In the middle of one night I sat up in bed with a startle—the demons were out to get me and here they had come to snatch my young life, claw and tear it and later carry the shards of its remains to wherever they deemed fit.
Voices were colors; the deep hoarse and harsh ones were the dimmest, whilst the cheeriest, squeaky and giggly ones were painted in pink, yellow, orange, light blue and cheery red.
My day will always start with a creativity so big it could conquer the world, a belief that if I would totally unleash myself, the world would come to a standstill and that alone would scare the living daylights out of me.
I would shudder at the mere thought of being great, which involved even coming first in class and nomatter how many times I took the number one in primary school, it always gave me running stomach.
Then came the voices: I remember the very day they arrived, in their horde of variety—the brown ones washing off the pink ones onto the vast wall in my mind and the light blue ones screaming for recognition.
Once at home there was a fight between my guardians, and the voices kept chasing me throughout the day and it was unimaginable torture because I knew very well that telling anyone about it would mean me being committed to some faith healer or n'anga's home, which was way off my class.
I started loving church at a very young age of eight, and those Sunday services really meant a great deal as the only voice which was colorless was the pastor's, and I would feel very guilty imagining that it was my fault that I could not "hear" its color.
What made me more sorrowful was the reality that I was fighting demons that nobody else had to know about, as outside I was always this cheery, blissful, intelligent and talkative young girl, who was the healthiest in the family but who would blink the night away in what I later learnt was called insomnia.
As a direct result, my only ambition laid its foundation in the deep yearning of becoming an adult as I thought that would change the colors of the voices in my mind, which took away my childhood in an instant—I became an adult at ten.
Then came the fear: I became scared of virtually everything, from my own mom's footsteps to the voice of every male who was in my life—the only man I could trust had died (my grandpa) so everyone else became a potential victimizer.
I was afraid of walking through the door every morning; I was afraid of a twitching eye; I was afraid of the maths teacher; I was afraid of wearing my best dress; I was afraid of the dark; I was afraid of heights; I was afraid of all things good, and food too—which all of a sudden started tasting like tree bark…and wool…and sand…and other things unedible.
Teenage dawned without me noticing, and things started happening—faster than I had anticipated, and the fears grew with the years. This time even "shuteye" scared me and still I had not been able to tell anyone about my demons.
I had a love for books, and that helped a little, especially when I met Mr Sydney Sheldon's stories, Tell Me Your Dreams at first, and later other books. In my spirit I became Maya Angelou's goddaughter and I felt her speaking to me in my dreams; I became John Archer's niece and it was from The Fourth Estate that I developed the love for news.
Unfortunately all that did not kill my demons. No one in my world believed in the fancy names my demons had; Depression, Insomnia, Schizophrenia, Paranoia—see? Those are fancy names! Nothing my guardians, friends or relatives could comprehend, so I was just doomed to my lone, mentally sick world.
As I grew up into adulthood, I was now doing much of the talking and now had the balls to tell my demons to shut the hell up whenever I could. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I did not—they just wouldn’t listen and would keep howling in their brown and navy blue voices.
Eventually the demons became too intimidated by my assertiveness and decided to leave one by one. I don’t know if they really left but what I know for sure is that the pink, yellow and purple voices now speak louder than the darker ones.
Since no one has ever given a damn about how I felt, what I saw in my dreams and what rang into my ears, I have decided to confront the demons whenever they show up—to turn the gun on them and chase their tails like mad, on my own that is!
There are a lot of girls like me out there, who maybe saw, heard or felt things nobody else could feel, and no one gave a &$%# about it—fact is our society does not believe in fancy demon names and unless I strip naked and run amok in the streets, no one will care to lose a wink over my mental health.
The sad part of it however is how much this never ending "mental diarrhea" influences my destiny and the person I later become in life—so so sad. But heeey! I fought and conquered demons! Demons hey! Invisible monsters!
I do not need a shrink because those do not exist in my world and the people around me wouldn’t approve, so, well, I am alive and that’s what matters. At least I lived to tell the tale. (I wrote this on World Mental Health Day, for all the girls fighting invisible monsters every day. It will get better I promise.)