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This story was written by Fauwzia from NIGERIA.

I cannot tell anyone because I am so scared, and because I just cannot bring myself to explain how I feel. Sometimes I feel so empty. So empty that I cannot feel anything, or even cry. It is one of the saddest feelings in the world and it hurts so much because you do not know what is wrong, you are just a huge huge mess and no one seems to see or understand.

You smile everyday because you are trying to keep hope that maybe, just maybe, it would all just go away one day. And when you are with people you are the one that makes them smile and laugh. You keep hoping that maybe the laughs and smiles will be contagious.

I experienced my first episode of depression at 18. I was a first year medical student and on one particular Wednesday everything just came crashing down – school, my personal life, my faith and family. I was so confused and hopeless I did not feel like doing anything. I had never experienced anything like it before and the feeling was so strange and scary (I kind of thought it was karma though). I was away from home and alone too. For two days I stayed in bed without eating. I did not call or text anyone back, I just locked myself up in a room. I was able to get through my depression with my faith. I found peace in getting closer to God. It does not matter if you are a believer or not, depression is human. No matter what you believe in it still affects us all.

Depression is not a sickness, it is just human. It is something that everyone experiences once in a while. And once we are able to emerge from it, it always makes us stronger and better. One of my friends said, “it brings our purpose back and makes our goals clearer” which I strongly agree with. Choosing to accept it is choosing to accept yourself for who you are, accepting the fact that you are human and that you break down and that you are not perfect and can never be perfect. You can be your own little perfect imperfection.

Depression is not a sickness, it is just human.

How you choose to deal with it is very important. Talking to people helps a lot. Find that thing that makes you happy or that thing or place or person that makes you feel at peace. You do not need to talk, you just need to do that thing or be with that person or be at the place. Knowing you are not alone and that your friends and family have all experienced this makes a whole lot of difference. You are always stronger, braver and better than you think. Just know that there are people out there who see you and wish they were you. Know that you are loved and that you deserve to live and love. You deserve to see this world and make an impact on it. Love this world, because tomorrow is the future which we can never tell.

This story was part of Safety First for Girls (SAFIGIs) #SharingNotShaming campaign.

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