My name is Kauthar Wangi and I am a medical student at Kampala International University. Me coming out to share my personal experience with mental illness is not a call for pity but rather a voice for the voiceless. I have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life, the episodes ranging from mild, moderate to severe.
I had my first severe episode of depression when I was 19. At the time, I barely knew what was going on but the only thing I knew was that I wanted to take my own life. The meaning of my life ceased. This caused me to be distraught and I tried to give my life meaning by doing things that I previously enjoyed. That is when I realised I was experiencing “anhedonia” also known as the lack of pleasure, I had also become very apathetic, cynical, stoic and irritable.
During this depressive episode I got diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which was set off by the loss of my best friend who was also my sister. The concurrence of all these conditions left me feeling very empty and hollow so I tried to feel something through self-harm.
With the help of my friends, I was finally persuaded to seek psychiatric help and I have been taking medication and having regular psychotherapy sessions ever since. Mental illness is not the end of life. The most important thing we can do to help each other is; for those going through difficulty to share in a safe space and for the rest to provide a safe space for people to share.