The ‘Memoir Challenge’: Out From the Darkness

By Lydia Oyetunji

The sun is shining brightly through the window. It welcomes me to come out and enjoy all that it has to offer. Unmoved, the invitation goes unanswered. Instead, I give into my mental and emotional incarceration. I am in a dark place, and it is where I feel comfortable. My valley of lavender lilies and beautiful butterflies no longer exists. No matter how it may seem this dungeon is not where I choose to take up residence but where my mind and emotions force me to live. This is merely the effects of depression.

I was not always this person on a forever emotional roller coaster ride. I was once this consistently bubbly, outgoing, and happy person. Compliments about my permanent smile and optimism followed me for as long as I can remember. No one knew what lay dormant behind those gleaming brown eyes and contagious laugh. The saying goes, “The eyes are windows to the soul.” If this is true, then everyone I encountered was blind! Believe me; something burned deep inside, and for years, I kept the inferno at a spark. In the back of my mind, I knew things could change.

Life experiences, mainly in the form of bad relationships and repressed memories of childhood abuse, triggered my depression. Of course, I did not know what ailed me, until well after I began to self-medicate. Hoping and praying to climb my way up from the deep dark rabbit hole in which I fell. Those of us who suffer from depression have highs and lows. When we are on a high, our feet refuse to touch solid ground, but when we are low, we travel to the very depths of Hades. Marijuana and vodka were my anti- depressant. Mari motivated me to get out of bed, to work, eat, be more sociable than normal. Vodka helped me to deal with the demons in my head; he was there for me on lonely days and tucked me in at night. This arrangement worked, so if it is not broke, don’t fix it, right?

The methods I chose to deal with the depression never hindered me, my job, or my relationship with family and friends. Although, a close friend took note of the change in me. The increase in my back and forth behavior gave her probable cause to delve deep into the actions of a friend. Our heart to heart compelled me to confide in her deeply about the thoughts that affected me. Not everyone is as blessed to have friends that care, and that will not judge you.

I live with the mental illness called depression; this diagnosis, I kept a secret for many years. Refusing to take conventional medicine of any kind warranted the continued use of marijuana and red wine. My way of treating my mental illness worked to some extent. Although, if I were not using, I would be violent. It did not take much for me to fly into a rage that would then be followed by me shutting myself off from the rest of the world. Needing desperately to leave planet earth, I lost friends and alienated family – cowardly unable to face the demons forced upon me.

Currently, I continue to fight this disease. No longer do I self-medicate, nor do I take conventional meds. The highs are there, and occasionally the dark clouds loom over me. No longer do I have the feelings of wanting to lay forever in my valley of wilted lilies and dead butterflies. I seek refuge in the One Most High who continues to save me.


  1. My goodness Lydia you are really brave to share such a personal story. I was so relieved to learn at the end that you have found refuge in the most high God. Thank you for your transparency. May God use you and your story to encourage others.

    • Thank You so much Ladycee. Thanks so much for the compliment. I find the more I share and chisel away at the mask I sometimes choose to wear it’s healing for me and help for someone else. We are judged by our actions and the ability to help a brother or a sister feels better than pretending. Thanks again. I hope and pray that through me another man or woman can learn and overcome.

  2. Lydia, this is a powerful post, and a truly vulnerable and transparent one. It takes great bravery to hit the submit button on these kind! Thank you for having the courage to hit send. Whether it is clinical, situational, occasional or chronic, I think depression is something most of us can relate to in someway or another. Dark places. I am grateful that you found the light, shined it, and shared it with us!

    • It’s funny but I wrote it two days after Scott sent us the email. I held on to it until yesterday, when I was led to go ahead and send it to Scott. Hitting the send button was emotional but liberating. Thanks for reading Michelle.

  3. Lydia, your story resonates with me. My prayers are with you. I mean that sincerely. This is why I like Two Drops of ink. A community who shares with out judging. Encouragement is at every turn. Your writing is solid! Thank you for posting it.

    • Thanks John. I love Two Drops!!! I wonder if Scott knew the impact the blog would have when he first created it? I look forward to it’s continuous growth.

  4. My heart started racing and hands shaking as I read your post. Is it okay to say that it’s refreshing to know someone knows how I feel? I take each day one day at a time! I’m afraid to take medication!!! It may lead me into addiction. I’m sorry to read you have cancer. Fighting and faith in our God is what makes us victorious!!! I know you are a fighter!!! Thank you for reading and sharing as well.

  5. Lydia, I appreciate and admired your honesty. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal with us.

    • Thanks to you for your encouragement. Our many talks about addiction and your posts about memoirs are more helpful than you know. Believe it or not you are making a difference in the lives of others.

  6. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story with us all. Someone out there needs to read this. You are an awesome friend, writer, and member of our team. God bless.

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