Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Cameka Taylor: Bares All to Aid

Published:Monday | June 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
After struggling with depression all her life, Taylor says she is finally free.
Taylor explains that helping others has also helped her.
Taylor says she is now happy and free as she shows off the sketch of her in her wedding dress for a wedding that never happened.

"I saw a bottle of pink pills and I took them all and hoped to die. But nothing happened," Cameka Taylor told Flair as she recounted her first suicide attempt. Taylor was only 13 years old.

Throughout her life, Taylor has felt her fair share of heartbreaks. It took some time before her father accepted her as his daughter, even though she was initially raised by his family up until the age of five. This added just a drop in her bucket of depression as she was blamed for doing something that was unheard of by a five-year-old.

"They held me responsible for my great-grandaunts' death," she told Flair. She explained that some money was sent to her great-grandaunt, and when it couldn't be found, being that she was the youngest child in the house she was blamed for misplacing it. The family members believed that the loss of this money was the cause of the death of the elderly woman, and as a result Taylor was held responsible for her death. This was something that she was neither fully aware of nor could comprehend.

After the incident, she was sent to live with her maternal grandmother.

By age 10 Taylor was reunited with her mother. The relationship was strained because Taylor had some resentment towards her, because she had blamed her for what has so far happened to her.


She turned to Christianity at the age of 14, but she still struggled with depression.

"At 14 I had a bottle of pills in one hand and the bible in the other," she said. The bible made her feel guilty for thinking about wanting to attempt suicide again, so she aborted it. The struggle with suicide ended at the age of 17 when she got her hands on the book, Victory Over the Darkness: Realising the Power of Your Identity in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. She said that the book changed her life.

She found the book after getting into another conflict with her mother - this time over a boy. Now looking back, Taylor realised that her mother was trying to protect her from making the same mistake she did, which was getting pregnant at an early age. But reading this book changed her suicidal tendencies. "I don't know how it (suicidal thought) happened, but after that, it just left," said Taylor.

Her depression lingered, so she decided to do a course in family foundation which helped her further in dealing with her depression. During this course she got background into her own life, and sought the help of a therapist who also gave her some perspective on her life.

But it wasn't happily ever after for Taylor. Just when she thought she had found love, she was devastated by the demise of her relationship. However, this time suicide was far from her mind. This time she decided she wanted to be a one-woman community for girls who were struggling with depression and coming into their own but felt like they had no one to turn to.

After calling off her engagement, she let it all out on paper in the form of her first book, Heartache Queen Unshackled My Journey towards Liberation, Self Acceptance and Wholeness. On the cover is a sketch of her in a wedding dress despite her not being married. It made her feel free.


Letting it all out on paper was no easy feat and she even stopped the publishers at one point, fearful of scrutiny because the book was so personal. It was the encouragement of her mother, whom she now has a very close relationship with, and her pastor that motivated her to carry on. She has support - something she never felt she had as a teenager.

She decided to share this love not only through her book, but as a motivational speaker and the founder of Extra Mile Innovators, which is a mentorship programme for girls and young women. She not only speaks to the women but she trains them in different vocational areas.

She admits that this new journey of helping others also helped her.