Depression is one of the biggest silent killers at the moment as a lot of people are either too shy to speak about it or don’t even know they are going through it.
Betty Irabor suffered a similar fate as she didn’t even know she was going through depression when she realised that she couldn’t sleep at night anymore. In her new book ‘Dust To Dew,’ the magazine publisher shared her struggles with depression and how she was able to seek help and overcome it.
After reading Betty’s book, here are ten things I feel like you can learn from her struggles with depression.
1. She wasn’t aware of problem at the early stage
For Betty Irabor, she had always found it difficult sleeping at night even at an early stage of her life. Even though she didn’t take it really seriously, it got worse as she aged. She was elusive of the fact there was a problem, rather she found solace in taking drugs from the pharmacy counter especially Valium 5. Apparently, it became a norm for her and it really didn’t do much for her, rather sleep became a luxury that she couldn’t afford.
2. The effects of an absent dad
In her very explosive book, Betty Irabor had a very strange relationship with her late father. Coming from a home where her father was always present, to watching your father send you away with your siblings to your mum, it must have been traumatic for her. Just like every child who grew up with a love and hate relationship with their dad, Betty mentioned her dad in almost every chapter making it look like she really liked him.
3. She had a strong family bond
One cannot ignore the fact Betty Irabor apparently has a very united and strong bond with her mother, two sisters, two brothers (one of them was her half-brother). From growing up with their dad to moving in with their mum who later got married again, she had an eventful childhood. They were all aware of her sleepless nights and tried as much as possible to be involved in getting her help. Even though they tried, it was obvious they too, were unaware of Betty’s ailment. They unconsciously had a specific way of starting up conversations with her “Did you get enough sleep?” or “Did you sleep at all?”
4. And a supporting husband
In the first and a bit of the second chapter, Betty sounded like she was fighting her sleepless nights alone until she began to mention how her husband and veteran journalist, Soni Irabor became a part of the journey through her fights with depression. In the book, Soni could read her body languages, he alone understood more than anyone when she wasn’t alright. Even when she wanted to left alone, Soni knew the right buttons to get to his beautiful wife. He was present in almost all her visits to the various doctors and therapist.
5. Betty Irabor the workaholic
From childhood, Betty Irabor had always been the hardworking one even among her siblings. According to her, her mother preferred her doing the house chores and errands to her other sisters. Guess it played a major impact when she started off Genevieve Magazine. All through her struggles with depression, it didn’t affect her work as she put in so much work even when there were delays and little distractions. It took a lot of pressure from her staff for her to go on a two months break in the UK and allow them to run the affairs of the publishing house.
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6. When she lost her brother
If you haven’t seen a copy of this book, then you should know it was dedicated in loving memory of her late brother, Fred Bello-Osagie. Fred and Betty had a very close relationship right from childhood so she was always there when he got ill (Sickle cell anemia). In the book, Betty had just gotten back from the United Kingdom and was making a recovery from depression when her brother fell ill and passed on. It gave her recovery a big blow as she relapsed in depression again.
7. Nigeria has a ”failed” medical system
After reading the book, you would see a clear reason why the government has to declare a state of emergency in the health sector. Betty gave instances where she visited hospitals with power facilities, like the time she describes a ceiling fan at a doctor’s office which looked really bad and old. The effects of a failed health system also came to play in the book when her late brother’s friend revealed that he (Fred) didn’t get urgent medical attention when they got to the hospital as he was left on the floor until a nurse was bribed to get a bed for him.
8. Discovering the exact problem
In the book, Betty Irabor wanted a solution to her inability to sleep and sought for help which kind of give the good, bad and ugly results. At some point, some hospitals made as much as almost half a million naira from treating her and it didn’t solve anything. She got really despite to finding a solution, she even visited a hypnotist while in the UK which amounted to nothing. It took the intervention of a Prof of psychiatry to discover that she was actually suffering from depression.
9. Depression ruins self-esteem
In the social circle, Betty Irabor is known to be a fashionista and is always a toast to the cameramen on the red carpets. Well when she began to fight depression, it took a toll on her physical appearance as she lost a lot of weight. Well, it really gave a big blow to her self-esteem as she began to hide for cameramen by always covering her face with a hand fan. A major big blow to Betty’s self-esteem was when she traveled for the New York Fashion Week and didn’t leave her hotel all through the duration of the fashion event.
10. Finding help at the right place
After searching for help from different quarters, spending so much on prescription drugs without any solution, help finally came. Soni Irabor was able to drag a reluctant Betty to a doctor who was different from the other doctors. She got more than just prescription drugs, rather, it was more like taking different approach to getting help. Her new doctor wasn’t just interested in writing drugs or putting the blame on her but helped through the journey to a lasting solution to depression.