Ever had one of those dreams, where you try to cry out for help but no-one could hear you? That’s how I felt, no one could hear me calling out for help. My eyes filled with tears as I thought of my mother. I wondered if I’d ever see her again. I didn’t remember what happened. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there. My lungs felt as if I was inhaling water, each breath was more difficult to take. I tried to look around, but all I saw was darkness.
Two days, two months, two years, no one came to rescue me. I began to lose hope. I thought I had friends. I thought there were people who cared about me. Did they not notice I was missing? Were they not searching for me? Day after day thoughts filled my head, I cried. The voice of my captor kept laughing and telling me I’d never get away. Pills and more pills, I was forced to swallow. What could I do? When the pills weren’t working, I was stuck with needles, I wanted to die. I slept the days away, hoping they would go by faster, they never did. I was so used to being in that place. I was used to the darkness. It all became familiar to me. I started to forget my life before. This was my new home, this was my new life. I didn’t know what day it was, I’d been in the darkness for so long and drugged up. I didn’t know what time of day it was either. I was about to give up and accept it. I remember when he came. The door opened and I had to turn away, the light was so bright. Not the light that came from outside, he was the light. He came in and he held my hand. It was in that moment, I realized my captor. Depression was holding me hostage within myself. I was a prisoner in my own mind.
I was diagnosed with major depression. Every second felt like a lifetime. I lost all of my friends. No-one could be bothered by me or my problems. Instead of supporting me, the people I once called friends, mocked and scorned me. Some said I was lazy, others said I didn’t know how to do my job. They laughed at the fact that I could no longer work. I had shovels of “get over it” thrown in my face. No one understood, no one cared to understand. I was a shell of myself. I could not understand what was happening. I lost so much of my life and myself, but I had Jesus. I began going back to church, I was desperate for help. Even the pastor stood up in church and said I left my job to do the dishes. I was already broken, I retreated into myself. It took me another year hanging on by a thread. I almost slipped away from him, but Jesus would not let me fall. A year ago, I was given a second chance. A chance to repair my relationship with God and to let him fix me. I am now on a mission to educate people about Depression. I don’t know where I’ll end up. But I have to tell my story. I have to tell people that it’s okay. It’s okay to have depression and anxiety. It’s NOT your fault. Depression hurts, the shame you feel is unmeasurable. I still struggle, sometimes I want to run and hide myself. But I get to interact with people, to find a way to make our world more tolerant and understanding. I have to do my part to help END THE STIGMA against people with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.

Latoya Francois is a registered nurse turned writer. She was diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder), six years ago. She navigated her way through loss and grief. She credits her overcoming depression to God. She hopes her story will help and inspire others to speak up when they need help. She wants to educate people about depression, so they can understand this disease.

Latoya can be found on her Facebook and Twitter.