By Nomaliqhwa/ @nomalili
I’m here again in the space. A space I don’t want to be in and yet has somewhat become me. I’m depressed. Not the ‘I’m copping and I’m fine and I will be okay’ kind of depressed but more the ‘I hardly eat or sleep or talk and I swear at my parents and I’m convinced no one loves me’ kind of depressed.
I miss the clinic.
I was walking down the road today and I thought about how safe and loved and cared for I felt in there at the clinic. The nurses, well some of them, were alright regardless of the fact that it was their job to care. I know it was. I know that’s what they get paid to do, care. I’m just happy that at some point someone was doing that. Wake up and checking, ‘are you alright?’ Take my meds after breakfast, ‘how are you feeling?’ Change into my pyjamas, ‘how did you cope today?’ I miss that. I miss how we would be so safe around one another. Out here in the real world everything is so calculated and nothing and no one feels authentic. People withhold information, people hold grudges, and people say the worst things about you and then smile back at you. No one takes into consideration the fragility of your state.
I almost burst into tears on campus the other day. Not that me crying isn’t normal or anything. I cry myself to sleep every day because sometimes, almost all the time it just feels like it’s too much and I can’t really deal the way that maybe I used to. Maybe I’ve said all of this before.
But I cry every day. Sometimes I wail and rock myself steady until I am tired and I close my eyes and hope that I don’t dream anything. Because I hate the contrast between the cloud like feel that my dreams supply me and the cold loneliness in the morning. I try move as gently and un-disturbingly as I possibly can but somehow I feel like my steps are a violent disruption. And I’m becoming paranoid. I feel like everyone has something to say about me and they wait until I am out of the room, or maybe they are saying right in front of me and I just keep missing the exchanged glances, nudges and codes that they are exchanging with each other as they look at me in disgust. I am convinced that they do all of that to see how I will react, how much of a fool I will make myself so they can add it onto the ‘Noma is crazy’ pile.
I miss the clinic.
I miss how healthy and structured my day was. Everyday. How stupid things like how I dressed didn’t matter. It’s what’s on the inside that matters. Even if what was on the inside was dark, cold and hollow. In there they made sure that I built structure inside me so that my outsides reflected my insides. On the second last day I dressed up in my fanciest clothes and went out for scones and hot chocolate. That was the first and last time I practiced my right to freedom of movement and how scared I was of out here. The real world. When I was in there I lost friends. In 21 days I lost friends and quite honestly family who did not want to understand how I got there. And I didn’t have the energy to explain. And everyone even tells me now that I don’t have to explain myself but I so desperately want to because I want to make sense to people when they see me. I really do, but I don’t think I will ever be afforded that.
Abdul was telling me a whole bunch of stuff. We were talking fears really and I was saying something or the other that seemed somewhat intelligible but I was realizing in my head that in there I had made real friends. Because in there we saw the absolute worst of each other and grew together. I am upset with myself for never really recording in my journal what actually brought me there. My journal goes “November 5th” and I wrote about how optimistic I was since I had finally gotten some form of control over the happenings and structure of my life and then it jumps to March 24th with the line “I have checked into mental clinic”. And sure from there I try to talk about everything that brought me there but I do wish I had put it down somewhere what I was feeling.
I try to remember all the time what was happening and how I was feeling inside and I get blank stares from my inner soul. Nothing. I can’t say that I was afraid or sad or happy or relieved. I just remember that I felt nothing. That everything was fast, sore and lonely and I wasn’t trying to fight it off anymore. I just let it all eat away at me and the little I had I put down for others to low and behold how not to be.
And I didn’t feel ashamed or elated when I shared truths like “I was raped” or “I’m going to a mental clinic” to a room filled with people that I did not know. My mother has this habit of wanting me to feel bad about sharing. I don’t know if it’s intentional but I hate it. She always says something like “They will take your story and twist it and make fun of you”. I’ve developed a nervous tick above my eye lid when I am in a space that I fear I might have to share anything from within me. Even if it’s just an answer to a question. I unnaturally blink and twitch and my chest starts to feel tight because I think that that’s what everyone is saying about me.
That I am mad.
The last thing I remember feeling before I had given up was the amount of anger I hoarded in the coming weeks to my break down. I was so angry at everyone. There was this guy and he was my friend. I actually really thought we were friends and he told the most horrible rumour about me and the first time I experienced real trauma. Something I had shared with him in what I thought was laying the foundation of a budding friendship.
Something between the two of us. A glimpse into the moments I felt most vulnerable.
Three men jumped me and robbed me and he managed to ridicule the story and make it out like I was having sex outside a club and got mugged. I felt so violated. By all of it. It was one of those things I had finally managed to put away. I wasn’t having nightmares about it anymore. I was so sure these men would work out where I lived, using my stolen phone. They had the keys to my home. I didn’t sleep for about a week after it happened. I was on edge. I was frightened. That’s why I don’t trust people. They take your pain and turn it into banter for the gents. A funny story. I was so mad and I could do nothing. Nothing. Nothing
I’ve been spending my time alone as much as I can. I don’t have the head space I need right now. Alone time. I miss the alone time where I could put sleeping dogs to lie but when you are going and going you can’t have that.
And I’m not growing. Like there is a low level of maturing going on because everything I think can’t be processed into this and that. So something just affects me again and again and sometimes I am caught off guard because I don’t quite know how to respond. Do I just observe the feeling? Do I suppress it? Do I share? I think of sharing but I am convinced no one has the patience for me. My therapist do but I am seeing both of them less frequently because everything seems redundant.
I cry at adverts on the TV with stories of people overcoming adversity and I didn’t get why.I suppose I just wish my story was as neat as theirs. Bad to good. Nicola says that I will have to keep fighting hard but I will be okay. But she’s paid to say that. I know what I say sometimes frightens her. The violent thoughts that cross my mind but she’s done the best she can and I can’t hold anything against her. She tries. I miss my Gogo to be honest. She gets it. All of it. One day she looked at me as we sat on the veranda on the chairs that have fascinated me since forever and told me “Muzukuru, life is hard”. And I regret that I wasn’t happy Noma with them. I was trying new medication for the first time whilst staying with my grandparents and I kept dreaming that I was choking to death and that I was trying to scream but I couldn’t because my throat would be full of vomit and my whole body was pinned to the bed and couldn’t move at all. It was scary. After that the hyper mania kicked in and I didn’t sleep for four days. Four days straight I didn’t sleep. I was energetic and bubbly and wholesome even though I was tired. But you can’t scare people with news like that. I miss them though, my grandparents. Because with them at least there is a whole lifetime lived and through them wisdom is gained. My grandmother is so wise. So much I learnt from her. I learnt best of all that she really understood me.
This me right here.
Of course people who are responsible for the fuck up that is you don’t take an ounce of responsibility for driving you to the mad house. That in itself is maddening. I’m tired of all of it. Crying is even exhausting after a while. To be frank, I think my tear ducts are dry.. Yesterday, though I sobbed very few tears trickled down my cheek. And yet my chest was just as heavy, my head spinning just as much and the sharp pain lies there, where it always is when I cry. And I wailed and wailed and curled up and held myself the way I needed to when I cry but no tears come. I miss the clinic. No one lets you cry yourself to sleep at the clinic. At the clinic they ask, “are you okay?”.
For more from the series click here.
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