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How Poetry Helped Me Address Depression, Heartache and Life’s Adversities

For years I have suffered from depression and social anxiety and being a Nigerian woman, I honestly don’t think any one person can fathom how difficult it is to just survive being those two things at the same time. Between balancing sports, two jobs and trying to excel academics, I feel the pressure to be successful even if my sanity is forced to dissolve in the process. And although I am fortunate enough to have friends who comfort me during times where the nights and days merge to become ceaseless cycles of nightmares, I still struggle to earn the support and patience of my family. Like I mentioned before being both Nigerian (Black) and a woman, I feel the urge to hide my scars and silence myself into society’s submission, allowing the discussion about mental health and the manifestations of mental illness in our community to be swept under the rug. This, of course, led me to frustration and extreme resentment towards all that dismissed my concerns about my own wellbeing. From the age of 7, I wondered how I could pray away the panic attacks in the middle of class, the seasonal depression that kept me in my room for days at a time, the constant feeling of drowning. Somedays I felt like caving in and living a life guided by iniquity, others I celebrated for just getting out of bed.

Within years, I found myself lost, feeling so empty in the world so full of people renders anyone completely hopeless. For me, it inserted the shackles of fear and the will to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This is why I am sharing a compilation of poetry I had written starting from when I was only 14 years old in the hopes that it would encourage me and others to see fear as an external element that will be conquered as long as you remind yourself of the temporariness of negativity and how sensitive our hearts truly are.  I hope you find peace within your storm and realize we are all on sinking ships but the will the swim is what keeps us afloat. Also, I truly encourage you to explore the world of self-expression through journaling, there is so much power behind paper and pen.

Also, I truly encourage you to explore the world of self-expression through journaling, there is so much power behind paper and pen, screen and words.


“Note 2 Self”

You are gold
You cannot obtain the idea of perfect
When it is just an idea
No steps can be climbed
To ensure perfection
Self-correction is wise
Yet self-hatred is insane
The world desires only
Worldly things
But you are not of this world
My final companion, realize that
Great souls will never fit in and odd ones will never be understood
So tell our story
Our struggles
Our self-contractions to obtain happiness by not living up to societal norms
But please refrain from psychological pain
Your words weigh heavier
Blows than fists and cuts on veins
Fists wound flesh
But words destroy the soul
Be careful how you lie to yourself
You might believe it
– Nma 2014

“Escape from mental warfare and immerse yourself in self-care”

I shall not
Walk with a sign on my head
Revealing my anguish
Do you believe in believing in thyself?
It is not monetary wealth that made you rich in the mind or body
But yet so many say it is the key to prosperity
This is why I am not worthy of being
Your inspiration
Your new creations
With my influence signed at the bottom
I am afraid to touch
 pure masterpieces
When my skin is dirty
Filth overwhelming my fingertips
 But I find a reason to love thyself
Stop second guessing, questioning i
If your absence will me noticed by the universe
If you are just washed up sand
Uncertain proverbs with no revelation
Only to find
questioning who this body belongs to
and if I must live this stranger in my bed
Please find it yourself to love yourself
To love,
Your thoughts
Your passions
Your dreams
To evolve
Into the young person
You are supposed to be
My mind just wants to be free
Held in captivity
I am fighting for mental liberation
Be grateful for those with authority
For your body, mind, universe
Be content with the life you have
Authorize the universe to send you blessings
Because I am finally found my narrative
And I am writing down for the very first time.
– Nma 2015

“Dancing with the wind”

Lie to me
Tell me I fell in love with madness
A dance with a wind of empty skin
Tell me I’m wrong
That we don’t belong because my love for God ain’t as strong as my love for you
Tell me we are seasonal
Just delta winds drifting in up the Sierra mountains
acting as a river even when your water has escaped with the drought
You disguised yourself as rain
Sliding me an infection called infatuation
You used the word love
And I found myself opening up
My nakedness, your pinnacle
If I ever had a choice, I wouldn’t have made the mistake in loving you, holding you, finding every fault just to lift you up because boys are so fragile when it come to love
But you seemed willing to love me
Now you walk past, not batting a single lash
Nonchalantly telling me you didn’t want to waste more time and all I want to do is rewind to that first talk.
That first, “I love you”
Baby, just lie to me
Tell me you love me still in the midst of miscommunication, animosity, and fear
Don’t tell me we don’t belong, that we can’t stay strong because our hearts stopped playing the same song
Tell me I’m wrong
That loving you wasn’t wrong
That dancing with your empty skin was wrong
That our winds are from the same sun and ocean
That we are on the same page
Because baby, maybe I’m just disillusioned for thinking our love was on a “forever” type thing, get-up-on-our-wealth type thing and now you want to throw it away because of your blinded by God?
Babe, your apprehension scared you into thinking you could find another like me.
Damnit, I made plans for you
Maybe my heart was wrong for letting you caress my skin but
you lied so perfectly
F*ck it. I love you
Maybe I should get crucified for feeling that way.
– Nma 2016

“Let me fly freely in the wind”

Let me go with the wind
This is the best you can do
Since I could never count on You
Let my body fall like rain
Let me sink into the roots of the earth
Let me grow into a tree
Let me be nature’s last wish
That is free from all responsibilities.
You should know me by now all I wanted is liberation
I wanted to fade into the background like a healing scar
Invisible to society’s judgments
But let my words be that stubborn stain on your favorite button up
The tear in your jeans and dreams
The broken charger
The faulty phone case
The heavy *ss backpack that breaks while you are leaving class
Let me sink into your unwilling teeth
You never wanted to swallow me but you just wanted a taste
Let me water the dead plant inside your soul
Let me give you what you never wanted
Let me love you
Let me fearlessly show you the sun as if it has never shined before
Let me run into your unready arms
But don’t let me fall to this unapologetic earth
Let me fly
Let me fly
Let me fly
And never forget my ocean
Our rivers, our baby, our nostalgic seeds
Let me fulfill to your dry tongue
Your dry eyes
Your dry affection
Let me be a furious rain
A tree that never stops growing, a smile that never ceases
A sun that never goes down
Just let me be free
Realize that you were only a King because my mind said so
So, gain humility and never humiliate another Queen the same way you humiliated me.
 – Nma 2017

Daily Affirmation 

Thyself more than
unrealistic beings
“Comparison is the thief of Joy”
Do not allow thoughts
To manifest into other beings
You are nothing but yourself
Attempting to be anything but that suffocates the soul.
Final Companion, follow your dreams
Believe life’s bottoms’ is made of rubber
That with every fall to failure, you propel to postive energies
You are surrounded by constant avenues for self-progression
But remember to never compromise your self worth for
Incomplete ideas or opinions
You are made in the best possible Image
Please don’t ever forget it.
-Nmachi Som-Anya
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