well couldn’t. It has been the utter bane of my existence. Trust me, there is only so much of the same thought that can plague you over and over again before your mind is ready to jump over the deep end.
I believe it is not stated enough how the term depression sometimes tends to feel a tad bit too linear. For me at least, it no longer embodies the tumultuous nature and degree of detachment that precedes having major depression. Hence the question, ’That’s it?’. It surely can’t just be it anymore, not when it feels like I unlock a highly complex level of this ailment every other time that I am bound to experience an episode of it. It surely also doesn’t help that it is entirely possible to experience many of the symptoms of depression without being psychologically unwell. Many a time I have struggled to come to terms with the awareness that this illness seems to spread a lot like wildfire among my peers because surely, they wouldn’t be experiencing the same kind of agony I seem to carry around every waking moment. The gravity that there may be a chance that they are going through the same degree of despondence as I am is truthfully heartbreaking.
My experience within this realm of psychological turmoil surely no longer fits within the box that is depression. I am no longer of the meagre notion that depression isn’t just sadness. If the tumultuousness of my pain is anything close to what is truly defined as depression, then it should be made well aware that depression was never sadness, to begin with.
I have been quite restless recently. I can’t seem to sit still without having my anxiety and agitation sky rocketing beyond. I sit, I stand, I move around and my next solution is always to have a smoke. Not my best moments for sure but I feel cornered to a wall without a much way out. I have thought that maybe the agitation is as a result of smoking while on the antidepressants I am on but there has been no solid evidence on goggle that that might be the case. I restarted smoking right after I went on medication because previously I couldn’t handle how much the nerves at night were heavy on my shoulders. Now truly, I wish I could get back those nerves over the agitated feeling that befalls me every evening as I so not look forward to night.
I recently made a decision to quit smoking three nights ago and I can sadly and ashamedly say that I have failed on each night. I even downloaded an app to help track how many days I could keep clean off smoking but it hasn’t been put to good use yet. I realise how reliant I am on smoking because I can’t seem to quit as easily as I thought it would take me to. Now here I am looking for nickles in all sorts of crevices just so I can have a cigarette before and after dinner. I truly need to find something to distract from smoking because I genuinely blame my idleness on how much I smoke in a day.
1. I am grateful for my father and my sister who are both alive and doing well.
2. I am grateful for I have a shelter to sleep in and food to eat.
3. I am grateful that I have bed despite its discomfort. I am still grateful.
4. I am grateful for my family both nuclear and extended who are always there for me when I need them and who come through for my family in times of need.
5. I am grateful for finishing school and doing so while passing my exams greatly.
6. I am grateful for my health and both the health of my family and friends.
7. I am grateful for the chance I got at an internship. It was my first chance and I am grateful that it may go through.
8. I am grateful for this blog that reminds always that I am a talented writer and will only get better from here.
9. I am grateful my sister’s support and everything she does to keep me going. The words of encouragement, the pep talks, the feeding and everything. I cannot fully express how grateful I am for her.
10. Finally, I am grateful for life. On many occasions, it is easy for me to go down the rabbit hole that is suicidal thinking. I struggle often to find the meaning of life for myself but I know I need to constantly remember to be grateful for the life I have.
11. I am most grateful for my mental health. It was in the gutter and few months ago and doing better now. I am grateful for the antidepressants I have access to every month to get better.
My mother always told me that boredom is a choice. It quite vexed me as a little child to hear that after I just yelled out how bored I was feeling. To say the least, I am still vexed. Today, I am still rocking in the same boat, more now than I have felt in a very long time. I wake up at noon, have a cigarette, have brunch and then sit to wonder what else is next. To give a bit of a background to my slow routine, I am freshly out of college, freshly being used lightly in this case. I finished school a year ago so now when I say it out loud, the term freshly is quite expired.
Earlier this week I had my first internship interview for the course I studied in school and to say the least, I just went through the motions. I was not prepared for the effort it took to get out of bed, shower and leave the house all before eleven in the morning. While I was taking a shower, it took absolute willpower to not back out from going to that interview. It was a lot of willpower that is for sure.
The interview went well. I am still waiting on their response but I am hopefull. Hence the waiting game.
