I recently stumbled on news about a 14 year old girl who committed suicide and streamed the whole process on Facebook live. Shortly after reading the news, I went ahead to do a little research on the girl and on a few others who also live-streamed their suicides.
What I find disturbing is how people leave insensitive comments encouraging a suicidal person to go ahead. The girl whose news I first read apparently had a mother who, while watching her daughter on Facebook live, left a comment to tell her that life goes on and that the teenager was simply crying wolf. A mother!
This week, I have heard about too many suicides that were encouraged by friends of the depressed person.
How depression is a farce to many still baffles me. People get depressed and no one is really above it.
A former friend of mine once told me that depression is not real and that people who claim to be going through it are annoying attention-seekers. This from a very literate man. Seeing as he was someone I used to like a lot, I subconsciously assumed I was an attention seeker when some thoughts hit me. As such, I would not seek help anywhere but would cry my eyes out.
I’ve grown, I have learned.
I recently put up a post on my Facebook page about how my teenage assistant was going through a confused phase in her life and how it occurred to me that my response could be what would make or break her.
There is a ‘movement’ of sorts on social media called ‘#iammentallyaware’ (@mentallyawareng). I suggest you go through their social media pages. There you’ll see, from testimonies of people, that depression respects no one. Perhaps the older we get, the easier we can deal with it but I may be wrong.
Not everyone is strong enough to fight this thing. For years, I never smiled because I thought my teeth were too big; I never went braless because I thought my breasts were too small; I never let my hair down because I thought it was too full. It was a few days ago, when Olu and Otigs were helping me in the kitchen and discussing insecurities, that I realized I once felt insecure about my teeth, breasts and hair. There I was, in the kitchen wearing a spaghetti strapped top without my bra, laughing heartily with two beautiful men who had just complimented my culinary skills and my natural hair. I told them about how I once was in a relationship where he would constantly remind me that he liked big breasts and that my insecurity disappeared gradually when a friend whispered in my ear one day in church while pastor was preaching about insecurity, ‘see did I not tell you not to worry about your breasts?’
There used to be days when I would be angry with my father for not trying harder and with my mother for not being like some others. If they had tried harder, I would not be thinking about my bills when I was eighteen, I would not be carrying so many responsibilities at twenty-five, I would not be worried about food or rent or clothes, I would not lack if only try tried harder. With these thoughts came accusations, ‘perhaps this is why I can’t keep a man, there is something wrong with me’ and I would cry, write and cry. My last real breakup broke me into all shades of suicidal.
That was years ago. These days, I have learned to let people go who want to go; to spend time building myself rather than crying over the past.
Not everyone can deal with it the way I do. Remember I said I was suicidal? I also used to be extremely impulsive. What if I did something dangerous on impulse because I could not control my feelings? Indeed I could not control how I felt. I impulsively packed my bag around 3pm and got on the bus to Portharcourt. I arrived Port Harcourt at 12am.
Not everyone has someone to talk to, many feel no one will understand and the truth is, no one may truly understand the emotion.
But if you feel the urge to encourage a suicidal person to go ahead and kill himself, I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself and walk away rather than add to an already existing pain.
What they need is love and if you don’t have it to give, please look the other way.
I love you all.
Hello strong lady,
I call you strong lady because you’ve probably heard it a thousand times from people. We are strong women who take pride in our strength. We because I am you.
Our strength is not just buried in our vaginas, we command so much respect because we know what it feels like to live in a world where the fittest survives and our drive to succeed takes us to places we have imagined we’d be.
Being a strong girl is tough work. It is tough to keep up with. People expect you to behave a certain way and though it comes with a sort of respect because the strong girl does not follow norms, it also comes with a feeling of loneliness. No one likes to feel helpless.
Reflecting on the conversation I had earlier today with my good friend, Tarfa, I realized that the attraction people have for the strong girls usually leads to fear and this fear,though good at times, is unhealthy.
I met a total of 21 strangers in the last three days who told me the same thing over again. They would commend me for a job well done, they would say I am a strong girl, a rare breed lady who actually believes she can work to make a living. They would compare me with girls who are lazy,who think their bodies are their only means of survival and I’d laugh, because these girls also work. We just have different definitions of work. It’s easy for them, you see and sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to have someone take care of me, who would spoil me just a little bit. Strong girls feel it the most. All that attention and for what? Business, money.
There are times when the strong girl wants more than a quickie, more than ringing some random guy to come give her his penis for a day, more than return home late at night to an empty kitchen because she has no time to cook and no one to notice that all she has eaten in three days is a burger. True, being able to compete in a world where the fittest survive is a thing of pride, being able to treat yourself to a weekend of pleasure brings a level of satisfaction and it’s scary how people see the strength from afar but never realize that we sometimes get depressed.
Failure is a dangerous thing. This is probably why we fight always, against failure. But failure happens sometimes and the world does not think you can fail. The little boy I teach has learned to say everyday that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. I teach him this everyday and I teach him that a man can actually fall, what matters is that he dusts himself and rises up again. I teach him this because I want him to understand that people still fail and so he should never see anyone as perfect.
Us strong ladies are seen as perfect. Our love is perfect, our hate is perfect, our silence and laughter are perfect and we live our seemingly perfect life praying that someone sees, understands and respects our imperfection.
Tarfa told me today that I am a strong lady who at 24 has achieved a lot. I said to him, I have not achieved a lot and I am not satisfied. I get depressed and sad sometimes but people never see it because I hide it behind a smile, keep up appearances because no one will believe that you are crying.
