Being Strong

When Keeping It Together And Being Strong Becomes An Exhaustion

More often than not we deliberately and consciously tell us ourselves that we need to be strong and keep it together.  This also obliges us to supress how we truly feel on the inside, because in most times we are troubled about our reflection on the outside. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to stand on the mountain and scream aloud and tell the world and universe their greatest burdens but if we are so concerned about how we appear to the outside world rather how we truly feel about ourselves – how do we then ensure that we deal with our triumphs that sometimes take away so much from our well-being physically, emotionally and otherwise.  I often wonder if the little private moments that we afford ourselves to cry and fall apart are enough to lighten these loads or save us from ourselves.

Being Strong


I know for a fact that some people end up treating others badly unintentionally (some intentionally) because of how they truly feel and what they’re going through. Agree or disagree but sometimes keeping it together and choosing to be strong makes it even harder to ask for help even when we know we need it the most. We may not admit it but keeping it together and being strong drains and silently kills us too.

Sometimes we feel hopeless and uninspired and because we are too hard on ourselves we tend to forget that we are no islands nor made to perfection, that we cannot be FINE nor OKAY , we convince ourselves that we have to be in charge and in control at all times.

My dear darling – allow me to take this moment to assure that it is okay NOT TO BE okay sometimes , that as strong as you are made to be – you  need to be shaken every now and again just so you can be stronger even more. You are no island nor iron nor steel that you won’t get or feel hurt and sad sometimes. You will want to let go and give up sometimes and that too is okay – you are human , a perfect imperfection therefore sometimes it’s okay to just embrace your imperfections and allow them to just reflect because after all – it is our bruises and scars that make us who we truly are.

Truth is: – things aren’t always going to go according to plan, promises will be broken, our hearts will be shattered, we will be disappointed not only in others but in ourselves too – therefore when keeping it together and being strong becomes an exhaustion don’t be afraid to let yourself be after all “a wise man once said “it is not about how many times we fall but rather getting up every time we do”

By  Akhona  MsAcko  Zondani

Featured Image:


It has been a long 2 months of silence from us at CHICA and I truly have to send my apologies to all our readers, and especially everyone who kept coming back to check what’s going on.

We haven’t shut down the blog, that I can promise 🙂

We’ve all been uninspired to write and a lot has been happening in our lives – a mix of tragedies and triumphs but I can guarantee we haven’t given up on the blog so this is just a short note to say, I’m sorry!


One of the promises I made to myself when we started CHICA was that I wouldn’t pressurize myself to blog when I felt exhausted or had no idea what to talk about because part of why I ended up getting burnt out with Just Curious was exactly that. I always felt under pressure to churn out content and any blogger will tell you, that is both emotionally and physically exhausting. It is for that reason therefore that I am taking things slowly here, well, that and the fact that I’m older and lazy heheh.

With that said, I am apologizing for the silence because I realize it is unfair to not explain it to the reader. So in future when we or I go through moments where we cannot write, we will put something out, to let you know so you aren’t left wondering. (Kinda like how we want a guy to let us know he’s out instead of pulling a Houdini). i hope you will accept the apology. 


For now though, we are back. It may not be with the same energy and frequency you had gotten accustomed to but I promise to keep the conversations going, even if it’s once a week at the least.

There is so much happening in the country and we don’t have to box ourselves and limit our conversations, there’s a lot out there that affects us and there is always something on my mind, I will share! And I ask you to stick around.

We also welcome contributions from you (except if your name is Shelley Garland) so please feel free to send me an email.

Apologies once more for the silence and I hope it wasn’t too long that we have now lost you.




White boyfriend

I have been seeing a white guy for a few months. While this is not the first time I have dated a white guy, it is my first time doing so as an adult. The previous two times were in my teens and I was not nearly as alert (trying to avoid calling myself woke) as I am now when it comes to how complex our relationships with ourselves and with other people are.

During the first month, a couple of tornados hit some parts of the country. My house that I had recently finished building in the Eastern Cape, as well as my grandmother’s house were hit by one of these tornadoes, taking all but one window.

