Just So You Know- This is How I Got Here
There are many things that can lead to depression. A major shift in your life can cause you to fall into the pit of depression and other times, it sneaks up on you, slowly without notice.
I used to struggle with loneliness, it was a constant thing in my life. I would be amongst people, but I would be lonely. I had friends, work, family, but I was lonely. I would go for a whole weekend without my phone ringing. No one looked for me unless they needed something. Sometimes, I would get into my house every Friday and only come out on Monday as I headed back to work. My life was a routine and I used to joke how easy it would be to kidnap me.
The thing about loneliness is that it eats at you piece by piece. There are days when you crave for human connection, for touch, for a smile. You want to call someone and gossip about something, you want to vent about your day, rant about your co-worker or just tell them about this exciting thing that is happening in your life. It’s not that you do not have friends, you do, but sometimes you go through your phone wondering who to call and you realize that against each name, there is a reason not to call. At least that was my case. I figured they were busy and calling at that hour was not a good idea.
You see, I had a friend, someone who was my person. Someone I used to have these conversations with. Someone whose voice I heard several times a day. We spoke about everything and anything and sometimes we would just call to hear each other’s voice. Before they were my lover, they were my friend and with them I was my most authentic self. No filters, nothing to hide or be embarrassed about. I loved our conversations, I loved that I could call or text anytime of the day. I loved that I spent time with them every week and we did all sorts of things.
When I decided to end the relationship, I did not know what impact it would have on my mental health. I thought I was strong; I could handle it. I let go of the lover and even though I tried to keep the friendship, it became harder by the days. Eventually, I had to let go of my friend; one of the hardest things I ever did, and it was then that I became lonely.
So I tried to get a hobby, it’s what they tell you to do. It works and it does not work. There are days when you forget about the person, about the loss because you are super busy and distracted and some days, it sneaks up on you without notice. All sorts of things would trig me: couples at a coffee shop, a scene from a movie, places, signs, a matatu on the road would remind me of an adventure we had taken. I desperately wanted to call and just hear their voice, I wanted my friend back, I wanted to tell them something silly about my day, ask a question or bounce off something like I had done for years; but I could not call. I had made a vow to myself.
To block these things, I begun to stay indoors. I would stay in bed just scrolling through my phone at nothing important. I stopped cooking because I would only eat one meal a day and most days, breakfast at 1.00pm was enough. I stared at the dirty dishes for days, my house and room were a mess and sometimes all I did was push the clothes to the corner, just so I could stretch and sleep. Every week, the cleaning lady found a pigsty; am sure she must have wondered what was happening but could never ask. Even though I would open the curtains, there was no light, my heart was dark and even though I smiled, it was an empty robotic movement.
I tried to find someone else, someone with whom I could have what we had. But it has never been the same, never. So I went for therapy, I had to find professional help. I had to process the loss and go through the five stages of grief. I had to slowly and consistently set up a system to reduce the triggers or deal with them when they happened.
I am better now, I am healed. I have stopped depending on one person to be my everything. I use my tight circle of friends more effectively and I know who feeds me what, who I can call and talk to about things.
I laugh, I go out, I spend time together with people, and I do not feel as lonely as I used to. I can manage it.