One Size Does Not Fit All

out of the Darkness & into the Light

Only when I accepted that I DO matter, that my life matters, can I say I was truly able to start living again. I was able to start treatment of this depressive disorder. How did I get there? One may wonder – allow me to share my story. This may be a story you’ve heard before, you may be perplexed by what worked for me, but in any case – hope you find some hope & inspiration.

I don’t remember the start of my depression journey – and what a bumpy ride it’s been. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve been depressed for a while. I can shed a light on moments where a Psychiatric degree was not needed to recognize the symptoms of this very depressed young lady – it was as clear as the ocean blue. Drinking was no longer a social thing so much as it was an attempt to block out all consciousness. I couldn’t bare the emptiness I felt deep within. I couldn’t stand the void staring back at me in the mirror. I didn’t recognize her. I stopped loving her. I stopped caring about her. Her life had effectively ended – without the death certificate.

I do however, and very vividly so, remember my first panic attack, as if it were happening as I am sharing this with you. Of course, had you asked me at the moment, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was going on with me. It was a weekend, and I was bartending. I wasn’t feeling too well. I wasn’t physically ill, but I had an uneasy and unsettling feeling before I even left the house, so I didn’t drive myself to work. About 10 mins after I started getting ready for the evening rush, I started getting this tingling feeling creeping slowly from my fingertips. From God knows where, my hands were sweaty and trembling; my heart was racing so fast and beating so hard I could discern the rapid thuds in my ears. I started feeling lightheaded and then my whole world was spinning out of its axis. I wanted to scream but I didn’t know why. That tingling feeling manifested into painful tonic spasms. My fingers couldn’t be pried open – and try they did. My whole body cramped. At this point tears were streaming down my cheeks but I wasn’t crying. The faint sounds of sirens in the background were deafening to my ears. I don’t know when or how I ended up in an ambulance. The only thing I thought then I knew for sure is I was having a stroke. Rushed to the hospital by paramedics, a whole new world of pain opened up to me.

I AM DEPRESSED – what’s next? I had stopped caring. A long time ago, some part of my brain decided it didn’t matter whether I existed or ceased to exist altogether. It didn’t make a darn difference. So why even get medical help? Why plan for my financial future while a future is not something I saw for myself? Why make the effort to live & love & enjoy life? I had nothingness waiting for me – and so nothing is what I did. I waited for the day when this pain will be no longer. I waited for a time to come when I wouldn’t have to make an appearance. I didn’t fight the hopelessness; I didn’t fight to find my place in society, my place in this world. This “surrender” I was so content with met a force greater than myself. A force I struggled to keep at bay, and today I thank God I lost to that force. My FAMILY. While I had quit on me, they didn’t. When I didn’t care, they never stopped. It didn’t matter how much I pushed them away, how much I wanted to be left alone to my despair – in one way or another, they made sure I knew they were there, even from a distance I felt how strong the love they had to offer me was. I wanted to be left alone to my miseries. It was easier to lock myself away in a dark room. Easier to shut the world out. Easier if I was never there. They were not in consensus. I was alone in this feeling. Suffering alone was less and less of an option every day. While my family didn’t push me to be okay, they were okay with who I was then until I was okay to be who I wanted to be.

So I sought medical mental health support. I was seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist. I was put on medication for depression and anxiety. I did it because I knew a world when this wasn’t me. When I felt it not working, I continued because I knew I wasn’t hurting alone, I knew my family was suffering  along with me, I knew my pain was causing my mother a world of hurt. I finally stopped because it – plain & simple – just wasn’t working for me. Prescriptions didn’t do the trick. The Xanax felt numbing, the Ibuproprion could have very well been sugar-pills. The therapy was not therapeutic. I wasn’t going to do it alone, that much I wasn’t delusional about. So I started sharing & caring.

Opening up about my feelings to the people in my life I loved & who loved me made it bearable. I could be functional again. I didn’t always need to lock myself in a dark room to be left alone with despair, I could step into the light now. It wasn’t as frightening as it was before, I wasn’t walking alone. I always had a hand to hold by my side if I needed it. It was okay if I felt anxious. It was okay if the world was upside down & overwhelming at times. I was no longer an island. I was truly NOT ALONE. And everyday since, I’ve made a choice to step into the light. I have made a choice to live, love and appreciate myself. I chose life. My life matters. I have, since then pushed all suicidal thoughts aside. Do I still get them? YES. Will I attempt to act upon them? NEVER AGAIN. It can be an ugly and lonely world. I now make the choice everyday to live in a world that loves and appreciates me. Medication and prescribed therapy is no longer what I turn to to feel “normal”. I share. I care. I listen. I laugh. I love. Most importantly, I LIVE.

Published by Ney

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE & YOGA INSTRUCTOR I'm Ney, from Tanzania, currently living and teaching Yoga in the DMV - Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area. I'm also the Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer of a nonprofit in Tanzania called Tap Elderly Women’s Wisdom for Youth - TEWWY. I started practicing Yoga to manage my debilitating anxiety; and it has since transcended to fuel my passion for Social Justice. TEWWY, a mental health stakeholder in TZ, facilitates psychosocial interventions by bridging the intergenerational gap through training elderly retired women in Interpersonal Counseling. The grandmotherly Wisdom&Wellness Counselors (WWCs) provide mental health services, support and resources to their underserved communities. The WWCs facilitate Wisdom&Wellness Circles, safe-spaces for people to share & care beyond what meets the eye as they build community. I teach Yoga as a radical tool in creating just and sustainable communities through the promotion of mental health & wellness. As we integrate the practice of Yoga in TEWWYs Mental Health Intervention Programs, we are building communities that are well equipped to adapt to change and cope with adversity. If you would like to be a part of our Wisdom&Wellness Community, let’s connect below.

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