Deuteronomy 33:6

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He is 20 years old and there is death in him. He feels it summoning him. Egging him on. Seducing him. In case you are wondering what that feels like; “it feels like dying is the only way,” he tells me. I’m sitting in a sinking camp chair in Naivasha, early morning, the sun has just risen over the scrawny acacia trees, now choked by water that’s moved too far inland. The lake is grey and so flat you can press your shirt on it. Tamms is sitting across from me, cloaked in her usual mystery of silence, the charred remains of last evening’s campfire still smouldering, refusing to die. The sweet smell of wood smoke hangs in the air. She’s pretending not to be listening in on my phone conversation with this boy who wants to die.

I ask him whose dog that is, that’s yelping incessantly in the background.

“My sister’s dog.” He says.

“How old is your sister?”

“She’s ten.”

“It sounds like one of those small fluffy things that people carry in their cars, furry heads sticking out the window.”

He chuckles. “ Yeah. And they don’t do anything; they don’t bite, or chase away thieves.”

“And you have to take them to the doctor for their temperature to be taken. Or if they are unhappy.”

“Yes, and their food is expensive. They don’t eat just anything. It might upset their stomach.”

“Sounds like a good gig to be a dog in 2020.”

“I don’t think so,” he remarks, “because they have to die after…what’s the lifespan of a dog, 7 years?”

“Then the idiom, to lead a dog’s life comes to mind?”

“Yeah. I wouldn’t want to come back as a dog.”

It’s amazing how at only 20 years old he seems ready to go, I muse. He never wants to see the sun rise. He never wants to take his children camping and hear one of them ask in the tent; is there WiFi in here? He never wants to know what its like to buy your first car and want to spend the rest of your life in that car. He never wants to slowly discover the man he is, the good and the ugly parts, the parts that he doesn’t understand and those that unravel slowly. He wants to die. End it. And it’s amazing that he’s having this conversation with me – a stranger – in the morning, as his parents wake up in their household, completely unaware that he feels this way, that he nurses occasional hopelessness, desperation and pain.

It started with sleeplessness. No, it started with drugs and alcohol. Copious amounts of it. There is a place in Karen called Bogani where every Wednesday a bunch of university students would congregate for a soiree. “I was drinking a lot late last year – just everything; brandy, gin, vodka, anything. And smoking a lot of weed. In the morning, I’d blend my coffee and put some brandy in it and carry it to school, where I’d sip it slowly, to maintain that highness. Then I got depressed but of course I didn’t know I was depressed. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get out of bed. I’m not the kind of person who gets sad. I’m hyper and talkative, but I didn’t want to see people, or talk to my friends on the phone. For three days I was inside my bedsitter. It’s in the forest, do you know Oloolua forest?”

“Never been.”

“Everybody knows it. I live off campus – my apartment is at the edge of it – a bedsitter with a very big bed in it. So anyway, I was just sad. Very sad. And miserable. For three days in a row, I’d just get out of bed to sip milk and sleep. By this time I wasn’t drinking or smoking. I’d just lie in bed looking at the ceiling, not moving, not showering, just feeling like there was nothing left. It’s a strange feeling, depression. You know this is not you, this is not what I do. I just lost any will to do the things that I loved – hanging out, working out, riding a bicycle. I locked out friends I’d known for years – Kiiru, Duncan, you know people that were my closest friends. Funny thing is that what got me out of bed eventually was a cat.”

“You live with a cat?”

He laughs. “No, a Continuous Assessment Test.”

I’m deflated, deeply disappointed. Can you imagine the story; a depressed boy saved by a feline? I’d not even want to hear the rest of his story. I’d be happier to interview that cat, instead. Over milk, preferably. If they are buying.

He woke up at 5am and walked to campus. There was nobody, just guards. He wandered around university, staring at buildings, noticing for the first time the chipping paint on buildings, windows with cracked panes, trees that he’d never noticed, parts of pavement that were chipped. He then decided to walk to Karen hospital. It’s not a close distance. He trudged on as if he wasn’t keen to arrive. “I found some weed and a matchbox in my pocket.” He says. “I threw them out. I was tired. I was very tired. Of not sleeping and of being sad. Being sad can drain you. It’s the monkey on your back. I was walking and trying not to cry. Halfway to Karen hospital, I got weak and tired so I took a bus.”

My son – Kim – comes and asks me in a near whisper. “Are you talking to mom?”

I tell the guy to hold on a second and I tell my son I’m not. What is it with these damned boys and their mothers? We are out here in the beautiful wild, by the enchanting lake and all he wants is to talk to his mother? Jesus.

“Can you call her?” I can smell smoke from last night on his hair. He smells delicious.

“After I’m done.” I tell him.

“After how many minutes?”

“Forty five.” I say.

“That’s long. Can you call her after twenty minutes?”

“Okay.” He goes off to watch Jonah, my friend, light up a jiko.

At Karen hospital he asked if he could see a psychiatrist. He was referred upstairs – third floor, I think – and was booked into the next appointment the following Wednesday at 2pm. “The PA to the psychiatrist had dreadlocks, interesting lady. She fascinated me. I don’t know why.” He chuckles. He went and did his CAT, then went to his parent’s house.

“Did your parents notice that you were off?”

“No. I’m an extrovert. We hide behind our cheerfulness and talkativeness. People tend to believe we are okay. They never suspect that we could be unhappy or suicidal and then boom.”

