'My life will not go to waste while I am recovering from mental illness'

Depression; I have been on medication for three years. I'm okay despite those symptoms coming and going. [iStockphoto]

"As a child, I spent most of my time with friends who were older than me. One day, when I was 7 years old, I accompanied one of them to her home in an apartment building in Mombasa.

On the way up, we met a man coming down the stairs. He suddenly pushed me down the stairs and my friend who was ahead of me, ran up the stairs in fear. The stranger sexually defiled me. I tried to scream but, for some reason, I couldn't.

When I went back home, I was too scared to tell anyone what had happened. My friend didn't inform anyone of the incident either.

My mother was very sick during that period so my aunt was staying at our house to help with chores. As she was bathing me in the evening, she passed a washcloth near my private parts. I felt a sharp pain and winced. She noticed and was eager to know what was wrong. Was I sick? I did not speak up so everything was forgotten.

As usual, I kept idling with my three older friends after school and during weekends. As we grew older, those friends, all girls like me, started to molest me sexually. They kept doing this to me, not once or twice. They warned me that if I told anybody, they would beat me up -- so I zipped my mouth.

At the age of 10, I started to resist their 'silly demands'. Despite this, I was not ready to tell an adult about what was going on.

One day, I started hallucinating and having memory issues. If someone told me something in the morning, by afternoon or the following day, I would have forgotten what it was.

I would also see things like bubbles in the air and I would cut my arms with razors. I was not concentrating in class. Sometimes, I would scream at night and even in class now.

My teachers noticed and told my mother. Not knowing what else to do, she transferred me to another school. But nothing changed. We were adding problems on top of issues.

From 2018 to date, I have tried to die by suicide five times. In 2021, everything came to light after I tried suicide. I collapsed, became unconscious and was taken to hospital.

When I had recovered from the overdose of medicine, I had a session with a psychologist where I narrated everything I had been through. Later, I got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and moody disorder. I had seen it coming so I wasn't shocked.

So far, I have been on medication for three years. It is expensive. I'm okay despite those symptoms coming and going. I speak about the conditions and mingle with people suffering from different mental conditions. I am still fighting and I have hope that I will survive tomorrow."

- As narrated to Rodgers Otiso

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