Day came; he took his favorite wooden chair and sat under his favourite tree. For the first time…. in a long time, he noticed that the weeds and grass on his compound had overgrown. He did not care. He saw villagers pass by; no one approached him. Everyone spoke in whispers. Oh yes, he knew exactly what they were talking about. Everyone in the village knew about Miriam’s infidelity, some wondered if he was able to have sex at all. The gossips made sure the rumours did not reach him before Miriam died. Zacharia tried to discuss it with him after he discovered that Onesmus was no longer living with the children, but Onesmus stopped him, not before Zacharia told him that the whole village was talking about it.
|An officer had tried to talk with me during the transit…. I ignored him and…. he killed himself…. |
Well, he was begging for help, and I was too distracted. I should have been more focused on why I’m here….
I’m here to talk to people…. To offer comfort, where comfort is needed…. To sit with people when they are…. scared…. and grieving….
He isn’t here anymore to ask…. But… we can remember him…. and the shared burdens that we all carry now….
and we can treat each other gently…. reach out to those in need…. it will increase our joy and diminish our pain….
~ The Expanse Series ~
When you become poor and weak people around you pick on you and decide to hate you. They say bad things about you; the evil spirit gets you. Life tests you. Worse things continue to happen to you. The tongue is a powerful tool. If the tongue keeps repeating words, the words happen. The gods had cursed Onesmus, they said. The fall of Onesmus had begun, they whispered. Bad words from one tongue to an ear, from an ear to the tongue. It went around and came around. Many people lost their wisdom. They rarely gave good advice. The villagers forgot that there was a more powerful being than they were. Not at one time did they think that God loved Onesmus. He had been very kind throughout his life. The death of his wife had saved him from worse things.
|Depression holds your head under the water until it decides to let go…. |
And sometimes you just get tired of holding your breath….
The people in your life living with major depression don’t look depressed. They get up every day and present well….
They are fighting with everything inside of them to be and feel normal….
If you’re looking for someone in a corner crying you’re probably not going to find that….
Just love us where we are. Don’t push us to heal or shame us for taking meds….
Don’t tell us all the things that help you when you’re feeling sad.
Just love us. Don’t try to do life for us….
~ Chrissie Gaddies ~
Onesmus wondered how many people out there were lonely, because those close to them did not know how to help someone who had a problem like his. ‘He wants to be left alone,’ many people whispered. ‘He must be given time to cry, to weep, to get over it,’ they said. ‘but, who wants to be left alone when a loved one has died, even after discovering that the loved one was evil, in a house suddenly empty, quiet, and cold?’
Onesmus wanted to sit near a fire, talk to someone he felt comfortable with, like his first wife, but would she be patient enough to sit, do nothing and listen? She loved the city life. She loved to sit with other women and talk all day. Onesmus loved the countryside. A man from the city with glittering gifts took her away from Onesmus. If he knew someone who would not twist his stories, and add some lies to make them juicy, he would welcome him or her too. Were there good listeners anymore? ‘Is that why many people take their lives because no one cares enough to listen?’ Many questions were running through Onesmus’ mind.
For a moment, he forgot that he had given away the cow and looked at the cow shed. He wanted that rope. He wondered if there was another rope in the hut. He was a negative distraction to the villagers. Life in the village would never be the same again with him around. He had to go, to get out of this world. His work was done, he had no family, and nothing kept him here. He walked slowly into the hut and searched for a rope. There was none. He picked one bed sheet and started twisting it into a thick rope.
|I found that with depression…. one of the most important things you could realize is…. |
that you are not alone…. You are not the first to go through it…. you are not going to be the last to go through it….
and often times it happens…. you feel like you are alone….
And you feel like it is only you and your bubble…,
and you wish you had someone….
you just got to remember, hold on to that fundamental quality of faith, have faith, and on the other side of pain…. is something good.
~ Dwayne Johnson~
One morning, Grandma gathered the children around her. “You are very special children,” she said, as gently as possible. “There is something I should tell you,” with no expression at all, the children stared at Grandma. “Your father….”
“We know Grandma,” The girl, the first-born, said, “Yes,” the oldest boy confirmed.
“What do you know?” It took all the effort for Grandma to keep a straight face.
“That our father is not our father, and he does not want us…,” the girl said, “because he hates us,” the lastborn interrupted.
There was a tight knot in Grandma’s throat. She struggled to speak. “Who told you that?”
