Trauma caused by COVID-19: taking it one day at a time
COVID-19 continues to paralyze the world. Uganda has so far experienced two waves of severe COVID-19 outbreaks, which have affected not jus…
In the second chapter of a three-part series, Lindsey Kukunda describes phases on her way to mental health.
I know that some of you did not read the first chapter of this series and while it wearies me to, I shall make a summary of it. I was a sad, depressed child, I met a psychologist who put me on happy pills and within days, I experienced normalcy. Blissful normalcy.
But I am a creative person and like I said, the idiom ‘stark raving mad’ holds merit.
Reader, I was tired of this normalcy. I wasn’t writing anymore. I wasn’t funny anymore. I wasn’t having thoughts playing through my head, dreams and imaginations coursing through my veins. And so I took myself off the medication. I had a vague idea that I was sacrificing something but I didn’t care.
I was missing something inside me and I wanted to fix it.
Before Dracula drinks from his victims, he wraps them in his black cloak. In this case, I was the victim and I wrapped myself in my own cloak as I drank any remaining hope of joy in living out of my soul.
It didn’t take long to be ‘myself’ again. This time when I played the entertaining monkey and told jokes, I now knew why. Before, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But now I knew I was sad and the next ten years became about pushing the sadness away.
I became the Life of the Party.
Reflect, reader, on this line of the song ‘Hotel California’: “She had a lot of pretty pretty boys - that she called ‘friends’."
I collected a host of people who validated me and whom I emotionally depended on to forget my own depression, and I called them friends. For years I did nothing but party, party and party. We swore eternal love forever, as all fair weather friends do.
But something else was going on. I could not focus on a task for too long. My longest job lasted one year and the shortest just eight days. My anger grew by leaps and bounds and I would explode like a nuclear bomb at the slightest annoyance - and sometimes for nothing at all.
I also started to develop panic attacks. For years, I was in and out of hospitals for severe panic attacks until I learned to live with them. It was at this point that I began to abuse anti-anxiety drugs as they also gave me relief - from myself.
Because I was my own undoing. I was to become my own destruction.
There were mood swings. One moment I’d be fine and the next, I was absolutely furious. If I had a shotgun in my hand, I would have shot the offender. People had to walk on glass around me and I was always spoiling for a fight.
In fact, If I were in Ntinda and I heard there was a fight going down in Muyenga, I’d probably have jumped on a boda-boda and heaved to.
I was treated for depression, bi-polar disorder, you name it. I was misdiagnosed for years. Oh, I did not tell you I suffer from a mental illness? No, I’m not going to tell you what it is.
No is a complete answer. Next.
I do not blame the doctors for the misdiagnosis. I was not honest to them about everything I was doing (the anti-anxiety drugs are a joke compared to what was really going on).
I am feeling drained now, Reader. It is not easy to open oneself up like this to the public. But before I put my pen down, I want you to know that I feel it is important to open myself up like this to you, the public.
So you can know this.
That cousin who’s always repeating class? The kid who’s always dropping out of school? That sibling that can’t seem to get their life together? The brother who became an addict? The neighbor who’s always angry? And the person who always makes you laugh….
We’re missing something. We’re missing self-esteem, we’re missing love, we’re missing friends and we’re missing ourselves.
Many of them-many of us - are sick. Sometimes we learn to live with our sickness, not even knowing we are sick. The ones who can’t hold on any longer commit suicide. The lucky few of us, we stumble on a cure, as I did.
But life is not a straight road as I approach the final chapter of my series. The tone of this story shall change as I take you through an unexpected road. The road of romance.
Like any young foolish girl, I fell in love with the wrong man. It was a good love, a passionate love, an unnatural love. And yet it is the kind of love many women - if not all - pick at least once in our lives.
The best way to explain what my next chapter became is to quote Mr. Brockklehurst:
“I had not, it seems, the originality to chalk out a new road to shame and destruction, but trode the old track with stupid exactness not to deviate an inch from the beaten centre”.
Mr. Brocklehurst, Jane Eyre.
I bid you adieu now, Friend. I hope I shall see you in the final chapter.