Digging in the past and present lives of most people unravels a box of several issues. As people are oscillating 9-5 lives, getting into relationships and living as an adult, many problems arise.
Thus, we claim to be “winging it” or just using some strategies to lessen the effect of the stress. Here, five Nigerians open up about times they’ve had some distressing problems and what coping mechanism got them through it.
Okay my coping mechanism varies depending on the situations. But I’ll say there was one time my mental health got shaken badly in 2018 when my girlfriend broke up with me.
You know it hurts when someone calls you in the middle of the midnight to break up with you but with no exact reason for why they’re leaving. I begged, called her mum, and got blocked. My whole December was in a mess.
What helped me was a week after the breakup, I got a job I wanted so much so I was overcome with the stress of the job and not occupied with thinking about the break up. The break up would have hit harder if I was at home doing nothing.
But when we took Christmas break at work, I began calling this girl again, begging and then getting blocked lol. I spoke to friends but they were all just laughing at me.
Until two days into the new year, an older friend of mine who was also close to my ex and had spoken to her on my behalf told me the cold harsh truth: she’s gone and I need to start living a new life without her.
January, I stamped this mindset to my heart, work resumed and after a month, she was completely gone. 9-5 saved me from depression.
There was this period around 2018, I failed a course in school I was so sure of. Omo I was weak, depression entered because it was a three unit course, also tried rectifying but to no avail.
To be honest, music and a girl calmed things down for me, it wasn’t really easy I must say. I listened to tons of music, had multiple distractions and just moved on.
The next year I rewrote the course and passed.
Around 2019, there was a time I was mentally tired.
I had just gotten into Vet school proper then, I had finished my prelim(100L). Perhaps, I didn’t know what it was like to be a medical student.
I would spend my whole day in school, receiving lectures back to back, most times my Saturdays were for extra classes, and I still had to squeeze time to study.
In the mix of everything, I wasn’t balanced mentally, not getting enough rest, and still had to do my side hustle. I just couldn’t cope with the whole situation, and everything was coming fast at me.
It got to a stage where I broke down mentally, I just wanted to cease from existing(not suicidal thoughts), perhaps I was hoping Jesus just came at that very moment.
I literally lost interest in everything I’ve always liked. I withdrew myself from the world and kept myself in my cave.
Thank God for my mum, who kept on calling me everyday to stir me up.
Thank God for God too, He really strengthened me.
I’ve had several trying times over the past years, let’s say from when I transitioned from being in school, catered for by parents to this adulthood period.
But last year, I had some messy months when I had problems with my boyfriend. He just seemed disinterested in the relationship and eventually because of my constant complaints, he discontinued the relationship.
I loved this guy so much, my first relationship. So after blocking him and all, I was crying every day. For a week, I cried to bed each night.
But thank God for friends. I eventually opened up to my friends who knew about the relationship and they were there for me. They took me out sometimes, sent me messages, and were always calling and encouraging me. So I’ll say yeah my friends were my coping mechanism.
Okay I have had my fair share of pain. It’s one of the things that you get to experience at some point in your life.
I have had a couple of broken relationships and every one of them came with a level of pain.
But I think having 16 major near death accidents and experiences around 2011 to 2014 changed my mental game. I realized pain is not forever; you just need to stick around longer to find out when it finally becomes a thing you can talk about openly.
So I think this mindset helped me to survive when I gained admission into University in 2014. I basically approached overwhelming courses and mentally draining lectures with the attitude of making sure I came out undefeated.
You will always have very stubborn cases though, LOL; I handled those by keeping my head cool with music and basically chose my playlist based on what level I wanted to keep my head on.
I was never far from music. And yes I did my visual arts too.
It’s always good to do what you love to silence the stress from things that overwhelm but are necessary and important. I always made it a point to remember they were important so I never got carried away with doing ‘my own thing’.
But the pain from relationship heartbreaks are way different and I found out in the University. She did me dirty but I soon realized that the pain from heartbreak that people feel has little to nothing with the person that left but had more, if not everything, with their personal ego. The bigger the ego the bigger the pain and hurt.
After the heartbreak in 2016 I learned to defeat my ego and accept that it’s fine if people don’t vibe with my energy anymore. So other relationship breakups started feeling like just giving your partner’s space to do their own thing.
Of course it hurts, but then I silenced the ego and found out that I became good friends with all my ex’s from that time onward.
Only your ego will want to make you destroy someone for leaving. I learned to live in the moment and not overthink anything. Also to not make them a stronghold of my ego; many people build their ego around their partners by bragging, peppering everyone and stuffs like that so breakups become devastating for them.
Keep it sane; separate your partner from your ego from the onset.
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here