Monday, 4 April 2016

Efé's Thoughts in April

EMPATHY FOR THE YOUNG AND DEPRESSED


You know what pisses me off? When someone says to me, “You're too young to be depressed.” Like who the fuck put you on jury duty to decide who should or shouldn't feel guilty about being depressed?

There's eleven year olds shooting, there's fifteen year olds being beheaded, there's four year olds being convicted of murder and you still think young people don't have problems?

It's the reason why I'm so motherly over my cousin, because she's in her pre-teen years and I know how I felt when I was at that age. There's nothing like having someone physically there with you, who wouldn't dismiss or downgrade you when you're feeling vulnerable, but as it was, I had nobody.

I remember when I was about ten years old and I would call Childline, a free children’s counselling service, just so I could talk to someone and feel that they cared about me and not judge me but when I heard someone coming through the door I would quickly end the call. Yes, pretty sad. The only other way I knew how to work out my depression was to write about it.

Being the child of two Africans means that depression wasn't and still isn't a topic of discussion I naturally start to talk about with them. After all, what more could I want? I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table. Free education? Free healthcare? Job opportunities? I have all that, so what else?

There are people out there who have less than what I have and they live happily so am I just ungrateful? Are we just ungrateful? After all, anyone who is able to read this, most likely has most of the things listed above, if not all.

The truth is I am grateful for all the blessings that God had given me, but that doesn't mean I can't be depressed and others my age or younger are not susceptible to depression. Depression is not prejudice. It affects all classes and all ages from the poor to the very wealthy.

Now bear in mind that I don't believe that depression is a mental “illness” as doctors and people in the medical field so kindly categorise it. It’s a sort of a when-life-give-you-lemons-make-lemonades type thing in my life.

Like the fact that there’s such a thing as personality-disorder is mind-boggling to me.
What the fuck does a person with an ordered personality look like? Honestly, I would love, love to meet someone who’s personality is straight up just orderly.
I think it’s just pharmaceutical companies making up stupid names to better classify and generalise humans and dope us up with more drugs in order to make their pockets deeper.

Anyhoos, back to the main point of this post which is to encourage empathy for the young and depressed or any young person who feels bugged down by life's bullshit. 
 
I know for a fact that if a child has someone who's reactions are condescending or judgemental, next time they wouldn't want to open up themselves again and instead it can open them to self-destructive habits. And that's really sad, especially for a younger person going through their formative years, because that would bring on bouts of trust issues that would have an effect on his/her relationships throughout their life.

I thank God for His grace over my life.

People see depression as a thing predisposed to army veterans, those who have had someone close to them die, or some other extremely traumatising experience. But sometimes it could be just because they're dispassionate about life, about living, or about anything at all.

And as I’m writing this, my favourite book in the Bible comes to mind – Job. He was a faithful servant of God yet he’d lost everything and his friends who were supposed to be supportive and encouraging condemned him when was he was his most vulnerable.

What do you think about 16, 17, 18 year olds taking antidepressants?

It almost makes me laugh trying to imagine the reaction of a pharmacist in Nigeria attending to a teenager who wants to get their prescription of antidepressants.

You are depressed, go and live in a village with no electricity, and having to shit outside in the bush and wipe your nyash with tree leaves, then you'll know about depression. Come ought for my way. Depressed nko, depressed ni.”

The belief in Nigeria is that everything can be solved with prayer and that is the truth but even Jesus at the most crucial time in His life sought the support of his friends. Now I can't compare my Beloved's crucifixion to whatever we face in life but the principal still remains - having someone empathise and comfort you when you're vulnerable is a beautiful thing.

So yes we're young but we also have problems too. Real ones. Big ones.

Not because our nails broke, but because we feel helpless and don't know what our future holds. Not because a certain girl didn't want our penis in her vagina, but because we feel the pressure of trying to meet other people's expectations for our life, so we stay high.

You think your life is hard, wells ours is hard too, if not even harder. But this not about competing against who has the biggest problems to win the most people for their pity party - no. This is for you to listen to us without any judgement or condescension.

We come to you because you're older and presumably wiser so listen to us with those things in mind, but don't force us to do things your own way. We're only young, allow us to make mistakes, so we can grow and be the better version of you.

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