On Wednesday he was seated in the psychiatrist’s office, in a surprisingly cheerful and well lit room. Seated before him was a calm and motherly psychiatrist. She had an interesting touchscreen Lenovo laptop into which she typed notes as he spoke. It made him uncomfortable, opening up to this lady about his life which was now polluted with many negative things; drink, drugs, darkness, hopelessness, fear and sadness. “It was like she was peeking into my soul.” He says. He told her about his inability to sleep. ‘I’d sleep for only ten minutes, or an hour at the very maximum. The rest of the time I’d be wide awake, listening to the sound of the night in the nearby forest. In the short period I’d be asleep, I’d occasionally have nightmares that I was dead. Or that I was trapped in a coma. I could clearly see and feel what was happening to me, but I was immobilized, unable to move a muscle.And then I would go limp and die. It was terrifying.”

“What did you tell her you are scared of?” I ask.

“The unknown. Spirits.” He says.

She referred him to a psychologist for a written test. He was also asked to draw things with crayons. “They asked me to draw all these weird things.” He says. “Like drawing what I feel and colour code my friends and the animal that best describes me and the animal that best describes my career and love life. It was odd, but there seemed to be an angle to it, a madness to it. The form also required me to answer lots of questions about alcohol; if I’ve ever drank and driven, or reached for alcohol first thing in the morning, or skipped school because I had been drinking.”

The test, he says revealed that he was a total empath. “I feel the pain of other people and it affects me badly.”

His two closest friends both have family issues. One- who we shall call Linda – is from a violent and dysfunctional home. “Her parents beat her. Her father likes to beat her and taunt her ‘you look like your mother.’ She knows that both parents cheat on each other and then blame their children for their infidelities.” He says. “The other close friend is a hyper psychopath. She’s manipulative and self destructive. If she gets attracted to someone who doesn’t like her back, she will sleep with all his friends to get back at him. She’s from a divorced family as well and her parents refuse to send her upkeep money.”

He was diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. “But every human being has some sort of disorder,” he told his therapist. “Yeah, maybe” the therapist said, “but the reason why you are here is because you feel this is a big problem, no?”

Late last year he started taking prescription drugs. He felt better. He was happier. He slept for hours. He would sit outside in the sun and feel happiness on his skin. He started dating Linda. They had been friends for so long, and he had had a secret crush on her for a while so it felt right. “She’s beautiful and smart, really smart. I have never found anyone who is more open-minded and willing to learn about almost anything. She fights for people. She’s a feminist, but not the crazy bra-burning type. She’s the amazing type.”

In February of this year, just as Coronavirus was about to put the kibosh on everything, they had a massive fight. It was over something so trivial he doesn’t remember it. But he recalls the shouting on the phone. And someone saying, “fine!” Later, he thought about it and decided to eat humble pie and apologise, only she was still on the warpath. She told him to take that apology and stuff it where the sun don’t shine. She said his apology didn’t mean shit. He got mad. He went for her jugular, a place he knew would hurt her the most. “I told her that she brandishes her depression and family issues like a badge of honor. I said, ‘you are a strong person, yet you harp on this shit about how terrible your family is, ..Just some mean hurtful things about her mental health and her family that she had told me in confidence.” She was furious. She said, “this is over, fuck you!” He said, “fine, fuck you too!”

He went to his bedsitter at the edge of the forest. He was feeling sad, plunging into unchartered depths of depression. It was like being sucked down a thick dark pipe. He cried quite a bit. He took the rest of his prescription drugs – Quetiapine – and dropped all 25 tablets into a cup of coffee. Then he added lots of sugar, to taste, because nobody wants to die with a bad taste in their mouth. He gulped it all down. He then texted Linda; I loved you too much. He got into bed, dressed in the clothes he knew they would find him dead in. He cuddled his pillow. Then he waited for death. He listened for it as if waiting for the low rumbling sound of a train approaching the station.

I ask him what occupied his thoughts as he lay there, waiting for death. Did he think of his parents, his siblings?

“You read how in your final moments your whole life flashes before your eyes. It doesn’t.” He laughs. “I was just broken and sad. I was crying. I didn’t think of my parents or siblings, I know it’s horrible to say, but I didn’t.”

“Death, then sounds so unremarkable.” I say.

“It is. You slowly drift into unconsciousness. A part of me was happy that this was the end.” He pauses. “In fact, it was boring. Dying is boring.”

When he came to – a day later- he was in a hospital bed. It was a Saturday evening. He remembers. He didn’t know that his girlfriend – or ex- had freaked out upon reading the message and gone to his house at night. He didn’t know that she had knocked and knocked on his door then went to the back door and saw him lying in bed, non responsive, a pillow hugged to his chest. Together with his neighbour, she had removed a window pane and accessed the house.

“Were you happy or disappointed you were alive when you woke up in the hospital?” I ask him. “I was confused.” He says. “There was pain in my arm, from the IV line they had inserted for meds. I don’t recall my state of mind, but I was glad to see my girlfriend. She was holding my hand. Nobody wants to die alone.”

The only reason his parents knew was because his medical card was declined at the hospital and she had to call them. His parents were quite worried. He told them that he must have eaten some bad food. His father said he must have been drugged. “My father is a pastor. Most of my family members are deeply involved in church. He was there with a legion of pastors. He told me that the previous week he had kept running into a bible verse – Deuteronomy 33:6, Let Reuben live and not die, nor his people be few. He thought this was some sort of prophecy as something was happening to my big bro who is away. When he came to the hospital he said that it was actually me that the verse was referring to.”They prayed and talked about how easy it is to be drugged. “They were making up these stories for themselves, I let them believe what they wanted to believe. Besides, I couldn’t tell them that I had tried to commit suicide and that I sucked at that. I also couldn’t tell them that the girl who had saved my life, the one who had called them was my girlfriend. It would have been sacrilegious for them to imagine I was having sex.”

