Story Corner: Luyando's Story (as written by himself)
[trigger warning for anyone with depressive tendancies]
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. 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 suicide 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 the lonliness and pain to end.
But that’s the thing, 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. You’re 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.
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, amongst all the countries in the whole world, Zambia ranked 34th. But still it’s not a topic that is given attention. There are almost no resources for people struggling with depression here in Zambia.
People are hurting and feeling unable to reach out for help. And that’s what I want to change.
I want the youth of Zambia to know that they are not alone.