Whoever was handing out my 30th year, you have won, by the way. I turned 30 in a freaking psych ward with a black forest from my then-husband. Apart from losing my job and everything else, I was 5 minutes away from check myself into a freaking rehab two weeks ago because your sister over here is apparently considered to be an alcoholic!!!!!!!!!! After realizing that the institution’s owner was broke and full of poop, I hang up, schedule a call with my therapist, and put my ass back into bed.
To whoever was handing out my 30, kudos.
The anger that is within my body is ridiculous. And I cannot let it out because some uninformed humans are waiting to take me back to the psych ward or rehab. God forbid the trauma in your body catches up with you after years of suppression. And more so if it comes out as anger, pain, sadness, and a large portion of retribution. Molestation, witnessing and experiencing things a child should never have within the home, rape, domestic abuse, low self-esteem, self-sabotage- you name it, has been stewing for so long that only one phrase remained, “Scotch the earth.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And I have been scorned.
As with everything I write, I do it for, one, pure compulsion, and two, an inability to stay silent because there’s no way I am the only person on this planet dealing with that I go through. It is to tell that one person, I hear you, and I see you. I feel your pain. I can not take it away from you, but I can walk with you.
And that’s the kind of support system I’ve been blessed to have. It is an odd mix and match, but in the end, it’s working out for my sanity. It is these people who tell me that I am not crazy. These people tell me that my anger and pain are valid even when those around me want me to shoosh it. They rally behind me as I walk through the years of trauma that people will never know anything about because who empathizes with someone from my parent’s financial background? I have been opinionated and vocal about many things, so hey, that’s that crazy bitch, don’t mind her, she just wants attention!
I don’t have the answers right now, but what I have done is scotch the earth because I am tired of adopting a reaction formation response. Showing my true feelings will get me ostracized from people within my family, both nuclear and extended. Let me put patriarchy in there because, my goodness, the men in my life have spectacularly failed me. And guess who has to fix me? ME. So while I am here allocating blame, I am aware that healing is my job to do. I don’t need to remain a victim. But you! I will speak up!
I have to be true to what is going on within me and damn the consequences. I have given it up because I learned in class that you are only meant to have your defense mechanisms up for a short time as your body recovers from the information received. Anything longer than that causes mental disturbance. CASE IN POINT *pointing at self*. I am giving that defense mechanism up no matter the consequences. I can’t live like this.
You want to demonize me; that’s cool. Do you. Do your worst. I have been living in mental hell for a long time; nothing can be done to make this shit worse than it already is. Since suicide has refused to be an option (and not from lack of trying), I choose to face all of this head-on.
Here is how I am choosing to see this, with a bit of help from google.
“Slash and burn agriculture is a widely used method of growing food in which wild or forested land is clear cut and any remaining vegetation burned. The resulting layer of ash provides the newly-cleared land with a nutrient-rich layer to help fertilize crops.”
This metaphor just came to me as I was writing this, but it’s a fitting complement to the scotch the earth mantra I’ve adopted. It’s probably going to be hell and probably worse than I feel right now, but that’s okay. I am daring to hope. And If god-forbid I don’t make it, know I tried my best, and you too can succeed.
Cheers, to a year I refuse to have again.
But for real, 30 has been mostly rubbish. I am all here for the growth, and I love it, but it’s really been rubbish.
My posts fall under three main categories: psychoeducation, outright rants, or, like today, juicy conversations.
So, there is a FINE gentleman that is back in the market. It’s normal, so what’s the big deal, Wambaire? A lot of females, in uni and beyond, liked him. Even those who didn’t want to boyfriend him would blush at how fine he was, myself included. I won’t say much, lest some of y’all realize who it is and snitch on a sister.
What made this guy different, and a feature on my blog, was the caliber of girls he went for. Christian, holy, virgin. You can see why I didn’t bother to waste a wish? LOL!
And he did get the girl, and they did get married. And you know the conclusion. For me, the circumstances in which the relationship started makes this whole thing all the more hilarious. Fam. Cool, y’all did it the “holy” church route, but even so, the beginning was sketchy as hell!
Disclaimer: I am not throwing rocks; church route or not, sketchy beginnings don’t get you far! Look at me! That asaid, when it’s new, it’s fantastic so I get why people take the leap. However, when reality sets in… weh!
Now back to the PG18 chat
This chat began with Cat Lady sharing a Thirst Trap of this fine-back-in-the-market guy. You’re allowed to look sexy, it’s okay.
Now, Cat Lady; she a church girl. She love the Lord with all her heart, mind and soul. BUT MY PEOPLE, the FLESH IS WEAK!
Everyone is allowed moments of weakness, and that’s cool. What I wasn’t gonna allow is the backing up of a thirst trap with scripture!
So of course I had to come for her, and hard. Let’s not pretend this angle you’re coming at is Christianity!
AND THAT’S THE THING!
The beginning of your relationship is sketchy, only that it’s cloaked in what you call Christianity. For example, you waited till after marriage to move in together but y’all had been fornicating before that, only that we didn’t get to know about it. The rest of us over here are feeling like sinners for taking the traditional route with your judgy “You weren’t married in church” questions. Whatever it is, a red flag is a red flag.
Which reminds me… I went on a rant on IG, as I always do, to address this breed of women that make what we single women do their business. Sawa, you’re married and now you think you have some moral high ground. You come quote scripture for the rest of us for going on dates.
Please, go mind your marriage, and your cheating husband while you’re at it, sawa?
Another disclaimer: You may have to be open minded to survive my posts, but for those struggling- I am not here for couples that honor God and are pillars in the Christian faith when it comes to marriage. I am here for those who make us feel like rubbish while quoting scripture only for the façade to crumble.
Be careful, that burden ain’t light!
I’ve tried to play holy and ended up playing off the devil’s handbook. That humbled me a good one. You could have three men, I won’t hang out with you, but I won’t judge you either.
So you, if you want to take that holy route and rub it in our faces during conversations, unknowingly or otherwise, that’s okay. But just know I’ll blog about you when I find out you’re cheating, being cheated on, or your divorced self is back in the market.
Si we be honest?
I am not here to question people’s Christianity. I’m just saying the version I got is problematic. I’ve made more headway in relationships through healing my childhood trauma than quoting scripture over and over.
So please, ladies, gents, let’s not lie to ourselves about our Christianity. You are not sliding into their DM because you want to know how they are doing. Like Cat Lady, you have an angle. And here’s how you know you have an angle, and not a genuine one:
“I don’t know why they are/were with so-and-so…” ati because you’re the better and holier option.
Cat Lady is honest with herself, hence the laughter and making fun of people’s version of Christianity.
Be like Cat Lady.
Now go yee forth and have a conversation with God about your horny ass self.
I am knee-deep in the Tales of Arcadia when a thought hit me.
“This man tried to reduce my essence into a housewife.”
Please, from now on, call me by my nicknames: Mandy or Mai Li. Here’s the reality. My essence will not be reduced to flings, side things, failed relationships, blatantly denied opportunities, being misunderstood, or any other state that is my life is. Nah.
