iyosayi14 Reflections Leave a Comment

PS – this is a long post.

I began 2018 saying I wasn’t ready to be 30 years old. As the year progressed, I forgot about that ‘cus I had to step up to the challenges life kept throwing my way. If asked to describe 2018 in one word, it would be ‘Growth’. 2018 had me fighting for survival; it was either I hardened up or I crashed out.
Life has a way of maturing someone. It breaks you and moulds you into a stronger version of yourself. The growth process is never really pretty. You go through the fire but you come out stronger.

Some persons might be shocked after reading this ‘cus I mean, from all the travel pictures, the seemingly happy smiles, everything looked all so perfect. Like Odafi said after I let him in on some of the stuff that plagued me last year, he said ‘funny how from afar people think your life is perfect and have everything going for you’.

I saw this tweet sometime last year – “I think the hardest part about adulting is that the show must always go on. You could be going through the roughest patches, in the basement of rock bottom with no sign of light, but you must still show up and act your part and be good at it.” –@SenzyM

That was me a number of times last year. I bet if any of my colleagues knew half of what I dealt with they’ll be stunned. At first the year started with me learning to not let random unplanned expenses bother me. I wrote about it when it became overwhelming.

I can deal with me being the one going through pain, but when it’s a family member or close friend, where all I can do is watch and hope for the best, that’s the worst. That kills me faster than anything and that was what led me to my lowest point in 2018.

I remember running to the office to find safety that Saturday. It always seems like once I step into the office, I step into another world. Pascal called just after I got feedback from home that things had stabilized. I was relieved, but my strength was gone, I was mentally drained. He led me to the Catholic Church opposite my office where I learnt first-hand the beauty and serenity that comes from sitting in an empty church. Oh, the peace it brings upon troubled hearts.

This was ending April/beginning of May and I was already tired of 2018. My major prayer point then was that God should end the storms and make everything stop. I remember sometime in May/June I had two family members hospitalized at the same time. Still, not one day did I let it show at work. The only time someone would have suspected, was when I couldn’t stay for my Branch Manager’s send forth. I had to be at the hospital, but I think my colleagues took it as my normal anti-social ways.
The other half of the year seemed to be much better and easier on me…It felt like I could finally breathe. Though one or two issues here and there, but I had learnt to leave it all to God. Things became calm till well, life decided to give me a lesson on relationships.

September was our first year anniversary. I had for once completed a year in a relationship, but little did I know it was to be the end of us. I have always said I am not a relationship person. It took me unlearning a lot, dealing with so much, compromising so much of me, all for what? To have my trust broken. We always see the cracks and signs, but we stay, telling ourselves things will get better, but do they really?

If I have no trust for you, then we’ve got nothing. That’s my deal breaker. What I went through has made me even more scared of marriage. I kept asking myself so if we had gotten married, that’s how I would not have been able to break free? Seeing as I don’t have divorce amongst my options.

Ever heard of the term gas lighting? I hadn’t till it was done to me. It took me months to recover, to heal, forgive and get back to being friends. I struggled with moving on, we tried to get back together three or four times till we realised for real, it would never really be the same again. Moreover, some fundamental issues we have always dealt with would never be fixed. “There’s no use trying when the pieces don’t fit anymore” – James Morrison.

For the first time in my life, I had to deal with academic failure for real. I had a professional exam, which during the course of the year I failed a paper twice. Even though I knew it’s mostly due to me underestimating the course initially and then not following through with my reading plans for the resit examination, my head still tried to mess with me. I kept thinking maybe I am no longer good academically. My world stood still for a minute when I saw the result that I had failed the paper the second time.

And then December came. After smiling all through November thinking I had finally found a peaceful ending to 2018, everything came crashing down. I remember coming across the book (When God doesn’t make sense) that helped me years ago through difficult times. My mind told me to read it, but I moved away from the book, thinking to myself that I am not going to read it before I subconsciously prepare myself for trouble. Boy, if only I had known trouble truly was coming for real and I needed to prepare myself.

I mentioned earlier how the office feels like a safe haven from my woes, but now the same office turned to my war zone. December was nothing close to what I had hoped or prayed for.

I had the second worst experience of my entire career last December. I cried…oh I cried twice self. I broke, my heart bled, my head spun…but still I knew I had to show up and keep the work going. I was smiling to customers but inside I was dying. “Smiling but we close to tears” – The Script.

