What To Do With The Gap


Hey there my doves.

I hope you’re all as amazing as Nairobi’s sun today. I’m alright, could be better but we’ll go with alright for now.

So, we’re NOT about to talk about thigh gaps and what not so just calm down.

Back to this lemon vibe. I didn’t even realize it was a series until I found myself having too much too say for one post…as is evidenced here and here. So here’s the last Lemon on my tree.

The month of August was a bit of a dark one for me. Simply because my eldest brother gained his amazing wings August ’15. I can do a multitude of posts in his honour but then again, that’s not really my style, you know?

I’ll simply write about the little things that seem to bother me about this whole fiasco we call death.

The Gap:

You know when you’re really used to something always being around and then suddenly by a stroke of something greater than all of us, it’s ripped away from you?

Well, that’s my brother for you. He was such a amazing figure to have around and only after his passing did we realize what exactly it is we had been taking for granted all these years.

There’s a spot on this earth that’s still being reserved for him and his presence.

There’s an empty spot that seems to haunt me whenever I think about this amazing guy, my brother.

I honestly have tried to fill it up in ways only I  can rationalize. However, I’ve had conversations(more like interventions) with a couple of my friends and they’ve opened my eyes to a view of life that was pretty different from the hole I had dug my head into. Yes, I’ve been playing ostrich for a minute. They basically reminded me that there’s always better ways to honour someone’s legacy. You don’t have to do the things they did whilst they were here with us, in order to feel closer to them.

I know this one all too well. It’s hard to randomly hear one song that is linked to them and not feel like your tears are threatening to fall. I always feel as though he’s never going to get the chance to listen to this music that he loved so much, ever again. So, I’ll be there scouring youtube, video after video, just to figure out what made him stick to a certain artist, and even remember the words so brilliantly. After I find one song, I proceed to play it, picture him singing along or bobbing his head to it and yet again I find myself shedding tears. Guys, can you picture it? I’m seated on my bed, blasting some “Heads High-Mr Vegas” or “Buju Banton” and my mood is more than sombre. It’s actually a bit weird but I guess that’s what death brings around.

when God took you home.jpg

The Gap:

A feeling of longing. A feeling of something missing. That’s what death brings about. “Emptiness”. It’s in quotation marks because the emptiness is definitely a construct of the mind.

How to Deal?

Reconnect with your Deity. I’m Christian and ever since I was a toddler, it’s been instilled into my mind that when you feel as though something is beyond your control, then it’s not your battle but God’s. You know sometimes we tend to ask questions that we clearly know, noone has an answer to but we seek to be answered. I’ve learnt with this gap that if you can’t understand it, only God would. Why do people die? Screw science and it’s idea of romanticizing death as a simple act of the heart not beating anymore. There’s more to it and once again, only God can explain it. So, when you feel that emptiness, read a couple of verses from the Bible and shoot a prayer up to God.

pray-for-the-souls

How to Deal?

Talk about it with people you trust. Sometimes, as I have learnt, talking to people who have been affected by the same tragedies may not be as effective. They still harbour the same pain, the same sadness. So figure out someone who’s outside of the range of these emotions and have a chat with them. It could be about the person’s life, about their music, about their randomness, what made them important to you, and how you feel now that they no longer breathe the same air as you do. Talk.

How To Deal?

Get out there and socialize. It’s never too hard to take a random walk in order to step away from your thoughts. It’s always advised to keep your mind busy especially when that time rolls around. Start a project that you know would keep their legacy alive. The other day in church the preacher went on and on about how this life isn’t ours to count on and that there’s never such a thing as gone too soon. It’s not our timing but a higher power controls it. So, in order to stop dwelling on the gone too soon aspect, we can build something that keeps their spirit alive. An art project, a visit to the less fortunate, a book, a blog; whatever you do, let it have a way of impacting someone else’s life. Make someone else take charge of their years and act as a reminder for them not to waste the hours on pointless shenanigans.

The Gap:

We always think about the could-have-beens, the would-have-beens, the maybe if they were still here we could have done this and that differently. It’s more than human to do this. However, keep your sanity and remember that you’re alive and you can find value in whatever you do.

My fallen soldiers are simply more than memories, they are the stars that light up the sky at night. They are the sun that shines ever so bright. They are the wind that blows each and every night.  They are the smile and the feeling of warmth you feel once in every random while. They are those deep breathes that you take and wonder why you feel so calm all of a sudden. They are still living, just not alive.

I’ll leave you with some Buju Banton for this post, simply because I realized that this guy legit sang about meaningful things.

Buju Banton – Wanna Be Loved

“I wanna be loved, not for who you think I am nor who you want me to be. Could you love me for me? Real love, no strings attached I want to give you my heart, Don’t want to take it back.”

And another song for the feels, From the amazing Dela (Kenyan Music is really something beautiful)

Dela & Gilad – Nakuahidi

Sina budi ila kukuaga kwaheri
Ninakutakia kila la heri
Naomba mola akulinde.

I promise you
Tutaonana.

 

That’s it from my end of the globe.

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With life, love, sun and positive vibes(and a hint of lemonade),

Let the memories keep us venturing into the unknown and inspire us to live and not just be alive.

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Lemons and more Lemons


Hey there my doves.

I hope you’re well and trying to stay warm…for those of us on this amazing continent…but for anyone else, enjoy the sun for me. Nairobi’s sun has been elusive for a long minute.

