Citizen TV journalist opens up about battling depression & suicidal thoughts

I almost jumped to my death

Citizen TV journalist Kimani Mbugua

My name is Kimani Mbugua, I'm a journalist and this is my story on how I battled depression to a point I almost took my own life.

Growing up, I had a strict father who was a teacher and both my parents were adventists, so I grew up in a home full of books. I remember reading a lot to the point of struggling to speak swahili (laughs) when I went to high school.

My struggle with depression began in 2013 when I had cleared high school and was joining University. Neither my parents, siblings nor I knew what I was suffering from back then.

The most notable thing about that time in my life was that I never spoke to people. I shut the world out since i felt disappointed with life, nothing was working out.

There was nothing interesting in my life as a 17-year-old and that spilled over to when I joined Moi University around October 2013. Things were even worse considering my family was enduring a difficult phase in life.

My father had lost everything after poor investment decisions which worsened my anxiety.

Wrote my eulogy

At the university, things escalated, I could not bare being alone at Moi while my parents back at home were suffering which really affected. All my thoughts were anchored to my family.

Despite having two cousins at the same university, the only people I could speak to at the time, nothing much changed. I felt so alone and isolated from the world although there were people around me.

In early 2014, things took a turn for the worse when I contemplated suicide. I wanted to end it all, the devastating feeling of not making it in life. I went to Facebook and wrote my own eulogy, posted a picture and told my ‘sorry self’ RIP.

After the well crafted post, I contemplated three options to take my life; to jump off a waterfall on my campus, jump off the fourth floor of my hostel or starve myself. Fear took control of me and I dismissed the first two options while settling for the final one.

Nothing mattered and I began starving myself. During my quest to end my life, on the third day when I was frail and weak and almost succumbing in, my cousin visited me.

Someone cared

I have to admit there was a sigh of relief knowing that someone actually cared and came to look for me. I was ashamed of myself so I didn't tell him I was starving myself so that I will die. At some point, I wanted to wake up but I couldn't get myself out of bed.

Every time I remember about that time I break down because I think about what I would have taken away from myself. I would never have achieved what I have today. I would have taken away a brother from my sisters, a son from my mom and dad. It would have been unfair to end my life. It really breaks me today.

A lot of people ask people why are you depressed? Isn't your life great? Can you snap out of it? Cheer up! dust yourself up and move on. It's not something you can get out of just like that. It doesn't work like that.

Even for me, it was not something I could explain in detail why I was depressed. I felt worthless, that could be one of the reasons I can think of. When I posted the picture on Facebook I knew I wanted everything to end.

Fight through it all

The reason I share this story is to tell people who are going through this phase that they are not alone. Depression isn't something that you can say with finality it will never recur. It did come back later on in my life in the form of panic attacks.

There is a panic attack which I had and it lasted for 48 hours. I was rushed to the hospital and doctors were trying to run tests and to get my body back to normal.

Now I know how to manage it. Some days I get into those moments but I have sought help especially with panic attacks because they can be triggered by anything. I got out of the worst phase and I'm seeing a therapist.

Anyone, even people with glamorous jobs, can get depression. No one is immune to real life problems, bad days at work, being in debt and pain. If you are going through it talk to someone. See a therapist. Find something you like doing. Don't be ashamed.

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