Let me just start by setting the record straight. I am diagnosed Major Depressive Disorder. Twice confirmed. By a real doctor. A psychologist too. Not online. I have checked all the boxes for online test by the way. Just needed to be sure. However, the main challenge I had even in coming out to my friends (still haven’t done it) and my family is that I feel like an imposter. With all the celebrities and Instagram users coming up and talking about their depression, it sorts of feels like either there is a massive conversation being created around mental wellness or there is a huge group of people who do not know what depression really is and they tend to confuse the symptoms. I feel like I might be one of them even though I have confirmed mine and I am working through it. Sometimes it feels like I was misdiagnosed and I maybe have a personality disorder. Please hear me out.
Excessively happy days…
On Monday I woke up energized. I felt like I owned the world. I got up at six in the morning, did a very fruitful morning workout, made my entire house breakfast as I listened to the radio. I proceeded to a very productive day filled with laughter and ideas. I picked all the calls made to me that day which is something I haven’t been doing for a good three months or so. I ate the required amount of food and even consumed a healthy amount of You Tube.
On that day, I felt like I would never be depressed again. like I was beginning to heal albeit at a very high speed. If you had met me that day and I told you that I am battling any sort of mental illness you’d probably laugh it off. This is not just on Monday. It is some days too. Days where I feel like I am not a depressed person. Like I am bipolar or something. By evening, I had my next day planned out.
On Tuesday I woke up feeling down. Hating my life again. In as much as nothing had changed in my life within the 24-hour period. I do not know the exact triggers otherwise I would manipulate them for a positive gain. Sometimes I do not immediately wake up the next day feeling happy. It could become a week of happy days. On those days talking about my depression feels like faking it. The end result is always assured though; it always ends up with me in bed for days knowing what I should be doing but lacking the strength to do it. wait, I sound bipolar yeah? I am not bipolar.
I know that a common trait among people with mental health is anxiety. Anxiety here meaning uneasiness. Like you have a fear of everything falling apart even if it is not likely to happen. I am anxious too. To a certain non-alarming level. Maybe I should check in with a doctor. I worry about the future (mine is uncertain as hell btw), an interview, whether my projects will turn out okay or not. That’s normal right? I do not however obsess about little details like if the interviewer will think my hair looks weird. Just a little. Not like a lot a lot. I even go to dates in sweat pants and a hoodie.
I do not question my smartness, beauty, looking trendy or following. Lies. I do. At a healthy degree. I don’t even know what to say. You know what I do not have? social anxiety. I feel butterflies in my stomach before a presentation but once I start presenting, it all goes away. I have no problems making friends. I have a fleet of friends. I do not consider myself an awkward person. Maybe I am by writing this confusing piece. So I ask myself, “Am I 100% depressed. Perhaps I am just under quantifying mine while it is at an alarming rate. I do not know. Is there a machine that tells one if they have the ‘right’ amount of anxiety? Or an online test. I should probably take one of those tests.
self-hate and low self-esteem…
My friends in this journey (of finding ways to cope with mental illnesses/ disorders) have a deep sense of self loathe. Not all. A lot do though. They hate how they look even though some look so pretty they’d pass for models. I on the opposite hand do not hate myself. I sound like I am in denial. I am not. I promise. Do I hate that my knees are sharp and protruding? sure. Do I hate the fupa that forms on my lower tummy? hell, yeah. I dislike some parts of my body and so does everyone else. or so I suppose. I do not however look at the mirror and think, “I hate this girl!” I am not a Beyoncé but hey, on a scale of one to ten I’d pass the average mark. See, that high score itself shows that I do not hate myself. IS this narcissism?Check my socials.
All I am saying is that I do not hate myself. I wanted to kill myself and I sometimes feel like that because my life is unbearable. Not because I think I am unlovable even though I haven’t dated for six years now. In my defense, I hate to commit and there is a scarcity in good men out here. I still ask myself if I need to really hate myself for me to be truly depressed. That sounded wrong but you get what I am trying to say.
my friends’ perspectives…
“Hey, how are you?”
“As good as a sad kid can be.”
“You? Sad? Very funny indeed, “comes in his reply.
That is a recent conversation with a friend on What’s App. Out of curiosity I inquired more of why he’d think I was joking about being sad. He went on to explain that he has never seen me sad, angry or stressed. He said I always have my shit together. He finds comfort in talking to me because I am always happy. I ended the conversation with a laughing emoji. He wasn’t wrong.
I laugh a lot. Genuine laughs. I am either always laughing, cracking jokes or smiling. Always in a jovial mood. It is not because I am not depressed. It is cause all the times I go out with friends or just hang out, I am in a better place. When I am likely to be sad, I avoid social interactions. I only go out when I absolutely feel like it. That way no one ever notices my other side. I am not trying to hide it. It just happens. Or maybe I am depressed when lonely. But I like to be alone on my depressed state. Is this a double personality thing? Am I one of those people I see in pictures of mental awareness charts where they look happy but they are sad?
I don’t do drugs…
If I did admit that I took drugs on a platform like this, I’d not be insane. It’s not like my mum reads this or a cop is watching. Honestly, I don’t do drugs. For recreational purposes or to take away my never ending pain. Plus, drugs are really expensive in Kenya not to mention illegal. I hate medications in general. I prefer herbs to pills or needles or the liquid medicine. Even when I am sick. There was one time I had mild Anemia and my mum brought me home from boarding school to monitor my drugs intake. I was seventeen. I do not take alcohol. I do take alcoholic wine during celebrations but it’s not a habit. There are times I feel so sad I just want to take sleeping pills or my heart aches so much and I just want to take something to ease the pain. Like morphine but I can’t.
I used to read captions where depressed people take pills to take the pain away. I have seen it in enough movies to know it’s a thing. Maybe it is because I am afraid that if I started I’d never stop. I am afraid that on top of being poor, in an underdeveloped country and depressed, I’d add hooked on my c.v. Dependency is not on my bucket list. plus, I can’t afford them long term and I cannot imagine what I’d have to do to get the money. I swim, I am a senior karateka, I cry myself to sleep or self- destruct. I watch an unhealthy amount of YouTube and spent hours on twitter fueling feuds/tweefs but never do I buy drugs for my pain. Maybe I am just a masochist or pain tolerant (for the sake of being positive).
The list is long but I’ll stop here. I do not indulge in self-harm like cut myself or something. sometimes I overeat other times I underfeed myself. I never sleep for the recommended hours. I have problems with commitment which makes me a bad person not a depressed one. I keep to myself a lot but that is introvertedness. I am just messed up or maybe the doctor is right, I am just depressed. Guys, I come from a poor country such that I do not have that many choices even bad ones. It is not easy to admit the above because public opinions beget public opinions. Criticisms.
The few people that read my blogs will probably think I am a weirdo or harshly judge me but that’s the risk in speaking my truth. Either way I want to be sure of something,” am I really depressed?”
Are these signs of depression too? Has anyone who is not me experienced the same? Do I have a personality disorder or something? Should I have just made this post private and conduct more research about my dented self?