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Almost Dead


suicide_boy_3_by_hamstler (1)

I tried to commit suicide this year. I intentionally overdosed on pain medication and the last thing I remember before I passed out was the jarring pain in my stomach, the bitter taste in my mouth and the sensation of floating out of my body. As I stared down at my round body wearing an over sized red t-shirt, sprawled on my bed with an empty bottle of pills on the floor, I wanted to burst out laughing at how surreal and ridiculous it all looked.

At the mental hospital, where I was eventually committed against my will, I refused to utter a word or co-operate with the therapist. So as a compromise, she told me to write down my feelings. One evening, as it poured outside and the rain slid down the heavily secured glass windows of the mental hospital, I took my diary, sat on my bed and wrote:

”                                                           Tues. April 2, 2013 

Dear Diary, I can’t believe that I’m back here again. when I was locked up here in December, I swore that I’d never come back. I feel so ashamed that I’ve ended back here again. A mental ward. How will I tell my family that I’m here? I cannot tell them. It will be just like the other time, I’ll call and tell them that I have been admitted for minor physical problems and that I’m fine. It will kill my mom to think that her daughter is in a mental ward. Mental wards mean that no man will marry you because we all know one doesn’t marry from families with  mental health issues, epilepsy or ‘barrenness’. But how is that fair when they say that majority of the women at Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital got there because of a relationship? I mean, if a relationship put them in ‘that condition’, then don’t they have the right to demand for a new & better relationship? When you buy something from the shop and it gives you problems, aren’t you allowed to return it and demand a better replacement?

Dear Diary, writing about Ankaful has made me miss home so much and yet it has also made me want to stay far far away from home. I miss home- I miss how warm & kind everyone is. Here everyone is so cold & I feel as if there’s a big poster on my head saying ‘black woman, handle with caution’. And I miss waakye, and hibiscus flowers and the children singing in the nursery school behind my house each morning. But I don’t miss not being able to have access to a therapist unless I pay exorbitant prices. I don’t miss the  many ‘road-blocks’ that I encountered in getting psychiatric medication  when I was in my home country.  How does everyone else in Ghana cope? My friends who have been raped claim they can’t find a therapist in Ghana. They say that the therapists’ numbers are not public and so you have to ask around and let everyone know that you have ‘issues’ before finding a therapist. And once  you find one, you have to say a prayer because he could easily turn out to be a chauvinistic dude who spends your therapy time ‘advising you’ (happened to someone) or someone who discloses your personal issues to your mom without your knowledge (happened to another). So how are my friends coping? And what about the wives who are battered by their husbands? How are people moving past military atrocities, terminal illnesses, heartbreaks,  depression, schizophrenia & eating disorders without professional help? How are we all surviving without professional help? Are our tight  family structures and our miracle conjuring pastors &/ or self-appointed counselors enough to solve our mental illnesses?

Dear Diary, I promise never to do this again. I know that you don’t believe me because of all the times I promised to stop and failed. Like the first time I sliced a razor blade deep into my upper arm and watched the blood ooze out. It felt so good because I couldn’t feel any emotions! I was numbed out like I was on the best pain medication. For a while, I was able to block out the flash-back memory of myself kneeling down between my uncles legs, bobbing my head and making slurping sounds while he moaned. I was even able to forget how his dick felt in my mouth and how he laughed as I struggled to take his entire length in my seven year old mouth. And so I started cutting myself whenever I had flashbacks and nightmares. And you must also believe me, Ms. Diary,that there were good reasons why I tried to kill myself previously. I can’t talk about the second time I tried to commit suicide because it is too personal & hurts too much to even write but you know about that first time right? The day my professor said that all gays & lesbians should be executed and the whole class applauded. Ah, but after I sat there, knowing in my heart that I was bisexual & (if I were being honest, way way more towards the lez side of bi than the straight side)  how did you expect me not to want to die & make the professor’s wish come true?”

Then I closed my diary, yawned loudly and slept. It was a cold night and I was grateful for the warm hospital blankets.


  1. Oh Ekuba I am just seeing this. I don’t even know what to say. My heart goes out to you. Thank you again for being brave enough to share. You know you can reach out to me anytime right? Hugs, and much love

  2. OMG, you were abused at age 7? A 7yr old, really? I mean how sick could someone be to be able to commit such an atrocity? Thoughts of my niece came to mind when I read that and frankly, I don’t know what I’ll do if someone as much as winks at her.
    My heart goes out to you, I’m teary-eyed just thinking about how you must feel because I haven’t been through half of what you have and I’m a mess.

