ATTENTION….LONG POST!!!! [This isn’t a post for pity, I feel better for real which is why I can talk about it now]
OPENLY SPEAKING ABOUT MY DEPRESSION
I don’t even know the right way to even start this post because right now, I am just feeling very anxious and nervous to openly talk about this. Well, a lot of people know my proper last post was in May and I remember clearly taking a whole month off everything. I won’t say I have depression history in the past years but I think few people that have been following me for a while and paying a bit of attention knows that I am not a big fan of “Europe” in general which doesn’t necessarily make me happy here at the moment. And in the past years, I have had few occurrences that triggered panic attacks such as the death of my very close friend Kadiatou in 2013 which led to the main reason I moved from France. Then, I think Uni, in general, has just made that even worse for me. But, this past May, was even more challenging and according to everything going on, I think it can only be qualified as depression. I know depression is a big word and I am not just throwing it around casually like that.
What triggered it was my whole exams result and the main fact that I needed to re-sit one exam. I would actually count myself lucky cos it isn’t like I have that family or parents that are very strict or putting unnecessary pressure on me. Everything came from me, the fact that I see how well my siblings are doing and I never want to in any way be a disappointment to them or the family: This made me push myself too much sometimes.
During this period as well, I was trying to get a job on the side to save up and I was still trying to blog and run TBP as a whole: I WAS STRUGGLING. Everything was just happening at the same time and It felt like my world was crumbling on me. Personally, I would say, I stress myself a lot. To the people around me, it can seem like I always have my life planned but honestly, it’s just the fear of failure. I try to protect myself so much (too much) that I make plans that fit my comfort zone with little flexibility.
So, all these things happening just messed up with my mind that I started thinking very low of myself. I remember one week I cried literally every single day and my sister didn’t even notice (I used to live with my sis). Most times I am in my room but once I am around people, I subconsciously mastered the art of hiding my real feelings around people that I should probably be talking to. Things just kept getting worse that I would call myself different ugly names. I didn’t see anything I could offer. It was as bad as feeling like if I wasn’t here anymore, nothing would change. Also, depression isn’t just a war with external forces, it is also a war with yourself. Deep down in me, I knew that motivated and positive Maryam was there but I just didn’t have the strength to find her.
Mood swing was also a major issue which people around me really suffered (people that knew what I was going through). One minute I will be happy and the next minute I am crying or angry. This isn’t just a one-time thing, it is something that happens almost every day. Then, you start worrying about your sanity because you are tired of the unstable feelings yourself. There were days I will work so much on my dissertation and revise for my exam and some days or weeks are just very low that I wouldn’t do any work but then worry that I am not doing any work. Many thoughts were going through my mind and I remember for like a couple of days, I was really frustrated, tired and the only thing I kept on saying was: I just can’t take this anymore!!!
At this point, I begin to fear and would have panic attacks cos horrible things were coming to my mind that I couldn’t handle… Think about the worse thing… Yes, I thought about that and the ONLY thing that kept me sane was my faith. If I wasn’t a believer/Muslim, I am 90% sure the worst might have happened because everything overpowered me and I really couldn’t take it anymore.
One thing I made sure to keep doing regardless of anything is praying. I would be crying but I made sure that when it was time for salat, I prayed. I just abandoned myself to God. Then I got my current job now, things started getting better cos I was 1) finally leaving my room and talking to people physically (Not just via FaceTime or call) and secondly, getting the job made me feel like finally, I can do something right. Also, having people that stick around you regardless of how you’ve treated them helps. I know the few people that knew what was going on then (ONLY 4 people) didn’t give up on me even moments I had my crisis or zone out on them. They were there for me and most especially listened to me because I was definitely talking and ranting about life a lot than usual without listening to any good thing they had to say to me.
I know prayer helps through the tough period like this but one thing I don’t see people talk about so much to survive this is accepting the fact that you are depressed. I was tired of this situation, I wasn’t happy and people around me were not happy, It was tough but I needed to first accept the fact that: “Maryam, you are depressed and you need help”. In fact, that is the bravest part of it all.
I started researching online: natural ways to get through depression, who I can talk to around me or online and legit seeking help myself. Different things work for different people. For me, I started reading more books (Non-academic), re-designing my blog, reading magazines, yoga and meditation. Words of affirmation also helped me to start saying positivity into my life which made a huge difference. Intentionally, start getting to know yourself better. I realised my desires and passion were changing but I was struggling to re-shape my plan because that plan was my comfort zone. I woke up one day and just started drawing a plan b, c and d. Giving myself that flexibility and immediately taking action on things that I can change by myself. I decided to really prioritise things I was doing at the moment which is one of the reasons my team and I postponed the ‘Annual TBP event’. Everything was set and ready but I wasn’t ready. I was forcing myself to do everything and I just had to prioritise on the present situation that needed my attention which is completing my post-graduate degree.
Getting through depression is a long process and it is obviously different for everyone but you need to know that you are not alone and things will definitely get better. You just need to keep believing and try as much as possible to talk to people. I was really scared of being judged cos I felt like my family believe so much in me and I am usually that positive and motivated person which made me lock up so many things. But, the truth is, people that really care will UNDERSTAND.
It’s funny how during this period, the people you least expect to check up on you are the ones that will randomly pray and check up. So, atleast a positive side to everything is you truly know who actually care for you and who is just around for convenience. I am still trying to fully pass this stage in my life, which is why I will be making lots of changes in my personal life and even online or the way I put myself out there and what I stand for. So, if you can relate to anything I said in this post, just know that, it isn’t the end of the road. In fact, it is the beginning of discovering yourself, what you really want in life and who you want to be with you on this journey called life. May till mid-June was really a dark period for me. Moving forward, I just want to take things easy and slow. Progress at my own pace without pressure cumulated from external sources or created by me. I just want to LIVE.
I won’t say I am back to blogging (I haven’t decided on my blogging journey yet) but I just wanted to TALK, I guess!
Remember, every second of life is a blessing. Embrace and make the best of it.
Thank you for reading. If you made it to this stage.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts with me in the comment box below, I will be reading everything.