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Promising Young Woman

Diary entry 73, June 15th 2021

By DamilolaPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Promising Young Woman
Photo by Jojo Yuen (sharemyfoodd) on Unsplash

Dear mum, I’m depressed.

It feels a bit weird to spell out those scary monstrous words without gaslighting myself or pretending I’ve got it all under control, or the looming fear of judgement hanging over my head. And even though I’m currently scribbling these words on a piece of paper, and the paper couldn’t possibly talk back, still I’m scared, my heart is currently beating with anxiety and I feel naked.....and vulnerable.

My mental health is deteriorating, my anxiety is turning into panic attacks, I’ve been neglecting myself and you have absolutely no idea.

How did this happen you might ask? Well a bad day became a bad week, a bad week became a bad month, a bad month became a bad year and now I’m afraid it’ll be a bad life. I’m terrified your hopes, ambitions and expectations of me will never be realised and I’ll become a big walking trash bag of disappointment, a promising young woman who somehow went down the wrong path and gave in to her “demons.”

I’m terrified I’ll never be able to take care of you like you took care of me, I’ll never be able to pay you back for your years of hardwork and long hours, which I rewarded with rebellious behaviour and disobedience, and I’ll spend the rest of my life in a cycle of regret and pain.

Dear mum, I’m depressed and scared, trapped in the dangerous prison that is my own mind, and I’m not sure what path to take, who to share my burden with and how to feel better. I’m 25, with no prospects of love or marriage, no specific career path and I’m not quite sure what role I’m supposed to be playing in life. I feel out of place, useless, and confused. I live in a society that likes to show off, I’m surrounded by constant reminders that my biological clock is ticking and I feel so far behind my peers who seem to be doing this thing called life much better than I am.

Dear mum, adulthood is a huge scam and I shouldn’t have grown up.

I miss being a naive child, experiencing everything for the first time with absolutely no worry in the world. I so badly want to become a child again but I realise I’d have to go through some of the worst days of my life twice, and so I decided against a time machine.

The limited knowledge of the world I had when I was a little child in your warm embrace, protected me from sadness and anxiety. The very little responsibilities I had meant I wasn’t going crazy trying to keep up with being a “grown-up.” No bills, no pressure from society to be successful, no pressure to get married and start a family, no anxiety.

Dear mum, what if the best way to be a good mother is to refuse to become a mother at all? What if I never find someone who would be able to tolerate me? What if I die alone? What if I never achieve my goals? What if I’m on the wrong path? Working in the wrong job? Not making the most of my potential? Wasting my life away? What if I have little time left to make it right? What if I never have my own family? I have so many questions, and these questions keep me up at night in a cycle of anxiety and panic. And these days I drink alone, eat alone, for the fear of suddenly breaking down into tears in front of confused onlookers.

Dear mum, creativity is a curse and you were right. It’s like a parasite that continues to eat from you and demands that you feed it from the very limited food society has provided you with. Perhaps I should have listened to you and pursued medicine or law or engineering or whatever else society considers a good career path. I should have given up on my creative ambitions and played the game to survive. I shouldn’t have argued, I should have listened to you since you have more experience in life and you only sought to guide me out of love and worry for my future.

As I write this, a huge part of me tells me I’ve done a good job following my passion, but there’s also this niggling voice of anxiety telling me I would never make it. That I’m like a tiny needle in the haystack of way more talented people, and I’m just one of millions fighting to be seen, fighting to be successful in my chosen field and at 25, I’m very quickly running out of time.

Dear mum, I’m sad. This sadness comes in waves, and this anxiety comes in batches. This anxiety is similar to sinking very quickly into a quicksand, it’s like a tight painful feeling in my chest or a constant stab to my heart. Sometimes I ask myself, how can I be sad about my life? I have my arms and my legs, I can see and I can hear, I have a family who loves me and I have food three times a day. How can I be so ungrateful about my life when some can’t even get to water or basic amenities to survive?

And so I gaslight myself, invalidate my own feelings and emotions, after all I don’t have it that bad. Why can’t I find happiness in my life, when in comparison to others I have a lot. When I have a life others are praying to have, when I’m supposedly in my prime?

Anxiety and depression shouldn’t be able to exist here, and so it is quickly replaced with guilt that I dare to be ungrateful for everything in my life.

WikiHow says if you’re depressed, you should meditate, go to the gym, pick up a new hobby, switch careers, listen to whale and rain sounds on YouTube, watch cartoons, see a therapist. Little does WikiHow know that I have tried those things, over and over again but the biggest cause of my sadness still remains.

That I am not able to let go of my fears and open up to you, mum. That I am moving back home after failing at pursuing my dreams yet again, and when I arrive home tomorrow, I’d give you a big hug, a huge smile and pretend everything is alright even though my heart is bleeding inside. That I can’t tell you after your 12 hours shift that I’m depressed and going through a quarter life crisis. That I can’t be a source of worry to you, any more than I already am. That the only reason why I’m still alive, is because I can never let you go through the immense pain of losing me.

And so even though this life is very painful for me, you’re so important to me, that I have to somehow, make this journey work.


About the Creator


poet, wanderer, writer.

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