Repression, Expression and Self-Sabotage

People in real life think I’m very private. People on the internet think I put everything about my life and self on the internet. This isn’t true; I merely post more than the average person, but not an amount significant enough to be even half my thoughts and experiences. So I’d consider myself both overly private in real life and more than a little bit frustrated on the internet. Resultantly, I feel like I am being constantly repressed, and it is beginning to get to me.

The incapacitation has started again. I’ve been relatively functional for a while – I’ve been getting things done and moving on with life. Now, I am returning more frequently to that state where I can do little but think, and get upset about how much of what I’m thinking that I cannot say or have no one opportune to say it to. I frequently switch between aimless timeline scrolling, and getting fed up and turning off my internet – only to turn it back on again because I’m not interested in remaining inside my head.

I feel like a trapped fish in a fishbowl, and the fishbowl seems to be the direct trigger of my frustration. And there is nowhere to release this frustration because, well, I’m trapped in the fishbowl. So my spirit is trying to numb itself. Repression and more repression.

The combination of all the factors that lead to all this repression are causing me to be increasingly reckless and irrational, and there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do about it. They’ve never really been able to, anyway. So again, why would I want to get everyone worried with potentially incomprehensible problems they can’t fix – which they’ve heard too many times before?

When a rubber band is already tense, and you pull it back just a little bit, it could snap. Painfully. And violently. So perhaps it doesn’t make too much sense to people why what happened last Wednesday pushed me over the edge; no one else could see the already-built tension.

What happened last Wednesday? Something that landed me in trouble with the highest authorities the following day. I wrote a very incensed and partly comical rant about a rule about water-bottles someone came up with, which didn’t make sense to me. The topic of the rant itself, however, was not the main focus of the – how do I put it? – disappointment (?) the aforementioned authorities showed towards me.

Near the end of the post, I changed the words of the school’s acronym and turned it into something that alluded to a place of eternal torment of souls. This, of all things, was what seemed to agitate them, more than anything else – which showed me many more things that just made me tired, which of course, I again couldn’t say. At least not at that moment.

(BTW it seems they got a look at the post because some alumnus I don’t know sent it in, apparently with the attached inquiry of something along the lines of “Who is this girl?”)

This is not how I would have handled the situation: with over-concerning myself with the defamation of an institution that the defamer has proclaimed dislike of alredy so many times, with a significant part of my argument comprising of alumni who have benefited greatly from this institution, whether or not it was their teachers who propelled them to their present heights. What I would have done was ask more questions along the lines of, “What’s wrong with you?” Not in a rude, rhetorical, Ghanaian (un)insulting way but in a way that reflects my concern for said defamer as an individual who seems to have very deep, unresolved behaviour problems, as far more significant than the public face of my precious, well-established institution and all its credentials.

Why am I insinuating that my defamation of the school should have been more about me than the defamation of the school? Particularly because of the lack of ignorance of the people involved, about my mental condition.

I am someone who has landed, way more times than I’m comfortable with, in the emotional counsellor’s office, the VP’s office and the principal’s office, in a more than broken-down – shattered – state, begging either permanent release from the school, from the burden of living, and even from the burden of existence. Sometimes any combination of the three. I am speaking as someone who has, more often than anyone else I know, left school for about a week at a time, more often from psychological issues than physically medical ones. Can you not tell that something has been very wrong with me for a long time?

We’ve all missed the point entirely. =(. Everyone should have been, in my opinion, less concerned with me calling the school something that it is not, and more concerned with why on earth I would even feel like I am in a place of eternal soul punishment. But these are exactly the issues we always fail to address. The mental and spiritual ones. We keep reprimanding the gunmen for shooting and not addressing the internal issues they have that make them so trigger-happy.

Here are some things that one may find appalling. Do I feel regret for writing what I wrote, or how I wrote it at least? No. Do I acknowledge that some of what I wrote was simply not right? Yes. Duh. So why on earth am I deficient in regret? Because that post, one of the most reckless things I have ever written, was also one of the most cathartic. You cannot imagine how much relief went through me when I got into significant trouble for it. (More evidence of my self-destructive dementia?)

I was so happy that finally, someone had given me reason to believe I had crossed a line I had been trying to cross for so long. I was glad at least someone who made up a part of the thing I am constantly incensed about finally experienced some of this incense – and I didn’t even have to deliver it directly; it was delivered for me.

