In our African Culture suicide is something people don’t openly talk about. I would like to believe there are people who have gone through what I used to go through but never told a soul or perhaps went on to carry out the act of suicide because they had no one else to turn to. This is not an easy post for me to write because I know it will open old wounds and raise eyebrows but I feel it’s a story that needs to be shared and hopefully help someone who is probably contemplating suicide.
I have three close friends and I have told them about my battle with suicide thoughts. It wasn’t something I just woke up one morning and decided to share with them; I had to make sure I could trust them with my dark side and have confidence that they would not ridicule me…I have always been a neat freak. The state of my house reflects the thoughts in my head. If I am in a happy and healthy space my house is sparkling clean. If I am upset and overwhelmed then as you can expect my house will be an actual mess.
However, there was a time being a neat freak was not only about keeping my house clean. It was my way of preparing to leave. Why was I sticking around anyway, no one loved me, no one cared about me or believed in me so what wast the point of it all? I thought to myself if I finally decide to end my life then at least people should come to a clean house and pack my things away without a hassle.
This happened to me for months on end. I would think about how I was going to go about it. I walk to work and I cross a very busy street. Some days I would contemplate throwing myself right in front of an oncoming car, other days I would think of jumping off from an office building and on the worst days I would think of getting run over by a train. The one time I even asked my doctor friend if slitting my wrists would kill me. I obviously asked in a round about way and when he told me it would send me straight to my death bed I had one more method to add to my list. What made all these thoughts more real was all the suicide incidents that I would read about in the paper every other day and I would think to myself, why not; this will definitely end all my misery! I was in a very dark space and what fueled these suicide thoughts were the obstacles that I kept facing; (heartbreak, unfulfilled dreams, low self esteem, no life purpose).
The thing about suicidal thoughts is that you can’t go around telling people that’s what’s going on in your head incase they might think you have lost your marbles. You will be fighting demons that you can’t see but can feel at every waking moment. I had an injured soul and I took to many devices to try and cure it with no luck. My friend used to complain about my “mood swings” not realising that they had more to do with my thoughts more than anyone in particular. I could go for weeks, months on end without wanting to speak to her and some of my friends. I just wanted to be left alone. I withdrew from social media platforms, I even stopped going out but took to drinking alcohol instead to numb my thoughts.
From my experience suicidal thoughts come with depression which is unfortunately not acknowledged in our culture. Tell most people that you are depressed and they will tell you to get over it. I know you are reading this probably asking yourself why I didn’t talk to anyone about what I was going through. Well, I did actually but I didn’t tell them the full details. What I got in return was “It’s a phase it will pass.” Unfortunately this phase stuck with me from College days till just a few years ago when the suicidal thoughts finally left and set me free.
I would be lying if I tried to give you a formula on how to get rid of that heavy feeling you feel around your chest. The thoughts of how you are worthless and how you are not serving any purpose on this earth. The thoughts that suicide will make things right for you. I don’t have that because for me I just woke up one morning and the dark cloud that had been hovering above me was gone. I think whatever it was realised that it was putting me through unnecessary pain because with each day I was becoming more and more disinterested in life and I could hardly recognise myself.
Suicide is real. I have seen friends take their lives over a heartbreak, people throw themselves off a building because of financial stress and wives burn themselves to death after finding out about their husband’s infidelity. Before I experienced suicidal thoughts I mocked them and thought to myself who in their right minds would end their lives over things that could be fixed? I hadn’t walked in their shoes and it was easy for me to judge them. I didn’t know that sometimes the thoughts in your head can be so bad you have to find a way to run away from them and suicide may be the only way out. Now I understand that some people, me included will go through and have gone through some dark phases in their lives and unfortunately for some they will not live to tell their story but for the lucky few you get a chance at life again.
I am thankful that I never went through any attempt to commit suicide. It all ended in my head. Had I gone through with it I would have never had the chance to see my beautiful little girl. I would have not seen how much of a positive and determined individual I have become and I would not have had the chance to write this and share this with you.
I am generally a bubbly individual. I have great days and not so great ones but my life experience so far has made me realise that we are all going through something. It’s easy for us to forget to be kind to the next person but if you can be good to those around you. You never know the difference your encouraging words or smile can alter their entire day. Your positive energy may the the one reason they won’t go ahead and commit suicide.
In most cases of suicide a person doesn’t want to die they just want to stop the pain.