Anyway,

Lemons tend to be are bitter…so we must look for ways to sweeten them like a good deal. You know? Caramelize them in sugar syrup, ehhmmm,,,sprinkle them with powdered sugar, bake using lemons to give you some amazing cake. See where I’m going with this? And no, this isn’t a tutorial or recipe post so just calm down.

Lemons.

Referring to my previous post about “When Life Gives You Lemons“, i’ll add a few more lessons on here.

Apparently there’s a positive side to loss.

Aside from the obvious change in perspective and finding a new lease on life…there’s a positive side.

What death has taught me?

Togetherness. Be it with the family or with friends and acquaintances. Through death I have learned that bonds tend to be formed with the remaining people. You grieve together, you bare yourself to one another, you find strength in one another’s vulnerability. You grow and get through the motions together. It builds and repairs so many broken relationships because you all finally realize that there’s no point in showing animosity of any form when life literally can just fall through your grasp, right in front of your eyes.

I found strength in my parents and my siblings in a way that I had previously ignored. You learn to be the shoulder that the folks lean on…You see a certain vulnerability in people’s eyes that may at first shake you to your core but eventually you take it in and bask in the new ways to  bond that result from this thing we call death.

togetherness.jpeg

What death has taught me?

The mind is a strong strong strong tool. You can stare death in the face and still come out of it. You can stare into someone’s cold eyes and question so many things in life but in the end, the mind finds ways to cover up the death with new life. The mind can determine just how you get through someone’s passing. I learnt to alter my mindset to positive thinking. In the time I spent tuning my thoughts to seeing the positive side of things more often than not, I realized just how strong my mind is. It was as though my brain had figured out something would put a wrench in its works soon so it had to build up its strength.

That bad gut feeling is scarier than most. In the days before my brother finally came to the end of his journey in this life, I had some serious bad vibes checking into my psyche. You realize that sometimes your mind just warns you about something that’s to come. It sort of tries to prepare you for the surprises that life just keeps giving. But then again sometimes it could be nothing really. Mere coincidence.

What death has taught me?

To cherish and cherish the little things. I spend a lot of time just looking at small things like my toe nails and I remember how my brother had the exact same weird toenail structure. I look at my face and I see his amazing eyes staring right back at me. Death has proved to me that memories are forever eternal. I was torn up over the idea that I may have lost him forever and that in a couple of months/ years I would completely forget about the little things he did. However, as the days pass from 365 to 1 and from 1 to 365, I realize that it’s impossible to forget someone who you spent a few years on this unforgiving earth with. I learnt not to be afraid to forget because it’s more than impossible to forget. They’re in that song that is replayed over and over; they’re in that light switch; they’re in that bracelet and earrings; they’re in that hope that you’ll get to meet up with them in the next life and for them to tell you “I saved you the best seats because that’s what big brothers do.”

keep me in your heart.jpeg                       poem_2.jpg

What death has taught me?

Your family is not only blood but it also is in friendship. Most times you can’t get through something, then you realize that your circle is wider than you had once imagines so you carry on. It’s not about choosing friends but choosing the family that is bound to you indefinitely. It’s about learning to be there with smiles and with tears. It’s about knowing that there’s people out here who are, simply put, angels.

What death has taught me?

To pray more and more. To love more and more. To be patient and understanding. To appreciate those I have around me until it’s time to bid them adieu.

What death has taught me?

Regardless of the number of people you see depart from you, regardless of how many years you have spent on this here earth, it’s never the same. Just like with each new day the sun shines differently, each addition to the tally affects you different.

eee3b5a6bcc83c81e7f3f45ad98d9cf3.jpg

I recently told someone that the sun shines through different people. The truth in this has only just hit me and I realize that I might actually be just a little more in-tune with this thing called life.

My fallen soldiers are simply more than memories, they are the stars that light up the sky at night. They are the sun that shines ever so bright. They are the wind that blows each and every night.  They are the smile and the feeling of warmth you feel once in every random while. They are those deep breathes that you take and wonder why you feel so calm all of a sudden. They are still living, just not alive.

Let’s jam to some Shabba Ranks today.

Shabba Ranks – Ting a ling a ling

 

That’s it from my end of the globe.

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With life, love, sun and positive vibes,

Let the memories keep us venturing into the unknown and inspire us to live and not just be alive.

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

When Life Gives You Lemons:


Hello my doves.

So, I’ve been prompted time and again to write about a topic that I really refuse to acknowledge. I’m not sure how many draft posts I can type up before I accidentally hit publish rather than “Save As Draft”. But I suppose I’ve had one too many lemons over the past few years so the bitterness I hold towards this subject is more than justified.

 

“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?” 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Morbid right? I never said it would be a happy post though. But since you’re all here, let’s keep reading shall we?

P.s. I hope you all are doing okay.

An amazing friend and blogger, Barbs, put it so well when she mentioned how we’re, maybe not all but most of us are, at a stage of life when death makes everything so real and that we can finally fathom the pain that comes with losing a loved one, be it a parent, a sibling, a friend…generally someone we have known and interacted, and who left a piece of them behind with every interaction (https://barbaraabwoga.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/so-long-farewell/).

When we were younger, we had halos of naivety and were protected by an air of innocence; so when someone passed, we were shielded from the realness of it by so many different things, but our brains did the most work in making sure we were “oblivious”.