When a bomb has been building within you for so long, do you know how fantastic it is when it has finally exploded and left you alone (even if it blew one leg off)? It’s like pooping heavily after being constipated. This is how the stupid and reckless release of tension felt! And what a miracle that a metaphor – a mere allusion – has the ability to cause so much catastrophe! It’s fantastic!

Given the way I have been feeling and containing for a long time, writing something sensible and persuasive long after the heat from my head had cooled, would not have had nearly the same effect. Ask me if I’m worried about my future, and this incident being permanently filed against my name. LOL. I’ve already convinced myself that at some point, I will end up broke and jobless and homeless – all by myself, without this potential factor of un-employability due to someone else’s testimony, against me. I could very well lead myself on a destructive path without anyone else’s help, you know. I am fully expecting that at some point, I will sabotage myself so much that I’ll either be chased out of some country or the other, or exile myself. I’m that kind of dangerous. (And also mega-stupid but I will fa no saa.)

In any case, I am relieved to have finally exploded enough to release some of the tension of repression for a while. The challenge is whether I can get through the next month without another one. =)

Yours disagreeably,



The School’s Puppets Want to Turn Us into Harry Potter

Note: I’m not even going to try to be nice in this post.

One weekday, last week, I sat at my designated table for formal breakfast, and was already having a relatively bad morning, when a monitor/prefect (I don’t remember who) said, “There is too much movement in the d-hall. Could everyone please take their seats now.” This announcement was repeated at last two more times, and I was flabbergasted. And then, suddenly, I was seething with anger.

Let me tell you what formal breakfast is like. You’ve got your designated table, where you have to sit for every formal breakfast and formal lunch. On your table is cutlery, milk, sugar, bread and margarine. We’re getting to the catch now.

There are water heaters at specific points in the d-hall for hot water. So you have to get up to fetch it.

The d-hall department has Milo available if you don’t want the tea or coffee beside the heaters. But the Milo trays are always placed on or near the stage. So you have to get up to get it.

On certain days of the week, there’s porridge or boiled eggs, or salad available. They are either in the front of the room, or at the back. So you have to get up to get them.

And sometimes, the d-hall kitchen staff do strange things like provide three plates, six cups and no knives for a table meant to be set for eight to ten people. If you want to get what you’re missing, you have to get up and walk to the counter for it.

There are more factors, but I’m sure you can see by now that on any ordinary morning, there may be a need to get up and walk a fair distance across the room at least once.

So when I heard this nonsense about “There is too much movement in the d-hall” coming from a prefect/monitor’s mouth over the microphone, I was like, alright, who’s pulling the strings here? And what possible logical motive could they have for pulling them in the first place? There is absolutely no identifiable reason not to just let the strings be, slack.

I am telling you, this “too much movement” business was killing me. People were moving about exactly how they moved about each morning, and even if they weren’t, I failed to see how this was a legitimate problem.

  1. Would the number of A*s and grade 7s have decreased if people overly utilized their legs before 7am?
  2. Did every extra step a student took cause one more patient to die quicker in the hospital?
  3. Would the world freaking end unless people’s botosses were firmly glued to their chairs (while they starved because they couldn’t get to their food)?

Now, you see, I don’t believe whoever made that announcement was silly enough to have thought of it him/herself. The idea that our student population is “an intellectual community” has already been established to be a fallacy, but we aren’t that silly – not on our own, at least. No, this was an obvious case of Idea Postulation. Some teacher had gotten it into his/her head, straight from the invisible speakers manned by the Controllers, to try fixing ish that ain’t broken. He/she had, in turn, whispered into a monitor/prefect puppet’s ear the instruction to do the dirty-work of announcing it, and just like that, all their strings were pulled at once.

And so I was there, not so quietly ranting out of bewilderment and frustration to my table-mates about what a splendid show of daftness this was, until I realized, much later, what the truth was:

The school’s puppets were trying to turn us into Harry Potter!

It was all a trick, a gimmick! They’d all realized, in terms of magic powers, some of us were blossoming too late, and so took it upon themselves to awaken our powers by force/necessity. It all makes sense now. All we need to do is start practicing our summoning spells, sitting down!

Accio, Milo!

Accio, hot water!

