I’ve always wanted to share this dark story with y’all since last year. I recorded the entire experience on my phone but lost the phone earlier this year. It’s the reason why I didn’t post it earlier and thanks to my secret tumblr account where I vent when I’m going through it, I still have a draft of the entire experience.
I don’t write much about mental health, depression and suicide like I should. Maybe it’s because writing about it is draining sort of. It’s like giving out a piece of myself to the world. You are letting the world in on the very dark parts of your life that you’re still trying so hard to get a good grasp of. Fortunately, I woke up in a very good mood today and I felt like sharing it especially because yesterday, I found myself remembering all the times I cried myself to sleep in the past because I was depressed. I haven’t been depressed in a long time (over 2 months) and I’m so grateful for that. If you are going through it right now, trust me, it’s just a phase, it will be over soon and you will be able to smile freely. Don’t fall for the urge to give up yet. DON’T!!
When and how did it start??
That whole phase started days or weeks before 17th September last year.
How do I remember? I posted this on my tumblr that day:
‘I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.’
When I say death, I’m talking suicide. For someone who’s been depressed too many times before, I need to tell you that at a point, I decided on how my death was gonna play out. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think most people who’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts know exactly how they’ll kill themselves when they finally decide to. So anytime I have death on my mind, I ask myself whether I’m ready to take that bold step to do it. I have never had the courage. If I ever get it, that will be the end because the plan I have works 100%. There’s no turning back and I’m not about to share it with you. I can’t have someone else choosing to end it because I talked about it. Don’t kill yourself!
A week after 17th, I was still in a dark place. I had a weird dream on 24th and it made it worse. I was just sad okay! It’s something I cannot really explain because I still don’t get how it happens. You feel drained even when you’ve had enough sleep and you have little or no energy to do anything. You lack motivation and you feel alienated from everything and anything that would previously get a reaction from you.
24th September, 2018 was a Monday and I had work. I was working an 8-5 then, so I had to wake up early. It took a whole lot for me to get up that morning. I felt like lying in bed all day and do nothing. Somewhere within, I knew staying indoors would make it worse. I knew how my thoughts would keep wandering and I was scared of how far it would take me. It isn’t a nice place to be. Thinking about it made me rush to shower and I made it to work on time.
At 6:31am on my Tumblr, I wrote: I’m not happy
At 6:43am, I wrote: I’m not happy
‘Breathing hurts so much right now, I genuinely just want to check-out so badly. I’m an absolute wreck and the most useless person ever.’
Look, I wish I could show you exactly how bad I felt that morning. I really cannot find words to describe it and you know what’s worse?? It got worse.
The next day, 25th September:
I woke up feeling numb and still depressed. I don’t know if you understand what it means to feel numb. You feel nothing, no emotions. You are like a zombie. You just look at people, you see them speak but can’t hear anything, you aren’t sad, you aren’t happy and you have absolutely nothing to say about anything. You just have void in your head and the silence is deafening. It’s one thing I hate about my depression phases. You will literally beg the world to make you feel something. You might want to hurt yourself; at least the pain is something to be felt.
I was drowning in my depression and it made me feel so alone
My previous job had buses that picked workers up in the morning and dropped them off after work.
In the bus at 7:24 am, I wrote:
“I almost wept
I’m in the bus, the company bus, going to work and all of a sudden a thought came in mind and I almost wept bitterly. Thank God I told myself, ‘you are in the bus. You can’t cry here’
I want to go somewhere and cry. I want to cry my sorrows away. It’s crazy how it feels. I can’t let anyone see me cry because if they ask what’s going on, what am I even going to tell them? That I’m losing it? That I’m numb and depressed and I need help?
How will they even take it?”
I felt a strong urge to pack my bags and go live with someone for some time. I was sort of living alone and trust me, it gets really lonely. It wasn’t helping my situation at all.
I usually feel like going to stay somewhere new or with someone when my depression gets worse after lasting days or weeks. It’s just one way I try to seek help and I remember once in uni, this guy who liked me wanted me so badly. I was going through it then, so when he talked about me going to visit him in Tema, I just packed a few clothes and stayed with him for some days. He was so good to me and he helped me stay distracted till I wasn’t feeling depressed anymore.
