You’ll Never walk alone…
I have been trying to share some thoughts on recent stories of young Nigerians committing suicide. People are reacting differently and formulating theories on what has triggered this “trend”.
I personally think we live in denial that there are people suffering from serious mental health issues. In short, we believe suicide is alien to us so those who truly need to be treated as a result of their mental health condition are too embarrassed to seek help. The only help family members and even spiritual leaders offer, “it is not your portion”, “we don’t have madness in our family”. And they pray, rebuking the evil spirit, it becomes a recurring cycle and the person continues to get worse. For those who think people commit suicide because of economic hardship, it is possible, but don’t forget that rich people have also terminated their life. In 2018, Kate Spade killed herself, she was rich and adjudged successful.
I was reflecting on Akachi Chukwuemeka’s Facebook post on the 12th of May, days before he took his life “My mental health has been on life support for a while now. Thanks to those who call. Text. Visit. Speak to me. May we always remember. May we never forget. You May have added a few hours, months or days to my time here. But you know life support is expensive, right? Thank you for trying. Amen.” It seems he has been getting some encouragement or counseling, not sure he was seeing a psychiatrist. He was crying out in previous posts but some people thought he was just being philosophical, there are many like him depressed, subtly crying for help
We live in a very competitive society, we live in a Country where people set unconscious goals based on the “successes” of others. Ours is a culture of reminding people of what they are yet to attain. We “inspire” by demotivating, mocking, and comparing people so that they can wallow in self-pity, rejection, hate, and depression. This comparison starts at infancy. I have seen parents subtly mock other parents whose kids started walking or talking late. They constantly remind fellow parents that their kid started walking at 4months and talking at 3months, the mother gradually becomes troubled and even remind the infant of how slow he/she is, the child starts to feel some kind of pressure.
The Child goes to creche, caregivers and parents constantly taunt the child for failing at potty training. The child gets to primary school, he is constantly reminded that his cousin or neighbor took the first position. She is seen as a blockhead, blamed for being a slow learner and constantly reminded that his peers are high flyers. Some mothers are in the habit of comparing notes with other, social media groups may even make it worse. I have seen parents using their friend’s kids as a benchmark for where their kids(s) should be. Chiboy got a double promotion, therefore, my child must leave for secondary school at pry 4, constantly putting their kids on emotional high jump because of Chiboy🙄
You force that child into an educational system he is not mentally prepared for. He skips two classes just to continue the unconscious tournament you have entered with fellow parents. The child struggles to pass in Secondary school, Chiboy remains the star 🌟 kid and you taunt your child with unnecessary comparisons. We continue the competition with WAEC and JAMB results. God help the child if she has to resist WAEC and JAMB for some years before managing to get the O-Level sorted, the taunting continues. The broken young adult now gets into University and gets admitted into courses outside Law, Medicine, Engineering, Economics, and Accounting, then they conclude you can’t make it in life🤦🏽♀
The young adult continues the struggle with battered self-esteem, he/she manages to graduate and she is mocked for getting an extra year and graduating with a third class when Chigirl graduated years ago with a 1st Class in Engineering. The competition continues, God helps you and you don’t secure a job and get married after NYSC, the young lady will not know peace, even the house dog will earn more respect. Aunties and Uncles will keep asking what you are waiting for? They don’t even know they are talking to a broken young man or lady. Even marriage or a great job may not repair the long walk to depression, this is the reality of some of the people we meet and see daily.
I have not experienced comparisons from my parents or teachers. The closest I have had is my Dad giving my younger sister our transport money to hold because I would playfully lose my plate, spoon, and fare home, I couldn’t be bothered when he made my younger sister treasurer because she can guarantee we won’t trek home😂. There are too many things we do that make people feel lonely, rejected, small, unhappy, miserable and depressed, we often don’t pay attention to such actions because it has become acceptable. We need to unlearn these behaviours, let’s be kind to one another and appreciate people in their own race, pace, and space, don’t be afraid to seek help, you’ll never walk alone. Tobe Continued.