His therapist visited him. She sat at the edge of his bed looking disappointed in him. “Why did you try doing it? Why?” She asked him. He cried a lot. He was ashamed that he had tried and also ashamed that he had failed. She insisted that he had to tell his parents the truth or she would. “What about patient doctor confidentiality?” He asked her. She said that their agreement was that if he ever did anything to hurt himself or others around him she would have to tell his next of kin. He begged her not to tell them. He couldn’t bear the thought of his parents knowing that he had tried to kill himself. Eventually she convinced him to tell them.

The next day his parents came to see him with a close relative. He looked at the relative as he said, ‘I wasn’t drugged. I tried to kill myself. I took pills. I have ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.” He couldn’t look them in the face. They stared at him. His father couldn’t speak. He was speechless. They freaked out. One of them asked, “have we been bad parents?” And he broke down.

His mom has a Masters in psychology. “She can read a room better and faster than my dad,” he says. She asked him for a word and they left the room to confer in whispers in the corridor. He cried in bed. He was in hospital for a total of seven days. He was discharged and started taking his prescribed drugs and tried to stay alive and sane. Between the time he was discharged and now, death has stalked him in one form or another. First, Linda’s best friend committed suicide. Then Linda tried killing herself twice. “She seems to want to go because her family is very abusive. Her father beats her up frequently and her mother encourages it. To be honest it’s quite messed up, at least I have stability at home.”

He feels he’s stable now, mentally. Staying at home during this COVID season has given him some form of stability. “I still think of killing myself, though. A lot. ” He says before adding. “But it’s passive thoughts, not active ones.”

“Why do you want to go?”

“It’s not exciting to stay. My leaving isn’t going to make a big difference. I’m mostly upset at life. I mean, life really doesn’t make sense if you think about it. It doesn’t make sense how you meet the woman you marry. Does it make sense to you why your children weren’t born with albinism or born disabled while someone else’s children were born that way? What makes you special? Life is so random and it’s disconcerting. It’s not your choice to be alive. I tried to take my life but I lived yet Linda’s pal tried and she succeeded. You can walk out of your door and get hit by a bus and die. Someone else might not die, maybe they will break a spine and become confined to a wheelchair. I can’t share all these thoughts with my parents because we don’t share the same ideologies, besides it will break them.”

“If you were to live, what would you want to live for?”

“To travel the world, maybe one day write a book. My own story. If I’m to live I’d like to have sex in weird places. I don’t know if you should write that one down. Do you know the story of the man who wanted to commit suicide but first he went to Havana to have fun for the last time? He went to casinos, gambled, did cocaine and had sex with beautiful women – you know, everything that society frowns upon. The next day he decided he didn’t want to die after all. Engaging in those vices, he realised, made him very happy. It made living worthwhile.”

There must be a point there to illustrate that story. The other point is, at this point, as you read this on 8th September 2020, he wants to live. He’s at home, with his parents and siblings and the barking dog that probably has life insurance and is allergic to nuts. He’s safe. There is love all around him. But sometimes, death creeps into his thoughts, as it has since the day he tried killing himself. He thinks of it, passively, he says, with restrained romanticism.

* * *

Registration for the September Creative Writing Masterclass is open, the class will run from 28th September to 2nd October 2020. This is sponsored by Safaricom but it’s not ati free. There is some little cost. To register please email [email protected], registration closes on 25th September 2020.

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162 Comments
    1. As we celebrate ‘first to arrive’ (we gave up bashing, no?), my heart goes out to ‘Linda’; I hope she too is alive and wants to live….

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  1. We are out here in the beautiful wild, by the enchanting lake and all he wants is to talk to his mother? Jesus

    Special beings they are.

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  2. Mental health is very important just like physical health. Why many of us don’t recognise that baffles me. We must stop the stigma and get the necessary help.
    For anyone needing a psychiatrist reach out to Dr Mumbi in Oasis Hospital Nairobi.

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  3. Reading this while staring at the gloomy Nairobi weather outside does not help at all.

    I could almost feel the weight of the world on the shoulders of this boy who wanted to die. I do not know if its because he is so young or because none of us should die unaccomplished but all of it is unnerving. Even sadder is the misery in his company. Seems like death was playing roulette with his circle – taking turns to haunt and hurt them like teenagers in a horror movie.

    My consolation is that maybe the parents will find a way to take a peek down his soul and understand his strange dreams. All without judgement. And with all the love the good lord above made for use between parents and their children.

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  4. I have never read a story with so many chills down my body. I feel for our young people. Why didn’t we (70s & 80s kids) ever feel this way? or know about disorders?!

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    1. i think the 70’s and 80’s we stayed innocent longer by the time you realise how life is you are old enough to handle it unlike children of now who are exposed to so much at a young age and it is overwhelming for them.

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    2. i think cause we were not baby sitted,we were even being chased from our ancestral homes,
      i remember being told u” pack ur things and go where children who don’t work stay”

      And if also refused to eat they told you it’s not their stomach unlike nowadays they order pizza or fries for you.

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    3. Early in the eighties parents used to be there for their children, unlike nowadays when parents are so obsessed with making money and buying land. The relationship with the kids and the amount of time you bond is all that matters

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  5. I pray that he gets a reason to live. Something to hang on to. I also pray that the thoughts of wanting to end his life come to an end. I do pray for his total healing.
    Depression is such a bummer.

