When Valentine Wairimu Wathiomo quit her first job, she never really knew she was struggling with depression. She could not fathom the idea of her boss shouting at her colleagues for no apparent reason.
I quit my Job - I was struggling with depression not knowing I was actually depressed [Part 1]
Valentine Wairimu opens up on her painful battle with depression
Like most youths, Wairimu went on with her daily business, as usual, hoping that she would be alright. However, things got worse each dawn, Wairimu didn’t know that she was depressed.
Pulselive.co.ke caught up with the 25-year-old digital marketer who takes us through her struggle with depression and personality problems.
Wairimu's childhood struggles
Unlike most depression stories which are due to traumatic situations, Wairimu’s story is different. Her case with depression is tied up close to her personality and she traces it back to her childhood.
“I grew up a very weird child. I liked staying all alone just reading my books and indoors. Generally not playing with other kids” Wairimu recalls her childhood as a loner.
She would struggle to interact with other kids in school who thought she was a snob or just a grumpy person.
“Even my own parents thought my withdrawal habits would come to an end after adolescence, unfortunately, that never happened and they were also struggling to understand me,” she tells this journalist.
Mimicking people's emotions and alcoholism
It was not until she joined campus that she figured out another aspect of herself: each time she got into a place with people, she would automatically feel their emotions. Even though she was happy, her emotions would change depending on what those around her were feeling. Wairimu did not understand what was happening to her and she actually thought that she was going insane.
With all the confusion of not knowing what was happening to her, Wairimu shifted to alcohol to numb her strange feelings.
“Every time I was around people, I would feel like the emotions were mine. I would walk into a room when I’m really happy and maybe guys there are sad, I would mimic their mood and my mood would just change instantly. And I did not understand what was going on with me. I thought I was maybe going insane or I am just weird.''
“Trying to figure out what was going on was hard and I tried numbing the whole weird feeling with alcohol. it’s not the normal alcohol that guys in campus do, mine was overboard because I drank so much in Campus and it wasn’t a good time for me,” Wairimu narrates to this journalist.
Hostile working environments
When she started working, things got worse. She realized that she could not survive in a working environment where people were not handled with empathy. It pained her to see her colleagues being treated unfairly, she absorbed so many emotions that she got drained and quit her job.
“If there is a lot of pressure, if there is a lot of shouting, if there is a lot of stimuli around me, I cannot survive in such a place; and it’s hard because most of our workplaces are like that. With my first job, I quit and moved out immediately because I did not want questions from my parents and did not want to answer why I was doing all this yet I didn't understand it myself. I just wanted to be alone and figure things out,” Wairimu says.
What Wairimu hadn’t figured out was that the freedom that comes with moving out comes with responsibility. And a whole set of challenges awaited her.
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