20 October 2020 | Story Mienke van Zyl | Photo Supplied
Mienke van Zyl believes that even in darkness there is light, and nobody can take that light away from you.

I struggled with depression and anxiety. I felt hopeless, unworthy of love, worthless, numb, and like a complete disappointment to myself and others. In my case, the medications prescribed to me by a psychiatrist worked against each other and made me completely lose control over my thought processes (I had to take 11 pills a day to ‘survive’). 

My suicidal thoughts and the need for self-harm increased by the day. I took nearly 50 pills to end my life, and by the time I was brought to the hospital, they could not do much for me. I was lucky enough to have survived. On getting a second chance after my last suicide attempt, I struggled to find my identity. Feeling numb for such a long time, I struggled to identify what and how I was feeling and why.


I went to therapy and had an amazing psychologist who gave me tools to work through my trauma; this helped me realise that I am worthy of living a full life. I attended a self-esteem programme compiled by UFS Student Counselling and Development (SCD) to improve my low self-esteem. 

After feeling numb for such a long time and not knowing what emotions were anymore, I had to learn to sit with my emotions and identify what I was feeling ( happy, angry, sad, etc.) and what caused me to feel this way. 

Being saved by God's amazing grace after my last suicide attempt, it was a battle to recover completely, but I no longer felt anxious, depressed, or suicidal. I was finally ready to start fighting for my well-being. Finding my identity took me a lot longer than I thought it would. I have lost so much of myself during my dark times that I completely forgot who I was.  I reminded myself that I have life and that I am a brave fighter. These small reminders helped shape me into the person I am proud to be today.


Hope for me is seeing the light at the end of the dark tunnel.  Hope is a reminder that I can get through even the toughest of times because I am strong enough to face any challenges that come my way.

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