Some people refer to you fondly, others as victims of your wrath, others as the one who shaped them, and others who know that you are the law enforcer. Asiyefunzwa na mamaye, hufunzwa na ulimwengu. Ulimwengu is the society. As you age gracefully, and hopefully become wiser, society doesn’t teach harsh lessons at all times. Sometimes the lessons are how to love more, live a little, care less, smile a bit more, indulge your inner self. I’m back to “Fat not pregnant”, and before it would drive me insane that people would think that I had a relapse/downtime because I have put on some weight.
Truth be told, my weight gain is because of a certain brand of ice-cream that I must religiously have on weekends, and cake from work that I eat every day.
Society: Are you sad about the weight gain?
Society: Do you just like food?
Society: Are you bothered by the weight?
Me: Hell yes.
Society: Because people are worried about you?
Me: No, they’re looking for a break out area story, and idle chit-chat- mama mboga stories. I don’t indulge those. Will you leave me alone?
Weight Gain, Fat Shaming, ECT and Everything In-between.
I am losing the weight in a couple of weeks, my mind is set on that. But not because the dark side of society is fat shaming me, but the happy part of society has taught me that living healthy is a good thing. Sugar is overrated unless it’s a cold, peach juice box. And that too has limits.
It’s been about 3 months thereabouts post ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy). Sometimes I even wonder if it worked. Then I remind myself that I am thinking of it as a cure. ECT is no cure. ECT is part of treatment. Even with all the memories I lost, and sometimes continue to lose, I still believe ECT was the way to go for me.
I have downtimes, sometimes major ones, and I know what to do when it happens. When it gets to the point where I am not leaving my room, or not willing to interact with humans other than Pitto, I give myself a bit of time and reach out to mamangu. It feels good to know that I have a mother 2 gates away, who literally drops it all to make me a meal, fruits, and gives me comfort. She’s a bit harsh, but the love…. It snaps me out of the downtime. Before, I would continue to sit in my room until I know every new speck of dust, every new scratch mark made by the dogs on my door begging to be let in. Now, the door beckons. When I face a downtime, the door beckons, and out I go!!!! In my world where depression is a daily struggle, that is a win.
Pitto is like therapy on her own. The footsteps and the squeals when she comes from school to find me looking prim and proper, and even at the gate waiting for her, or better still, from work as she waits for me. You look pretty mama, I had missed your makeup. You smiled more today mama, and you carried me up the stairs. You should go to work more.” My all-time favourite remains our new sleep routine:
- Step 1: Stretch
- Step 2: Dance class. Find a video on YouTube, and mimic all the moves. The more the reason the cake and ice cream have to go. She’s quick to point out I am not as flexible as I was
- Step 3: Sammage (read massage) with tickles. This is a whole different process, I cannot explain it, probably a demo
- Step 4: Group prayer
- Step 5: Individual prayers
- Step 6: Cuddles
- Step 7: Sleep
Why would I want to trade anything for this? Before I would never work towards this process, I would proceed to lights out. But my Pitto, her compliments are like a treat. Her smiles my pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.
I have a special friend, my Bunkie from high school. This girl gets me. Another good product from society, right? To laugh, to cry, to shut down, to reboot, to pause. I just need to type or pick up the phone. To smile, be silly, tell her things I wouldn’t tell another soul, she gets me. Wamz really gets me. We get from serious to silly in under a minute, sad to happy even faster. She lets me be me, and she knows that’s the best person I can be. Anne, another friend, a product of society has opened up a platform like Afya Watch to share my experiences. Society is neat, right?
ECT has allowed and aligned me to appreciate more, whine less. Speak up more, murmur less or not at all. Don’t complain about something not working, what’s my alternative? I do not want to leave my room. Why not open the curtains, let some natural light in, switch off the TV, listen to music, and take the coldest shower possible? Everything has a solution, or something close. Live a little.
That song “I Look to You” written by R. Kelly for Whitney Houston, that song reminds me that it’s actually OK not to have solutions, it’s OK not to have strength left. But look for something or find someone you can share with, someone or something that will help you rebuild your walls when they’re crumbling down on you.
Is defeat calling? Look to something that you know will give you strength. The darkness calls, find that light that helps you find your path. And society has taught me that those things do exist. And I have found mine. I knit and crochet, I write, I walk with my daughter and my dogs, I chat with Wamz, and I listen to music. Those are my lookups. I got back to cooking, and that is just an overwhelming sense of bliss.
When defeat is calling, ECT has helped to identify the signs that the feeling of defeat, doubt, negativity and sorrow are around the corner, and I should be aware of the same. And I run to my lookups. I always have my journal somewhere where I am. A set of embossed paper, and colourful pens and stickers. I am artsy, so I make things. A random flower out of the paper, a nice certificate to award someone who’s put a smile on my face.
The best thing that ECT has done for me is, it has helped me look at society differently. Society has not defined normal for me. I am the one who went ahead and declared that this is what society expects of me, and I get frustrated when I don’t meet society’s expectations. I set the rules, but blame society for my shortcomings.
I want to be the ideal employee and set down my goals. But they’re not smart, and when I don’t meet them, I am quick to look at an element of society that I can blame for this. I have the will and the power to do so, so why not? So I actually chin up and review what isn’t working for me. And reviewing is such a rewarding experience. You catch yourself before you fall.
I didn’t even know where I was going with this, but as I get sleepier, I know society is not bad after all. It allows me to set my own rules, and live by them. Review my rules, and set attainable ones. Enjoy my own company. Learn from my mistakes, pat myself on the back. Society has been good to me post ECT. I have improved relationships that are extremely important to me, and three in particular really stand out. It has made my Bunkie my mate again, that makes me smile.
My supreme being and I chat more often, and I have introduced Kenzie to Him, and taught her how to pray, to talk to Him. My third relationship is with a person who lit my life up back then, and still does. We talk about so much nothing, I had missed that. That is a sense of bliss. ECT and society have allowed me to reach out to others when I talk openly about depression and mood disorders.
I really disliked you society. But I can now say one thing with confidence. You are not so bad after all. You’ve helped me come to the realization that Bon Jovi was right ”It’s my life” and Frank Sinatra cupped it well ”I did it my way”. So watch me craft my own path and live it my way.