I had this mad theory that Nigerians loved life too much to take their own lives; we are such a resilient people, when our backs hit the wall, we still find a way to make a niche and push in…there’s a never say die spirit about the average Nigerian.
But hey, that’s a crappy theory; more and more people are finding life just too difficult to deal with. We’ve all been inundated with several suicide stories by Nigerians lately; particularly touching is that of a medical doctor, a certain Dr Orji who leapt into the Lagoon sometime ago; his story got us all concerned about the state of millions of Nigerians battling depression; what would make a medical doctor, who from all appearances, had a good life commit suicide?
‘He’s even lucky he had a job and a car and a bank account, what will make him take his own life?’ We ask.
How would one explain that of the naval officer who was reported to have shot himself in the head? Reports said he’d been depressed lately and among listed reasons, was his inability to get forex to pay school fees for his children’s education abroad.
‘Bring the kids back home, patapata they will school in Ghana.’- our glib response
What of the woman rescued just as she was about to leap into the lagoon; her reason? She had accumulated so much debts, it was hard to pay. So how much is worth taking her own life? One report said N150,000-chicken change, huh?
‘Because of ordinary 150k? What do you want those of us who owe N1 million to do? Pssheew!
There always will appear reasonable solutions to the option of suicide. But what these say is simple, everyone is prone to depression but most of all, depression is a sickness!
And what exactly is this malaise that pushes people in general to take their own lives? Well, according to medicinenet.com, depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleep, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things…it is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.
And when these symptoms persist, victims find solace in suicide. Unfortunately, there are no exact causes of depression as individuals manifest symptoms of depression based on their peculiarities. However, it is widely agreed that triggers can range from stress, grief, substance abuse, some medical illnesses, to changes in hormone levels; loss of means of survival et al.
What’s important here is that anyone can be depressed and when that feeling of – sadness, not wanting to go out anymore, being unable to get things done, particularly things one used to love doing, being unable to concentrate on anything in particular and withdrawing from friends and loved ones, when these feeling last for more than two weeks, it’s time to get medical help.
Too bad though, seeking medical help isn’t what we are used to doing in this part of the world; apart from the fact that it’s expensive, there’s a stigma to it.
We call it Yaba left!
(Yaba is where the Federal Psychiatric hospital is located in Lagos)
No one wants to be seen to be seeing a psychiatrist or regarded as a patient of THAT hospital; when there are herbal homes, churches, alfas, prophets and prophetesses whose holy water we hold so dear.
And when these do not solve the problems of the people we take to them because they cannot …the victims want to end the pain because they see themselves as failures, they think nothing good ever happens to them, they feel worthless and think life isn’t worth living.
Depression is a disease that must be treated medically. It’s a sickness victims shouldn’t be ashamed of; and like many sicknesses, depression can afflict both old and young, rich and poor, men and women, it does not discriminate!
Many times, drugs and counselling is just what victims need; sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on, a need to have someone who will truly listen and hear their plea for help.
Many Nigerians are crying out right now and their voices are being drowned with our watery solutions; ask how parents of the Chibok girls are surviving today? This April makes it 3 years since they saw their daughters alive and there are still no answers; many of these parents have lost hope and died of grief.
What of that student, who sat for that exam, three times already and failed, how will he find the courage to write yet another? Are families in Benue, who’ve been ravaged by Fulani herdsmen coping well?
Indeed, the entire nation needs help, we are all suffering from depression!