I’m in a big hole surrounded by fear
I’m in a deep dark hole
Deep enough for me to disappear
But where should I go if earth the only place I know
All I know is I don’t want this anymore
Living a life without knowing what it is I am searching for
There are days where I would love to be somebody else
Days where I am fighting myself
There are days where I wish I would be a child again
And sometimes days where I wish they wouldn’t last
Days where I wish I would be dead
~ Ayo; These Days
Did you know that World over, every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide. Yes, those statistics always make me doubt myself and I have to rush to my WHO guide book to confirm it is seconds and not minutes. Men have a higher suicide rate than women and someone said ‘gossip’ isn’t healthy. It doesn’t make you less of a man if you share what you are going through or go out to seek help. No! People don’t commit suicide because Man U or Arsenal lost or because a boyfriend/girlfriend left them, that’s the final push, suicide is an ongoing build-up of unresolved issues that snowball until the day, your team loses or the love of your life leaves and all reason to live leave with that loss or that break up.
People are buried at night with no funeral ceremony because suicide is seen as such a taboo and those who commit it are not worth day light and a ceremony when buried. Some priests won’t precede over a burial ceremony of someone who committed suicide and in Kenya, suicide attempt is a criminal offense and that’s why people caught in the act or attempt and fail suffer the same wrath thieves face; mob justice…the list goes on and on.
If you have followed my blog from the beginning or my twitter conversations using #mhke hash tag, you know about my own challenges with suicide and suicidal thoughts especially around the time of my rape ordeal and also when trying to master my bipolar. I do not claim to have mastered it now but I am in a better place and I thank God greatly for that. As I write this, I remember days when I was sure I have over dosed on my bipolar and epilepsy meds then woke up in the morning. At first I peep and think, is this heaven or hell and it is my room wheeew and my theme song over and over was These Days by Ayo, I have posted the lyrics at the beginning of this post. I am glad, that suicide is the one thing I failed at and I have no issues with that failure, based on the work I do through my mind, my funk; the world truly needed me.
Here are 5 important things to note about suicide
1. What is suicide?
Suicide is the act of taking one’s life. There are people who use the word deliberately in their definition but this has been subject to objection especially from those who view persons with mental health conditions as ‘not being in their right minds hence cannot be deliberate’ what is your take on this?
Due to constant life ups and downs, we think about taking our lives every once in a while, this is termed as ‘normal’ but if the thought is ongoing and one is constantly thinking, talking about, reading up and even experimenting on suicidal methods, there is a problem here that needs to be address immediately.
2. Why do people commit suicide?
Most of the time, people do not contemplate committing suicide or actually do it to die, they do it to block the pain. One of the main causes of suicide is the inability to cope with a situation or constant feelings of hopelessness.
3. What are the common methods of committing suicide?
– Hanging self
– Using a gun
– Taking poison/overdose
– Inhaling carbon monoxide
– Bleeding, mostly through wrist cutting
– Throwing self in front of a moving vehicle
– Jumping from high ground
4. What are some of the risk factors for suicide?
The following make people vulnerable to suicide;
– Untreated mental health conditions e.g depression, bipolar, schizophrenia
– Traumatic experiences e.g sexual abuse, violence (My first ever attempt was the evening I got home after my rape ordeal)
– Substance and Alcohol abuse
– Bullying and the most recent type of cyber bulling
– Stress due to poverty, unemployment, loss of a loved one, family conflict
– Prior suicide attempts
The most at risk age group is 18-30 years.
5. There cases where many people in a family commit suicide, does that mean suicide genetic?
According to science, it is more of the gene to handle stress that is ‘weak’. As you know, different people handle different situations differently; what might be stressful for you may be a walk in the park for me. So if that gene of ‘not being able to do mud’ is passed on, then that is what is the issue so stress comes along, and stress sure does come and if we don’t seek counselling or release methods, we end up depressed hence vulnerable to suicide. If there is a build-up of stress and untreated depression and know of one family member who shut it down via suicide, we follow suit.
6. How do I know if my loved ones are suicidal?
– Talking about death and suicide a little too much. (Don’t ignore lines like I will kill myself soon, I wonder if dead people feel this pain, Life on earth is useless, I want out, I would be better if I wasn’t here)
– Carefree lifestyles (giving away cash and valuables)
– Withdrawal and not participating in activities that once excited them
– Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness
If you or someone you know is suicidal, contact email@example.com for more information and support and/or linkages with Samaritans Kenya and other facilities and organizations that can assist you.
Sitawa Wafula is a poet and blogger who runs an award winning self-titled blog (http://sitawa.blogspot.com) where she shares her work as a mental health and epilepsy crusader, her poetry pieces and the good, the bad and the ugly of her daily life as someone living with epilepsy and a mental health condition.