“I died yesterday”

Since I was a child, I knew I was different. I could never fit in anywhere, not at school, not at church and not at home. My dad died when I was seven years old. My mother was dealing with her own depression at that time and my sister was in her own world. I roamed the neighborhood and played at my friend’s house. I always felt like an outsider, I still do sometimes.

Ten years ago, I thought my life finally changed for better. I was working as a Registered Nurse, I was independent and I had lots of friends. About five years later, I fell ill. I could not bring myself to leave my house. I would get ready for work and stand at the door and cry. That went on for a long while and eventually, I resigned. To this day I ask myself :
Why am I afraid to leave my house? What am I afraid of? I’m still searching for those answers.

Depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia ruined many aspects of my life, somehow, I manage to survive.
But I was never really broken until yesterday. A line was crossed and I’m not sure how to repair it. A close relative told me if I died, I would stop being a problem. I think they killed my soul with those words. I’m not sure what I felt afterward. I’ve never felt that way before. People sometimes fail to realize how easy it is to kill someone with words. If this happened three years ago, it may have had a different outcome.

I still don’t know what I am afraid of, but I know I am determined to live.
I’m gonna live for me because I deserve it.
I’m gonna live for my mother because she deserves it too.
And for all the things God has done for me, I will be very ungrateful to him if I gave up now.
So I am sad to announce that I died yesterday. But today, I rise up, I WILL continue to fight and work and raise awareness to end stigma against people like me. And I will continue to love that family member. Depression won’t win. I will NEVER give up.

Latoya Francois is a Registered Nurse turned writer. She has strong spiritual values and finds peace through her faith. She was diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder), anxiety, and agoraphobia six years ago. She has navigated her way through loss and grief. She hopes her story will help inspire others to speak up and help raise awareness for depression and other mental illnesses. Latoya can be found on her website and Twitter.