I had met my target for the 2018 by October and was basically cruising to year end. But first week of December, I was the only one left in my team as two of my team members were on maternity leave, my boss also started his annual leave. December that normally used to be free, with low transactions turned out to be the busiest month of the year. Not just because it was only me, but really there were so many transactions from various customers. Even the customers tried to empathize with me, but the work had to go on.

These transactions sadly were not the type to bring in money, but rather were rapidly depleting my portfolio. I was helplessly watching all I had worked for all year fade away. I was working my ass off, but trying to ignore I had a mandate to transfer half of my balance sheet to another bank. That was basically me kissing my promotion goodbye. I remember on time, I was walking up the stairs after resolving some issues, going back to my desk to meet more irate customers. I stopped on the stairs to catch my breath, and then a tear dropped, just one tear. I wiped it off and told myself I had to keep going, I was going to get my work done and sort my exploding head out that weekend.

The weird thing was, that preceding weekend I complained to Odafi about how I wasn’t at peace because I kept having anxiety about something going wrong at the office.

At weekend, my team member, Eme called to cheer me up. While we spoke I knew there was no need holding it in anymore. I had to let it out, else I would not be able to face the coming week and its pressure. So I broke, and I let the tears fall. I dropped the phone and cried my heart out. I processed my pain and made peace with whatever was going to happen.

I waited for December 31stto come. I needed to feel free, to survive that financial year and have the pressure stop so I can take a deep breath. The last two weeks of December were not stable. One minute things were looking bright, the next minute everything seemed to be falling apart. Well, thankfully the year ended on a very good note and lines fell in pleasant places for me.

I thought I’d be happier but I still wasn’t. I was numb. Dead inside from all the pain and madness I had gone through. I felt relieved and grateful things ended well but yet I still felt undone. Life really did a big one on me, took so much from me to survive December and now I’m left hanging by a thread with my soul bruised.

I have been undergoing an online training at the office titled ‘Finding your best’. I have learnt so much on mindfulness, control and being calm in tough situations, focusing on things within my control and working to be in the present more often. One of the tutors said something important, she saideven after mastering the act of control, it doesn’t mean you will stop being human, that there won’t be disappointments or frustration situations. What matters is how you handle it.

It’s almost like there is no aspect of my life that I wasn’t stretched on in 2018. Looking back it feels like 29yrs was a training year, prepping me and building me into an adult. Yes, age is just a number, but we can’t deny that the 30yrs means so much. It feels like a major turning point, a major milestone in life that ushers one into the path of who you truly are and what the rest of your life is likely going to be about. It’s almost as if, the teen years and twenties are your years of testing the waters, figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Stepping into the big 30, feels like now the true life race has started.

I had to fill a form at the hospital recently. There was a column for age, I absent mindedly wrote 30years. The moment I did, I had to take a pause, ‘cus seeing it in ink made me realise it was real. To be honest, I forget at times I am now 30 years old. I mean, this young looking chap is 30? I don’t even feel it.  But it is, and seeing it in ink made me feel the weight of it all. This is me, this is a new decade, the realization that I am now heading towards forty. Whew!

I had to change my ringtone recently. I realised that whenever my phone rang, I always feel a bit tensed. The ringtone brought back bad memories of the pain I went through in December. My phone was always ringing constantly, and 90% of the calls were customers calling with one issue or the other. If I even hear that song I used as ringtone then, there is a good chance the horrible memories of December 2018 will come flooding back. Sadly, that was one of my favourite Daughtry songs.

I deactivated my social media accounts. I needed to shut out the noise and needless distractions. Focus on myself and heal completely from 2018. This post was supposed to have been written and posted by 31st December. But I was too torn apart to bring myself to write. I told myself I wasn’t going to pressure myself or rush the healing process. I needed to relax and I found myself sleeping a lot. I realized it was not only my mind that needed healing, my body too needed it.

I am tagging it my path to self-rediscovery. I need an adventure to cleanse the bitter taste of life from my soul. Something exploratory, like hiking or camping for days in a remote location where I’d be cut off from city life. A trip that’ll afford me the opportunity to dig deep within me, push my body beyond limits, have a sweet time with nature and rejuvenate my soul, excite myself back to life.

One thing I learnt from the online training is that to build confidence, you have to expose yourself to tough and uncomfortable conditions. That’s the only way one can grow. I have decided that those things I have been running from, telling myself I am protecting myself, I have decided to go for them. Life happened to me last year and placed me in uncomfortable situations which I had to grow through but this time, I am going to intentionally challenge myself.