“Priscilla,” the children answered in chorus.
“When?” Grandma was shocked.
“After the funeral,” they answered in chorus.
Grandma sighed, fighting back the tears.
“Yes, he is not your father,” grandma tried to look for the most comforting words, “but he does not hate you. He is very, very sick right now. Do you understand?” they nodded.
“Is he going to die?” the last-born was worried.
Grandma pulled him close, wrapped her arms around him and held him tight.
“No your father is not going to die,” tears welled up Grandma’s eyes. “He will be well.”
She walked into her room and closed the door behind her. Only a woman with a beautiful heart can know the pain of raising a child well, only to discover that the same child had failed her grandchildren. The children were now the forbidden, the unwanted. She clutched at her chest and wept.
She was better when she came out, than when she went in. She picked a basket from the corner of the kitchen and put some sweet potatoes, unripe bananas, boiled maize and a live chicken in it.
“Come, let’s go,” she said brushing the children’s heads lightly and pushing them gently towards the door, “we are going to see your father,” she said. “Carry my walking stick.”
|One bullet and one wish kept me thinking … |
Am not suicidal, but what was waiting ahead….
Kept me thinking about my sanity….
How moments would feel and…. How things were drastically to change…. For each individual….
But let’s listen, but let’s listen…. Not for what’s ahead but now….
Are we just supposed to be paralyzed ….By the future we haven’t experienced….?
Are we supposed to give up…. Without putting and effort
The children went, but not excited at all, because they pictured their father lying on the bed, very, very sick, very thin, worn out, groaning in pain and was about to die.
Onesmus sat on the bed and searched the wood frames on the ceiling. He climbed on the bed and lifted the twisted sheet to tie a knot on one of the frames.
“Baba Furaha,” the voice was familiar. He turned, dropped the bed sheet on the bed, stepped down and sat.
Grandma and the children walked through the open door. The last-born rushed to Papa, held him tight and cried. Papa stared ahead, motionless and numb with anger. The rest watched.
Grandma placed the basket on the ground, next to Papa. Furaha moved closer to Papa, and touched his arm that lay limply on the bed. “Papa,” she called softly, searching his eyes. “Papa?” His eerie look made her very uneasy.
“Papa is tired,” Grandma said as she pulled the little boy away from Papa and led the children out the door.
Something at the bottom of Papa’s heart snapped. He walked slowly to the door and watched them walk away. He felt a sharp pain in his heart when he realized that Grandma did not notice the twisted sheet on his bed. “Nobody cares how I feel, nobody cares at all,” he thought as he slumped onto the bed.
Grandma stopped in the middle of the path towards home and turned right. Soon she stood outside Priscilla’s hut.
“Stay here” she ordered the children, took the walking stick and entered Priscilla’s hut.
Priscilla, who was boiling sweet potatoes, stood and stretched her hand, “Oh it is you Mama Miriam!” she grinned.
Grandma lifted the walking stick very fast. “Do not call my name, you rotten hyena.” She hit Priscilla’s hand very hard. Priscilla was shocked and confused. She rubbed her hand, trying to look for a way out. “What did you tell my grandchildren?” Grandma hit her again. “Aiiiiiiii!” She screamed, pushed grandma aside and ran out. Grandma turned ran after her a few metres, then stopped and turned back.
A small crowd had gathered outside Priscilla’s hut. “What did she do this time?” they asked in whispers. “Her mouth,” said a villager. “You don’t mess with the elderly,” said another. They agreed.
The sun frowned as it sunk down into the horizon. Grandma walked the children home and came back. “Onesmus…. Don’t do that,” she whispered as she pointed at the bedsheet. “Your children need you.” She placed her hand on his shoulder. “Once that cloth gets tighter around your neck, it is when you will realize you do not want to die.” Onesmus saw the pain in Grandma’s eyes, then desperation…. that is when he knew he was not alone. Grandma hurt, Grandma hurt so badly. Miriam was her daughter and those are her grandchildren. He thought of the children, and how lost they must have felt. How lonely they were. The rejection they were getting from the villagers. Furaha’s face flashed across his mind. Her bloodshot, swollen eyes had dark circles around them. It dawned on him then, that she still cried; she never stopped crying. His family needed him.
