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My depression


sweetie
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Hi guys! back again.

 

So basically, when I discovered this website(which was exactly 4 months ago yay!) I had just found out I had depression and I've been working on how to improve myself but it really isn't easy. I've tried disconnecting from social media but that wasn't the problem because I missed my friends. So just about last week, I wrote down the things that made me happy and unhappy so I could do more of the happy ones and try to avoid or fix the ones that make me unhappy. Now my problem is I have been avoiding the unhappy ones but I can't focus on the ones that make me happy. Like I have hobbies and I know they'll make me feel better but I've just been drained.

 

(TW// suicide) Also, I'm from Nigeria so we're dealing with a lot of things right now( you can search EndSars to educate yourself) and people I know(not personally) went for protests with their friends and some say that few of them died. It's really scary, and some have committed suicide. I'm trying to make sure my mental health doesn't become worse but it's hard with everyone dying.

 

In conclusion, basically how do I focus on the things that make me happy? Do I have to try and persuade myself and encourage myself with a few motivational words or...?

Thank you!

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Hey @sweetie

 

It's nice to hear back from you again :) - happy four month anniversary!

 

You're right, it is hard working on ourselves, but you seem really determined to make things better for yourself, so that's reallyyyyy good. I think that it's hard to avoid the things that make us unhappy, and it's equally hard to avoid unhappy feelings. Rather than trying to avoid them, it can sometimes be helpful to just accept them for what they are rather than trying to change them.

 

Out of curiosity, what are the things that make you happy and unhappy? Also, I'm wondering, could it be a good idea to stop reading/watching the news as much? This might help your mental health :)

Edited by Monsoon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry, I've been really busy with school and had a few tests but they were fine(because of the strange coping mechanism that I have and would like to discuss too).

 

Anyways, I actually wrote these things down a few weeks ago because I was really in a horrible mood and I was fed up with not fully understanding why. Basically, they are things that calm me down or stress me a lot so it's not necessarily what makes me happy and unhappy. Also, I was able to identify why these certain activities had the effect they did on me.

 

So, the things that make me 'happy' are drawing, sewing, listening to music(but it has to be while I'm doing something else), dancing(alone of course), having fun discussions with my family, interacting with my close friends, exercising, crying in the shower(whenever I have mental breakdowns), watching videos that make me feel better about myself or lightens my mood.

And the things that make me 'unhappy' are the overload of school work, disappointing my parents, trying to express myself, sleeping or being awake for too long, being away from my friends(my biggest problem right now), too much social media(really not a problem right now).

 

Now, when I wrote these down at first it was extremely hard to write the happy stuff because that's something I've never really thought of before. And also the 'unhappy' stuff may be less in number compared to the 'happy' but they do have a greater impact, that or I actually have things to brighten my mood but I'm just not able to do them.

 

Thank you, for taking the time to read. I really appreciate the effort of trying to help me.:)

 

 

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Hey @sweetie

 

No need to apologise - everyone is busy :). I'm glad to hear that your tests were fine. It's completely normal to find it hard to write the happy stuff. When we are having a bad time, it can be really difficult to focus on what's actually good because our minds trick us into focusing on everything that isn't so good, so it's great that you were able to name the more positive things.

 

Out of curiosity, what makes you think that you are not able to do the things to brighten your mood? Also, I noticed that you said you wanted to talk about the coping mechanism that you find strange which I'm happy to discuss with you.

 

Speak soon and stay strong <3

 

-Monsoon

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I'm not too sure. There was a point in time, which was about like a month ago, I was really angry at my self for not being productive enough. I felt like I should at least put in a little effort because I was constantly unhappy(that was about the same time I wrote about what makes me happy and unhappy).

 

After I did things like sewing and practised on improving my drawing a bit, I felt happy. I wanted to continue but I also didn't. I think it's because I was being lazy, lol, I'm still not sure at this point. Like right now, I wish I could do these things but I feel like if I do them I'm wasting my time? or maybe I'm afraid of how long it will take to like recover from depression.

 

I'm just realising this as I'm writing, to be honest, just freely speaking my mind. But, maybe I'm scared for the journey or if after all this work, I still can't recover. Umm, there is one thing I know that makes me depressed and has been the cause of several of my mental breakdowns and that's my family. I just feel like with what I'm going through right now I've become very sensitive and in most African homes sensitivity is what is laughed at, things like your mental health don't matter. It's all about school and your education really. So sometimes when I express myself in front of my siblings and usually laughed at or not taken seriously. I mean it wasn't a problem before but now because of lockdowns and I recently changed schools(I don't go to a boarding school anymore) it's affecting me a lot.

