Am I Ever Enough?

Between the people involved in making sure that I get the adequate support before returning to University in September and having a meltdown, I think it is safe to say I have not had the greatest start to the year.

After watching a motivational video from one of my favourite spoken word artists, Nego True, honestly, I am not sure how I feel. Not that I am even supposed to feel anything, but putting the issue of success to one side for one moment I found that this video tapped into my biggest insecurity – self-worth. I will hold my hands up and admit I do not believe I am worthy of anything; love, affection, gifts, you name it! In my head, I do not deserve it. However, I strive to make sure everyone around me knows that they are worth everything the world has to offer and if you ever start to believe otherwise, I will be the first to shower you with praises and reassure you that you are destined for greatness.

I am a hypocrite, I know. As much as possible, I try to uplift people close to me who talk down about themselves. It breaks me to see them in that state. But when you try to uplift me when I talk down about myself, I will tell you it is too late. I feel I am only deserving of pain and just learning to live with it. My heart pangs a little, but this is what I truly believe and for the longest time, I did everything to make sure I got pain because that is what I subdued my worth to. Whether I am physically harming myself in some way or constantly telling myself how worthless I am (to the point where I refuse to look in the mirror), I would rather result to self-pity than hate what I see. Even worse than this, I absolutely hate to be doted on in every sense of the word. Do not make me the centre of attention. Do not spend money on me (this goes as far as my family). Let me look after you in every way, be there for you and, as delusional as it sounds, take away your pain. I feel this is where my worth is.

Admittedly, I am probably a leech. I find it strange how my friends deal with me. I guess I have some good in me after all.

The other thing Nego spoke about that touched me was the issue of perfection and planning. Now, I cannot plan for the life of me. Ordinarily, you would think I plan everything to the last detail, but as long as I can figure out how I can get there and if I can get inside, planning evades me. I am what my cousin calls a Panster (Google it), but when it comes to writing I am meticulous and everything has to be perfect (seeing the link to my self-worth yet?)

I have been writing spoken word poems for as long as I can remember, but till this day, I am yet to gain enough courage to jump on stage owing to my social anxiety and my issue with vulnerability. Come to think of it, I always thought last year was a disaster, but having the opportunity to meet Nego True (Yo! I had to maintain a high level of composure that day) and discussing my issue with vulnerability, it was not as bad as I thought!

Know what he told me? There is no such thing as being too vulnerable. If people react, you have most likely struck a chord. And most of all, “Just close your eyes and hit send”. A part of me wishes I remembered this when I had the opportunity to perform at the end of last year. I wish to be this confident a-person, and the fictional character in my head is everything I aspire to be, yet the mere sight of happiness or even the warmest feeling makes me want to flee because I still stand in this mental cage that constantly repeats, “I am not worthy”.

My challenge for us this month? Close your eyes and hit send. Be open with where you are right now and what you are going through. Yes you may get some negative responses, but take pride in the fact that you tried. A step further? Tell yourself every day, “I love myself”. I will probably cringe trying to do this, but I will try.

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.

No Shame

It hasn’t always been easy to accept my condition; its perks and limitations. It wasn’t always easy to accept that I am different. I didn’t always have the courage to start a mental health conversation.

Coming out of the mental illness closet is as scary for me as it for anyone else. People begin to doubt you. They question your judgment. They discount your opinion. And begin to use your condition as a tool against you. All of which are NOT OKAY.

I know what depression feels like. I know what it’s like to have thoughts so wild in your head that they feel like individual voices. I know what it feels like to cry ceaselessly for days for no reason whatsoever. And I know what it is to be suicidal.

But you know what’s most important? That I know what it feels like to feel alone in this. I know the misery that accompanies not being understood or feeling like you need to prove you are ill. I have felt the emptiness of not having someone to share my candid experience with.

That is why I choose to speak. I choose to lend my voice. I choose to listen. I bear #NoShame living with more than one mental illness and I implore every one reading this to create a safe environment for people to speak about mental health. End the stigma by asking questions. Let us who live with the illness tell you about it. Do not criticize what you don’t understand.

Finally, everyone living with a mental illness has a right to recover at their own pace. You need not jump out of the closet if you are not ready. There is no pressure whatsoever. But know this, WE BELIEVE YOU. YOU ARE NOT YOUR ILLNESS. YOU ARE A SYMBOL OF STRENGTH. AND YOU ARE #NOTALONE

Big thanks to The Siwe Project for this brilliant initiative. #NoShameDay