A Note on Answered Prayers.

For me, these past few months have been a season in which God has been answering my prayers. Not even just prayers I’ve prayed recently, but some way earlier in the year. Some had been consistent prayer topics for a couple of years or more.

Of course, the intuitive response when you see someone speak on answered prayers is gladness, rejoicing. This is a happy thing, isn’t it? Well… I don’t know about happy, but I know about good. And I know that when good things happen, they don’t always make you happy. Sometimes, they hurt.

One of the things about Spirit-led prayer is that it inspires requests according to God’s design and not human’s desires. (Sometimes, for instance, it’s in the kind of selflessness that leads me to pray for people other than myself, even and especially when they are pissing me off or causing me pain.) But of course, that means the answers to those prayers also manifest according to God’s design and not human’s desires. That’s the annoying part.

Once I do pray about someone or something that’s heavy on my heart, it’s hard to avoid imagining an affirmative answer from God that immediately benefits me. When I ask God to heal someone I love, what my flesh is saying is that I want to personally enjoy the benefits of this person’s healing, through their presence in my life. But what if I’m impeding their healing and the only chance they have at it exists in my absence? When I ask God to keep me from idolatry, my flesh is saying in the footnotes, “This person or this thing that I am obsessed with doesn’t count o, God, make you no touch that one.” And what if “that one” is the very thing likely to lead me to ruin?

Sometimes, answered prayers hurt. But if God knows what I need, why would He deny it to me?  I’ve never heard anyone say they regret their prayers, but this year is the closest I’ve ever come to that. But the Devil is a liar & a God who isn’t infinitely wiser than me wouldn’t be worth worshipping. Requests I have fasted for, cried for, lost sleep over, shattered for – all being answered. And most hurting, quite ironically, like hell. But God is still good and pain too can pass. Hallelujah, Amen.

-Akotz 🕸

For Next Time.

For Next Time: A list dedicated to Akotowaa, from The Spider Kid. 

  1. You will not conflate your desire to be loved by a person, with any actual love for the person. You will not project your desire to be wanted onto any human being.
  2. If a person decides they want you, you will let them show it. If they don’t show it, you will let it go. You will remember that you are wanted, regardless, by a God who will never stop wanting you.
  3. You will not entertain indifference to the point of trauma. You will see signs of disinterest for what they are, and you will leave when you are repeatedly told, in words or otherwise, that you must go.
  4. You will not try to convince yourself that love is present when it will not be confessed at any opportunity.
  5. You will remember that you must only allow yourself to fall in love with a person, and not the version of the person you wish they were or would become.
  6. You will not mistake scientific intrigue regarding your most unusual qualities, for love.
  7. You will not mistake someone’s love for your works, talents, or performance, for love of your person.
  8. You will not mistake admiration for your personal virtues, for love.
  9. You will not mistake someone’s interest in fulfilling their sexual desires through you, for love.
  10. You will not believe that your sexuality deems you incapable of developing and thriving in the kinds of relationships that may bring you fulfillment.
  11. You will not allow yourself to believe that your psychological conditions prevent you either from being loved or loving well.
  12. You will not mistake somebody’s unwillingness to let you kill yourself, for love.
  13. You will not decide to owe your life, love, presence or ultimate allegiance to whoever stops you from killing yourself.
  14. You will refuse to hold onto guilt, self-deprecation, or feelings of unworthiness when anyone presents you with the fruits of kindness or love. You will throw “worthy” out the window and remove “deserve” from your lexicon. If you were saved by grace, you can live by it. If you can accept and give thanks for what the son of God did for you, you can accept and give thanks for what a human chooses to do for you. You will not allow bad feelings towards yourself to corrupt or define your relationships.
  15. You will not consider it your responsibility to heal a person, fix their situations, be their unpaid therapist, do their emotional work, or try to do anything that is God’s responsibility alone, or theirs. You will do only the labor that God tells you to. You will be instrument, but never instrumentalist.
  16. You will not regard the end of any relationship as the end of your life as you believe it ought to be.
  17. You will not walk away from any failed relationship with the feeling that you are unlovable. (Because it is not true.)
  18. You will not walk away from any failed relationship feeling that you can never be understood. (Because you know that this is not true.)
  19. You will not assume that the person someone is with you is the same person they would be without you. People are always evolving, when they give themselves permission.
  20. You will not assume that the person you are with someone is the same person you will be without them. You are always evolving, if you give yourself permission.

