Wednesday 6 September 2023

This is Goodbye

Photo by Aviz on Pexels

By Ruth Ajawu

My life is sectioned into four: the good days, the bad days, the in between, and the mixture.

The good days are like the rainbow: colourful, beautiful, and amazing. 

On these days, I wake up with this boundless happiness. I seem to feel everything around me on a different level. I am in love with nature, I am in love with everyone around me, I am in love with life as it is. I am so filled with joy and giddy with delight. 

The bad days are like being locked in a dark room: complete darkness and no way of getting out.

On these days, I wake up filled with irrevocable sadness. It is like drowning in a sea of black, not being able to sink to the bottom and die but also not being able to get to the surface and live. It feels like living without breathing and no matter how many times I wish for either air or death, I remain eternally drowning.

The in between is like getting sucked into a vortex: disorienting and confusing.

On these days, I feel lost and weary. I am not happy or sad, I just am. It is like being in an impenetrable bubble, I can see everything but nothing can get to me. My senses are dulled and my body is empty. No matter how much rest I get, I remain exhausted.

The mixture is a combination of the bad and the in between.

These days are a special form of torture. All the emotions in me are little knives stabbing me over and over again but not killing me. I am broken, sad, angry, disappointed, tired, confused, and lost. All I do is cry.

There is no trigger for any of these. I do not have the luxury of choosing what I get to experience each day, as any of them just ambushes me at any moment. One moment I am happy with a smile on my lips, the next moment I am sad with teary eyes. 

Lately, there has been no good day. I am starting to think the good days do not exist and I imagined them in my downward spiral to give myself hope for better days.

I am so tired of drowning. I am tired of smiling and saying I am okay whenever anyone asks because I do not know how I can possibly explain the workings of my mind. I am tired of existing as I do because I do not have the power to change my reality. I am tired of having to maintain this jolly persona because I do not want to hurt my family and friends by showing them how damaged I am, knowing there is nothing they can do to change it.

I heard somewhere that you can release negative emotions from yourself by cutting your body. I tried it out. I used a knife because I could not get a razor blade. I slit my palm open and watched it bleed, I did not feel any different. 

I tried using fire next. I used a gaslighter to burn my palm. I guess I am not a masochist, I did not enjoy the burn of physical pain. 

I read somewhere that you should do things that make you happy when you feel sad. So I try to read novels when I am sad even though the words do not make any sense at that moment. I try to watch comedy shows and force myself to laugh even though nothing is funny to me anymore. I try to read my Bible and pray even though I can not seem to find God. I try to listen to my favourite songs even though I can not hear the melodies. I try to ‘be’ even though it feels like I do not exist.

I have tried reaching for the surface so I can get a breath of fresh air but I cannot swim, I just keep drowning. 

I saw somewhere that you should talk about your feelings but how can I do that? Can I express these feelings in words that can be understood? Can I break my family and friends’ hearts by letting them see my rotten and decayed insides? Can I destroy the well built image of the happy and fun person I let the world see? Can I dismantle this towering emotional wall I have painstakingly built? Can I accept that I may need help? Can I allow myself to be seen as I truly am? Can I admit that I do not have control over my own mind and I am just a spectator in my body? Can I ever be okay?

I had an epiphany. I realised that while I can not create air and attain life, I can sink and embrace death. Maybe then, I will finally see light again. 

I have always admired how peaceful rivers are, how they flow beautifully and glitter under the sun. I have decided I am going to join the rivers. I will dive in, sink to the bottom, and finally see that light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are reading this, then this is goodbye. 

To my friends and family, I love you all. You made the good days extra bright and I was able to last this long because of all of you.

Experience all the peace I could not and live on my behalf.

Yours in the light,

Imole Ajayi.


Mental health matters. In the midst of our vibrant culture and resilience, many silently battle mental health challenges. It is okay to not be okay sometimes, but it is not okay to suffer in silence. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. 

Suicide is preventable. Let us break the silence, offer support, and raise awareness about the importance of mental well-being. 

Together, we can build a healthier, happier Nigeria. Together, we can save lives.

Shades of Us Storytelling Initiative for African People (Shades of Us) urges you to join the movement for mental health awareness and advocacy. Let us uplift each other and create a nation where mental well-being is a priority. Let us create an Africa where no one suffers in silence, and every life is cherished.

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