New year resolution
I feel like I have to make this clear, I am not big on new year resolutions. I cannot recall a time in the past years where I have found myself creating resolutions at the beginning of any new year. I am still at the point at which the new year is a mere continuation of the last year, most especially during the transition from new years’ eve to the beginning of the first day of a new year.
This year though might probably be the first year I decide on having a resolution because why the hell not. With no substantial reason, I will have only one resolution for myself. I choose to have one merely because it is a start.
Being a plus size girl
For those who might not know this, I am a plus size girl. For the better part of being one, I have not always embraced it as a nature. It has always sort of felt like an inadequacy. It recently came to my attention that I actually no longer mind being plus size. I have to admit, it seems to bother those around me that I am a bigger girl than most. I wish I had the understanding of why, but genuinely, I would prefer they didn’t shove their opinions on my weight down my throat.
Accepting that I am big is one thing, being comfortable overall about it is still something I am working on. I try to derive inspiration from following other plus size women online and it does help in building the general confidence I need to eventually be okay fully as a plus size girl. It has taken me quite a lot of pep talks to myself to get me to wear a dress that compliments my body and it wasn’t until this weekend at a gathering where I was absolutely unconscious of the fact that I was in a dress while out in public. I was comfortable and that was all that seemed to matter which if I may, I would consider that a good start.
My new year resolution
My resolution for the year is to grow into my acceptance of my body while loving it as it is. This means taking better care of it, appreciating it, affirming it and everything else that feels good towards it. I want to wear dresses more and look stunning in them. I want to wear hugging jeans that show my curves just enough to still feel comfortable in them. I want to feel confident with my triple D sized cups and rolled up belly. All those parts of myself that were shunned before, I want to show them, love. They deserve to be loved and appreciated. Therefore that is my one resolution for the year.
This is for those unwanting of the new year. It is for those whose uncertainties in life didn’t magically disappear just because the new year is here. It is also for those whose sadness didn’t escape them when the clock hit midnight. These little words are for you.
I haven’t felt much of anything in a brief moment. When in regard to feelings, I wanna believe that my thought trajectory is always leaning on happier feelings, feelings of light and joy. Sometimes maybe even a little bit of peace. It is the new year and I can’t seem to feel the light and love going on around the world. Do I necessarily think it’s my fault that I feel forlorn at the start of a year that is magically supposed to bring cheer, no, not really? I understand hope and faith in wanting this time around to be different but what for us who can’t seem to grasp those little motions of hoping for another year of change. I read somewhere that sometimes all in one year, one is capable of living three years in one. Can’t blame me for feeling scared that this new year might in turn bring me three years instead of one.
This is for the unprepared. These words are for the sceptic people not sure of themselves enough to find joy in the new year. This is for those still carrying remnants of the day ago year that still lingers. For those who feel their losses so immensely, the beginning of a new year would be like erasing the memory of the loved one no longer there. This is for those who would rather not sit through doing a recap of their past year for it would mean scaling back old wounds. All of this is for us who will take it a day at a time as always.
What are antidepressants?
I wanna believe that majority of you are familiar with the term antidepressants or have come across it once in a while somewhere. For the few that may not be aware of what exactly they are, they are medicine taken for different mental health illnesses. Most especially depression. That’s the lame man’s definition.
Why am I on antidepressants?
I’ve mentioned before that I have been on and off antidepressants before. I started taking antidepressants for my depression and anxiety sometime last year after a terrible episode that required me to see a psychiatrist and through that session, I was prescribed my first set of antidepressants. I was on Mirtazapine for my first dose and I’ll go into detail on the side effects in a few. For a first timer, I can say I took it like a champ. It’s a different experience to be on this medication but it might seem scary at first but I can assure or anyone who may be on the path to having it prescribed to them by their doctor, it will help. It is part of the means of getting better.
Side effects of the antidepressants
The side effects stated below are mine and not a general over view of all the side effects one is prone to get while on any set of antidepressants prescribed to you by your psychiatrist.
My initial reaction to starting antidepressants was that it would minimise the depression I was feeling in a matter of days but I got to learn quite quickly that that wouldn’t be the case. On mitarzapine, the effects quite frankly hit me like a hurricane. The depression quite literally became worse before it became better. On most occasions, there is always a fluctuation in weight and sadly for me, I gained a lot of weight. My appetite sorta increased ten fold and I was eating on a constant. The hunger was on another level. When I mentioned earlier that I took it like a champ was because despite how gravely the side effects were, I never discontinued it and was on it for a month before I had my prescription changed by my then psychiatrist.
