I have been struggling to write this story because I would be the girl who occasionally has suicide ideations and has ever attempted suicide. This story would give me the label, and everyone would say how brave I am for telling it. Then they will turn and treat me like a broken vessel or an attention seeker. People either overcompensate for their lack of understanding of my situation and make me feel less. Others dismiss it, and I go into this spiral of gaslighting myself. I am more than the girl who sometimes holds her life on a balance. I am one of the prettiest women I know. I would like to believe that I have a great love life. I recently came into contact with the most beautiful man (You just wait, and I will be writing the greatest love story soon). I got into one of the best Universities in Africa. In fact, people like to refer to it as the ‘Harvard of Africa.’ (Look at me giving my school free advertising without even mentioning it.) I am one of the best students in my class too. If you haven’t noticed, I am trying to tell you that my life is beautiful for the most part, but somehow, this doesn’t protect me because I sometimes really struggle for fresh air.
Sometimes everything is dark and painful. Sometimes the clouds hover, and I just want to stay and lose. Others my brain just feels incomplete. Sometimes I stuff my face with pastries. Have you ever felt like you are drowning in your water of thoughts? Have you been afraid to think? Does it hurt to wake up daily? Have you ever left your bed unmade because you just need something to represent exactly what you feel? Have you failed to take a bath because clean feels too high for you? I remember feeling like this for a very long time. So long that I didn’t remember when I didn’t feel like this. I look back now, and all I see is a big cloud hovering over me. Now that I am on the other side, I can’t believe the kind of murky waters I had to go through. I sometimes I think that girl is stronger than I am. I can’t believe that I went through all those years depressed, and I didn’t know. It always breaks my heart to know the reason I was so weird is that I was struggling. These days I catch myself before I make fun of my untidy hair in high school because that girl survived it all.
I know by now you want to know why I am broken (Admit it, you are thinking about it). You are seeking for the glue to fix me. I don’t judge you. I do that to myself all the time. I am currently reading seven books in a bid to fix myself and be better. I might even play around and take a course in Psychology. Now I can joke about this (Yes, that was my attempt to crack a joke, I am funny, I promise. People with my WhatsApp number will say I am a talented meme lord). My most successful attempt to ‘fix myself’ would be going to therapy. I had been resisting getting help for a while because it would be admitting that I can’t deal alone. It is such a struggle to admit that your emotions, thoughts, and feelings are not in your control. I felt like the weakest of the humans on earth. Somebody’s son had just dumped me because I was too depressed, and he didn’t want to learn about mental health issues because he felt that people who know about these things self-diagnose too much. In hindsight, I believe that he owed me nothing, and it’s okay that he didn’t want to support me. In fact, I later texted him to thank him for dumping me, not because I was bitter; I just realized that his betrayal was what I needed to hit rock bottom to force me to go to therapy. (Oddly today, 5th May 2021, is the anniversary of this heartbreak, I just received a FutureMe letter in my email.)
At therapy, my therapist made me a list of ‘reasons I no longer wanted to live’ and beside it a list of ‘I would want to live if…’ I had three reasons to die and five things I need to change to live. Then she asked me to compare both lists and see what I noticed. After a lot of pondering and wondering (if you didn’t use two words in your compositions in primary, I am judging), I realized five things about my lists which are:
- They were about myself
- They were mostly based on belief, not facts
- I just wanted to get away from pain
- I wanted relief
I know some are redundant, but I copied them from my diary as I wrote them then. In the next session, I would establish that I didn’t want to die. I just wanted the pain to stop. I just wanted that cloud that had always been in my life to go away. I would later learn more things from therapy, but this would stick. It is always about the pain, and sadly, the pain will always be a part of your life. Find healthy ways to cope. Talk about it. Cry about it. Go to therapy. You deserve the best.
I know I have been using the word ‘Fix’ all over, but I need you to know that there is nothing about it that needs to be fixed. To say that you need to be fixed implies that you are broken, but you are not (At least, I don’t believe this). What you are is different. You experience things differently; give yourself space to learn how to navigate life in your shoes. See, shoes are different. Some are heels. Some are sneakers. Even then, some have chunky heels; some sneakers have weird inner soles. Only you can ever be in your shoes fully so own it!! There is only one you, and you are awesome even when you don’t see it. Just believe it! As long as you always polish your shoes and love yourself even when they are muddy. If polishing your shoes means going to therapy, do it. If it means journalling, do it. Accept your shoes as they are, then always find ways to keep them polished. Come home to your shoes. Come home to yourself.
You are going to be okay. I hope you find the courage to show up for yourself. There are many resources to help you through this journey, such as Apps like Welltrack and Youper and Platforms like Better Help and Befrienders.
If you have a friend who struggles with suicide ideation, show up for them while still caring for yourself. Don’t pour from an empty vessel. Educate yourself.
Consider reading more about supporting a friend in an article by Blessing Manifesting here.
Also, learn things not to say to a suicidal person here, preferably start at minute 6.
With looooove and light,