One of the things they don’t tell you about being a homeowner is that you will have to fork out money for the upkeep of that home every now and then. Imagine my horror at having to replace all the windows to my house before I have even had a chance to spend one night in it. On top of that, I also had to send money to have my grandmother’s windows fixed, as it wouldn’t make sense to only send money for mine.

While this is a simple and common equation for many black people, a large number of white people never experience having to help their parents or grandparents out. “Yes, I understand, but why do you have to replace her windows? Why did she not have household insurance?”

I let out a nervous laugh at how ignorant this very intelligent thirty-something year old fairly successful attorney – let’s call him Paul – sounded in that one moment. It become so clear how far apart the worlds we come from are. And that was the beginning of how I started interrogating our differences more.

To him, anyone with an asset should have the foresight to have it insured should any unforeseen events occur. I can’t exactly say I disagree, but there are definitely a number of contextual factors to consider.

Firstly, the two houses are in the rural Eastern Cape where there aren’t even addresses. The land itself is not owned by the people who inhabit it, so how would a financial institution even be able to evaluate the total value of the property in order to determine how much it needs to be insured for?

White boyfriendAnother factor is that financial education differs, not only in terms of our racial backgrounds, but also depending on culture and social standing. While it makes sense for Paul’s people to the utmost importance on their possessions, for my grandmother in her village, it matters how her plantation and livestock are doing as she relies on them for sustenance. As a result, Paul’s family will be more invested in their cars and properties, while my grandmother will be more invested in her agricultural endeavours. Their financial success is therefore measured by completely different means.

This is just one example of many conversations that I have had to have with him and that I have had to unpack even for myself. We often scale down the differences between black and white people who are dating to scenarios about when he sees you wearing a doek to bed for the first time, when in actual fact, that itself could be more complex than we make it out to be.

It wasn’t a shock to Paul that almost by default, I knew everything about “white culture” and therefore didn’t really have much to learn or any questions to ask him (except for the times where I jokingly asked him for some land. I think I deserve a gold star for this.). He on the other hand, has a lot of questions that increase as he gets to know me and as he gets to see my behaviour in various scenarios.

We are different and for us to reconcile those differences, we need to be open to hearing each other out and understanding each other contextually. Educating can be tiring, but it helps when the student seeks to understand rather than to patronise or trivialise.

I would have loved for him to give me the money for the windows, but then I would have had to explain the concept of ukubheja and bae allowances, which I don’t think he is ready for. I think it was way too soon into the relationship at that time anyway.

by Richmond Sajini


A Toast to 2017:

*I hope you read this with a glass of champers in hand*

Here’s to new beginnings.

Here’s to having the courage to leave the jobs that steal our joy to pursue the passions that set our souls on fire.

Here’s to accepting ourselves, just as we are, whilst we work so hard to change the parts of ourselves that we are yet to understand.
Here’s to not settling because the truest desires of our hearts do exist and we are worthy of them.

Here’s to doing more of whatever the hell we want to do.

Here’s to nurturing our authentic voice which has been so maimed by societal conditioning.

Here’s to longer centering our lives and identity on a man (or anyone).

Here’s to no longer playing victim but instead discovering our own power to create our own reality.

Here’s to saying NO without any explanations.

Here’s to longer idealising anyone, but instead being our own goals.


Here’s to paying heed to that small voice.

Here’s to unearthing the deep seated beliefs that have sabotaged us for years.

Here’s to becoming less obsessed with sharing moments and more with enjoying them.

Here’s to learning to leave when we are not being respecting or nurtured.

Here’s to dealing with all our unresolved issues and facing the wounds head-on instead of masking the symptoms.

Here’s to realising the power that we hold and proudly bask in it.

Here’s to learning to unapologetically ask for what we need and want.

Here’s to not apologizing for our blessings and masking it as ‘humility’.

Here’s to letting our pasts be the fire that fuels us instead of the chains that hold us back

Here’s to making that move/ step instead of waiting.

Here’s to faith to start again, try again, believe again, love again.

Here’s to no more excuses

Here’s to a fulfilling 2017 CHICAs.

By Lerato

happy holidays


This tweet made me laugh and I’m sure it is funny to everyone who has ever caught a glimpse of Frank Gallagher on Shameless. No one in the history of my TV viewing is as fucked up as Frank. Excuse the French.