My second prescription was what I gotta admit taking was an extreme sport. I didn’t go long on them due to the grave side effects they had on my body. I won’t mention the names of the exact medicine I was on just in case it gives off the wrong depiction of the said meds. I remember on the second night of taking them, I began to have serious tremors. I couldn’t stop shaking and my teeth rattled, you’d think I was on the North Pole. In addition to that, my heart started pounding so heavily, I was sure I was gonna have a heart attack. With the side effects being that heavy, I had to discontinue the medication and it took me a whole nearly six months before I went on any other antidepressants.
Mid year of 2021, I got into another depression episode that required me to visit a new psychiatrist since I was home over that period. This time around, I got a better prescription than the last which is what I am still on currently. I am on 10mg Cipralex and 10mg haloperidole. The first one is majorly for my severe depression whereas the latter is for my anxieties and agitation. On the first take of this medication, it didn’t have much of a side effect that I could positively point out but now when I’m currently on it, there are a few new side effects that are damning to the soul.
This will positively be very inappropriate to whoever reads this but I’ll say it anyway, my vagina has been going through it with this current set of meds I’m on. Going through it, I mean it’s dead dead. Like I can’t seem to get aroused what’s so ever and trust me, I have tried. You name it, besides sex though… don’t gotta a guy for that, or a boyfriend too.
Not too long, I was ranting to a close friend how I can’t seem to feel the slightest bit of sensation down there and she had a good laugh out of it. Besides the dead vagina, I also can’t seem to feel much joy over anything which is a lot like a mild numbness. What I can’t truly stand though, out of all this, is the agitation at night, right before bed. It is darn right annoying. It’s such an extreme sport to get myself settled in bed when it feels like every thought is racing and none of them have got sleep in them.
So yeah, just thought I’d share my brief experience with taking antidepressants and hope it distigmatizes them for the better.
Merry Christmas guys. I know this will go up probably three days after Christmas but what the heck, it is the thought that counts. Hoping that your Christmas holiday has been full of cheer and wonderous adventure. Mine, maybe not all that adventurous but it has been full of cheer. I was able to spend time with family who is beyond the circle of just my father and sister. To be quite honest, I was uncertain of what my feelings were on having cousins over because quite frankly, I am not the biggest people person. I have very little energy for myself, sometimes offering it to others can be quite a tedious task for me. All in all, it has been a fun three days of cheer and merry-making.
I appreciate it immensely that I got to experience and enjoy the little bit of Christmas cheer that I got to have. I have to admit that since December started, I have not been feeling much of the Christmas spirit and it did not absolutely help with the fact that there stood an air of uncertainty on whether there was going to be much of a Christmas at all. Since my dad retired, the financial state of my family has been hanging on a loose thread hence the air of uncertainty. Graciously, everything panned out for the better and Christmas has been great non the less.
‘’How do I begin to set out to the world this painful reality that even I aren’t sure I have fully acknowledged? Most nights, I am uncertain of whether I have the reality of a tomorrow. I can’t seem to decide if seeing the night through is my main goal or whether I am just being dramatic over my emotions. There is this unbearable need inside my head that tells me that nothing is right, that nothing I feel or do can or will make anything right.
For the past two weeks or so I have been fighting the reality of the fact that I have been feeling suicidal. It has no longer just been fleeting thoughts anymore but solid assurances that I no longer can decide on whether life is bearable enough to be lived. I have thought through it so many times, I have questioned myself on whether it is real in both my heart and my head. It physically aches inside me whenever I think that I could finally be ready to let everything go. It is a very unbearable burden to carry because I have found no means or way to tell this to anyone. I am convinced that either no one will believe me or they probably won’t know what to do.
How do I begin to explain this to anyone when I myself haven’t entirely come to terms with this frightening realization? How do I put this into words to anyone else when all I truly feel is shame over even feeling like this? I say this with absolute resolute, the only thing that I am certain about in the midst of all the turmoil going on inside my head is that I have absolutely no idea what to do or where to start dealing with these feelings or these thoughts of suicide. It scares me not knowing how or where to start. So yeah, that is right where I am.’’