Sometimes, it’s easier to blame the illness, the driver, the situation, the events that led up to it. We get caught up in trying to put the blame on something because why else would the good Lord just decide to take something away when it was a source of joy and hope to so many people?

You see, that is how I’ve always felt about someone’s passing. Blame it on whatever the cause was and hope to move on. Well, that was until my own brother passed and I had nothing to blame it on really. I couldn’t say that it was a terminal illness, I couldn’t blame it on an accident, I couldn’t blame it on anything except pure coincidence and that it was simply his time.

iremember

I have relived the moment over and over and over and maybe I just did not grieve or did I?

Maybe I just felt a tonne of guilt for not doing enough when I had the time to.

Maybe I just realized that death really was as final as they say.

I think I was numb.

Numb.

I only felt like breaking down because it was “expected” of me. In truth, my emotions were completely shut off. I was a zombie. My body could not process anything, even the simple task of shutting itself off to sleep, I was more than afraid of that. No eating? Check. Relying on outside interactions to keep my blood flowing and heart beating? Check. Finding a routine to stick to? Check. Deciding not to focus on the situation at hand? Check.

I was literally in a dark room, and I wasn’t about to be bothered to find my way out from the pitch darkness. Because if I came to, I would see only sadness, only tears, only so many other people whose lives were touched by your hands, your words, your presence, your hope, your vision. I would only see despair….pity. So like an elephant in a room, I ignored it.

I remember sending the texts to people in my contacts. Looking back now, and reading through that specific message, I see how detached it was. It was short, and straight to the point. It was specific enough for anyone who read it to know what had happened without having to answer to “those questions”. I sent it to specific people, because I knew that the message would be passed on to the rest.

I remember being in disbelief for so long because I wasn’t able to understand just how someone I happened to be so sure of seeing at the dinner table each and every night, someone whose music I would hear each time I opened my windows and he was home, someone who shared an unexplainable bond with me; I just could not for the life of me figure out that I wouldn’t see them anymore, in this life.

I remember the anger at my brother and at God. Why? There was so much more that he had to do before death was even a plan. The anger was at my brother. Why did you just not say that thing you wanted to say to me but said you’ll tell me the coming week? Why would you not let me tell you that I love you at least one more time? Why would you not get to see your next birthday, you didn’t want us to celebrate you? The anger was at my Maker.. Why could You just not wait until after I had one last glance at him? Why did it have to be at that specific moment? Why was there no warning that You were going to call him back?

I had so many questions, and so much more to say.

if

But I learnt something through death,

Although it comes unannounced, in most instances, and although it wreaks havoc on our emotions and plays on our very ingrained ability to form regrets, it heals too.

Although it brings up so many questions, we can never forget that there is a purpose behind everything. Only God knows of His plan…it’s not ours to alter.

In death I have learnt to live and say things if and when they come to mind. I refuse to wait for the “what ifs” in this unpredictable life. I have found myself being liberal with my openness towards a number of people and things.

Death has a way of creeping in and tearing open scars that you would think had scabbed over but with every new soul that is returned to sender, you’re brought back a few steps. You learn something about humility and once again desire to fulfil whatever you think is your destiny, while you still have the chance to.

d46ed13da99f41d42c1a663ef241ec9d

In death I have learnt to cherish the people who I believe matter or who hold me dear. I have learnt that sending a few messages filled with love and good vibes never hurt anyone. I have grown in death….actually no, I have grown in life.

It matters not how much time you spend with someone, but what is most important is how you left a mark on their lives and what type of mark you left.

Death always brings me to the point of questioning myself: If I died today, what kind of impact will people say I had on their lives? Was I just another human being that came through their lives and left it the same or did I make them change the way they think? Did I make them smile once in a while? Did I add some form of value to their lives?

We’re constantly stuck in a cycle of keeping up with time that has already passed. Stuck on wishing that we did this better, or we said this and that to someone whilst they were still around. Maybe it’s time to break this unforgiving cycle and start something new.

I say more of switching up the life we live to accommodate the positive energy that just wants to pour into our lives. Coming up with new ways to live and love the life.

1488323_230633213779567_507388006_n

I’m not about to watch someone I know come to the end of their journey on earth without them knowing what they meant to my life; be it how proud of their achievements I am, or be it how thankful I am to have them just move with me as I move through these 365 days we call years.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do, or how you do it. What matters most, to me, is how people were touched by your hand.

What death has taught me?

Use the time now to patch up unnecessary grudges. Use the time you have now, to see and interact with the blessings(people) God grants you access to. It doesn’t matter whether you’ll meet them again in a few years or never see them again, all that matters is how much of an impact you can leave on their lives when you do talk to them or do something for them.

What death has taught me?

It’s not the end of everything. It’s a hint that you need to start/continue living.

My fallen soldiers are simply more than memories, they are the stars that light up the sky at night. They are the sun that shines ever so bright. They are the wind that blows each and every night.  They are the smile and the feeling of warmth you feel once in every random while. They are those deep breathes that you take and wonder why you feel so calm all of a sudden. They are still living, just not alive.

