#np: Unsteady – X-ambassadors
It hurts terribly when all you can do is watch while the people you care about go through pain.
There are things money can solve, but then there are also things money can’t solve. Those are the ones that hurt the most. Words can only go far in soothing pain.
We all have challenges in life, but some people have a greater measure…
They say ignorance is bliss. I agree. Sometimes not knowing gives you an easy way out. Being in the dark protects you.
Most times I tend to stay away, I try not to get close. I don’t ask questions or want to know, not because I don’t care, but because I know how messed up I can be emotionally. I hate seeing people go through difficulty, worse is when I’m in a helpless position to ease the pain.
There was a day I had to use my colleague’s driver to go on a call. I was in a chatty mood that day. I felt like bonding with the driver. A young chap, agile and all (he is about four years older than me). I wanted to understand why he settled for driving at a young age when he could have tried some other more lucrative stuff.
I started by asking if he was married. He said he was. Then I asked if he had kids. He did; ‘three kids.’
We continued talking. He said he has been married for three years and I was like and you have three kids? So every year you were popping them out?
He said his wife had triplets but two of them died.
That moment I perished inside.
I went numb, not because he said two are dead, but because initially he said he has three kids. He obviously isn’t over the loss of the kids. He still considers them. God!! People are hurting and going through pain in this life!
What kills me is our African culture of not knowing how to process pain. All we know how to say is God knows best, take heart, you are a man. Crap! Crap! Crap!
People are hurting and dying within themselves every day, hour, minute, second…. It’s sad how we pay little importance to mental health in Nigeria.
I managed to mumble my condolence about the death of his kids then fell silent for the rest of the drive. I got reminded why I try not to get close or ask questions. Really, not knowing is the easy way out.
When I let someone in, I tend to let them in completely and I carry their hurt and pain like it’s mine. I want to make them not feel pain, so imagine how horribly I feel when I see them hurting and I can’t take away the hurt.
Some weeks ago my good friend, a married man, over forty years cried in my presence. My heart bled and it sucked so much because I couldn’t reach out. We were in an open place and I knew he could use a hug but because of how messed up our society is, I couldn’t even hold his hands, let him know he isn’t alone or let him know I’ve got him.
Seeing those tears broke my heart into pieces and all I could think about is how unfair life is. He is the most humble and nicest person I know yet life has brought him to his knees.
He confided in me and told me how he was in so much pain one day, crying in front of his wife and he prayed aloud that since God doesn’t want to take away his pain, he should just kill him but then he remembered his children…
I have four younger ones I care so much about. The lemons life has thrown them is enough to make drums, not even jars of lemonade. It breaks my heart because all I can do is talk and ask how they are doing, do one or two things to make them smile. But what they are going through, I may never be able to fully understand or comprehend. Sometimes I find myself wondering why isn’t it me? Or if it were me how would I feel? Or how would I have handled it?
When they are down, I’m down. I’ve never really told them expressly but their pain is my pain. If I could, I would have taken their place.
Back then in university, I went through dark periods, suicidal thoughts and several periods of mood swings and depression. I had those days when I’d go to bed with a heavy heart. I’ll manage to sleep off and the pain goes away. I wake up feeling lighter and for a few minutes the world is fine. Then I remember…that moment a dark shadow falls over me and the hurting resumes.
This I went through all on my own, till I finally opened up to a few friends I was lucky enough to meet. I survived it but I lost something in the process. I became withdrawn and secluded. I grew up in a Christian family where prayers are supposed to make everything alright. It is faith above science (instead of both working together).
I was dealing with things I couldn’t talk to any member of my family about. I got withdrawn gradually. I was lucky to find friends who I could talk to. The truth is, there is science and there is faith. I believe in God and I also believe He gave us science to apply in our daily lives. (I’ll leave this for another post).
During my dark days, I withdrew from my family because they didn’t get me, prayers weren’t what I needed. Since they wouldn’t have understood, I had to seclude myself because I feared if they got too close they will see through me and see all my demons which I know they wouldn’t understand.
Now this is affecting me badly. My younger one is hurting but I can’t be there because we don’t talk about those kind of things. All I do is watch from the distance and hurt and wonder, trying to figure what’s going through that mind.
This is someone that looked all set for life, everything was going well and then life happened and everything totally changed course. Each day my mind drifts to the thought of what if things were different? I have to consciously kill such thoughts because I know they are not of any good.
Life happens; things change and we find ourselves in a whole new territory. We either wallow in self-pity and completely lose out on life or we chose to ride it and fight on.
When the issue was really bad, I wouldn’t ask for results of the tests. I didn’t want to know what the doctor said or what the options were. Oh wait, at first I did. But I realized I was losing it. It got to a point that my elder ones even began cautioning me as they felt I was now even becoming a bigger source of concern.
“My weakness is that I care too much”– Scars (Papa Roach)
I decided to step back and not know. When I leave the house I’m a totally different person. I laugh, I joke and I’m ever smiling. I’ve mastered the art of not letting my pain show.
I’m at a dilemma, do I keep my sanity safe by not knowing or do I reach out and then have my emotions tear me down?
Lately though, I decided to stop running. Get involved, but not too involved. What I’ve learnt is that the major thing about surviving pain or any situation we find ourselves is how we manage ourselves, our minds especially.
Thankfully things have improved a lot and I too have improved from living on the edge, thinking that one day it would all come crashing and we will back to where we began. Unconsciously I see myself counting the months things have been fine, trying to keep my hope going. Trying to not care too much but how can I not?
Not knowing gives ease, makes it easier for you to deal. But then, there are so many people out there hurting that need someone to lean on…
Not knowing is an easy way out but it’s not the best. No matter how much it hurts, we should strive to be there for others.
‘Being there for others, because you know what it’s like to not have anyone there for you…’