Anger and guilt got the best of me. My inability to seek justice for Kene ate me whole. Many times I picked up a pen to draft official complaints, seeking answers as to how Kene died not of TB but acid reflux… Reflux?! How? Why? Did the nurses on duty the night before ensure the feeding tube was properly connected? Did they check that the liquid meal she was consuming was entering into the right place? The autopsy was inconclusive and the coroner acted really shady. The dismissive way he responded to my queries, made me feel there was more to what happened to Kene. I tried to move on with my life at some point but time after time, I would fall back into my shitty moods. These moods became frequent and prolonged. I was mostly ashamed to talk about it because people expected me to be over Kene’s passing already- it’s the way the world works. There’s a set period mourning is meant to be tolerated. So, while I pretended to the world that I was this strong girl who saw air snatched from her friend’s lungs, deep inside, I was falling deeper and deeper into depression.I contemplated suicide… even though, I wasn’t that brave- it was an option on my table. This loss pushed me to my edge; anger filled the vacuum Kene’s absence left; the constant feel- ing of guilt, shame and hopelessness became my default mode. I walked around with a con- stant frown on my face, the line between love and hatred for me thinned until it became none existent. When I had an encounter with any- one, I wanted to do the most damage- to leave an unforgettable mark. My anger grew and as the years progressed and while it helped me achieve and overcome some difficult challenges, it destroyed my rela- tionships. Once I broke up with my boyfriend because he made an insensitive comment about Kene and I. “The way you talk about this Kene girl, are you sure, you guys weren’t more than just roommates?” he blurted one evening, while I was telling him a story of a time Kene got so drunk and peed on our bed. I woke her up and out of embarrassment she started cry- i ng. To make her see it wasn’t a big deal I peed on the bed too. We both laughed so hard at our disgusting behaviours, it was unforgettable. We set the mattress on fire and when people asked what happened, we lied that bed bugs had invaded our room. “of course we were more than roommates, she is my sister!” I retorted “Indeed! Sister or lesbian partner” he replied with a stupid smirk on his face. “Get out!” I yelled, my anger turning into rage in minutes- it scared him. He never returned and I couldn’t care less. As time went by, I learned to internalise my an- ger, I turned to writing. After years of existing in my head and consciously ignoring the existence of others, I told myself I could do without peo- ple. Once, I convinced myself that I am my only best friend now, my friendships thinned out. I was quick with my tongue and lashed out at my friends and colleagues- their explanations land- ed on deaf ears. Grief is a healthy emotion until it mixeswith the anger. For me, it became a burden and a force capable of menace. Healing! Over the years, I’ve taught myself to be calmer, to be less quick with my tongue and words, to praVctice restrain, to be kinder and tolerant. I’ve learned to walk away, to distract myself, to smile. Sometimes, I slip up, but my episodes have become rarer as I’ve matured. Depression and anger fuelled by grief when un- controllable can morph into a serious mental illness. It can bring about emotions that make you physically sick, causes you to self loathe, vi- olate others or even self-harm. Furthermore, you may feel the need to isolate yourself and uncon- sciously be in a constant state of unworthiness. This mood further affects your sleep, appetite and your general wellbeing which may eventu- ally stopyou from getting on with daily activities and interferes with your home, work life and re- lationships. For some of us, traumatic events in our lives can trigger them, but for some they gradually creep up going from mild to severe. If you find yourself in a constant state of hopelessness, please talk to someone. Even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms, ‘Ask Twice’ how the people around you are doing- you may just be saving a life. 9 / BLANCKLITE / OCT 2018 /