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Clinical Depression Debt

After 4 + years of acute clinical depression, I am now in severe debt. Can you help me ease the debt burden?

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8 March, 2018

I suffer from clinical depression.

I got an official diagnosis about four years ago, but now that I know the symptoms, I think that I have probably had it from when I was around 16 and for most of my 20’s.

The last few years have been particularly bad. For months I wasn’t able to function. And by function I mean I could not brush my teeth, make a cup of tea or have a shower. On really bad days I wasn’t even able to read.

I have always been a high achiever, I was at or near the top of my class for my primary and secondary school education and I was team and house captain and head girl in primary school and a prefect and head of house in senior school. I made the Dean’s list in law school, all the while working full time as well as having another side job.

I have always been what people describe as a ‘rock star’ at work, but in the last four years I have been fired (eek!), and not just fired from any job, but fired from a job in a company run by probably the most powerful women in the African tech scene. In short, the impressive  flow of my CV was ruined!

I started a business but have had months when I couldn’t work on.

In a bid to become functional, I developed a dependency on prescription medication. But I am so proud to say that I have now been clean for months.

I was raised by a single mother, who I now support and have done financially since I was 18. And in the last few years since she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I am now her primary care-giver.

When I am well, I am super woman and I can handle everything.

I don’t have any family on either my Mum or my Dad’s side who support me. In fact, I haven’t seen my Dad in 24 years.

But I have friends who love me absolutely, and doctors who have seen me pro bono, and I am so lucky, because without them I would not be alive.

I am of mixed race, and my pronounced British accent makes most people look at me and scrunch up their faces and pretty much say: “You can’t be poor! Tell me another…” But I assure you that when you have no familial safety net and you are the primary bread winner and care-giver and you can’t work, you can be very poor.

I have had been months behind on my rent. My landlord has tried to evict me numerous times. I have had days when my water and electricity was disconnected at the same time and I didn’t have KES 30 to buy toilet paper. I have bought my Mum’s medication a pill at a time because I couldn’t afford more. I have defaulted on bank loans and I am on the CRB blacklist. 

I now have a job, and I am now doing so much better, but it is very much a day at a time. I know that most people don’t believe that mental illness is a real thing, and you should just buck up and stop being lazy. But I can assure you that it is. And it is debilitating. When I am healthy, I am the hardest worker you will ever meet. I am witty, funny and charming AF.

My friends have helped me as much as they can. And even though I now have a job, it feels like I am going through life in a boat full of holes. Everything that comes in goes out immediately to pay some debt I have accrued over the last few years.

Of course, I am ashamed asking for help from strangers but when I balance shame against spiralling back into deep depression or becoming homeless, I think that shame is a small price to pay.

Anything would help, and even if you can’t donate please share this with a friend.

Many thanks

Sam

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