At The Homestead I would take a blanket, there’s a field behind the building where I would go when I got the feeling I don’t want to be around people. On sunny days I lay on the blanket. When I was around people they said negative things. It’s what I expected.

Sometimes when I came back from school, especially on a Monday and Thursday, I wished I could grab the things from inside my brain, all the things that hurt me, and throw them away. There was a day at The Homestead when we went hiking up Lion’s Head in Cape Town. I thought if I climbed that mountain I’d feel as if I’ll just jump. The people I was staying with said let’s just sit in the car and not go hiking. So we stayed in the car and didn’t go hiking, and waited for the other people to come back.

All the thoughts kept coming back and going, coming back and going. This was in 2014. I keep on asking myself, “What is the reason to live?”

From there we went to Camps Bay, to the beach. The other boys went to swim but that day I didn’t want to swim. I just went to stand on the rocks and watched the view of the sea. I felt free, as if I could breathe. I thought that people often say that when you’re in the sea the bad things go away. I didn’t want to swim but splashed my face and head. I prayed to God that he can guide my life and my future.

I thought if I asked him there, at the sea, maybe he could hear me.

On the way back to The Homestead I got this miserable feeling that I don’t want to stay there anymore. When we arrived I grabbed my blanket and slept. When I feel stressed I like to sleep. The others were busy, playing with phones. I put the pillow over my ear but that day I couldn’t sleep. I went to watch TV but it wasn’t working. I went to the juniors and watched the cartoons with them.

One day, it was Sunday, I had a thought: “If I join the gangs I could have anything I want. Phones and clothing.”

But people die and I hoped that one day I could find a way to buy clothing without joining gangs. We had a sponsor, Antonio. He gave me a voucher at Christmas to buy clothing and a phone. Ajma, one of the boys at The Homestead, he was someone I respected. When I didn’t have anything to do, when I was feeling bad, when I had negative thoughts about other people or feeling jealous, I slept.

At school I didn’t want to talk with anyone. I never had the experience of growing up with parents or siblings so I never learned how to communicate. One day I called the guy from next door, I called him uncle. He said, “Call me father” but I couldn’t call him father.

He asked me, “What has gotten into you?”

I was a bit aggressive.

The next day when he saw me, he said, “You’re surprising me with your attitude.”

Then on the Thursday I was angry and I took the money I had saved and went to local shop where I could play X-box and PlayStation. When anyone greeted me I didn’t respond, I’d ignore them. I felt like I was a shadow walking alone. I felt invisible. At night I wouldn’t sleep. I’d go outside and cry.

If it was easy I would just snap my head and die.


Tell us: Have you ever felt depressed? How do you deal with those dark times?