Close this search box.

I was ready to let go, I was ready to give up

This is a sad story but one with a happy ending so maybe it is not so sad, it is a story that makes you reflect on different things in life, it is a story that makes you realize the kind of difficulties that come with having a mind that works on its own which sometimes feels like a self indulgent prison. 

Maeva Rusamaza is a young energetic and ambitious young woman, the many times I have seen her she always has a smile on her face, always cracking jokes and making conversations, she does not look like someone who has been struggling with a form of mental illness. 

Of course nowadays not so many people look like they are struggling but most  definitely are doing so, it is what was happening to Rusamaza. She was struggling to keep herself alive but not so many people knew. 

“I spoke with my mother and told her I was ready to let go. She had no idea what I was going through and it actually hit her hard.” 

Suicide has been prevelant in Rwanda, Statistics from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau show that between June 2019 and July 2021, at least 579 people in Rwanda committed suicide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 700,000 individuals die by suicide each year. Additionally, the World Bank’s database of development indicators shows that in 2019, the suicide death rate in Rwanda was 5.6%. 

However, these are just the people that die from it but hundreds of thousands more attempt and they continue about their lives and many people will never know. 

Rusamaza was one of those people suffering from mental illness, she was constantly struggling with her mental health thus having suicidal thoughts.  

In her own words “[Suicidal thoughts] start small and nest in your head slowly. You start by wondering if everything wouldn’t be better without you around.”  

In a heartfelt confession, this young woman said she attempted to end her life several times. She had been struggling with this engulfing pain for a long time and she felt her only relief was to end it all. 

She told me she had tried to fight as long as she could but sometimes it becomes too much and you let go. 

“I did it several times, what stopped me most of the time was thinking that if I did it, I would leave someone that cares about me with the same pain that I was feeling. But then it got to a point where I let go of that [thought] as well.” she confessed   

“My first time was in 2019 I just took a bunch of random pills that were at home and of course no one knew, I woke up very sick and brought up everything” she continued

“I tried it again in 2021 with some medication I was on, that night I went to the hospital.  And other times I was just tempted with a knife in my hand but I decided against it.” 

She continued to elaborate on her experience and how it felt to be in that kind of situation and how handling can be hard on its own. 

“You get to a point where you wonder if you should say your goodbyes so no one feels guilty or if you should just do it and let the rest handle itself . By the time you are in action all you feel is pain and fear.  Pain that you will never see those you love the most, fear of how you will leave them, that you can’t find another way out and of what’s beyond, and loud thoughts telling you that you are finally going to rest.” 

She described her experience as “the hardest thing that I’ve ever experienced”, she said it is a mixture of emotions that most people do not understand. 

“Suicidal thoughts are more hurtful than the mental health illness itself. You don’t want to hurt anyone but you are also tired of fighting with your own mind.” she said 

“Most people think suicide is easy and selfish but people dealing with depression fight everyday and most of them are not fighting for themselves but for people in their lives, so you can imagine how heavy it is to think that you will hurt everyone that has ever cared about you.” 

She was triggered by many various things just like so many people her age, she was dealing with life but her mind was only letting her down, saying the pain will never end. 

“Anything can trigger these thoughts when you have a lot of battles in your life. But the biggest of it all is the question that randomly pops up in your mind” 

“Your mind asks you if the pain will ever end the more you listen to it, your mind starts answering that the pain will never end.” 

Having to constantly deal with these feelings, having to constantly listen to what her mind was telling her changed her, everyone in her life started to realize. 

In that constant battle she started to “push people away and cut off friends, at that moment you think less people will get hurt and you’re not even realizing that you are hurting them even more at that moment.”  

After the attempt came the aftermath, she told me she also had to deal with people treating her differently than she would have liked. 

“When you try to take your life, people start treating you like you are fragile, like you may kill yourself any second. Your relationship with friends and family changes at its most. It’s not a bad thing but it’s not a good thing either.” she said 

“ [But] it reminded me why I was fighting all the time, for the people around me. The people I talked to showed me that I actually have people who are willing to stick by my side, all I had to do was open up to them.” 

But the fight continues, according to Rusamaza you are not dealing with people only, you also have to continue dealing with these thoughts constantly, it is not something that you wish away or that by a click can disappear it is something you have to fight and not just fighting for everyone else but fighting for you.  

“I was telling her [mother] that I am living my last days and that my birthday will be my last day. When I look back at that I feel terrible for pouring all that to her like that but it was also the best thing since that was the reason I got the help I needed.”  

She first consulted a therapist that was recommended by her mother at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Caraes Ndera. 

“I went to Ndera and had my first session with the therapist and they first gave me some tests which revealed that my mental health was in a pretty bad shape, it was very hard.” she said 

“They gave me medication right away which was not a good idea. I took them for three days but it wasn’t working and I ended up taking the whole pills at once. That was when I tried to end it in 2021.” 

“I went to see a doctor named Chantal at CHUK. Our session was really great, it really helped even today, though it is not as constant as it was before but I still go to her for help.”  she said 

The sessions with her therapist greatly improved her mental health and her life as well, to some degree it saved her. She went on to say that it changed her perspective on why she has to fight. 

“After I got the help I needed, that’s when I started to realize that if you are fighting for others it will never be enough, you need to understand that it’s about you.” 

As someone who has survived the attempts, she was set on getting help and dealing and learning how to deal with all these different things she was going through. 

“I learned mostly in therapy [how to deal with the thoughts] but I also developed my own way of coping.” she said 

“When I am at my worst I try to look back to the memories,  my first precious memory I’d say, I also look back at the other times when I was at my worst but survived.” 

According to this charming young woman healing is a place that you have to carry yourself to, it does not come easily but you also have to keep trying. 

“Trying to think about beautiful memories when you are in that state is not easy but once you are there, you are already starting to heal.” she said 

“It gets hard everyday, yes but at some point you will hit the bottom and there will be no down left to fall. From that, all that will be left to do will be going up. Give yourself a chance to heal, what’s the worst that could happen?” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Straight out of Twitter