Tobi Awosiji has a blessed life. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but he came to America when he was two after his father won the immigration lottery. He doesn’t remember much about his life in Nigeria, but he’s been back to visit the beautiful countryside and people he loves.

His parents settled in North Alabama, in a rural community where Tobi grew up as a stand-out athlete at the local high school. He played football and other sports—the all-American kid growing up in the South. After high school, Tobi knew he wanted to serve his county, so he joined the National Guard.

His parents are deeply religious. Tobi laughs when he describes his mother as one of those ladies who will yell, “Amen!” in the middle of a sermon. More importantly, he was a happy kid. It wasn’t until he was a young adult that he even had a bout of depression.

But when depression hits, it hits hard.

Young Love

Tobi dated the same girl for four years. He had become consumed by his relationship, and like a lot of us, it became a significant part of his identity. However, young love rarely lasts, and when their love ended, he spiraled into a deep depression—screaming at everyone around him, constantly calling the woman to see what went wrong and getting into fights. All things that were out of character for the usually peaceful 21-year-old. It was the kickstart towards a downward spiral that he completely lost control of.

Saved Three Times

Tobi tried to commit suicide on three different occasions. But every time, something or someone stopped him. First, he tried to overdose on the muscle relaxers he took for an injured hamstring, but his dad came into the room just before he put the pills in his mouth.

The next two times, he thought about running his car into a tree, but he changed his mind at the last minute. Earlier that year, Tobi’s best friend had committed suicide. He’d always believed suicide was a sin, but something about having a close friend actually do it made it seem like a valid option.

About a month after the breakup, Tobi got so worked up he ended up in the hospital with too-high blood pressure and landed himself on suicide watch.

“They sent me to a place where I was just in a room by myself,” Tobi said. “They took my phone, my wallet, everything, my clothes. All I had on was a gown, and they had to watch me for a whole day to make sure I wasn’t going to harm myself.”

It’s important to note that the suicide attempts were not because he couldn’t live without the woman. Sure, he was heartbroken, but it was something deeper than losing a love that made him think about taking his own life.

It was that feeling of worthlessness that took over in Tobi’s darkest days.

Slow Recovery

Getting over any breakup is hard, but when it’s coupled with suicidal thoughts and actions, it’s even harder. Thankfully, Tobi had a big support group. The people at his church prayed continuously for him. His friends and family never let him be alone for an extended period of time. They kept him moving, going and living.

For people going through depression, it’s hard to even imagine God is with them. It seems unfathomable that He is there in the worst times because He seems so far away. It took Tobi a while to learn that wasn’t the case, but he finally understood.

“I learned that even though it feels like, you know, He wasn’t there for me at the time, He’s always there,” Tobi said. “He helped me through what I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get through … Just know that He’s always there.”

Tobi dove deeper into prayer and reading the Bible. It was a long road—something he’s still going through—but Tobi is on the upswing. He hopes that others considering suicide will first turn to their support network or to a counselor/pastor for help. He also hopes that others will come to know Jesus as there for them because of his story.

Tobi is currently focused on his job as a chaplain’s assistant in the National Guard and raising enough money to go to college to study marketing and business.

Whatever the future holds, Tobi knows Jesus will be there with him—no matter what.