This might be my first attempt at writing though. I will love for you to ignore my writing mistakes and enjoy the story. 😊

I never really used to understand the term “To be a man is not a day’s job” until I became an adult.

For me, I have always been faced with tough decisions since I was little cos I’m the first born child of the family. I thought I had faced the possible struggles of adulthood. I was wrong.

Depression is one thing that I couldn’t really understand. I didn’t think I was going to let that spirit get to me but it did. It broke me. In fact, after that experience, I took people in this terrible condition more seriously.

I had made a lot of plans for myself; where I was going to, when I’d love to marry, the kind of house I’d love to live in, people I’d love to help, projects I’d want to carry out, how I’d love to influence a lot of people worldwide, this this, that that. At the beginning, it seemed to be working just a bit, I found the lady of my dreams, I had the best male and female friends, I was earning reasonably well from different sources, I was drafting out plans on projects. I was even happy telling friends and family about my achievements. Then booooom!!!! something happened 😔

I braided my hair.

It’s funny how something that seems so irrelevant can cause a lot of damage.

So I braided my hair and people liked it. I liked it a lot because it saved me the stress of combing daily. My girlfriend did it for me. The entire process was fun. My boss at the office even loved it.

During the weekend, I went back to my family house, nobody knew I had by hair braided cos I was always on my head warmer until one morning while I was about leaving for work, I came out with the hair and my Aunt saw it!

“Jesus, Chisom! What did you do to your hair! Why did you plait it? Do you know it is against the Bible? Do you know men that plait their hair go to hell? I thought you were a responsible person”

I tried ignoring everything while smiling. She kept talking then said “I am going to tell your parents”. I replied “They know” she couldn’t believe it and insisted she will tell them. I didn’t have a problem with that because earlier that week, I posted a picture of me with the hairstyle on my Whatsapp status and my brothers loved it. They also said mum saw it and said “Hmm” so I said to myself “that means ‘No problem'”.

I finished dressing up for work, left the house and was at the office by 8am after the crazy Lagos rush.

Two hours later I get a call from my mum. I pick up the call and my mum is screaming saying “Chisom, why did you braid your hair, why!!! What is that? Are you trying to tarnish our image? What nonsense!! Go and cut your hair now now! I said “NO” she replied “Ehn! Okay, go and loose the braids” I said “NO”. She then says the first thing that got me broken. “Chisom if you don’t loose the braids, I am no longer your mother and don’t call me again. In fact I am going to tell your father” I told her to feel free to tell him. She then repeated “Don’t call me again, I’m am not your mother. You can’t be disgracing me”. She dropped the call.

Five minutes later, I get another call. It’s my Dad. My dad calls and starts yelling at me saying I’m trying to bring shame to the family. He said “Chisom, do you know men who braid are womanizers?  Chisom do you know men that braid are gay? Chisom do you know it’s against the Bible for a man to braid? Chisom, I command you to go cut that hair!! Do you know there was a man amongst our kinsmen whose son braided his hair, I was the chairman so I ordered his hair be cut? Now it has to be my son? Chisom are you listening to me?! Go and cut that hair!” I said “No, sir. I’m not cutting this hair. And I’m none of those things you think men who braid hair are. I just like the braided hair. Nothing else”. Filled with rage, he said “Don’t ever call me again. I am no longer your father. You are a disappointment”. He dropped the call.

I wasn’t the perfect child. I made a lot of mistakes growing up. Some mistakes I still wish I never made. But the most painful part of those times was my parents telling me I am a disappointment and they disown me. Prior to this hair drama, my parents have made this statement at least 3 different times. But this one hit me hard. Am I a blessing to the family only when I do good things or what they like and a disappointment when I make a mistake or take a decision they don’t like? Hmm.

I called my girlfriend and told her what was happening. She told me to call them back and try explaining things to them. I called them twice but they refused to pick up my call.

I moved on.

I thought this wasn’t going to get to me but deep down, something was broken. Something was shattered.

I forgot to mention that I got messages from my Dad’s younger brother who also said a lot of things that hurt too.

Days went by, everything seemed fine until other things decided to go south.

We weren’t making sales at work and my salary was cut which wasn’t based on the initial agreement we had. I had already made plans with that salary. I took it “Like a man” and moved on.

The other job that was supposed to be bringing in money was on hold. I had projects that required a lot of money and people I wanted to help. I couldn’t do any especially considering that all I had was my savings at that moment.

I began to drown inside. Nothing was sweet or interesting anymore. The ones I managed to enjoy didn’t last. I didn’t even care to shave again. I felt stranded in a world full of welcoming homes. I had people to talk to but didn’t want to talk. I knew I was loved by many but at that point, I couldn’t feel any of it. I was drowning fast!! Any message from work was a disgust. I didn’t want to talk to anyone again. I always cried when I was alone. My girlfriend would ask “Babe, are you okay? You aren’t smiling” I’d reply “I’m fine love, I just have a lot of things on my mind”

One day, she discovered I was feeling down and talked to me while we were at Domino’s. I really can’t remember the things she said that day but it helped to an extent.

Some days later, I missed carrying out a work duty and got a message from my boss that she would like us to talk about why I failed to do so.

It was a Sunday evening, I told my girlfriend I was going to tell my Boss I have not really been myself lately “she may understand” I said.

Monday morning, we were all gathered for our normal Monday meetings at the office. Prior to this moment, I had told my boss I’d love to discuss my case privately which she agreed. I had already made up my mind that I was going to quit the job and just go be alone somewhere. My girl friend begged me not to do that “We will get through this” she said, “Just hang on, don’t tell her”.

It was time for me and my boss to have the private meeting. She then asked “Chisom, what is it you wanted us to talk about?”. Immediately I opened my mouth to start talking, I burst into tears. I was crying. I cried for a very long time. I couldn’t even talk. I just kept crying. I didn’t care about the other colleagues in the office. I couldn’t hold it anymore. I cried while I told her about what was going on in my life. Gosh! Its been years since I cried like that. I didn’t know I had been holding a lot of things in my heart.

She consoled me and told me her story too. She was broken just hearing me talk. She told me a lot of things that really helped me. She prayed for me and told me to take a walk; cool off.

I left the office and while I was taking the walk, I got a call from a brother, Samuel. I went to see him, we had breakfast together, he talked to me and I was lifted once more. I was back!!!!! I felt alive again.

I was so so happy I left that moment on depression in my life. It was a dark time. But I am very happy now, my belief in God and myself stronger.

Weeks later, Mum called me. That’s a story for another day. 😉

Feel free to leave your comments below. Let’s talk

26440cookie-checkDepression Almost Got Me
Chisom Okafor

I'm not really much of a writer. I just love sharing my experiences Twitter: @_plice

3 Comments on “Depression Almost Got Me

  1. Anjel

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