Anger slowly gave way to despair.
|To the families who live with the loss or losses of loved ones…. |
they did not do that to hurt you or destroy your life….
they took their lives because they were struggling in a great deal of emotional and mental pain, mental illness and addiction….
These are the only diseases that we blame a person for perpetually, but people die from suicide, just like they die from any other organ disease….
Today, no matter the pain I am in, no matter the struggles….
I do believe that life is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given….
and if you are suffering mentally, don’t wait like I did sitting in denial for so long because recovery happens.
~You are not alone~
~Famous people talk about depression and bipolar disorders.
Two days later, Martha sat next to Onesmus. “I should get someone to weed and trim the grass.” Martha spoke.
“Why? For what?” Onesmus asked. He bent forward and pulled out a piece of long grass. He tied seventeen knots into it. “Who will play in the clean compound? I have no wife to sit out here with me, and the children….” His voice weakened. “I have no children. How will it benefit me? Who will want to live with me like this? With all the shame?”
“They are your children, you brought them up,” Martha was sad. “I met them the other day, they still love you.” Onesmus shook his head.
“I visit you, Onesmus,” Martha said softly. “More people will come. Be patient, time will tell. If problems were permanent, we would all be dead.” Martha stood and shook pieces of dry grass off her dress.
“It is easier for you to say that, because you have never been in a situation like mine,” tears welled up his eyes.
“You don’t know many things,” Martha said softly. “I will tell you one day, when all these is over.” Meanwhile, you may come to live with us as long as you wish. I am sending my son and my nephews tomorrow, to clean the compound and cover the grave.”
Onesmus was surprised that someone cared, but did not agree to it. “Don’t bother! A real man should carry his own burden,” he responded and walked towards the hut.
|Stop hating yourself…. The clouds will open up,|
Blue skies are willing….
Get back on your feet again…. Lift your head; hold it high….
You wanna run it back; but you can’t turn the time….
You start to feel like you’re losing your shine….
But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side Hey you! Stop stressing ’bout what you’re missing….
Just take it easy, take your time….
If you think my words are wise, just try it for yourself….
I promise the stars will light the path you walk, don’t give in….
Just take it from me; you will be okay….
~The Other Side~
~SZA, Justin Timberlake~
Martha and her favourite goat stood outside the path near Onesmus’ hut, the following afternoon and waited. As usual, Onesmus came out carrying his favourite chair. Martha approached him and tried again. “Sometimes real men, do not win the fight. Real men also accept when they have lost the fight.” Onesmus turned and started to walk back to the hut, but changed his mind. He placed the chair under the shade and sat. ‘We are trying to help you….”
“I do not want to cause any trouble, for you and your family,” Onesmus interrupted. “Your association with me will make the villagers avoid you, like they have been avoiding me.”
“Let it not bother you much,” Martha said bending to look Onesmus in the eye. “Something else will happen and they will turn their attention to it.” This did not make him feel better. “They have gossiped enough; don’t you think? Is there really anything worse left to say about you?” Onesmus shook his head.
|No two experiences can be the same…|
Two may sit together and speak about the death of a loved one, but none will truly understand the other’s pain….
The empty space in our hearts will always remain empty…
Even when the pain is gone… I do not know about judgement day….
But I know we go to a beautiful place after death…
Many people have gone there briefly and come back…
That is what gives us comfort…
And that is how God defeats death…
Surely God is almighty…
One week to the deadline, Onesmus realized the contents in the small bottle were not helping in any way. He threw the bottle away. He put his possessions together ready to leave.
The door opened slowly and someone entered. Onesmus turned. It was Reuben. Onesmus continued to pack…
“You did not knock,” Onesmus looked up briefly. “The house is not yours yet.”
Reuben did not speak.
“I am leaving today,” he said fastening the rope around one of the baskets. “You did not have to come all the way to remind me.”
Reuben walked up to where Onesmus was. Onesmus stopped packing and stood upright.
“What now? Onesmus asked. “Have you not done enough damage?”
“I got the letter,” Reuben was sad.
“Yes, you did,” Onesmus was impatient.
“I do not want this property; I do not want anything that she left behind. If I knew Miriam was going to do this….”
“Do what?” Onesmus was tired of hearing Miriam’s name.
“I did not know they were my children, until I read the letter…. Reuben’s head dropped. “If I could make all these disappear….”