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  6. HI Biko,
    I envy you, having a working holiday by Lake Naivasha!
    All’s well that ends well, huh? If that’s the end, that is! I can’t help noticing though, you do like the phrase; “coming/not coming back as….” I suspect if there is any coming back, people and animals are coming back as what they already are!
    Anyway, there is no denying, guys are going through stuff and Covid-19 has only exacerbated the situation. But, why from the story, does it sound like the young man’s dad being a Pastor, he is supposed to be ‘perfect?’ Or his family perfect!
    But I sense a rebellion in the young man, rebellion against what his parents believe. There is not much more to it! And who knows, it may be the genesis of what he’s going through. You want to try a different path from the familiar and find yourself chasing the wind. And then life threatens to fulfill Hobbesian dictum of being short, nasty and brutish! Only, more times than we care to count, it ends up being exactly that! Because life, without God, is messed up, meaningless, vain……

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  7. “Are we bad parent?”
    That should have been reason enough not to go any further. I understand we don’t say toxic words here but dude, Fuck you for being so self centred and not giving a thought of what happens to your siblings and parents once you commit suicide.
    I hope you read this.

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    1. I am Sorry but being Judgmental doesn’t help people like him who need help to open up about their struggles. Chose to be Kind even when you don’t agree with someones way of doing things. Be Kind!!!!!!!!

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    2. This could be the trigger he is waiting for. Your comments as much as he might be selfish is unnecessary. Depression is an illness.. Most times beyond his control

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    3. Please don’t be harsh to someone like this. Mental health is a real problem. When someone is in that state it’s like having an open wound……………..it needs a proper doctor and proper meds and tools to treat it. Just coz mental health is not something you can see doesn’t mean it’s not there. So compassion………….extend some grace and don’t be quick to judge. Please.

      And for the boy in the article, I pray that you realize you have a purpose in this life. Whether you are a believer in Christ or not it matters not. What matters is that you know that you matter……….you are important…you have a purpose. It may not be obvious to you now but give life a chance and you shall see.

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      1. To kanyi kimani that is warm love at heart. So true and so touching . continue to spread the love. That is what Jesus wants to those who are judgemental and still hide behind the word of lord. Being a good samaritan isn’t to those who are well it is to those who are weak.

    4. Did you read that he has ADHD and Bipolar disorder. Call it being self-centered, but if he wanted to be whole and reasonable like you purport to be, he would be just that. He has feelings and he knows that his thoughts are not right and righteous, which is why he sought help and is trying to live one day at a time. No one wants to go to the length that mental illness takes you. You always realize you’re wrong, but you don’t have the strength to do the right thing either. And to go through life like this is more painful and disorienting than the pain and tears that will flow when you die. Because whether by suicide or not, you will be mourned but not forever. They will remember you yes, but you they might never feel your pain as a depressed person. Depression is real. And it is this lack of understanding of how to talk about it and respond to situations that makes many people fear to even seek help when they realize they have a problem.

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    5. You need to take sometime and study and understand depression, bipolar, disorder and ADHD. At first I thought you were mad at his dad for being so self centered, and not putting him first. I’m disappointing a little bit by him coz him being a trained pastor should have understood the situation better.
      Thing is, the conditions he has are not visible to most. Sadly, they are worse than having a broken leg which is visible. Instead of passing harsh judgement, educate yourself.
      Lastly, I hope you never get to experience any of the conditions this boy has, though it would give you a clear understanding of why people want to die, sometimes for no visible reason.

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    6. I always thought everyone was taught if they have nothing good to say to just SHUT UP!, you have no idea what he is going through , what pushed him to that end and unless you have walked a mile in his shoes, you are a horrible person to say what you just said, and you need to get off that high horse of self righteousness
      I have a feeling you do not know better for if you did you would be a little bit empathetic,

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    7. Well, this is a tad harsh and uncalled for, but in all fairness also shows the other side of the coin that those contemplating suicide perhaps never consider. Because suicide may seem to take away pain of the victim but leaves pain for unintended victims.

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    8. Hello. People who are suicidal are not selfish. It is a complex situation that someone who’s never dealt with mental health will understand. You can talk to a mental health expert/ psychologist or read materials around this topic for better understanding. Don’t be hard on him. Wish him the best in his journey to recovery so that he can overcome all this. You can find some good literature on the same here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/free-range-psychology/201806/is-suicide-selfish

  8. What a powerful story. Death always seems like an easy escape, but it takes courage to actually die. And it takes more courage to live. May we have the courage to live and to give life to others too. We fight many battles daily, day in, day out, and it may seem like there’s no winning. But we can only keep trying, keep getting up and trying. And when we feel tired, exhausted to the bone, with no end in sight, may we learn to rest, not quit. Thank you for this story. Young Man and Linda, may you find daily strength and courage, and hopefully love and healing too. You are worthy, valuable and special.

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  9. I was recently compiling a “reasons to stay” list and having sex in weird places was really somewhere at the top of the list. I think this is my favourite story so far.

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  10. Biko, what was it with you and your mother, you also talked about her a lot? Let the boy be and stop using the Lord’s name in vain, hehe. Moving story amazing that the quarantine season is what has saved him because he has to now live with his family. Most people in the psychiatry field say that depression has increased during this Covid season. Great read.

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  11. “I’d be happier to interview that cat, instead. Over milk, preferably. If they are buying”. this was quite a relief comically….
    I also find the vices very refreshing.

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  12. Hope he finds the will to live.
    Poor Linda, taking all the beatings from the father.
    If only parents can learn to solve their issues and not take it out on the children.

