Hey guys, top of the morning to you.
So I am about to share a top secret with you Lol. Well, I didn’t have to but I have to.
You see, as a Writer, your art must reflect your society and it must talk about it. You as a Nigerian Writer have to reflect Nigeria as you know it and see it and, as it influences your Art.
This is no shade to Nigerian Writers who write non Nigerian Characters and heavily Westernize their characters, but who are you writing for? How does your writing have any effect whatsoever on your Readers? What inspires you to write about people, stories and situations nobody around here can relate to? Are you in contact with your reality or you’re grasping a fantasy?
Nina Simone and Fela Kuti (two people I respect their Art like CRAZY) said it many times during their lifetime how an Artist cannot but reflect their times and their society.
It is why my writing – even though I favor romance – always have serious underlying themes.
Like in Squadi, the social class theme (is love, both romantic and platonic easy when social class is involved), rich people problems (is the situation of an overindulged kid wanting more menacing or simply adorable?) and the effect of poverty on the lower class; how far is too far when money is concerned?
Or in With Love From The Grave, commitment, marriage, the after life and the concept of ‘The One’; can you have one ‘The One’ or you’re allowed to move on when another ‘The One’ comes along.
But these are just themes in my books. One major topic I have been running away from forever is depression.
For years, I have suffered from this. And while the average Nigerian downplays this extremely sensitive issue, most of us go through it. We just refuse to give a name to it.
In our usual manner, we delude ourselves into believing we don’t have a problem and so, we refuse to think about it. As if ignoring it deletes it without a trace.
Even the Bible recognizes it, and that is why it surprises me that the average Nigerian, who is overly religious still pushes it aside.
Depression is dark and heavy and yes, it sometimes brings along with it, its cousin Suicide.
Statistics have shown how high suicide rates are in Nigeria, yet we tell people to shut up.
A couple of months ago, a Twitter user tweeted this and when I called her out she got rude.
For all I know, she could be 12 months old so I wasn’t going to waste time on her and her juvenile behavior but her reaction mirrors how naive we are in this Country.
How blind we are to the most important issues and how we forget that depression stems from mental illness or causes mental illness.
And how quick we are to shut someone when they discuss depression.
Oh, don’t talk about it in public.
No one needs to know!
Keep it to yourself.
You’re a man, act like one!
Bipolar, Suicide, and other mental illnesses are always related to depression and I say, it’s about time we start talking about it.
I would like to talk about my battle with depression and how it really began and kept coming and going all the years but it’s a lot. I will share at some point in future. However, over time, I have been able to find solace in God (Christianity rocks) and found how to overcome it. My mentor, Chris Ihidero helps me too. He never gets tired of the calls.
But for everyone who think something is wrong with them, or someone who knows someone who is battling depression, this one is for you.
I wrote this piece for the Access Bank Wink challenge back in March. I couldn’t confirm my account and I refuse to discuss the unprofessional way they went about it. but that’s not why we’re here Lol.
So instead of keeping this to myself, I took a page out of Deoye Falade’s book (who recently shared an inspiring piece on his Instagram page. Check it out HERE) and decided to create awareness for people.
You can be fine and brilliant and have the world at your feet. Depression has absolutely nothing to do with all that. It doesn’t respect that. It will come regardless. I have heard people ignorantly say it’s money (alone) that causes it. Nope. It’s not.
Please read, stay strong, be prepared to kick this demon in the ass, talk to people who love you and NEVER forget God gets it. I talk loudly to HIM when I am alone and it works! You should try it too.
Note: This piece was written at a very dark period of my life.
Letter To The White Man’s Disease
Dear White Man’s Disease,
They say you don’t exist.
They say you don’t exist, that you’re the white man’s disease, but you persist. Persist, in my mind, heavier and stronger than anything I can resist. Pushing through loudly like the sound from an Afropop music but sifting into my being gently like the melody of an R&B single.
Single, it does not describe the personality you bring along because singlehandedly you split me into a double. Double, that extra dark unrecognizable bitch you bring with you that overtakes me and leaves me with a crazy feeling.
Before she comes, I am happy or at least, slightly happy. But with the unrelenting force with which she subdues and takes over me, I can only describe her with one word; harpy.
In the past I have waged war and I have lost. I have screamed and my voice has been drowned in the incredulous stares and disbelief that was shrouded on people’s faces.
“Depression is not a Nigerian thing abeg” they would say.
And sometimes when they felt like throwing in a little humor, they would say with a grinning face, “this one thinks she is a white girl o”.
So I freed, like an oppressed generation, I became docile. Whenever you called, my resolve thawed. You, became the Hitler to my Nazi Germany. The Abacha to my June 12, 1993. The Mugabe to my Zimbabwe. You, became the resident Dictator of my emotions.
So when my Ex left me with a broken heart and a beautiful ring, I was at your mercy. Whenever things went south, you happily drew North.
North, the height I am now willing to reach without you. You, yes you who have held me caged without my consent.
They say you don’t exist but you persist. Persist you may but I have decided to resist.
Resist, the beginning of my battle against the white man’s disease.
A battle I hope to win.
A formerly opressed victim.