With all my love,

The Spider Kid. 🕸

Notes on My Non-Linear Healing Process

Rationality and Irrationality

I suspect that wanting to live—wanting anything at all, just wanting—is a human default. It does (or should) come as normally as breathing. According to this line of reasoning, a mentally healthy human being shouldn’t need a reason to want to live. There’s a reason why survival instinct is called what it is. A desire to live is thoughtless; instinctive.

As I progress in my journey of recovering from mental illness, the thoughts in the paragraph above have been foremost in my mind. The healthier I seem to get, the more I seem to want to live. When I am healthy, I wake up and do things, without necessarily contemplating the futility of it all. And when I do consider the futility of it all, I almost instinctively brush those thoughts aside and continue to do life.

The most fascinating thing about my fluctuation between good and ill health is that in each condition, I continue to think the way I’ve thought for ages. Most things about life as it is, I still consider to be largely meaningless, unnecessarily stressful, and stuff I simply do not want to have to deal with. I’m still frequently baffled as to why Someone thought it was a good idea to put me, alive, into this world. In other words, I don’t consider the sentiments of my mentally unhealthy mind to be the results of irrationality. Most of its reasoning still makes very good sense to me. The difference is that, when I am more healthy than unhealthy, those very good reasons have much less weight on me, in my day-to-day life. After all, many people who aren’t depressed are also not under any illusions that this world is in good, perfectly acceptable condition. So, no, I don’t consider my unhealthy mind to be mostly-irrational. If anything, maintaining the desire to live is one of the most irrational things a human being in this world can do.


The Function of Desire

On the subject of “wanting” and how thoroughly it can just vanish: In my healthy states, I find myself wanting something considerably frivolous—a high-spec Microsoft Surface, complete with a Surface Pen. I don’t need these objects—but I want them badly. Badly enough that I wake up in the morning, think about how I can’t yet afford them, and thus find motivation to go to work so that, sometime in the future, I might be able to. This deep desire for an object as otherwise insignificant as a fancy, underrated computer, is one of the main things I use to confirm that I am alive and (close to) mentally healthy. Because when I am unhealthy, there is absolutely nothing that I want—besides nonexistence or death, I suppose—however desirable my healthy mind considers it to be.

For example, a couple of months ago, a significant paid performance opportunity came my way. It ended up not pulling through—but for the period I thought it would, in working towards it, going to meetings, etc., I felt no positive emotions towards the opportunity. In fact, in that period, I frequently woke up in tears and confessed repeatedly to my relatives that I didn’t want to live anymore (which is nothing new to them, anyway). To put this into better context—and here, the post Work, Worth and Wages might be useful—I’ve spent so much of the past few years worrying that, as an artist, especially in Ghana, significant paid opportunities would never come my way. And here I was in 2019 with offers almost bombarding me successively, and I didn’t want any of it, even though I had been wanting this very thing for half of my life. That was one of the most obvious indicators that mentally, I was far, far gone.


Re-Learning What Healthy Looks Like on Me

On how I personally distinguish between good and ill health: If you had asked me, six months ago, if I thought I was ill, mentally or physically, I might have said no. I even admit to having published a blog post last year to that effect. My reasoning, which I still consider legitimate, was the rationality behind many of the thoughts and sentiments behind my depression and even suicidality. The world is and was trash, my friendships were indeed breaking apart, my academics were legitimately stressing me out, my relationship with my family was in shambles, etc. Verifiable facts. It’s a similar phenomenon with my body. After being plagued with chronic headaches since age twelve, and the various physical malfunctions I’d become used to and exhausted of at the same time, I suppose I came to regard these things as a kind of Akotowaa default. You know, when you’ve been sick for so long, you start believing your sick state is your natural state?

Sometime in January, I started taking two types of regular medication: vitamin supplements—to help with my lack of energy problem—and anti-depressants. Alongside these, I began cognitive behavioral therapy sessions with a qualified, Christian, Ghanaian woman. (This combination of my therapist’s identities is very important to me.) At the beginning of this treatment journey, there were a few things my professionals made clear to me:

  1. Anti-depressants don’t necessarily start doing what they’re supposed to do until about two weeks after you’ve started taking them. (The side-effects, however, begin immediately.)
  2. For a case like mine, anti-depressants wouldn’t be enough to set me on a meaningfully progressive trajectory. I would need cognitive behavioral therapy as well. Likewise, therapy alone wasn’t guaranteed to have much of an effect on me if my biological and neurological problems remained untreated. So, neither the medication nor therapy could be taken in isolation; I needed both.
  3. My healing process was supposed to be a general upward trend, but it was almost certain to be non-linear. This meant that I would be getting better slowly, but each day would not automatically be better than the last. I would still be experiencing bad spells and relapses, but the hope was that a bad spell this week, for example, would be less bad than a bad spell from two weeks ago.