I have a few close male friends who really care about me. Two of them, I call my best friends and sorry to disappoint you, we don’t fuck. I love them but sex will never be in the picture. One knows about my mood swings and history with depression. I thought of calling him and asking him if I could go live with him for some time. He would’ve understood and he would’ve come for me. I should’ve done that but I didn’t. Depression comes with procrastination. You think of doing something to help you get better but you schedule it for some time later.
Instead of calling him, I rushed to the restroom, locked myself in one of the cubicles and cried. I felt so helpless and I was terrified of what would happen next. I was terrified because I knew it could lead me to my grave. No one knew what was going on with me. I tried so hard to hide it, I tried so hard to put on my bubbly persona that everyone at work was used to but I couldn’t. I forgot to mention that the previous day at work, I kept to myself and my manager was observant enough to notice that something was wrong.
For someone like me who wears her emotions on her sleeve, it’s really hard to not notice when I’m going through it. It is the reason why I shut people out.
My manager reached out. He asked if I loved my job and if I was genuinely happy with it. I really could’ve opened up to him but I didn’t. Where would I start? So I lied. I faked a smile and told him I loved my job so much. I don’t know if he believed me but he nodded and went back to doing whatever he was doing on his laptop.
You know one thing that comes with depression? Anxiety! You second-guess everything and you get so scared of getting negative results. You keep giving yourself reasons why you shouldn’t open up to someone, why you shouldn’t reach out and even when you know what to do to get better, you get a reason to avoid doing it. You might feel like reaching out will make you a bother, you might think about how everyone has their own headache and a whole lot.
I wrote a lot on my tumblr that day and it was frightening how suicide looked like the only way out for me. I had a strong urge to die and all of a sudden, my mood got better. I had a huge smile on my face that would’ve fooled anyone into thinking that I was finally okay. I wasn’t.
I was thinking about my obituary. I was thinking about what pictures would be circulated on social media when my body was found. I was thinking about what picture would be used for my obituary and for someone as vain as me, I thought of dressing up and taking lots of nice pictures for that. I was convinced my time was up and I was going to be my own murderer. I believed strongly that I wasn’t going to be alive to see December, 2018.
Look! I don’t know what’s going on in your mind right now but this happened. I posted my thoughts on tumblr and it is the only evidence I have of it. You will be surprised what thoughts go through the minds of other suicidal people. If only they’ll write everything down and share with the world!
Another thing that comes with depression sometimes is insomnia. I couldn’t sleep at night and I hated staying up because I couldn’t stand my thoughts. My own mind was criticizing me, reminding me of every flaw I had, reminding me of my weaknesses, calling me a failure, telling me I was stuck in life and telling me I had absolutely nothing to look forward to in life. It doesn’t make sense to me right now because I didn’t have a reason to think that way. I had a job after national service, I had a family that loved me and I had a whole lot to be grateful for.
I had to resort to drinking. Alcohol helps me sleep when I can’t. I remember wondering how much alcohol was enough to take the pain away. I had to get some! I know it’s not advisable for a girl to walk around at midnight but I walked to a bar that evening and got bottles of Smirnoff black.
On my way back home, I broke down in the middle of the street. There was absolutely no one around to see me. I almost fell to my knees in tears. I screamed, “I’M NOT HAPPY. HOW BAD CAN IT GET?”
I got home and the urge to go live somewhere else felt stronger. I didn’t want to be alone. I needed someone around me who understood what was going on. I felt like going home to my parents and siblings but then I remembered that I’d felt that way at home before.
Wanna know something about being depressed at home? No one would have an idea what was going on with me. I would be planning how to take my life and everyone around me would be too blind to see it.
Remembering that made me feel worse. Where was hope when I needed it? I was drowning and I was in dire need of saving but who was going to save me?
The next day, 26th September, 2018:
Have you ever cried in the shower?? Sorry you had to go through whatever made you cry.
