According to Medindia.com a website for health matters “Depression is a serious illness
that involves both physical and mental states. It affects a person with feelings of extreme
sadness that can last for weeks or months together. It disrupts the normal life of a person, with
an overall change in attitude and behavior both internally and externally”
Been sick is a life altering experience that can either be considered negatively or
positively. Overcoming my personal struggles has been positive. It made me rediscover the
worth of life, taught me the essence of values and above all the limitations of my personal
strength and my knowledge.
I was diagnosed with depression in March of 2008. The diagnoses came to me as a
surprise because I never believed there is a disease called depression, so to be told I have what
I don’t believe exits was a big shocker to my beliefe system, and subsequently my existence. I
had just graduated from a masters degree program; got a job at my Alma mater doing exactly
what I trained for, and was in my third year living the American dream. Nevertheless; all I could
think of was what I had not accomplished, considering were I was in comparison to where I
should be in my life’s strategic plan. This made me moody, affected my sleep, the quality of my
work, lead me to a trip to a physiologist on the recommendation of my family doctor and
eventually the reevaluate of my life’s strategic plan.
The doctor thought I was in denial of the diagnosis of depression, but I would think I was
more in grief over the loss of my fundamental beliefs. My not believing that depression does not
exist might surprise you; but it might interest you to know, in my country, Nigeria; depression is
not a word commonly accepted. My people, believe no situation or condition can make you
despair to the point of being sick, in fact Nigeria were voted the “happiest” country in the world
by the University of Michigan's World Values Surveys (http://www.thehappinessshow.com/HappiestCountries.htm
For me the struggle was more between accepting my doctor diagnosis and taking the required treatment,
or staying conforming to my belief system and not getting better to continuously face life in the American
Dream circle. My dilemma was not helped by my immediate family, who happen to be my
bedrock. My mum was of the opinion that the doctor just wanted to sell his medication and to
justify the medical fees I would pay him. Likewise, my dad said to me “…child; we don’t need to
be a house to be hunted. Our feelings, knowledge and perceptions are enough to hurt us. So go
find and face what hunting you, neither the doctor nor his medication can make you feel better”.
These words set me on the quest to discover myself worth and liberation from being Pensioner
of my own grief.
My journey of self worth and discovery, lead me to the conclusion that I will understand
my own worth when I accept myself exactly as I am. To attain this, I committed to following and
discovering this step: self- esteem means I am who I say I am; Self value means I know who I
am! Until I discovered this I was not aware of how my knowledge of my own value affects my
self esteem or how my self esteem affects my self-worth. I then started making sure what I
know about myself is reflected in what I say about myself, because what I say about myself
influences what I believe about myself. I then became devoted to knowing, saying and believing
in the very best of myself.
After I learned and explored my-self worth which in turn translated to my perspective of
life’s worth, I commenced exploring what the essence of my values are. My values were
organized more along the lines of personal development because I always find it hard to
understand myself. This led me to find out that I had been impersonating an understanding of
self. I spent time wondering why I was further away than I should be in my ideal strategic plan,
this was the cause of my main frustration. Until I realized it was up to me to make the best of
where was by learning all there is to learn about where I currently am. I than gained
understating; that there are always powerful, insightful, sometimes shocking things I needed to
know about myself. The things I need to know about myself were right where I was in my
strategic plan and not where I thought I should be. My values became focused on learning
about my missed lesson, ignored blessing and the denied truth about where my life.
Subsequently armed this information, I committed to learning all I needed to learn about where I
was, and what I needed to do to get to the next level. This gave me a refocused set of values
that looked outside of myself as just an individual, but to myself as part of a larger society.
I have always viewed myself as a learned person, because I always sort for ways to
edify myself and transfer the knowledge I gained to others. This has became a major obsession
that lead me to crossbreed information. I would pick information from different schools of
thoughts and try to fuse them together to create an independent opinion, which most times gets
on the nerves of my superiors; because it creates the assumption that I know it all and leaving
no room for growth for me. This major obsession caused me a PhD admission into Harvard
University, an elite university which was top and the height of my strategic plan. My proposal
was turned down because they it was all-embracing, the committee was of the opinion that I
need to be focus on one issues and understand the concept and how it would impinge on
behavior. This encounter, made me realize that certain conditions in my life such as the
limitations of my personal strength and my knowledge, are like shoes; at some point they don’t
fit right anymore.
The outcome of my encounter with depression was very positive because it gave me an
opportunity to reevaluate my life, teaching me the significance of communal values and above
all the limitations of my personal philosophy. An unknown source said “In youth we learn, in age
we understand”. This quote enumerates what I have learned from my struggle with depression.
The question whether or not I believe that depression exist, is still left unanswered because like
my father said I was been hunted by my personally created demons, so if that is what
depression is than it does exist.