A lot of crazy things happened in 2016, that’s for sure however I believe that even with all the pain, sadness and shock we saw, there is a still a lot for us to be grateful for and we shouldn’t look too long at the negative that we forget to acknowledge the amazing things that we experienced.

Thank you

I would like to wish all our readers, friends, clients and partners a blessed holiday season, may you enjoy it, be safe and come back energized to take on 2017 as I’m sure it will be another year that requires us to stick together and love one another even more than we’ve been doing.

The team will be taking a break during this festive to re-energize and hopefully in 2017 we will be able to do all the things we wanted to do in 2016 but could not do.

We hope you will come back once more, to read our articles and interact with us on the comments. From the bottom of my half and on behalf of the CHICA Team, THANK YOU for welcoming us with open arms.

Love and Blessings,


Losing Myself

Love showed me flames this year *inserts 400 fire emojies for emphasis* wow. I was in a 3 year relationship (well almost 3) when I decided to break up with my then boyfriend, 4 days before our 3rd anniversary. That was one of the hardest things I had to do this year.  

You know when your gut tells you not to do something, but because uthanda’zintho, you jump in head first? That was me. Before I dated this guy, I had been warned about him, I knew half-baked stories about him too. But I still jumped in. He is Zulu, so that just made my curiosity even worse. We met in my last year of varsity- and only dated four months after we met.  Our first year together was heaven on earth- we were lit! Nothing or no-one could tell me anything about my guy ‘cause I wasn’t going to believe them.

Losing Myself

Then 2014 happened. I don’t know what devil was residing in our relationship but it was destroying everything. He once went through my DM’s (I was on Twitter with his phone guys, gosh) and saw me give someone my BBM Pin and sealed the DM with a smiley face. He started questioning me about it; accusing me of flirting and cheating with the guy because he found my PIN miraculously floating around.. Yhu. This issue escalated to a point where he said “I want some space. I don’t even think I’m in love with you anymore”. My heart sank to the deepest pits of my soul. I couldn’t understand how a simple BBM pin could cause so much havoc. Mind you, I was busy with exams and had lost someone dear to me while this nigga was doing this.

From then my flaws became something to pick at. He would call me out for replying late, for not wanting to kiss him/ hold his hands at times. Not wanting to have sex sometimes also became a big issue- and for me that was just an overwhelming thing to go through due to the fact that he was stressing me out, my exams were stressing me out so my libido was at an all-time low. I started giving it up even if I didn’t feel like it- just to keep him happy: doing things that I never would have imagined I’d do, just to keep him happy. At that point it was no longer a “we”, but a “him” type of relationship.

Brother man would say things like “don’t you ever talk to me like that in front of my mates” or “don’t you see me walking with you, why don’t you introduce me to that person too?” or “what if I hit you, would you get me arrested? You love me too much so you wouldn’t get me arrested. Your mom wouldn’t let you” hao?!! What in the hell do you call all that?

So from that moment and many others which I can’t put on blast, I changed myself for him. That moment, I lost myself for love. I did all I could to keep him, but it was never enough. I became his, and not in any romantic way, he controlled me and he knew it. I was at his mercy- fearing the thought of losing someone who made me explode with love, or what I thought was love. I begged a man to stay with me even after he told me he isn’t in love with me anymore. He was my home, and home is always where the heart is. You don’t ever want to leave home.

And that was my biggest mistake.

I became unrecognisable to myself and those around me. I kept all the things that happened locked away in my heart- crying myself to sleep while sleeping next to him. Guys, I saw flames; mental, physical and emotional. I was empty after we broke up. Cold. When he said he doesn’t regret telling me he fell out of love/ regret doing everything he did, I saw then that I was in too deep and needed to get the hell out. He had a new gf (the girl he said was his friend. LOL) a month after our breakup and when he said to me “maybe if we are meant to be we will come back to each other” I reached for my sister’s asthma pump and I’m not even asthmatic. I couldn’t breathe, my heart had a hole so deep I just wanted to end the pain. I had lost the love of my life and I was dying inside.

