(16) THE TREATMENT

When everything came bubbling out, I went, emotionally, mentally from Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk. I was angry, all the time. Even when I was crying, I was angry, even when I was eating, I was enraged. Even when I was walking, one of the only things guaranteed to make me let go of my anger and fear, I would be so angry, I would be screaming into the wind. That’s another aspect too: I would wake up some days screaming, other days crying. On other days, I wouldn’t be able to speak.

I felt like I was in a race between me and myself and the prize was my life. Because it was clear to me, clear to my parents, clear to everyone that I couldn’t go on the way I was going on. But there was still nobody willing to listen to me. They knew all about it. But I had been holding it in for 10 years at that point and I wanted to talk about it more than once. More thoroughly than someone telling me, “okay, we have heard. Ndo. Now stop talking about it”. Why did I have to stop talking about it?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll undoubtedly say it many more times, Evil and indescribable pain lurk in places where people want you to be silent. To let it go. No, I want to talk about it and by God you will listen. You will listen to my grievances, you will listen to my mammoth sized rage, you will listen to my terror. You will fucking listen. Because there has been too many years where I woke up from sleep and wanted to cut my wrists and feel my blood flowing out. There have been too many days when I flirted with thoughts of suicide. A huge truck is coming. Just step in front of it, and your problems will be over.

I unpacked my mind thoroughly. I love(d) psychology. Encarta was my favorite database when I was growing up and I’d always gravitate to articles about psychology and mental health. I loved reading articles on psychology.

And now I had a chance to practice. On myself. From my diagnosis, I found that I had severe anxiety, the manic depression was caused by severe stress and there were “tinges” of schizophrenia. All for me. You shouldn’t have. The perfect cocktail of mental health issues.

You could claim you have diabetes and you need insulin. Just stockpile the insulin for a couple of days, then buy a syringe and an intravenous needle. You’ll be dead in no time. Clearly, I had a lot of resentment buried too.

I was screaming and screeching at God and I firmly believe that is what saved my life. The Saviour who dared to cut me (paraphrased T.D Jakes. YouVersion plan. Crushing it: God Turns Pressure into Power)

I love walking. In the darkness, when the sun goes behind the clouds, my favorite thing to do is take a walk, bottle of water in hand. I was walking around Ikeja, near under bridge (I actually do not remember how or why I got there, it remains a blur) one such time when I saw the book for the first time. The title immediately grabbed my attention.
The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer. It was applicable as I was having a severe crisis of confidence. And I knew that if I wanted to make myself over, break me down and build me up again, there’d be a new slate.

And I could make myself, the perfect version of me that I was always meant to be. So I bought the book. And having a new purpose, I decided to stop thinking about death, stop craving death and start working on my life.

It is and it remains some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. Ever. I used to set goals for myself, U-U smile at everyone today. U-U have a conversation with your mom/dad today, a friendly conversation and leave whenever it degenerates into anger or she tries to emotionally manipulate you. U-U, forgive yourself today. U-U forgive your parents, your friends, and Uncle Asshole today. U-U write the story of what Uncle Sunday Asshole did and share it with everyone. U-U, when someone upsets you, unleash all hell on the person. U-U, unleashing hell made you feel terrible, shebi. Now go and apologize. And from now on, learn how to correct people in love. (Still learning this lesson). U-U, celebrate your birthday on Saturday this year. Invite lots of people. Did your brother say he wants to save your ice cream cake for his friends? Let him do it. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t pay for it. Let him do it. Buy 3 cakes for yourself, you have been through the storm, you have been through the fire, you have come out of it alive. Celebrate. Things will get better for you when you believe truly that it will get better.

An uncle, whom Nebolisa was named for invited me and Nonso to spend a day with him. He took us out to Ice Cream Factory, bought us food, distracted Nonso with more food and ice cream and took me into his office where he had a very candid conversation with me where we unpacked yet more problems and yet more resentment. But at the end of that day, I was quicker to smile. And I was hopeful. Sometimes, just sharing how angry you are with someone who has a pre-existing relationship with you and your family greatly helps you feel understood, appreciated and hopeful.

I started playing Maroon 5’s She will be loved. Continuously. In addition to all the other songs Joy and Ife put on my phone or recommended to me. The only songs I used to listen to in that period were songs that made me either angry or very angry or depressed. But I started listening to happier music.

I once read a book; This song will save your life (Leila Sales). The songs that saved my life were Hillsong’s mix, 116 Clique’s Man Up Anthem (it’s non-gendered abeg), Lecrae’s More but in that period, most especially Hillsong’s Freedom is Here.

