All this talk about suicides and depression got me thinking.

I can remember the number of times crossing the Nyali Bridge in Mombasa on foot, and looking at the water far down there and thinking, what if I just ended all of it, right there? There would be a funeral, and in a couple of months everyone would forget about me and life would continue. And my pain would be done away with.

In retrospect, what got me across the bridge to the other side every time was thoughts of my family. And friends. Knowing how much they loved me and how much my exit would hurt them. And the fact that there’s so much I haven’t done yet.

And then once in a while we joke about how attempted suicide is criminal. We don’t talk about that shrill voice in the head telling you if you are going to do it, you have to make sure it works — so you don’t have to be there to deal with the repercussions.

I have a couple of friends with whom with we have long conversations that span hours, whenever either of us is feeling down. The smile on my face after such a call is often enough reason to push through another week. It’s recharging, therapeutic too.

I have read and heard people saying to reach out if one is feeling depressed. Listen, depression doesn’t take away someone’s need for company and reassurance, it just takes away their ability. When you are depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything, seeing anyone, or talking to anyone. You want to, but you simply don’t have the energy to even attempt anything. Telling depressed people to reach out isn’t the way — one needs to be really strong emotionally for that to happen — but depression strips most of the strength and resilience away.

In my opinion, only way to beat depression and perhaps stop these suicides is going back to humanity. Let’s be more caring and loving — towards those around us. Especially those who are usually strong. Remember, the higher you go the harder you fall. The strong person is hit harder because depression brings them down from a very high place. Reach out to them, instead of waiting for them to.

There’s people we have random conversations with, in the middle of the day or late in the night, about nothing in particular, but the joy these conversations bring about are worth every single second and cent spend.

To those who have been in that dark place before like myself, build yourself a support system when you are still strong — they will hold you when you are down. Make friends — lots — and develop really deep relationships with them. Call on the people in your life randomly just to check in. Make it a part of your life, a habit. Make sure the people closest to you know how you are doing — and you know how they are doing.

You are no more human than the next person, but neither are you without them.


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