“I asked you to give extra tuition to my children,” Onesmus was heartbroken. “And what did you do? I paid you on time, gave you extra sometimes. Why? Why did you do this to me?” Reuben placed his hands on Onesmus’ shoulder to calm him down. Onesmus shook him off.
“I am sorry,” he began….
“Get out!” Onesmus said in a stern voice. “Just get out.”
“My wife left me.” Reuben said as he was leaving. “My wife left…. I failed her….” he said as he walked away sobbing. It did not bother Onesmus. He did not care. He shook his head and continued packing his clothes into the basket.
|Service to others is the right you pay for your room here on earth…. |
So, be generous, be kind, be fair, it is not just the right thing to do, it’s the good thing to do….
With all the tension today that can divide us, we should be part of the solution and not part of the problem….
And you don’t have to make a difference on a global stage….
You can volunteer in your neighbourhood, or another neighbourhood nearby, where people might look a little different from you and they might teach you a thing or two.
~ Justin Timberlake ~
Onesmus put everything together, sat on the bed and stared into space. Martha had left some boiled maize beside the bed. ‘No one visits,’ he thought as he took a bite. He dozed off. He woke. He stared ahead, for two days and two nights. Did he even want to move out of this hut? Life had no meaning anymore. Martha was worried. She had not seen him for almost a week. The glow of light that came from Onesmus window at night was no longer there. She was concerned. Praying that Onesmus was fine, she decided to find out what had happened. Onesmus’ mind drifted back to the present.
“Good evening,” Onesmus did not answer.
Martha lifted one basket and placed it on her back, the other on her head. “Come on, let’s go,” She walked towards her hut. Onesmus followed, they were silent.
Onesmus lived with Martha’s son. Martha visited Onesmus every day. She brought fruit, fermented porridge and milk sometimes. Two months later, a little light shone onto Onesmus’ heart. He looked forward to seeing her every day, he smiled, he talked; she listened. He never ran out of words, and Martha never left without him wishing her to do so. When she left, she made sure someone else sat with him. As long as he was awake, he was never alone.
One sunny morning Onesmus spoke…. “Reuben visited me a few days before I came here.” Onesmus was thoughtful, when he said this to Martha’s son, Mupole. “He came to apologize and said he did not want my property. He asked me to keep it.”
Mupole was surprised, his eyes bulging out. “That is strange. Is it because of guilt?”
“I don’t know,” Onesmus replied. “I guess he would not have enjoyed owning the property without his family.”
“What happened to his family,” Mupole was scared.
“They left him,” Onesmus sighed.
“Left him?” This was news to Mupole. “Why?”
“Miriam.” Onesmus almost choked over the name.
“Ooooh.” Silence…. then…. “Did you sign any agreement?” Mupole asked, “With Reuben? He might come back after recovering from the shock.”
“No.” Onesmus replied. Shifting his increased weight on the sofa. “I do not have the desire to own it anymore”
“It would be safe.” Mupole advised him. “Take it, the bad memories will go away one day and everything will be alright.”
“I do not know what I feel anymore.” Onesmus’ head dropped.
You built it, it is yours.” Mupole placed his warm hand on Onesmus’ knee.
A week later, the agreement was signed, handing the property back to Onesmus.
Against Onesmus’ will, Mupole paid Zacharia’s debt. He was tired of hearing the same story of Onesmus being a con artist.
As he spent his mornings outside, Onesmus started noticing how beautiful the sunrise was. The fresh velvet grass and the leaves that gracefully swayed in the wind. The sweet taste of milk tea, the delicious fermented milk and porridge. The smell of cow dung, the clucking of chicken, the peaceful dog, the heartwarming songs of birds. Martha’s gentle voice and beautiful smile, Mupole’s kind heart, Mupole’s hardworking wife, the comforting sound of children’s laughter. The frequent conversations between Martha and her rebellious teenage niece. Everything that he had never noticed before. He loved it all. A hen with chicks roamed around the compound. This experience was wonderfully surreal.
Martha pointed. “Onesmus, that is your hen,” Onesmus frowned and raised his shoulders. He could not remember. “The one Mama brought.”
He raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Ah! Thank you.”
|But a very common reason people self-sabotage is…. |
they haven’t paid sufficient attention to certain parts of themselves…. and those parts are trying to be heard, in the only way they know how.
Think about it…. it’s not the parts of yourself that you are comfortable with and proud of, that cause you problems.…
It’s the parts of you that you try to keep hidden…. That bring you shame and fear….
that most often pop up, right when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough or success, to crash the party.
