I’ve been dreading this for awhile. Largely because dates are super important to me and I can remember the anniversary for everything. I remember my very first kiss, I remember the very first time I decided to “get serious” with someone I didn’t love (& how I cried myself to bed afterwards), I remember the date I found out I was being cheated on and the outfit I wore to work that day. So much so that a few months ago I threw the entire outfit in the trash after accusing it (“it” = a jean jacket + shift dress from American Eagle) of carrying bad energy, thus becoming something that needed to be removed from my life. yes, I am very dramatic but this is the extent to which I create connections in things that have none.

If you’ve listened long enough, you know that I battle clinical depression everyday. You know that even on the good days I still have a little voice in the back of my head telling me that I am not worthy of anything. I fight the discouraging messages of this “voice” everyday in hopes that I will be better than I was the day before. this year, my “issues”, more recently, have manifested themselves in the form of anxiety. Which often clouds my judgment and won’t allow me to sleep at night. to say this is fucking annoying would be a gross understatement, but it’s much better than the places I’ve been.

on 11/21/2014, I wrote a piece called “broken glass” and posted it to the20-20. the piece wasn’t special and didn’t garner much attention or praise (something that I am now very grateful for), but it told a story. the story of how small cracks in a mirror are often ignored. how even when these cracks become larger, we learn to live with them as opposed to repairing the current ones and taking preventative measures for the future. how after awhile, the cracks grow to become apart of our identity and are no longer something that requires help or special attention. then, before you realize it, every single piece of the mirror is lying on the ground before you…

from the uncomfortable bed in a hospital room, I watched the pieces of my being fall to the floor…and it was the absolute lowest point of my life to date.

I faded in and out of sleep, I choked on some weird charcoal solution typically reserved for “drug addicts and such” as lovingly expressed by the amazing Trinidadian nurse who had the pleasure of meeting me that day. I literally watched every single piece of my existence fall and crumble. I wanted so badly to step in and be my assertive self but this one time I needed to be saved and Superhero Sharifa just wouldn’t cut it.

I think about how my life and the lives of those around me could have been had the circumstances were even slightly different. I wondered if people would miss me, if they would tell the world how bright of a future I had, and how everyone loved me. I thought about what people would say to describe the events that led to my untimely death and if I would be able to hear that from whatever place I transitioned to. I wondered whether or not people would be sad forever or just shed a few tears and return to business as usual. I considered all of these things until I ultimately just blacked out.

In previous writings, I have described November 20th, 2014 as “the day I stopped and the world kept spinning” which I believe to be just as accurate today as it was then. The day I could no longer hide my demons and mask them as being “just who I am.” I was forced to accept certain truths about myself and hope that the people around me would do the same. Even in the year since, I see how much that day has completely changed the course of my life forever. as much as I hate to tell this story, I think about the words of a the psychiatrist who pretty much coached me into going home. he spoke of my intelligence and how I would never ever “win” if I failed to judge myself fairly. he told me how I should consider why I was experiencing this, and what I’d do to save someone else on the day they watched their pieces shatter.

do I believe myself to be some special person sent by the universe to rescue people from the pitfalls of depression and mental illness? no. I don’t know that God trusts me (or my judgment) enough to give me that responsibility. I do, however, know that the conversation is necessary. that families (and friends) need to know how these feelings can isolate and destroy you, before you even realize that it’s not just stress. talk to the people you love and let them know that seeking help is ok. let them know how much they matter, even when they don’t believe you.