What I thought was a marriage did crumble, and after six months of a back and forth going like, “You can donate them, set them on fire, or bring them- you know where I live,” his best friend dropped everything I had in that house at my folks, minus the hangers I took there with me. I don’t feel like going shopping if “giving everything back” is a thing. Firstly, and lastly, it is embarrassing how many clothes I have in general. For six months, I didn’t need jack from his house (I use “his” because he made that clear severally during the “marriage”). In shame, I gave away more than half and a quarter of what I already had for the same duration and before as well.
Yes, I went shopping after the “marriage” ended.
Yes, she bourgie.
And she has parents who make her look so, never mind that her bank balance is just in the negatives (ghostwriter for hire!!!!). But you know, we have to keep face; can’t have your daughter going for her items. Defeats the purpose of being rescued from a violent “spouse” at 2 am during a curfew by your folks.
Mandy is petty and not taking any hostages.
Something about your narcissistic – slapping you to the ground for calling out his bullshit changes your life.
But don’t mind me, Mandy is goooooooooooooooood.
That aside, to my sisters, that thing about marrying your father is entirely accurate if you’re not careful. After all, I did leave that relationship because this ex of mine thought it was a fantastic idea to put his hands on me because his weak masculinity could not take the truth. But you know, dear mummy and daddy to the rescue! And here are people wondering why some of us are pretty fine being the single rich (or broke) aunties because of the toxic masculinity we have officially refuse to take: that and soiled diapers.
(Background doesn’t matter, but this is a conversation on my podcast for another day).
I’m sorry, where was I?
Multiple choice: How did he want to turn you into a housewife?
1. Calling out BS where I saw it was a no-no.
I don’t care who you are, don’t disrespect me. So, when I feel I am getting that from someone on your side of the family, it will be said. I am not a doormat. I am not those daughters-in-law. Most of all, bipolar is not a personality trait. It is like you calling a diabetic relative a menace to society for something they didn’t ask for. Also, read a book. Just don’t disrespect me.
2. I didn’t cook and ordered takeout.
*pauses to scratch my head* I can support my habits; if you can’t, that is also a you-problem. You were cooking before I came. Nothing about your limbs changed. That whole “When I come back from work, and I am tired, I expect- “bull-crap doesn’t work here. When I wasn’t there, what was happening? Did you starve? And can people not disrespect the rest of us who work from home?
3. “You don’t respect my parents-”
and other tales for basically everything not related to how you’re bringing unnecessary baggage into this relationship. See a therapist for crying out loud. Or READ A BOOK!!! Your issues with your family are not mine; deal with it? What is this sour mood you’re bringing to our “sacred sanctuary”? Talking shit about a family member, not addressing it, and then pretending y’all are good when you meet? Huh?! Where I come from, we don’t work like that.
Again, call me Mandy because shit is grim, and I stopped giving a fuck.
You can treat a woman like they are “less than” all you want, but if she rises and takes control of what is meant to be her death, don’t be surprised.
And I’ve always had a “problem” with putting my issues out there. I refuse for that one person who can relate to feeling alone to feel “insane”. I am willing to “scorch the earth” for you. We can’t keep repeating the same cycle.
I see one of the top psychiatrists in Kenya. Or so I am told. She is lovely and has helped me medically wise. Then there’s the reality that eight years back, she saw a relative, and a few years after saw another relative, and I can give her a 2/10 for her mishandling of them. Did she realize she needed to change? Possibly. And the reason I am revealing the gender is because these people are not above reproach because of their profession. I have had- yes, they are people’s relatives- TWO USELESS male psychiatrists in my life that I can’t even. It is not a gender thing; it is a career and age thing. The latter one to treat me should be in retirement with assistant care. He is OLD. It’s one thing to be unaware and bipolar; it’s another to be aware and bipolar. So, please don’t insult my intelligence. Please.
I saw said psychiatrist recently, and because she’s thorough, I had a breakdown and referred me to the adjacent psychologist or whatever her title was. I was crying at this point because life was on a mission to show me that it can fuck me up over severally and not care. Getting a job that screwed me over, and I lost several thousands; I am female, let’s not even look at how society treats me. The reality that I had lost an international fellowship and an opportunity to do my masters… basically being female and alive in my context.
And then we have this psychologist trying to push her narrative on me. That was my telling sign- she said she was a mother. Then continued to create a FUCKING CHRISTIAN PICTURE of how we should treat our parents. Are you shitting me? Are you fucking serious? My case is not extreme, but I wonder if a woman or girl walking in saying that their dad was sexually abusing them, what would be her response? To respect the father because of the Fifth Commandment and asked her to find a way to appreciate the father? Like, are you fucking shitting me?
I am enrolled to become a counseling psychologist. I said this before, and because I don’t want to be sued, I was in an institution studying the same that miserably failed us. To be honest, I am pretty okay calling him a couple of names. But here we are. The point is, I would hate to practice and become one of these counselors, that due to their parental and marital failing, are pushing their views instead of WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAUGHT IN CLASS! I have done enough to know that at no point should a counselor push their own agenda because the session is about YOU and not THEM! Hell, I am even happy that the program fell through because there is no ass way some of my fellow students should have become counselors.
It took me seeing a trash (I am sorry, but you are) counselor to understand the skepticism.
Here is my takeaway. Suppose you see a counselor trying to push a system, belief, or whatever toward you (woman, Desiderata wasn’t in the curriculum), walkway. They will damage you. They aren’t better or more qualified to counsel you. Google, minus the conspiracies, will do a better job.
I won’t sit here and pretend that my favorite parts of the day were when he left and when he came back. My parents and younger brother are back to spotting me every two days, so the idea of being alone the whole day was a joy. But then, at about 7 pm, I would yearn to hear him trying to open the door, of which I’d walk over and open the bottom latch. I miss that, and I won’t lie. Seeing someone who was your favorite walk into a room is quite something. Unless I wasn’t in the mood to cook. A story for another day.
BUT HERE WE ARE.
At 02:57, crossed-legged on my bed with a passed-out guest in one of the spare rooms and a younger brother I need to look for soon, lest he passed out on the dining table. That was a fun evening.
Sunk Cost Fallacy: Ati who?
“The Sunk Cost Fallacy describes our tendency to follow through on an endeavor if we have already invested time, effort or money into it, whether or not the current costs outweigh the benefits.”
The relationship did not last for over a year, though I had known him for longer. A story for another day, because now that I am back to being single, people have SEVERAL opinions, including calling him “The Village Idiot,” and others discussing, “How the fuck did that happen?” Not the point; that was my choice. I find him to be a sweet but very misguided human. But as I said, see me with him again and call the cops- I need to go to rehab because I have grown a liking to cocaine, never mind having not seen it.
Here is where sunk cost fallacy comes in.
But before that: Public Service Announcement
I went on Instagram and announced that this man is an abuser. If you end up with him, that is a “YOU” problem because 1) let’s not recycled abusers, and 2) I told you so. If the same shit happens to you… hm. The verdict is out there about “but you should have kept your domestics to yourself,” but here we are.
Yo, even my father declared me single three days ago. Someone tell his people they can come for the percentage of dowry they chucked. Here in the Kamiru Clan, we don’t fuck around. Not when you put your hands on your woman and call their father-in-law at 2 am to come to pick their married daughter from “your” household. (We might as well, let’s not pretend other women haven’t been through worse. Ati me censoring what happened is helping who? Nonsense.)
