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HEALTH

DJ Pruluv Is Normalising Depression

And making it ok to not be ok

BY Amahle Melokuhle

Apr 20, 2022, 09:01 AM

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My name is Prudence Mathebula, popularly known as DJ Pruluv. I’m a radio and club DJ, MC, motivational speaker and businesswoman and I have depression. 

I studied IT and worked in the corporate sector as an IT developer, analyst programmer, business analyst and project manager before I switched careers and entered the entertainment industry. I also held the position of Deputy Chairperson of the IT Dev Transformation Forum at Standard Bank.
DJ PruLuv
Having achieved so much at such a young age, I never envisaged that in 2010 I would end up in hospital after being diagnosed with clinical depression and stress. 

The diagnosis came after I was involved in a second car accident in the space of six months. I opted to see a doctor instead of being hospitalised after I was involved in the second accident. After the adrenaline had died out, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my back and neck. I was given painkillers but after three days the pain was still intense, so I went to my family doctor to seek a second opinion. He also put me on painkillers, yet the pain didn’t subside and the X-rays came back normal. 
"It was then that my doctor referred me to a psychologist."
I was confused as to how a psychologist could possibly assist me with back and neck pain. Due to the intensity of the pain, I gave in and had my first consultation, even though I was sceptical. In my follow-up session, I went through an assessment and it was then that the psychologist gave me the diagnosis that I had clinical depression and stress. 
"The diagnosis came as a shock to me because I had always associated depression with being on the edge of committing suicide. Yet, there I was, fully functional."
The psychologist initially admitted me into the hospital for a weekend, but my weekend stay ended up being extended to a full month. I was also put on antidepressants for about four months.
DJ PruLuv
During my hospital stay, I got the opportunity to backtrack to my younger days and realise that I had never received counselling for all the traumatic experiences I had been through.

There were countless traumatic experiences, including being stuck in a waterfall when I was 14 years old and holding on to the rocks for dear life fearing I was going to slip and fall to my death. Undergoing an appendix operation that became septic at the age of 19, I ended up in a coma and was left with an open lower abdomen for about six months. The loss of my cousin in a car accident, and then the death of my dearest grandmother a few months after my cousin passed and the loss of my grandfather a week later. And of course racism in the toxic work environment I was in. Through all these traumatic experiences not once did I seek counselling.
"Also, having been an overachiever from a young age put a lot of pressure on me to excel in everything in life. I felt I could never fail in anything because my family, friends and neighbours expected so much from me."
I allowed people to have a lot of power to dictate who I was, my purpose and destiny. I was not aware that over the years, all the trauma and pressure had been building up inside and eventually it exploded like a volcano.

I recall that months before the diagnosis, I tried to explain to my best friend the level of depression I was in but because I didn’t have a name for it as yet, I described it as “seeing black.”

My friend thought I was talking about my eyesight, so I corrected her and told her that everything around me was black, like I’m in a deep, dark ditch and I can’t get out. I told her that my heart, soul, spirit, and my physical surroundings were all black. That was my best description of what I later learned was depression.
My experience in the hospital helped me to understand that I need to mourn every traumatic experience that I go through in life. I had to come to the painful realisation that it’s impossible to please everyone and I became empowered to take back control over my life.

Knowing that depression is incurable, I have to actively identify any triggers daily. I have learnt to be my own best friend and do daily self-talks to check my emotional wellbeing. I also discovered that writing about my emotions has played a huge role in my healing process.

It is never easy picking up yourself or even feeling like yourself again. Take time and love yourself because if you don't, you will feel like no one else can. Depression can take a toll on someone emotionally and physically. The best way to deal with it is by talking to someone, realizing you are depressed and accepting it, being kind to yourself when depressed, prioritizing your mental health and taking it day by day. The feeling will eventually come to an end because nothing lasts forever.

Read: These women are defying expectations and smashing glass ceilings