All posts by nanaamoah

being grateful through the storm

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1st Thessalonians 5:18

Life can be hard. And yes, it is hard. For every phase of life we are at, there comes its troubles and difficulties. To make it worse, there’s no recipe on how to live life void of all the troubles.

Life has taught me that, it is very easy to focus on the negatives that I lose sight of the little things that make life worth it. But it is usually not about the grandeur stuff that can change our perspective on how beautiful our life is. Instead, it is the little things that really matter. Like the stranger on the bus who smiles at you, like someone offering to let you go in front of them in the queue at the supermarket, like having a job to complain about, like being accepted into a program that requires a lot of discipline from you. We all are struggling with something in our life, but if for a moment, we can forget about ourselves and make someone else’s life easier, isn’t it worth being joyful?

I have some good days and an equal share of bad days. Days where I simply want to throw in the towel. Days I ask myself, is this really worth it? In those days, I have had friends come to my rescue and assure me that it gets better. But like the ingrate I can be sometimes, I take these friends for granted. I get selfish and think about myself and forget that these people are fighting battles of their own, but they still make me a priority.

With time, it gets better. The bad days make me appreciate the good days when they come. they make me shift the focus off myself, but instead onto someone greater, God.

So, I am grateful for my family, even if its a dysfunctional one. I am grateful for the friends who put away their troubles to help me through mine. I am grateful for the days when I can have some quiet when my life gets chaotic. I am grateful for the good and the bad days. I am grateful that even on bad days, I can still manage to put a smile on someone’s face. I am grateful that I can still be grateful through it all.

What in your life are you grateful for?

#BeGrateful #MakeGratitudeanAttitude

Beautiful mosaic

Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

How much resistance can you put up until you get to the tipping point when you break? How long will you try to stay strong until you can no more , that you simply give up? How long will you go on until you finally admit, its enough? I can’t do this anymore.

We go through so much daily and there are many thoughts we suppress instead of bring to the fore to deal with. That mental battle you keep fighting is draining you. Physically, you may look alright, but mentally, you are worn out. Its lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on you. One day, its going to hit you in the face, knocking you off balance. The breakdown you had been avoiding so much will come rushing at you like a dam whose gates have been opened. And nothing would hold it back. At this point, you’d have no option than to face it head on or however you want – ignore it. But its not going away by itself. You’ll have to deal with it – one way or the other.

How high can you mount your defenses? You cannot resist all the storms of your life every time. Something is going to break you at some point. But when the storm clears, pick yourself up. Gather the pieces together and reconstruct your life. It will take time, but you will surely fit the pieces together. And in the end, you can be something as beautiful as a mosaic.

Musings of a troubled mind

When I become delusional I and believe that I am the most hated person, can you make me believe otherwise?

When everything I feel is proof that no one loves me, can you sway me from this conviction?

When I reject every word that comes from you, can you make me still believe in you?

In my delusion, I possess the truth and everyone else is false.

When I become too difficult to be loved, would you still love me and stay with me? When I forget how cheerful and hopeful my life used to be, would you help me get back to that reality?

In my state of delusion, would you love me enough?

Musings of a troubled mind

When being in a new environment unravels something, you did not know about yourself

Moving to Germany was an all-new experience for me. For the first time in my life, I was moving very far away from home, from my family and friends, from a familiar environment. In fact, I was entering an unknown territory. One could say, I was leaving my comfort zone.

It wasn’t all glamour, it had its gloomy days. But my social interaction skills were not questionable. Socially, I thought I was okay. I wouldn’t approach you for a conversation, but when you did, I indulged. I easily connected with other beneficiaries of the same scholarship I was on, and we had our fun. But on certain occasions, I bailed out on events to meet new people. I thought I had valid reasons for not attending those events, yes, I did.

Then, I moved to a new city, to begin with my studies and that was when I realized I was becoming “socially awkward”. Each time there was an event to meet outside the class to hang out with my course mates, I freaked out. I got extremely anxious, thinking of all the things that could go wrong at the hangout. And when I did go, I was less myself. After a couple of tries, I told myself, enough of the torture. I decided to end it all and I stopped attending any gathering of any sort. In as much as I enjoyed the time spent with my course mates, I couldn’t get over the inner battle I had to fight each time. No more anxiety to battle with. I chose the comfort of my bed and laptop over social interaction.

And now, two months after successfully completing my studies (Yes! I did it. Thanks be to God), I have noticed some changes. I no longer turn down invitations to go out with friends (new people I met during my work on my master thesis). I still do get anxious about going out with them, but I look at it from the point of hanging out with colleagues to have some fun. I must admit though, that sometimes I am tempted to bail out. I may still turn down invitations, but I do accept some. I am not a party freak and I have never been, but in the last month, I have had so much fun with these people.

It had never occurred to me that I had social anxiety. I wasn’t a frequenter of events when I was in Ghana, but the few times I went out with friends, it never crossed my mind about getting anxious. I describe myself as a shy person, but my close circle of friends will tell you otherwise. I am sure they’d equate me to a parrot if you asked them. Being in an unfamiliar and new environment, I have experienced new emotions and learned something about myself I never thought.