Back to the point, and my awareness of my female privilege of being born in this Clan. And with my personality. And why I will compliment you if I spot the clothes and things I didn’t go back for on your body because I think I have good taste.
Back to why you’re being deceived
It didn’t happen once; it happened twice. I don’t feel like explaining how this vocal bad bitch found herself by the front door wailing, afraid to have her ass whooped, but that happened. That’s the thing. I looked at the amount of time, emotion, body, mind, money, words, cleaning, cooking, being the ideal wife, and all that shit I had put into the relationship. As I said, “those were red flags, not pom-poms.”
The benefit wasn’t presenting itself. Sure, I was no saint. I would go off on his intellectual capacity when he got matching for the patriarchy. I said he and his mum triggered me because I don’t come from an argumentative family. Us here we fight when you have SINNED. That didn’t go down well, and it turned into, “You don’t respect parents and God,” hence the justification for the violence. Hah. But you can call out my mother for wanting me in the “Happy Hotel” for two days longer and said a lot more about “your father not putting effort” to take me out sooner. I am putting that nicely.
Sidebar: I am tired of the sigma. I have been to a psychiatric institution twice. I am not mentally all there. I have medication and therapy. If you think a certain way about me, that is fine, but pretending I have been okay all this time…. Fam. I am done. Fuck your “lakini hizi manbo si lazima watu wajue” ass self. I am here to help people like me.
My being drawn into this fallacy was that I have made it clear this is the man I want to be with. I had thrown people’s opinions up in the air and said fuck it. In a deep sleep with a light snore, this is a man who grabbed me midair, falling from the bed on my way to the loo. That’s how intertwined we were. He is not a bad guy. He isn’t; I just don’t know this version of him that cropped up on the last week of December. That’s not the man I met.
Sunk cost fallacy would have me stay there until I recovered the man I met.
And then there is me: fuck that shit.
First, you can tell Mr. XYZ from KAPC to get his life and the institution together. I would be in my second year of Counselling Psychology, but here we are. Please quote me because it’s just nonsense. I have wasted one and half years and have to start again in another institution. Mr. XYZ. That’s his name. Tell him to get the institution straight. I have other choice words, but hey.
Second, I met some fantastic humans during the brief time I was there. Even so, there was a chilling story from one of my classmates. She was working in the emergency department of a well-known public hospital, and during one of the classes, she revealed something devastating but well know.
The number of married women brought to the hospital dead by their husbands and mothers-in-law due to “accidents” was a lot.
I don’t feel like being an accidental statistic. Do I think he would have killed me? No. Do I believe in a rage and protecting myself, I would have pulled a knife? I don’t know. I don’t have to find out. I had already turned one to my wrist.
Mental illness aside….
It’s a fallacy
Here’s the thing: many women stay behind because they feel they have invested way too much to walk away. The ones I feel the most for are those with children with no income of their own. They have to depend on men to foot their needs, airtime included, which never comes because who are you calling?
That said, if you’re like me, making your cash no matter how little, there is no shame in going back home to regroup. If you have more, get as much as you can and walk away. Something my favorite uncle (the 72-year-old who continues to traumatize me), my father, and namesake, said was, “I know you left a lot of nice things there, but there is no benefit in going back for them.” Sure, I am blessed to have more clothes back at my folks, but if you’ve left, beloved, if he calls you to pick your things, don’t go.
I have an aunt who’s the counselor for the teachers she oversees, and the number of stories she has told me of women tragically going back is too many.
Do I think he will do anything to me? No. But am I likely to say something, no matter how mild, to trigger him? Yes. Me, I don’t want that.
There is nothing back there for you
I was chased away (for hilariously stupid reasons, but okay), but you, beloved, there is nothing there for you if you are reading this. NOTHING. Will you take a long ass while to move on? Yes. You are meant to. This is someone you gave your ALL to. Undoing that will take a while. Honestly, I think I have spent all of one and half months of hours in bed for the last three months. This “moving on” shit will take you a while, and there is no shame in that. You loved, and you loved hard. But yet, here you are.
But that’s better than a body bag, accidental or otherwise.
Giving up the fallacy
Do I want to be back there, sitting watching movies and him passing me soda or booze just at the right time when I realize my glass is empty? Fuck yes. Cuddling? Yes. Watching him trying not to blush when I called his street smart? Yes. Touching him the right way and watching goosebumps form all over his body? Yo. Having someone dedicate their existence to making me laugh and me encouraging him? HELLS YES! I miss that shit, and it hurts me (less these days) to remember those moments and know I don’t have that anymore.
As I said, again, nice guy, but highly misguided.
Was it my fault? Sure, he didn’t understand bipolar when we met. That’s all I can say about that. And knowing myself, being triggered in the “right angle” is a recipe for disaster. Did he need to put his hands on me? Ask his mother.
And I have therapy to thank for the boldness to walk away. THERAPY! That 2018 move was smart.
Do you know yourself and your worth? Do you know what you deserve? Do you know what you ought not to tolerate from other human beings?
Thanks for reading this far…
I am here to be honest, and let people, or one person, know they are not alone. Help someone out of an abusive relationship, no matter how “mild,” because emotional, psychological, etc., aren’t acknowledged. Even one- that is more than enough for several generations.
PS: Muchura, thank you for your 4:30am feedback. Much love. (and no, humans, we can’t be friends in peace?! Aunt Emily I am talking to you!)
PPS: I deleted the last post of the schupid text he sent.
PPPS: We found my younger brother on the sofa, he is now safely in bed LOL!
PPPPS: The guest just text (05:40) to know where the loo is LMAO!
There is a lot of cursing here because, today, we’re not taking hostages. No, as in- This post is the “most” of this my blog. I think. Skip over if you need to, I respect that. Otherwise, can we just be honest? Also, if you don’t relate, that’s okay. Like. It is okay.
You look uncomfortable, are you okay?
Answer: Yea, it’s just a hot day
Truth: I shaved. Honey. I shaved.
So, how are you today?
Answer: Good, good, you?
Truth: I am out of bed. Make this worthwhile. Thanks.
So, what have you been up to?
Answer: Oh, just work and a couple of things, you?
Truth: I’m sorry, was there something more important you wanted to give me to do that generates revenue and I don’t have to sell my soul?
How’s work going?
Answer: It’s alright. I thank God I get to work from home.
Truth: If I write one more article about this shit, I’ll lose my mind. As in, btw I need a drink.
How’s the family?
Answer: They are good, we can’t complain.
Truth: They are alive. I see them once every 12-24 hours. Sooner, someone is sick or dead. So that initial timeline is good news.
How is your “husband”?
Truth: No, really, who?
Will you get back together?
Answer: You know in life-
Truth: Take me to rehab when that happens. I’d have started hard drags since those weren’t pom poms. They were red flags.
You are lazy.
Answer: Aki, I am not. It’s just-
Truth: You’re not a T Rex. I don’t need to make your coffee, lunch, and dinner. You were doing that JUST fine by yourself. If my kitchen skills are what is adding value to us… No. Also, one of us is more self-aware because we don’t compensate with work and money. How ARE you doing?
You know men are meant to be polygamous
Answer: So I hear.
