Depression

13 April 2017

‘No one noticed’

Health24 reader Tumi Simphiwe* shares her story about depression. No one noticed her suffering, which slowly started affecting her studies and life.

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“I was diagnosed with depression over a year ago.

"Things started to change when I was doing my third year of nursing in 2015. I always performed above average academically. I was always punctual and attended all my practical classes. 

“But suddenly I didn’t make an effort anymore. I went through the year thinking I was just lazy and so did everyone else. Luckily, my third year of studies wasn’t too demanding and I was able to pass.”

No one noticed

“When I started my fourth and final year I felt as though I was carrying around a big dark dog.

"I couldn’t attend any classes and I’d cry almost all day. I had a roommate but she wasn’t aware that there was something wrong.

“I eventually stopped going to work and attending classes because of the sadness that I couldn’t understand. I had no interest in anything, I had no hope. I started going home more often – I thought maybe I was just missing home. But nothing changed. 

“In August 2016 I discontinued my studies. I had already lost a chance to go to Sweden because I missed so many practical hours. And now I was losing my chance to graduate in record time.” 

Slow recovery

“I tried psychologists but they didn’t really help. I went back home and got medical treatment. I was put onto antidepressants and started to feel better after a month but I was out of school. 

“This year I'm repeating my fourth year but I don’t think I have learnt to control my Black Dog. All my friends are graduating, while I’m still facing my failures. 

“Depression is a tough thing to live with. You lose people in your life and you lose yourself in the process.

"It would help a little if the world understood mental illness. Even my family don’t get it − they try to but they don’t understand what I'm dealing with every day.” 

Ask for help

Depression affects many people all over the world, so you don’t need to suffer alone.

If you feel depressed and need a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or even a support group, call The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26. A trained counsellor will help you find the support you need. SADAG is open seven days a week from 08:00 to 20:00. 

*Name has been changed. 

If you would like to share your story, please get in touch with Mandy Freeman (Mandy.Freeman@24.com).

Read more:

‘My depression went undiagnosed for almost 20 years’

‘I have a Black Dog – his name is depression’

'My suicide attempt saved my life'


 

Ask the Expert

Depression expert

Michael Simpson has been a senior psychiatric academic, researcher, and Professor in several countries, having worked at London University in the UK; McMaster University in Canada; Temple University in Philadelphia, USA.; and the University of Natal in South Africa.

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