It has been a hot minute, but lets jump rit back into it, there’s still a very important ex I have to talk about.
This second ex is something very common to us. It’s something we have become extremely friendly with in, but it s something I had to break up with; actually, this may not be a regular break-up process, and you will see why. This ‘Ex’ is something called, DENIAL.
This name doesn’t sound as strong as the last ex, Perfectionism, but trust me, its impact is very substantial.
Psychology defines denial as a defence mechanism (there are 12 of them) involving a refusal to accept reality, thus blocking external events from awareness. Basically, if a situation is just too much to handle, the person may respond by refusing to perceive it or by denying that it exists. Okay, this definition might sound techie and complicated, but I pretty much see denial as lying to oneself to avoid some time of hurt, work, process or effort. It isn’t entirely pretence, but it has an element of pretence. Does this resonate better?
Denial is very subtle; it sneaks up on you and it tends to grow. One day you are denying that you already ate too much chocolate, the next week you are denying that you are stressed, the next month you are denying that you have insecurities. It piles up very rapidly, and when you look back and reflect, if you ever do take time to reflect, you struggle to know what is true and where the seed of denial got planted… SIGH. Another thing about denial is that, apart from the normal day to day, maybe minor denials, it can be an unconscious coping mechanism of the brain to protect us. Sometimes though, it BLINDS us from the things that we actually need to deal with and get healing for. It is like walking around blindfolded and deafened from reality, on purpose!
Phrases like “we move”… “it is what it is” has, for some reason, become so much more common in our generation, (em.. I think it started in the last few years even). Some very good questions to ask tho are:
1a.) Why are we moving? 1b.) Where are we moving to?
2a.) Is it actually what it is tho? 2b.) What if it isn’t what it is?
Lol. I’m just kidding, but you get my point right.
Imagine a scenario where someone gets on your nerves by doing something or being rude, and they come up to you all smiley and instead of apologising they say “we move” or “it is what it is”. (Activate ghetto voice) NOW PERSONALLY, I WOULDN’T HAVE THAT! Or imagine being at college for instance and you failed a test, and instead of revising and doing the work, to take a resit, you say “we move” or “it is what it is”. Now if you’re from an African home, yes you might be moving back to Africa 🤣.
Don’t get me wrong, I get that when some people say this, they are just joking about it, and ngl I use it as well cos I find it funny. In this blog however, I’m trying to address the issue of sitting in a spot of denial in regards to our mental health, our physical health and wellbeing. So in that vein of thought, when it comes to things that can affect our mental health and welbeing, let’s try to only use, “we move”, if we are are intending to “move forward, upward, and smarter”.
For me in particular, regarding my mental health, and my beautiful caramel with chocolate sprinkled skin (my bestie calls it that), I was definitely in denial for the majority of 2018. All through the time, I was depressed, anxious and sometimes suicidal, and for somebody that is such an overthinker, I kinda was in denial of the gravity of what was going on in my head and my mind. Yes, I looked in the mirror every day, multiple times a day even. Yes, I saw the difference in my skin. Yes I could never step out of the house showing my skin. For the majority of the time though, I was brushing it off as something minor, something that would blow over in a few weeks or months, tops. I was mumuishly (stupidly) pretending to be untouchable, when in reality I had literally gone through my biggest life change so far. I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually crumbling.
Unfortunately, due to this denial, I took longer than I probably should have to accept reality, seek God’s love, peace and strength, and walk in the purpose that he has called me into. As for this purpose, it is still a daily discussion.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
James 1:2-4 MSG
Guys just take a moment to appreciate the MSG translation of this bible verse
I most definitely should’ve read this every single day in 2018. I probably would have also seen the beauty in this bible verse sooner, if I had let go of my relationship with denial sooner. Yes we might go through things that we would rather deny, or our brains would rather hide from our realities, but this bible verse encourages us to persevere through whatever that is, so we can grow through that experience and that reality and become better and not lacking in any advanatage or lesson we could’ve learned or gained from the process.
Denying a situation, a problem or just anything doesn’t erase its existence. For instance, imagine living with rats, (like you have a pest problem) and instead of you getting rat traps, you’re choosing to be in denial about your rat problem. Well, there are two routes, either you slap yourself out of that denial, or that denial is going to slap you in the backside. Cos you are going to be finding only half your food in the cupboard and little black round decorations on the floor (rat poop).
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “delay does not mean denial”. See, the way “Delay does not mean Denial”, is the same way “Denial does not mean Delete”. You denying to yourself that you have an issue does not, in any way, equate to the issue being deleted; actually, if we wanna put it in an equation, (for my fellow nerds) I +D = 2dI
I meaning whatever issue, big or small.
D meaning denial.
2dI meaning double portion of your issue.
You know the African praise song “every thing na double double, na double double”. See, this is one of those situations we don’t sing that song for. Also, someone check that equation actually makes sense, I don’t think it does at all, but please get my point. LOL!
Funny enough when I was writing this blog, I saw an Instagram post saying “I wake up and I reject reality”. NAA sis! According to psychologists (like myself), this is POINT BLANK DENIAL. You NEED to wake up, ACCEPT reality and FACE IT, headstrong with the King of Kings right there with you 💁🏽♀️. AMEN
Denying your insecurities for instance doesn’t make you secure. It might mask it in the moment, but all you’ll need is a trigger and all the insecurities will come rushing in like the floodgates got opened.
“Attack that insecurity head-on because you recognise it’s keeping you from the security you need to gain authentic confidence ” .Sarah Jakes Roberts (woman evolve)
Me breaking up with my denial meant I had to get to a place and accept that I needed help. I needed to be liberated and the battle in my mind needed to be handed over to the one person that could fight and win on my behalf. GOD! The thing is my skin would and will stay chocolate-sprinkled for a while, and that’s a reality that I have learnt to accept and I have been offered and afforded the opportunity to love. This is all because I choose to let go of my toxic relationship with denial. You know what, with what my present reality is, and with all I am learning about my whole existence, I wouldn’t swap it for anything; yes including my 2 shade brown skin.
Gosh, 2018 Faith could have never dreamt of that statement. Honestly, she might’ve slapped whomever might’ve told her to love her skin and her present reality. (Weirdly, noticing that I have used the word slap a few times already, I promise, I am not an aggressive person, well I like to think I am not).
Back to my point, being in a relationship with denial can be the source of stagnancy in healing and moving forward. This can be from something more serious than my 2 shade brown skin, and although at the moment your relatioship with denial might seems to be blossoming, it would leave you worse than it met you. Unfortunately, denial is very stubborn, it always tries to come back for a different thing or situation, and you might have to go through this process a few times, but it is worth it. This breakup process is very important to living the life God has called us into, and I can only pray we each have the strength to go through this process, however many times is needed.
For those who aren’t sure that they are in, or might be in denial, or they do not know that they need to go through a breakup, here is a list of some tell-tale signs:
- Do you minimise your hurt or bad behaviour?
- Do you rationalise your bad behaviour, instead of trying to correct them?
- Do you normally pretend that all is well?
- Do you normally ignore your intuition?
- Are you fond of swallowing or burying your emotion?
- Are you fond of ignoring the truth for some temporary happiness or pleasure?
- Do you feel that your reality and your imagination are in total contrast or conflict?
If you answered yes to any of these, (take your time to ponder upon them), you might actually be in a long term relationship with denial.
My advice, Start the breakup process today! and remember , “its okay not to be okay”