Living with depression and anxiety is one thing, but add a disability to it and you have what some would call a recipe for disaster. This is my life as it stands! Before you ask, nothing happened. I was born with the inability to walk, and you know the crazy thing? I love it! Yes, I have my days, but overall I would not have it any other way. I am growing to be the opinionated, big spirited and unapologetically smart-mouthed tomboy I was born to be. After two suicide attempts, a long history of self-harm, and struggling to live according to everyone’s standards and expectations of me, I have had no choice but to be me.
I am not here to prove myself to you or glorify how great my life is because that would be a lie. I am here in hope that you seek some solace in my words because growing up, all I wanted was for someone to make sense of what was happening to me; tell me that I was not crazy and that there was possibly a deeper reason to why I would come home from school to cry for hours then proceed not to eat for hours because nothing was appetising to me, or I just could not move from my bed. Most of all, I just wanted someone to tell me it was okay to be me in every sense of the word.
I am here to take your hand. You will feel me cry through my words. I swear to you, it is the simple act of writing that has saved me one too many times. So, if you are reading my words, know that you are providing me with a release, and in a sense, you are saving me from the demons that depressions and anxiety have forced me to see. I know it is a confusing place to be in because at times I struggle to explain what is happening to me, but know it is fine not to understand. The thing to never forget is to speak; either to someone or getting it out in the correct way. Go for a run, sing, listen to music, or even breathe. Just do not let it lock you in. I say this from experience as someone who stayed mute for eight years. I cried silently at night (I actually mastered the art of making tears fall, but not making a single sound), starved myself repeatedly, and went to the gym and exercised to the point where black spots were behind my eyes and I was close to passing out. I even stabbed myself on numerous occasions and had violent meltdowns to the point that I forgot where I was and did not know who was around me. Strangely, all these happened secretly for eight years and I ignored it, playing it down like it was normal.
It will catch up with you, I promise. Oh no, I am not saying this to scare you, but simply because it always happens (it happened to me). Depression sees no age, gender or ability. It sets up shop and grows till it blows and by that point, it is unavoidable. It took me owning the situation to fight it so all I say is, find what works for you and conquer it slowly. That might include taking drastic steps like I had to when I decided to take a gap year from university and restructure my life so I can breathe, or taking smaller steps like spotting signs and coming to terms with it. I am here to make sure you know you are not alone. Whether you are new to this, been living with a mental illness for a while, or know someone who is suffering from it, I am here to tell you it is okay and there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is dim. The year 2016 could very well have been the finish line for me, but I am somehow living to tell my tale.
Oh, and do not get it twisted, you will definitely laugh with me too! This journey is not all doom and gloom, as I am known for getting myself into questionable situations. So, prepare for tears of laughter too. We will smile through this.
ABOUT BLESSING ODUKOYA: On all fours is how her life began; Growing into a young adult in the past is where she remains; Occasionally sitting on two wheels; She saw life through a different lens but her strive to be the same was almost her end game; Failing to see past her self inflicted pain; They undoubtedly became best friends; Only to realise society didn’t live up to her standards anyway.