Truth: I’ll get a dog. Contrary to the belief “men are dogs,” these canines are loyal. Men ain’t.
You don’t respect your parents.
Answer: No, it’s not like that, it is-
Truth: My parents are self-aware, respectful, and open to dialogue on different topics like, you know, about their parenting. How are you confused that I am similar? Don’t project. Pris. Thanks. You deal with your closed-off, traditional parents who refute your humanity and state, “you should be obedient children” and leave me out of it. I am sorry, but don’t rope me into your affairs.
(If you’ve followed my blog, you will applaud these incredible parents looking to be better HUMANS. Anything else, just-just.)
When are you having children?
Answer: I don’t know if I want kids, but you know, you never know.
Truth: You entitled ***** ** ****. How the FUCK is my uterus, and what it can produce a matter for you to be involved in? Excuse me; my parents are okay with not getting grandchildren from me. So again, you ***** ** ****. Who are you???? (To my future mother-in-law, if you don’t understand this concept but your son does: who are you? Is you by body?)
Sidebar: I am outspoken because of my family. Or vice versa: I have always been outspoken. They support me all the way (after intense conversations), and I am SO thankful. But can we also just have a conversation about how parents offer up their children (girls) to RUBBISH mothers-in-law and men for the “sake of society”? Body, spirit, and soul. Can we? CAN WE???)
Are you investing?
Answer: Not yet; I am weighing my options.
Truth: When your portfolio looks jealous-worthy, let’s talk. But also, my sanity is more important than wealth. I’m sorry, is that so hard to believe? Broke is also okay; I’ll just sleep more so I don’t spiral.
Women are more empowered than a boy child.
Answer: Yea, I’ve heard that argument. I am not sure-
Truth: This bullshit patriarchy nonsense. You neglected those with penises like you, and now it is MY fault with a vagina that I am not a little bitch like your sons? (Fucking sue me for that. You allowed yourself to raise “punk-ass man” and raised “boss-ass women,” and you as the man and father/uncle are complaining?? Many men are trash; it is why the rest of us women decided “single” won’t kill us. I have an entire clan to show for single women doing their thing. You don’t threaten me. Penis tu? And babies. That’s all you have to offer? FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKKKKKKK OFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF)
But there are nice men. Until then, I speak my current truth.
You are so sensitive
Answer: I have been told.
Truth: And you are a brick of wall. Another name for “brick wall” is an insensitive asshole. Please, continue.
Answer: But I am. Why do you take me seriously?
Truth: Fucking hell, I have to take care of your fragile masculinity because I feel unsafe to outwardly say “no,” “Your advances are shit,” and “I am paying MY bill?” Thanks. Predator.
You are difficult.
Answer: I have heard that also.
Truth: But you’re also kind of like a bitch. I mean, I am threatening your masculinity? Hata wewe. You don’t have to be around me. It’s fine.
You are aggressive.
Answer: Yes, so I hear.
Truth: I am abrasive. But when you feel it, call me teacher. You felt it for a reason.
You know, as a woman-
Answer: Yea, tell me more.
Truth: Erm, womanhood, and personality are not synonymous. Sorry, is a woman an individual or a generally homogenous species with nothing more to them, like frogs? And even then-
I think they are better ways to put across what you put on your blog.
Answer: Okay, I understand; help me know what you don’t like.
Truth: Ah, I get where you are coming from; let me work on that / Well, you are not my audience. Si bye?
It would be best if you thought about other people when you talk as you do.
Answer: You are right.
Truth: You are right. But it’s my time. Circle back in a while.
But I bought you booze.
Answer: You did.
Truth: You did. Bitch. Anything else you want to do to show you can’t get consensual sex? You depraved piece of shit?
Fragile egos, one side. Please.Also, this post goes well with a ton of humor, and if you are challenged, a lot of liquor, and nap in case you’re the aggressive type.
I’ve had this blog idea on a sticky note for months, so today, as I wait for Safaricom Home Fiber to get their life together, I thought I flesh it out and serve you a sassy (some people will say rude) post. I’ve had waaayyy too much fun with this piece! What is a broken filter?
“Kwani, you’ll blame everything on bipolar?”
This one, I won’t even bother anymore. It’s 2021; ignorance is not bliss. It’s you choosing to be foolish. Someone’s son asked me, ‘Now you’ll blame it on bipolar?”
I can’t. For someone good at calling out her own BS, I know the difference between bad behavior and my mood going dark. Some think I like being miserable and enjoy the anxiety that comes with it. I mean, it must be fun, right? It’s a lifestyle, ama?
That said, coping is a thing. This is me almost on a daily; “Okay, you have two hours to sulk. That’s enough to meet the deadline.” After the time lapses, I get up and work. We have to make money. Or I decide to take a whole day off. What are deadlines?
“I said what I said”
I have said some dumb things in the past and will continue to do that until death- the human experience. I’m even sure in the afterlife I’ll still have a mouth. When I say something stupid, I will think about it and then come back with my tail tucked between my legs and apologize.
HOWEVER. If I say something and you see me not retracting it, I meant it, and I will die by it, damn the consequences.
“I don’t feel like it.”
“You are foolish.”
“I don’t like your tone.”
“Imagine you won’t talk to me that way.”
“You’re acting like a bitch.”
All with a straight face. If I don’t apologize, please take me seriously, take yourself into a corner and ask yourself what you’ve done wrong. And what’s with people, men mostly, thinking that you don’t know what you are saying? I said what I said.
“Excuse me, is you my body?”
Pick up on people’s opinions about you, in the famous words of Nyambura, “Excuse me, is you my body?” Why are you trying to tell me what I feel? Are you a mind and emotion reader to know exactly what emotion I’m experiencing?
Here’s the thing, I grew up with a temper, and yes, it wasn’t pretty. As an adult, I feel I’ve tackled it for the most part. Just as with my demons, when I feel irritated or upset about something, I sit down with it and work through it. Depending on whether it’s a trigger or someone did wrong me, I proceed to have a calm conversation with said person
However, if I am angry at you, you will know. Don’t tell me I am irrational, rude, or otherwise. Again, is you my body? Are you the one feeling what I am feeling? Were you with me when I concluded that you, not me, is the problem?
Sidebar: Mum and I have come a long way. I told her I was angry about something, and she’s like, “Anger is good.” Who are you, and what have you done with my religious African mother? LOL!
“I heard you; I just disagree with you”
Imagine I can have a differing opinion, and you don’t have to abuse me. The sons out here in these streets! Heh, that is a blog for another day. For real, though, what’s that about? Like a woman can’t disagree with a man; you have to be onboard; otherwise, you’re the problem. Over the years, I’ve seen men’s fragile ego at play because I am outspoken and don’t like taking nonsense. Imagine we can agree to disagree.
You are not my shepherd ati I have to follow your opinion. Jesus is. Just a polite reminder.
“Stop blaming your parents” and other uninformed barks
Okay, I don’t know what I was going through when I put this down as a bullet point LOL! I want to edit it, but let me respect whatever I was feeling at the time.
This should be a post by itself- oh wait!- but, to break it down, I make fun with my siblings that we have white parents. What is liberal??? Case in point.
