It all started in Grade 10, during that time nothing seemed to work for me. My schoolwork became too much to handle and I could not even count on my friends to be there for me. My life became quiet and boring. Even when I got to the flat I lived in, everything stayed the same as if God had purposely put everything on mute.

There was no opportunity for sitting down with my parents and telling them how boring my life was becoming because they all came home late. My mom was a part-time nanny and she mostly worked night shifts, and my dad was a security guard. I had no hope for interaction.

At school I went from Emma the hyper active sixteen-year-old to a boring teenager who did not even have a best friend. My grades dropped, teachers were worried and seemed to always yell at me. “What’s wrong with you? You are failing!” But how was I supposed to know what was wrong with me when nothing made sense, when everyone was on mute?

With everyone against me I turned to my phone, it was the only thing that stayed. During that time the Mxit App was the ish, just like WhatsApp is now. But I did not want to talk to anyone, all I wanted was to be alone, talk alone, think alone, dance alone and sing alone.

I deleted all the chats and social media in my phone, I wanted to be on mute as well. The one thing that interested me about my phone is that it always had data and being a bookworm, reading online was all I did. I took my phone everywhere; toilet, school, church, you name it, my phone was always with me. I played music on my phone nonstop, I listened to the radio and read as many books as I wanted without walking to the library.

My phone was there for me at a time I needed a companion. It did not yell at me for failing, it did not think I was boring like my classmates did. In fact, it was the reason I discovered why I was failing in the first place and why my friends were not hanging out with me anymore. My phone made me understand the reason why my parents came home late every day. It simply had answers to all my questions.

Like why cutting my arm every time I’m sad felt good. Why the things I loved doing were suddenly a bore. My phone was the reason I discovered that I was going through stress and I needed help.