Today on my way to work, I remembered my doctor’s appointment last Sunday and couldn’t help but smile at how far I have come. We had gone over the activities of the last couple of months and I couldn’t help but thank God for how well I am doing now.
I was diagnosed with depression many months after I recovered from a mental break down. This did not come as a shock to my doctor as there had been symptoms of depression before it morphed into psychosis.
The fact that I was diagnosed with depression came to me as a bit of shock (I wasn’t really involved with my initial diagnosis as I was far from conscious out of touch with reality). What shocked me really were the symptoms that led to the diagnosis. I have really never considered suicide (my religion and learnings won’t let me). Suicide has always been my idea of the symptom of depression… little did I know how close I was to it.
I recall I had many bad thoughts which haunted my mind.
I saw images of me or my loved ones dying, being shot, being tortured and so on. I remember having nightmares that haunted my sleep. I became very frightened. Driving was a chore as I struggled to stay focused on the road and generally. This went on for about two weeks before I finally decided I had to see my doctor. Thank God I did, as that was how I found out those were also symptoms of depression and she thankfully started me on an anti-depressant.
Now if you’ve been here before, you should know how horrid those meds are. The side effects (especially the first couple of days) were horrible. I could hardly keep my eyes open at work, I ate like I had four stomachs, I had nausea and felt generally worse off. I would have stopped the medication if not for my husband (a psychologist) who ensured I took my meds religiously. I have had to take it for almost a year now and I am glad to say I am ending it this weekend!
The road to recovery hasn’t been easy.
So many people here (Nigeria) do not believe in mental illness. In fact mental illness to some = antichrist. You can’t be a Christian and suffer mental illness. I have heard a lot. Some think depression is ‘white man’s illness, some think we Nigerians are too strong for that, some think it simply doesn’t exist while others feel it’s a demonic spirit.
Depression is an illness. It is real. Just like Malaria it is foreign to the body and can be cured. Postpartum depression is growing by the day. We are exposed to so much hardship and psychological torture that our threshold level has significantly dropped.
This post is actually to educate and encourage everyone who knows someone / is going through this. It is not the end of the world.
For some weird reason I have had to experience postpartum psychosis and depression and it hasn’t been easy. The battle is real, but God is bigger. Join me as I celebrate this milestone in my recovery journey!
Have a good weekend everyone!