 

That's why I've been wanting to feel better because I'm away from my friends and closer to my family. I get tired of waking up and seeing the same house and people every day. Crazy enough I had to stop my brother from waking me up on Sunday's just because it made me angry every single time.

 

And not to mention the other reasons my family makes me feel horrible which is a whole new story on there own.

 

It feels really nice to be letting these out. Because I always wrote them down on my phone anytime I was having a mental breakdown so I could understand why I felt the things I did. They helped but it wasn't enough, it still didn't solve the problem.

Thank you.

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Hey@sweetie

 

Thanks for being so open with us - it's so helpful to share how you're feeling and this will help you on your journey to working through the depression. Just know that we are here to support you with this - your mental health matters.

 

I think it's pretty normal to find it hard to carry on with those good things that you've been doing, especially when your mental health is really struggling. However, putting in that kind of effort is what's gonna really help you to move forward. You're already doing lots to help yourself which is great, so I think you should give yourself a pat on the back. I'm curious to know, what makes you think you might be wasting your time with the helpful things?

 

Hope to hear back from you soon - sending positive vibessss :)

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Well, I didn't necessarily mean wasting of time, I was really writing at the moment so I was trying to find ways to express myself by just writing suggestions down. I just wish it didn't have to take as much time as it did.

Also, I didn't even realise that I was improving so this makes me happier. And I also just noticed that I haven't had a mental breakdown in a few weeks now so that makes me feel way better. but at the moment I don't think I'm doing that good. I haven't been exercising regularly since October and I tried to push myself again but I can't be consistent. But I also think that's normal for me because its not the first time I just stopped for a month and continued later. School just started again so maybe I'll be then motivated to continue doing my hobbies.

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Hey @sweetie :)

 

It sounds like you're doing really well at the moment which is really nice to hear. I think that when you've been doing loads of things to help yourself, if you stop doing them as much for a bit, you can often be hard on yourself for this. This is a perfectly normal response, especially when someone is as motivated as you are to help yourself. However, just remember that it's okay to not be so hard on yourself and celebrate what is going really well, like not having a mental breakdown for a few weeks. What do you think?

 

Sending positive vibes <3

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Hey @sweetie

 

Yeah, I think it will help you to kind of take things one step at a time and not be so hard on yourself. Just remember that you're doing really well and that it's okay to feel like your slipping sometimes. The road to making progress isn't straight, it's often very up and down. You're already doing so much and helping yourself a lot, so try to keep yourself grounded in that sense of achievement :)

 

Keep in touch with us and remember that we are always here for you.

-Monsoon

 

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Thank you but something happened today. My mom talked to me about school and she doesn't want to listen to me when I say I won't be able to cope. she started shouting at me and I was just crying. I had another mental breakdown right after and it was as bad as my worst ones in the past. And umm I've actually been having suicidal thoughts since but I never wanted to bring it up here because I thought that I could never do it.

My last mental breakdown was like this one too but I found a way to distract myself but I wasn't able to do it and almost engaged in self-harm. I had to use my hand to cover my face away from the knives and started crying uncontrollably. I sat down and cried some more and decided to add a bit of alcohol to my drink, I didn't add too much because I didn't want to end with such a huge consequence. No, I have not drunk anymore since that incident and I never will till I am of age to drink responsibly.

Anyways I had the same thoughts as last time but I actually wanted to go through it. I thought my mental health would get better but there's one major problem that keeps pulling me back and that's school. I have no problems with attending school and getting okay grades, my worry is how am I going to make my parents realise that I don't want to have a job school-related. The idea of one occupation being my only source of income scares me. African parents always expect their children to be those famous doctors or one successful ass banker or whatever. I told them I want to be an architect, which is not true but it's based on some subjects that I like, but that doesn't mean I actually want to be an architect. And why do I say it? Because every time I say 'I don't know' they end up being angry or even shouting at me. One time my mom said 'I am embarrassing' because of that and I was close to suffocating myself by closing both my mouth and nose. I didn't go through with it because it was starting to hurt so I cried myself to sleep.

 

I just want my parents to understand what I'm going through but I feel like if I tell them myself they would just get angry at me for trying to give excuses or something like I feel as if they wouldn't believe me or care at all. I promise not to do anything because typing this out makes me feel like I have another way through things. And I rather take this path because I want to be genuinely happy again.

also, I think my parents were planning on sending me to the U.S which is actually a very good idea for them and for me too but I'm not sure if that's what my mom said because I wasn't really listening I was crying.

