Honoured to introduce this week’s guest blogger, my dear friend Mulubeni who I am grateful to know and do life with, so proud of her for having the courage to share her story
Inspired by Diana’s (iamnotagoddess) YouTube series titled Still Healing
Here’s my story:
It’s World mental health awareness month and coincidentally my 21st & final session in therapy falls in this month. *If you know me personally Picture my very huge smile and insert it right here*. Just the thought itself really does feel unreal. Each time I let myself fully grasp just how far I’ve come, I can’t help but think of where I was when I first started and they’re not pleasant memories.
To be quite very honest with you, I’d rather not relive them but since your girl is reformed and doesn’t push everything to the back of her head and only deal with it when she can’t cope anymore, here I am pretending to be a writer. Hoping, sincerely hoping whoever is on the receiving end of this will just brush past the million ways this could’ve been written better. I’m going to brave it out though, strong black independent woman you see. It might be a long read, Do brace yourselves.
As you read this, I hope you understand that I only speak of my experience with Depression and anxiety. I know you’ve heard this line so many times, but please know it really is different for everyone. I can’t even tell you when I’d started feeling depressed. I just remember being okay, normal as you will and then there I was thinking would it be so bad to just call it quits with life at the age of 20. I never associated depression with someone like myself(£10 to anyone that can count how many times I mention this d word in all this).
Did I have an awareness of what depression was? Oh absolutely. I could tell you the types, list out what not to do or say to someone who’s depressed and when it came to school, you know who’d be front, right and centre? Or back, front and centre? or OR and hear me out here back, right and centre? In bringing attention to mental health issues? Basically ME.
Despite being at the front and centre of all of that, when the tables turned and I completely resonated with what I used to advocate for I somehow just stopped moving. It felt like everyone else around me was going somewhere and I wanted to be right by their side but mentally I just felt rooted and bound to that spot. Unhappiness. When I look back now I think grief was one of the things that brought me there, I’d lost one of my closest friends earlier that year to a death that offered no closure.
Pushing through is all you can do though, I was trying. You never stop trying but then my 20th birthday came around; March 24th and there I was in a hospital with elevated creatine kinase(ck), inflammed muscles especially in the lower part of my body with none of the doctors having an understanding as to why this was happening. What they were brainstorming wasn’t helping either though, I was told Elevated CK only happens when and I quote “had a heart attack, skeletal muscle injury, drinking too much or strenuous exercise”. The last one made me laugh too because I mean come on. It’s Mulumbeni. I don’t understand why people can just wake up and start jogging unprovoked Mulumbeni. Surely they were talking about someone else and I’d decided that was going to be my approach to this whole thing. What a terrible idea that was.
I was numb, acknowledging what was happening and how it made me feel was something I stopped myself from doing. 63 appointments; X-rays, MRIs, lung function tests, blood tests, steroids, Ultrasound at some point lol *cue the pregnancy jokes*, more bloods, a sleep clinic, musculatory centre, neurologist, they truly brought out the big guns and I wanted nothing to do with it. The only luxury I got was feeling like I just stepped on a scene of greys anatomy but with no mc dreamy or mc steamy I was mc I’ve had enough. Hating on Greys doesn’t make you cool btw but back to what I was saying; You don’t understand how many of these doctors called me strong. I always showed up with a smile on my face, On some days that would be them seeing a glimpse of my belief in God’s faithfulness and on some, it was just my way of avoiding the how are you coping questions especially when my answer was I really just want to sleep and never wake up. Knowing me, there’s never a time where I don’t want to sleep but this time round when I woke up, my reality just didn’t feel like something worth living for. I didn’t know how to change it, I mean I did. You talk to God about it, Declare his word over your life, Remember who you are in Christ and one of my absolute favourites; worship. Just give it all to him but there I was losing sight of him.
It got it harder and harder to focus on him. Reading his word and promises physically hurt because I just didn’t feel I related to them. Not with this overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. Like my world had suddenly lost its light and what’s worse is I was convinced it was gone forever. We face so many things in life all the time but I don’t think anything compares to battling your own mind.