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  13. May he find something that makes him REALLy happy, even if the society frowns upon it. Everyone deserves to live. I wish I could take all these people and make them my family. Virtual hugs to this child, as a mother I wish him one hell of a long exhilarating life.

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  14. I truly understand him……. Its painful but am glad he is finding peace and ways to cope…

    How i wish people would see beyond the cheerfulness of most extrovert when they are trying too hard not to present their true feelings.

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  15. Always found it weird the way you are born, you become and you’re somehow expected to stay and make the best of life. Most of us don’t want to be here. We don’t want to exist. And whether or not we are loved is not even the issue. Even that love, is often a source of pain. There is something incredibly narcissistic about procreating. And one should be ready to confront the very real possibility that the human you bring forth, may not figure out how do life, and they just want to die. And that’s okay.

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  16. I have known insomnia. Went for five days without closing an eyelid. Funny thing is that I thought I will never heal. But I healed. It is a journey. He will be well

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  17. Reading this has brought so many bad memories of a death of someone close to my heart. I have wished for so many things in the last one month . I am yet to come to terms with the loss of such a young soul.

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  18. There should be a system available for kids from broken homes… Parents can wreck so much havock, damaging their kids. He’s an empath, probably depressed coz he can put himself in his friends shoes, but doesn’t totally know how to help them…

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  19. To all the Linda’s out there, I do hope and pray that their Moms can stand up for them and stop the abuse. We shouldn’t allow our spouses to abuse our children in the name of discipline or whatever. Home should be where they find love.

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  20. The thing about suicide is you don’t just kill yourself. You kill every memory of you, it’s all everyone remembers of you. Every second you spent on this earth will be reduced on how you chose to leave it. No one will mourn your lose as it isn’t losing your life, it is quiting and it is selfish. Its the single most selfish thing a person can do! Someone once said you can’t fix a broken glass but you can use the broken pieces to make anything new, the options are limitless. So hold on to this life, it somehow always gets better.

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  21. But sometimes, death creeps into his thoughts, as it has since the day he tried killing himself. He thinks of it, passively, he says, with restrained romanticism.

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  22. It’s not your choice to be alive. I tried to take my life but I lived yet Linda’s pal tried and she succeeded. You can walk out of your door and get hit by a bus and die.

    These right here reflects every thought that crosses my mind everytime I seek the most sensible, quick and less painful way to about it. I’m 35, married for the last 10 most miserable years of my life. With a child (not mine biologically) but love to the core. At the the moment she is all I live for. I imagine I have accumulated enough resources and put everything in place that can sustain her to maturity.
    I’M DONE HERE

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    1. Please don’t give up on life, keep living, your daughter needs you, the world needs you. Find comfort in God’s word, hang around people who make you happy and genuinely care about you. God loves you.

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    2. Hey Denis. I don’t think death would satisfy or end the pain you are going through. You might not like your wife. Ask her out. Go to a hotel or airbnb, have sex. Alot of sex. The bathroom the bed, the pool. Get a little bit tipsy. It’s the little things that make life worth living. Just breathe and relax maybe you’ll feel better and maybe leave your miserable marriage or reignite the spark. Visit a friend. Call them laugh loudly. No one leaves the world alive. But if you have to leave it, leave it happier. Your kid would miss you.

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    3. Your presence is more important than everything you would like to leave her, will never be as important as your presence. Live for that beautiful smile.

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  23. “He was there with a legion of pastors.” How Biko mixes humor with sadness is out of this world (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t be laughing but that phrase cracked me up).

    There’s beauty in life, in living. It’s weird to say this but a few years ago when I was going through a depressed phase, I used to picture my death every minute (I have had a few friends share the same sentiments with me, mostly millennials). Eventually, I managed to pull through, I found a reason to live.

    Something is terribly wrong with our generation, especially 90’s kids. I’m glad he’s on the “wake up list” every day that dawns. May he find peace within himself and a will to live. All will be well.

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  24. Religion obscures so much. Ought to be approached with restrained romanticism too.
    Anyway I don’t have answers to life so let me not attempt to be wise. I just live.

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  25. This felt so nostalgic. Funny thing, I also underwent Depression at 20 years. I can relate to what the young man is undergoing. But after my experience I decided that God had a purpose for me. I am thinking of writing my book. I’m also contemplating enrolling for my Masters in Psychology. I found my purpose through the pain I underwent. I am very passionate about Mental Health, youth and Men. I try my level best to help out when I can( individuals who are depressed/ suicidal) Just last year two of my friends attempted Suicide. But I’m happy to say they’re much better. The young man needs to be surrounded by his family and close friends. I hope he discovers his purpose and zeal to Live. Aluta Continua. #SafeHands

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  26. Live and let Live. The thought of dying freaks many “destitute” people out, why would it be normal to a living human being ? Sorry for the depression and if in any case you slide (start using drugs again constantly) Pray to God to protect you from thinking about death (not from taking drugs). Not taking drugs is a big decision to make.

    2
  27. Depression is underrated.I request each of us to get intentional on calling those friends who’ve gone quiet.The ones we long fell out with,the ones who lost their jobs and for the longest time have been hustling,the ones who turned alcoholics and we no longer associate with..I stopped playing ego games when i found my close cousin with a knife in bed.-reason?she feels alone.
    Alone and all i knew was how lucky she was..
    The battles inside are the fiercest.We really need to stop twitting and get to ask,”How are you faring” without expecting,”fine.”