J.Cole – Love Yourz

No such thing as a life that’s better than yours

For what’s money without happiness?
Or hard times without the people you love
Though I’m not sure what’s ’bout to happen next
I asked for strength from the Lord up above
Cause I’ve been strong so far
But I can feel my grip loosening
Quick, do something before you lose it for good
Get it back and use it for good
And touch the people how you did like before
I’m tired of living with demons cause they always inviting more

That’s it from my end of the globe.

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With life, love, sun and positive vibes,

Let the memories keep us venturing into the unknown and inspire us to live and not just be alive.

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Who or What is a Writer?


Hey my doves.

I’ve been receiving so much positivity from so many readers and from life in general, it’s amazing. So here I am, back at it again with the blog posts. I hope y’all have been well.

Who / What Is A Writer?

writer

The other day, well more like last month (Happy New Month guys, it’s finally the middle of the year)….so anyway, the other day I was picking up a hamper from somewhere, and the lady I met up with was first, really friendly and secondly, the sweetest human being ever. You know those random things you get into on social media and then the punch line is win a free hamper or something of the sort? Well that’s what this was about. Okay, the point of that back story isn’t so that you can finally see how much time I spend on the internet.

With this sweetheart, let’s call her Mo, she’s the social media manager at company X. Mo randomly asks me a question about what I do, well possibly because I was rocking up to her office at 2 in the afternoon, dressed in jeans, a vest and a sweater. I asked her to guess what I do. Here’s where it got interesting. She shoots me a scrutinizing look, like top to bottom kinda look then she she just says, “You look like a writer. Like one of those creatives that can sit behind a desk and put words on a screen and have people enjoy what you write.”

What? Me? A Writer? So I asked her “Why do you think I look like a writer? Is it the way i’m dressed? How I sound when I talk?” Mo said that it was in my eyes or something. I laughed so hard and asked her to get serious. Here we were, two complete strangers, carrying on a conversation like we were friends from way back when. She went on to say that it’s in my hands, I have a writer’s hands. It’s in how laid back I looked, it’s in the smile and of course the way I spoke to her with a certain command of English. So, I was flattered. If you know me, you know by now that flattery gets you more than 10 points with me. I then went on to tell her about the blog and that I write for fun, she read my latest posts on depression, looking all impressed (in my opinion). So if you’re reading this Mo, Hi.🙂

We caught up a bit on how I came to blog and what else I do, she promised to buy some of my cupcakes, she followed the page on Instagram, joked about how she needs more energy like mine around the office, we exchanged numbers….New friend guys. Is this how networking works? I felt so accomplished on my drive home and so I got to thinking, What exactly is a writer?

Who/ What is a writer?

I always imagined a writer to be someone who lounges around with their laptop and/or tab, a mug of black coffee and glasses on their face(I picked this out of all the movies I’ve watched that have a writer in them), looking all dishevelled and slightly crazy. Words flowing through their entire aura being let out through their finger tips.

Kinda like Johnny Depp when he played Mort Rainey in Secret Window.

b5f920dfd2d4261f253d01441a60c3a0

Thank you google for making my life slightly harder. I put that in the search tab and it brought me a lot of psychological stuff about whether you’re a writer or someone who simply writes. This led me to read through a couple hundred websites about this and now here I am sharing my profound knowledge, if only just so it stops taking up space in my mind.

A writer is, simply put, is someone who can pen down their thoughts onto a piece of paper in a manner that exudes meaning and can be understood by anyone who reads it. Based on this definition, aren’t we all writers then?

a compulsion to write
a love of language
a grasp of grammar and idiom
a wide acquaintance with writing in different genres and from different historical periods
an enormous vocabulary, together with an instinct for choosing words appropriate to context and audience
the ability to write despite discouragement and distractions

So does this apply to you? I know they do to me.

Do your words make people feel involved? Do they evoke emotions and concern? Do the readers flow with the words, like they’re being serenaded by a violin? Do you itch to write almost every second of the day? Do you have multiple pages of multiple books filled with blood, sweat, tears and of course ink? Do you not worry about semantics like How should I begin or where should I begin or is my writing good enough?

Then you might possibly be a writer. Or someone who writes. Screw the internet and the labels though. If you think you’re a writer, then be what you may.

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.  ~Hart Crane

And I found this quote which simply spoke to me, wrapped up my “writer” physique in a beautiful little bundle of words and was gifted to my sight.

The writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself; the publishing of his ideas, though it brings gratification, is a curious anticlimax.  ~Alfred Kazin

 

Elvis Costello and The Attractions- Everyday I Write The Book

Everyday, Everyday, Everyday I write the book

Chapter One we didn’t really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks

Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel

That’s it from my end of the globe.

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

with love and love and sun and positive vibes,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*🙂

Behind the Smile (6)


Hey my doves. I hope you are all amazing.

*Nairobi sun please stand up?

I started you guys off with the definitions, went down to the so-named symptoms, moved into the statistics and let you in the know about how men also suffer from depression…and based on the facts out there, need just as much support and recognition as the women. Finally we cooled things down with how to deal with it. You can never have enough knowledge, so keep reading keep searching the internet. Find out about depression from more than just a few articles.

 

So I leave you with the entire series on depression. I really believe that I’ve been able to give you guys at least some insight into the mental illness. Enough for you to stop the stigma, enough for you to speak to someone about what you or someone else could be going through, enough for you to share your story about how you pushed through, enough for you to recognize the symptoms and put a stop to it before it gets too serious. Enough for you to know that it gets better and keep at this thing called life.