Losing myself for love was the lowest I had ever been in a relationship. I submitted and totally changed who I am, side-lined my individuality for a man who would end up destroying my self-esteem. I was not enough for him, no matter how hard I tried to be. Breaking up with him was hard, but for my sanity I had to do it. I had to walk away; to see clearly and live again. Bo babes, when Beyonce released LEMONADE I was well within my rights to jam that album like I’m being paid to! I sang “Sorry” like it was my last day on earth. HA!

Losing Myself

I’ve been single for 11 months now. Trying to get that inner glo-up so I can slay 24/7. It’s hard getting back on track when you’ve been stuck in the mud for so long: re-building your self-esteem is not easy, I’m sure you guys can relate. The confidence you need to get back after going through emotional abuse is not easy at all because you tend to slip back into your negative thoughts and lay within them for a while. But every step you take makes some difference. Some days are better than others hey, I’m soldiering on one day at a time. I’ve become my own BFF again. Never, and I mean never lose yourself for love- it will haunt you forever. It will make you so insecure that you start believing you’re not enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH!!

Losing myself

Now he wants me back because I was the best thing that happened to him. LIES, Felicia, LIES! I’m not his to control anymore so he can’t handle that I’m not at his mercy. I became Bonang and went on a blocking spree- bbz will have to deal with the “what ifs” and “I’ve changed, gimme a chance” that he’s going through ‘cause mina I’m past that now. I’m revamping myself and enjoying day by day.


By Masedi

1st For Women

It is always great to know that companies in South Africa always strive to help in fighting social ills and challenges. One that stands out has to be 1st for Women. Not just an insurance company that caters for women’s insurance needs, but also recognises that women are the pillars in society with the different hats we wear at work, in our social circles, and at home.

In understanding that we as women face so many challenges in our daily lives, 1st For Women knew the right causes to support by establishing the 1st For Women Foundation. Established in 2005, the 1st For Women Foundation does its best to inspire and uplift women from different communities in South Africa.

One of the causes that the 1st for Women Foundation supports is the prevention and education on cervical cancer.

In SA, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women, and the most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.  More than 7,700 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in SA every year, of which more than half will ultimately die of the disease. This is in stark contrast to the five-year cervical cancer survival rate of almost 70% reported in the United States of America (USA).

(Public Health Association of South Africa, 2015). The Foundation’s cervical cancer programme was developed in 2010 and supports two organisations that focus on cervical cancer screening and prevention. Through these organisations they have managed to ensure that over 4600 young women receive pap smears in poverty stricken communities.

Another cause that the foundation invests in, is the prevention of women and child abuse. “The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every 4 South African women are survivors of domestic violence. In 2014/2015, it is estimated that 563 841 sexual offences occurred but only 62 649 sexual offences were reported. 8 174 of these sexual offences cases went to court, and only 1% of these cases resulted in a conviction.” (1st for Women Foundation)

To date, the foundation has donated over 49 million rands to different women-related organisations.

“Every Hour, 1 in 9 women are abused in South Africa”.

A horrid reality that many women and children can attest to having lived through. The plight of abuse is one that is continuing to cripple our communities and its effects are dire.  With many incidents going unreported and many victims suffering silently, we believe that speaking out about domestic violence is paramount.  With the 16 Days of Activism being underway, Team Chica joined 1st for Women to roar against gender based domestic violence at their Sisters with Blisters 5KM protest walk on the 26th. What an incredible experience it was to unite with hundreds of people, who like us, were adamant to make their voices heard. We came, we walked, and we conquered.

1st For Women

Upon arrival, we were met with a sea of pink & white. Tutus and pink lipsticks, all sorts of bizarre attire and, my favourite, hunks in heels were the order of the day. Amidst the excitement from the electric vibe and attention-grabbing outfits, we were harshly sobered by the reality of the cause that brought us together at many points in the walk. At the start, we spotted two ladies who carried boards that were printed with the face of a young baby who had died at the mercy of an abusive father. Another, was a branded shirt worn by a lady with a tear-inducing message that read: “they always say, it will never happen again”. Many other ladies wore commemorative t-shirts signifying their reason for walking and being part of the movement. 

