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Too stressed to stay blessed

By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo   |   18 February 2017   |   3:10 am

Depressed woman

Imagine a young girl fresh out of university. Let’s call her Blessing. She is 24, Daddy’s little girl, the apple of Mummy’s eye – an only child, mollycoddled, pampered, wrapped up in cotton wool…

Blessing thinks she has got it figured. She is independent. She does not need anyone else. Why should she trouble anyone with her wahala when she can do it her own way?

For instance, the year before her NYSC, Blessings gets offered a job – N50,000, plus all accommodation, food, expenses taken care of. She is an executive assistant to the business development manager of a production company. She is told she can take the car anytime she needs to run errands. But Blessing is not one to trouble anyone. Instead, she walks up and down the streets of Lagos, most days arriving at her destination, covered in dust and sweating from head to toe.


In her infinite wisdom, Blessing one night decides to send the driver home so as not to trouble him going back to the Mainland, instead opts for an unlicensed cab which turns out to be armed robbers in disguise and gets relieved of all her essentials including the company phone. She is lucky to have saved her laptop in a plastic bag, which the robbers mistake for her shoes. She is lucky to still be alive.

Despite it all, her boss gives her a chance, takes a huge leap of faith because she believes in Blessing. If she plays her cards right and gets her act together, she can travel the world with her job and build herself up. But, does Blessing believe in herself, or in taking long leaps of faith?

Within months, her work deteriorates, her confidence diminishes, her common sense all but disappears. Blessing finally quits. She is tired, she is forgetful, she is unhealthy, she is unhappy. Excuses just don’t add up. When you ask her what is wrong, her answer is a big fat “Nothing”.

A while later, despite her family and friends working weeks on end to transfer her NYSC from the back of the beyond to Lagos, and what’s more for a salary of N50,000 a month, Blessing says she will go into the wilderness. Because she wants to ‘find herself’… She says she has a lot of growing up to do, so perhaps it is best for everyone if she does it in her own time, her own way. 

On her return to Lagos, months after applying for any job available, Blessing gets an offer to work as a PA to an artist. Even better pay, better living conditions, all expenses covered. She has access to her boss’s kitchen, her boss’s car, her boss’s contacts. Things are looking up. If she plays her cards right, Blessing will go places. Yet, does she have faith in her journey?

Soon after, the same downward spiral begins. She is tired, she is forgetful, she is unhealthy, she is unhappy. She eventually stops going back to work.

When you ask her what is wrong, her answer is still a big fat “Nothing”. You read between the lines a little girl lost, so sure she knows the answers, but with no one she can turn to when her answers fail her. A girl who posts Bible scriptures and motivational quotes on her social media but fails to see the irony of just how far removed her life is from her aspirations. A girl who thinks she can survive as an island but is slowly sinking in the ocean of her inadequacy to deal with what life throws at her. A girl who is not capable to handling the challenges, but equally incompetent in receiving gracefully the good fortune an blessings bestowed upon her. A girl who stumbles through day to day existence with no idea of what the future holds and is too scared to achieve her best potential.

Look around you. You are likely to know at least one Blessing, who has skills and a support system to be the best version of herself but is almost to afraid to take a chance on herself that every time good life seems within her grasp she resorts to self-sabotage. One by one, she shoots her dreams, her opportunities, her pathways until her journey is reduced to one long, dreary track of unfulfilled dreams. She is more capable to deal with failure and victimhood than success and victory.

Blessing is self-defeat personified. Never formally admitted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), self-defeating personality disorder is defined by a pervasive pattern of self-defeating behavior, whereby the person may often avoid or undermine pleasurable experiences, be drawn to situations or relationships in which he or she will suffer, and prevent others from helping him or her. Look around you. If you do not know at least one Blessing, you may have to look in the mirror to see her.


In this article:
Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo


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