There are days I go to sleep determined that tomorrow will be better, determined to get up and work out, to get up and go to classes. I go to sleep determined to win this battle I have been losing for years. These nights filled with hope come and go, they are usually preceded by very good days, days I spent praying, listening to the Word of God,… I plan the following day as if I have overcome and sometimes I do believe it. I plan when I will wake up, what I will wear, where I will go and what I will do.
It has been a really long time since I have felt really happy. Sometimes I think I don’t even remember how it is to be happy; really happy. I mean was I ever really happy? Maybe when I was an innocent child; it seems like it was in another lifetime …
But these nights come really close to happiness for me, I go to sleep full of hope. Then comes the morning, and with it all the fears are back. I begin considering any decisions I made the previous night, I convince myself that it is too soon for me to go back to classes; I mean what if I meet this friend or that friend? I’m sure they are going to ask how I am doing; how far I am with my classes and many more questions I don’t want to answer to. I don’t want to put my smile on and say that I’m ok when I’m not. Then I stay in bed and I let the darkness embrace me again; I sleep for one day, two days and soon the week is over.
I sleep, I cry, I watch movies and read books trying to escape my reality by emerging myself into someone else’s story may it be fictional or true. And soon it’s Saturday night again, I’m crying in my bed; I feel so hopeless and I think the world would be such a better place if I were dead… but don’t worry, I won’t kill myself: I fear God too much for that, although I do beg Him to kill me every now and then.
I wake up the next morning, I put on my Sunday best, my smile and I go to church. Does this make me a hypocrite? I don’t think so, because what is the alternative? To shout that I feel like dying? To tell the world that I’m filled with so much confusion that I can’t even make a small decision in my life? That I distrust almost everyone, even the closest member of my family? I can’t do that! Those are the kind of things you tell somebody you trust, but I don’t think there is anyone I can tell this to. Sometimes I think I should just stop going to church, then I won’t have to put on a smile and say that I’m ok. But I can’t do this either, because that would be my death. Church is the place I go and see a glimpse of love, peace and happiness, then I go home filled with hope that I too someday will get to feel those things I saw in the eyes of others.
Depression is really such a mean thing. It feels like a prison, even though I cannot see the walls or the chains. I feel so trapped!!! And I tried, but I haven’t found a permanent door out yet. I have my moments, I read about it, I watch videos about it, I understand it is all in my head but I can’t seem to get it out. One day I went to see a psychologist because I really felt I was going crazy. I had to talk to somebody. He told me I should to talk to my parents about how I feel, he said they would understand. I told him that he doesn’t understand. With the life I’ve had, what have I got to be depressed about? People in my home country are being killed, others are dying of hunger and I am sitting here, I have food, a roof over my head, I live in a country where there is peace; I really don’t have the right to feel the way I feel. I should suck it up and be the best I can be for my family, but also for those who cannot be where I am.
You see the thing the psychologist doesn’t understand is that I’m Burundian. I should stop kwigirisha, ndeke gufyina, mpeze amashure ntere iteka abavyeyi nigihugu canvyaye, right? I mean I don’t know if there is place for depression in our culture and society, is there? I don’t know about your family, but we never really talked about feelings in mine. Well, I know my parents love me that is for sure. How do I know? Well I know that everything they do or ever did were for me and my siblings: to provide for us, to put us through school so we can have a bright future, was out of love.
I really had a nice childhood, I never really lacked anything, and even though I was in the country during times of war like 93 and later; I don’t remember most of it. I’ve lived a privileged life compared to many others in my beloved country. I’ve always had food, a place to sleep and I went to the best schools. Ok my life was not always great. I had some dark times, but really nothing that can explain why for some years now, I’ve stopped functioning. I was always a good kid, who obeyed my parents, who was good at school. I never had rebellious teen years, but somewhere in my adulthood something went wrong, and I got stuck. I don’t know where to go anymore. Sometimes I think that it is because anything I have ever done in my life was for somebody else, for my parents, for my friends that I don’t know how to do it for myself.
Mind you, if you met me you would never know that this is how I feel. Even those who are close to me do not know, and I pray that one day I can gather the courage to tell them; although, I lowkey hope I can overcome this and tell them after, when I’m “victorious”, when I’m better. But then again, they might be my way to victory… Well abafaransa barayamaze ngo, qui vivra verra, sivyo?
Well, until I’m strong enough to talk to my family and close friends, I’m telling you so that you pay attention to your loved ones, read between the lines, search behind the smiles. Love each other, support each other and most of all pray for each other.
A confused but hopeful mind.
(image source: npr.org)