Kagiso Matebesi loves God. She loves Books. She loves storytelling, poetry and words. She loves travel, food and she has a flair for style.Her passion is women; she is is a feminist and gender activist. She believes in helping others to find their full potential and to live their best lives.She fellowships at Pentecostal Holiness Church, Gaborone. Enjoy!
We use the word depressed loosely daily.
“Please do not depress me.”
“I failed my test, I am so depressed!”
“What a depressing situation you are in.”
I never thought I would be one to be diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, mostly because I always felt I had control.
I had always had heightened anxiety when pressed against tough situations however never gravely that it called for intervention. Mental illness is a real disease just like any other disease, it attacks the mind and psyche and with the right medical attention it is treatable.
The prelude to the darkness that I lived thorough was a result of losing my very first job, untimely passing of my uncle and a hasty medical scare all in a space of weeks. I waved through it all thinking I got everything under control until one morning I woke up with a start, heart beating rapidly feeling like I am about to die. Unbeknown to me I was having the first of many panic attacks to follow. I recollect calling my mother who was at work frantic and I can only imagine how she was feeling on the other end hearing her child hysterically scared that she is about to die. This was the start of the dark abyss, chaotic mess, the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life, the Kagiso I know was lost and a different person was born. I felt trapped. I didn’t know who this person was, I was so desperate to reconcile with myself again. The “me” I am most familiar with.
My family was faced with an uphill challenge; they had never seen me like this. No one had warned them that this would happen, they were in complete dumbfound. In spite of this they were especially at my side supporting me however they could. It wasn’t until I could not deal, literally couldn’t cope that I enlisted the help of a clinical psychologist.
This was when I got my diagnosis and my mother and father had to really learn that I was sick, that this was a sickness like any other; a mental illness.
The first visit saw me have a bit hope, it was the first time since I lost myself that I started to believe I had found the help I needed. We established I was not suicidal with my psychologist and from then the sessions began. Two to three weeks into the sessions I still could not deal. I recall my psychologist calling to check on me, I was at the salon on a stool with the hairdresser over my head. I said two words and broke down; she immediately asked my location and told me we would talk once I was done doing my hair.
After this episode my GP had to put me on medication for my anxiety and depression coupled with sessions with my psychologist. In all this my family was my rock especially mom and dad, they were days where mom had to pick me from home as I was having a meltdown and I spend the whole day with her at work. It was a nightmare, one I never thought I would wake up from yet prayed I would. Waking up every day feeling like it was my last, extremely anxious unable to sit always jittery, pacey, unstable and in fear. Lost in a deep depressed state with bouts of meltdowns, I didn’t know this person nor did I want to be them. I felt trapped.
I wasn’t engaging God at this time; I was too deep into my sickness to even think of praying for myself.
A lot of people prayed for me which to this day I am still thankful for. It wasn’t until a friend invited me to their church service that I started to remember God whom I had always seen as my most high. In my own solitude I started to pray, I prayed without ceasing, I prayed with expectation. I was also reading a book called the secret which a friend gifted me in the midst of my “rock-bottom” believing it would assist. In deed it tremendously supported my road to recovery, together with prayer and medical assistance I slowly started to recognise myself. I no longer felt like dying, yes I occasionally had panic attacks and I was still depressed and very anxious however something was happening. Something really good. After a little over a year of medication my doctor took me off my medication with the recommendation of my psychologist. It felt good to be me.
Do I worry about relapse? I think about it sometimes however I am one with my faith and it tells me not to fear, without fear I feel free and with that I am not worried. I know it is well.
What I know for sure is that God loves me, that when I was at my worst in fear and total hopelessness He restored me.
I know for sure that fear is the absence of faith and that with fear there is no freedom. I know for sure that mental illness is a painful disease and that the mind can easily break and that the tools to recovery are available. Help is around us we only need ask.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”- Romans 8:28
With love, KNM.