By: Poelano Malema
Depression is a big problem in society and there are many reasons that can cause one to suffer from it.
Sadly, in some instances, it causes the victim to take his or her own life.
Nthabiseng Ngoepe, an attorney by profession and the author of ‘The Mending of a Broken Vessel’, says in her case it was due to rejection, betrayal, and the loss of her income that led to her wanting to take her life on three occasions.
Fortunately for her, she never succeeded in taking her own life and she believes this is because of the purpose that she believes she was created for.
Apart from being an attorney and an author, Ngoepe is a pastor who today uses her past painful experiences to help heal many broken lives. She also runs a charity organisation, ‘Collect A Meal Drive’, where she feeds many poor families in the rural area of Ga-dikgale in Limpopo.
Ngoepe says opening up about her past has been therapeutic.
“‘The Mending of a Broken Vessel’ has taught me that giving a voice to your pain is liberating. It enables you to not only heal but also it disarms the power of ones past over your life,” says Ngoepe.
She adds that most people allow their pain to cripple them.
“It’s easy to feel defeated when one has faced obstacles and to retreat to that place of comfort that is so familiar when we are in pain. With my story, it all turned around. I realise the value of my pain, and moreover the power of my voice in reaching those people who may be going through similar hardships. I am no longer focused on my pain, but in what my voice can do to lift them out of their pain. My responsibility towards them is far greater than I ever could fathom,” says the author.
One of the struggles of dealing with depression is knowing who to trust and how to open up.
Ngoepe says it is crucial to speak about one’s struggles.
“Suicide, depression – these are cancers eating away at our younger generation. They both thrive in secret. Firstly realise that no hole is that dark to never have a glimmer of light. When you openly speak, vocalise your emotions and share when you going through it,” says the author.
She says when you speak, you will realise that “it is no longer as overwhelming and as dark as it felt.”
“Strangely enough, many people will tell you I felt better after speaking to someone. That is the first step, because it gives you a different perspective of things and secondly you realise that everyone is going through something.”
She adds that it is important to be real about your struggles.
“Don’t pretend to be fine when you are not, cry if you feel the need to. It’s okay, it really is.”
Ngoepe stresses the importance of loving yourself.
“When you know your worth, you are able to name your price. You can accept what is attractive to you and reject what doesn’t appeal to you. Love yourself first, because it sets the tone for how you will be treated by others. It also sets the boundaries for what is a no-no for you.”
She adds that self-affirmation is also important.
“It’s crucial that we look at ourselves in the mirror and boldly say that ‘I am…’, be it beautiful, intelligent, whatever it may be that you need to affirm. With me it was ‘what I have to say matters’. My dad raised me to always express my opinion and he was the one who entrenched it in me that I have the right to be heard, that my opinion mattered, that I should speak boldly. I was blessed in that regard,” says the author.
Lastly, the author says whatever painful experience you are going through, know that you can conquer.
“The greatest lesson I have learned is that there is nothing you can’t overcome if you have the right focus,” she says.
Today, she is not only running her own law firm, but she is married and living her best life while empowering the less fortunate.