Yesterday, I cried. I cried after I was stopped at the traffic light, I cried when I drove my sleek red corolla to a five star hotel, I cried when I felt the urge to cry, with the car windows wound up and when the traffic light turned red, I cried and when cars hooted, I parked the car and cried so hard, I cried because I wanted to cry, because there’s so much to say and no one trustworthy enough to say it to but a God I believe exists so I cried and prayed and even as I type this, I’m watching a band sing songs and I’m crying. These tears are not of sadness.
Sometimes, our challenges are overwhelming and its sad that we can only imagine how life would be if all we had to do was dream and have someone else provide the resources to see these dreams become a reality.
Here’s where I find satisfaction, that in dreaming, we can get anywhere; that in fighting, life’s stones feel like softball; that in loving, it never gets boring; that in giving, we never lack; that in living, death is a joke.
A boy will dream again tonight, of his many cars and houses. He will dream of wealth, women and employees. A boy will dream again tonight and wish he would live longer in the land of his dreams. He will count his years waiting impatiently for the day he’ll eventually wriggle free from the clingy protection of his parents. This boy will wake and say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of more houses and wealth’ and they will hold their noses with one hand, snorting and laughing. They will call him ‘The dreamer’ and he will snap his fingers at them, ‘You will see’.
The young boy will grow and be happy. His father too will be. ‘You are now a man’, his father will say and the boy, with nothing but his bag of dreams and hope, will open his arms and say to the world, ‘I am now a man!’
Now shelter and a car, he will be gifted. ‘A roof over your head and a vehicle for your comfort’, his parents will say. ‘Never forget that you are a man’.
With this zeal, he will work. Harder each day, he will work and everyday he will smile because life is not as complicated as they made it seem and even though he is now a man, his mother’s breasts still give him life but soon he will crave firmer breasts unlike his mother’s and faced with a bevy of choices requiring only his money, he’ll explore his youth and test them all.
One day, a stone will hit him; the first stone of many. Firmer breasts will leave him for the next hive and he will shed shameful tears, wondering whether to return to his mother’s breasts.
But I am a man! He’ll say, I’ll dream again.
A man will dream again tonight, of a gentle hand and a loving smile. He will dream of budding breasts and wake up craving to be in the arms of this one. He will stare at faces and chests, he’ll give all to find the smile and touch those hands. If I find these, I’ll be whole again. This man will say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of a creature with smile like a crescent moon’ and they will hold their bellies and laugh at him. They will call him ‘the dreamer’ and he will smile at them, ‘you will see.’
Shelter and car soon disappear, tiny stones become hail, his confidence melts but men do not cry. Smiles and breasts he has seen, none exactly like he had dreamed for when he thought he could shed a tear, their gentle hands had hardened. Do you not know that men do not cry?
Soon hope smiles, one hand holds him close.
‘Cry, baby, cry. Men are first humans’.
He sleeps and dreams like a boy again and when he tells his dream to the one with the gentle hands, that one smiles.
A fresh burst of confidence, a man will understand now that the hailstorm will be tackled by two but he soon will crave firmer breasts and with his money, he’ll find them and forget the one with the gentle hands.
Smiling through it all…because they all come to pass and we learn while they pass…and if we lose those we hold so dear while we learn to drop all else and embrace family, embrace only those qualified to be called family, so be it. But we still manage a smile…through it all…and cry in the cover of the darkness because who else understands but the one with the shoe? Who else feels the pinch but the one with the bruised toe?
I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He shall not suffer my foot to be moved. He that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. My help comes from the Lord
As long as the world exists, people will judge. They will judge based on a single story and their tongues will always be an instrument of murder! We are terribly suicidal. For the sake of those who get judged without even getting the chance to speak for themselves, I write this.
The truth is, understanding everything someone else goes through isn’t exactly easy. Everyone has challenges and everyone typically wants to handle his, then his family’s before thinking of one who doesn’t bear his name. Human nature is selfish and we live with that. Every so often, we find few people who do an act of kindness and these ones are celebrated when in actual fact, kindness should be a habit. Kindness isn’t my focus just now, its judgement.
Dreamily sitting on my porch,
Watching the birds chirp,
The dogs bark and mothers’ calls,
Visions so real,
The stampede, screams and such chaos,
I feel like I died so many times.
For one I see the soldiers coming,
The children are orphaned, spouses rendered lonely.
They made life unbearable,
They locked this place and said no one should enter.
They shot at anyone who disobeyed.
They ate and watched others starve.
The little girl cried for she hadn’t had her medication.
My heart burned, it was a hopeless situation.
For it’s hard to say that I dream of the future
It’s hard to say that I fall asleep at all
Taking a walk down the streets make me no better
And I lie here, sad, confused, lonely
Music loud and blaring, relief pills make it all worse
Because I feel like I’ve died so many times
Memories so real, memories so far
Can’t relate with the present
Then I find solace in reincarnation thoughts
But if I be reincarnated, then I should be glad
For I have been given another chance
To do what, I ask?
Then I find solace in my madness
Perhaps, depression has taken its toll
It be time to die one more time,
But if I die one more time,
Then how do I know for a fact
What it is I feel?
Then I find solace in a home,
One where all minds think alike,
Loud and inaudible voices in my head,
And the yells of other inmates insane.
I still feel like I died so many times.
So if the feeling still lingers,
After all I’ve tried to suppress it,
Then it remains a mystery,
Whether or not I died at all.