~ use your damn skills ~
Martha always smiled when Onesmus seemed happy. She loved him very much since college. Her parents did not want her to marry Onesmus immediately after college, so they took her to her Grandma’s place for two years. When she came back, she discovered that Onesmus had already impregnated a girl, and were living together. She was devastated. She blamed her parents for missing a good husband. She was angry for a long time. She tried to forget about Onesmus, but her broken heart never healed; the cracks grew wider, every day.
She got into several relationships, but gave up when she discovered none was better than what she had with Onesmus. She often met Onesmus on her way to the forest, but never expressed her love to him. That is who she was, never interfering with other people’s relationships. She knew Karma was real. When she missed him, she would hide in a nearby bush and watch him from a distance.
When his first wife left, Martha thought Onesmus would be interested in her.
“We had a good thing going,” she would remind Onesmus.
“I cannot marry you Martha, you left without saying good bye and you have a son. That makes everything wrong” Onesmus would push her away. “You slept around with other men. What would people think? What would I tell them? You are beautiful, lovely and hardworking, but I cannot take care of another man’s child, because I can have mine.”
|Gotta change my answering machine…. Now that I’m alone…. |
And I know it makes no sense…. Cause you walked out the door It’s been months and for some reason I just
(Can’t get over us)
And I’m stronger than this (Enough is enough) No more walking around with my head down…. I’m so over being blue crying over you
And I’m so sick of love songs…. so tired of tears
So done with wishing you were still here….
Said I’m so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can’t I turn off the radio?….
I’m so fed up with my thoughts of you and your memory
And how every song reminds me of what used to be Don’t make me think about her smile or having my first child….
I’m letting go
~ So Sick ~
~ Neyo ~
Martha hurt. She cried every time she remembered Onesmus’ words. People make mistakes; Onesmus did not want to forgive her. He wanted to start afresh with a different woman…. Onesmus married Miriam; Martha gave up.
‘His first wife was from the city; his second wife from the city,’ Martha thought. ‘I am just a village girl with an illegitimate child, a son. He would never give me a second thought. Martha knew Miriam was not a good wife. (Priscilla, the village radio, had seen Miriam sneak into the bushes with Reuben, many times.) It was none of her business. She concentrated on bringing up Mupole. Although Onesmus refused to marry Martha, he knew the struggles of a single mother, so when he felt philanthropic, he would buy gifts for Mupole and the other children in the village who had single parents.
Miriam died. Martha did not try her luck anymore. ‘Onesmus would marry from the city,’ she reminded herself, but if Onesmus needed help, she would be there. His rejection did not interfere with Martha’s kindness towards him. She would return the kindness he showed to her son.
Four months later….
A man, like Onesmus, only allows people to help him for so long. Onesmus said goodbye to Martha’s family, and left for home. The light in his heart went off. His wife’s open grave flashed through his mind. He hated his home and wished he did not have to go back. One thing made him glad though. The villagers had stopped talking about him. Something had happened a month earlier.
Priscilla and one of the village wives had a fight. Priscilla wounded the wife’s hand with a knife and ran away. The angry woman, knowing that Priscilla was a fast runner (she was always running from someone} torched Priscilla’s hut.
She knew there was no one else she could call for help.
Onesmus was taking a leisurely walk in the forest, reaching out for a leaf here, another one there, when he heard….
“Oneeeeesmuuuusiii! Oneeeeeesmusiiii! Aaaaaaah! She shouted on top of her voice amidst crying.
Onesmus rushed out of the forest to save the distressed soul only to find it was Priscilla. The fire had caused a lot of damage; he could not save anything. Hands akimbo, he looked empathetically at Priscilla. ‘This woman has a heart after all,’ he thought. “She hurts.” The rest of the villagers just stared. The ones who came earlier with water from the river did not want to waste it on the always-ungrateful Priscilla.
Onesmus put his arm around a wailing Priscilla’s shoulder and led her away to Martha’s compound. Onesmus, Martha and her family knew she was a dangerous person. She was not able to keep secrets. She never stopped talking. Martha and her people wanted privacy too. Priscilla started behaving like Onesmus’ wife. She boiled bath water for him, she served him breakfast, one time she even snatched laundry from Mupole’s wife and did it herself. This made Onesmus very uncomfortable. They decided to build Priscilla another hut very fast. She left unwillingly.