Accio, Tom Brown!

And boom, the stuff is on your table like you’re a certified witch/wizard. A simple stunt to sift off the Muggles from the gifted Purebloods, right?


Ugh. I’m tired of it all. Seriously.

Last Wednesday, I went to semi-formal supper (which is like a formal meal, except with slightly more relaxed dress codes, and you can sit at whichever table you want), to find that there were pieces of paper distributed to each table, demanding the name of the table and all its members.

Later, the explanatory announcement came from a monitor. Somewhat paraphrased:

“It has come to the attention of the d-hall department that there is too much movement during formal supper. So there are papers placed on your tables – write the name of the table and the names of everyone sitting on them, and these lists will be printed and sent to the whole school. From now on, this is where you will have to sit every Wednesday night.”

LOL, I was legit going mad in my head. There were so, so many reasons why this was all bull.

For one thing, the d-hall on Wednesday nights has half the tables set with rice, and the other half with fried yam. What if I want yam this week, and rice next week? Yet if I sit on a yam table and walk over to a rice table to get food to bring back, I’d probably get either a “Why didn’t you just sit on a rice table in the first place?” or a “There is too much movement in the d-hall!” Absolute nonsense.

Secondly, what on earth do you gain from taking away an aspect of our freedom that isn’t even harming anybody? Of course, during semi-formal supper, people tend to sit with their friends, or people they’re comfortable with. And in fact, the way humans are, we fall easily into trends – so much that it’s likely that 90% of students sit in the same positions every week, anyway. So you might think it’s not a big deal to make us do something we were going to do already.

But it is a big deal, to take away my freedom to choose! Say your favourite dessert was ice cream, which you ate every Saturday afternoon, by choice. How would you feel if you were suddenly told, “Okay, now you are not allowed to have anything but ice cream every Saturday afternoon for the rest of your life, and if you decide one Saturday that you don’t feel like ice cream, you will be punished”? Like, what effery.

And every time something like this happens, I find myself willing in my head to whoever is announcing, “Please take a moment to listen to the nonfa [redacted] coming out of your mouth and stop pretending like you think it’s worthwhile and sensible. Use your head. Use your power to fight back to the puppeteers. Please, please fight back.”

Never happens.

Interestingly, this school is a place where I’ve realized the prefects and SRC have no power.

The dining hall appears to be where majority of the puppet activity happens. I remember when one of the daftest instructions for formal supper seating came a year or two ago, the prefects were told to enforce it. But it was stupid, and some of the ordinary students tried to tell some of the prefects that it was stupid, but I remember being shocked speechless when one of the prefects (which, by the way, achieved major recognition for her fantastic IGCSE performance) responded, “It’s not me o – orders from a higher power.”

Higher power.


I’m telling you, that day, I gave up.

Anyway, what am I doing, still ranting about this? I need to go off and practice my summoning charms. Accio, yam! Accio shito!


If you’re still not getting any of the Puppets analogies, refer to this post which has the link to my novella, here.

The Sickness Lives Here.

The sickness lives here. I feel it every time I enter what is officially considered the school’s premises. It is not that I am recurrently falling into ill health by chance; it is that the sickness is sitting here, in this bedroom, in these classrooms, waiting for me to show up so it can infuse itself into my system. I lie down on my bed and back pains appear from the moon, non-existent just a few hours ago, and suddenly, I am finding it difficult to breathe. Whether or not I have eaten in the past few hours, I will inexplicably be experiencing heartburn. It is as if my entire biological system decides to malfunction the second it is introduced to this place.

Yes, I went to the hospital. No, I do not trust the results of the blood and urine tests, no matter how professional and efficient the procedures were. The doctors are wrong. I am not sick of typhoid. I am, quite literally, sick of HGIC. That is my affliction. But medicine simply has not progressed far enough to detect this fact. So, typhoid is the only thing they can understand it as.

Definitely, I am known for being a melodramatic person. But I express myself in the only way I can. So I will insist that to me, this place feels like a Dementor. It feels like if I stay here much longer, my soul will be irretrievable. I am being sucked dry and do not know how to do a thing about it. I do not know how to explain this. And try as I might, I am unable to convince myself that I am not the only person who feels this way with such intensity.

