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HEALTH

DJ Pruluv Is Normalising Depression

And making it ok to not be ok

BY Amahle Melokuhle

Feb 08, 2021, 01:49 PM

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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.

Read: These women are defying expectations and smashing glass ceilings