I still do get anxious, but I make an extra effort to not let my anxiety weigh me down and have fun. It’s not been easy for me dealing with my anxiety, but I am trying my best to keep it under control.

After everything is said and done, I am my own hero

Maybe friendship is overrated, maybe you would never find the perfect friend in someone. But what better friend can you have than yourself? When there is no one around to help you with your mental illness, you can decide to do something for yourself. I call it self-help.
Living with depression comes with struggles, ups and downs, good days and bad days, and you may not want to go through your struggle alone, but when no one seems to be there, the best you can do is to be there for yourself. Accepting and taking charge of your condition is the first step towards recovery.
I recommend these self-help tips

  • Keep a log of your day

Keep track of what you are able or not able to do daily, either in writing or by voice notes. Record your feelings, ask yourself questions about the progress you have made, and the drawbacks you’ve had.

  • Don’t be hard on yourself

Good days and bad days will come. The good days will give you the hope that you are a survivor and can make it. Knowing your good days will help you identify the things that made it good and how to achieve more of them. From bad days, you will learn about what should be improved and help you identify triggers to bad days.

  • Set little but achievable daily goals for yourself

Although daily chores may be hard for you to carry through, you can set them as targets for yourself. Little things like making your bed and brushing your teeth give you back some control over your life. At the end of the day, all you care about is you could achieve something, you weren’t that hopeless.

  • Be spontaneous

Even though you may feel comfortable and would want to stick to your routine, do something out of the blue occasionally. Do something you haven’t done in a long while. Allowing some variation in your life would boost your morale and give a sense of hopefulness, you are not a lost cause after all.

  • Give yourself time to recover

Recovery, be it being able to get out of bed or getting back to your life or being able to carry out tasks you used to perform in the past, takes time. Whiles taking your medication and availing yourself for psychotherapy be patient with yourself. Results don’t spring up overnight. The little efforts you make each day contribute to the bigger picture of your recovery.

Above all, remember to take each day at a time. There is no need to be in a rush to figure out how tomorrow will unfold. Concentrate on getting out of today alive. Tomorrow will take care of itself when it comes. But for now, it is today that matters. And when things don’t always go as you’d have wanted, forgive yourself. You will have another day to try again.
Keep living. You are not alone and when you can, talk to someone about how you feel.

 

Everything but physical pain

How would you explain the fact that you are sick, to someone when you have no physical evidence to show? It is easy for people to understand that you are hurting and having pains from a toothache, but hurting from depression? It is almost impossible to explain if the person you are talking to has never been there.

The absence of physical pain is a driving factor and may go on to explain why depressed people would mutilate themselves to provide evidence of their illness to doubters. In his accounts of his experiences with depression, Andrew Solomon recounts how he tried to infect himself with HIV so he could kill himself with it as an excuse. Although I find it crude and extreme, he explains, “I needed something I believed in, something to show so that everyone would understand how desperate I was. I had to give up the invisible impediment for a manifest one”. This wish for self-harm, I have come to learn is a common occurrence for depressives who resort to physical harm to bring the physical state in line with the mental. They often do not care which form it takes, be overdosing on drugs, injuring themselves or in extremes, attempting suicide, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

This is what you could do:

  • Keep a log of your depressed mood shifts, what’s going on around you at the time, and what your thoughts and feelings were.
  • Learn to identify triggers, and develop some control because then you can strategize how to avoid or respond differently to things that make you feel bad and want to self-destruct.

This helps you gain some awareness; the fact that there are explanations for your mood shifts and the realization that your depressive episodes are not isolated events but may be linked to some triggers.
Depression may not be a physical illness, but it is a mentally and emotionally painful illness that can rid you of your will to live and affect every area of your life. When you feel like hurting yourself to prove to others the extremity of your pain, remember you can always talk to someone.

 

A new dawn

It is a new year, a new dawn and a new beginning for some of us. Many are the aspirations and resolutions. Many are the hopes of reaching the targets we have set for ourselves. The dreams of yesteryears, which we were unable to achieve, we are more determined to achieve. Others are empowered to build on the achievements and successes they chalked up.

Our expectations are high, the pressure to achieve them will mount and our anxieties will rise. But every new dawn presents us with opportunities to make amends, to right the wrongs and to move a step closer to our goals. So, let’s remember to take each day at a time and never lose hope. When we fall, let’s remember to rise and keep going. The journey won’t be easy, but step by step, we will reach there.

After all is said and done, ask for guidance and counsel when the need be. Someone has been where you are before and there will be someone to take your place when you leave. Like the adage in my mother tongue goes, “the one who asks for directions doesn’t get lost”. Talk to someone, Seek help.

Happy and a prosperous new year. May we never give up and strive to be better versions of ourselves.

Your team at your service, #LTD #Let’s Talk Depression