When you’re in that place, everything you trust and believe feels very in significant to what your mind is telling you. These negative thoughts just seem to drown out all you know. Some days it even lets you get a piece of yourself back, a happier self and just as quickly as it came, it goes. My friends? Yeh, it was just Isolation. Isolation. Isolation. Where they were involved. The thing is I knew they’d want to help, you always know but somehow it’s still so very hard to do let them especially when you don’t recognise yourself either. This person who was suddenly very unmotivated, emotional and just couldn’t stop crying was fairly new to all of us. I couldn’t handle being a disservice to them.
Even as I type this, I’m so glad there’s a happy ending because It was just lowest I’ve ever felt in my life.
September 2018; results of my genetic test finally came accompanied by a wheelchair, insomnia, a disabled badge which gives you great parking space btw, hair loss, breakouts, weight gain and self harming thoughts. It kills me to admit that but it was something I considered. I was told I had Muscular Dystrophy specifically Limb Girdle Dystrophy type 2B. It’s a mouthful alright but It’s a genetic disease that affects your muscles in this case specifically the genes that produce protein for my muscles and *drum roll please* it has no cure. So it was basically, yeh good news we know what’s wrong but bad news there’s no treatment only ways to aid your “quality of life”. I got told I was one of those rare cases they learnt about in medical school but only see once in a life time and I love being extra but this was not it at all.
It hurt. It was physically and emotionally killing me. You know when you want to pray but can’t even seem
to get the words out? I moved from questioning if I’ll ever be myself again to accepting this as the only reality i’ll ever have in this life. I was told to embrace it as best as I could for it’s a condition that just gets worse with time.
I remember getting my mum to book me a doctors appointment but I never told her why, I just knew if I didn’t do something I wouldn’t allow myself to exist a little longer. I went through a few months of hiding everything from her and everyone else. It’s not hard to act or pretend you’re doing alright when real life feels that unbearable.
Clinical Depression & anxiety which induced panic attacks, that was my diagnosis in October. I got given pills and I just want to say don’t be scared of them. You’re only trying to get better and that’s something you have to remind yourself as much as you can. They did help but I also got referred to someone who held my hand through that journey to healing. He really really did. I used to have a lot of misconceptions about therapy but when I think about it now all I can say is it’s a safe space. A place I could talk about everything without thinking I was crazy or too much. I was allowed to talk about everything that had been brewing within me without feeling like I’ll scare someone off or will be judged in return. I was given the option to choose who I was most comfortable with, something I’m grateful for. It will feel daunting but please believe me when I say you hold the cards here. The main focus is to offer you all the help you need so you always have a say here. My therapist’s surname was Bourne. Honestly, match made in medical heaven, I thought he was sick & chose to think of him as a very distant relative of Jason Bourne. I mean I was in action movie royalty here loooool!
It wasn’t what you see in movies, a nice room with some pretty flowers and comfortable chairs yes and I liked the chairs, they were recliners lol but it was more than that. My therapist was my friend in the most professional way ever. When I opened up, it didn’t feel like someone was probing or being intrusive. It felt like meeting that one friend and telling them everything you’ve kept bottled up for a while. I’d tell him what my day was like and next thing you know we’re analysing how certain things made me feel and better ways to handle them. We. He always included me in the process.
On some days I didn’t even say much because it was as if I couldn’t even breathe, let alone talk and he was patient. I set the pace and only spoke of what I wanted & he never once judged. He even understood my beliefs and would include them In trying to help me out which was so important to me. I’ve always known to pray against whatever Horrible thing i face and I always won but this was the first time what I faced crippled me to the extent where I just couldn’t.
I can still happily say I won though, it took implementing new things and turning to others rather than my immediate family which was very uncomfortable but it still worked. Ultimately, despite giving you my life story you barely asked for. All I’m really saying is, I’ve been where you are and made it to the other side. There is another side where ending your life doesn’t even have to be in the equation to find inner peace.
It’s okay to ask and seek help and Sometimes what we seek in God can be found in the people he’s placed all around us. So if you haven’t felt like yourself in a while, don’t wait till it’s too late. Be present, allow yourself to go through the motions with an understanding that you’re not alone. They’re people who can help and if you have friends or family who haven’t been themselves, before you cut them off check on them. Offer them grace and the benefit of the doubt and maybe you’ll see that how they’re acting has more to do with them than you. And no, I’m not giving you a tenner for realising I said depression less than 10 times please who do you think Iam??