One thing I know that helped me a lot last year to keep sane and maintain balance was my passion/hobbies – photography, music, traveling, writing and reading. I have since learnt that even though we live in a commercialised society, it is important for one to carve out time for those experiences that gives us restorative flow. Even though I am not making money from my passions (for now), they are serving an important purpose of keeping me balanced and energized.

Life may seem overwhelming for the now, but I am already on my recovery path. It feels like 2019 has not yet started for me, like I still have a lot of sadness and pain from 2018 I have to do away with. I’m thankful for friends who I can talk to when it’s really so overwhelming and it feels like my head is going to explode. Then my mind starts drifting to that unhealthy place where all I think of is how it would have been better if I wasn’t born. I want to make everything stop, even if just for a minute so I can breathe, clear my head, sort things out but time and life waits for no one.

“And I’m wishing we could slow it down
But time keeps running faster than it used to
I can’t get used to faster…it keeps going faster
Than I want it to…than I’m used to
Faster…it keeps going faster”
          Bastian Baker (Time)
It feels as if I have been fighting my whole life, struggling to survive so many demons that keep changing faces as I grow older. The dark days have different looks but yet the sunken feeling is all so familiar. Maybe someday I’d win the war, but deep down I fear that one day my mind may finally break and I’d have to end it all, but on the bright side I guess I’d finally find some peace.
But for now, while I still have the power to fight, to hope for sunny days and rainbows… I’ll focus on recovering from all that 2018 did to me. I’ll try to fix myself while hoping and praying 2019 will be nicer to me and the 30s also will go easy on me as well.
Psalm 61:2 – ‘from the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.’                                                                     

UPDATE – I got better.

I wrote this post while I was feeling low, I was crashing and I knew I needed to let it out. I took three days off work, took a road trip to Lagos, attended my close pal’s wedding, saw close friends who I could talk with, then went to the beach to have some me time. The trip was therapeutic. Listening to music, allowing the fresh air blow into my face (sometimes window down is way better then AC while driving). The ocean healed me. I allowed the water wash over my feet as I sat on the sand allowing the waves threaten to sweep me into the ocean. 

When the night began to fall I had to retreat but continued my moment of solitude gazing into the sea, processing everything and clearing the clutter from my head. I finally had a moment to breathe. I left there fully aware I was whole.

I came back to Benin City feeling alive and ready to take on 2019. It feels like my year just began, everything feels so much easier, like all I can see is sunshine. The dark phase is over and I’m optimistic about the year, hopefully 2019 would be much nicer and easier on me. I’m still looking forward to that adventure filled trip, somewhere remote that’ll give me an extended time with nature, something out of my routine that will give me a thrilling experience and excite me back to existence 100%.

If only we had facilities in Nigeria where one could check into when life feels overwhelming, a place different from our routine with professionals who can design a recovery program, but well, we have to make do with what we have. 
I’m glad that over the years I have come to understand myself and know when to stop, when to take a deep breath, shut out the world and follow through with my recovery path to rejuvenate myself. 

Yes, it gets heavy and really dark, and most times I hate I am wired this way but it is what it is and I have to deal with it. I’m thankful for the support system I have found in few good friends, even though most don’t get it, but having them there to listen has been enough.

One thing though, not every low feeling is depression. I get we are only beginning to create awareness about mental health in Nigeria, but then sadness and feeling of being burnt out/overwhelmed with life should not be mistaken for depression. I get they are very similar, but from the little knowledge I have about this, I think it’s important they are not confused with each other in order for proper care to be given in managing each.

Right now, I’m thankful for my recovery, I feel healthy and better and much lighter upstairs. At least I know when I smile and laugh now, I no longer go silent afterwards feeling hollow or feeling like a fraud that I’m smiling/laughing when within me I don’t feel alright. Right now I laugh and smile peacefully and it feels pleasant and genuine.

I pray this lasts and doesn’t fade away so soon…

Comments 0

  1. I just couldn't go away your site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the
    standard information an individual provide in your guests?

    Is going to be back regularly in order to check out new posts
    I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.
    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written! http://www.cspan.net

  2. I have to admit I have been a terrible friend…not even deserving of that title.
    Most of us are so consumed by what we're going through, that we don't even bother to know what those we call our friends are experiencing. Sometimes, all we need, is a shoulder to cry on; someone to tell us that life goes on, and in the end, everything would be fine.
    It's good to know you're feeling better now.
    I hope to be a better friend, henceforth.

  3. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  4. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.

    I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to
    do with browser compatibility but I thought I'd
    post to let you know. The layout look great though!

    Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Many thanks

  5. I?m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that?s equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you
    have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking
    intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *