Since I have been conscious of my environment, I have always been in pain. As a child, I was not allowed to play with children, always wore thick clothes, and never played in the rain. I wanted to leave life like other children. I was not allowed to do chores nor was I allowed to have fun. I just wanted to live!!! As much as my physical health was bad, my mental health was worse.
I went through school as a sickly child. I have always been brilliant but frequently on admission because of sickle cell. After elementary, most of my classmates went to boarding schools but I was not allowed. My house was adjacent to my house. I lived a very careful and boring life. My rotation was a school, house, the church and the hospital. I wanted more!!!
Many times I just wanted to die!!! Living like this was not what I wanted. My mum was always afraid I could die. She had lost two children before and she was so scared I could join them. My parents are both AS and we were five children. My sister (AA), my brother (AS), my brothers (SS) and myself (SS). My brothers both sickle celled had passed on at early age which destabilized my mum. She gave almost all attention to me and my siblings were a bit abandoned. I had no errands, my siblings and my parents did everything for me. I could be the only person eating while my siblings are moping on me.
“Tayo is the one that needs to eat and take her vitamins so that she can be healthy” my mum often says.
My dad would say “Leave this girl alone” let her leave her life! You are pampering this girl too much!
My siblings were usually cold to me because I was getting all the attention and they were deprived of our mothers’ love.
My dad was warm and free. He wanted to enjoy moments with me. He would run around with me in the house, and play basketball outside only when my mum was absent. That was when he would explain my mum’s behaviour to us with compassion. My siblings became warmer and our relationship got better. But my mum was still afraid.
I got admission to the University of Lagos and we practically moved to Abule-Oja. We were living at Ogudu and my dad was working on the island. When we moved to Yaba-axis, my dad would go to the Island to work while my mum closed her shop and opened a new mini-mart inside the school. She would drive me to school in the morning and go to her shop afterwards.
My life in school was also boring. My siblings were having the time of their lives while I was still following my mum everywhere. Everyone in class knew I was mummy’s girl. I was not even allowed to talk to boys or attend parties. I could be talking to a male friend and my mum would just call my name.
My siblings were far north for their national youth service corps while I stayed in Lagos. I really wanted to break free from my mother. My siblings relocated to foreign countries after their NYSC.
After NYSC, I got a job in Abuja and my mum wanted to follow. I insisted I go alone, but when I realized she was adamant, I declined the offer. We moved to our built house in Ikorodu and since I was jobless, I started learning coding.
I was going to church one day when I saw a poster about Arogi Trauma Care Foundation in 2022. I called the number and spoke to a therapist. I had lengthy therapy sessions weekly for 8 weeks.
After my sessions, I had a lengthy discussion with my parents. With the help of my father, I moved to a self-contained apartment in Maryland. My mum was visiting weekly at first before I insisted on her to stop coming. I got a software developer job at Ikeja and I was living better. I was taking my vitamins, eating fruits and ensuring hydration for myself. I started dating a childhood friend. He had always liked me but I was afraid. I did not want to be a liability to him.
Now, I am allowing myself to be loved. My mental health is better, and so is my physical health. I still have my crises and get afraid but my partner has been more than helpful. My job is hybrid which allows me to take care of myself.
A big kudos to all the sickle-cell warriors. Take care of your mental health as much as your physical health
Call Arogi Trauma Care Foundation for FREE THERAPY