Everybody was whispering about the fight and the fire. Miriam’s death was not very interesting anymore.
|He sowed good seeds…. |
And it brought forth yield…. Ten, hundred fold and filled his field…
Yet no one saw him as he toiled the ground….
And no one praised him…. As he went around….
God in His heaven…. Looked down from above….
Saw all his toil…. Saw it all done in love….
Went out and said to His builders so true….
Hey guys, put another few rooms…. In his Mansion in Heaven, will you?
~ God ~
Onesmus was deep in thought when the donkey arrived outside his hut. He dismounted and looked around; the compound was not familiar. He was about to mount the donkey when he heard, “Baba Furaha! It is here!” A young man stood outside a beautiful hut.
He led the donkey towards the hut. It was a new hut. The walls smelt of fresh mud. The colours were brighter. Onesmus stared in disbelief. The young man carried Onesmus’ luggage into the Hut. He recognized the belongings he had left behind. The house was his all right.
“And you are?” Onesmus asked.
“I am Jacob,” the young man smiled. “Martha’s nephew….” Onesmus sat on his favourite chair.
Priscilla appeared. “I know you rejected my kindness the other day because Martha was around,”
Onesmus could not believe his ears. “What are you doing here?” Onesmus was surprised. “How did you know…?”
“You know this is a small village.” Priscilla said.
“No, no, no, Priscilla,” Onesmus shook his head vigorously. “It does not work like that. You must be slow and gentle.”
“But I have tried to do nice things for you,” Priscilla defended herself.
“No Priscilla, that is not what I mean,” She sulked.
If people’s faces exploded, Jacob’s would. He pursed his mouth, shut his eyes and tried very hard to stifle a laughter.
With tears of laughter flowing down his face, he rushed to fetch firewood, made a fire, and then sat down to peel a bunch of bananas.
“Laugh at me now, Jacob.” Onesmus smiled. “One day your time will come. One day,”
A few minutes later Martha came in, carrying a thermos full of tea. Behind her was Mupole and Furaha. Onesmus was surprised and happy to see Furaha. He hugged her tightly for long.
Priscilla walked away.
“We cannot live without her? Can we?” Everybody laughed.
“Get the cups from the kitchen,” Martha said as she sat next to Jacob and helped him prepare the bananas for supper.
Four months later, things improved greatly. The rest of the children came. Persons, who have failed in parenting, spoil their children. Bad parenting could be the result of absenteeism, or parents trying to prove that they are better than other parents. Onesmus was different. Despite what his children had gone through, he made sure to bring them up with a lot of love and discipline. They rarely disobeyed or misbehaved. They loved and respected Martha. Furaha, who was most affected by what happened since her mother’s death, healed with time.
Onesmus was still afraid of broken hearts. He loved Martha very much, but was afraid to show it.
“Let’s take a walk as we wait for the evening meal,” Mupole said one day.
As supper cooked, Martha stepped out to get more firewood. She looked at the two men and noticed the puzzled look on Onesmus’ face. She walked towards them.
“What is going on here?” Martha enquired.
“I told him,” Mupole said.
“But I told you to wait until he settled down,” Martha was worried.
“He has settled down Mama, I think this is the right time,” Mupole was a little impatient.
“You only know my son by his second name.” Martha said looking at Onesmus. “His first name is Onesmus,” She paused. “My parents sent me away to my grandmother’s place, when I was three months pregnant…. and brought me back when Onesmus was two years old. You were married then. This is your son.”
“And this is the time you are telling me.” The ground spun under Onesmus feet. He was about to drop to the ground when Mupole held him. Martha placed a stool behind him.
“Bring a cup of tea,” Martha shouted towards the hut. Jacob, who had been eavesdropping, was already beside Onesmus with it.
|Take these broken wings and learn to fly again and learn to live so free…..|
When we hear the voices sing, the book of love will open up and let us in….
Take these broken wings….
Baby, I think tonight we can take what was wrong and make it right….
Baby, it’s all I know, that you’re half of the flesh, and blood makes me whole….
I need you so….
~ Broken Wings ~
~ Mr. Mister ~
Onesmus felt dizzy. Martha was his first love. When Martha disappeared, he gave up on her…. then Martha came back with this child and Onesmus thought Martha came back because her marriage had gone sour. He did not want to marry a woman with baggage. He closed his eyes and shook his head. Seconds later, he stood, opened his mouth to say something, but lacked the words. He sat. Mupole placed his hands on his father’s shoulders and looked into his eyes, nodding….