If you read the 2015 review, you might have guessed that I completed my self imposed treatment in February. But I definitely did not. It was a continuous process and journey. And I’m still not finished. It’s gotten a lot easier especially as the raw points of my pain, anxiety and anger were covered. But I’m not finished with it yet.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I identified 5 major areas where my thoughts were perverted.

1. God: I truly believed at a point that God hated me. He’d have liked me to become a martyr. I once asked him, that if He could transfer the breath in my body to someone else, why wouldn’t He just do it? Because I was tired of living with his disappointment and disapproval. I would keep to our agreement. 6 months. But if he wanted to hasten my death, it was fine by me. Martyr behavior something πŸ™„.

2. Family and Friends: The lessons I learnt in pain were not so easy to unlearn. I felt like no matter what, I couldn’t count on anyone but my self. And that is a very painful belief. A very limiting belief in addition. It began to dissolve when the Holy Spirit showed me how Joy, one of my closest friends was sacrificing her time to go buy me lunch and make sure I ate it. It was in how my big brother finally listened as I unloaded so many years of pain and bought me jumbo sized Skittles and a carton of grapes. In how my parents were taking unprecedented levels of care and concern in my life; my dad was buying me shawarma, nkwobi, asun. In how my mom let me rest my head on her lap and kept on stroking my hair and calling her brothers and my dad’s sisters to tell them to describe how they loved me so much. My friends and family were there for me. And I didn’t have to be strong anymore. I could let it go. Because someone was always on hand to pray for me. Someone was always checking up on me.

3. Money: There was a reason behind why I started to check my motives for giving money in the first place. And a reason I hardly give out money of my own direct capability anymore. I speak too much big English. What I mean to say, is I rarely give money or provisions in such a way that people know it came from me. I prefer giving it to a church and watching them/being absent when they distribute it.

4. Sex: I’m not saying anything in detail about this oh. But I had a lot of miscommunication and misconceptions regarding sex and Wikipedia, girl’s/boys magazines, secular and Christian romance novels have helped me to clear it up. Still a work in progress but I’m nearing the end of my target goal regarding my beliefs and where I need to be. Please if you are following my game plan pro forma, ask yourself; is there anything/situation/relationship that would cause you to sin against God/your own body at the current moment? To decide whether or not to read a secular or a Christian romance novel. It’s very key.

5. Hope: There’s a verse in the Bible (1st Corinthians 13:13) that says: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I completely disagreed with that verse in that period of my life. Wholeheartedly disagreed. At that time the greatest struggle for me was believing that better things were ahead of me. Better things were coming for me. There was too much happening in my life at that moment in time and I just needed quiet and peace in my soul. And hope, hope that everything would get better. Hope that my nightmares and night terrors would turn into good dreams and my irritation with every human being in the world would morph into a calm, a silence borne of peace, tranquility and the ability to actively ignore anything and anyone that did not serve my purpose, my goals or my pocket.

I unpacked everything. And at the end of it, I would feel so tired. Super exhausted. My speech and elocution improved greatly (I used to get very easily tangled up over my words and unable to get them out in time when someone was waiting for me to speak. Oooh, I just realized, (the angel of) God did this same thing to Zechariah!)

I got so much sleep in that period. No bad dreams, no night terrors, I finally retired the small knife I was keeping under my pillow back to its spot in the kitchen. I felt safe. In my house, in multifarious family members’ houses. My godparents house. My friend’s houses.

Thank you God for bringing me to the realization that I’m where/at the place I wanted to be all along.
There is nothing you cannot accomplish once you set your mind to it. And ask for God’s help.

Peace be with all of you! Hugs and 😘.

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Knowing God is Good, Knowing and Loving God is better

I’m a very, very picky eater and a slow one. I don’t particularly understand the craze about drumsticks and unless the chicken/turkey wing is soft, please don’t give it to me, it’s so difficult to bite into without staining your clothes and I prefer to use cutlery, even at home.

My cousin is a clown

I don’t eat most swallows, I hate boiled eggs and I do not like garden eggs. Unless you have a couple of hours to spare, please don’t give me pounded/poundo yam, I like yam pottage but only once every couple of years, I like beans but in extremely tiny quantities, one of my cousins (I forget which one) has a picture of me taken when my mom made me finish my garri by fire by force. She gave me the garri (half a cup by 1pm, by 7pm I was still eating it). My family has learned to if not embrace my picky eating, tolerate it. I hate throwing food away so I’d leave it in the fridge until myself or someone else ate it or until someone else threw it away.

A revolution started for me in 2016, when I decided to try making garden egg sauce (it was desperately bitter) but I managed it with sweet potatoes, I tried grilled plantain with egg and sausage filling, I tried boiled plantain and I discovered I loved it and I was thinking perhaps the restrictions I’d self- imposed on my food were too strict but it wasn’t until I tried snails that I knew for sure.