I broke down in the shower that morning. I remember exactly how I felt that morning. I remember how terrified I was. I wept like a baby. I felt so helpless. I could’ve used getting comforted. A hug would’ve helped a great deal. Someone telling me, ‘you will be alright’ would’ve helped a great deal.
I grew more terrified because death seemed closer to me like never before. I was scared that I was too close to giving up and somewhere deep within, I knew I didn’t want to die. I missed having a reason to live. I missed being happy and I desperately wanted to get help. I was searching for the tiniest bit of hope to pull me out of that dark place. I knew once I got it, I would get better.
I got to work that morning and I reached out to a friend. I love her but she didn’t take me seriously. I’m the dramatic one who makes a big deal of the most irrelevant situations, so when I mentioned depression to her, she didn’t think I was being serious. She felt I was making things up. I remember telling her, ‘no sane person will just get up and say they’re depressed’ and then I walked out.
I’m beginning to understand her now. Anyone around me who’s so used to seeing me happy, loud and hyper will find it hard to believe that I get to a place as low as that. People don’t get to see me depressed because I shut them out. I only let them see the brightly colored sides of my personality, so I don’t blame her at all.
I made a promise to myself that day that I was going to get better. I knew what happiness felt like and I was willing to do anything to feel that way again.
The next day, 27th September, 2018:
I woke up in a worse place than I was the day before.
‘How do you explain to someone that you don’t want to die but existing is a little too hard for you right now?’
I felt emptiness within. It was so intense and agonizing. I wasn’t at peace with myself. I had to make another promise to myself that I’d get help. I needed to get better. I couldn’t let it continue for another week. I knew I wasn’t strong to survive it if that was to happen.
Through it all, I felt really lonely. I always mean it when I say I’m scared of lonely. You can be alone and not feel lonely. You can be in the midst of people who love you and still feel lonely. It’s a disease of the mind.
Two years ago, I was in a club. I had a lot to drink and I danced with men till it was past 4. You know what happened? I felt weak all of a sudden. I felt drained and I sat down and what followed was that sickening feeling of loneliness. I was in a club and I still felt lonely. I hate that feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It kills!
The next day, 28th September:
I was still depressed and I had to drink before I could sleep and even with that, I woke up at 3am the next day and my thoughts were still the same. I tried so hard to get better that day. Instead of avoiding conversations with co-workers, I got involved. I was trying to do the things that I would do on my happy days. I was all bubbly, I was laughing at jokes and I was talking. I hadn’t done that in days and it felt so good. It felt like I’d finally found a little hope but when I got home, the dark thoughts came back.
It’s as if whatever it is is waiting for you underneath your bed or at a corner in your room to creep up on you. I cried and drunk to put myself to bed that night.
I wrote this on my tumblr at 3 am:
‘I might not make it to December’
Less than an hour after, I wrote this:
‘I’m in need of saving’
It was Saturday and I didn’t have work, my room was a mess and luckily, I had someone who’d come around on Saturdays to do my laundry, so that wasn’t a headache.
I should’ve gone out that day but I didn’t. I was just indoors. I don’t recall exactly how my day went. I tried reaching out to this therapist on twitter though. I didn’t get a reply and even when I finally got it hours after, it was discouraging.
Sunday, 30th September:
It was my lucky day. I reached out to two male friends and we talked about how I was feeling and I felt better. I already woke up with a positive mindset that I was going to get better if I pushed a little and it worked.
Weeks after, I got the break I wanted. I went on a one-month leave and life got much better after. I never want to go to that dark place again. If you find yourself in a similar place right now, accept my sincere apologies. Can you talk to someone? Can you reach out? Send me an email. We can talk. I understand how it feels and I know exactly how painful it is but you can get better if you make the effort to.
Depression sometimes hits you out of nowhere. You can just wake up feeling all gloomy and it will last days. That’s what happened to me. It happens to other people. There are triggers sometimes but it’s somehow complicated.
I hate that I have to share this story but I know if I don’t share it now, it might never happen.
Once again, you can get better