I have said some things to my parents that if my child ends up saying them to me, I’ll take that L. I would have it coming. That said, I have progressive parents who can sit down, reflect on their actions, and have the moral courage to make things right. I have blamed my parents for me being in therapy, and frankly, it is their fault.
That said, they are humans, and I understand where they are coming from and why they’ve done what they did in the past. They have caused pain in my life, but it is up to ME to fix myself at the end of the day. Blaming them won’t make me better; seeking healing from various sources is my problem. Forgiveness is also a thing; you can’t heal without forgiveness.
I did some IG stories saying how I love the relationship I currently have with my folks, and I mean it. We have come such a long way. My goodness.
PS: Respect goes both ways. You won’t earn it from me through intimidation. Nah fam. As my famous saying goes, “If my father CANNOT talk or treat me the way you are, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”
“Yes, that’s how internal healing SOMEWHAT looks like.”
Imagine ghosting means I’ve healed?
“I am sorry, did I ask for your lazy opinion?”
The confidence that uninformed people have is fascinating. Kwanza, those people that tell me how to deal with my mental health struggles and analyze my emotions for me. Sir. Miss. Read a book. Better yet, ask me. I am an expert at me, not you. Me.
“Sorry, what course again do I need to take in mind reading?” Experts out here in these streets, show me your ways!
“Yes, I looked at my phone ring” and other stories
For the most part, I don’t avoid picking calls just to be rude. The main reason is typically I am not in the right headspace, and I won’t give you my best. When I am moody or anything like that, I prefer to deal with my emotions, and when I am in a better space, I call back. The same thing goes with texting. I am not ignoring you; I just don’t believe in giving people half-assed responses for the sake of it. I value you as a human being, and I will show up as such.
Now you know where I am coming from. I haven’t ghosted you; I am merely gathering myself unless I have ghosted you. Then yea.
“I love you… but from over TTHEEERRREEE!!!”
I am positive that a lot of people feel this way about me, and I understand. Si ati you have a problem with the person, but them being around you is just a big no. I am surprised I still have people I can call friends. It’s honestly shocking to me. I am a difficult human, ask me, I live with myself, I KNOW!
So, when I distance myself from you, don’t feel bad. Rejoice even. I am one nasty human being when I get tired of you or just lose respect for you. You don’t want to deal with that version of me. Ask my exs. I burn that ish to the ground with ZERO regrets. But even you, by the time I am scorching the earth, it’s mostly your fault. But what is the fragile male ego, gaslighting and taking a [im]moral high ground?
I’m sorry, am I rude? If you’re triggered, check yourself. HAHA! Ah, today, chills melted.
“I’m sorry, you said what?”
At this point, I CLEARLY drafted these points when I was pissed off about something, LOL!
I am tired of the cycle I have been in, and honestly, I have been the foolish one. Let me take that L; it was my fault. That said, I sat down last night and wrote down some of my core values, so I don’t forget them ever again. It doesn’t matter if you’re family, relative, friend, romantic interest, partner- whatever.
1. Don’t disrespect me.
2. No one is above reproach.
3. Don’t take my love and kindness for granted- ever.
4. Never used my mental health battle against me.
5. If my gut and spirit refuse you, it’s a you-problem
(That last one, weh. I’d be so peaceful if I’d listen. Damn.)
“Siblings. What are the homicide levels again?”
LOL!!! Yea, some major piss-so-sity right here!!
This was probably about my younger brother. I have forgiven him, but MAAAANNNN, he had angered me! Me when I am upset, I say things like, “I don’t care if you die,” and imagine I mean it. By the time I say that I have sat down, thought about it, and made peace. Aki don’t disrespect me. Weh!
Now we are good, back to being best friends. It’s all dandy now.
“Will you die if you don’t replace the tissue?”
Again… living with a boychild.
But at least they know to put the toilet seat down. That’s something, no?
“That’s what I said to my mama” and other stories
I have repented, but I’ll understand if I live a short life based on the 5th commandment. To think that a mother-in-law will escape me calling out bad behavior. As Ricky said, “You have balls of steel.” No one is above reproach imagine. I won’t be malicious, but I will call a spade a spade to the boychild. Vumilia is you and the previous generation. Siko hapo.
What’s with this pedestal people have placed their parents on? Yes, respect them, but don’t endorse bad behavior. Si, even parents, are told in the Bible not to provoke their children to anger? Ah-ah! Please. That said, my family culture is different, and we don’t take bullying lying down.
(My mouth and face do need deliverance, though. Let me not pretend I am entirely proud of how I talk when emotionally charged. Case in point, this post).
“Copy-pasting your parent’s marriage: are you a clone?”
This goes across the board. If your mother endured domestic violence, don’t repeat the cycle. If your father didn’t enter the kitchen, and you’re still asking your wife to help with the bills, please stop. If your parents gave you epic beatdowns, don’t repeat it with your children.
Too many broken people in relationships. Too many. If you haven’t dealt with your family trauma, please don’t get married or even have children. The world is already broken, don’t contribute to the problem.
That said, context is everything. If your mother enjoyed cooking and girl child has strengths in other areas, adapt. Don’t try to turn her into your mother’s clone. It’s dysfunctional and honestly disturbing. And you women wanting cars not caring where boychild is getting money from yet you come from a two-parent household with no cars… I mean, thrive, but that can’t be a dating criterion.
Season finale: “Did I offend you? Aki pole.”
Bassss… Woiye… Aki…. Bassss… Bassss…
I’m sorry?! LOL!
You’ve read this far!
Thanks for indulging me in this rant that I have honestly laughed myself through. Weh, when a woman is pissed off… Anyhoo! As always, thanks for stopping by.
I started this blog three weeks ago. Halfway through, I got into an epic depressive state; my housemates thought I’d traveled. I remained in bed for five days, and every two days, I’d sneak out and have three sausages, just so I don’t pass out from hunger. The point is, as always, I don’t come at you with things I haven’t lived and learned from. For this one, you’ll need 15-20 minutes to read. You’ve been told.
As usual, I am here with some hard truths, so you’ll likely be triggered.
As you know, I am well acquainted with a couple my demons. Have you witnessed my dark humor? Even so, those bastards and I have learned to coexist- for the most part. We do have fights sometimes, but they know who is in charge.
Context is important.
Like many of us, my younger brother experiences anxiety both at the beginning of a course and when waiting for the results. It is clockwork. First, it’s, “Will I be able to get the units I need to finish this course?” and ends with, “If I fail these units, my GPA will fall drastically.” I don’t remember being like this, so I find it interesting to watch him go through every pessimistic scenario he can think of.
Academics have never made me panic per se; I couldn’t relate. However, for empathy’s sake, I had to dig deeper.
Enter the chanting demons
What mostly drives me crazy is the loop- like the recent episode where I turned into a screaming Karen until I had to let it go. Don’t ask.
What I hate about it is no level of disruption can stop the flow of thoughts, and si ati the thoughts are usually saying nice things. Heck, I mostly wouldn’t even have the power to talk back because, these chanting demons were right. I had messed up; I could have done better, I was not worth the opportunity, people hate me, I will never amount to anything, what have I done with my life, I am an imposter, _____ (insert your demonic chant here).
These chats are SO EXHAUSTING to listen to throughout the day! My word!
