“The uncertainty of life is something that can’t be controlled. One minute you are surrounded by lemons, the next you are in the middle of a desert. It was a cruel reminder of the fact that you cant control the waves of life-but you would be better shielded from it in a boat. I don’t have a boat’
Those were the first words I wrote this year. They were inspired by our puppy rocky, whom without any signs or warnings started bleeding from his right eye an hour before the start of the new year. As we rushed him to the vet, I could not help but think it was a sign that 2018 was going to be terrible. My worries were dispelled when he returned home two days later. His movements were not as coordinated as before-he could only see through his left eye but he was happy and healthy. I saw his recovery as a sign that 2018 was going to be awesome.
It was not.
I had only two goals this year- shed the remaining pounds and graduate with a second class upper. My cgpa was 3.47 and i had spent the last two years exercising and improving my diet. I thought there was no way my weight loss progress could be stopped. I was finally going to be “healthy”. My weight loss did not only come to a screeching halt, it ran-not walked- back to the starting line. Not only have I gained back the weight it took three years to lose, I have added an extra five kg with a sprinkle of depression.
That was another lovely surprise this year had for me. I can no longer deny that I am suffering from depression. I have always ignored it, telling myself I was naturally sadder and devoid of hope than most people. But this year was different. I was tired physically and mentally. It did not help that my efforts in weightless, school and other aspects of my life did not yield anything. I could not find any good news in my friends or family’s life to latch unto-My mum was in debt, My elder sister was stuck with an emotionally abusive boss, my younger sister was looking for admission and my friends were having a hard time.
I never had strength for anything. I managed to exercise and attend lectures everyday but that was all I could manage to do without bursting into tears. The voice in my head reminded me daily of everything that was wrong. Showed me how I was at fault. Told me to kill myself. I knew logically that it was not my fault that my sister boss was a prick or that my friends housemate was a terrible person or that business was hard for my mother but I could not help but believe the voice.
It strengthened as the months passed. I contemplated suicide many times and I almost killed myself twice. I wish I could say I am alive because I found a reason to keep living but the truth is I was afraid of the pain. And of rats eating me. August met me almost devoid of hope. I stopped exercising and I could barely drag myself school. I still don’t know how I was in control of my emotions in public or even be a source of emotional strength to the people around me but I was. My spark had not completely gone out and I was determined not to lose the little hope I had left.
But life, in the form of Unilorin’s graduation list happened. I graduated with a second class lower.
I spent the following weeks crying. Eating. Hating myself. Hating God. Wishing I was dead. I did not argue when the voice told me I was a failure and I tried one more time to kill myself. I was not allowed to grieve; People kept telling me to be grateful, kept telling me that others graduated with worse grades, kept reassuring me that my grade did not determine what I would become in the future. But all they did was make me hate God more. Why should I be grateful for what I KNOW I do not deserve. Why should I be reassured when I spent the last four years of my life obtaining a degree and graduating class that would be of no use to me. Why must my life be an inspiration for others. Why cant I just have one thing work out for me.
My faith in not just God, but also in myself was shaken this year.
For the first time in my life, I am without purpose and direction-Another 2018 gift. Stories of people making it later in life does not reassure me-They only do the opposite, reminding me of the fact that I might spend my whole life constantly searching for something I might never find.
I honestly can’t say this year was not that bad. I am sure there were moments I was not battling with my mind, Moments I spent laughing with my friends like a normal 21 year old girl, Moments I did not feel pressured but I can’t remember them. They are buried underneath the new weight and my lack of hope.
I can say that my relationship with God has grown deeper. I can tell him not to speak to me without fearing for my soul and I am learning to focus more on his end goal than on my immediate results. I know I can handle anything life decides to throw at me; If I can write and pass a test 30 minutes after contemplating killing myself with Listerine as I choked on tears in my bathroom, what can’t I handle. (God this is not a dare oh). I am no longer afraid of failing at new things. Not only did I undo 3 years of my weight loss progress in four months, I did not attain the thing I wanted and spent most of my time pursuing-a first class or second class upper. No future failure-either in time spent, pain felt or effort placed-can compare.
2019 is already looking bleak. I am spending my service year in a village that has no running water and network, teaching in a school that has a “flood break’ in their academic calendar. My mum is still in debt. My sister is jobless. My friends and i have no money or career prospects. I am single for the third straight year. I am still depressed. The only thing I am sure of is the fact that I am staying away from bleeding puppies this new year. I need all the luck I can get.