Depression… it just eats you up from the inside out. It’s like a monster inside your head that takes over. The worst thing is to know that my family and friends were doing all they could yet I still felt so lonely. Anything that was said to me, I managed to turn into a bad thing. I was literally my own worst enemy. I would come home and feel so exhausted from all of the voices in my head that I would just sleep to block it all out. I didn’t want to wake up because living was a nightmare. I felt sick with the fear of night time because that’s when the voices got even louder. I would get so frustrated because it seemed impossible to sleep, as if insomnia and depression go hand in hand.
I had no motivation to do anything because I couldn’t see a future for myself. Anxiety caused me to believe everyone was faking their love for me. ‘Cheer up’ was the worst thing anyone said to me. Those two words triggered thousands of horrible thoughts and I was beating myself up for not hiding how I felt well enough from everyone around me.
I wanted everyone to know how I felt but I didn’t dare tell them. Eventually I isolated myself in my room because no contact with people meant nothing could go wrong, surely?
On December 31st, 2018, I was at the happiest state of my life. Oh I danced in church roughly and I screamed the loudest when the pastor prophesied the word for 2019 – YOU ARE UNLIMITED!! I came home and greeted every passersby with a smile – Happy New Year!! The next morning I expected everything to just start going like Pastor Kingsley said – Unlimited breakthrough, Unlimited love, Unlimited happiness and so many expectations but I was filled with sadness and regret. I couldn’t even point the exact reason but I tried to fight it off with music and more church activities. I just felt completely worthless. It was like I was disappearing.
I don’t really know how to explain this numbness. It is simply a period of time where I feel literally nothing. I fake happiness/normal emotion around friends, not always very well, and when I am alone I just don’t care about anything.
On January 6th, 2019, was the beginning of this particular programme in church – Gaining Momentum. I told myself this was exactly what I needed to push myself and see the goodies the year had for me after all I was UNLIMITED. In one of those fateful gatherings, I cried shamelessly in church and I kept asking God, “why so much sadness?”. I even spoke to my Pastor via Instagram about how I was feeling and he gave me scriptures and messages to read but it was worse than ever. All I remember doing was just pick my laptop and write the stories I was paid to write.
I guess my bosses knew something was wrong with my writings, I was called out several times on the group to change my writing style but I just couldn’t and I lost one of my writing job of N80k. I was thrown into a shell of no return. Responsibilities kept piling up. As the first and only daughter of my family, I had quite a lot of bills to pay and losing an N80k salary job was the worst thing that could happen to me. I don’t even know how I kept pushing and managing my life – maybe because I started running to church every Wednesday and Sunday. But deep down I was so so so sad. I cried every time I was alone. Social media became my bestie. I would open my Bible app and sleep off after reading a line. This became a routine for a few weeks. I would stay for days and my phone would never ring. Who would I call? How do I even explain why I was so sad?.
Depression pushed into every corner of my existence, and both work and family life became more and more difficult. The medications only seemed to deaden my feelings and make me feel detached from everyone and immune to every pressure. It was like having pain signals turned off. There was no longer any sign coming from my body or brain that something might be wrong. I felt “fine” but relationships and work still went to hell.
Getting tired of the four walls of my house, I enrolled into a gym center close to my house. And the presence of people around me somehow made things better. I became the cry in the morning/afternoon and laugh in the evening girl. I hated myself. You know how you begin to transfer your anger to every part of your body, I would over work myself at the gym so I could just sleep at night. I became close to a few people and I gradually opened again. One of the gym guys picked interest in me and I enjoyed every moment of it. Finally someone was noticing me, my phone was ringing again. I was happy.
March 2019, one of my bosses who saw me as the best writer his company had just started picking on me. Adaeze this! Adaeze that! I was so frustrated and angry. Days later the company cut me off the N50k salary. I just smiled and kept on loving on my social media, friends were liking my pictures and it was enough for me. One Saturday, I got a call from my church departmental head and he said I have been selected to represent the church in a quiz. I tried to shy my way out of it but he wasn’t having any of my excuses. I went for the quiz on Sunday but it was postponed so I joined the morning service. During the worship session the choir began to sing ‘Goodness of God’ by Bethel Music. I sat on my chair unaware that I was in tears until a brother offered me his handkerchief. That was when it dawned on me that my life was falling apart. I went from a N250k writer to a N20k writer. This was the beginning of everything. I was just sleeping and waking up. My small relationship was now filled with too many brouhahas and doubt. Deep down I knew I was just passing time. At least he was there.
Thankfully, my everyday journey to social media landed me on a friend’s page and she would always share her story as a single mother and how she ran errands for people to survive. I told myself Ada you can also start something like this. And so I birthed Go To Girl – my saviour! I finally had a reason to live. I finally had a reason to wake in the morning. I was finally feeling important. People would call me and request for my services and no matter how stressful it was I was happy to do it. Go To Girl birthed Dezeana Mall and boom Ada was back. Freelance writing jobs started coming in again – I even rejected some. My life just took a complete turn. I began to write again.
Writing is one way I discover things, but a deep fear had blocked me from doing it for months. I can see now that the real reason I got stuck was that I had been trying to write about everything but depression. When I could finally take that on directly, writing came naturally.
Blogging turned out to be the right medium. It was manageable even when I was down. The online community of people who lived with depression gave me a form of support that I had never had before. Another decisive step was getting out of high-stress work that I had been less and less able to do effectively. Taking that constant burden away restored a deep sense of vitality.
After all this, recovery finally started to happen. It took me by surprise, and for a long time I didn’t trust that it would last. But something had changed deep down. I believed in myself again, and the inner conviction of worthlessness disappeared.
I had found a deeply satisfying purpose in writing and business, as well as the energy and humor to do what I wanted to do. I regained the awareness and emotional presence to be a part of my family again, instead of the hidden sister and daughter.
As anyone dealing with life-long depression will tell you, setbacks happen. There’s no simple happy ending. But if you’re lucky, an inner shift occurs, and the new normal is a decent life rather than depression.
Dealing with depression is an everyday struggle. It’s definitely true that some days are worse than others, but I’ve learned to manage it, to become aware of my symptoms, my triggers, and to remain in control.