Today, April 7 is World Health Day and the theme for 2017 is “Depression: Lets talk.”

The number of people suffering from depression is on the rise, and Nigeria is not exempted, so it’s time for us to start talking about it.

I started struggling with depression when I was 13 years old, but because I’m Nigerian, everyone, including me, just assumed I was sad.

The worst part was that I had no one to talk to, no one to explain my predicament to.

Depressed people in Nigeria are simply told to cheer up; that’s about as effective as telling a person with a migraine to smile.

I know what it feels like to reach the deepest, darkest depths of despair and feel like suicide is the best option.

I’ve thought about killing myself many times, times when I looked at my life and decided that I had no reason to go on because all I saw was darkness.

But I’m still here.

I didn’t kill myself and neither should you, because guess what? Regardless of what you’re going through, your life matters.

Those thoughts telling you that you’re worthless and useless are lies, all lies, lies designed to break down your hope and your faith till you can’t move forward anymore.

If you’re suffering from depression, you first of all need to get help; talk to someone about it, seek medical, emotional and spiritual help. Don’t fight this battle alone.

Why didn’t I kill myself? Because I thought about my family; I thought about how my mum would react to losing her only daughter, and how my death would kill my father.

I thought about the heartache my suicide would cause my family; I thought about all the questions I’d leave them with, questions they’d never be able to answer.

I also thought about the future I could have if I decided to just press on in the dark, hoping that I’d find a light at the end of the tunnel, and I did.

In 2015, God found me and changed my life forever. Today, my heart is light as a feather and though depression still lurks around, there’s no room for the darkness in my life anymore.

Your path to dealing with depression and finding healing might not be the same as mine, but deal with it you must.

You cannot let depression win; you cannot let it define your life and tell you where your journey should end.

You are brave and you are a fighter, and all you need to do is take it one day at a time.

You are important and your life matters. Stay alive.