The little boy sat at the table and swallowed when he noticed it was almost bedtime.
‘Mum, can I stay up tonight?’ He asked in an innocent voice. ‘Of course not, early to bed, early to rise darling, let’s go get you ready for bed’. His mum responded in a gentle but firm voice. ‘But I don’t feel sleepy, mum’ Timi said as he tried to stifle a yawn
‘Timi, we both know you need to sleep; now get up! It is time to take a shower’’- Mummy said.
Timi sighed as mummy led him into his room. How could he tell mummy that he was afraid to sleep? He allowed mummy bathe him and kept quiet as he put on his duck covered pyjamas. As she tucked him in, he looked at mummy in the eye and said in a loud voice “Mum, I don’t want to sleep alone, the monsters will come for me tonight”. Mummy looked at him and smiled as she thought of a way to help Timi with his demons. She remembered what her mum did for her when she was Timi’s age as she responded.
‘I have the perfect solution to these stubborn monsters, give me a minute’.
She ran downstairs and got Timi’s favourite stuffed toy and a mild body spray that reminded Timi of her scent. Timi was standing by the door when she got back. As she handed Timi the toy and spray, his face lit up like a Christmas light.
‘Alright my little man, Mr. Snuggles will keep you company tonight and if the monsters come, just spray this and watch them vanish to never return’
‘Are you sure this will work?’ Timi asked
‘Yes dear, it will. My mum gave me something like this when I had my own monsters. Now let us read you a bedtime story’
Timi was so happy and confident that he hugged mummy extra hard and fell asleep before mummy finished reading his bedtime story to him. His monsters never showed up from that day on.
Now you might think Timi is just a little child who makes things up but you are wrong. No matter your age, different demons will show up to scare you especially the ugly one called depression.
Depression is a disorder that happens as a result of different factors and leaves you feeling sad. It can last for a while and leave you feeling dissatisfied with the activities that once gave you joy and fulfilment. There are a lot of factors that can make you depressed like:
• Change etc.
Depression can affect your feelings, acts and appearance. You might lose interest in doing the things you love and withdraw from the people you love because you need space. If you start feeling terrible and out-of-place (amongst other symptoms), you might be suffering from depression.
Signs like the following should not be pushed aside they can be pointers to a deeper problem:
• Withdrawal from friends and family
• Inability to concentrate
• Morbid fear and hopelessness
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Change in sleep pattern i.e. sleeping too much or Insomnia
• Suicidal feeling
Once you begin to see these signs, it is better to speak up like Timi. Depression is best handled by talking to a psychologist or a friend who has gone through low moments and understands the empty feeling that comes with this phase. A lifestyle change or time off can help you rediscover yourself while making you understand that it is not unusual to feel depressed. Studies have shown that lonely people have a greater tendency to commit suicide. Don’t wait until it gets to that point, speak up and find partners to help you face your demons.
Contrary to popular belief, super stars are more susceptible to depression. The famous Robin Williams was so depressed that it showed. Prior to this time, he made certain statements that showed that he was quickly descending into a state of hopelessness. One of such statements that should have prompted serious concern is-
“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone”.
He was at the peak of his career but he was so lonely that he did the unthinkable for someone of his ilk; he took his own life.
Fortunately, not all depressed stars commit suicide. Stars like Jim Carey, Nicki Minaj, Ellen DeGeneres among others, battled depression and came out fine. Kanye West suffered from depression at different points in his life and even had a nervous breakdown. Michelle Williams who has suffered from depression most of her life has this to say about depression-
“I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists – that’s your healing. Take advantage of it. Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s okay if you’re going through something. Depression is not okay, but it is okay to go get help.”
Depression is a global thing. Nigerians suffer from depression but are usually asked to go pray about it or get over it. The story of the Nigerian doctor who jumped off a bridge has prompted a lot of people to take their mental health seriously. Some have died from drug (soft/hard) overdose and such deaths have been listed as accidental deaths. This is why it is very important to look out for our colleagues and friends. If you notice anything unusual, don’t hesitate to ask questions or help take their minds off their challenges. A note of caution though: Make sure you are sincerely concerned about their state of mind as people can always tell if you are genuinely interested in their issues or just fishing for the next hot topic to gossip about.
Don’t wave aside their challenges as this can make them shut down and do something drastic. Timi defeated his demons by speaking to his understanding mum who was quick to proffer a solution. It is not enough to tell anyone to just pray about it or snap out of it, support and constant attention will help anyone deal with this demon. The major challenge anyone suffering from depression faces is the fear of being misunderstood. Once that fear is conquered and you speak to the right person, healing is certain.
In conclusion, be kind to people. Don’t judge anyone. If you are suffering from depression or you know someone who is experiencing same, speak out and get help today!
Image Credit: Ana María León via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
This is deep. The points are clear and well articulated. Most sufferers of depression didn’t intend to be held in its clutches but then, understanding by friends and family is the key to them winning the battle against this slowly-creeping enemy. Thanks for the read!