 

To remember: Depression isn’t the same in everyone.

:It doesn’t end when suddenly the person seems to be back to normal for a day. It’s not a phase. It’s not overreacting. It’s not a white people illness (Dear African parents). It’s not a show of immaturity. It’s not a sign of mental instability. It’s not a clutch.

:It paralyses in the worst ways but it can be dealt with.

Be aware. Keep your eyes open, Keep your mind open. And best of all, spread the love and it will come right back to you. Learn to see the triggers, and don’t let each other suffer in silence.

phbc-stay-woke-panel-1

Stay woke.

^^I’ve always wanted to use this. ^^

Last though it should’ve been at the fore front, Seek the counsel of the Lord. A bit of prayer and meditation goes a long way guys. Whatever deity you worship, pray to them, read the Holy Books, understand that there’s a greater destiny for you and you will be restored. We are greater than the struggles we face by the day.

screen-shot-2014-08-23-at-09-08-41

That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

And you can pull through and come out on top.

You are golden.

…. part six …. Behind the Smile(6)

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston – When You Believe

Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe
Somehow you will
You will when you believe

They don’t always happen when you ask
And it’s easy to give in to your fears
But when you’re blinded by your pain
Can’t see your way clear through the rain
A small, but still, resilient voice
Says help is very near

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Behind The Smile(5)


Happy New Month. I’m sorry this was supposed to go up 6 days ago but I got slightly busy.

Here it is though.

The second to last instalment to this series about depression.

.Depression.

.How to deal.(for everybody else)

Openness. Availability is key to helping someone who reaches out to you. I’m not saying you drop everything and show up, but a few responses and texts here and there. A few encouraging words every other time.

Be conscious. You can’t say that you never knew someone was going through before it got too serious. You have to be conscious of the signs. The sudden mood shifts. Be aware of the random times when someone seems to be acting a bit different to the norm. You could spot a few posts on social media, you can spot it when someone who’s hell bent on having a good time, suddenly not wanting to be part of things. Does their smile reach their eyes? Do their words seem detached? It’s not always in the physical signs like maybe you noticed that they suddenly wear a tonne of bracelets and have a tendency to keep touching their wrists. Nope. The psychological hints are the hardest to spot but they can be traced no less.

smile change the world

Smile. Refer to Behind the Smile (4) to see what is so great about a smile. See the human body is set up so interestingly. It copies what it sees, pretty much subconsciously. See a frown, and your face automatically starts frowning. See someone laugh genuinely and you’ll be trying to fight back your own laugh. See someone crying and your eyes will start to water. See a smile, and regardless of the thoughts racing through your mind, your mouth curves upwards into a smile.

imagessmile

Don’t talk about yourself. It’s not about you. I know we’re plagued with the “Even Me” syndrome where we must relate everything someone said in order to understand a situation. You can’t pull that stunt when someone finally opens up to you about their state of mental disarray. To them it simply sounds like you’re not interested; even when you are. Maybe we can tone down the even me.s in such situations.

Listen. This should have been first/ second to being conscious I suppose. Most times, someone who’s depressed just wants somebody else to listen for a change instead of constantly hearing their own thoughts. So listen. Be the open ears they seek. By the time someone gets the courage to speak to you, it’s been such an arduous hurdle to overcome so please listen.

>I need to talk to you. I have something to finally say. I’ve been meaning to say this once I figured it out <<

Have-to-Listen-2-2.jpg

Save your advice. I keep reiterating that they just want to share. They don’t need your advice especially when you have not a clue about what thoughts plague their mind. The advice is similar to talking about yourself; so unless you’re professionally trained, have none of that “When I feel low, I do such and such”. It’s hard not to give advice but you must resist the urge.

Build rather than destroy. Many depressed people, in my experience and in my interaction, feel the need to cut food out of their routine or overdo it. Find ways to get them to eat. Don’t offer criticism; they have enough of their own self-blame so this would only make it worse. Also, don’t downplay their condition. “Why do the small things get to you?” “It’s just a phase” “Get yourself together, that’s not how you were raised” “People out there have bigger problems Such questions nullify their disorder and completely try to gloss over their current state of mind.

He used to have recurrent episodes and would shut himself away and not answer the door or the telephone, but if I wrote him a note, and managed to push it under the door, he would tell me later how much it meant to him. Sometimes it was enough to coax him out.

Bring them outside. When you notice they hole themselves up in seclusion, offer them a polite walk, a quiet music listening session on the grass, a random drive even if it’s for grocery shopping….Let them reconnect with nature or something that’s moving and if possible, living and breathing. Just like a wound needs air to finally scab over, so does the mind when it’s thoughts become stagnant.

If you ever find yourself empty from something you cannot know or name, find a stretch of ocean, a field, or a mountainside, or even clouds or trees. Because there are 1000 simple ways to fill your tired soul so you can remember how to be, how to see, and most importantly, how to breath.

~Victoria Erickson

Share positivity. The universe has a way of cancelling out the negative energy, especially when it’s in excess. So, share positivity. If someone asks you to tell them something you like about them, do it now and ask questions later. If someone wants you to say something encouraging, just do it. You might never find out exactly what went on in their mind, but you brought some light into the madness that came with the darkness. Take up yoga with them, dance with them, breath life into them through the things that you do.

