Luyando's story (written by himself)
(TRIGGER WARNING: this story talks about depression and suicide)
Darkness. Your life does flash before your eyes. But not how they make it seem like in the movies. Its brief. 3 seconds tops. It seems you only get the greatest hits. Well that’s what I remember any way. And yes you do crap your pants sadly. But luckily for me that wasn’t it, there was a voice saying my name, calling out to me. The bright light hits me, my breath slowly comes back to my body and I can feel her lifting my body and cutting the belt from around my neck. I open my eyes and I’m lying down on the floor, coughing out blood, trying to catch my breath with the belt still around my neck. Guess my first attempt at suicide wasn’t successful.
That’s what depression and anxiety can do to you. Mental illness. Loneliness. They can all lead to suicidal tendencies. And I experienced it first hand.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety after my suicidal attempt. But that wasn’t the end of my attempts, I tried drowning myself, jumping out of a moving car, electrocuting myself and slitting my wrists. Yes I wanted it all to end. All the pain I was feeling. The loneliness. The sense of no one caring about me. No one loving me. No one just giving a damn about me. I wanted it all to end. And I was close to it ending. So close to being at peace. So close to not hurting anymore.
But that’s the thing, in those dark moments, when people desert you. When you lose the people you had before in your life, the ones who remain are the ones that get you out of it. And for me that was my family and my friend Muwana. Just the sense of having people care about you. People showing you love. People helping you. That feeling of knowing that you are not alone.
In Zambia, going through what I went through is considered a weakness. Youre not ‘man’ enough. They want you to ‘Man Up’ and ‘Get serious and grow up’. But people don’t realize how serious what I went through is. If you look down on someone in their weakest moment, you are just pushing them closer and closer to the brink. Showing them that they are alone. That no one cares. No one loves them. What they are going through is just being magnified by 1000. So how is that ever helpful?
And honestly before I went through what I went through I would have been one of those looking down on someone with a mental illness. That’s the mentality I had. But I want to change that mentality in the people in Zambia. I don’t want people to have the same mentality I had.
In 2014, The World Health Organization published a list of the countries ranked from the most suicide deaths to the least. And believe it or not, Zambia was on the list. And not only were we on the list, we were 34th. Amongst all the countries in the whole world, Zambia ranked 34th. But still it’s not a topic that is giving a lot of attention.
Suicidal deaths in Zambia are from children who were as young as 10 to elderly people. People are hurting. People are alone. People cant reach out and talk to anyone. And when you’re in that hole, you feel like there’s no way out. And its true, in that moment in your life, you feel like there’s no end to it. Every day continuous pain, you don’t want to get out of bed. You feel like no one understands what you’re going through. And honestly, no one really knows what you’re going through and unless they have gone through it themselves. And that’s what I want to change.
With The You Are Not Alone Foundation, I want to reach out to people of all ages going through what I went through. Whether its Mental Illness or depression. Loneliness or Fear. Whatever would want to cause them to harm themselves. I want to reach out and help them. Let them know that I understand what they went through. I get it. But I am here now. I am happy. I made it. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to help them and speak to them. I want to show them that someone cares, that someone loves them.
That They Are Not Alone.