The doctor calls these symptoms but they do not feel like symptoms. They feel like personal failures, like defects. I am normally full of mischievous humour, full of passion, whether in joy or in rage, capable of an active, crackling energy, quick to respond and rebuke, but with this strangeness, I do not even remember what it means to feel. My mind is in mute. I normally like people, I am deeply curious about the lives of others, but with this strangeness comes misanthropy. A cold misanthropy. I am normally the nurturer, worrying about everyone I love, but suddenly I am detached. It frightens me, this sense of slipping out of my normal self. It cannot be an illness. It feels like a metaphysical failure, which I cannot explain but for which I am still responsible.
… In some of my family and friends, I sense confusion, and sometimes, suspicion. I am known to nurse a number of small eccentricities, and perhaps this is one. I avoid them, partly not to burden them with what I do not understand, and partly to shield myself from their bewilderment, while all the time, a terrible guilt chews me whole. I hear their unasked question: Why can’t she just snap out of it? There is, in their reactions, an undertone of “choice”. I might not choose to be this way, but I can choose not to be this way. I understand their thinking because I, too, often think like them. Is this self-indulgence? Surely it cannot be so crippling if I am sentient enough to question it? Does the market woman in Nsukka have depression? When I cannot get out of bed in the morning, would she be able to, since she earns her living day by day? [link]