The Three-Letter Game Changer


“Ask her why.”


I repeated the words as if it was a mantra: “Ask her why.” The words seemed to hang in the air as the four of us tried to nibble and swallow the words. The issue at the moment suddenly gained a heavier weight as it created a lump down our throats.

I was not even prepared for it—the weight of those three words surprised me.

It was a Sunday night and I was sitting with three ladies, who I barely knew, around a long table which gave us the friendly distance of neither being too physically close nor awkwardly far from one another. The Christian community calls it a fellowship. But for me, it was an answer to my plea for a family, because…

…I just moved to a new city where the grounds have never ever met my feet; where the locals use a dialect I have never spoken once in my life; and where no single member of my family or relatives lives in. Simply put, I am a foreigner in this city.

So it means the world to me to find a church, because it is the family I know I can trust.

. . . . .

I struggle with depression.

It’s one of the only two things I am sure with my life right now. (The other one shall be addressed in another blog post.) While I’m pretty sure others have it worse than mine, I can confirm that depression sucks the life out of a person.

For people who knew and know me as someone else other than being a depressed person, this might come as a shock to them. Don’t worry my friends, I was shocked too.

The thing about depression is: you never see it coming. It consumes you in the same way the termites would eat wood—from the inside, then out. One day, while you are lying on your bed, staring at the ceiling, you just break apart because you finally realize that you’re already hollow inside.

Depression is baffling. Apart from stealthily robbing you of the significant things in your self, it also leaves you confused. You know that you are depressed, but then you get more depressed because you no longer have a single freaking idea why you fell there in the first place…

Sewing these words together even took a long time before they came into life in this blog. Depression can barely be put into words, but people experiencing depression badly want to put it into words just so they wouldn’t get insane.

. . . . .

One of the ladies told the group about her efforts in trying to reach out to her depressed sister. “I don’t understand why she is feeling that way, why she thinks of such things,” she narrated.

“I want to help her, but I don’t know what to do anymore,” she muttered. I can sense the frustration in her. I can imagine her raising her two hands up in surrender.

Because truth be told, the depressed do not even know what to do with themselves. We, if I must say, really have no idea how to get out of this rut—all these thoughts in our head are enough to drive us insane.

“I tell her that she’s beautiful, that it’s not true that she’s unworthy… I affirm her. I try to lift her up. But I just don’t seem to get through, break down, that wall around her. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

And so the three words came to life:


“Ask her why she feels that way, what made her feel or think that way about herself. Try to stand on the ground where she is standing. Be in the level where she is at. It’s actually the in-depth meaning of ‘standing in someone’s shoes.’

Ask her why and just be there to listen.

Do not offer solutions. Do not EVER invalidate her thoughts and feelings; let her know and feel that it’s fine to have those. Give her the assurance that you will stay while she tries to pick up the puzzle pieces and put it together. Let her rant. Be there even if it’s messy.”

. . . . .

My life, in that moment, was in a standstill.

The nightmares of the past, they stopped screaming. The emotions which constantly overwhelm me, they stopped crashing over me. The thoughts in my head, they stopped running and spinning..

My life, in that moment, was hinged onto this three-letter word: WHY.

“Why are you…depressed, young lady? Why are you still hurting?
. . . . .Why are you listening to these voices in your head?
Why do you keep on reliving the pain of your past?
. . . . .Why do you keep on attending that pity party?

Why are you pushing people away from you?
. . . . .Where did you get all those bricks?
. . . . . . . . . .Why are you building a wall, honey?”

.All these and many more questions of why’s came tumbling onto one another during that standstill. But the question that really made me cringe was,

“Why are you not writing anymore, my dear?”

.. . . . .

I played it in my head, rolled it over and under my tongue, feeling like a patient who cannot determine where exactly in her abdomen is she feeling the pain.

“I do not know,” I answered to myself—a bit embarrassed with the truth—as I walked the pavements toward my apartment at 1:45 in the morning.

I don’t know why I stopped writing. I don’t know why I didn’t want to dream anymore. I do not know when I started to isolate myself from others. I did not know that I no longer smile the way I used to do all the time.

The question “Why?”
. . . . . . .bugged me for weeks
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .until it gave birth
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .to this blog.

The question “Why?” changed the game for me. Instead of pushing me back against the wall, it pushed me off the chair of depression and awakened my senses. Like the wiggling of your toes when you don’t want your feet to get numb during winter, this three-letter question plucked the strings of my lethargic heart, startling it into life again.

I believe something went alive in the hearts and lives of the other three ladies I were with that night. I believe we were all awakened by the word “why.”

Lub dub, lub dub, there goes the muscular pump in my chest beating again. Whoosh and swish, there goes the blood rushing through my arteries and veins. Inhale…exhale.

Life. Again. Here is life flowing like a river to me.

And here,
. . . . . . .the words
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .flow into
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .the pages
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .of this blog. Ω



5 Replies to “The Three-Letter Game Changer”

  1. Yo Jem, you inspire me. Should I create a new blog, too? I don’t know. Haha. But I have like 40+ drafts in my old blog that I don’t feel like publishing because it “just doesn’t feel right”.

    I feel yah. I felt your last goodbye in your old blog. You really inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yo AJ, you encourage and affirm me! Hihi. ❤ It's all up to you; no one's stopping you if you feel like creating a new blog where you feel more "at home." 😉 Go ahead explore and tell me what you see out there!

      Backing you up,

      Liked by 1 person

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