From one addict to another: Shame (Part 2)

By Inyang Edoho

 

(CONTINUED FROM THE PREVIOUS POST)

Later, years after floating around and trying to just live, struggling with the thought of self-harm, attempting to shut down by ingesting about forty or fifty tablets of multivites, I found the father side of God and while that doesn’t have to make sense to anyone, it helped me out of the darkest days of my life. My life before then was a blur. I barely have memories of secondary school. People think that faith makes one constrained. My experience is the direct opposite. For the first time in years, I felt it was okay to think for myself and to really determine what I think is right for me. After that I have come to accept my differences/uniqueness.

In secondary school, I just didn’t fit anywhere and I seemed to disagree with everything but didn’t have the courage to say anything. The funny thing is, now as an adult, I see that my thoughts totally made sense, but I dared not say them. I think that’s why I say just about anything I want on my Whatsapp status(lol). I’m a person who is discovering her voice and it is so beautiful, but every now and then it comes up; The question of body image and now, a new problem – not being smart enough.

I started out by talking about differences and I think it can be one of the reasons we accept shame. I am almost always leaning toward the opposite direction. I doubt that I’ve ever been with people that I totally agree with, not even in my faith. It is who I have come to know as myself and maybe because I spent time knowing what it means to pretend to agree, I have a bit of sympathy or even empathy for people who have to do that their whole lives, even as adults. So when I watch documentaries about people like Whitney Houston and Jeffrey Dahmer (yes I put both names in a sentence), I wonder if things could have turned out differently if they could really open up about their struggles.

Jeffery was a serial killer who started having the love for dead things as child. His father said he used to collect dead animals. What they didn’t know was that soon, he felt a strong urge to collect human beings. What if he could open up about it? Maybe his parents and friends wouldn’t have let him live alone. Maybe he would have been accountable to someone. All we have now is maybes, but if he could have opened up, there’s a fair chance that so many wouldn’t have died at his hands. That’s a ridiculous stretch, I know and I’m definitely not trying to defend someone who killed like that. I am saying what if people could ditch shame and open up about impulses as extremely horrifying as that. There’s the argument about whether or not his problem was really shame of having proclivities were just too extreme; maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe he was just evil or maybe he was sick. Maybe, but just the fact that shame could possibly be a factor in the loss of at least seventeen human lives is disturbing. What is shame? Why do we keep it around anyway?

What if the lovely Whitney and the many people who have lost their lives to drug abuse could freely speak about that urge when it returned? Maybe they would still be alive or maybe not. Just maybes, I know.

But why don’t they talk? Why sit on such a secret? You would have your theory, but I think it comes down to shame. To not wanting to be the odd person with that burden and do you see how funny that is, because every single human being is odd, flawed and different. That’s the whole concept of being human. We are not the same. Most standards we live by are clearly silly. Like the school system we run or our very interesting standards of beauty that force people to think that because they were born at a certain time in history or in certain cultures, they’re not beautiful. That thing changes with every generation!

I think shame is ugly. I think we’ve lost many people, dreams and opportunities to shame. And what are we ashamed of? Tendencies we didn’t put in ourselves, problems that came from being in the social places we found ourselves in, the way our bodies look, deformities, choices we made out of ignorance, needing psychiatric help? Why should we carry all that?

Recently we lost someone in my large family and my mom told me it made her feel ashamed because he was young. In some way I know what that feels like.

Shame can come from anywhere, anything to get you out of the good place, but the truth is we are all ashamed of something and shame can hold us as long as we refuse to bare our souls and be vulnerable.

I have no answers, I have no cure and I still have things I’m ashamed of. What I decided to do is face shame whenever it comes; to walk out of the darkness and speak out about the things that try to eat me up within. I’m reclaiming myself by putting those things out there, because once they’re out, they can only hurt just a little bit.

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Photo credit: Kevin Jesus Horacio on Unsplash

I’ve made peace with my bad decisions and I try every day to speak my truth on my own terms. I’m probably still just 30% there, but it’s some distance from 5 and I’m committed to it. As long as my actions don’t infringe on other people’s rights or hurt people’s self-esteem, I’ll just keep trying to allow myself breathe. It’s definitely not easy, but whatever flaws I see are merely aspects of me; there are lovely things about me and thankfully, I honestly really love me (long journey, story for another day). I’d like to meet me, to be friends with me. I accept this person as flawed as she is, because I know her and she’s certainly enough.

Shame comes from the feeling that maybe what we’re ashamed of makes us less adequate; but in fact, the world is like a hall full of crazy people screaming at the top of their lungs “I’M SANE”. We’re all crazy together, just a little bit. Nobody is adequate. Some people are smarter, some have learnt to deal with their demons better, but the truth is, we all have them and I could start a story about how those demons will equip you to be of service to other people in the future, but you already know that, don’t you? Don’t let shame take you down. It’s a leech living through you; decide how much oxygen you’ll give it and that’s the much it will get.

This is more of a rant than a well written piece, but I do hope you got something. 

 

Photo credit: Tammy Gann on Unsplash

About the Author:

Inyang Edoho is a writer and content creator with experience in film, radio and television.

 

 

*If you will like to share your stories of past/present addictions like this here on the blog, you can send your story to fromoneaddicttoanother@gmail.com. We will be honoured to be a part of your journey to understanding yourself and working your way through life lessons.

We will all be fine………. regardless of our journey, if we want to be.

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