The above text was written by a very desperate, sad, despaired and most especially depressed girl. I can’t say with certainty that any of those damning feelings are gone yet, or better yet, I do know where they are. They are retreating to the back parts of my mind now that it feels a lot like I have a bit of amour against them. When I read those words above, I remotely can’t entirely recognize the girl who wrote them. She looks and feels a lot like a hollow shell and it is terrifying to think that at any one point I was this girl, I am this girl. The emotions feel like a vague memory, it has the vagueness of a sketchy dream that only holds bits and pieces of what is to be recalled of it. I wish all the memories of that pain could be erased but some of it is marred on my arms as-a-result of trying to drain it out. The pain is stuck deep inside, deeper inside than the mere blood in my veins. The scars in my hand are just a reminder of a very short-lived relief that didn’t ever quite feel like relief at all.
There is a very stark difference between being alone and being lonely. My depression is always certain to make sure I feel the best of both worlds, at least in regard to those two aspects of isolation. The most singular of the two feelings is when your entire being is encased in a fog of loneliness. No sense of reassurance would convince you otherwise of the fact that you are absolutely alone and beyond lonely. This time around, it dawned on me that I wasn’t intentionally choosing to be lonely apart from the intentional choice I made to be alone. It took all the energy I had in me to have any conversation I might have kept up with during this time. I can say with certainty that I have not spoken to the few people in my life to whom on occasion have seemed to retain some parts of me as their friend. The looming darkness is all that encases you, it is all I could think about. I was entirely convinced that nobody in my world would find a solution enough to save me from the dark pit I was in. I felt nothing beyond the scariest darkness known to my mind.
I feel like it’s important I make this fact clearer, depression is not just a bit of sadness. It is a lot more than even I can express. It is for sure something I still don’t think I have the full grasp over in regard to how vast of a feeling, an emotion, a concept, a thought, a sensation, an enlightening and a whole lot more. Depression is also quite invisible. It never is something graspable to the naked eye. For me, it is very suffocating. My mind never feels like it has any space to breathe, it feels like the only space I can afford to think is in remote gasps of air. It feels like it would resemble a lot of what I think it feels like to drown. The panic, anguish, despair and the complete lack of hope for rescue sounds a lot like how my mind is right now. Sally Brampton, the author of the memoir Shoot the damn Dog wrote in a very precise manner what it is like to experience the depravities of the mental fuck that is depression. She describes its most corrosive aspect as despair and catastrophic. She continues to elaborate on how impenetrable and unendurable it is.
I have experienced suicidal ideation before but never to its full potential as it was this time around. I knew I was deep in the gutter, submerged under when I couldn’t quit thinking of just how peaceful and pain numbing dying would feel like. When the thought became a permanent fixture in my mind, I knew there was no way around this. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. That awareness became the dawn of a new twisted kind of sorrow. I recall on some nights crying so deeply and feeling the pain and anguish so physically from knowing that I was lost in myself. I was lost in my hopelessness and my mind had resided itself to no longer living but to completely quit existing. To a degree, I thought if I hurt myself enough, it would ease that ache even just a little bit, enough to satiate it. Dull it down. It didn’t quite do it. It led me to commit my first suicide attempt. I remember the night vaguely but I recall the intent behind the pain I felt that night. I recall the finality to my thoughts when I placed the razor to my vein. I remember the soaked tears in my sheets from my wet face. It was a pain I can only describe as purely indescribable. 23rd of October,2021 I decided I didn’t want to live anymore, at least not in the state of mind that I was in.
I can’t say with absolute resolute that I don’t want to not live anymore. Am alive now, still in despair but alive. I’m on antidepressants currently so it is all I can hope that along the way, I find it easier to want to stay alive. A lot is still yet to be done and I can’t say for certain when any of it will be done. I still have struggles that play a major role in making it harder for me to fully get the help I need so it is all I can do but trying live a minute at a time. It has taken me nearly a month to write this and I’m okay with that. Writing and reading for me take quite the hit in periods of my depression so to an extent, I am proud I got to be candid about what it has and is still like for me to live with this unbearable monster that lives inside of my head.