“I should have known,” Baba said, his heart rate rising.
“It does not matter,” Mupole said quickly.
“All the time…. I pushed your mother away.” He bent and covered his face, then looked up. Baba held his son’s face in his hands.
“It does not matter anymore,” Mupole assured him.
After a long silence….
“There is nothing wrong with me…. Now I know there is nothing wrong…. God is faithful,” Baba whispered. “I have eight wonderful children…. who love me.”
“You are a good person,” Mupole reassured him. “You did not deserve what happened to you.”
“Mupole is an architect,” Martha spoke softly,” and does interior decoration and design. He designed this new hut” Tears stung Onesmus’ eyes.
As they continued to live together, Onesmus’ heart grew lighter. The walls around his heart fell. Love replaced hatred. Kindness replaced anger.
Martha brought hope into Onesmus’ life. Hope helped Onesmus take a step forward to recovery. It took a long time to get over the fear he had for love, for another bad relationship. A long time before he admitted he loved Martha. He loved her eventually and every time he looked at her, he smiled. He smiled because he had very good thoughts about her.
‘How many men have missed the opportunity to find true love because they rejected a single mother or a divorcee?’ Onesmus wondered. ‘How many women are lonely because they rejected a man who did not have money or was just a good man?’ Onesmus looked around the compound and smiled again. He was happy.
The last time Onesmus saw Priscilla, she was walking towards Reuben’s house. He shrugged. It was none of his business.
|I woke up in darkness surrounded by silence…. |
I woke to reality losing its grip on me….
You called and You shouted….
Broke through my deafness….
Now I am breathing in and breathing out….
You shattered my darkness….
Washed away my blindness….
~ Alive again ~
~ Matt Maher ~
My Art Teacher: behance.net/KenOmollo
Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a condition arising in the mind that involves a state of low mood. This leads to changes in thoughts, behaviour and emotions, which are unique to different individuals.
It can be short-term or long-term lasting from a few weeks to several months or even years, especially if it has not been diagnosed and treated earlier.
Some medical conditions have symptoms, which are very similar to depression such as thyroid problems, brain tumors and vitamin deficiency. This creates the need for doctors to perform blood tests to avoid giving the wrong diagnosis rather than simply using observation.
Depression can affect anyone, even individuals who appear to live in very desirable conditions. An example is a person who is rich enough to buy anything they want or satisfy all their needs. The same individual may exhibit a depressive state because their wealth is difficult to manage, or comes with many other responsibilities.
Statistics show that women are more likely than men to get depressed. This is likely due to women being more emotional, as well as the physical restraints of their bodies, and society, which places men above women. This may lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in women.
1. Imbalance of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which transmit brain signals.
2. Prescription and recreational drugs as well as medical treatments. These cause or increase depression during intoxication, withdrawal and during chronic use. They include alcohol, sedatives, painkillers, heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens.
3. Some individuals with mental disorders exhibit depression as a symptom. These disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, eating disorders and bipolar disorder.
4. Genetics: Individuals who have had a family member who has had depression are more likely to develop depression than those who have not.
5. Chronic pain: Individuals may experience unbearable pain, such as in the case of those with terminal illnesses, e.g. cancer, injuries in a fire or during recovery after a major surgery. The constant pain and inability of medication to reduce it, may cause individuals to fall into depression.
6. Personality: Individuals with low self-esteem may become depressed due to a low sense of self-worth. Pessimistic individuals are more likely to become depressed due to the belief that nothing will go right. This may lead to hopelessness in their actions ever producing positive results. Those who are highly dependent may also become depressed easily if the person or thing they are depending on is gone. This could happen when a loved one dies or in the case of addicts who are trying to stop their addiction.
6. Life events.
Difficulties in childhood such as parental neglect, physical, mental and sexual abuse, loss of a loved one or unequal parental treatment of siblings can lead to depression in adulthood.
Adolescents are likely to experience a depressed mood following social rejection, peer pressure or bullying.