Listen. The medicine won’t work. I’m not sick because I’m sick. I’m sick because I’m here. The antibiotics don’t freaking understand that. Three weeks of symptoms that seem so mixed that it is difficult to understand what exactly I have, if even what I have is just one thing, and how to treat it, and why new, fresh waves of sickness and pain seem to be hitting me every two or three days.

My mind is as affected as my body. Sick in the flesh, sick in the spirit.

You are welcome to test my hypothesis. I am certain that once I am permanently (or even temporarily) removed from these premises, these symptoms will vanish like they were never even there. Me remaining here is the reason I never seem to be getting healthy. It is me being here, that is the reason why I am dying.


Depression in Ego II

Author’s note: I would have liked to put a preamble on this story (if you can call a persona’s plot-less thoughts a story) but I could not come up with anything.


I sleep and I sleep. And the first thing I think of when I wake up is how much I want to go back to sleep. I don’t like injecting my body with chemicals whose consequences I don’t understand. If that weren’t the case, I would probably be knocking myself out with drugs every day. I wish I had sufficient willpower to just be immediately asleep whenever I want; a comatose sleep that no one can wake me up from, unless my unconscious mind decides to comply.

The issue is not that I am physically tired. I cannot possibly be, not with all the sleep I’m getting. The issue is that I’m tired of being conscious. Consciousness takes work, when every morning, you wake up thinking, “Not again”; when you cannot understand a bit of why you are doing what you are doing; when you think that your way of life is equivalent to what you would consider living death; when your inspiration level as you go through your daily processes is zero, reaching the negatives. Even if I would rather not be dead, which I haven’t made my mind up about yet, I would also rather not be conscious.

So I sleep and sleep and sleep. And the first thing I think of when I wake up is how much I want to go back to sleep.

There is something psychologically wrong with me, and I do not know what it is.

The world is far too big for me to continue being unhappy. It makes no sense in a world where there is space for everyone.

On days like this, I have enough of a sliver of positivity in me to daydream. So I daydream about the other end of the world. I daydream about getting out of here.

The other end of the world is not as far away as it was a century ago. This is why I fail to understand how we think it is so impossible to change our directions when we start moving, or to make decisions that will take us off course. It’s an irrational phobia. We are afraid to step onto roads we would like to step onto, because we don’t know where our destination lies. At the same time, we cannot see the direction of the path that we’re on. The only thing we know is that we’re not going where we want. But, perhaps, the real phobia lies within the knowledge that we are at least going to end up somewhere, whereas on our alternate paths, we don’t know if we might simply end up nowhere at all.

I feel like I am going nowhere at all.

Behind all the extended boredom is the thought that I should probably shake off the feeling of helplessness altogether – get out of that zone of self-pitying and DO SOMETHING.

But I can’t.

I do not know how to explain to anyone that I can’t do anything. It is as if there is a blockage in my heart that prevents me from functioning. My mind does not cooperate. I just stare at nothing for hours at a time.

Beneath everything that I can and cannot describe lurks fear.

I want to leave.

They won’t let me leave.

They say my future will crumble to pieces if I leave.

But do I want a future?

I am afraid of consequences. Deathly afraid. I am afraid of the consequences of doing things. I am also afraid of the consequences of not doing things. I am afraid of the consequences of remaining alive with either decision I make. I am also afraid of the consequence of dying as a result of either decision I make. And I am afraid of death. And if I don’t want to make decisions, and I don’t want to not make decisions; if I am afraid of life and I am afraid of death, the last option is unconsciousness. And that is why I sleep and I sleep. And the first thing I think of when I wake up is how much I want to go back to sleep.


I am lying with my back down on my bed, staring up at the white ceiling. My room is illuminated by a miserable bulb that is so dim that I have no anxieties about imminent blindness as I stare up at a spot that would otherwise have been dangerous for my eyesight.

I am watching two or three mosquitoes zap around the room in a frenzied search. I do not know what they are looking for. On an ordinary day, this would really bother me – the zapping – and I’d be trying more actively to kill them. Right now, however, I cannot be bothered to do more than half-heartedly clap my palms together when I see they are getting too close.

My mind, at the moment, is blank enough to leave room for aimlessly watching and contemplating the frantic search of the mosquitoes. I do not understand why this triviality has taken up so much space in my mind. I never thought I would get to the point at which I am speculating about the activities of the very same creatures who will probably cause me to wake up with irritations all over my skin in the morning.

