Month: January 2013

Adebola Rayo: On dealing with mental illness (YNaija’s 30 Days, 30 Voices)

For over a decade, I’d known something was not quite right with me mentally. I’d been living with the needless, sad and mad (as I called it) since I was about 8 or 9 years old, but speaking to anyone, let alone doing anything about it, was tough. When I was in the university, I used to go to the guidance counselling department regularly. It helped, but it wasn’t professional help in the real sense of it. It was just a way of coping without dealing actively with what I was going through. I left school in 2010 and from that time it was a slippery slope. I would have episodes and each time I’d tell myself that I really ought to get professional help, but then I’d start to pull through after a few days or a couple of weeks, so I never went in to the hospital. I was very functional.

By 22, I had my LLB and B.L. While I was still in Law School, I got recruited into the company I’d dreamed of working at. I was good at my job – Rewriting and Copy Editing – and within 18 months I’d moved on to better prospects twice. To everyone around me, I was good but to myself I wasn’t. I had always felt like I wasn’t good enough, like I could never be good enough. Mental illness clouds one’s judgement seriously. Outside of work, however, my personal relationships were a mess. I didn’t like people and kept away from them as much as possible. The ones I let in constantly had to deal with my moods. I was good at putting on a smile and what I called my “normal face.” I was good at holding the turmoil in for whatever number of hours I needed to. What no one knew was that I was dying inside. I’d go to bathrooms or toilets to cry, or just breathe, and then I’d blot my eyes and fan air into them, put back on my “normal face” and come out to face the world.

That had been my life since I was a child. As a teenager I used to say that I’d die young. Most people thought I was being melodramatic but I wasn’t. I really did believe that I’d die young. I wanted to die young. Dying would be better than trying to live with emotions that were like a swing set — up and down, never quite still, tormented by some ill wind. I believed I had somehow broken my brain. My doctors would later tell me that I have something called Borderline Personality Disorder, and one of its effects was exaggerated reactions and emotions.

Click HERE to read the full article about the main issues: Stigma, Education, Support Systems, and Overcoming.

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The Things Unsaid (My Next Big Thing)

I can’t remember how I met Gbenga Awomodu but it was online. The first time I met him in person, I was still in UniLag and so was he. I was standing with a friend and when she introduced us, he said, “I read your blog.” That freaked me out coz we all know this blog is a dumping ground. Last week, Gbenga asked me if I was interested in talking about my next big thing. I jumped at it, even though my next big thing is still a bit up in the air J Read about Gbenga’s next big thing HERE, and read on for mine.
The Things Unsaid (My Next Big Thing)
I’m the laziest writer I know. But I’m currently working on a collection of long short stories. I’ve been working on it for a few years, but I’m determined to be serious about it this year. The book (if it ever becomes) will contain 4 or 5 long short stories.
What is the working title of your book?
Erm, the title changes all the time… coz I’m unstable like that. But right now, I’m between these two titles: The Things Unsaid, and Coffee Shop Scribbles. Coffee Shop Scribblesbecause that’s where I jot down most of the ideas for my stories (God bless Araba’s Caffé Tranche)… The Things Unsaidbecause I write the words that choke me. I don’t know if that makes sense anyway.
What genre does your book fall under?
Prose: It is a mix of fiction and faction (fictionalised telling of facts).
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’ve always written short stories (fiction), so I knew somewhere along the line a collection was inevitable. However, what I’m working on isn’t going to be just fiction. About four years ago, I started to write my life. I’d take events that happen to me and fictionalise them. For me, it was a way of dealing with issues going on in my life, but for others I guess they made good stories. Often, I can’t tell where I end and where the work starts any more, so I decided to just go with it.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a tough one. They are short stories, but if I had to pick someone to act in the story titled The Things Unsaidfor instance, I think I’d go with Genevieve Nnaji as the female lead, or Kerry Washington. I love Kerry, she’s so me (whatever that means). For the male lead, I’d pick Michael Ealy…just because he’s beautiful. Sue me.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
See, the thing about short stories once more is that I can’t say “this is what the book is about.” Aaaargh. But there are stories about love, about life, and sadness and finding one’s feet and trying to be fierce as heck.
When will your book be published?
This I do not know. I guess the main question should be when will you finish your manuscript. So I’m just going to move on to that.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’ve been working on this thing for years and will probably continue to do so for the next year or two. I’m not in a hurry. I’m more concerned about putting out great work…because I’m obsessed like that.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
They aren’t coming of age stories in the strict sense of it, but they are stories that people will be able to relate with coz they’re human and unpretentious and sometimes funny….
I’m passing this on to Oyin Braithwaite, and Obii. I will update the post to reflect their bios before the end of the day.  They will be posting their “Next Big Thing” on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.