Suicide is never the only option. No matter how dark, no matter how bleak, no matter how far, no matter how frustrating, no matter how much it seems that the future will never be good; Suicide will never ever be the only option.
In our part of the world, suicide is rarely discussed; but unfortunately, in today`s world, news of people committing suicide is a regular occurrence. One may conclude that the lack of adequate information in Nigeria is why we don`t have large numbers of reported suicide cases. We hear more about this kind of news on TV and read about it in newspapers and on social media. This is mainly because technology helps carry news far and fast.
My experience with suicide is one I want to share with you today. Have I ever contemplated suicide? No. Has the thought of suicide come to my mind? Yes. Let me take you back to how this came to be. In my 100 level, the Nigerian University Commission announced that my school was being dis- accredited and this meant that all courses were no longer valid. I was frustrated and confused like every other student. So, I decided to leave my friends for a while and go on a walk. I was walking down one of the streets in Anthony Village, just a random street, I was lost in my thoughts; what now? What was the way forward, after 2 years of JAMB struggle and my father declining an admission in UNILAG to study Actuarial Science, I felt I was right back to where I started. I was so deep into my thoughts, that I must have wandered onto the road. The next thing I heard was a loud honk behind me. “Get out of the way young lady,” said a very upset Lagos Driver. As I came back into my consciousness, I found myself back on the side-walk. I was so afraid the car was going to hit me. When I was able to calm myself, I took several deep breaths and gathered my thoughts together. Then and there, I knew for me, suicide will never be an option. To this day I thank God that episode has not repeated itself.
So after almost 20 years, why is this coming back to me? It all came flooding back when I was having a conversation with a dear friend, and we discussed the struggle with suicidal thoughts.
My friend mentioned that he was having dark thoughts and dark moments, and things were just not going the way he expected. Sometimes last year, as he was driving on 3rd Mainland Bridge, a thought came to him that driving straight into the lagoon would end the hurt, struggle, and pain. But the thought of his family, his children, and people that love him came to mind, and he decided that he would keep fighting this battle knowing that the future will be bright. Today, he is on a better path, and things are gradually falling in place.
We sat down and had a long conversation about this thing called suicide and how it can creep up on people, even people that we see as strong and courageous.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When the thoughts drag you in, suck you in, you lose focus on how good the past was, how the future is just around the corner. The thoughts drag you down and make you lose focus of the door handle, the door that opens to the light. You forget that all you have to do is stretch further. The thoughts keep you in your present state that is difficult and dark, forgetting that it is only a phase and It will pass but if only we could find strength, close our eyes and reach a little further, grab hold of the doorknob and pull it down, open the door and behold the light.
During the dark thoughts of suicide, one must remember one’s loved ones. You must remember that nothing is permanent in this world; so nothing bad lasts forever, and nothing good also lasts forever. The obstacles are part of the journey and we must look out for them, we must remember that this is something that can creep up on anyone and distract you from your focus. Suicide also hurts those we love the most, years after a loved one commits suicide, the family left behind finds it difficult to heal as there is usually no closure for them.
If anybody is going through this process, I will advise that you reach out to someone that you love or talk to a professional that can help you. Please know that you are not alone and you can reach Lagos State Suicide helpline on – 08058820777 and 0903000074
Remember, suicide is never the only option.
I will like to know what you think on this subject matter, please read, share, and drop your comments.
Also look out for all my previous write-ups on www.booksbyemo.com/blog/ on different life issues.
Images from downtoearth.org.in
Opinion Piece by Ejemai Olayemi, Ph.D.