Back in 2018, I was back home in Botswana after almost 2 years travelling in India, Europe and South Africa. I was now spending a lot of time exploring Botswana and spending more time with friends and family. It was a delight to hang out with my family and friends sharing my adventures In India and Tales for my Euro trip. Every day was a constant retelling of some of the best moments in my life to share it with the most important people in my life was exciting. “Next time join me” I would say to my best friend.
Unfortunately at the same time, I’d also suffered a knee injury while hiking Table Mountain. Since I was not too far from home I left Cape Town for Gaborone to get medical attention. Of course, I went back to Botswana since I would not have to foot the $1,400+ bill.
As soon as I arrived I consulted a doctor at a local Clinic. She advised me to rest my knee for a week while I was on anti-inflammatory medication. Then I would come in the following Friday for further examination. The follow-up never came. I avoided the appointment because I feared getting an operation. Later that Friday I join my friends to attend a rugby match at Wharic Park. As is the norm after a few runs of watching people crashing into each other, we headed to a friend’s house.
As fate would have it, we would not make it to the after-party, instead, I spent the night getting stitches for injuries that I had sustained in a car crash that we could have never anticipated.
Just my luck, a week back in Botswana and I had an aching knee and a neck brace. At first, we joked about the incident with my friends not knowing that this was the beginning of the most debilitating depression of my life. This also coincided with moments of Reflection from my adventures in Europe, or should I say misadventures in Europe and India? I cannot be sure what exactly about the crash or the multiple incidents of racism I experienced while travelling could have added to the anxiety and depression. All I know is I felt different, I spoke different, I was not myself, not like I‘ve always known myself.
Nevertheless, this was my new reality; dragging myself to do the things I once enjoyed. Spending my time binging on YouTube or Netflix, simply because dopamine fixes were the easiest way to get through most days.
I did overcome the deep dark pit of self-loathing and unexplainable pain. I was following the Journey of a fellow traveller who was sharing her struggles with depression. Katzbe fights depression. I met Katzbe on New Year’s Eve 2016. Ah! London. Once you get past its depressive weather, it can be a pleasant city, especially with the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Ok! Back to Katzbe, so she shares her battle with depression. She does that with a dose of memes that make the topic of depression much easier to confront. It is the “depression humour” that shifted my attention from my mental ailment long enough to consider restarting my journey to explore the African Continent.
One underrated antidote to depression is simply talking about it. Luckily I have many friends with whom I can have honest conversations. No judgement, no pity just friends talking about the challenges of dealing with depression and occasionally laughing at a meme or two. Turn’s out laughter is the best medicine.
Why am I opening up about it now? Well if it hadn’t been for following Katzbe’s journey and all the amazing people around me. I would not have been able to climb out of what seemed like a bottomless pit of sorrow. I would still be binging on youtube with the hope that the dopamine fix would distract me long enough for the depression to “pass”. So that I can finally get back to my exploring the Mother continent and create amazing content.
FYI depression does not pass and you never just “get over it”. It is a daily battle. Unfortunately, most of us will go through it alone. No one will understand how what or why. How do you explain an unexplainable pain in your head? Many dismiss it as laziness, a lack of initiative and many other things. Unintentionally isolating someone who needs someone to listen to more than anything else. In most cases, depression leads to suicide and unfortunately many are left shocked… with unanswered questions, “why would he do this”, “how did I not see the signs”, “why did he not talk to me if he was going through something”.
If you ever need to talk about it or just need a shoulder to lean on, shoot me an email, DM on Twitter or Instagram or call me up on messenger. The first step in getting your mental health back on track is opening up about it.