  3. UGH!!!!! I want to flipping KILL SOMEONE!

    Ekuba, don’t kill yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. It’s all those sickos that have issues, destroying what they had no had in creating. May they burn in hell. Live. LIVE. LIVE. That is the revenge you will have on them. I know, it is easier said than done. Everyday is a struggle.


    • @ Nnenna: Thanks, you know how much your words mean to me. Of course you’re right and I’ll always try to remember that: I have to live because that is the best revenge

  4. @Ekuba, hugs hugs and kisses. You are very brave to reveal as much as you have. You seen to have a lot on your mind. I just do hope that you are able to unload it all so that you can enjoy life as much as possible. I wish I were a therapist to give you unlimited hours of therapy and tender loving understanding and love until you do not feel that way anymore. All the best.

    • Thank you very much @ Kweku. I appreciate that. As superficial as this may sound, & although I’ve never met anyone from this blog, the support that I get from all of you really helped me during my recovery period from mental health issues.So in your own way, you’ve been a therapist to me.

  5. @Ekuba, I may sound superficial but I really mean it from the buttom of my heart. I know that in Ghanaian culture people stigmatise issues like the ones you are going through. There is a complete lack of understanding and empathy. Thats why we don’t have proper systems in place to support people who have suffered abuse and we make people whose sexual orientation is not straight uncomfortable. But I do hope that you do get inner peace and that you get your hearts’ desire wherever you remain either in the US, Ghana or anywhere else.

    • @ Kweku: Please don’t say that you sound superficial because you don’t. I know that you really mean everything you’re sayin. Thank you so very much for wishing me well & I also hope I find peace & my heart’s desire one day

  6. @Ekuba, actually I would really like to meet you in person. You sound like you will really be an interesting person with the twists and turns. I do hope that you find a non-judgemental, kind interesting partner who will have a soothing influence on you so that you reach the potential that you appear to have.

    • @ Kweku:Wow, those are very kind words. I’ll definitely shoot an email to the address you provided when commenting. Guess what? The good news is that your good wishes for me may have come true for me more than you know. Because I’m currently dating an amazing woman who has been my friend for over a year & she’s like a dream come true- non-judgmental, caring, exciting, beautiful & the only person in the world now who’s able to calm me down whenever ‘my issues show up’. She’s a solid 10 in all areas! So you see, she means the world to me & I’m really lucky to have her 🙂

      • I am sad it had to get this bad before you could get the help you needed. But i thank God you have found someone to share your life with. Having someone through times like this makes all the difference. Stay strong…and i hope you continue to find peace within

  7. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to leave my nursing profession after 15 years of it. Unfortunately, nursing has many different fields to work in, but they all have psychiatric components to them no matter what specialty you do. I happen to like homecare and found myself pulled into the dysfunctional-functional system of healthcare in America. Psychiatry is were the money is and healthcare institutions are very willing to exhaust it.

    Dealing with psychiatry makes a person desensitized at times to the plight of others who are truly in need. For the system is created that so much abuse is being done to it, that we fail at times to believe the client. It was a constant struggle to assess the mental status of many broken-down humans beings that had dual diagnoses with the common root of childhood molestation. This is a big problem in the world and the adults are not doing enough to protect our children from these detrimental life experiences.

    I don’t have the stomach anymore to deal with the stories that my clients had to tell me. It was sucking my joy and I couldn’t be effective to them anymore. I felt like a bona fide, glorified, legalized drug dealer.

    I can’t imagine your pain and sorrow that torments you with due cause. You are definitely, a better person than me because I can’t imagine carrying such heavy load. Molestation was my worst fear as I was growing-up, even though my parents were extremely vigilant. My fears stemmed from my childhood friends confiding in me about their incest experiences as we were growing-up. As a girl scout, I pledged to my sisters to keep the secret. Until one of them became pregnant at 12 by her step-father.

    Suicide is a very surreal act until it happens. You have survived this far and you can make it through because you have a sound mind despite of all the conflicts within it. I pray that you find strength and courage to speak life.

    Btw…I came out of the closet with my real name a.k.a Lioness.