All of these things turned out to be perfectly accurate projections—which is not to say that the forewarnings significantly reduced my panic, doubt and discouragement during bad spells and relapses. But, for now, I want to focus on my reaction to the physical transformations I went through when the meds at last started doing what they were supposed to do. That is, after the first two weeks of taking them.

Those second two weeks of being on medication, I experienced literally the highest level of physical health I had ever experienced in six or seven years. Chronic headaches and photosensitivity, in particular, have plagued me since adolescence began. But the third week into being on medication, I started a new TV series, which I quickly descended into binge-watching. Note that I have never, since 2012, been able to watch things—even movies at the cinema, or projections during classes—without consequences on my eyes and head. So, imagine my surprise when I carelessly got into the habit of watching six to seven 45-minute episodes a day, expecting to be crippled by migraines before bedtime, and instead… Nothing.

I don’t think there are words to properly articulate my wonder. I went twenty-one days (I counted) without a headache, even though it seemed I was doing almost everything in my power to self-sabotage, at least, according to the patterns of my body which I had gotten used to after seven years.

In those weeks, I literally could not believe the state of my health. Not only were my screen habits not severely affecting my health (I say “severely” because I still got occasionally dry-eyed), but I also felt baselessly happy and full of energy for a majority of the days. I’m not exaggerating when I say I felt like a completely different person. This healthy person, I assumed, is what I could have been several years ago, had depression not interrupted my growth.

But it was also jarring and terrifying to experience this bout of high health. For one thing, I began wondering if anything I thought I knew about myself was true. How much of what I thought constituted my personality was actually a side-effect of depression? Am I even introverted? Or has it always just been depression sapping my energy when I’m around people? Do I really have extra-sensitive eyes, or was it just chemical imbalances in my brain mimicking the photosensitivity effect? (And so on.) Among the few, few things that remained constant was that I still had a great love for good stories, storytelling, and lexivism.

Another negative effect of my good health spell was a certain rage. Rage at depression for stealing the entirety of my teenage years. What a waste of the woman I could have grown into by now! What a useless forfeit of all I could have achieved, with a healthy mind and body at fifteen, seventeen, nineteen… Yeah, I think I’m still quite mad about this one. I don’t appreciate how much of my life I feel I have lost.

The point, however, is that, now that I know what healthy feels like, it’s that much more obvious to me that I haven’t been healthy for the past few years, no matter what I have said in previous blog posts. I said those things because I didn’t understand what healthy looked like on me. Now, I do.

The further consequence of understanding my health is a general inability to continue accepting my moments of ill health as my default. (I say “general” because, when I’m depressed, my thoughts tend to return to the idea of me as a permanently-damaged being.) A few weeks ago, I realized something so powerfully striking that I had to write it down: “The sick version of me is not the final version of me.” It’s much easier to recognize depression as an affliction that I have, as opposed to a part of my makeup. My therapist was invaluable in helping me digest this one. Now, it’s easier to recognize my moments of ill health as just those—moments. In no way permanent. Because I’m recovering, however winding this process may be. I’ve decided that being depressed is not my purpose in life; therefore, I cannot stay in it.



Non-Linearity in an Upward Trend

More on non-linearity: If you’re quite bad at athletics like I am, this analogy might make more sense to you.

You have a lap to run, around a track. You go on your marks with full vim, ready to tear the track up. Go! The whistle blows, you start sprinting. This is easy, you’re going to get to the finish line in a breeze. Less than halfway, and your breath is already giving out. You get slower and rockier, your body unable to keep up the pace. You fear you might stop altogether. But you don’t stop. You don’t return to the speed you started with, either, because you don’t have the strength for that. As you approach the finish line, you’re sort-of-jogging at the only pace your body seems able to go at without stopping altogether. But it’s fine because at least you’re stable now. Though you may still stumble, you’re not as erratic as you were in the middle, nor as fast and unsustainable as you were in the beginning. You hope, with a little more time and practice at running laps, that the speed at which you started will one day become your stable pace.

