( I lived through. I didn’t kill myself like I thought/planned.)
Happy New Year… Literally, because this is my first article for the year 2020. It has been sitting too long in my drafts and every time I go back to take one last look before publishing, I end up deleting lines and paragraphs I assume might make me appear too vulnerable to the public. But well, isn’t that what we need sometimes? Someone to actually share so we don’t feel like our struggles are entirely ours and ours alone.
Let’s take a walk through my life together, shall we?
Before the end of the year 2019, when asked what the most difficult year for me was, I’ll always respond with the year 2016. It was a really tough year for me and I absolutely thought nothing could beat that or top the year. I thought anything worse than that year would lead to my death, but alas, 2019 happened.
It was a year filled with the most fun moments, lost and found love, life, depression, joy, panic attacks at different times, and a lot more than I could ever have imagined. I cried a lot. More than a lot. It was also the year of unleashing different shades of me I never knew existed.
To make this a lot easier for you to read, I have created 6 highlights that best describes my year;
- Mental health
In all my years of working in the corporate space, 2019 was the toughest career-wise. I struggled with knowing what I really wanted to do within the company I currently work in and outside it. I wanted to really make a meaningful impact on my role. I wanted to do beyond the books. I lost myself at some point and went into depression but… hey, I had the best smile and attitude to shield all these. I think.
This is basically because I am a sucker for growth. The norm gets boring over time especially when you can’t measure the impact in human form.
Also, I punished myself a lot for being sad, depressed and clueless with work. I didn’t understand taking it easy. I’ll randomly hide my face to cry at my work desk. I’ll randomly have panic attacks. I’ll worry that I was becoming too worried…lol. Trust me, it was a terrible phase for me.
I will never forget one of such episode where I took a walk out of the office just to sit in my friend/colleague’s car to cry. I was freaking out that day with the tappings on the keyboard and smiling faces. I stepped out and cried my eyes out for over an hour, cleaned my eyes and took a walk back as nothing happened. I thought I would collapse in the car from breathing so hard while crying. It was tough.
Too much to ‘pen’ down but I’ll just save you the extra details…
Four things happened that switched things up for me;
- Family and Close Knit Friends
- My Mindset
- New Job Role
I had the best support system any human could ever pray for during these moments. This is one I’ll get emotional writing about. Also, I was offered a new job role in a new tech startup still within the same company and that was beyond exciting, even though it came with a different kind of anxiety at first. But hey, I loved and still love taking on challenges heads on. I made a switch to my mind and started to take each day one after the other.
Lesson: Everybody hits a difficult path in their career. It would get really tough, but then you would get better over time.
2019 was the year I almost visited a therapist for the first time. Yes. I had never been to one or even spoken over the phone to one, but I strongly considered it after I spoke to my friend and he clearly advised I see one. He clearly could see I was going to hit a hard wall and hurt myself by myself if I didn’t seek help. I just didn’t visit one. I honestly do not trust the Nigerian system when it comes to therapy really.
I had countless panic attacks just by seeing people go about their lives, even at my workspace. I literally couldn’t stand how people were looking happy and I was so so sad. It was nothing no one could fix really but for me. It was my own sh*t I needed to fix.
At different times, I’ll hate waking up in the morning because the dark nights in my single room alone became desirable. I hated dressing up to go out to work knowing I’ll see people. I wanted to just lay down alone or with someone else who could understand.
Also, I got to the point where I dreaded going home. I would literally start freaking out after work because I know I’ll be alone at home after work. Things got that bad. Like I stated earlier, I cried a lot especially towards the end of the year.
“Check on your friends” is more than just a phrase fellas. It should be a part of your daily life. I learned this after I went through my own phase and almost thought I’ll give up and actually just end the life I felt was worthless. I tried.
Being sick mentally is worse than physical pain because you wouldn’t know how to fix it most of the time. Neither can your loved ones. You would hate yourself for having a messed up mind. You would hate your mind for not thinking positively when needed.
Lesson: The best lesson here is to Fix your mind before it gets out of hand. Fix your mind. Build walls when you begin to notice negativity sneaking in. Try. Get the right support system and seek help when you need to.
God’s love was evident in the latter part of 2019, else I wouldn’t even be here sharing how it all went down. I didn’t do right 50% of the time but his love carried me through.
It was quite challenging loving him as much as I should. I always knew and still know God is ever-present with me through my days. What better way would justify my healing journey after countless suicidal thoughts and depression if he wasn’t in the picture? I believe he was there. He had the right people present too.
2019 was also the year I talked more to him in dark places. Most of those nights where I’ll wake up and decide not to call anyone, I’ll sit up and imagine God was sitting right across me, set to listen to me.
Did he answer my prayers all the time I asked? No! But I trusted that he knew what was best for me better than anyone else.
Lesson: “God loves you deeply, fiercely and eternally, not because of anything you’ve done but because he chose to.”- @sope_o
I had plans to travel to other African countries last year. I even talked about it with my family, but guess who didn’t? Me.
I had other plans to visit Dubai, Ghana or/and even Rwanda but I couldn’t. This was mostly due to financial constraints and other personal reasons. However, I visited some states within Nigeria such as; Imo, Abeokuta, and Ondo State. Basically work-related visits.
Lesson: Don’t just talk about travel plans. Save towards it and maybe, start by visiting the less expensive countries.
This was the best gift of 2019. The true meaning of friendship came to play for me during my downtimes.
My friends were my support system. I have a very small circle of close friends even though this is quite difficult to believe judging from how friendly and welcoming I can be to everyone I meet, but yeah I do.
I love being vulnerable and I only want to be that way with people who can handle that part of me. I also encourage vulnerability from my friends and there is so much I can handle, hence my close circle.
I had a messy 2019 and only scaled through because my friends were there for me. I almost pushed them away because I felt I was being a piece of baggage but they never let me. They were always ready to listen until I got better.
At different times, they would literally make plans on how to get me off my sad state even behind my back. How awesome? They would listen without trying to act like they had all the answers. Thank you, guys.
To all the few genuine friends and colleagues that I can’t begin to talk about individually but actually saw me, checked up on me and could see beyond the mask I tried to wear daily, Thank you.
These friends would forever hold a special place in my story.
Lesson: Get yourself true friends that would let you be entirely vulnerable to them. Get yourself friends that would let you be you unapologetically.
I didn’t meet up with the goals I had set for 2019. I had projects written down to kickstart but I couldn’t, rather I did other things I can say I am proud of.
Lesson: Be more intentional about your goals for the year. Don’t just talk, do it. Start even when you don’t feel like it, you will be proud you did.
It was a tough year for me and I honestly didn’t know I’ll make it this far into another year. I guessed I would but wasn’t so sure. I actually thought 2019 would be the end of me.
Personal Survival Skills For Living Through 2020
- I’m choosing to take it gently with myself.
- I’m choosing to accept challenges as seasons that would come and go.
- I have chosen to let myself feel the pain of being human when they come.
- I have chosen to let myself cry when there is a need to.
- I have chosen to let myself love when I get the chance to.
- I have chosen to live each day, one at a time.
- I have chosen to cherish joyous moments when they come and try not to think about the bad days.
- I have chosen to trust God even when it looks like he isn’t seeing me. What else or who else should I trust?
- I have chosen to live by my own rules of being Precious. I want to die happy, knowing I lived without regrets.
- I have chosen to be there for people much more than ever this year. If I survived the difficult days because of my support system/friends, why not give someone else a chance to live?
I still do not have a clue how this year would be. I have had rough days already but well, I will trust the process.
Cheers to 2020, the year where we truly live. Hopefully.