Despite the many tear-inducing moments, it was truly a beautiful event that aimed to raise awareness and expose the horrid reality of abuse.  A whopping R350 000 was raised towards women and men against child abuse, as well as the centre for community justice and development. The reality is, one abused woman is too many! Let us join 1st for Women to fight violence against women.

For more information read HERE

By Lerato & Keagi



At my age (not as old as that sounds), I have had as much time living with and being controlled by my parents as I have had living independently to them. I have been making my own food, clothing, time management, sexual partner, household management etc. choices for quite a long time. I kept some home training values like not sleeping with a dirty sink, but trust me I don’t sleep in my own bed every night… if you catch my drift.

Ok, so now you understand that I really have drowned them out ne? You also see how relatively easy that was. But there were other more serious things that had to teach me that indeed:OUR PARENTS ARE HUMANS!

This is the story of my ex coming to this realisation:

One of my exes from the 2 serious relationships in my 20’s was slapped with the hard truth of his mother being human. My not-so-dear ex mother-in-law-to-be (follow that trail please) used to haaaaaaaate my guts. In her mind she thought I was not good enough for her precious son. She thought his success at the time was due to partly her great child rearing skills and the other part his awesomeness, and I was the “not to be trusted half Zulu girl there to sop up the gravy nje.”
Eventually, after many cancelled dates because she called him out to her house, many “shhhh, its my mom on the phone”, and “but that’s not how I was raised”,  I got tired and broke it off.
Anyway, long story short, recently she admitted how good I was for him now that the awesomeness lost its shine and it is apparent I was a good influence on him. She forgot that she was once in my shoes and her hubby was polished by her. It must have taken a lot for that family to admit this to themselves and eventually to me. For my ex to admit “Bo Mma” was really wrong and that he lost everything because he could not see she is human.
So of course I let the man grovel and beg. I let him apologise, speak from his heart and reveal this aha moment. All I said when this was now laid thick enough for me to stop grinning was “Agg, I suppose the lesson here is that our parents are human hey?” Then I hung up the phone.
We will all learn this lesson, one way or the other. Try your best to not lose your future, while holding on to your past in the process.
By Gugulethu
Happy single lady

Single, Not Sick: The Stigma of Singlism. 

Why are you single?” As a single gal, it is only a matter of time before this question is likely to come up at some point in many-a social conversation. Once the ‘are you single?’ question is met with a ‘no’, it is almost always impossible to dodge the conversation without being plagued with the requirement of a fully-fledged explanation. Gosh. Why am I single?  Uhm, how does one begin to tackle a question that may even elude scientists and psychologists?

“Well, perhaps, because I suffer from severe case of Schizophreniform?” Uhm, will that answer suffice? How about “because I just am?” or “because I want to be” or maybe even “because, it’s just the way it is”. That’s it.

single so many questions

My problem here does not only lie with the series of questions that only seem to follow when you are actually NOT single, but also the tone and intention with which they are often loaded. More often than not, this question is drenched in pity or judgement; as if being single is unnatural and akin to some dreaded disease, therefore warranting an impromptu hyperanalaysis. Is she crazy? Is she bitter? Surely she must have unresolved issues? What’s wrong with her?

Singlism is a term coined by author Bella DePaul and refers to the widespread stereotyping and discrimination of people who are single. Yes, this is indeed an actual thing; so much so that she went on to write an entire book about it (Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matter, and How to Stop It). 

Singlism Single

If you find yourself judging someone or thinking of them differently because of their relationship status, then you my friend are guilty of singlism. It may often be the butt of many jokes and is not always called out or recognised to the degree that the other ‘isms’ that plague society are (racism/ sexism), but there is an undeniable stigma around being single, especially amongst women.

Where does the culture of being adverse to singleness really come from?

Is it something that is inherently part of our traditions? Or is it some sort of widely adopted unspoken rule? Why is it general harder to fully accept the fact that someone can actively choose to be single and be happy without being thought of as incomplete, deficient or even being at the mercy of the other 101 negative assumptions of why you are ‘bae-less’?

According to, a study once called for undergraduate students to use the first words that came to mind to describe a married person and a single person. Surprise, surprise. The top descriptors of single people were negative words such as ‘ugly’, immature and lonely. Harsh.

