During the course of the year 2015, I left Makerere University without graduating. The beauty of school is that it offers structure to our lives. When this structure got taken away from me, I fell into a clinical depressive spiral defined by suicidal ideations. That was a side effect of being a campus dropout.
I was scared by how easy and appealing the idea of taking away my life felt. I tried to slit my wrists but kept chickening out. I tried pills but didn’t go through with them. I contemplated throwing myself before a moving vehicle too. I knew it was only a matter of time before I succeeded.
At some point, was not worried about taking my life; my only concern was what legacy I would leave behind. I didn’t want people to paint a rosy picture of what my life had been at my funeral. I didn’t love life. I didn’t have many friends. I decided to set the record straight.
I decided to write down my struggles in one way that made sense to me – poetry. My first poetry book was meant to be my suicide note. It was going to tell the story of my life to the world.
I have always struggled with anxiety. The extent of my anxiety only became apparent to me at Uni. I struggled with reading and doing basic things like attending class and lectures. My social anxiety made it hard for me to go to class. It was so hard for me to make friends revise with.
Revising was hard because I could not concentrate. My struggles were reflected in my results. I hid my struggles from my mother. I failed far too many papers at University.
When my mother found out what had happened, she nearly fainted. She was heartbroken. She had always believed I was doing okay, but I had not been remotely fine. “Why don’t you ever tell me anything? I want to know, but you never tell me anything,” She cried.
But even then, I could not tell her a thing. My struggles are not unique; many of us just won’t speak about them.
Origi Akatwijuka, 30
This campus dropout story was originally shared by Untold Stories Uganda