By Oyinlola Pelumi Adewale
“I was depressed for over two years” FadekemiOlatunbosun, a fashion designer and also a model in her early 20s narrated as she shared her story with Saturday Sun.
With tears in her eyes and a shaky voice, she said: “In 2019, I got pregnant with my first child. I was in school when it happened, and judging from the kind of family I come from, I could not tell my parents I was pregnant. I was just in 200 level and I was just becoming legal.”
Fadekemi, who didn’t want her photograph published, described the horrible feeling she passed through in her toxic relationship after losing two pregnancies.
“I had a boyfriend at that time and I told him I was pregnant but that I couldn’t keep it. Unfortunately for me, however, he disagreed with me because he wanted the child and I didn’t. Eventually, I had an abortion that led to the traumatizing and drastic turn of events in my relationship. It was at this period that the toxicity in my relationship started but I did not want to opt out of it because of the shame of having to move to another person and explaining to the person that I once had an abortion for. So I was forced to stick with him. It was more downs than ups.
“Early this year, I got pregnant again by this same guy and one thing led to the other and I ended up having another abortion. Unknowingly to me, the relationship had already ended but we were still together because we made a promise to never break up with each other. But I realised there was no relationship anymore because everything was just wrong with the relationship. This was what caused my depression. And because I was still very young, I couldn’t share it with anybody so I was forced to live with that guilt since 2019. Luckily for me, God sent a guardian angel to me, a male who had also been in a similar position and we were able to bond and help each other get over our dark period. These memories still haunt me sometimes but because I was able to speak out, it became really easy to get past it.
While Fadekemi battled depression with a toxic relationship and losing two pregnancies in the process, the story was very different in the case of Edikan Ororo, a youth corps member and also a teacher. Also in her early 20s, she also pleaded that her photograph should not be published.
She described her depression as being caused by friendship. Her words: “I was really depressed while I was in school and it all started when a beautiful duo of me and my friend became a trio with one other person added to it. In my 300 level, I had this person that became our friend and the three of us went everywhere together – from school to the canteen to the hostel or any event. Initially, the three of us stayed in different rooms so we were always going to each other’s rooms to hang out. To cut the long story short, in my 400 level, one of the girls left the group and the other one became my roommate. But the one who eventually became my roommate was my worst nightmare and that was the person who was the last person to be added to the group. She made other friends in the room and tossed me aside, making me feel irrelevant. And the only time she actually came to me for anything was when she needed me to wake her up or if she wanted to go to class with me. I felt used. Going home on holidays, I discussed this with my sister who became very furious with the whole scenario. So she helped me forget about my friend in school. I was miserable thinking of the fact that I was being used by my only friend and I had no one to actually care enough about me. But I went up to her and told her a piece of my mind. She felt really sorry and apologised, but the deed was already done. We graduated from the university and the good thing is she tried to make up for what she did and now we are best of friends and I am happy we made peace.”
In the case of Oreoluwa Ajayi, an accountant with an old generation bank, who is in her late 20s, she said: “My parents were the cause of my depression. My parents were never there at all, because they were the kind of people that valued work and money over family. Everything was provided for us in the house. My siblings and I never lacked anything, except love from our parents. But mine was the worst, because I was the least favoured child of my parents. I went through many sexual assaults as a child, but I couldn’t share them with my parents because they were never at home. And even when they were home, they showed me little care and never believed anything I said. I spent over 20 years with my parents and they never for once knew what I went through as a child, teenager or an adult. My life as a teenager was worse because childhood was just sexual assaults but my teenage years were the combination of more assaults, pride, stealing, lies, multiple pregnancies and things you could never imagine a teenager of those days would do. But till today, I can tell you my parents still don’t know about any of the things that happened to me, not even my siblings. I just lived my life all by myself. But I was able to seek help from some religious people in between. I have had several attempted but failed suicides but I thank God I was able to get through it.
“I know I am not the in the best way I should be; I am not dead, and I am not wayward. But till now, I am yet to voice out these things. I just had to get busy with my life and use achievable goals to distract myself from my sad life.”
But in an interview with Saturday Sun, Mrs Ibironke Ojo-Omotoso, a registered mental health nurse, said: “Depression is a disorder of mood with a retardation or decline in mental, physical and social activities characterized by loss of interest, loss of willpower, lack of energy and negative thoughts. A depressed person will likely manifest behaviours such as impaired concentration, impaired memory, refusal of food or loss of appetite, mutism, delusion of unworthiness, loss of weight, loss of libido, suicidal thoughts or actual suicidal attempts and many others.”
While speaking on the causes of depression in the society and how a person can manage it before it leads to suicide, she told Saturday Sun: “Depression can be caused by a lot of things, part of which is heredity, (meaning it can be passed from one generation to the next), medical conditions affecting the functions of the brain, psychosocial factors, age, menopause, individual’s personality, certain drugs/medications etc.The first and most important step to overcoming depression is getting help. Talk to a psychotherapist who might refer you to a psychiatrist if the need for anti-depressants medication is necessary. There could also be need for electroconvulsive therapy – (this is a form of therapy where electrodes are attached to the head and mild shocks are delivered to correct the abnormal functioning of the brain), behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy.”
She noted, however, that medications are never the first line of treatment in mild depression.
She spoke further: “A person living with depression oftentimes experiences completely different thoughts before and after a depressive episode. This can be a result of a chemical imbalance and can lead to the person not understanding the options available to help them relieve their suffering. Many people who suffer from depression report feeling as though they have lost the ability to imagine a happy future, or remember a happy past. Often, they don’t realise they are suffering from a treatable illness, and seeking help may not even enter their minds. Emotions and even physical pain can become unbearable. They don’t want to die, but it is the only way they feel their pain will end. It is a truly irrational choice. Suffering from depression is involuntary, just like cancer or diabetes, but it is a treatable illness that can be managed. When a depressed person cannot or does not access help and he or she begins to lose all reasons to live a normal happy life, suicidal thoughts begin to creep in and subsequently and attempt may be made at committing suicide.”
Mr Olowolaju Boluwatife Jonadab, an industrial and organisational psychologist, spoke on the age group and gender mainly affected by depression.
Hear him: “Depression is no respecter of gender – whether you are a man or woman, depression is common among a particular age group which are mostly the teenagers and the young adults. As we all know, children below the age of 12 do not have anything to worry about so you cannot say they are depressed. They may be sad, which is normal, but they are ruled out of the word depression. The reason teenagers fall into depression can vary from the kind of home they come from, things they engage in, their peer group, seeing things on the internet and the fact that they get influenced easily. So, once they feel like they are not getting this particular satisfaction at that stage of their life, then depression kicks in.
“Depression can come from a person who sees his peers being admitted into the university but he isn’t or probably still looking for admission. This can be a contributor to depression and probably suicide. Or people seeing their mates riding cars and doing fine in life, the lack of satisfaction can also lead to depression or a person seeing his/her mates getting married can also fall into depression, especially if the suitors are not forthcoming. Most times, young adults that fall into depression are within the age group of 20 to 30, and they begin to feel a sense of insecurity or worthlessness, anger and extreme sensitivity and this might lead to thinking, loss of interest in activities and alcohol intake. Then depression sets in and in some cases, suicide.”