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.

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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*:)

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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.

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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 <<

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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.

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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 (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.

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.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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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* 🙂

 

View From Within


ThomasI woke up one morning,

Eyes wide shut mouth widely yawning,

But something wasn’t right..

My light had gotten dimmer.

The darkness consumed me.

I’d felt the change from deep within.

A paradigm shift that was unseen.

My ball of positivity put out like a flame in the wind.

The hidden negativity came out to play.

I was weak.

My mind simply accepted the change and revelled in it.

Basked in the glory of the sadness that were my emotions.

One bad move after another.

Eating? Never that important.

Communication? Not very effective.

Happiness? Apparent only please.

Life? Is it worth it?

I used to hear talk about depression and think really?

But my mind can now comprehend exactly what that is.

The world is an unkind place.

You speak out and get called pretender.

You keep it in and get labelled the quiet emo.

You resort to painting your body and get called an attention seeker.

Worse still, you put on a fake smile and the world will not sense the loss of your happiness.

So you sit alone in the dark at night and cry.

But when crying gets too unfulfilling,

You turn to your body.

Find a sharp object so that you can have an outlet for all those pent up emotions and confusion.

First strike and the pain gives you a sense of freedom.

Second strike and the pain is like a drug.

On the third go, you feel better.

Then you tell yourself that this is the last time that you’ll paint your body.

Because it is art, isn’t it?

And we all love art don’t we?

The scars remind us of how bad it can get…

ergo, they also remind us of how good an artist we can be right?

**Oh right…not funny i suppose?**

I’ve learnt not to judge people for the things they do because who am i?

No really, WHO AM I?

and in what right am i to judge their actions without walking through their shoes?

Without actually going out of my way to find out the cause of their distress?

Without casting them aside saying, you know there are people out there with bigger problems?

Bigger problems?

*PAUSE*

Why do people tell you there are bigger problems out there?

So apparently because there are people out there with more serious problems then you shouldn’t feel burdened?

But they don’t tell you that you should never be happy because there’s someone out there feeling happier than you are, do they?

*UNPAUSE*

But my world shifted again and like a dove i feel free.

Happy and positive even.

Life can’t always be rainbows and butterflies.

Pain that runs way too deep.

I wish I had someone to talk to.

About nothing and everything.

Simply because my own thoughts are suffocating.

Introverts and extroverts alike.

All in the same boat.

So won’t you talk to me?

Call me and say a meaningless hello every now and then?

Simply don’t let me be alone with my thoughts.

.Part 1 of 4.

*Reader Discretion. Some of the pieces i put up will leave you on the throes of a breakdown. But then again, once I’m done,  you will learn to realize that it’s the little things that tend to matter the most.  Pace Yourselves.*

Whitney Houston _ Didn’t Know My Own Strength.

All my love,

Hellos and Goodbyes and How are you doings?,

From a cool little corner of Nairobi,

.theafricangirl.

*Mapenzi.Love* 🙂