My worst chants are the variety “I have nothing to show for my 30 years on this planet.” Add the depression, and it’s “not that you’ll do anything with the time left anyway.” *Enter suicidal idealization*
It got to a point, deep in the duvets, I’d tell myself that at the very least, my parents would never kick me out, and I can grow old in their house and die. I mean, who or what is Purpose?
And then some misguided people come and tell me I JUST have to think positively. Please, stop. You’re feeding the demons. Now you’ve added, “Look at you being so negative all the time. No wonder no one likes you.” I have enough on my plate. Also, is you ‘me’ to know what I feel? Is you calling me a liar? Eschuse.
PSA: Don’t send people uplifting quotes unless you know the space they’re in. Sometimes they need a cast, not a band-aid.
7 steps Wambaire uses to handle her demons
Fam. It has taken YEARS of inner work and therapy to get to where I feel I have an ounce of confidence even to offer advice. The progress I’ve made was only evident when talking to my younger brother as he expressed the worst-case scenarios. That said, I still have a LONG way to go, so take this with a grain-ish of salt.
Haya basi, let’s start.
One: Acknowledge your demons’ presence
Here is where I went wrong for years.
It was brought to my attention back in 2015-2016 that I had two sides warring within me. There was the “good Christian girl” and the “ratchet around the edges” Wambaire. The guilt I felt every time I woke up after a night out was INTENSE! My word. If I could, I’d opt to remain in bed all day wallowing.
As with wars, I got tired. Nothing seemed to work, ESPECIALLY Scripture. I’d quote those tackling ‘thought life’, but my demons would just stop briefly, look at each other, and turn the volume up.
A word for the zealots: It wasn’t a God problem; it was a me problem. Keep reading. And yes, I’ll keep postingdark White Jesus memes.
Being tired of fighting is good; it means you’re at a point of surrender. Society tells you ‘keep fighting,’ but we all need to rest at some point. HOWEVER! In this case, resting means not fighting your demons. It is calling a truce and having a real conversation.
Two: Let the demons act up (but under supervision)
Disclaimer: If you’re suicidal, please use this next suggestion with a counselor’s support.
Helpful example: Think of a loving parent observing their child’s tantrums and meltdowns. No reacting- just looking at the spectacle. When the child sees you’re not responding “accordingly,” they’ll calm down long enough to for you to hold a conversation with them. Besides, they’ll see being bratty isn’t working and change tactic.
Practical example: If a nasty thought comes, don’t react; simply calmly ask, “Do you wanna talk about it?” and await a response. If the answer is rude, take a lap, then come back again and still in a calm spirit.
Another word for the zealots: Shouting down your thoughts (never mind other people’s opinions) with loud prayers and condemnation doesn’t help. You’re called to be Christ-like, not a megaphone.
Here’s the thing, there is an element of truth in the demons’ chant. Is it distorted? Absolutely, but when you observe long enough, you begin to see a pattern. To become a reasonable observer, you need to be present and keep in mind that no thought is good or bad; it just is. Removing the labels, though it’s a struggle, helps build objectivity.
Three: Feel. Every. Single. Emotion.
Reminder: BUT don’t act out on it unless it results in talking to a healthy person you trust, journaling, or tears.
Your first instinct will be a distraction or self-medication. That’s why you’re ever watching series and movies, working, spending hours on social media, have sex, masturbating, drinking, or smoking weed. You don’t want to think or feel.
When you begin the journey, an emotion most people feel is anger. Especially men; is there another emotion they express more than rage? Yes, I am coming for everyone. Chills are outside this blog; you can go, cool down and come back. 😊 Another strong emotion is shame. Go call out a man for his wrongdoing and then get back to me. Or tell a woman who knows her worth that she’s worthless.
Learn to expand your emotional vocabulary. Is it fear, dread, loneliness, despair, grief, resentment, outrage, panic, sadness, guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret…? What is it? Whatever it is, feel it, but under a safe space.
It’s going to hurt: When exploring underlying emotions, YOU WILL FEEL A LOT OF PAIN. I am shouting for the ones in the back. Piercing chest pains, swollen throat, moist eyes. Whatever you feel, sit put.
Note: take time off because you’ll be an emotional mess. Trust me; you don’t want people seeing you in your broken state. It’s not a you thing. When you’re raw, you make others uncomfortable, and their instinct is to move away.
Four: Take a nap/ sleep
If the emotions are too strong, sleep. Even if you feel they are under control, sleep all the same.
“When you sleep, God does maintenance on the soul.”
Five: Dismantle and recreate the chant
We’ve talked about observing the emotion, identifying what it is, and sitting with it. Now that you’re feeling, ask yourself, “What is beneath these thoughts, words and emotion?”
When you observe what your demons are chanting, patterns emerge.
For example, I was SO SURE people generally don’t like me. Some don’t, I lack a filter for bad behavior. However, I realized the feeling came from being alienated most of my life. I can sum it up into this: in 8th grade, we were reading a poem aloud, and right after, “Boys rarely make passes, at girls who wear glasses” some guy pointed at me. Add acne on top of that. Who is Self Esteem?
Years later, I started a small counter chant of my own, “I am worthy of the space I occupy.” I didn’t care if I woke up feeling like my face had taken a time out on pretty or I remembered all failed relationships. ‘People mess up, but I am worthy of the space I occupy.” Choose yourself. Especially if you’re a woman, choose yourself and adjust your own chant accordingly.
Do you see where I am going?
After noting where the thoughts were coming from, I sat down with that 5- year old Wambaire who was excluded from a group because she had bread for break time during Closing Day. I sat down with the 11-year-old me, who was told, “No wonder boys don’t like you.” I sat down with the 16-year-old me that was bullied and ate lunch alone at the back of the library. In the pain, I constantly remind myself, “I am worthy of the space I occupy.”
When starting, find something that resonates with you, then go from there; continue to build on the chant.
Case in point: I was to help my younger brother run an errand, but my mind was like, “Nope! I don’t want to see humans outside of this house today.”
Demon 1: If it were him, he wouldn’t have failed to come through.
Demon 2: You’re not there for him… What kind of sister are you?
Demon 3: You can’t blame depression for being in bed for a whole week. You-
Wambaire: (out loud) Excuse me. Let’s reverse this. If it was him saying he doesn’t want to see humans, would I understand it? (silence) Why? (Silence) We both get the struggle, sindio? Would I want him to feel guilty?
Wambaire: Thought so. Nonsense.
You learning to run the conversation does get more manageable. You’ll find your mind a lot quieter because they know who’s boss. If anything, they’d be having side conversations wondering who to push forward to speak.
Btw: I now understand why it’s taken ages to post this article. While turning the chant into a conversation, you have to talk to yourself A LOT. When the chant is going on, interrupt it with a purposeful, logical discussion. Literally, in your mind or out loud, challenge the demons. Just as in the example, hijack the narrative. Speak of what is true and what you feel, and then sit with it. You’ve lost an opportunity, and you feel like trash? Talk about how you feel like crap, what you did wrong, and what you can do better. When the demon comes at you again, just say, e.g., “I know I messed up, but I forgive myself,” with the awareness of how so many layers of dysfunction that got you there. It’s not an excuse; it’s now up to you to work and not let the same sin happen again while being VERY understanding with yourself.
