I have often wondered what goes through the mind of suicidal persons just before they took their lives. Just how bad could it have been that taking a life you didn’t give yourself became a better option?
The thing about depression is, it creeps up on one very stealthily. It is a situation sometimes beyond one’s control, therefore it becomes the function of those who are around the sufferer to make him or her feel better and take steps to come out of it.
How good a neighbour have you(and I) been? When you ask, how are you doing? Do you listen to the answer, both spoken and unspoken? The case of Dr Orji who recently jumped off the third mainland bridge made me exceptionally sad. Medicine is a field in which people are trained to solve the health problems of mankind. Doctors are seen as one of the most important threads in the fabric of every healthy society. Why then are the statistics of suicide among doctors worldwide unnecessarily high? I used to think Nigeria was an exception; enter the peculiar case of Dr Orji.
He had a car. Most Nigerians will assume he was doing well. I mean, in the present state of the country how many can afford a Nissan SUV? It is difficult to think that the people we look up to, bare our most intimate problems to, and respect profoundly, have the same ills as we do. Unfortunately, they do. We are all human first, before anything else. Sometimes, one call or message is all it takes to make the difference.
I was once in a peculiar situation that involved matters of the heart. Depression had set in and even though suicidal thoughts aren’t my thing, that was perhaps the lowest I had ever felt in my life. The worst part? I live with my family but no one knew what was up. I shed all my tears in private and tried to put up a brave face outside. How I got through it? The very moment I realized my “situation”, I fell into a state of psychological trauma and I don’t know what would have come next if not for the message. The message came from my best friend all the way from another part of the country. This, dear reader, is how I pulled through. It was a simple “Hello dearie. Kedu? It’s been a while. How are you?” from her on BBM that pulled me back into the light. Having a shoulder to lean on that period, is something I will be eternally grateful for. She followed up, till I got back on my feet. FYI, my family still has no clue. This taught me empathy. I realized you could live with someone and not know how that person felt or what that person was going through.
Also, for anyone who has ever been in a bad situation, so bad that he thought it would never get better, I have a story to tell you, though I cannot take credit for it. A certain king asked his wise men to create for him, something that would remind him whenever he was extremely happy, that the happiness of this world was ephemeral, and when he was down-in-the-dumps sad, would remind him that the sun would shine again. They were a bunch of very wise men, and so when they were through with their brainstorming, they returned to him with something: a ring. On the ring was engraved a short declaration :”This Too Shall Pass”. Believe me, it shall pass. What you cried so despondently about yesterday, may eventually become something to teach you invaluable life lessons that will take you to your Eldorado.
My point? Empathy is never too much. Goodness knows the world needs it. True, we get our fair share of kicks and blows from life, but indeed,, life isn’t worth living if we cannot be of help to others. That’s why we’re here in the first place. It is easy to get caught up in daily routine and not notice what’s happening to someone we see everyday.
Listen. Please, listen. Even if you don’t feel anything amiss, reach out occasionally.
If you’re down, please, suicide is never the answer. Reach out. There is still love.
Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. – Albert Schweitzer