Patience. Being depressed, someone is more irritable, prone to quickly misunderstand others. So you need patience to deal with this.

Learn their triggers. More so if they’re episodes are recurrent. Let them know when a symptom pops up and point it out. It helps with the “drowning”.

Encourage. Encourage Encourage.

Suggest to them to seek professional help. And be supportive when they do. Don’t steer clear of them; You can offer to accompany them to their appointments without pressuring them to accept your offer.

Love. All we need is love.

Feels like i’m asking you guys to turn into angels ay?

 

That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

…. part five …. Behind the Smile(5)

Jessie J-Flashlight

‘Cause you light the way
I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life
I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight
You’re getting me, getting me, through the night
Kick start my heart when you shine it in my eyes
Can’t lie, it’s a sweet life
Stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight
You’re getting me, getting me, through the night

 

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Behind The Smile(4)


Back at it again.

Hey there beautiful souls. Are we doing alright? I hope so.

Are we still following the series? I hope so. Never know when this information comes in handy.

.Depression.

This post is about How to deal.

.How to deal.(for the person going through depression)

Smile. I found this quote on the glorious internet about how a smile eases any situation; but smiling to yourself, in the mirror, goes a long way. It’s like a reset button for your brain…much like crying. Release the endorphins. Feel your own glow.

stop and smile

Redirect your thoughts. Recall a few happy moments in your life. Take yourself back to that time, put yourself in your own shoes, why were you laughing? why were you so happy? why that memory in particular? Replay it through and through. Was it a person who made you feel that way? Was it an object? Recall those feelings and that setting in its entirety, recall and relive the moment. People tell you to stop living in the past, but sometimes you realize that the past is exactly what you need to get you through the present.

Distract yourself. I know what you’re thinking. Distractions = Drugs or something that will cause you harm in the future. BUT no. A distraction is another way to redirect your thoughts. Keep a music playlist handy for such down moments you know those songs that keep your blood pumping or make you feel relaxed? The jams that make you question the lyrics? Keep a playlist of songs filled with these. Read a book; see your mindset will switch from the present to the life you’re following in the novel, to the characters in the book. Watch a movie. Shift your mindset.

Take a walk…or sit outside where the air flows freely. The universe has a way of gifting those who seek its rewards. Breath. Breath. Just breath. Take in the environment outside. Look at the leaves. Stare at the sky. Find your calm and throw yourself into it. Get out of bed, find natural light outside and simply glow.

Find an outlet. So, all these sound familiar, non? They’re really not the same. I promise. Find an outlet. Journal. I’ve learnt that writing down the thoughts that run wild in your mind dispels them from that space. You write down everything; you can do it physically or online on a private/anonymous blog or something. Just write. They don’t have to be well put together paragraphs or sound like magnificent poetry but write anyway. Let it all out. It’s the release that you’re looking for. When you focus your thoughts on words flowing through your fingers, it’s therapeutic. Cook up a storm, bake until your kitchen can put the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel to shame.

18886157fe9e99142e483ab02f6ca3d4

Talk to someone. This is different from reaching out though. This simply involves talking to someone who lifts up your mood. They really don’t need to know exactly what you’re going through but sometimes, you need a good laugh. I have a bunch of people who I call or text once in a while, and we can laugh for hours on the phone. It’s “meaningless” not necessarily “important” banter but it releases the good feels. Tell someone to shower you with compliments; ask someone to tell you a good memory they have of you; seek for the good vibes and they will seek to be found by you. It calms the thoughts. It restores the clarity that you’re unable to navigate through on your own.

It heals.

Reach out. Talk to someone who won’t provide judgement. Someone who will simply listen. Sometimes, you really just want another living breathing human being to listen to what’s going on in your mind. It’s hard at first to say even one word, but when it gets down to it, the banks break and the words literally flow out. Take the rope that’s offered to you whilst you drown. Take it.

Professional help. As I mentioned in Behind the Smile(1), depression is an illness and like many illnesses, someone who is attuned to dealing with it needs to help you through the hurdles. They know how to speak to you and through the fog that’s clouding your mind. They can filter their way through your thoughts, and although they may not understand exactly what you’re going through, the therapy works. The medication prescribed helps.

You’re looking to feel numb and that’s the one thing you need to avoid. Feeling numb. You seek to be an impenetrable object, but no. That’s not going to help you, it just traps the negativity inside you. It magnifies the feelings in your mind, they only intensify and that’s the last thing you need.

Don’t suffer in silence. Surround yourself with life. It could be people, a pet, flowers…anything that has life breathed into it. The energy you get from live things cannot be replicated by anything else. So get out there, feed off of the good vibes.

Man walking at sunset

Man walking down road at sunset

Be conscious of your triggers. A trigger is simply what causes your mind to shift into overdrive. It could be a situation, stress, someone, the weather; Just figure out what your trigger is and be ready for it. Arm yourself with positive vibes, when you’re unable to keep the feels at bay, then at least you’ll be able to handle it better. Understand yourself. Know how you feel during your highs (happy/ “normal”/ positive moments) and during your lows too (when you’re depressed). Listen to your body, and be in sync with your emotions and reactions every second of the day.

Be conscious of yourself.

Acknowledge that you are allowed to feel this way. Acknowledge that you are going through this depression. Hold fast to believing that you can overcome it; you’re a work of art, you are golden. Pressure your mind to understand and remember that you are not alone. You are not alone. You are never alone.

