Stories on Depression: My Depression Almost Cost Me My Life

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact Safe Places at +256 770 700 944 or Call your closest friend, family member or search for Rehab centers in Uganda and get yourself admitted.

I wish this was a story about love, about lovers who couldn’t get enough of each other. Or a story about a girl’s love for literature. Or maybe a story about intimacy. See, I have told all those stories and they’re easier to tell.

But this is a story of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, of irritability, persistent anxiety, a story of all these and a lot more.

I really do wish it was easy to tell, I wish I did not have to tear myself apart to be able to tell it. If only it didn’t make me feel so exposed to this cold world. All my wishes are useless in this case, so I’ll just quit buying time and tell it already.

I always thought I was pretty much in control of everything in my life. I predetermined whatever happened to me. Being in control has been an addiction of sorts. I hate surprises. I failed a test. I should have known then that I had a problem. It didn’t matter that I had failed alongside everyone else. Failure just wasn’t for me, I had failed without reason. I just wasn’t supposed to fail. I panicked. The test didn’t even count in regard to my final mark. It is stupid and shallow I know, but I still felt worthless. I didn’t complain to anyone but it killed me way more than it should have. I grew anxious. What if I failed again when it actually mattered? That was just the beginning.

Then, my mother died! She was strong, healthy, and young. She wasn’t supposed to die!!! I mean if she had been old, weak or sick I would have anticipated it, but she died out of the blue. One moment she was here and the next moment she was no more. I watched everyone cry, even my father, but I did not cry. My eyes did not even water. I was in control or so I thought. I remember the judgemental stares. What sort of girl does not cry when her mother dies? Even that did not make me cry. My little sisters cried even in their sleep and all I did was sit quietly through the night. She was buried. My mother was put into the soil. You see, my mother used to tell me all the time that she wanted to be a baby again, just so she wouldn’t die from being old. She didn’t even get to get old, she died prematurely. She didn’t expect to die and yet she still died in her sleep.

You’re so strong,” everyone told me and I wouldn’t say a word. Being the eldest daughter means when your mother dies, you have to step in and take care of the rest. I did exactly that. It became my purpose all through the day and in the night while sleep evaded me, I’d look forward to the chores. Some nights I’d scrub bathroom tiles to pass the time.  

A month went by and there was laughter in the house. I’d be staring at space and I’d hear them laugh, but just as I did not cry, I did not laugh.

So one night I decided to take a couple of pills to help me sleep, they worked, just like magic. In time, I grew to rely on them, but weeks passed and they disappointed me. I took them and I did not sleep, I started to panic so I took some more. I slept. However, I started to take them even during the day when I had nothing to do. I was so afraid to be awake, to truly be awake.

My system grew accustomed to the pills so I took more and more each day until the day when I woke up on a hospital bed. Anxiety and fear kicked in. I had overdosed. “Attempted suicide,” they said. I told them I only wanted to sleep. I saw the worried look in my father’s face, and I thought to myself that I had failed him and my sisters too. I had failed in my purpose to take care of them. Minutes from my sleep and here I was again, worthless. I looked away in disappointment and shame as a tear rolled down my chin. It felt so foreign that I laughed, but then more tears came through and I was shuttered, I lost control. I grew hysterical. My family held onto me and hugged me tightly in support as they let me cry even more. I felt somewhat better afterwards.

After my experience, weeks would go by as I isolated myself more and more. I lost control of who I was, you see, control was the essence of my being. What was I without control? I became useless, hopeless, I simply became nothing. You see, I mentally became my own enemy.

I started getting stupid thoughts of, If I ended my life, it’d mean my family wouldn’t have to see me like this and so they’d be happy.

If I ended my life, I’d actually be in control of my death. I wouldn’t wait for it to shock me like it did my mother. My mother. Couldn’t she have stayed up that night? Why did she sleep? She lost control when she slept. I will not sleep. If I were religious I would have prayed then. Every time I dosed off by mistake, I’d wake up screaming. I should have known then that I was depressed, but you see I never quite knew what depression was.

Anyway, let me stop here, I’ve quite emptied myself in order to put this together. Some other time, if I have the strength maybe I’ll write some more. Maybe then I’ll tell you how I am now, but since I’m writing this I guess it’s a good sign. I always loved to write, but I’m quite tired.

PS: I know this isn’t exactly motivational but then I thought the first step to overcoming depression is identifying that you’re actually depressed and if at all you feel this way or worse, if at all you feel anything in connection to this then I need you to know that it’s not the end of the world. Thanks for being here till the end.

Story by Anonymous

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