THE SUICIDE MISSION
As he awoke that morning, obviously monitored by his body clock perhaps even waking earlier, he looked at his wife of over 12 years hardly recognizing her, her hair dangling over her face and her once elegant and attractive body now shrinking from stress and poverty. She was a hard worker though. But what is hard work on an empty stomach? What is hard work beside a basket load of truncated dreams? To him, he owed her a better life.
Mr. Ray (not real name) was a chartered Accountant doing well in life and career and earning a salary in six digits. As a young man, he owned a house, possibly the first to build one among his brothers. By a sudden stroke of fate, Ray was diagnosed of Partial Stroke. I knew Ray when he was a vibrant young man. My sister who once chatted with him over writing Professional exams was awestruck by the level of intelligence this man displayed.
Then life became slow. The sickness made him limp and drag himself everywhere, his speech was distorted, he became withdrawn and non-communicative. He was a shadow of himself. Then one day after his 3 kids left for school and his wife to her petty trade, Ray finally made up his mind to go on a mission. Was he searching for help, peace or rest? Maybe he wanted his former life back and he was convinced in his mind of the way to get it. As his 6-year old daughter approached the house from school, even from a distance you could hear her screaming excitedly, ‘Daddy, Daddy’. You know that feeling of jumping into your father’s arms after school. It didn’t take her long to find her daddy. He wasn’t standing waiting to lift her up and spin her around as usual. He was already ‘lifted up’ with a rope tied to his neck and fastened to the fan.
In the few seconds it took you to read this story, someone else has committed suicide! This goes to confirm statistics that Suicide is the third biggest killer in the world after HIV/AIDS and wars. In simple language, suicide is the act of killing yourself. This can happen either by using sharp objects, poisoning, hanging and other methods yet to be discovered.
According to some recent statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), no fewer than a million people die annually from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people in 10,000 or one death every 40 seconds. There is also an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year.
Unfortunately, this evil trend has become a popular escape route for the younger generation. Puberty is happening earlier bringing adolescence and depression to a younger age group ill equipped to cope. Young men are the most vulnerable too. Alcohol and drug abuse are thought to play a vital role because both act as depressants and impede one’s ability to reason. Young men are 10 times more likely to use drugs like cocaine which can feed suicidal thoughts especially in those who have repeated cases of mental illness in their blood line. Men also claim to be strong and find it much harder to ask for help when they are having a bad time.
Some warning signs that someone is thinking of suicide;
- Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
- Giving away prized possession
- Problem behavior and substance abuse
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Increased self harming behaviors
But is there a way out? Yes. Basically, every suicidal action stems from a suicidal thought. Medical experts say that most young people who completed suicide told someone of their plans. So what are we saying here? You can help reduce Suicide by being a good listener to your friends or someone in distress. Don’t just sit and gist about the last night’s Premier League, latest dress and hairstyle or about a rat that crossed your street in the afternoon. Take out time to know your friends, their struggles, their dreams and how they are really faring.
- If you find out your friend has been thinking about suicide lately, don’t panic. Don’t be judgemental and don’t even offer too much advice. Just listen, acknowledge their fears, point out consequences for the victim and family, tell a trusted adult or spiritual leader and encourage him or her to seek help and medical support.
Perhaps, you are reading this piece and were already planning a suicide mission, come off it. Send that thought out of your system now. It is awfully wrong to take a life you did not create. Everybody faces tough time but we need to be bold to live out our glorious destinies.
In case you doubt that what I am saying as truth, let’s hear from a man we all thought should have gone on a suicide mission, “For there is hope for a tree if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant”. (Job 14:7-9).
Okoko Glory (firstname.lastname@example.org)