Being at a movie, dining or even having a drink by yourself are also considered taboo. Also, one’s insurance profile tends to be viewed more positively if they are married. No wonder there is such pressure to be attached! Pressure is a dangerous thing because it often coerces one to do something and desperately so.

Single and happyness
This fear of being stigmatized has arguably resulted in people being so desperate for some sort of attachment because any partner is allegedly better than no partner. This is often manifested in consistently hopping from one relationship to another, always being on the look-out for a potential bae, and even settling for mundane, bad and unhappy relationships.

One can almost also pin this down to a fear of being alone/ by yourselves. Why are we so afraid of being by ourselves? We express this fear by questioning other people’s decisions not to be alone and even through our own distinct behaviours.

We were born by ourselves and yet we seemingly fight this state with our every essence in the process of ‘adulting’.  It is almost like we hold onto people to be our crutches because we are unable to face ourselves. The irony of this is that the fear of perceived loneliness is actually one of the reasons for the many perpetuating unhealthy/ dysfunctional relationships. It is almost as if we expect people to be with us when we cannot stand to be by ourselves.

I personally took a sabbatical from dating because I felt a need to just heal, recharge and just be selfish with myself. I had come from a long term relationship and just yearned to have a deeper understanding of myself and to allow myself a chance to just be, without being attached. Needless to say, I spent most of the time declining invitations to be hooked up with someone’s homie and being lured into debates about why it is okay and normal to be single. 

I was completely taken-a-back by the number of people who saw my singleness as a bad or selfish decision when I had found so much happiness in it. The sad thing is that this flak comes from both men and women. Our career (and other) achievements are often overshadowed by the fact that we are still ‘single’.

Parents genuinely get concerned when there is no one in your life, which often raises questions and this worsens the older you get. People are not ever able to accept the fact that someone can be single without waiting for someone to desperately hook us up and deliver us from our supposed misery.

Perhaps this also comes from how we are so defined by our relationship statuses. The state of being single is almost perceived as being less of a person. Your relationship status should not define you. It should not have any bearing on the kind of person one is or on their value. It is not an accomplishment. I am by no means saying that relationships are bad because I am the greatest fan of love (especially self-love), but surely a girl can be single without being at the mercy of a CSI investigation?

Dear sufferers of singlism: no, we are not all desperately waiting for a bae to save us.

  • We are not sad creatures that need you to hook us up with one of your boys.
  • We are not suffering from deep loneliness.
  • We are not too pretty to be single. We may have actively chosen to be single.  We may have not met the right guy yet. We may be figuring ourselves out or may even have a clear idea of what we want and what we will certainly not settle for.
  • We are not incomplete or flawed.
  • Our value or identity does not sit in our relationship status or in ‘bae goals’.
  • We are not bitter, sad beings so you can keep your pity.
  • We are not dying from some neuro-disease that can only be alleviated through a quick-fix hyper-analysis or hook up.

We are single and not sick.

single and happy

By Lerato

[This article was first published on 5 May 2016]


I was listening to the radio the other day and it was World Mental Health day. A few days before that I had seen a post from Kid Cudi where he revealed that he is living with depression and is booking himself in to rehab.

I could relate to Kid Cudi’s post. I felt his pain. I felt the shame. I felt his daily struggle. I felt it because I have also suffered with depression. In fact, I am dealing with it now.

I was first diagnosed with clinical depression in 2007. I remember my mother asking me what’s wrong. I just mentioned an incident that I had experienced that led to me being ‘sad’. She could see right through me that it was more than sadness. She took me to a psychologist. When I got there the psychologist asked me a couple of questions. I remember one specific question she asked, “are you fatigued?”. I remember having to think about it first and my response was, “yes”. At the time I did not understand why she was asking me all these questions. I was only 19 years old, I had never felt the way I was feeling ever.