That initial speed is kind of how my body reacted to being put on new medication—the second two weeks. New chemicals had been introduced into my body and my brain was fired up by them. Three weeks without a headache? Unheard of, in this body. But after that, my brain and body were like, “You know what? We actually can’t keep this up. We’re going to stop now, sorry.” Then I returned to chronic tiredness, and random bursts of energy, then back to tiredness. The erratic part of the lap. Now, I feel like I’m stabilizing better, somewhere at a fraction of the initial splendid health. I’m doing life almost—but not quite—like a functional human being, on most days. I’m certainly more productive than I was four months ago. But my mind and body are still swift to let me know when I’m overextending. The migraines from going too long without food, the incapacitation when I worked too much the previous day, the occasional carelessness that brings my anxiety back…

With fair frequency, I have moments of clarity. Quite often, recently, I have been able to find so much joy in personal writing projects. My desire for and pleasure derived from work, both paid and unpaid, has made me think back often to the essay, “Why Work?” by Dorothy Sayers (which is possibly the best essay I have ever read). She says in it, among many other things,

“[…] work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.”

I’m still slow at most things, which can be crippling and discouraging at times, simply because the world feels so fast to me. It’s a difficult—yet somehow, increasingly easier—thing to accept that the speed at which I think I should be running, in order to be properly aligned with this world, might never be sustainable for me, and thus never achievable if I want to avoid completely wrecking myself. Another difficult prospect to accept is that I might have to be on medication for a long, long time. The future of my health is just so uncertain. Maybe I’ll stop needing the extra help soon. But… maybe I won’t. I don’t think I’m in a hurry anymore to get off it. I also think and hope that if I do get off, and subsequently experience a grave relapse, I won’t throw a fit if I have to get back on drugs.

C’est la vie, I suppose. Personally, I just want to write lit things.


Purpose + Being Forced to Focus

I assume, if you’re a believer—and perhaps, even if you aren’t—that you believe in purpose. I do. And although I can’t front like I know exactly what my purpose is in this bleak life, an educated guess tells me that if it exists, whatever it is, it’s deeply related to writing/storytelling/lexivism.

For anyone who believes in purpose, I think it would be natural to consider that this too has a purpose: that there’s a reason I’m only permitted to have a faint idea of my own purpose; like signs consistently pointing me in the right direction without ever telling me explicitly where I’m headed—and that maybe this is for my own good.

“Mystery is such a strange gift. The unknown is such a wonderful vegetable. It’s a good thing we can’t see the future. Because we’d ruin it every chance we get.”—Propaganda [Was It All Worth It?]


I think natural talents and abilities are, by definition, God-given gifts. I also think that too many of them in one vessel is dangerous—particularly for the vessels themselves. It may be as easy to be inspired by endless possibilities as to become crippled by them. But more importantly, too many gifts just might result in potentially endless confusion about one’s purpose because of one’s apparently endless potential; or, endless possibilities of ending up on a path which might not necessarily be in line with one’s purpose. For instance: If my purpose is to be Something, and yet I have the potential to be anything, the chances are that, without proper direction, I might easily end up being Another Thing instead of Something. And it might not even be my fault.

I’m starting to believe I have been, for a good part of my life, in exactly this kind of danger. I also believe I have been—am being—saved from it, albeit in ways that displease me greatly.


My childhood was saturated with activity and high achievement, inside and outside the classroom. I wrote briefly, in “Terror + Taking A Semester Off,” about my early academic success. Suffice it to say, there was not a single field of study that I could not excel in—and I was no less prolific with my extracurriculars. Ten years of dance classes and a couple awards from my Dance Academy; three or four years of roller-skating ­and roller-blading until I could do tricks backwards and forwards like nobody’s business; playing the piano from age three and composing my own music by age ten; picking up Mandarin Chinese to my level of Twi fluency within two years of biweekly lessons… You get the picture.

To put it another way: there really wasn’t a semblance of singular focus in my life.


Once, I found myself in a hall of many unlocked doors. I ran in and out of doors and rooms haphazardly, because I could, and I seemed to be full of boundless energy. I never got far enough beyond any door to explore the mansion-sized possibilities that could have lain within either. Consciously or unconsciously, I asked for direction—but instead of simply being told where to go, doors simply began to slam in my face, automatically limiting my possibilities. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I can’t conclude that it wasn’t exactly what I needed.