I hated snails until August 27, 2017. I remember the date because it was one of my closest friends birthdays. We were invited to a birthday party in her honor and I knew that I did not want to eat rice that day. So, I scoured the menu, ordered nkwobi as a starter and then a dish called Chef’s combo platter with snails. The only other non rice/ poundo/beans related option was The Chef’s combo platter with prawns and you guessed it, I didn’t like prawns back then. So I settled for the snails and I reasoned that if I couldn’t stand it, my friends would help me finish it or failing that, I’d bring it home for my dad, mom or brother. Imagine how shocked I was to realize that I loved it.

The Chef’s combo platter with snails

I recently watched this Airtel advert, #3G is good, 4G is better and it illustrates Iya Rainbow battling with the traditional gele while her daughter- in- law easily puts on her auto gele. The traditional gele comes apart when Iya Rainbow bends her head, and the amount of flustering over her amuses me. She finally tries the auto gele and can bend her head without worrying about the gele losing its shape. And she chooses to replace all her geles with the easier, shape retaining auto geles. (Just watch the advert).

Proverbs 3:5 & 6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.

It pains me to realize, but sometimes I forget about God when I’m considering solutions to my problems. I relegate him to the level of prawns, snails or worse, boiled eggs and I completely forget what a mighty, mighty absolutely fantastic God I am serving. The God who makes a way where there is no way, the God who brings to fruition every word that comes out of His mouth. The God who surprises and delights me at inopportune moments. And a problem when faced with God by your side, is a problem you can face squarely, head on. So, today spend some time with the God who makes everything beautiful in His time.

Rush Podcast (Podcast Go)

“How do we know what our hearts need this Christmas, if we don’t connect with the one who knows what our hearts always need?” – Healing your heart this Christmas, 00.07.27, Rush Podcast.

“There’s only one thing we need to do… and it’s this, worship” 00.08.25.
“What is worship? Worship is simply telling God who He is, who we trust Him to be”- 00.10.14.

So today, Trust in the One who created you. He more than anyone else knows just what you need at every point in your life. And worship Him.

P. S – I have tried prawns now (love them), plantain and egg frittata (adore it), a bigger quantity of beans and even boiled egg white. (I did not like it very much). I still take ages over pounded yam but I’ve made progress and I’m proud of myself.

P. S 2: Loving and worshipping God in no way means sending Whatsapp Broadcast messages or Facebook or email chain messages. Those are extraordinarily annoying and emotionally manipulative to the extreme.

Please stop doing this if you already do. You will not die. The quality of your life will not be reduced, you will live a happy, peaceful life with greater quality relationships if you put down your phone instead of threatening people with stupid messages like this-

Thank you and God bless you.

Merry Christmas everyone!

THE DAY AFTER 7/10

As I move further into my 20s, I find that I tend to feel happier the day after my birthday. The pressure to be visibly happy is reduced greatly as is the pressure to do things you’d rather never do for the sake of social media.

I’ve found that there tends to be so much pressure put on birthdays and it starts from childhood. I’m sure some of us can still remember the days of primary school when we’d share goody bags. And there was always that one person who had everything in their goody bags. So we’d go home and wonder why we didn’t have all that stuff in our goody bags and then resolve to change it up on our next birthdays. Except by then, the goalposts would have changed once again and the cycle and questions would continue, and the pressure would increase.

I don’t do well with pressure. It makes my heart race and gives me what I call pressure paralysis. It makes me feel extremely anxious like I’m back in Law School, up on stage in front of 5,000 people and I know what I’m supposed to say but the words won’t come out and I start having a panic attack.

I figured out a hack that has helped me greatly: if the pressure to do something a certain way is choking you, scrap that idea and do it another way.

My birthday was yesterday and I did nothing out of the ordinary. I had planned this birthday to the last second, I’d have 2 cakes, small chops, juice, I’d have professional pictures taken, I’d go out and turn up etc etc. And then on the week of, I noticed I had literally no energy to do anything towards that. So in the end, I did absolutely nothing. No cakes, no professional pictures, de nada.

What surprises me is the peace of mind I had yesterday. I’d bought small chops and asun for the ones who gave me life on Friday and I’d praised the One who made it worth living on the day of and there was no one and nothing for whom I had to pretend anything for. So relaxing.

It’s the day after my birthday today and what started out as a thank you post has now become an op-ed. 😊
Getting back to the purpose of this post, I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to my village. The people who stand by me every day, every time. My brothers, Olayinka, Ayomide, Joy, Fifi, Mobi, Tomi, Rukayat, Yanmife, Nedoux, Bisola, my cousins, my uncles, my aunties etc etc etc.

I’M SO GRATEFUL I GET TO DO LIFE WITH YOU ALL!