Why do they constantly move? Do they have ADHD? If it’s food they want, I’m right here. And aside from my breathing, I’m not even moving. Why don’t they just all flock to me and enjoy the feast? It makes them seem a bit demented, to me. When your goal is right in front of you, with no obstacles in the way, why are you still zapping in all sorts of wayward directions?

Passively, I wish that at least one of the mosquitoes is a female anopheles, carrying a plasmodium parasite. Hopefully, it will inflict me with malaria. I give up on this thought when I remember who I am and where I live. I’m Ghanaian. My childhood was filled with sporadic cases of the disease. I may even be immune to it by now, I realise with disappointment. It is not so much that I am masochistically overjoyed with at the thought of being diagnosed with an unpleasant disease; it is merely that such an opportunity might afford me a ticket out of this hell-hole they call a boarding school, for at least a little while.

In this mental state, I am incapable of feeling sharp, distinct emotions. Resultantly, a faint amusement arises in the back of my mind about the ludicrousness of my situation. Is this what I have come to? Wishing for a potentially deadly sickness just so I can get out of here? I don’t know whether it is this, or the fruitless plight of the mosquitoes which amuses me more. I am not even sure whether I am actually amused or not.

I am not doing anything productive tonight. Welcoming the mosquitoes to commence their festival, I induce sleep. Again.



I sigh. I have woken up. Again. I have to move through another “today”. Again.

Every morning’s the same, really; large numbers of people being stirred from sleep by various alarms set on all the quarter-hours imaginable and then some; their reluctant owners acknowledging them most of the time, then snoozing, waiting in trepidation for the next quarter-hour alarm, which, they insist on deceiving themselves, will be the one to truly rouse them from slumber.

I hate them.

I hate the alarms.

Now I’m starting to hate the quarter-hours. 4:00am. 4:15am. 4:30am. 4:45am. 5:00am. 5:15am. Why can’t you wake up, you morons?



I am on my way to school. I do not know why I am on my way to school.

Everyone is talking about irrelevant things. Their lives must be absurdly uneventful if this is their morning’s subject matter. And they are walking too slowly. On normal days, this would annoy me, because I can barely stand being impeded in my ambulatory progress. But right now, I feel numb. They are just like the mosquitoes that I do not currently have enough energy or interest to properly clap at. Except that the mosquitoes were far more interesting.

I realize that I walk slower when I am depressed. I think it is because I fail to see a particular point in going wherever it is that the world says I am supposed to be going.



I used to think that when you feel enough don’t-care, you can’t feel much of anything else. Of course, now I know that this is false. At the moment, I am filled with absurd levels of dread. It is bordering on a phobia. I have a phobia of entering classrooms now. And it isn’t a phobia that is in spite of, but it is a phobia that is because of all the don’t-care inside of me.

I hate these teachers and their self-absorption. I do not know who told them that their subjects were the geneses and Armageddon of the world, all in one. A few unfavourable results in a very arbitrarily marked test, and they would react by attempting to summon pillars of fire from the sky, and all of our ancestors from the grave. Such uselessness.

I will not speak in class today.

I will not look at anyone in class today.

I will be mentally absent in class today.

Otherwise, I will kill something.

I walk slowly – very slowly – to the classroom. And I keep my mouth shut.

She begins the blasting. The insults. The threats of failure. Of losing our diplomas. Of being moved to the certificate program. A raging fire begins to burn within me.

I do not give a shit.

I wonder if she can tell that I do not give a shit. Not about her stupid test, not about her stupid subject, not about anything within these incarcerating walls. She is still talking. I calm the fire. She will not get an emotional response from me. I do not give a shit. She calls my name. She cannot make me feel shame. She asks me a question. I do not answer verbally. I meet her eyes, full-on. I hope she can see that my soul is empty, and that her inconsequential, scripted, futile, role-playing-to-the-point-of-belief, over-shit-giving anger cannot change that. In my eyes is a daring, challenging, unashamed question: “Can’t you tell that I do not give a fucking shit?”



Sometimes, I find myself caught in long spells of unproductivity, because my mind is utterly unwilling to engage in any activity other than merely dwelling inside itself. Then I start to stare. So I am staring again. At nothing. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t handle living inside my head.