    7
  28. This lad is just shedding off his teenage years and slowly crawling into adulthood. Mistakes are allowed and that forms a part of our lives. My take is that he’s so much focused on his death wish which I believe can be shaken off with the right attitude to life.

    5
  29. The problem with suicidal thoughts is that they never actually go away. They keep recurring. It’s important that such people are sorrounded by people who love them and give them a lot of peace. It’s my prayer that this guy lives to tell a tale of his life

    3
  30. Life is beautiful. God has a reason why each one of us were born. So pray n get to find this reason,dont dwell too much on trying to end your life. Linda needs help too. You both do. So being together, i dont see how this makes it any better.
    Hope you find a reason to live. May the Lord guide you.

    3
  31. It’s true how battling depression is difficult particularly when you’re outgoing and people can’t seem to understand what’s happening to you…. great piece

    3
  32. This story sounds so much like mine that i wonder if certain nental paths have similar route markers for everyone. Down to the drug(which i later came to find out gives one suicidal thoughts)…and the shame about being so useless that you even bungled your suicide attempt. Life. Brighter( and saner) days lie ahead.

    6
  33. I read this and it sounds like this is my best friend you are talking about Biko,I am so worried now,so scared and almost in tears even .

    2
  34. He now lives just as it was said or Reuben. I hope he gets to write his book. I know his book will have love, hope and a lot of things Jesus does for us when he calibrates our minds.

    2
  35. I have a friend who suffers from depression n Bipolar and you wouldn’t know. She is the happiest n most caring person other than my family I know. And for the sake of her I hope he finds peace coz if he can so she can. Most importantly gang, let’s make it a habit of checking on our friends, the most happy people are also the sadest.

    3
  36. ”No. I’m an extrovert. We hide behind our cheerfulness and talkativeness. People tend to believe we are okay. They never suspect that we could be unhappy or suicidal and then boom.”
    i feel this line so deep. extroverts tend to take care of everyone around them and they forget themselves.

    I hope you find happiness and will to live life to its fullness again, and reach out to Linda. she needs u as much as you need her. she saved your life.

    You all matter, you can fight this together.

    4
  37. I agree with him on one thing, life is very random and just doesn’t make sense. Someone is hit by a car (seems like he’ll survive) and dies on the way to hospital, while another is hit worse and survives. What warrants one to live and another to die? What makes one more special than the other? What’s the criteria?

    4
  38. It has taken traditional hard brought up men like me alot of reading and listening to know that mental health is real.Its not cowardice and doesnt make the victim a weak person.Am happy that these days i dont judge the mentally disturbed people.Am even happier that there is medical help these days and this boy and linda can access that.

    4
  39. Am still stuck here

    “Do you know the story of the man who wanted to commit suicide but first he went to Havana to have fun for the last time? He went to casinos, gambled, did cocaine and had sex with beautiful women – you know, everything that society frowns upon. The next day he decided he didn’t want to die after all. Engaging in those vices, he realised, made him very happy. It made living worthwhile”

    4
  40. Depression is real, and it can get really dark and ugly. I am glad is he is back on his feet and wants to live, we pray for full recovery and victory. When you feel hopeless, look unto Jesus and find hope in the word of God.
    Stay around positive people, and people who make you happy, and are genuinely concerned about your wellbeing.

    1
  41. Why torment your offsprings?It’s bad.Linda’s parents should seek help,therapy , prayers.Linda should try life with a non-toxic person,as her parents are either bitter ,angry thus they are taking it out on her.

  42. But where did he get the story of the man who wanted to commit suicide but first went to Havana to have fun for the last time? Is it in a movie? Let’s stop in believing these Hollywood/fictive lies. All those illicit activities are bound to leave one empty and guilty. The gift of life is too precious to gamble with. In my own experience with depression, I’m coming to learn that life is more meaningful and happier for those who stop focusing on themselves and reach out to help and comfort those facing ‘harder’ times.

    2
  43. “with restrained romanticism.” That sums up the agony of anyone who has thought about ‘It’.
    You think that there has got to be more this life than living, only to wonder if leaving will be any better.

    I hope he finds that rare sense of clarity that comes only ever so often when in the dumps. Love and light to him.

    Oh and someone, anyone please check in on Linda. I know we can’t save everyone but the least we can do is try. For the love everything sacred someone find Linda.

  44. “No. I’m an extrovert. We hide behind our cheerfulness and talkativeness. People tend to believe we are okay. They never suspect that we could be unhappy or suicidal and then boom.”
    personally extroverted and all, making people laugh, life of the party, energetic bubble of everywhere I go seeming like we like life. Did not die after a trial 4times each year from 20-21-22 twice, so made a bucket list, working on it is an uphill task I ditch it then pick it again after its all done am gone, now this is some calm for the soul. Low days get so bad I’ll get high on whatever is near me and no one suspects a thing. One day we’ll leave this world behind anyway.

    2
  45. Depressed to the extent of throwing weed away?!! Now that’s some real pain. I’m 21 and I relate to his case. Many are the times I despise life. Why am I existing if there is no progress in my living? But at the end of the day realizing that God loves us is what should keep every man strong and hopeful. Thank God for Jesus, our hope in eternal glory!!

    1
  46. Dennis, stop in the name of love!
    If you love your innocent daughter that much, you will not go for that shortcut out of your sorrows. You will soldier on, and be there for her in the various phases of life. You will lead her by example. Most marriage problems persist since we are not skilled in solving conflicts. We can learn this from the many resources available. For marriage, visit divorcebursting.com, you will get useful tips. If you need a good psychotherapist, I can recommend you a good inexpensive one. Its not over yet. My former boss always reminds me to be thankful for what I have, and what I don’t have. To always remember that everyone has problems. You’re not alone. This too will pass, just like the different weather seasons. You can stick it out.