Seven: Keep at it
Like a child learning to walk, beloved, you will fall—a lot. But keep at it; it gets easier.
You’ve made it this far!
As always, thanks for stopping by. If you want a discussion, slide into my DM on Twitter or IG @wambairem on both platforms.
Disclaimer: I am no expert on this topic. However, you’re welcome to take a peek into my mind.
Context: Ma Familia
I think the unconditional love lesson hit home when my elder brother stated that his main reason for moving out was because I was the most toxic member of the family.
I’ll let that sink in.
Fast forward, now that it’s out of his chest and we can agree we aren’t each other’s favorite sibling, I know for a fact that we love each other. He moved on to start his own family, but if something was wrong with me, and vice versa, we would show up for each other in full support. Once in a while, we’ll trade drunken catch-up phone calls that typically end with “I love you.” Do I think he was right? Perhaps not, because I also thought he was a failure as an elder brother. People see things differently. HOWEVER, we can only speak of our reality.
*He doesn’t read my blog, so this is between you and I, okay? 😊
Yes, that is the type of family I hail from.
Is it the norm? HELL NO!
Do people understand it? HELL, to the NO!
And that’s fine.
Here’s the thing about us. We are zealots when it comes to calling out each other’s bad behavior, whatever the hierarchy. I have swallowed some significant Ls myself for my actions. Somehow, my parents managed to produce three children with no filter and boldness to call a spade a spade. I love my dad and mum, but the epic showdowns we’ve had in the past have made our current conversations so much richer.
What is the recipe?
One more time for the people in the back-
In a group chat with my siblings, not sure what prompted it, I wrote, “we have white parents.” Have you watched those clips of white kids acting schupid, and they aren’t whooped to near-death? You know, those videos that we African kids watch in disbelief because we know if we tried something similar, we’d be dead? Like literally?
Don’t get me wrong; my parents weren’t always liberal. I have been beaten with a mega torch, slippers, a hose, and, yes, a banana. My mum was next level Rambo. She could throw a slipper across the room at a moving target, and it would hit you smack in the middle of the back.
That aside, Wambaire developed a mouth in high school. I’m sure you can tell from the posts I put out. Actually, the mouth was there long before. As a kid, I remember visiting my grandfolks and saying one of the uncles had brought cheap biscuits. He was so offended he told his mummy, LOL! That said, he is the uncle that we as cousins pay the least attention to. Oh, and my aunts choosing not to share a bed with me when visiting because I was used to sleeping alone and made that clear. Ah, and that time I told my aunt to vacate my folks’ house because she was a selfish- she was making things to be about herself. The apology after was cosmetic, because… because. I have a Ph.D. in putting people in check. Is it a good thing? *scratches nose* Bitchness has been strong in me since childhood.
Okay, you know what. I am the problem, just that I am okay with it, as long as I call out bad behavior. If I have ever said something to you, analyze it. If I was wrong, let me know, I will apologize. I aspire to peace, love, and unity. If you’re not inspiring that, then… well… it might be a YOU problem that has me at a “no fucks given” me problem.
But the meme below summarizes how my dad didn’t summon the clan and our ancestors for a lynching when I talked back. Because, my word! If my life is short, I won’t even complain because of that 5th commandment. I pray that Jesus fulfilled it, meaning I get to 100, with a tot of gin in my hand.
The bottom line was, while my siblings and I stormed the entity of parenthood and had what we can call an insurrection, we were looking to be treated with respect. Not as equals, but with respect. This thing for African parents talking smack to you because they born you wasn’t something we were going to live with. The respect we had for ourselves was so strong that we had to get it from them too.
There’s a counseling psychology term for this type of shift in the family dynamics, but it’s not coming to mind at the moment. I know that a lot of families don’t get past the tipping point to positive change. They resist it, and the status quo, dysfunctional as hell, remains.
I thank God we moved past it. Was it messy? That’s an under-question.
I recommend revolutions in families. Conversations with my parents is sooo muuccchhh richer! They see you as a whole and as an independent person they can have a meaningful conversation with. You learn from each other, bounce off ideas, laugh about the past… it’s beautiful. What’s even more fantastic is if you have differing positions, WE BOTH stop and try understand where the other is coming from.
Yes, my folks are better than yours.
And then there’s the rest of the world
I know if I have a fight with my folks now, where we exchange words calling out each other’s behavior (yes, the behavior, not the person), if I was to collapse for whatever reason, they would go above and beyond to be there for me. They have left the house at 3am before to take me to hospital. At 2am to retrieve me from a fucked-up situation.
My parents put the ride in “ride or die” lol
I realize that other families out here, based on the stories my friends give me and what I’ve heard, love is VERY conditional. Apparently not meeting a certain standard gets you talked about negatively and basically treated like a non-human. Where, when you make one mistake, you are no longer liked, especially if you’re an outsider. I don’t understand that structure but it’s the reality.
I am living with bipolar. My parents have seen it in its full glory (banging their door at 11pm- demons don’t know time smh!) but love me none the less. “But it’s their job!” Sorry? Have you seen how some parents treat their own children?
So, for me, stepping out into the world, I expect a level of understanding especially when my moods flair up. It is not a license for me to be schupid, no. I only expect a level of understanding when I mess up based on factors beyond me, e.g my mind, and my mood, BIPOLAR. That said, not everyone has the patience for it, and that is okay.
My love language is following up. “How are you doing? How are the meds taking you? Were you able to get out of bed today? What about the nightmares? Also, what is bipolar? You know what, better yet, let me google it for myself.”
Just like racism, it is not my job to educate you about it. We live in an information age; your ignorance is a choice.
So now, what do we do?
I lost fucks. However, they do tend to creep in once in a while. This is how I choose to look at it.
Not everyone is equipped to handle the levels of “emotions” I have. Emotion is a lazy term for people who aren’t capable of understanding the complexities of the human mind. I have also been lazy in some contexts, so I get it on a larger scale. Personality and experience can also be a huge barrier to embracing other people.
The next is working on self-love to degrees that people’s inability to understand you won’t hurt you. And here’s where I say, “How I feel is a me problem. How you feel is a YOU problem.” I can be hurt by someone’s reaction to my essence, but at the end of it, it’s me with the feelings, not the other person. So, I will sit with it until I have moved past it. A recent realization is “If you liked me so much and I fucked up this one time, and you withdrew your affection, did you even like me in the first place?”
Note: There are a lot of people I love, and would wish to talk and hang out with, but. Being compatible, come rain or sunshine, is not something we’re all blessed with. Friendships and family can survive some things, others can’t.
What is my point?
One: Not everyone was Jesus’s fans. Who am I?
Two: Love manifests differently based on your essence and background. However, there is true love, and there is “you must” love. Example is people with abusive parents and still say “I love my parents”. That is fear laced with perverted societal expectations. Call a spade a spade.
My first line was, “this will be short.” I was lying to myself. You can save this for bedtime, a commute, or a trip to the loo- anywhere you have 5 to 10 minutes.Abundance of memes is thanks to 9GAG.
I’m here because a friend and someone dear to me, during a catch-up session, confessed she used to get panic attacks, especially after her daughter’s birth. I never knew she had, and that’s the problem with silence. How else will you know you’re not alone in the struggle? I lay my soul bare to let you know you’re not alone.