I walk outside as if I could take my mind to air it out as easily as I can carry my body for a little fresh air. I rest my hands on the balcony and look down, in wildly fascinated contemplation. How far up am I? 18ft? 20ft? I spend the next 10 minutes wondering if I would immediately die if I were to “fall off” this balcony – or if I would be severely injured, but salvageable. I shudder when I realise how comfortable I am with the thought that either option would get me out of here.

What is wrong with me? When did I turn so masochistic? Someone needs to rescue me from my own mind. Please. Someone save me from myself. Anyone? Who is there? Anyone…?


I am alone.

I am always alone.



Jesus? Where are you? Are you there? Would you mind so terribly, coming down now? No, not for a visit. I mean for the end. The final. Kick off the Revelation prophecies. Destroy the world and make all things right, et cetera.

With all due respect, Jesus, some people, namely me, have been waiting for you for quite a while. You see, we can’t take it anymore. There are too many irrelevances over here to deal with all at once. It’s the fact that they’re irrelevant that’s cheesing me. Why do people act like they are relevant when it is so obvious that they aren’t?

I, for one, know that once you show up, my diploma suddenly won’t matter anymore. Neither will my prospects of employment. Or how my family reacts to…well, anything. Because the world will be over. You understand, I know you do. You can end all the unnecessary anxiety, right now, if you just show up, right now.

Please. Just come. Or just take me away. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve failed you. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take it. I’m sorry.



It is happening again. I am crying. I cannot move. It happens every time I thought I had conquered all the emotion within me. I need to stop convincing myself that I can grow numb. I no longer believe that I can grow out of this depression.

Why am I crying? What am I going to tell someone if they hear me crying? I cannot even explain it to myself. Explanations – those things that humans are always looking for, and are never satisfied until they receive. Even if they receive a lie. They will accept it to feel appeased. They refuse to understand that sometimes, there is none. It is blasphemy for an answer to their “Why?” questions to be “I don’t know.” If they themselves are not omniscient, how do they expect me to be? I am not ready to explain. God, please let no one hear me crying. God, why am I crying? God, please. It’s too loud, God, please. Someone will hear, God, please.

I know what some of them will think. They will think that depression has hit me again. For the umpteenth time in five years. They will be wrong, of course – as usual. Depression has not hit me again; it never left after its first arrival. I wear it constantly on my person, like a thin, invisible layer over my skin. And I have no power over when or how it seeps through my pores and finds my heart, time and time again. Somehow, Depression is always there, even when I appear to be fine. But people only notice when it finally breaks thorough and overwhelms me. They only notice when I start crying. And sometimes, not even then.

I am blowing my nose. Two tissues – three – four tissues gone now. Can I pass it off as an allergy if my roommate walks in? Has Depression forced all of today’s quota of tears out of me, yet? Yes? Good…

No. The crying recommences. I cannot breathe. But I must – I need – to be quiet. BE QUIET!

I cannot do this again. I cannot break down again.

I need to leave.

I cannot leave. I do not want to see another psychologist again. The first five have not helped me. I hate this country. I hate myself. I need to leave.

I cannot leave. People will get worried. Who am I to worry people and interrupt their busy lives?

Why are their lives so busy? What are they doing? Do they not know that everything done under the sun is irrelevant? Why don’t they know?

I need to leave.

Why do I need to live?

I need to live. I need to leave. I need to live.

I will live. I will shut up. I will stop crying. I will not cause anyone any more stress. I will be fine. I will be fine.

I will be fine…

I…have broken down. Again.

This time, I know why I am crying. I am crying because I am lonely. I am crying because I have no friends and no confidant. I have no available family members who will not fear that the last likely option for a solution is an exorcism. There is no one I know to whom I can explain anything that is going on. I am crying because there is no one that will give me a hug and not require an explanation, not ask me questions, not try to send me to a shrink whose psychoanalysis will end up either inconclusive, or lacking in a solution, or both. There is no one who will look at me in this state without balking and running off, spiritually terrified. There is no one who will simply hug me and not ask irrelevant questions.

I realise I have been crying on and off for the past two hours. I have the energy to do nothing else. Again, I sleep. And I know that the first thing I will want to do when I wake up is go back to sleep.

– Ivana Akotowaa Ofori