woman and her reflection all fuzzy in front of her
Mental Health


Country of Origin: Zambia

Trigger Warning: Suicidal Thoughts

SANE: A word I have never quite been acquainted with. I was brought up by someone who physically used my head to punish the walls of the house she found no peace in.  How could “sane” possibly live here? Blindfolded by my desire to run from that hellhole, I thought the only road leading to happiness is marriage. 

Damn, world! Nobody told me. 

Damn me, maybe? Would I have listened? 

The mind is a rascal! It allows you to take the shortcut, and yet, it is sneakily aware of the baggage that it ties to your feet. How far down this wretched path do you think I traveled?

Four years into my dream, I sat in the darkened room of my mind with my naïve dreams behind me, barely visible through my obscure view. He wasn’t who I desperately wanted him to be, and I couldn’t be further from who I thought I was. 

Two roads were mercilessly strewn before me. One road was the “death” screaming: “End your life! End this misery! Offload this burden and surrender to the black hole!” 

Another road beckoned me to face the abyss with courage. To look at my demon, to look at me, and to wrestle with God like Jacob did. To leave limping if I had to.

People think demons are scary. But the ones that called to me were nice. What was so scary about putting an end to the endless loop of a thousand uninvited bats circling your mind? How is an offer to end one’s self-annihilation not attractive? 

But do you know what is hard? Turning your head towards the light when you are six feet under the darkness. Because light is not just warm and inviting, but it also reveals the many faces of the ghosts one has been dancing with. 

woman looking off to the side in mist
(Photo courtesy of Khoa Võ via Pexels)

It is a complex thing: to accept a truth one refuses to see. Much more for me who kept my eyes closed-shut and called it dark.


A simple song, a warming hug, a kind word or gesture even from yourself to you if that is all you can afford. 

A listening ear, an understanding soul and one that sits with you, not judging, holding your hand as you wrestle with your demons. 

Light, I dare say, will always overcome darkness. So, to you readers I say, may you be all these things to the people around you, including yourself.

Thank you to Apurva Makashir for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Mental Health team.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to the DG Sentinel, please visit our submissions page here.

Annalicia Novuyo Sitali was born in Zambia. She currently runs a home-based cake business and recently launched a Facebook page for her poetry called Vuyo Revealed. Annalicia once believed that mental health issues were a western problem and that Africans were too strong to go through such challenges. Her belief changed when she went through a personal experience that led to depression and saw her seeking professional help. Because of Annalicia's experience, she then developed a growing interest in helping advocate for mental health awareness in the form of writing and sharing her experiences through poetry and storytelling.

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