Eric Mazimpaka - From Death To Destiny

by GEM Magazine / Sep 17, 2015 / Comments

Originally from Africa, I found growing up in Canada without a strong, cultural role model difficult. It affected me as a child. I was shy and withdrew.

Then as got older, I started to discover who I was. This self awareness allowed me to observe those around me and I came to the realization that we all have similar fears, regardless of who we are or where we're from.

We're all in the same boat.

That observation enabled me to overcome my nerves at school. I found myself stepping forward during class and volunteering to do public speaking.

Luckily, my teachers saw this and began to cultivate it. I helped in developing certain programs for the school, and progressively, my classes and courses didn't matter as much.

It made me look at the education system in a new light.

I was encouraged to step outside the box.

However, I had this habit of progressing and exceeding to a certain point with an interest or a hobby, then I would self sabotage.

I haven't always had a positive mental attitude.

I experienced depression when I was younger and it hit me hard. At the time, no one wanted to talk about depression, which made it worse.

We are not made of steel. Everyone has to deal with their darkness at some point.

I felt lost. I was partying too much, numbing the pain that accompanied the unknowing of what lay ahead for my career future.

My Mom suggested I apply for the RCA (Residential Care Assistant) programme. I went along with it, but I didn't really care.

By that point I had let the darkness seep in, consuming me.

The idea that everyone had of me, contradicted how I felt about myself inside. The expectations which I'd placed upon myself were too much to live up to and the pressure left me broken.

I decided it would be easier to create an escape route than face up to my responsibilities and the fear of failure.

I remember scraping enough money together for extra strong sleeping tablets. I wanted to get alcohol too, but I couldn't afford it. And in that moment, I had to laugh. I was too broke to kill myself!

I took the tablets to the beach, listening to a playlist I had created especially. I called my brother to tell him I loved him, then I took the pills.

It was dark when I woke up. I wasn't sure what happened. I stumbled around then collapsed crying, in front of a lady and her dog who had happened upon my lifeless body on the sand. Without her, I might not be here today.

I walked aimlessly for a while, picking up driftwood. The reality of what happened, not quite sinking in.

The moment I realized what I'd actually done was when I saw my strong, older brother break down after explaining what I'd tried to do to myself.

I felt so selfish.

I tired to get back to normality and decided to focus my attention on the the RCA program that was already lined up for me.

That was when things shifted. All of a sudden I had to care about something outside of myself. It changed my perspective on life.

Everything I learnt during the course, I was able to apply to other aspects of my life and it lead me to discovering my passion for art.

I can now honestly tell people that when shit seems like it can't get any worse, it means that a transition is about to happen.

Everyone hurts, and life can suck at times.

I still catch my mind after something happens, going down a negative spiral. However, I'm aware of it, which gives me the chance to change my thoughts.

It's like training a muscle in the gym, it takes time and commitment.

I am grateful that I now have the opportunity to speak openly about this to other sufferers, especially guys who may have a difficulty expressing themselves.

My advice would be to never deal with this mental battle alone. We have to learn to talk about how we feel, especially to those closest to us.

Let yourself be vulnerable.

My problem was that I thought I was stronger on my own.

While no one outside of you has all the answers, other people can help, and they want to.

It's all a process, so enjoy the road that you're on, knowing that these struggles are the makings of yourself.

Interviewed by Ashleigh James.

Eric Mazimpaka is an artist and an actor, who wants to resonate and facilitate in the healing of others through his creative ambitions, helping to leave the world a better place.


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