Annually, about eight hundred thousand persons commit suicide in the globe. For this number, there are many more who in their different locations in the world attempt to commit suicide. For every suicide committed, there are families, friends and relatives who are left in pain, mourning, filled with guilt, questioning their conscience, asking themselves if they could have done something to save the suicide victim.
Contrary to what I thought, 79% of suicide and suicidal attempts globally occur in the low and middle income countries. To make matters worse, suicide has become rampant among young people being the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally, research says. The most commonest means of suicide is through pesticide poisoning, followed by hanging and firearms amongst others.
In Nigeria, the number of suicide keeps increasing day after day. What was alien to us has become a norm. So common that we mourn for a day, post long teary messages on social media and move on like nothing happened. One of the latest suicide happened few days ago. A young vibrant man, a first class final year student of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Chukwuemeka Akachi took his life. What a Loss! It broke my heart to read the story and imagined the pain trailing his departure. This explains the Igbo adage, ‘ihe ojoo gba afo o buru omenaala’. What has triggered this alarming increase in the number of suicide in our country? Why do youths wake up and decide to steal from themselves something as precious as a life?
There are various factors which influences individuals to take their life. It includes financial challenges, chronic sickness, heartbreaks, abuse, violence, discrimination and so on. Mental disorder particularly depression, however remains the key factor of suicide. Most people especially Nigerians think depression is not real. That’s funny because it’s one of the ‘realest things’. Once in awhile most persons get depressed but how you handle it is what counts. Is committing suicide the best option or the best way to handle it? I don’t think so.
How then do you handle depression? The first step is to have a talk with you. When I was younger and knew nothing, I always say that nothing will ever make me take my life. But…having listened to friends, having experienced the sad path of life now I know better. Of course, life is unfair. People on daily basis pass through horrible things in life. Yet it’s not enough to take your life.
Don’t say I haven’t seen anything in life yet. I have had my own fair share of the unfairness of life. Maybe once I myself have contemplated suicide, I longed for the quiet and peace that comes with it. I struggled through that phase and here I am. You too can do that.
The truth is no matter how bad you think your condition is, no matter how terrible you feel, there is someone out there you are better than. There is someone who will give anything, absolutely anything to have the life you wish to take. So chill and talk to you.
The second step is to talk to a friend or family member. I can understand how difficult this is may be for you considering the people of this century. But it is better to own up than due in n silence. Surround yourself with great friends who you can run to whenever the need be. I perfectly understand your fears as most people claim to care about you once your data is on. But there are good people out there who genuinely care.
The third step is to get professional help. The English proverb says that a stitch in time saves nine. It is better to treat an illness on time than allow it to get worse. Mental disorder is a sickness that requires seeing a therapist or Psychiatrist. Hey you! Maybe you need to hear this but seeing a therapist doesn’t mean you are mad or suffering from insanity. Far from it. A therapist performs other tasks aside helping a mentally deranged or crazy person. He or she will help you get through depression easily.
Finally, if you can, solve the issue that gets you depressed. Is it financial? Try asking your relations for help. Were you abused? Champion the pain into something great. Let your condition motivate rather than bring you down. Let it push you to do more cause no matter how dark it seems there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Depression is everyone’s problems. Don’t think you have no role to play. You have even a greater role. My fear however is that social media has blinded our eyes and clouded our judgement. Except a few, no one really show care anymore. Aside discussing fashion and trends, When was the last time you had an intimate discussion with your friend(s) about his or her life? When was the last time you reached out? Can you remember? See! That is why we wake up daily to hear that people who we call friends have taken their own life and we ask ourselves how?
Hold on, even when he or she makes a post on social media about the sea of monsters drowning him, it’s so sad that we don’t reach out. We sit behind our gadgets and tag them attention seekers. No, they are not seeking attention. They are trying to let you know how they feel. They are trying to tell you they need help. And where do they turn to? The one place they are sure to find you, social media!
Dear friend, be a good friend. Make yourself available when needed. Your depressed friend may wear his mask of happiness tightly so you have to go the extra mile to discover the truth.
I don’t support suicide and never will. No matter how terrible your life is, don’t drown, hold on tight. You were sent to the world for a purpose, fulfill it. The road is rough, the part is backbreaking. But… Suicide is not an option.