Inside the prison that’s my mind: dealing with the monster

A personal account by MUMBI


I have an illness..It is not my fault. This is a mantra I have to keep repeating to myself whenever I mess up or feel down.

Because depression, almost always, is accompanied by a denigrating bout of self pity, self blame and lack of self worth. You see, unlike other diseases for which you can pinpoint the exact point and source of pain, depression is a mood disorder.

The problem is in the brain, but the pain is in your heart.

An excruciating ache that feels as if a giant hand is reaching into your chest cavity and ripping your heart out. But a mood, nevertheless. You feel sad, all the time. Tears roll down your cheeks totally unprovoked. You lose all interest in the world of the living. For all intents and purposes, you merely exist. You attend social gatherings and hope it will lift; instead, you flee at the earliest opportunity so that you can go home, curl up in the fetal position and cry.

You wish for death.

Not because you want to die, but because you want the pain to end. Depression is for weak people, so a friend once told me. And why not? What kind of person can’t control their moods? I mean, people have problems; big problems. Why are you letting this one weigh you down? Besides, haven’t you been through worse? Seriously, buck up and snap out of it already!

FYI, this conversation happens more in my head than it does outside. And herein begins my battle with this monster. I pretend it doesn’t exist, bide my time and tide by. It hits back with a vengeance and cripples my very spirit living me breathless and totally out of sorts. I am strong, I am proud, I am intellectual. I have a reputation to uphold.

Depression doesn’t give a damn, it will destroy me until I recognize it. So, I have decided to treat it with some respect. Recognize the monster sucking the life out of me and deal appropriately. So for me treatment now has to be taken seriously.

Yes, I have depression and I need a tablet in order to lead a normal life.

Let me explain something here to you, for most of us, depression comes in bouts. We cope somehow and few ever really notice that something’s amiss. But the quality of our life is rubbish and we are just getting by. I find that because our getting by somehow seems remarkable to the rest of the world, we are certified normal. We therefore do not seek treatment because what kind of weakness drives someone to rely on medicine to feel happy?

This to me is the single most dangerous trait about this illness. Ability to function normally. This diary is a form of catharsis for me. It helps me deal with this thing inside me that has broken my spirit and stagnated my life. It is also the beginning of my journey towards healing. My journey towards acceptance of myself and hopefully acceptance by others.

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