    2
  47. ”My leaving isn’t going to make a big difference. I’m mostly upset at life. I mean, life really doesn’t make sense if you think about it. It doesn’t make sense how you meet the woman you marry. Does it make sense to you why your children weren’t born with albinism or born disabled while someone else’s children were born that way? What makes you special? Life is so random and it’s disconcerting. It’s not your choice to be alive.”

    Live long boy…. I send you love

    3
  48. Great article, thanks

    Loss of joy or interest y in the things that one loved to do is a powerful pointer of depression and something we all need to watch out for particularly in our teens, adolescents and young adults (a very vulnerable group).

    1
  49. Sometimes I wonder what depression feels like..then I run out of cash and bingo..there’s the reminder. Anywho, jokes aside…
    First things first: If you’re able to, please get Linda out of her house and to a safe place. Her concerns are legitimate, provide a space for her to thrive in peace, bring her out of that toxic environment.
    Secondly: Everyone gets to grow old and exits the earth. We all will get to die, if Christ doesn’t rapture us first. Don’t rush to take yourself out. Be happy, enjoy these moments, travel if you have the means, see the world. What most people don’t know is that there’s life after death, this life is so short (120 years max) in comparison to eternity (forever and ever..1000+, 2 billion+ years and on and on. So one has to ensure that they’re on the right side of eternity when it’s time to take a bow.
    I hope the best for you as you continue your treatment, and continue basking in love, and mulling over philosophical questions.

    6
  50. One of things closest to my heart has to be mental issues. The barrage of things we carry in our heads,… The many questions we got no answers for. I think it is still a shame that a larger part of the society haven’t really acknowledged mental issues as a problem that needs more effort…. To anyone going through whatever mental issue, keep trodding, keep pushing, and if you can lend someone a shoulder please do. For mankind and humanity.

    3
  51. I don’t know much about depression but it feels depressing and challenging…..may he find the inner peace that he so badly yearns and may God’s redemption come his way in this land of the living

  52. You read such a story, and look at your current story, so many similar things happening, but the constant victories we get after every day should be the reason to keep on moving… To keep on living.

  53. “..It’s a strange feeling, depression. You know this is not you, this is not what I do. I just lost any will to do the things that I loved “…..iv never commented but this one has touched my soul as I related, I can just but imagine the walk to the hospital, you are are one strong man and all will be well, for the gf too…just know your story has encouraged one life..mine. a 4o year old !

    2
  54. I’d recommend him to try Amani Counseling Center, Nairobi. God sees his pain and doesn’t ignore it, he only needs to draw closer to him.

  55. this is so crazy because i’m suicidal at this very moment on sept 8 halfway across the world from home but after reading this i’m just in tears and staying away from my room where I know I can harm myself without anyone knowing. perhaps it’s a sign that i should hang on? 🙁

    5
  56. Denis, if the marriage ain’t working and you’ve invested enough for your daughter, how about you try something else for yourself. Wake up one morning, go out and get you a place to stay for all while and see how it feels. Take a break, rest awhile but don’t quit on you.
    Linda’s boyfriend, please get her help too. I wish you both stay long enough to find some rhythm amidst all the madness. There is a purpose to your existence, you got to believe that.
    Biko, how do you stay sane amidst all these energies? Do these interviews change you? Do they haunt you? Do you check on your clients? I occasionally retell the stories I read on this platform and wonder how this guy’s are doing. How do you get your therapy?

    5
    1. No one checks on Biko.People,Biko needs help..wheres that emoji again..am shouting..haha
      jokes aside,those stories can haunt.Biko,enroll for debriefing

      1
  57. I speak Christianese, so let me say….Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…….this is sure what a valley of death looks & feels like.

    Also that the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy and, he uses THOUGHTS in that process. Thoughts of death and self harm, to take and destroy life.

    I am the Truth, the way and the LIFE.

    And finally….I come so that you might have LIFE and have it more abundantly.

    I say these things not to trivialize the painful reality of depression and the need for it to receive the urgent medical attention that it deserves, but rather to emphasize that it is both medical and spiritual warfare.

    Finally, something worth asking in this day and age where alcohol and drugs are sooo accessible to the youth: is anyone talking about the effects of weed on brain development and its link to emotional health? Because there is a link. Just a thought.

    4
    1. I totally agree with you. The abuse of drugs, especially weed affects mental health. The more the reason it shouldn’t be legalized for non-medical purposes

  58. I totally understand him. I had severe depression. Not that isn’t there anymore. Depression never ends; it just exists in a suppressed form that requires triggers to unleash it in its full glory. I too have suicidal thoughts but in a passive form. I live to fight another day though and have found things and people that make my life worth living, some times

  59. ” the animal that best describes me and the animal that best describes my career and love life. “This caught my attention.And maybe to find out which I can relate to myself.

    1
  60. Depression is real, and people out there are suffering
    If ever Bikozulu you need a psychologist for such cases please contact 0708550187 he has helped most of us

  61. Reading this bought tears to my eyes …not because of what the boy is going through but because I have been there …I know how it feels when you try and fail …how frustrating it is…he is lucky the family thought he was poisoned….I know the feeling of waking up thinking it’s all over you are finally free …hoping you are on the other side … hoping it’s all over and you open your eyes to find your family starring at you wondering …and all that comes to mind is I’ve been a failure all my life a shame to my family and now I have added more ….when the parents are Christian’s and you …well you don’t even know … Depression is real and stigmatization should be stopped ….I thank God I met a very great counselor mentor and a great friend to walk with …am not yet out of the woods but I’ll be okey … atleast I can sleep

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    1. Thing about suicide is that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life does get overwhelming but truth is it always gets better or we learn to cope better. Don’t do it.