    • @ the woman-formerly-known-as-Lioness: What a beautiful name you have Leslie. Glad you ‘came out’ of the closet (name closet lol). Wow, seems like your friends have been through a lot. I’m sure with your professional knowledge, you know a lot about these things. thanks for the support 🙂

  8. @Ekuba, Im glad you have found an understanding partner who is able to calm you down during difficult times. All the best. Where is the email you said you were going to shoot to me?

  9. Ekuba — This is intense. I’m sorry that you were abused at such a tender age. You are all sorts of courageous and brave for sharing this story and for talking about suicide.

    “…how are my friends coping? And what about the wives who are battered by their husbands? How are people moving past military atrocities, terminal illnesses, heartbreaks,  depression, schizophrenia & eating disorders without professional help? How are we all surviving without professional help?”

    In my neck of the woods people are not coping, unless alcoholism, dysfunctional sexual behaviour, drug abuse or dysfunctional behaviour is defined as coping. Others overdose on religion – begging and borrowing to pay for costly one-on-one sessions with pastors and prophets, sessions that require expensive follow ups or people purchase costly bottles of ‘blessed’ oil or ‘holy’ water that require follow up (picture a medicine regimen) after that bottle is consumed.

    Few people put in place coping mechanisms, lots of people are in denial and there are very few options provided or publicized for those affected.

    When I was a pre-teen a family friend’s daughter, a beautiful young woman committed suicide by drinking a strong household chemical. Her death was seldom talked about or when it was discussed it was in hushed tones and skirting the issues.

    Another girl in my neighbourhood committed suicide while heavily pregnant. She drove 20 minutes to the next town, checked into a lodge and overdosed on medicine. Staff say she came out to call for help and collapsed. Her death shocked the neighbourhood because a few months prior we had attended her ‘kitchen party’ (a ceremony akin to a bridal shower) and she seemed happy and vibrant during the ceremony.

    As a teenager I sat with a schoolmate (a year younger than I) as she awaited news about her brother. He had displayed erratic behaviour for a while prior to his disappearance and threatened to commit suicide. On this occasion he and a gun were missing from their house. I sat with her and tried to comfort her as I watched her battle with fear, sadness, frustration and helplessness – crying for hours. He was eventually found alive by the search party and hauled off to prison (attempted suicide is a criminal offence here – archaic laws!). That experience, sitting there with her, is seared in my mind and when I hear about a suicide or attempted suicide I recall that incident.

    People need compassion within families, communities and in institutions. It starts with each one of us, educating ourselves about issues, creating spaces where issues can be discussed without antagonism, intimidation and moral/righteous indignation. Providing support to our family, friends and strangers struggling with mental, social, health and other issues. I’m encouraged by the support expressed for you by our adventuresfrom community and I am glad you have found a supportive partner.

    • Hi @ Saffron: thank you for the support & those are some very sad stories you’ve shared. And you’re right, people aren’t coping well but we refuse to realize this or maybe a lot of our people are struggling with poverty, hiv, war etc. & so it’s hard for them to add worries about mental health to their plate & so we all prefer to worry about the patent problems & ignore the latent ones or wish they’ll just go away or God will take them away somehow.

      • @Ekuba You say the loveliest things to me. I hit the jackpot with you baby. *Screaming jackpoooooot!* or hothot!!! lol

        “How prettily we swim. Not in water. Not on land. But in love.” ~Getrude Stein

        Te quiero :*

          • I am in shock. Shock I tell you. Ekuba you are not the one I am shocked at because we’ve never met, but the smiley faced one who I thought was my friend. Eiiiiiiiiiiiiii. Hmmmmm. Yoo. No one tells me anything I see. *goes off to sulk*

          • oh @Nana D, :'( it’s not like that kraa oo. Actually, I have been trying to tell you. You, I beg, make we take family matter out of pubic space wai. You will hear the full story, no summaries. @Ekuba, madam outing people, won’t you beg some for me? Wo punishment d3r.. I no go talk am here mpo. Meet me at the corner!