A nice summarybefore you proceed… Since this story time will soon feel like fiction to someone of you…
“What’s this I am feeling?”
I’m acknowledging anyone whose heart races, has difficulty breathing, and deals with nausea often. Panic attacks vary; it can be slight discomfort in your chest or stomach area for “no apparent reason.” It can be full-blown, landing on the floor, taking up the fetal position, struggling to breathe type-of-situation when triggered.
My (depressing) story
I was pretty okay until mid-2017. From there, a series of traumatic events unfolded over a year plus. That’s when I started pacing. I’d walk back and forth for 30 minutes straight, feeling the adrenaline, panic and confusion flooding my body. I had only seen it in movies, so at some point, I thought I had managed to program my mind to “pretend” and manifest anxiety as such.
Through therapy, that phase passed, but by then, anxiety had come to inhabit my body. I could manage it through distractions, but in February of 2020, when it became clear Covid-19 was here to stay, my body went into overdrive. I could be performing a task or talking to someone, and then blank. To explain it, it’s like my mind, soul- something- would exit my body and leave a shell behind. It could be for a few seconds or minutes, but the point is I wasn’t there. Oddly, it felt like I was watching the world through my eyes, but not quite. It’s the same way you would use binoculars or some aid. I can’t explain it beyond that.
April came around, and anxiety was one with me. It sat right next to the depression. Cozied up, started beating stories and just became instant friends. Yo. I would sleep with it and “wake up” with it. It’s in quotes because how can you sleep when stadium lights are turned on in your mind, your chest is tight, your breathing is shallow, and you’re feeling queasy. The havoc wasn’t over.
Side note: My partner had to shake me awake from nightmares constantly. What was the signal? Trashing about and “Hm! Hm!” as I struggled to wake up. This is probably the part I hate the most about this whole thing.
If my partner turned and his body got into contact with mine when we’re sleeping, I would legit be startled. That was almost every hour- I don’t know what he had for my side of the bed. And don’t aw, though it’s cute. I’d wake up with mild panic and remind myself I am not in danger. A dog barking, a car hooting, the neighbor upstairs dropping something, which was all the time, a call, a text message- I would go into panic. It’s the same fright you’d experience when a car unexpectedly backfires, only that you feel that intensity every time. You can only see it in my eyes or from my jumping, but otherwise, how do you explain it to people who aren’t entirely sure how it could be an every moment thing?
Nuggets of wisdom: I was seeking a second opinion, and when talking, the psychiatrist brought up a topic that triggered me. She saw that panic attack I was talking about and told me to breathe. So one, breathe deeply, counting from 1 to 10. Secondly, she told me I have to remind myself I am not in physical danger. All that adrenaline doesn’t need to be in my body unless there is a legitimate cause.
The only time anxiety dulls is when taking a drink. Since being an alcoholic is very easy, I opt to sit with the feeling. It sucks because you can feel it in your entire being, and if and when it passes, you are left so exhausted that all you want to do is sleep. The problem is you have to spend a few sleepless nights before your body goes into forced shutdown, and you wake up 10-12 hours later.
And with all that hypervigilance, you want me to take a matatu? It took me a full 10 months to do so.
What is a social life?
I have typically been a loner; forcing a social life left me fatigued, broke, and filled with regret. It was brought to my attention this morning- shout out that 3 am phone calls are no longer considered booty calls because of curfew! LOL! My sleeping patterns, weh. Anyhoo, I got told if I were given a choice, I would live in solitude. It was evident from the fact that I’d literally leave the house at most twice a week, and it was to fetch groceries or if I needed to visit my folks.
I pretty much ghosted everyone and only brought a few remaining friends together for my 30th birthday party. After that, I went back to my default. My phone is mostly on vibrate. For a while, if it buzzed, I’d knew it was either Telkom, Safaricom, promotional messages I really should unsubscribe from, memes from my partner or cousin, and two other friends. Anything else was a wild card.
HOWEVER! As you might know, depression and isolation are a perfect recipe for a mental breakdown, which eventually came. Where there was once laughter, there was just moodiness and a deep dislike for having to do daily things, yes, showers included. Shout out to those who feel me. And before you question my hygiene, a short trip to the kitchen or washroom won’t make anyone break a sweat. Please leave me alone! Lol!
The isolation was so bad that I would glare at the phone if it rang. I wanted my peace.
The problem with ghosting people and then trying to make your way back is you’ll find that they’ve moved on. Nyambura, Ruth, Ricky, Cugu thank you for those outings, albeit they are far between. Oh, and an uncle. I could write a post about how he went all out on stories of “our” generation “being into” anal sex and him creating a theory around it, but let me not traumatize you. And my cousin Camillus for visiting often. A wise and angry man, that one, lol!
So it’s okay, me I understand if you no longer have time for me. I’ll just stalk you in IG and be happy for you. In the meantime, I always have my younger brother, my great drinking buddy, that I can call upon and trade stories about depression and bipolar extensively. Fun times!
Otherwise, a huge pillar has been- you know yourself. Seeing someone daily is a huge help, especially if they do everything in their power to cheer you up, even in the morning. Yes, I still dislike you for that, never mind that it’s your preference. Mschew! No smiles before coffee, please! So, let’s just say solitude has been relative.
Ali (sooo tempted to put your full name), this segment is here because you’ve told me to spark more positivity in people. The store ran out, but I’ll use the little I have left.
Life and everything in it CAN feel like trash.
Now that that’s out of the way… Let me echo some coping mechanisms I use to combat anxiety and depression.
Educate. Your. Self: You feel you’re suffering from anxiety? Read a book about it, find something on YouTube- wherever the source, educate yourself. Knowledge IS power-I kid you not. That’s how I know to spot a mood change. I pause and sit with the feeling. Soon, I can tell what cause the shift and course-correct. Imagine being moody the whole day because you didn’t realize the trigger was seeing a color your ex, twice removed, like. Beloved, take charge oo! Stay woke!
Find your tribe: Have at least one friend who understands you. Just one. They act as your anchor when you feel you’re sinking. They send you words of encouragement, scripture, podcasts, and everything to uplift your soul and spirit. Don’t be in a hurry; my tribe is made up of people I never expected to call close friends. You will find each other, but first, you GOT TO let go of some to make room for them. Take inventory. Just one is enough for a start. And yes, an excellent podcast or therapist count.
Be kind to yourself: This should have been the first point, but I also know it’s the hardest. I will quote a counselor I was seeing: “It took you 28 years to get to where you are; you can’t undo who you’ve become in a day, a few weeks, or months.” Or something like that. Cut yourself all the slack you can, especially when you’re feeling bad about behavior you’re having a hard time breaking. Don’t be complacent, but also don’t side with the demons in your head.
See a doctor: This one is not for everyone because my goodness, they are expensive! This one, you have to save and make sacrifices. If you have insurance or someone willing to pay on your behalf, please go.
That’s how I am managing anxiety and random panic attacks. I hope I’ve helped at least one person. I do have some rubbish days and nights, but I feel better for the most part.
Before you go…
Want to share your experience? Feel free to comment below, and if you have extra energy, firstname.lastname@example.org is how you can reach me, then we can take it from there.