Changes in life, both expected and unexpected, can lead to depression. Examples include loss of a loved one, childbirth, menopause, financial difficulties, unemployment, stress (from work, family, education, living conditions), medical conditions such as terminal illnesses, natural disasters, social isolation, bullying, abuse, relationships troubles, physical injuries and separation.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
To get a diagnosis of depression, individuals must exhibit symptoms, which have lasted for a minimum of two weeks. There should also be a significant change in behaviour.
The main symptom of depression is anhedonia. This is a term used to refer to loss of interest or loss of the feeling of pleasure in activities that an individual previously enjoyed such as hobbies, sports or going out with friends. The person may withdraw from friends, family and social activities choosing to stay alone at home doing nothing in particular.
Individuals may also exhibit sadness. This could be caused by the death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship. These are difficult experiences to endure and it is normal to feel sadness in such situations. Those going through these losses tend to describe themselves as being “depressed”. However, being sad and being depressed are different things.
The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from the usual activities. Grief and depression can also co-exist, that is, occur at the same time. In these instances, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.
Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and emptiness are also indicators of depression. They can lead to anger, irritability and frustration even over small things, which may cause temper outbursts, followed by uncontrollable crying, due to remorse and guilt following their behaviour. Low self-esteem and self-loathing may arise from feeling helplessness at past failures leading to feelings of worthlessness, guilt and self-blame.
Another symptom of depression is sleep changes, disruptions and troubles. This may be a result of anxiety, which can cause insomnia (lack of sleep). On the other hand, the constant lack of energy or fatigue associated with depressive states may lead to increased sleep (hypersomnia).
Individuals may have thinking, memory and concentration problems arising from depression. This can be a symptom as well as a factor arising from anxiety or inadequate sleep or poor sleep patterns as previously indicated. As a result, individuals suffering from depression are advised to avoid or postpone making important decisions.
Significant increase or decrease in appetite leading to increased or decreased weight respectively can also indicate depression. Increase in weight can occur due to individuals engaging in comfort eating to deal with feeling sad, hopeless or empty. In contrast, lack of interest in food may lead to decreased appetite followed by loss of weight.
Unexplained physical problem may arise due to depression. These include aches such as back pain, headaches and cramps. Individuals have digestive problems, probably because of poor digestion caused by poor eating habits.
Depressed individuals may in some cases entertain thoughts of self-harm and suicide. They may also engage in reckless behaviour and self-harm as they chase the thrill of the moment. This reduces the feelings of emptiness temporarily. Their behaviour may escalate as they seek more and more feeling. The inability to achieve a permanent high leads to an increase in their levels of depression.
Depression may push individuals to suicide, simply to escape the sense of hopelessness and helplessness at their situations, as they feel they have nothing left to live for or want to escape the mental pain they may feel. In some cases of lost loved ones, they may think of or attempt to commit suicide to join those who have died or to avoid living without them.
TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
To deal with depression, stress management techniques are used. A method that focuses on the problem at hand is used. It helps individuals evaluate the problem, know how severe it is and come up with solutions. It also avoids focusing on irrelevant information, which may cause loss of focus on the options for resolving the problem.
Antidepressants may be used in cases of prolonged depression, especially where a medical or psychiatric condition is involved. However, it is not advisable in mild cases of depression as the risks outweigh the benefits.
Psychotherapy or counselling refers to talking to a professional about the problems you may be experiencing in your life. Talk therapy may also involve talking to family and friends who may offer encouragement and monitor your behaviour. Group therapy helps as well as individuals interact with individuals in a similar situation, which helps them realize they are not alone in their problem. It also helps in encouraging one another.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy, aimed at recognizing distorted or negative thought patterns and changing them to positive thinking as well as behaviour associated with positivism. CBT helps in setting realistic goals, and exercising patience in achieving them.
Memory therapy is another form of treatment where individuals are encouraged to think about old and fond memories. This method is especially useful for the elderly who have lived longer and have more experiences in life.
Self-help refers to measures that an individual takes personally to change their circumstances. These include:
-Exercise: Physical activity reduces depression due to release of hormones in the brain.
Yoga is also helpful due to its calming/relaxation techniques.
-Getting enough sleep.
-Eating a healthy diet.
-Avoiding alcohol and drugs.
-Reading self-help books known to contain motivational messages and inspire a positive outlook towards life (optimism)
-Finding comfort in spiritual beliefs.
|The depressed mind often loses perspective and sometimes advocates permanent solutions to intense emotional pain. |
~Jim Hjort (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)~
Article by: Tracy Moraa
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)