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I beat depression and self harm

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I remember it like yesterday, even though three years have elapsed since I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Yes, I am a millennial. And depression is so real.

Right after a colourful graduation in 2015, I wanted to build my own nest. I was full of hope on getting a job, any job to keep me on my feet before venture into writing. I could picture myself waking up at dawn do some jogging, prepare for work, then work the whole day till darkness falls. That is what adulthood seemed like, to me at least.

So I moved out from my parents house and set on a journey, destination – Nakuru City. Then came the job hunting. It was not going to be easy, that I knew, and after few months, my available resources were running out. I started stressing so much on finding a job.

With no job or call back in sight, I ventured into sales business, where I would go buy goods in bulk and sell them like a hawker. This turned out not to be my stronghold area. I used to hate waking up in the morning, looking for people to buy my goods before they spoil. Worse, the money I earned could barely afford me one meal.

The pressure piled, my sanity was hanging in a thread. I turned to alcohol, hard stuff. The picture of going back home as a failure made goose bumps decorate my skin; I just could not do it. After few days, of stressing and drowning in alcohol, I knew I had to make the dreaded decision – call my parents.

The tears, sniffs, chokes and unstoppable crying is what I remember when my mother picked up my call.

“Just come back home, I am waiting for you, okay?” said my mum. Little did I know that moving back home was the start of a storm that would change my life completely.

When I returned home, I had this feeling that I have failed in life. It was hopelessness. I used to cry a lot when left to myself, which was most of the time. My weight dropped drastically, sleep was a luxury I could not afford. All the time my mind was full with unending thoughts. I was so harsh and distant that my siblings kept a safe distance with minimal talks, only when it was necessary.

I tried to talk to my parents, they didn’t understand. So did my peers, pastor and siblings. No one seemed to get it. The pain in my mind and heart was too much to bear that I needed to channel it to something else.

I tried running for five kilometres every morning but I would end up crying behind a bush for many minutes, so i stopped. I enrolled in a gym but everyone around me seemed to have figured it out except me. Zero self-esteem, I called it quits.

Back to my room in a desolate state, I picked up a new razor. I studied its sharpens as if it was the first time seeing a razor blade. Slowly and steadily my fingers guided the blade to my skin on the left hand. First cut, second cut then the third came with a huge relief that I had anticipated for a long period of time. I sighed so loud and popped my eyes out.

More so, I used to aim at the visible green veins with ‘what if’ notion dashing in my head, but was so scared to die, not just yet.

After that night, it became a routine, when my head would start buzzing with thoughts, I picked up the razor and the cutting began. My behaviour changed after a few days, like getting out of the house for one hour, dressing in long sleeves, always. I even looked at myself in the mirror after more than five months.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hen one afternoon, while sitting under a tree re-reading The River Between story book, two friends from the gym happened to spot me from afar. I was wearing this heavy hood under the blazing sun on top but these two people were able to identify me. I was not as invisible as I wished to be in the world.

They sat and started chatting me up, then suddenly, I told them I was sick, uncovered my arm and showed them my cuts. Opening up about my self harm, unstoppable cries, zero appetite and sleeplessness. It seemed natural like I was supposed to tell them. I couldn’t stop myself.

To say they were surprised would be an understatement because those two guys stayed with me talking me up, making me laugh and cry some more till the evening came. For the first time in a long time, I felt alive, as if I was born again.

Thanks to my friends’ advice, I went to the hospital, got diagnosed with clinical depression and was referred to a counsellor, I refuted the suggestion of taking pills medication. I fear swallowing medicine.

After a few sessions with my counsellor, I started going out to the world again, I applied for jobs, I even went back to church. Every time I was left to my thoughts and sadness would creep in, I used to write narrative poems to keep my mind occupied or listen to music and dance around. My social life became active again and even my little brother started tagging along during my evening walks or dance when he found me dancing.

[Related: Student depression a ticking time bomb]

I opened up to my mum later on after the counsellor recommended I should. Seeing her heart break with every word I uttered was heart-wrenching. She kept asking herself more than me on why I would not talk to her about any of my struggles.

In her tough love moment, she told me to talk to Jesus about the whole thing.  I laughed at first, then I did. I talked to Jesus, He never talked back directly but He listened and I got better.

I finished my therapy sessions, with clearer sight of what life is and started writing, no sales. I learnt to ask for help when I needed one. I also learnt that life will not always turn out to be how you want it to be like. The razor scars in my arms completely healed and vanished. I can’t see them no matter how much I stretch my skin. And that reminds me that whatever obstacle I face in the journey of life, I can overcome it without causing pain to myself or people around me.

Every time I read, hear or write articles on depression, it takes me back to 2016. But with a smile on my face about my decision to talk about it. It helped me save my life, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this.

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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