I am thinking about suicide

Fri, 11 Dec 2020 Source: DNA Masoperh

What was a promising varsity student doing in a psychiatric ward with second-semester examinations barely a month away? I was there for suicide attempts. Less than a year later, I had another relapse. I was standing on a stool with a rope knot in my face. It was 2011. My mind had shut down. My eyes blind to any way through life. My heart wailed several weeks for relief.

I felt doomed and drained. I was sure I didn’t want to live anymore. Teardrops blurred my vision and depression smudged my judgment. I thought of all the people I would hurt if I went through with this. Who would be most affected? It is the hardest decisions I ever had to make. But the pain seemed more than I could bear. I had reached my limit—so I thought. I felt strongly about it. Sure about it. I had contemplated it for days. When one is suicidal, they are on a trial for their life. You are a courtroom filled with miniatures of your subconsciousness—you are the persecutor and the defendant and the judge, and sadly your own executioner too. Today, the persecutor won the case. The judge ruled with no leniency. The defendant lost several appeals already. Pardon yourself if you can’t empathize with any of these. This is a puzzling glitch that bipolar depression inflicts on me.

Suicide awareness

Suicide awareness campaigns present one of the most uncomfortable questions about human behaviour: Why would people attempt suicide? There is a mixed reaction to any unsuccessful suicide; either confusion or shame. It is hard for people on the other side to understand the thought pattern of a suicidal person. From the standpoint of someone who is not currently suicidal, it's difficult to comprehend how one could ignore the natural desire to live, disregard the good things in life, and foreclose every possibility of future happiness. There is a certain kind of thinking that fuels suicide, and for most of people, it is a terribly difficult idea to sit with. Hard to believe but suicide is a problem-solving behaviour. In the mind of someone considering suicide, the act is an expeditious way to eliminate pain.

Suicide isn’t a cry for attention; it is attention to a cry. It is a cry for help. A cry expressed in subtle actions and planned attempts—the language of this stray ideation. What if we all could decipher this ‘Morse’? Because we can’t say we care when 800,000 lives, mostly youth around the globe each year called out and we had no idea what words were uttered but simply repeat the same reaction, “I wish I knew.” By the time you finish reading this article, 10 persons would have completed suicide around the globe—one person every 40 seconds. The way I see it, suicide prevention is both a public support, as well as personal responsibility.

Public support

Let’s agree here, can we? No one really wants to do this. I want to see life through. I just want hope back like everyone has it. I need my head in the right direction. Because it’s not. It is under the weather. It is acting against me. It has lost me. It has got me, with a whip in its hands. Shame! Shame! Shame! It screams. End it! End it! End it! It whips. It is no joke; I am choked by the neck and yoked by the limbs. I am mentally ill. But I am a fighter. We all are, aren’t we? Then I am a loser. Because I lost to my mind. I lost the control room. Flights come and go. A crash here and crumble there. Near miss, late take offs and chaos. I fought through though.

I fought back for control… a hard fight. I still fight. We all have to, right? Well then, I am losing hard. Hear me out, would you? Because you haven’t. You never have. You made it a taboo to speak up. The queue to self-destruct pulled our loved ones in. And we let the line be. We watch the line take one at the end and pull in another. We would cry out, “Aww” at one end but invalidate, ignore and stigmatize the rest of its victims. Pull me out, please. It is a plea. Be my lifeguard in this moment. You really are. You have it in you. You have your breath. Resuscitate me. I am not gone yet. I have my pulse. A faint pulse it may be. But it’s still there. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Tick tock. Time is running out. Pull me out. Hold me down. Take me aside. Sit me back. Listen up patiently. If you can’t, then learn to. Because my life depends on it.

Personal responsibility

To my cohabitants in depression’s hell: It’s okay. It is okay to have suicide thoughts. It’s only human in what is a life of struggle. However, when that pestering thought becomes your daily chirping. When you cannot see a way out of suffering. Or see suffering out of the way. What do you do then? Give suffering meaning. What do you do when suffering sticks in your head like a hit chorus? Give it a doctor. What do you do when suffering meets you alone in a dark aisle? Give it a comforting friend. What do you do when you are at the edge—one step away, one act more. Give it 24 hours. Give it one more chance.

I told you how close I was to ending it. How do I fell about that today? How would I feel if I saw into the future and myself today? My future self would perhaps whisper in my ears, “You can. You are loved. THERE IS HELP. SEEK IT NOW. This is a plea and a promise. Stay. Hang on. Things will get better. You would be so proud of yourself. Trust me.” (Ghana Suicide Lifeline: 0509497705 and 0558424645)

Pledge your support to mental health today

Untreated mental health problems account for 13% of the total global burden of disease with an estimated 450 million people currently suffering from such conditions and 800,000 taking their lives annually (90% per cent caused by mental health conditions), yet mental health is often neglected and underfunded. By 2030, mental health conditions (particularly depression) will be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity and it will cost the global economy $16 trillion. The world must act now.

Columnist: DNA Masoperh