The beast called depression ...

BY: Anita Yawson & Abena Kwakwa

What is this creature, if not hell-sent? It has infiltrated my defenses. They say it is the anxiety and depression; they say I am bipolar or that it is the obsessive compulsive disorder. I call it a beast. I begin to doubt myself and I am afraid but the adrenaline that frequently accompanies fear is absent. I feel heavy, my eyes are dull, but I must persevere. I must push on. I will not allow the beast to take over me.

I feel drained but I resolve to regain control of my life. I begin to smile often. I forgot what it was like to smile like this. I tell myself that the beast is gone, but I know the truth --it is coiled up somewhere within me, waiting for a chance, a trigger, that would disarm me long enough for it to creep back in. This thought makes me anxious and I feel my stomach churn. From my gut, I retract. My head swims as I imagine many horrible things. I feel the fear grip my heart and block my throat. I must remind myself to be calm, to breathe, to retain control and then, I am fine again. I must remember not to claim the beast.

Before I can put my defences back up, the cycle repeats itself --I am still learning how to defy the beast. The body is willing, but the mind struggles to set itself free. I cannot lose the freedom I just acquired, so I fight the beast, I try to rationalize the thoughts that plague my mind. This approach proves unsuccessful, so I resort to force. I crush the thoughts and push them down to the corner of my mind. I ruminate on who I used to be. But I refuse to fall back into the creature’s smothering embrace, I must be defiant, I refuse to claim the beast.

It is through this turmoil that I realize the truth about the road to wellness--it is not as straight as I once thought it to be. And sometimes, taking one step forward means taking two steps back. Repeating an unpleasant cycle is tiring, even the anticipation of a cycle repeating itself is enough to discourage you from fighting on, but we have the capability to persevere. This is not to say that I have it all figured out, but one thing is certain...