The psychologist informed my mother and I that, I am showing signs of clinical depression and she has to admit me in hospital and she also has to refer me to a psychiatrist. That day I slept in a hospital bed, in a ward full of much older women suffering from depression too. The older lady next to me even asked me, “you are so young, what are you doing here?”. I felt judged by a person who is going through what I am also going through. I also did not know what I was doing there. As I went on my sessions with both the psychiatrist and my psychologist, I began to understand what I was going through. I remember my older sister also explaining to me what depression is. I remember her telling me that I’m not the first one in the family who has suffered from this and she also explained to me that the psychologist and psychiatrist will guide me and help me to deal with this illness and I might suffer from this again in the future but I will know how to deal with that better.

A few days later, I got discharged and I had to go back to living my life as ‘normal’. I was given antidepressants to take on a daily basis and sedatives to help me sleep. I took them as prescribed but at some point the sedatives stopped working. I began with half a pill, i increased the dosage to 1 pill. That didn’t work, then I increased it to 1 and half pills. That didn’t work too them I increased it to 2 pills. That also didn’t work. I stopped when I got to the third pill.

Days later, I remember crying on a parking lot, I sat on the ground and burst into tears. I could not stop. Some lady found me there and took me to a campus psychologist. When I got there, the campus psychologist was rude and cold. I was in tears and she never looked at me not even once. She continued typing on her PC. I got up and walked away, she never even tried to stop me. I can’t recall if this was the same day, but I remember feeling like I can’t live anymore, it’s too painful. The antidepressants aren’t making me feel better  like they told me. The sedatives aren’t making me sleep anymore like they told me. I took all my pills. Next thing I find myself waking up in ICU. I felt so much shame for trying to commit suicide. Certain comments from friends didn’t make it any easier. I felt judged. One of the many comments made was, “so you want to hurt the people who love you?”. But what about me? What about how I am feeling? What about me?

But of course I survived and life went on. I saw a therapist regularly. I took my medication regularly. Some days were worse than others. Other days were much better. But this new therapist I was seeing was against antidepressants. 6 months later, I woke up and I decided, you know what, I’m no longer taking these antidepressants and sedatives. I’m taking my life back. Well maybe it was easier because I made that decision during the festive season and I was having fun. Life went on and things became easier. I thought depression was left in my past.

Then one moment, I went through another experience in my life that triggered my depression. I was in and out of hospital for years to a point where I stopped informing my friends and even family. But I’m sure my mother saw the medical bills. I was even fine with not having visitors. I went back to taking the antidepressants. I got tired of explaining myself because I also don’t know why I can’t deal with issues normally like other people.

Fast forward. Last year I remember having a conversation with my sister and I told her that,  I haven’t been depressed in +/- 2 years. I’ve been feeling happier than before, I haven’t been admitted in hospital and I haven’t been taking any antidepressants or sedatives. But I spoke to soon. Yet again, I found myself taking antidepressants again and seeing a psychiatrist. However this time around I quickly bounced back and I stopped taking my medication. Life was actually veeeeery good! My plans were starting to fall into place. Life made sense. God was finally answering my prayers. Those goals that I put on paper, I was seeing them slowly becoming a reality and I was getting ready for the rest of my plans to start aligning.

Months later my plans slowly fell apart. Next thing you know, I lost everything! What hurt was that, I worked very hard. I made sacrifices. I made major life decisions for all this but lost everything just like that. And of course my depression came back.

Well this time around I have not been diagnosed. I’ll tell you one thing, if you have had the privilege of having medical aid and you suddenly don’t have it anymore, life will humble you! You will be humbled!

I know that I am depressed because every single day is a struggle. My concentration span is very low. Sleeping is not easy, sometimes non-existent. I have to consciously force myself to eat. I feel physically sick. I can’t explain it. I also don’t understand how a mental illness can make me physically sick. I have constant pounding headaches. Painkillers aren’t helping. The other day my body was so painful. My heart was literally feeling heavy. I had to lie down and I felt like ripping it out of my chest. I found myself not even able to sit up straight. The tv was on, it was not loud but in that moment I couldn’t handle the ‘noise’ and had to switch it off completely. I went to lie down and I kept thinking what is my purpose? Why am I feeling this much pain? When will this stop? I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. It just hurt.

The intention of this article was to educate people about depression. But I found myself realising that I also don’t know what I am dealing with. But I will continue to live a ‘normal’ life the best way I know how.

By Bontle


Contact the South African Depression & Anxiety Group –