Surviving as a Crescent
Content note: This article talks about depression, suicide, and mental health.
When I started accepting my sickle cell (SS) condition, people made it look like it’s the end for me. Comments like "it would have been better if you weren’t even born," only made me feel worse - making me feel like a burden.
Accepting myself and SCD
Finally, I accepted my condition and began to look for ways to make life meaningful to myself. I didn’t care about anyone else aside from myself.
It became finally clear to me that I was on my own and no one could feel or take my pain away. I started doing what made me happy, occupied myself with new ways to ease my frustration, including modeling.
My mental health
Depression had set in at some point in my life, and I began to think suicide. I went off completely on people, was always alone, rethinking my life, and asking if I really wanted to keep breathing.
Finding my passion
Then a friend invited me to a modeling rehearsal(she practically dragged me there). While the models were rehearsing, their trainer noticed me and called me to the catwalk. I totally enjoyed it!
On my way home that day I had a crisis. And while on my sick bed all I could think of was doing it again when I got well. It changed my life. Modeling gave me something to look forward to no matter how many times I fell (into crisis).
I also realized having fun and doing the things I liked helped to take my mind of my condition for a while. Even though it didn’t last for too long, looking forward to another moment especially on my sick days helped me find the strength to get back on my feet again.
Needing alone time
There are moments I just wanted to be alone, think about myself and life in general. I would shut out everyone and just keep to myself. It gives me the space to self-evaluate (take notice of my triggers, finding the best ways to manage myself, etc.
The bad implications of my self-reserved time are: people think I’m suicidal, giving up, pushing them away, or that I hate them. The truth is, I need that moment to grow as a person.
Find your strength
Ways of survival come in different forms for different people. For me, whatever makes you smile, happy, hopeful, and gives you strength to keep moving, do that. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. With all that you go through, you deserve to have that at least.
My career as a fashion model
I followed a friend to her modeling rehearsal and for the first time in a long time, I felt happy and relaxed and comfortable.
When I later joined a modeling agency, my dad was so not in support. The thing is I come from a Christian family and my dad used to work with Scripture Union, so the contrast of being the daughter of such a religious man in bikini sounded like an abomination. Even though I totally understood his concerns, I needed the job because it was the only thing that gave me some sanity and sense of usefulness.
Protecting my mental health
I had to make a choice between pleasing my father and rebelling to save my mental health. While to him it looked like rebelliousness, I just wanted to make myself useful, to save my mental sanity. Surviving in a condition like sickle cell is an extreme sport. The pain never seems to stop ,bills keep piling up, depression and suicidal thoughts Could come up along the line.
I hope it never gets to the point where you begin feel like there is no reason to live. Let people call it whatever they want to call it or see it however they please. Whatever you do, whether or not it makes sense to other people, do it and save yourself.
Take care of yourself
It is always survival of the fittest in this part of the world anyways, strive to survive so you can leave to see the happy days that a coming. That light at the end of the tunnel. It’s your prize, make sure to grab it because you deserve it.
Don’t forget to go for your regular medical checkups, drink a lot of water, take your routine medication timely, protect yourself as much as possible from getting into a crisis and take good care of yourself.
Once in a while, check that bucket list and do something new. Whatever you do, please don’t give up.
Do you consider yourself an advocate for sickle cell?