All week the topic of suicide has been trending on social media, because of the increase in the number of young people committing suicide.
Several people have weighed in on the subject with many declaring their support for anyone with suicidal thoughts who may need a shoulder to cry on or someone to be there for them.
It’s been really nice to see the hashtag #suicideisnottheanswer gain popularity.
But the real question here is, how many of you are actually willing to listen to a person’s problem without judgment?
Because although there are several reasons why a person would want to end their life; a fear of societies backlash is usually one of the main causes.
So no matter how much we claim to care, our actions need match our words.
You can’t be against suicide and yet be the reason why a person feels the need to want to end their life in the first place.
Now if you follow my blog, you know just how passionate about mental health, particularly depression; one of the main reasons why I created this column ‘Dear Dia’ was to create an avenue for people to express themselves without fear of judgment.
Yes, seeking professional help is important, but very few people have access to it or even know they need help.
And the times when they do recognize they need help, turn to people who’re not qualified or equipped to handle their cases, especially religious leaders and counselors.
Now I’m not negating their importance, but depending on what the individual is going through,counseling may not work for them; and sometimes the person feels worse when he/she talks to an individual who’s clueless about their situation.
I’ve seen too many cases of people sent of to a prayer camp, chained and starved almost to death in an attempt at curing them of their problems.
But sometimes all a person needs is someone to talk to, someone who will just listen and even if they don’t understand, be willing to be there for them.
Because listening goes a long way to make the person feel less alone, and this is what ‘Dear Dia’ seeks to give people.
However there are several stories I also don’t share on this platform, because I know all too well the comments from others will send them further over the edge.
But in light of recent happenings, one reader has agreed to let me share her story, knowing the risk involved but hoping it will help others in similar situations.
So it’s your turn to prove you mean those hashtags you’ve been sharing, read this as if she’s someone you know personally, and your reaction will go to show if truly you understand the role you play in suicide prevention.
The recent trend of students committing suicide for unknown reasons have really got me thinking. It’s got me thinking of the numerous times I have considered hurting/killing myself.
Trust me when I say this; for as long as I can remember I’ve hated myself, something I’m sure my family and friends will never guess. In fact, come to think of it, they would have burst out in laughter if I ever even told one of them about how unhappy I was/am.
This is because, I am the “happiest” and “funniest” person most of them have ever known. Unfortunately , I am not the happiest or funniest when no one is around.
My whole life, I have been the obedient daughter, the church girl, the girl who was seen as her mother’s “walking stick”. I love my mother and would do ANYTHING for her so long as it makes her smile.
Because you see, she brought up me and my brothers up all by herself. Yet, she never spoke a negative word about my father to any of us,not once; this is how loving and forgiving she is.
And my brothers and I also have the strongest bond.
I know, I know you are thinking I have deviated. Not yet. Am just trying to make you understand how I cherish and love my family and how I’ve not lacked for love, and yet they’re the very reason why I get suicidal some days.
My whole life I have known that I was “awkward”, I was never comfortable around female friends. I respected my female friends probably more than I should have and I still do, they seemed special and were not to be “fooled” with.
As I grew older, I got more confused and even depressed because almost all my male friends I had been playing with since I was in primary school had started proposing love to me and suggesting we became boyfriend and girlfriend. I definitely knew didn’t want that somehow, so I stayed away from them too. So, in essence I had no female friends and neither did I have male friends.
It wasn’t until I was in Secondary School that I realized what the real issue was, I was attracted to girls!
And the thought scared me; how could this be possible? We are of the same sex! People like that are called lesbobo! A word used back then to describe girls who “touched” each other, and I instinctively hated lesbobos! People like that we’re supposed to be spiritually possessed! So I wondered if I was also possessed? I had so many questions I need answers to and I was overwhelmed by it all.
But who could I talk to? Who could I approach without being judged or made to feel worse than I already felt?
I hated myself so much and looked for escape plans every chance I got. Until one day, after 4 years of keeping this to myself, I decided to tell my best friend, the one lady I was comfortable around. Gosh! There are no words to explain the burden that was lifted off my shoulder the moment I said those words to her. I told her, “I do not think or believe that I like women. I KNOW I like women”. She is the most supportive human being I have ever known! This situation was no exception to her. She did not stop seeing me as her best friend, neither did she conclude it was a phase or I was crazy.
She just accepted me!
To make this somewhat shorter than the real story is, I eventually met fell in love with a woman, I know it is disgusting for some people who would read this, but yes I did, and I love her with all my heart
I know you are now wondering why I get suicidal then if I claim to have someone I love in my life. Having someone who shares the same feelings I do is great but the realization that I will NEVER be able to live my truth, or openly proclaim our love for each other to another soul (except my best friend) is hard.
The idea that I have to continue living in a “till death do us part” marriage with a man I know I don’t love and dread the possibility of having sex with him some nights, knowing I don’t love him and don’t want to be intimate with him depresses me constantly.
Yes, I am married and with children; something I did just to get the pressure of my back knowing it’s what I was expected to do.
But now I have to live a lie for the rest of my life and it’s kills me to know that I will never be fulfilled like others.
Because I know this secret life of mine will destroy me and my family if it were to come out.
And whenever these thoughts cross my mind I get suicidal and this happens often.
My story might disgust you, but I am not the only one living a lie and screaming inside for help.
The problem is usually bigger than what you see, because the things people are depressed about are sometimes the secrets you don’t want to hear.
Thankfully I haven’t commited suicide yet because when it does it hard, I try to remind myself that I am still Gods creation and he still loves me no matter what society tries to tell me.
And I didn’t write this for advice, but just to open up and tell someone who needs to hear that ” life is bigger than that single problem you are seeing right now. And remember that, no matter what society tells you , choose to believe that your father in heaven loves you unconditionally”. Yes you!
*** If you have a problem you want to share on this platform send a mail to email@example.com (your personal details will remain anonymous)