      1
  62. If only it was possible to easily see the cry for help that some of those surrounding us go through……

    Live boy-many years from now, you will be glad you did. There is a reason for everything.

  63. I am surprised that this boy has been to a psychiatrist and still not been able to find happiness deep within. While it is true he could have the diagnosed diseases, most of the problems we face with the `self` as adults, almost always stem from childhood. Most of us are really just functional people, but we harbour a lot of emotions from childhood which we never come to know unless something really big happens to us. Some of us also don`t know that therapy is an option on the table. I hope he finds help with another therapist, wouldn`t hurt to countercheck!

    1
  64. We, as society, are so quick to judge people who commit suicide without knowing what is going on behind the scenes. His story sheds light to just 1 aspect; may we be our brother’s keepers and also, avoid pronouncing judgement.

  65. He needs God
    I pray he continues to live and see that life is beautiful. He can’t control everyone’s life around him and he should know that being there for Linda would in turn make him feel his there for himself as well. But first, he needs to love himself and the only way is for him to love God as a stream.

  66. Mental health is seen as a shame in our society thats why most people hide about it,its ok not to be ok,find someone close to you and confide in them

  67. This story reminds me of this phrase “A man has two most important days of his life. The day he was born and the day he finds out way” Life is a gift.

  68. Deutoronomy 33:6 …Reuben, the first son of Jacob, is described as one unstable as water….I believe depression unstabilises one and that’s why I think Reuben is referred to in the vision

  69. It is hard to imagine that I myself have contemplated suicide more times than could be imagined. In fact each new day comes as a burdensome curse to me. I perceive life itself as a jinxed entity. But there is a fear holding me back; for instance what really awaits me on that other side of the veil. For sure as I am,they won’t be glad to see me before the maturity of my time as is ordained to be. I usually believe in an existence of hell that dwells beyond this lifetime; where there is an upsurge of unfathomable pain,loneliness unspeakable, filthy reeking putrefying rotting burnt flesh and the infamous undying worms that burrow in and out of the already suffering tormented flesh. This,among other things,yet to be unveiled, scare me more than the fear of death itself. Thus I certainly don’t wanna rush my going away only to meet such (in case it’s real, but who knows). But I doubt if really I’ll ever reach to my naturally intended end.
    All in all,this piece is utterly priceless. I’d for sure love to tell my story too,someday. Heavens should give me courage.

    1
    1. I thought I was the only one with this kind of thoughts…I hear on news someone perished on a road accident and wonder why was it not me. … everyday I wake up hoping to not sleep but sleep for real …but the fear of what may be on the other side is terrible..and I wonder is this what God’s intentions were ..??to make us live in fear..??

      1
  70. I really really hope you get to travel , I really do.
    There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to discover!and strangers waiting to embrace you, don’t miss out on that.

    No one has everything figured out, your current situation is not your final destination.

    You have carried a lot of your friend’s burdens, at your detriment, you can’t solve their problems,that doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend,detach from that environ, for a while,for your own peace of mind.

    I hope you find peace and genuine love and happiness,I hope your friends do too.

    You have so much to live for!like having sex in weird places

    And one day I hope we get to meet in our travels out here,I will embrace you ,☺️

    1
  71. Oh man, never been to Oloolua? I visit Oloolua every year on my birthday…its crazy how I find life in that forest and someone else finds death…I hope he ploughs through though

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  72. It is easy to be depressed yet not know it, or at least admit it. You constantly convince yourself that you are not. When I read this part, I totally resonated with the feeling and right there, I came to terms with the fact that I was really depressed in 2017-2018.
    ” … about his inability to sleep. ‘I’d sleep for only ten minutes, or an hour at the very maximum. The rest of the time I’d be wide awake, listening to the sound of the night in the nearby forest. In the short period, I’d be asleep, I’d occasionally have nightmares that I was dead. Or that I was trapped in a coma. I could clearly see and feel what was happening to me, but I was immobilized, unable to move a muscle. And then I would go limp and die. It was terrifying.”
    May all those going through depression find peace and healing and answers to the issues depressing them.

  73. Hello Biko,
    Thank you for bringing us these stories which teach us a thing or two about society and decisions and our human nature. You walk us through people’s lives in such a vivid way that we are only left humbled by life. For that, keep up the good work.
    On the side, do you sometimes reach out again to the interviewees to see how they continued battling life? If not would you like to? Or form a subsidiary of your section and may be just visit them and continue encouraging them on life?We the followers can leave our comfort zones and not just comment but physically meet these people and have fun with them and support them in ways we are blessed with.

  74. Reading this past 3 am because I can’t sleep gave me a massive mirror effect.
    I mean it’s just last year I didn’t want to live anymore either, three failed suicide attempts later and now I am still here.
    Actually my last attempt I took over 50 quitipine tablets seated on a hospital bench at St. Francis Kasarani. I had left my then 8 year old niece a suicide note to give to my brother when he came from work because I was so determined to not fail that time around. I also didn’t want them to struggle finding my body so dying on a hospital bench seemed like a perfect hiding in plain sight cover.
    Anyway, hopefully one day I can share my whole story. My struggles with suicidal thoughts from a young age to being diagnosed with depression in 2013. The struggle continues.

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