Thursday, 21 July 2011

So Sad

The sister of Dh’s childhood friend committed suicide recently, sparking numerous discussions on and off line. Generally people don’t think a young girl of 25 that comes from a wealthy home, had a very good job, was highly educated, beautiful and intelligent should take her own life. That she had been depressed for a long time didn’t make her suicide come as any less of a surprise.

There’s something about depression in Nigeria that makes people not take it seriously. Because unlike other conditions its symptoms have no outward wounds or signs, you don’t break out in hives, your nose doesn’t turn purple neither do your ears fall off. A depressed person is trapped in a silent, vicious cycle of self-doubt, insignificance, helplessness and loneliness. There’s something eating away at their soul and shredding their insides to bits. Sometimes all it takes to pull them out of it is for an acknowledgement from another person that the pain they feel is real and they are not alone. The more people try to remedy them by ignoring it or expecting them to snap out of it without talking to them about it, the worse it gets. And it eventually builds up to a climax. Only a sufferer can understand the internal turmoil that leads to a person taking their own life.

There are many rumours about what triggered her suicidal tendencies; apparently she’d tried to kill herself last year. I don’t know which of these stories are true, and I don’t want to repeat them here for fear of slandering the dead but what strikes me is the glee with which her tragedy is being reported, in a ‘serves her right’ tone. As if people who are materially blessed can’t bruise too. As if suicide is a rich mans disease. Whatever her problems were, I’m sure with proper counselling and support she would have pulled through. Whatever mistakes she’d made, she needed to hear that it’s not the end of the world.

A lot of Nigerian parents maintain an emotional distance from their children. How many of them say the words ‘I love you’ to their children? It’s not just enough to put a roof over their head and food in their stomach; those are the very basic duty of parenthood. I know you can’t give what you don’t have, but parents should be more discerning of their childrens emotional needs. Some children need more hugs than others. Sometimes children go through situations where they need to be told that they are loved and appreciated and valued and should never think less of themselves no matter what life throws their way. If this poor girl really felt less of a human being, she didn’t need more money thrown at her to make her happy again.

I can’t imagine how her family feel. It’s heartbreaking when someone you love dies, more so when they take their own life. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! Sorry for the loss. It is very sad hearing such stories, and what's worse is knowing it could have been prevented. I don't personally know this story but I know in general Nigerians are insensitive to mental health issues. It is ridiculous because we are so educated and enlightened about so many other things but are still in the dark on mental health issues.
    May her soul rest in peace.