By, MAINA WAMBUI.
I have a beautiful gal, with gorgeous smile, driving a top end car, always surrounded by a loyal clique that keeps me entertained, have an amazing job that gets bills paid, fuel the guzzler, and leave savings account smiling. How blessed I am. Did I mention I’m an honors student whose GPA is equal to fuel prices during Bush’s presidency? What can ever go wrong in life. Heck I can even afford to send dollars home to family and friends. Always at any local event, harambee, pre-wedding, wedding, birthday, graduation…you name it. Because I love people and I love life. What is vacation? We take that monthly. On Sunday, active in church, ushering people, making sure the pastor doesn’t die of dehydration, and making sure everyone has an envelope to give their offering. Have the biggest envelope that can fit the whole wallet because you know, God got to get His 10%. I bet this is the dream that Martin Luther had, of me living such a great life. All the childhood fantasies are now a reality.
“No matter how hard life is, keep on pushing on. God doesn’t not give one a battle they can’t win. He gives the hardest battles to the strong. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength” You’ll catch me encouraging someone, cause life is working for the greater good on my side.
It slowly starts to crumble unknowingly...
I have a slight headache and feel too tired, I will have to call in at work. I will work double next week to make up for missed day. I have 3 missed call. I don’t wanna return them. I know they are just bothering me. This year I decided to cut many people. Gotta make my circle small. I have 62 group chat messages, thank God for the mute button because they are annoying. 6 messages from 4 friends, I’m sure they just want a favor but here they pretending to be checking on me. With growing up, I’m becoming less attached to people. Once read that its lonely at the top. I bet I’m headed for success. People are getting the hint and no longer texting or calling. Only the regular forwarded messages from our pastor remind us about our pledge for new church building. I’m about to block him, he thinks I’m an ATM. My best friend, Jane, has a party. I feel clumsy and I give her a flimsy excuse not to attend. She understands that I feel sick. A “get well soon” text is all I get, and gets forgotten for the next many weeks. Invited to James barbecue, I lie that imma be working so won’t make it. I end up watching depressing shows on Netflix, listening to sad music on YouTube while my soul is slowly drifting into the darkness. I get to convince myself how I’m not missing much because I’m sure Michelle and John are there, and I don’t like them.
“The deepest fear we have, 'the fear beneath all fears,' is the fear of not measuring up, the fear of judgment. It's this fear that creates the stress and depression of everyday life.”- Tullian Tchividjian
I have no friends, just few acquaintances. I hate hanging with people because they are bothersome. I got to stay lowkey. My circle is so small that I even myself don’t know what’s happening in my own life. People are just full of drama I’d rather keep to myself….
My phone is drier than Kalahari Desert. The notification panel is dusty cause it’s been inactive for weeks. Even auntie Veronica who recently joined Facebook isn’t poking me anymore. Friends and family find me peculiar, others claim I’m just full of pride. No one checks on me anymore. My church members even forgot my existence. I mean why would they? My ushering post got taken by Liz, the gorgeous weave wearing lady, who just came 2 weeks ago from Kenya with burning passion to serve God. Always covered in glory and her radiating smile makes you feel indeed you in the House of the Lord.
Deep and deep I slip into my world of isolation. And honestly I find comfort in spending time alone. Slowly becoming estranged.
I quit school because I can’t concentrate. Always fatigued, in solemn mood. I already lost my interest in my hobbies. I can’t even tell what my hobbies are anymore. Taking Nyquil because insomnia seems to be sharing bedroom with me. I feel empty, and fridge is empty because I lost appetite way back. I feel sick and weak, but can’t go to hospital because I don’t have specific place I can say hurts. Plus, mama didn’t raise no punk to be rushing to hospital every now and then. Plus, Kenyans we were raised to understand only a weak person seeks help. Nah, I ain’t weak. Weak is a word for the opposite gender. Is that the stupid alarm going off? Nah, I’ll just let it ring till it stops.
Haven’t ate or showered in two days. I feel like there’s more to this than just isolation. My friends think it’s just a phase and it will be over. My family forgot about me since I no longer their cash cow. Unpaid bills are pilling.
Slowly losing the meaning of life. I have nothing to live for. Finally a bright idea creeping my mind. What if I take my life and get away from all these sufferings? What’s the fastest way to die? A rope will snap my neck within seconds. Pills will put me to eternal sleep and I won’t feel no single pain. Plus no one will find me before I’m gone since no one visits me anymore. What if I jump from a bridge like I once saw in the movie? Or maybe an incoming train? Jump in front of a bus? Run a red light?
Death sounds exciting. I will be free…..free from everything. No more suffering, no more pain. “mohu ucoke mohuine, na teri ucoke terine”(ashes to ashes, dirt to dirt) as my kikuyu pastor in Kenya would recite during burials. I imagine all the fakes tears that will be shed. How my thousand Facebook friends will post how we used to be besties. My once close friends will post out pics together that they took with their 1st iPhone. I will be a darling to everyone on social media. Hundreds of “R.I.P” messages under my profile pic. I anticipated this that’s why I had changed onto my favorite picture with shiny suit. Some will use my pics as their profile pics to show how close and tight we were. And numerous people will be badmouthing, shaming me and calling me coward for taking my own life. Several will joke that it’s because of being dumped by a girl that drove me to suicide. Even the people who been jealous and envious of me, to the point of always lurking on my social media but never liking or commenting no matter how good of a post I make, will be the ones to make long posts of how “funny and entertaining” I used to be.
Depression is a mental illness. Kenyans view mental depression as a phase which you eventually get tired of and snap out of. As opposed to our general thinking, being mentally ill doesn’t mean you only speak funny incoherent words, or go outside the house naked or walking around throwing stones and cursing people. As my friend Benson once stated, “Most people are not well informed about how to handle people with depression based on our backgrounds. It's actually worse than we think”. Having been raised in Kenya, I can echo that statement. It’s very hard to discuss depression or mental illness amongst each other. Most people expect cure from depression to happen overnight. Like you just snap out of your loneliness and become socially active again. As someone once stated; when your friend stops hanging out, visiting, showing up, picking up calls, secluding themselves from people, go an extra mile and just check up on them instead. Maybe they just need to find a reason to fight again. Show them the reason to fight again. Help a friend with depression. Hold their hand until they can walk on their own but never stop caring, it can come back and it is amongst us.
If you know such a person, PLEASE reach out to them. You could unknowingly be saving someone’s life today.
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)