I grew up in an African society where it was taboo to discuss mental health issues. Nobody knew what depression was in those days and those who suffered from it, like my mother, were thought to be possessed. After witnessing how society completely ignored my mother, I did everything I could to appear normal and happy all the time.
I pushed myself to show off the image of my happiness by always smiling, going out clubbing with a large group of friends on the weekends, talking about movies and trending subjects, and making everyone laugh around me. On days that I was too tired to put up a show, I would make myself very busy at home or at work.
[No matter how much money I earned, or how many things I was buying, or how many girls I was dating, or how well I lived, the joy of these things was temporary and not something that lasted. There was no fulfillment. Inside I felt empty and incomplete. Something was missing. My heart was longing for that forever lasting happiness that never disappears!]
The truth was that even though I looked like the fun party girl that everyone wanted to be around, on the inside, I was lost. I would get easily upset at the smallest things. I felt a void in my life that all the friends, dinners, and concerts did not fill. When things didn’t go my way, I felt betrayed and wanted to blame others for it. And I was constantly overwhelmed by the gazillion thoughts in my head.
At last, I realized that deep down, I was the same as my mother… empty inside. I had just found ways to cope better than she did. So I decided I didn’t want to hide anymore, I wanted to really live the happiness I was showing off. One day, I found a website that said the one thing I wanted to do most in the world. This website said, “cleanse your mind”. It led me to a meditation center.
Through meditation, I was able to discard all the pressure I felt to fit in, to look the part of a normal and happy person, to stop seeking those temporary highs and chase what was not true happiness. I still hang out with my friends, but I no longer rely on them to fill my void. Through meditation, I was able to embrace myself.
It has freed me completely. I have gained mental strength and awareness. I am very positive without trying to be positive. I have found my true happiness within me, which is my true self. I enjoy every moment that life can offer. It is beautiful to breathe without worries, stress, and pain. I am truly happy now.