Saturday, January 20, 2024 1:10 pm
What in the name of God can make someone take his or her own dear life? Though the reasons for some of those who carry out the act are known, let us pause before throwing aspersions on them, as is usually the case whenever the news comes out. From a personal perspective, it takes one with great gut, rather than a weak mind to finally decide to end his or her life, without considering the emotional consequences on those being left behind.
The act of taking one’s life actually starts with a thought and for some people, it may be abrupt or goes through a process of consideration. The later may be so for those who think it through to the point of leaving a suicide note while the former are those who carry out the act in a fit of anger over a situation and may probably regret it as they journey to the other side (wishful thought).
For whatever reasons, it is necessary to understand this can just be anyone and we need to tamper our condemnation of the act with love and attempt to understand what these people could have gone through before taking the unfortunate leap to end it all. Seemingly absurd, it takes a bold mind to come to the final decision of committing suicide, even though this has been wrapped up as mental imbalance. According to a colleague, the real mad people do not want to die and so run away from danger, like a moving car. Thinking back, I have seen some mad people taking every precaution while crossing the road to avoid been knocked down.
Observably, members of the younger generation seem to be the ones that now take “delight” in taking their lives. The irony is that the older generation that had witnessed the best of economy and ease of life in the past years are more resilient in facing the turbulence of the day, instead of throwing in the towel. Check out the withered pensioners who cry out every day for their stifling stipends called pensions. Apart from those who lose the battle of life to the cold hands of death due to old age illnesses and uncaring nature of the government, how many of them have taken sniper to end their lives because of the present hardship? Some of them have even lost hope of ever seeing their children they struggled to train and who have “japa” to other countries. Despite this, they still hold on to the helm of their lives until their makers call them.
Sometimes, one shudders at the reasons for committing suicide these days which vary from failed exams, failed relationships, lack of job and money to something that may be seen as been little…bullying. Often, when news of a suicide breaks out, the general advice is for people to speak up when they are going through issues. True! But what if the person was surrounded by those who were also going through similar or worse issues or perhaps had attempted to hint one or two persons who did not take him serious, because he did not look like the problem he was painting.
The beautiful banker that took her life recently obviously did not look like someone who had so much on her mind. Her colleagues may have been too busy with their own issues to take note of her gradual withdrawal as she made her plan to take the leap. Her family members whom she apologized to, undeniably had some natural expectations from her to notice her silent disappointment of not living up to them. These people may not be blamed for their oversight of her troubled but silent cries for help because Nigeria is obviously happening to most people who reside in it today.
What of her bosses at work? Everyone knows how bank marketers are harassed and pummeled to meet set targets at all costs or be shown the way out. The fear of unemployment makes some hang in there against all odds. What was her last target before her demise? Did she meet the one before it? Her comment on her figures being low speaks volumes that she carried to the great beyond. Imagine the unrealistic expectations from bank marketers’ immediate and extended bosses in today’s dwindling economy, where the big money for investment resides with mostly politicians. Let us also not be ignorant of the immoral demands by some unscrupulous prospective investors from bank marketers in exchange for investment funds. Nobody can actually put a finger on what the beautiful lady went through.
For those who end their lives because of failed relationships, you may want to scold them for finally giving their partners the freedom to carry on frolicking with their lives. Why would someone end his or her life and pave way for an obvious intruder of her emotional space? This is not isolated to the female gender as there are also men who take their lives because of the loss of a heartthrob.
No doubt, many people have gone through one issue or the other that made the world a terrible place to be in…at the time! This means that if everyone that suffered a heart break of a sort, not necessarily love related, had contemplated or attempted suicide as a way out, the population of a country like Nigeria would have been far less. It does not also mean that those who did not take the suicide route are all mentally stable, as some people have been said to suddenly slumped to death and tagged as cardiac arrest patients while some passed on ‘’peacefully’’ in their sleep. It will not be far-fetched to assume that some of these deaths were as a result of certain disappointments or heart aches from some aspects of their lives, which they may have directly or indirectly shared with few people, even family members, who offered no solutions.
Therefore, rather than waiting for a sensational news of someone who committed suicide before talking about mental health, let the narrative be for everyone to be his brother’s keeper even when things seem to be going on fine. Let families begin to look beyond expectations and dwell more on being there for one another in all circumstances, good or bad.
Let colleagues put down official rivalry and unhealthy competitions with the realization that the work will be there long after they are gone. Let bosses daily study the faces and attitude of the employees for traces of worries and teary eyes from the last night, and be the shoulders for them to unburden and gain strength to go on. Let friendship with people be genuine and impactful instead of been laden with unnecessary jealousy and silent anger to take a friend down. Let teachers and lecturers be trainers in the real sense of the word and not destroyers of the destinies of students put into their hands to impact.
Let the government be sensitive to the pains and groans of the people and ensure everyone who has taken the mantle of service is held accountable for failure to perform optimally.
To those who had attempted suicide and through the intervention of God failed, those contemplating it for one reason or the other and all those going through harrowing experiences that may drive them nuts to the extent of starting the thought process, what on earth should make you want to be tagged a mental patient? Your case cannot be the worse there is and within you lies an inner strength to overcome the different circumstances life throws as you journey through life. Hold on to it!
*Hope Nwawolo, PhD