How Ghana Cured My Depression

I used to be an insufferable pessimist. How Marshall ever endured as long as he did is truly beyond me. Heck, how I survived that long is beyond me as well.

My life hitherto to my healing (because I’m a firm believer that depression is a disease) was motivated by fear. I had to do well on exams to avoid punishment if I failed, rather than having my motivation come from the personal satisfaction of success. I had to get through college (and do well) so that I would not be poor, rather than having the mindset that my higher education could be applied in areas I’d never thought of. When I (unexpectedly) had kids, I mourned the loss of my past life and stayed in that place of mourning for many years. What I should have done instead is embrace my new life, and consider the possibilities.

Possible: That was the keyword that was missing from my vocabulary. I was always looking at life through the lens of what was probable, instead of what was possible.

And then I went home – ‘home’ to Ghana – last August.

Fed up with the American rat race, where my life was a repetitious round work (and then unemployment), limited/no help with the kids, an hour or two of TV at night and finally sleep that more resembled a coma than peaceful slumber, I took 3 of my 4 children to Ghana where I was promised more than enough help with the children and rest for my weary soul and body. What I got instead was even less help with my children, strenuous physical demands, no means to feed my children economically, and the constant nagging fear of not having any money.

With a few exceptions, people in Ghana didn’t show up when they said they would. If they did show up, they were late (as was to be expected). I lived in an area with no running water and had 3 kids – and a 3 month old infant – to bathe every day. My father was tyrannical about how his house was run. “Don’t put that there”, “Don’t put this here”, “Why would you raise such a disrespectful child?”, “You and Marshall don’t know what you’re doing,” blah, blah, BLAH. No one was allowed to help me do our laundry, which had to be done by hand, for fear that they’d case his house and return to rob him. I had no car, and the kids were constantly in my ear about having nowhere to go. I had no buffer, and no help, why? Because as my dad said in confidence to my sister “If Malaka knew she couldn’t take care of all these kids, she never should have had them.”

Ouch. Suddenly, my former “sucky” American life didn’t seem half so bad.

So, broke and way over budget, back to America I fled. Here I had a car – MY car. Here I had committed friends. There is order in America. Heck, there is frikkin’ food in America. Is there food in Ghana? Of course there is…it’s the access that was lacking.

The first day I woke up in my bed, in AMERICA, I felt refreshed and renewed. The next day was the same, and the day after that. Was my house as small as I remembered it and had my bank account actually contracted? Absolutely, but there also existed the possibility to improve my circumstances, which I daresay is a lot easier to do in America that it was (for me) in Ghana. For some Ghanaians it’s different. Life in the Western world seems inconceivable and equally often times leads to depression.

But me? I was cured, and it only cost me $6000+

Now that I’ve begun looking at life through the lens of what is possible, anything seems achievable. And when you feel like you can achieve anything, you feel invincible. Invincibility is the red-headed cousin of immortality, the perfect culmination of which is godliness and there is no room for depression in a godly life.

Ok, so my reasoning is a little reaching, but I make a darn good point, don’t I? 😉