It felt like a never ending storm, and the flickering lighthouse was nowhere to be found.

Every unresolved childhood issue finally seeped through, after I had so carefully shoved it into a dark hole inside of my heart.

July 2018 and it was finally time to purge all of my demons.

I thought I had dealt with the loss of my mother and the trauma of her passing, however the scars from losing a loved one due to an illness never seem to really fade.

The memories of seeing a healthy, passionate, parent to just a body deteriorating before death ushers them into the afterlife is haunting.

I spent twelve years of my life at hospital visits with my mother, seeing her ingest so many pills.

I remember beginning a new chapter in my life and starting college when my mum fell ill.

It was so difficult to understand and accept her diagnosis. My mother was 46 when she was diagnosed with Lupus. I have many memories of her unable to hold a tooth brush or get up from bed because the pain was just too much.

The medication was the “frenemy” it helped to relive some of the symptoms but added a lot of side effects.

There is no cure for Lupus, I felt so helpless hearing this diagnosis.

The only consolation I have now is that my mother was a strong and brave woman who overcame more than just a life-threatening illness.

She was a woman who trusted God with an unwavering faith, and managed to be the best version of what a mother and friend should be.

She was a beautiful woman who abandoned her fear of the stigma of being a young Indian, Christian divorcee and made the difficult decision to end a twenty one year marriage from my alcoholic father.

A woman who was kind, wise and graceful, when she spoke everyone listened.

I believe her positive outlook, ability to encourage others and to always respond with “I am doing good”, instead of with I am in so much of pain will always make my mother a victor and my hero.

I believe that wholeheartedly because often the greatest victory is overcome in the mind, but for me grief meant being in a state of anger for a very long time, it numbed my pain.

It felt so much better to be angry.

I was angry for many reasons; I had relocated, resigned from my job and went home in July 2016.

The following three months would be spent rushing my mother in and out of the ICU.

On the 22nd of September 2016 she would take her last breath in a lonely hospital room.

I did not visit that day as it became increasingly difficult to see my mother in a state of delirium, unable to speak.

I returned to my old job in July 2017, which meant relocating once again with nothing but my car and suitcase.

For me needing to get back to work, and prove that this enormous weight of loss and grief did not damage me or my ability to perform was crucial.

I have amazing friends in this city, but like any big city it has the power to either revive you or destroy you.

I spent the next year trying so hard to grow at work, applying twice for new internal opportunities and every time an external candidate was hired.

It was demoralizing and frustrating to watch someone earn more money and handed an opportunity that you have worked so hard for.

In July 2018 I finally crashed, I recall many visits to my GP feeling sick from either the flu or a viral infection and feeling consumed by emotion and tearing up.

My GP instantly asked me a few standard questions, which related to mental health and immediately diagnosed me with depression.

I remember still the echo of his words, “One in three people suffer from depression”.

I refused to accept that I was depressed, until one day I could not get out of bed, brush my teeth or shower.

I was so scared, and terrified!

I called a close friend and asked him to drive me to a clinic that was recommended by my doctor.

It was the first time seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

I spent three weeks in this facility that saved my life, a mix of medicine, alternative therapy such as occupational therapy, meditation, art, movement, and fitness.

I accepted that I need not fear the stigma of struggling from depression or that I would be rejecting my faith by accepting treatment.

I returned to work a month later and pushed myself harder to perform even better. I faced many challenges working with a verbally abusive colleague.

Desperate for growth and change I yet again applied for another job internally and faced the same result.

This time I questioned the decision, and the lack of talent management, the favoritism and every uncomfortable topic possible to discuss with management.

The response was cold, clinical and left me feeling like I had wasted the past six years of my life in a company that did not value me.

I was holding onto this company, due to the media industry being so small in South Africa and the unemployment rate so high.

October 2018 I experienced my second burn out, and handed over my resignation in November.

I had realized that my well-being, my sanity is more important than a pay cheque.

Some say it was stupid, whilst others say it was brave.

I laugh and respond, maybe it is a bit of both but I would ultimately say brave.

I am so happy, liberated and at peace.

I am finally breathing again without feeling suffocated.

To finally be able to tick off my bucket-list is empowering.

I recall having a screensaver on my phone for the longest time that said, “Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love and never return.

I am doing exactly that and I hope it will inspire me to write stories that will help others to regain their purpose and find happiness.

All it takes is one conscious decision to change the coarse of your life.

Believe that life can be beautiful and is beautiful.

In the last week of serving my notice I was summoned to an impromptu meeting with senior management which included our CEO and I was offered a new position.

I was asked to now reconsider my decision and was given some time to decide.

It was an easy decision, without any conflicting thoughts.

Today I am sitting outside in the beautiful, warm mid-morning bliss under the African sky and doing what I love the most.

The warmth of the sun, sound of the birds and the clicking of my keyboard from every word I express brings me the most amount of healing than any pill.

If you pay attention, you will find something beautiful even through the most difficult times.


  • Candice-Lee Joseph is a poet, a writer, a big dreamer who accomplished her “teenage dream” to work in the television industry, which gained her a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the advertising and television landscape in South Africa. She is currently in pursuit of a bigger dream, one that is fueled by her adventurous heart and passion to tell stories that are raw, inspirational and relevant to the human spirit.