          • @ Nana Darkoa: Please don’t be upset with my baby ok? To be fair to her, she;s been meaning to tell you for the longest time but just hasn’t found the right time.
            @ ; ): sweetheart sorry for outing you lol.Please reduce my punishment wai? lol

          • hahaha @ ; ) Freudian slip. Stop thinking about all the naughty naughty things you want to do to me & then you won’t write stuff like pubic 😀

          • @Ekuba Woman! your girlfriend is still a virgin wai. (actually, it’s a funny word; virgin, say it. I’m going to get a cat and call it virgin. :D) okay, no more comments here,promise? meet me downstairs. bye!

  10. Wow, there is so much in this post. This is only my second time commenting after reading this site for years, but I just want to give you some encouragement Sis. Your candor will hopefully help others know that they are not alone. But you should also know that you are not alone either! Glad you are living and surviving!

    The stories about your grandmother are pure genius.

    • Thank you so much @ AA for your very very kind words & for complimenting the gran series as well! Do keep reading adventures & please continue to make such lovely comments (wink) 😉

    • lol @ Nnenna: eii, the woman who wrote an erotica with people speaking twi while making love is now going off to learn twi. hmmm. please if there’s anything that you need translating, i’ll gladly do it ok?

  11. Again, thanks for your courage and selflessness to share this personal story. I am sure everyone here will be more than willing to be there for you whenever. Understand that you have already accomplished a lot by realizing what your problem is and the determination to get help. You are already looking ahead and moved into advocacy, which makes you a very unique and valuable person. Above all, know that its not your fault! Much love.

  12. Just reading this….my heart goes out to you, but uve turned out to be a very strong intelligent woman which says it all. love ALL your articles by the way

  13. Ekuba I can more than identify. *Hugs* Sexual abuse in my past too….Yours way more severe than mine. How did you make it through? And I thought I had it bad…Have u seen that uncle? In my case it was a pastor the whole family knew. I live in the States. I called home to wish my mom a Merry Christmas and lo and behold she asked me to hold on and say hello to you know who. I quickly said a loud no and he heard it over the phone so mama called back asking why I would be so rude. I told her I will explain it to her at an appropriate time. To be fair she dosen’t know. I wish I knew you in person. You’ve been through a lot. I read your “Mother Superior and I” piece before this one. I think I understand you better now. You have what it takes to crawl out of whatever darkness life may have put you in. You have what it takes. Always remember that. Be angry, let it out, ask God why. Scream, cry out in private if you want but don’t stay there.Find the light. I will end here. All the best Ekuba.

    • Thanks dearest MSA. Your words are really encouraging.I’m really sorry that you were subjected to an abusive past. Please hang in there & seek psychological assistance if you’ve not already done so. It’s helped me out a lot. I wrote this blog piece when I was in a very dark place. Thankfully, with the aid of professional help, the support of my partner & encouraging words from people like you, I’m soldiering on.Is there anyway that you can tell your mom you don’t want to speak to this uncle again or maybe even tell her about the abuse? I feel that you shouldn’t be tortured like this- being forced to say hello to him all the time. Uggh, he’s so annoying isn’t he? Regards & who knows- maybe one day soon we’ll meet in person hmmm? Take care & lots of love

  14. I felt a tear in my eye, and a load of shame in my heart. Not only for what your uncle and other men have put you through but for the ignorance we have assumed as Africans. And I can’t help but think, you were almost dead physically, maybe event mentally and emotionally.
    And how many people have we killed with our stares, thoughts and words? How many have we condemned into seclusion and isolation, simply because of our society’s distorted way of thinking, because of our primitivity and naivity? And how many more are we going to push to hell, simply because they are not as sound or normal as we expect them to be? We have millions of people walking the African streets daily, feebly alive. yet inside they are dead, because that’s who we’ve made them. Am i venting? maybe I am.
    Ms Ekuba, am sorry for what you’ve gone through, and hope you find peace and healing soon(haven’t read your previous post but will try)No one should go through what you did, no child, whatsoever http://criedlaughter.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/fathers-shadow/ and this too http://criedlaughter.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/dear-dad/

  15. I have tears in my eyes from reading this… So sorry you had to go through this but I’m glad you’re moving forward.

    Our society really does need help because there really is no one to talk to who won’t judge you or try to judge you in one way the other.

  16. A friend sent this link to me and I…its like u were looking deep into me. U saw all of me no bulls***. Cant hold back my tears. Would love to talk to u, with u …Watever but I cld use ur help. Am in law school, living my dream yet am more miserable than ever. Almost at my end. I cld use ur help


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