⚠ This a very long read.
In my short 24 years of life I have been slapped with labels. Yeah slapped is the word I’m going to use, because when you’re slapped you don’t really ask for it. It’s someone’s reaction to your actions or words.
The first label I was given was ADHD, attention deficit hyperactive disorder.
I was a female child of bubbling curiosity, I disliked sitting still and if things weren’t interesting I wouldn’t pay attention. So ADHD was slapped on me.
The second label was Alcoholic.
I was a female teenager trying to cope with having seen my mother be a victim of domestic abuse, struggling with the fact that I “had” to get a degree and join the workforce and having lost my soulbrother.
The last label I have been slapped with is Depression.
I am a female being that experiences her emotions on a scale of 100-200 and can be moody for days and tends to isolate when stressed or sad.
Labels are dangerous things. Once you accept a label your whole being is affected. You tend to live your life as the label you have been given.
Let me get deeper.
I thought that I would never talk about these stages of my life because I have since learnt that most of these diagnosis and labels are meant to control a human being. Meant to conform them into a pattern that keeps them in a cycle of forever depending on the label to excuse their behavior or having to justify certain aspects of themselves.
I thought that I would never have to talk about these stages of my life for the fear of upsetting the status quo.
However it’s my birthday month and I’m feeling a tingle in the air and this half of 2016 can only get better, so here goes.
I was slapped with ADHD at the tender age of 5 I knew deep down in my heart that I was “normal” and that I just saw and lived life in a different way from everyone else.
So when I met my soulbrother Christo, who like me was slapped with ADHD a friendship that defined all rules was created. He was an Afrikaans and I was Kenyan. The white boy and black girl were inseparable. We both made sure that our moms become best friends so that we could hang out together.
When I had a bad day, I’d ask my mom if we could go to Christo’s and we would listen to rock and talk about how everyone was stupid. Or how the world was stupid.
Oh and we both used to not take our ADHD pills cause we didn’t think we had a problem.
Then Christo died and my heart broke completely. I felt lost and confused.
By this time my drinking had already started being a problem.
You see, alcohol numbs us. It’s a suppressant. So when you drink your literally numbing your body and mind.
And I really wanted to numb my mind and body because my mind was reeling from the fact that my mom was being beaten by my dad and I was numbing my body because my period pains were excruciating.
Then checks in the grandfolks who decided that I must go to university and get a degree. When all I wanted to do was write short stories and poetry books.
So I drank.
And kept drinking.
Trying to numb myself and live as a normal person. Whatever “normal” was.
I hated the first uni I went to. It didn’t challenge my curious mind at all. Standard Kenyan system of teaching where questions are met with malice and sharp words.
So I drank.
Finally people began to notice that my drinking was interfering with my studies. I was taken to a psychologist who tried to probe my ever complex mind and figure out what was “wrong” with me.
Fact- I hate psychologists and psychiatrists with a passion. You labelled me ADHD when honestly there was nothing “wrong” with me.
I’m just different.
So I up and quit that uni a month before graduation.
I thought maybe just maybe going to a different uni that teaches in a way that will stimulate my mind will help.
I was 18.
I got into USIU and I felt like maybe I’m in the right place.
I didn’t know things were just going to get worse.
I didn’t know that I had numbed myself so much my soul was literally going to fight.
I flunked USIU in my first year. Got back in and flunked again.
I was still drinking. Still numbing myself.
You see I hadn’t dealt with the fact that I was trying to forget a painful teenage hood. I also hadn’t dealt with the fact that I was getting a degree that I really didn’t want. I had numbed myself so much that I had forgotten.
At 22 I went to rehab. And there I was slapped with the label alcoholic.
Now, being an alcoholic means that you have no control of alcohol and you can never ever ever drink again. Or do any other drugs.
I struggled to accept that label. Because with a clear mind I could see what was making me drink. And coming to the root cause of my drinking was what I wanted to do. And also changing the circumstances that put me in a position to drink.
However there I was, an “alcholic” being told that alcohol was destroying my chances of getting a degree and a life. A degree and life that other people wanted me to get.
What about what I wanted? No? Not up for discussion?
So I told the people at the rehab what they wanted. Did my 3 months, which by the way we’re the best months of my life in 2013.
I got back my gift of poetry and writing. I started using my mind again. My complex emotional mind that I love. Had debates on things that made me smile and feel alive.
And on a spiritual level I reconnected with the Divine One.
I really wanted to make a shift in my life that would make me happy.
I was done living my life according to everyone else.
After I left, I tried to attend AA meetings. Then I just stopped. It didn’t sit right with me. I got to a point where talking about problems and my “struggle” to not drink was just Eh.
Not to mention that my grandparents wanted me to go to church and I just wasn’t feeling Christianity any more. I did try to go to church, but it also didn’t sit right with me.
My soul was screaming for something else.
Now, I’m going to be honest.
Living with my grandparents was hell. I couldn’t talk to them about anything. And my movements were monitored like a baby.
Maybe I deserved that after drinking for 7 years and flunking two unis but honestly nooo.
And they were just really negative. I mean their house is full of negative vibes.
So there I was, trying to live a positive life and doing things that would make me happy and I just had all this negativity around me.
In case you didn’t know I am an empath. I literally absorb energy from my immediate surroundings. And I hadn’t learnt to protect myself at that point. So all that negativity just kept hitting me from all angles.
So in that case I started my long battle with “depression”. Not to mention my diagnosis with Endometriosis (which I gladly accept out of all the labels) meant that my pain was also affecting my life.
In the midst of all this I found Islam and my soul went crazy happy. I was ecstatic. Yet my grandparents weren’t. ( I don’t blame them) They tried to get me back to Christianity, telling me that I am a Christian and nothing else and that I shouldn’t dress like a Muslim because I lived with them, yet everyone else didn’t have a problem with me.
The worst part is when they told their pastor to take me for lunch and to re convert me back to Christianity.
One night, I walked in on them praying to the Divine One to touch me with the blood of Jesus and bring me back to Christianity. That was the lowest blow to my soul, and slowly the “depression” started inching back in.
P.s. my grandfather has 2 Quran’s.
So now this new label of depression is annoying. And I am not accepting it, together with the others, and here’s why:
I do not have mental illnesses called ADHD and Depression. Just because I get sad for long periods of time and seem to not function like a “normal” human being does not mean my brain is broken. I’m just different. I have a complex brain and I’m a very emotional person and there is nothing “wrong” with that.
Just because I drank for 7 years does not mean I am an alcoholic. It meant for 7 years I was fighting so many things that caused me to drink. Caused me to seek out a numbing chemical which ended up being alcohol.
It could have been food you know.
I’ve created new labels for myself. They are so much better and are beautiful.
1. An expressive female being of melanin nature – instead of ADHD
2. I have 3 layers of melancholy= Cancer Moon baby, INFP and an Indigo adult – instead of Depression
And my personal favorite
3. Princess of Love&Light Land – just cause I am.
And in creating those labels I am creating my life on my own terms.
I’m done with USIU, I’m done with getting a degree that I honestly did not want.
I wanted to be a writer and that’s what I will do.
As for papers – since this world revolves around a pieces of paper InshaAllah I’m going to train to be a Montessori kindergarten teacher and have fun playing with kids.