My therapist says I am going to do a series of tests to determine the level of trauma and the right therapy for me. Her statement cut through my heart like a sharp razor on my skin. I am finally taking the right step to get better. The many years of dealing with my phobias, nightmares, and panic attacks on my own, will be over soon. I am not a novice to psychotherapy. I had my first encounter with a therapist in 2013 (during NYSC) when my aunt dragged me to the General Hospital in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
“It is abnormal for a person to bed wet at age twenty-one. We need to see a psychiatrist”. I was too embarrassed to object and ashamed of myself. When I sleep, I dream of a beautiful adventurous world, and play like a toddler. Only for me to be awake, and I find myself socked in a pool of piss. I never attended summer or church camps because my parents didn’t want their daughter to embarrass herself. What will people say about the pastor’s daughter who wets her bed? I never had sleepovers or long holidays outside my parents’ house. When I did, I don’t think I ever slept well because I was so scared of exposing this shameful side of me to my cousins.
My adolescent years were boring, and I never allowed myself to have close friends. Aside from the fact that I knew my parents were going to embarrass me if I brought a friend to the house, I learned to detach myself quickly from my peers to avoid being close and the need for them to visit. I was that child who had to spread her sheets every morning before she went to school. I wasn’t ready to become the topic of gossip discussions in school. So, I grew to become extremely friendly but detached.
In university, I couldn’t push people away quickly. My friendly nature became more magnetic and I had to hide the shameful side of me with wisdom. I learned how to be craftily creative in tough circumstances, i became an observer of the night and knew to take the downside of a bunk bed by my second year. I was tired of almost being caught all through the first year. While at my friends’ houses, I was scared to sleep. The only person who found out jokingly called me the usual name ascribed to people like me in the Yoruba language- A tó lé. I also cleverly hid this from my boyfriends.
My first session was strange and a new experience. The doctor asked me a lot of questions about my background, schooling, and friendships, which made me cry. He then prescribed a small pink drug which made me sleep so deep. Moreover, I woke up dry. I attended the second therapy session with my aunt because she was very curious about my situation, and wanted the doctor to give specific reasons, to the cause of my issues. It was at this point, the doctor explained that I was going through emotional stress and the result was a socked bed in the morning. Bed wetting wasn’t a fault of mine, and neither was it demonic.
Oh, the relief! I couldn’t explain the joy and confidence I felt. However, I had to stop my first therapy because the sessions were too intense for me to handle. Now, I realise I should have continued. I wouldn’t have reached the worst state I am now at twenty-eight. Although I have stopped bed wetting, I still have phobias and anxiety to deal with, which has now graduated into panic attacks, a short attention span, insatiability, and sleeplessness.
“Oh, you shouldn’t have stopped therapy. Yes, these sessions can be intense, but they are helpful. It feels good to say that i’m am happy you realise the importance of your psychological health, and you are willing to go through this journey”. I told my new therapist last week that I was just a flip away from suicide, and i don’t know what hasn’t made me flip yet. I wake up blaming myself for my reaction. Just maybe should have remained quiet and continued playing the fool. Since my adolescent years, I always had to cower my abilities, and my phobia of being called dishonourable, made me subconsciously bury, a part of me.