That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

 

…. part four …. Behind the Smile(4)

Jessie J – Who You Are

I stare at my reflection in the mirror:
“Why am I doing this to myself?”
Losing my mind on a tiny error,
I nearly left the real me on the shelf.

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!

 

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Behind The Smile(3)


Hey my doves, New week, new found hope I should think?

The last two posts in this series were about “definitions” and symptoms….well, this one is about statistics and gender.

.Depression.

The stats and Chromosome XY:

It’s the inability to speak and reach out for help because you’re supposed to be man enough. Men don’t get phased by emotions. Men are hard core. As long as you have something that hangs between your legs and have reached puberty, petty things like talking about your feelings are supposed to be left to the female legion.

depression-pic-and-quote

I’m a man. I don’t need the support. I’ve got enough testosterone to take care of myself so this feeling clearly, I can handle with zero support.

I don’t want to be seen as a failure by reaching out.

I’m failing as a man when I seek help; when I feel suicidal.

It’s in the magazines. All I see is abs, best workouts, protein shakes, guys night that simply entail beer, chips and a sport. Advice columns run wild with how to get the girl, how to satisfy your partner, how to stay in the game. There’s a distinct absence of anything feelings related.

Man enough? Hard Core?

When i’m hanging with the mates we can talk about anything and everything but the second you bring up feels and how you possibly can’t cope, we run for the hills. We just cannot talk about that stuff with our boys.

When I’m talking to my spouse/girlfriend/female friends, we can talk about the feelings but not in-depth. Barring my soul in its entirety to the female sex? I’m not weak. It doesn’t help that when we finally get to the nitty gritty of the feelings talk, she just can’t handle it. I mean, you tell me all the time to get in touch with my feminine side “feelings” but when I do, you don’t know how to respond to me. So what’s the point anyway?

I’m not a sissy.

When I finally want to talk, noone wants to listen. Instead, they bring up their own points and try give advice when all we want is an ear…I just want to talk about it.

images

 

Sometimes I talk to my mother, said an 18 year old victim, he took his life a few years later. She gives the best advice, but mom, I don’t want advice, I want you to actually listen and not tell me that I’ll grow out of this. It’s just a phase you keep saying. But mom, I’ve been drowning on and off for a while now. Listen to me.

So I turn to something that will keep the “unmanly” feelings away. The beer, the late nights, the obsessing over work, the smoking, the girls. I’m trying to drown out the voices. To drown out the feeling of not having the balls or not being man enough. I’m trying to show that if I gym just enough, my muscles will make up for the emotional mess that I really am in.

Blot out all emotions. Block out signs of weakness. I’m a man.

tumblr_n0aa14G8391rq18uuo1_500

It doesn’t help that the male child has been on the back burner for a while as the world prioritizes the girl child.

Not all suicidal people are depressed, and not all depressed people are suicidal. Remember that.

I can’t pay my bills, I can’t get anything higher than a certain grade in school, my dad wants me to take over business and I’m not necessarily ready, my spouse passed on, my girlfriend left me or I left her, we’re physically apart for too long, how will I provide for my kids? What kind of father will they look up to? I’m the strong one, they can’t see my tears, they can’t catch sight of my defeat.

I’m a man.

Figure out the triggers. Be conscious of what your mind and body are trying to tell you and be conscious of those in your circle…seek to be involved, legit involved; no superficiality.

That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

…. part three …. Behind the Smile(3)

Coldplay – Fix You

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones

I will try to fix you.

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Behind The Smile (2)


To you all who asked for this to go up quick.

I hope you’re good my doves.

I didn’t realize it’s #DepressionAwarenessWeek….well, talk about coincidences.

stigma-800x445

.Depression.

How it manifests:

It’s the fear. Of not knowing exactly what your emotions are trying to tell you. Not understanding your current reality/ is it a misconstrued perception of reality that your mind conjured up? Imagine controlling a plane and suddenly all the red lights come on and you panic and you realize that you’ve been taught to handle every situation except this one? Hmmm…it’s the mental chaos.

enhanced-buzz-wide-27812-1408703444-8

It’s the anxiety that comes in, because did you know that sometimes anxiety and depression hold hands to wreak havoc in your mind? Yes, anxiety which simply put is a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with panic attacks…thoughts like I’m not where I want to be, I’m not good enough, I’m not successful enough, my life is moving too fast for me to catch up with it, can we pause life for a second so I can breath?

It’s an out of body experience coupled with the world telling you that you shouldn’t let it get to you. You see, you can’t understand that which you go through and that’s where humanity fails you; they put you down and let you know that it’s not as serious as it really is.

It’s the desire to do the normal things that you would do, but aren’t able to do. It’s the struggle to find joy in the simple things which got you hyped up before. It’s the need to try and remember…did you know that depression sometimes comes coupled with a hint of forgetfulness, confusion and disorientation. Sounds serious right? Well it is.

You don’t want to do things but you can’t even think of a reason why save for the fact that your mind isn’t “feeling it” anymore. You go into your shell/space. You retreat.

Did you know that it can manifest itself physically? Not the usual tiredness or possible nausea, aggressive behaviour. Nope. Your normal bodily functions take a hit too. I remember someone pointing out that they tried falling asleep one day and the closing up in their throat kept jolting them up. Yeah, the body gets so focused on healing the mind that other functions take the back seat.

