You are much more than your problems, you matter

I am writing this article from a very personal place, probably the most personal since I last wrote in my personal diary in January at the beginning of the year ten months ago. 2017 was a great year for me, I performed well in my career, started a new company and I was very proud of myself. To give you some context; I hold an Honours Degree in Psychology and a Master Degree in Business Administration which I obtained in 2016 at the age of twenty four. I dearly love working and have had many different part-time jobs alongside my studies since I was eighteen. Upon completing MBA in 2016, I worked on a couple of psychology projects while freelancing as a business development consultant on the side. At the end of 2017, I was a director of my own investment start-up and shareholder in three different start-ups based in three different continents. I was looking forward to 2018 so I can top what I have achieved in 2017.

2018 came with a different story. In February (2018), one of my dearest friends passed away. He was only 23, a final year engineering university student. He committed suicide, and we do not know the reason. I was very heartbroken to say the least, still heartbroken and still wishing I had a chance to help.

One the business side, two of my start-ups started performing poorly. The global markets in general started performing poorly. Being the self-proclaimed “proud workaholic”that I am, I started worrying and stressing constantly about my job performance. I started sleeping less, sometimes only sleeping three hours a day. I would surf the internet for answers to my problems all night and morning till I pass out exhausted around 10am. Work became my whole life, I was rarely seeing my family and friends.

On the 22nd of August (2018), I woke up in a good mood. I had an early business meeting and I was optimistic that it will end in some good news. The meeting went well and I returned home at lunch to start planning my next move based on the outcome of the meeting. When I arrived home, I found all my siblings home and some relatives standing outside. From the looks on their faces, I could tell something was wrong; I was given the news that my dearest eldest brother has passed away. He committed suicide at home just in the hours leading up to lunch. I didn’t have words or thoughts, I was very blank and sort of felt like I was in a simulation or a parallel universe. We mourned and buried my brother four days later on the 26th August 2018. After my brother’s funeral I didn’t return to work immediately. I took time off and stayed at my parents’ home. I had reconnected with many of my relative at my brother’s funeral, so started keeping in touch more and visiting them when I can.  I am doing much better mentally and less concerned about the global economy than I was a few months ago.

I think of my brother and my friend every day. I never stop wishing there was a chance I could have helped them. But no matter how much I stay awake wishing, I will never bring them back. Please if you are going through something, reach out to someone and ask for help. People are not going to assume your problems and out of the blue, reach out. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself, express it to a few people. Reach out to other people for help, there is always someone out there who is willing to listen. You matter to someone out there. Don’t be ashamed of having problems or making mistakes. Everyone has made mistakes and experiences difficulties in life at some point. We have to accept that somethings are out of our control and we have to learn to mentally cope with the hardships in our lives. Hardships are not going anywhere, we will experience heartbreaks and tragedies. What is important is that we learn to accept and see if we can learn something out of the hardship. As human beings we have very limited abilities to stop natural disasters from happening. Our beloved ones will pass away someday, or our jobs can be lost due to unforeseen circumstances, our sight and hearing can be gone in one minute. Let us be certain that nothing lasts forever, and we should be grateful for what we have at any given moment. When something is beyond our reach, let us accept and try to find ways to move on or cope with it.

I hope to connect with other people and share experiences. We will never have it all or know it all but if we open up to other people, we can get some good perspectives that can be of use. So if you are going through something please reach out to a few people, hopefully one or two will help.

By Hilma David

If you are triggered by the subjects discussed in this article, please feel free to reach out or contact Samaritans or Aware

Help is always available, all you need to do is ask.