On September 10, 2020 the world marked The World Suicide Prevention Day(WSDP), with events and programs targeted to help prevent suicide through collective effort.
This took me down memory lane when I overcame suicidal thoughts. Then, it got me thinking, can we prevent suicide by ourselves?
When I was 11, there was a time my cousin said some awful things to me. I was hurt and I felt so hated ; mostly because I didn’t expect her to be that mean. I cried all day and contemplated taking my life because I felt I wasn’t wanted. However, I soon tossed that thought away.
When I became sober and clearheaded, I began to ruminate on the thought again. Now, I spooked at the very thought of taking my life. Because, as kids, in my local church we were taught from Judas Iscariot lesson never to take our lives because we will, however, still go to hell if we do. Lol.. As a child then, I thought, why would I suffer in this life, take a knife to stab myself and thereby allow my family and even my cousin go through the pain of seeing a stabbed boy’s body on the floor and still get condemned for life in hell?
However childish that conclusion seemed, had saved me from suicide and resulted in me making a conscious decision never to have suicide as a solution on my option list no matter what. That has been my drive up till now.
But you see, 3000 people worldwide die by suicide everyday and here in Nigeria, we have the highest suicide rates in Africa and sixth globally according to WHO. Yet, those numbers are just tip of the iceberg: for every suicide an estimated 20 extra people who suffer from depression, anxiety, ‘hate’ and other forms of mental illnesses; who do not have the opportunity to say “SUICIDE, NOT AN OPTION” attempts to end their lives.
You could also be thinking right now, “why would an eleven year old boy want to take his own life?” Well, suicide does not discriminate. It also has no respect for, age, gender, social status, race/ethnicity, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, background or any aspect of cultural identity.
Thus, begs the question : can suicide be prevented by ourselves? Yes
By preparing for it, instead of wishing it away like we normally do when we hear of people who took their lives.
Suicide is like the devil: he goes around, looking for who to devour. So, we have to be prepared to overcome this devil by making a conscious decision to take it off our list of solutions.