She was walking along the street fine and the next thing she knew her legs just gave out and she fell. No medical backing, she didn’t faint, her legs just took a break for a second because she was up and walking again wondering what had caused her stumble. You can’t walk in a straight line sometimes. You can’t remember how to sit properly.

The insomnia. You stay up until the wee hours of the morning without a hint of fatigue flowing through your system….an hour of sleep is more than enough because the mind still works overtime, your body is forced awake before it has time to rest. You can survive for days on end with a mere 2 hours of shuteye every night. The opposite is true too. You find yourself sleeping for longer hours. Even when you should be well rested, you’re uneasy, still tired, still wanting the escape that comes with sleep.

The appetite. You either find food less appetizing so you find yourself surviving on teas and water or nothing at all sometimes. OR you find food everything and more. So you eat anything and everything your hand comes across and you begin to find a new reason to hate yourself…Why am I still eating and I’m only getting bigger? so you hate your body now.

The negative mental space. Pessimism. Although unwarranted, pessimism gets revealed so much more often. You become that Negative Nancy that always brings the mood down, and you know what, you don’t even realize what you’re saying. You legit feel like someone really close to you has died, well kinda true because that person is you, well at least in your mind. You feel alone. Completely and utterly alone.

73e121725d6ba8b6d92b441efd699e9c

See the cycle? Depression robs you in more ways than just mentally. It feeds generously off of negative emotions…when I say generously I speak only the truth.

Looking into your world like an outsider staring through a thick sheet of semi-opaque glass.

You no longer feel like you’re in control. It’s a struggle.

The symptoms are manifested pretty differently with different experiences. Like I pointed out, there is no universal description for depression. It just is what it is.

-The end game isn’t always suicide.-

That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

…. part two …. Behind the Smile(2)

Bob Dylan – It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only Bleeding)

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*:)

Behind the Smile (1)


Hey there my doves.

I’m sorry, with dealing with school and projects and life, I guess I haven’t prioritized my writing over the past month…Je suis tres desolee.

I’m back.

So, I think this one has been a long time coming but, finally, it’s going up.

I’m going to do a series of posts about depression. I just read a book, spotted a few posts on social media, spoke to someone about this “topic”. It’s going to be a spaz of “emo” but then again, why is there a need to be labelled as such?

On with it then.

(Maybe it’s the weather…I told you guys the universe speaks to me in more ways than one. My mood and entire aura tend to be played by the hands of the weather man and the atmosphere as I have noticed ever since I started being aware of myself. With the positive vibes and the doing what makes me feel good…shutting out the negative aspects and closing doors on toxic attitudes and company.)

 

.Depression.

Don’t close the tab now that you’re reading. Just go through till the end I suppose.

Definition:

47a8386a0200ca61267aea2d7a4a4c07

It’s a mood disorder.

It’s not a one-size fits all description.

It’s a consistent low mood…coupled with feelings of worthlessness, a touch of irritability, a mad at the world attitude, a desire to want to be alone but away from your thoughts, a deep seated emotional burden, a spectre of random thoughts…suicide could always be an end game.

 

You seek everything and anything that you feel would take you away from the feeling. It’s suffocating. It’s deep entwined within your being. It’s “embarassing” to allow yourself to accept to let other people in on your struggles…because there a bigger problems out there…what with hunger, and earthquakes, and financial problems. There’s something bigger to worry about…apparently.

You desire and try to be happy. You put on the biggest smile you can conjur, try to look as bright as you want to feel. Around everyone else, you try to stand out as the happy one. Key word is try.

You downplay yourself. You downplay your state. You  disregard what feels real to you. To dissociate from reality basically. You get caught up in the game of acting.

Everything is alright. Everything is alright. Everything is alright. You are fine, always.

You see yourself as a burden. To others. You see yourself as a burden. To yourself. You find no worth in what you do. You think you’re worthless. You believe that you’re not meant for this thing called life. You express emotions almost robotically.

tumblr_ndt1tjdd6F1sp6eq8o1_500

There’s a voice in your head. Screaming, shouting, whispering. It tells you all that you’re failing at life. It tells you that it’s okay to be broken on the inside but happy on the outside. It tells you that if you slit your hip, you can hide it with the waistbands of basically everything you wear. If you do it on your wrists, bangles and bands and watches can cover it up.

You’re stuck in the game of cover up.

You feel like you’re a shell…you believe it actually. You feel detached from what goes on around you save for your own thoughts. You go through the motions of life without really trying to find what adds meaning to yours.

You forget to eat sometimes most of the time. You kind of want to forget to breath too…if only you could pin point what hurts. But that’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.

It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.

You’re only human.

Remember that.

…. part one …. Behind the Smile(1)

 

Well, aside from the post, i discovered Seinabo Sey….music stays winning.

Younger- Seinabo Sey

There is a light to all this darkness
I will tell you this
There’s redemption in you asking them just why it is

Why we fight to get on loving I’ve been wondering
How your mind will leave you hanging your heart lingering
stay lost
then found by whoever stays around, forgetting
There is a way to be yourself, I assure you this
There’s a way to catch your dreams without falling asleep
You might as well get it while you can

From a cool corner of Nairobi,

With love and love and positive vibes as always,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love*🙂