The moment I began boarding school, at barely-fourteen, I was forced to let go of almost all of my beloved extracurricular activities. Tearing me away from ballet and hip-hop classes and the possibility of progressing from intermediate to advanced levels in my dance academy is something I have never forgiven boarding school for. Doors upon doors, slamming in my face.

I decided I wanted to be a writer at age ten. I liked books and stories; therefore, I wanted to make some of my own. This aspiration was non-exclusive—the way people preferred it. Just because I wanted to be a writer didn’t mean I refused to be anything else. After all, I was still good at everything else—especially the things people wanted me to be good at. i.e. STEM stuff… Until, high school, when my STEM talents began inexplicably deteriorating. Doors upon doors, slamming in my face.

Halfway through high school, I was honestly still entertaining thoughts of being an engineer or lawyer—although I’d thrown the doctor dream away years earlier, once I’d realized the toy stethoscope I’d been given for my one birthday was no match for my dislike for being exposed to the icky insides of human bodies. I mean, halfway through high school, I still had it; mathematics gave me my overall highest IGCSE grade, and my science and English grades pretty much levelled with each other.

When it came to time to choose my IB courses, I had already expressed my complete lack of interest in law. So, of the African’s Approved Careers™, only “engineer” was left on the table. My father and I selected my courses accordingly, but not long into the very first semester, during which I began encountering astonishing, successive failures, I entered a two-year-long season of “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!” The answer? Doors upon doors, slamming in my face.


I am no longer the multitalented kid. Now, more than ever, it’s extremely obvious that writing is my thing. I have spent a lot of time resenting the “loss” of my multiple talents, but as my path gets narrower, it also seems to get clearer. I no longer resent my transformation (…as much), because I recognize that everything that I have gone through in this regard may be directing me towards fulfilling my intended purpose.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the transformation is still ongoing. I am now being forced to focus in a way that’s at least as uncomfortable and annoying as the limitation of my talents. Now, it’s the limitation of my physical capacity that’s doing the door-slamming.

If you’ll remember, I wrote about some of my physical struggles in these blog posts: My Faith + My Body and Self-Care: The Thing I Wish Was A Myth (But It Really, Really Isn’t). Although combinations of rest and medication are gradually and non-linearly making me more of a functional human being, the overall effect of my physical malfunctions is that I can usually only achieve a small fraction of what most people around me might be able to, in twenty-four hours. I have often thought of my physical malfunctions as purposeless suffering, but now I’m being led to believe that there is at least one specific purpose to them: focus.

I’ve observed the effect my limited functionality is having on my daily life. When your body severly limits your activity, you start becoming a lot more mindful of how you use your energy. If I only have 2.5 hours of productive potential each day, I naturally become a lot more conservative with each day’s quota. When it’s not discouraging the hell out of me, it makes me a lot more purposeful. Not to mention, my choices on how to use my energy quotas each day speak volumes about which work is most important to me.

Recently, a Bible story hit me like a pestle on a ball of fufu. Remember when Jesus visited Martha and Mary? And Mary was just based at Jesus’ feet, while Martha was at her wits’ end trying to do everything? My NIV translation calls her distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. The word “distracted” caught my attention because I ordinarily wouldn’t call work that seems necessary a “distraction.” But here’s how Jesus responded to Martha’s complaints about the situation:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” –Luke 10: 41-42

Are you serious? All this work to do, and you’re telling my sister that only one thing is needed? It’s hilarious, lowkey. See, Martha had to get pissed enough to come to the realization that she wasn’t focused enough on some one important thing. And I had to get tired enough to realize it. In the middle of murky, muddled thoughts and madness, I often have one clear thought ringing out in the background: “You need to focus on writing [this thing].” (Where [this thing] is often some specific project at any given time.) I am worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed, only one.

I am being forced to focus. And while I am enjoying neither the pain nor the process, I am finally seeing some sort of purpose in both. While this all sounds like I might be rationalizing, I do feel like I’m too pessimistic of a person to go looking for the bright sides in things. So, the fact that I’ve considered any positive purposes behind my suffering alone is more powerful to me than others may realize.

Also, I have little doubt that if I one day regain my full energy and start getting distracted again, some new or old weapon to get me to focus once more is going to attack me mercilessly.