This is my mental health story... Without a song... I’ll still praise my God

Mental health

I have grown up in pain that many men go through but silently and later give up the same fight for freedom. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • I replicated suicide scenes from movies that I watched.
  • Suicidal thoughts became the norm until they weren’t.

Growing up in a middle-income family was one of the best deals any child could ask for. There were tough times I saw my mother go through but she always triumphed over the problems of life.

As a mother to two dotting sons, she had a double portion in blessings, but she had to work twice as hard as her peer mothers would. My father was not in the picture up until I turned 18, then I would meet him.

I never thought I would experience pain until I met my grandfather. A budding engineer with a knack for upholding the highest standards of discipline. He would correct my brother and me at the slightest incidence or hint of cheekiness.

I was quite young back then and as soon as we finished the second year of primary school studies, we were shipped off to boarding school, having been given the option to choose one of two based on location. 

I was considerably normal and excited about life until I turned 12. As a soft-spoken young lad, I kept to myself unless spoken to.

This changed after one school holiday after a conflict with the house manager my grandparents had at the time.

She was attempting to get me to accept her sexual advances and being a disciplined 12-year-old, I turned her down and I ended up receiving a black eye. 

This incident triggered feelings of abandonment I had had for such a long time but did not understand the meaning of it.  

I watched a lot of movies back then and took note of the fact that whenever a character got extremely sad, they would take a rope and intentionally take their own life.

I replicated the same scene and so began my story with suicide. 

Nine years later, I had the worst of breakups, or so I thought. As a naive Nairobian youngster, I was miserable at the time. Suicidal thoughts became the norm until they weren’t.

One day soon after, I attempted to take my own life for a second time. I didn’t succeed. The first time, my brother and nanny at the time, helped me survive by finding me just after I had blacked out.

I came with them both carrying me to my room. The second time, the driver in the oncoming vehicle lane swerved to avoid mine and hence here I am telling you this story.

At about 25, I lost a close friend of mine and this triggered such intrusive thoughts that I knew the third attempt was right around the corner.

I wondered why it was so easy for him to just have it easy, yet his was naturally occurring. I had to find help, lest I lose myself.

A long search commenced and having found a good therapist, I embarked on a journey that revealed more to me and about me than I ever thought possible.

Walls were broken and shields dispersed. I felt new almost instantly but the process of recovery took much longer.

It was progress, slow yes but very intriguing. The self-worth I had for myself before was almost non-existent, but after I felt reborn, like I was making amends and fixing a strenuous but loving relationship. With myself.

Three decades of existence have lapsed and my journey towards healing still continues. There have been moments of questioning how many beautiful opportunities I may have never experienced out of my own selfishness.

I look at the beauty of it all and I can say that without a doubt, finding God allowed me to find myself. I can say He found me, just after my first incident and has never left me since.

I have lost friends from judgement and misunderstandings as they don’t see how that could happen.

Keep your friends close they said, but I saw none of the so-called ever rise up and see me get better, and in some cases, they too may have had harder stories than this which I tell.

I have watched other friends leave this life unchallenged due to the same mental battles I face all to often.

I have grown up in pain that many men go through but silently and later give up the same fight for freedom. 

I am a better man due to the same adversity that many great people have fallen to but I’m not without my scars, it is they that remind me the true cost of living and seeking help. I have and will continue going for therapy, whether things are good or bad.

I now have a stable support system from friends, family, colleagues and professional help.

I cannot begin to imagine how much someone in a situation like mine, has to go through, and worse yet, society deems men more resilient and knowledgeable on matters of the heart and soul, yet most of us don’t even know if we will make it to the next morning. 

It may matter not how long this story goes, but I share my story to encourage someone by saying that they are seen and they matter. Go for a session with a licensed psychiatrist and reach out, there’s always an angel looking out for you.

Edwin Gichimu is a PR consultant and a businessman