In his first ever interview, Tunji ‘Teebillz’ Balogun opened up about his personal struggles while trying to raise awareness on the dangers of depression and how to overcome it because of the rapid rate of suicide happening in Nigeria now.
Talking exclusively to Linda Ikeji TV, Teebillz revealed how depression affected his life, what led to his suicide attempt in 2016 and how people can overcome depression and get better. Read some excerpts after the cut…
Interviewer: In your opinion, how can you realize that you’re going through depression? What are the stages or the place you get to that you know you are depressed?
For me, the awareness comes from your state of mind and I can actually only speak about my own experience. You start loosing interest in a lot of things; your normal daily activities and things you do. Sometimes it’s difficult for you to sleep, concentrate and it has different stages, depending on how deep it gets. The honest truth is that there’s a lot of people out there that I know are depressed and a lot if people don’t know that they are depressed. That’s the sad part. You just see people, I mean from behavioural patterns, you can tell if someone is depressed. And some times depressed people can cover up to be the happiest people around. They only let you know what they want you to know. You see someone laughing all day but deep inside that person is dying.
From my experience, it got to a point I didn’t want to be around people. I just wanted to be alone. I was so messed up in the head that I wasn’t myself. So not being myself, I didn’t want to be around no one and would be by myself a lot of times or I’m just trying to use things to get away in my own head. Alcohol can be one of those things that people run to, which was my best friend at one point in life. It was the only ‘person’ I trusted to get me going. It’s a difficult thing I must admit.
A lot of people out there are going through this thing, but once you are aware that something is wrong with you, you can tell and feel it that you are not yourself.
The Tunji of then was somebody that lost his mind. Sometimes when I reflect back to activities or things that happened back then, It’s hard for me to believe that that was me. The people that actually really know me knew then that something was wrong with this guy, but they could not figure it out. They were not informed or educated about mental health. They could not place it. I was able to pretend to do normal stuffs and pretend that everything is ok with me around normal people. Me not being able t keep it real with myself that something was wrong was the reason why I didn’t want to be with people. So I can just be locked up in my own world.
On his daily routine locked up in his own world, Teebillz said;
My daily routine was the same but I was just not, it got to a point that I just didn’t feel like doing anything. I was conducting business and all that but my interest wasn’t there. Nothing was interesting to me at a particular point.
At what point did he start having suicidal thoughts? Teebillz said;
I think before 3-4 months before my incident. Everyone around me that are the closet people to me, they knew it. I even had a conversation with them that “Hey, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just feel like killing myself.” The people close to me didn’t know what to do, they were not informed or educated about it. For me, I can understand their mindset now. Yeah prayers will do it’s part but it’s not based on prayers only. You have to go get the medical treatment that you need and prayer can be the one to support it. Everyone that knows me know that I love myself. I don’t think anyone loves their self like I do, my confidence level was on 150%. I was fearless.
On what took him from 150% to rock bottom?
It’s just the toxic environment. Do you know living in this environment is very toxic? This Naija, this Lagos that we stay in. A lot of times of times, If you are not disciplined, you would end up being a product of your environment. The company you keep can also be influential. Like that’s why right now I’m just me. I do have friends but I’m my own best friend right now. Like sometimes you just have to let some things go. You get to a point of your life and ask ‘what value does this relationship add or does it align with my own values? I found my own purpose and defined my values Everything I do, if it’s business, relationship, anything, I have to check with my own values. If it doesn’t align, it’s not meant for me. I just want to be me, live and enjoy my life.
Interviewer: Is it safe to say that you hadn’t fully discovered yourself then?
Yeah, it was one of those things. It was a lack of fulfillment and I pushed myself too hard. Which is one of the things wrong with us, we don’t get to appreciate ourselves. How do you really love yourself? It starts from appreciating yourself, it gets to a point where you have to filter yourself. A lot of times we always want to desire for more, not actually reflecting back that at where you came from. ‘I was that guy that couldn’t eat 3 square meals while growing up, that walked from school home.’ Just appreciate where you are and it gives you that vibe to keep going. A lot of times, we forget that and the hunger for more starts messing with you mentally. You get yourself into a mental zone where things that are normal is abnormal to you. These things happen in a lot of ways. It can trigger from just relationships, business or anything.
On What triggered his depression?
Mine was more of business then myself. Relationships, family. It was a bunch of things at that point as I allowed my mindset get into a dark place. I have a better understanding of life now. The problems are still there but I have a better understanding now.
On the characteristics/traits he had to drop on his self discovery journey, Teebillz said;
I literally wrote down my values and worked with it. I’m still going through it, I’m not 100% yet. No one will tell you yeah, I went through this depression and I’m okay now. It takes time but I am in a better place than I was and it was actually the help of my life coach that was able to get me to where I am today.
At what point did you realize that you needed help?
Two years before my incident. I went to this same person, Mr Lanre Olusola. When I started feeling, it wasn’t there yet. I just knew that something is wrong with me and I needed to see someone. I actually went to him, had a couple of sessions and had to travel to the states, where I actually went to see someone over there. The only difference is that Mr Olusola is someone that lives here, understands my culture. I got back and those feelings started coming and I didn’t feel it coming. It’s just lack of fulfillment. Life would throw different challenges to us and it’s now left to us how we handle these things which are normal. As long as we are living, it’s different battles that we are going to face. This thing is not a money thing. There are a lot of people that are rich that are depressed and you wonder why, that with all the money they have. A lot of people are poor but living better and happier. For me, I’m blessed with beautiful children, and all that.
I know how much I lost and that’s what business does to you. I’ve failed a couple of times but I am not going to stop going. That failure has taught me a lesson, both in relationships and business.
On how he failed in relationships?
At the end of the day, you have to be honest with yourself. Are you the best person out there or a perfect person? Life is you live and you learn.
On how his relationship with God affected and restructured his marriage?
At the end of the day, you have to put everything in God’s hands and not live like you created yourself, You do what’s right and God sees your heart first. God sees my own heart and I can only speak for ,myself. My heart is God and with God. I put Him first now. Before It was me doing things in my own power. As a Man, it’s your responsibility to lead your family to God. That’s your responsibility, to lead your family in God’s way, I’m not a perfect being. We are bound to sin, bound to make mistakes and it’s just your heart as it’s your motives that God sees, not your act from my own understanding.
Watch the video below… [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-GDCJ9GTgA&w=600&h=375]