But thank you, I feel a bit better now writing all this down. :)

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Hey @sweetie

 

Thank you for opening up to us - this is a safe space for you to be open and honest about what's going on for you and I'm happy that you're feeling a bit better now for writing it down. Can I ask, just to make sure you're safe, are you in crisis and do you currently have a plan to take your own life? We want to make sure that you're okay, and please know that we are here to support you if you are feeling this way. I really do think that you are strong because you are still managing to keep everything together in such a difficult environment. Know your own strength and what you're capable of <3

 

Also, what are your parents planning on sending you to the US for?

 

Hang in there, Sweetie. You ARE strong and you WILL get through this :)

-Monsoon

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No, I don't have any intentions of taking my life. Writing things down and speaking about it here makes me feel like I have a second chance to get better. I just wish it wasn't as hard as this but I guess life is a struggle. There's no turning back or regretting anything if I do so and it would be a bit selfish actually. I know my family loves me but it's just been really hard coping with them lately.

 

And about the U.S., actually, I was born there so it's always been a plan sending me there to live with my aunt for education purposes. And I wouldn't mind that because over there I would have a bit more freedom. But once again I'm not sure if that's what my mom said because I wasn't really paying attention to her.

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Hey @sweetie

 

I'm glad to hear that you don't have a plan to take your own life. If you do feel suicidal again, here is a list of crisis lines by country and you can call them at any time if you're ever struggling: https://www.befrienders.org

 

It's good that writing these things down and speaking about it here makes you feel like you have a second chance to get better - we are always here for you :). With potentially moving to the US, do you think this is something that would help you? If so, it might be a good idea to ask your mom exactly what she meant because having such a thing to look forward to could be good for you right now. What do you think?

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So I just spoke to my mom regarding the whole situation. She explained to me what was happening and apologised in away. I know understand what she wants and I think that's a good idea but I don't think it's a good idea for me though. but I'll still cooperate if that's what's going to help me if I do go to the U.S.

 

So that is a yes. My parents have been discussing taking me there to finish high school. I still don't 100% agree with there decision but if the results are going to help me then so be it. Going to the U.S I believe will help me, not only am I away from my family but I will have a bit more freedom than now. I love my family but this quarantine made me realise that I really can't stay with the same people for too long.

This actually happened a few years ago when I and my friend became very close but then we were hanging out too much so I started avoiding her for a few days because I didn't want to push her away cuz she was a good friend (still is), a few days she told me she had noticed so I apologised and we continued talking. She's not my best friend but we are still very close.

So my point is I have no way to avoid my family and I literally see them 24/7 so it's been driving me crazy. So going to the U.S. might be my escape, which I'm really looking forward too.

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Hey @sweetie

 

I'm glad that your mom apologised in a way - how do you feel after talking to her? Also, how come you don't think what she wants for you is a good idea? I completely get what you're saying about not being able to have some space from your family has really been getting to you; this is a perfectly normal reaction. I guess that by realising how spending so much time with the same people can be unhelpful, it might be that once you are able to move away, your relationships with your family will improve. What do you think?

 

Sending positive vibes :)

 

 

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I felt happier when we talked because I was actually able to understand her point of view. But the thing is I'm forcing myself to do all of this even though I don't know I want to be in the future. I mentioned before how I told my mom that once(the truth) and she got really angry at me and said I was 'embarrassing'. I cried a lot that day.

 

I heard that's it's normal to not know where you want to go in the future but that's not something normal for African parents I guess. They believe that since they worked so hard in the past for us we should be able to immediately find out how to make up for it. I think it's just because this generation is more realistic about things in a way, school isn't for everyone and neither is all these 'life-time' occupations. I can't see myself working one specific job for my source of income/wealth in life. it scares me. And that's something my parents don't understand. And don't get me wrong I truly appreciate everything they have done for me but isn't my life?

 

To be honest, I could explain to my mom how I feel but when it comes to my dad... I can't even say one thing for myself without him 'adjusting' it. my mom studied medicine but she's now an entrepreneur and she bakes and stuff. So she said she understands after I told her about a few things before(can't remember exactly what I asked about).

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Hey Sweetie,

 

I’m glad that you felt happier when you talked - it can be so powerful understanding each person’s point of view when there is an ongoing argument. It is often the case that both people just want the best out of the situation, so it can be quite helpful to go back to that. You’re definitely right by the way - it’s completely normal to not know where you want to go in the future at your age, even as you get older. Many people don’t figure out what they actually want to do until much later on. I guess going on to study in the USA will help you as you can choose your major degree at a later stage :)

 

I think that, as you say, things will be much better for you once you’re able to move away as you’ll be able to live your life more according to how you want to - what do you think?

 

Stay strong <3

 

Monsoon

Edited by Monsoon

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