By NJOKI CHEGE
World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 was observed on September 10. There couldn’t be a more apt time to write about suicide because statistics from the World Health Organization indicate that the number of suicide cases has risen by 58 per cent since 2008.
This translates to 421 suicide cases in 2017. Out of these, 330 were men.
This week, Kenyans on social media were collectively shocked when popular columnist Rasna Warah tweeted “Suicide tips, anyone?” triggering a barrage of messages of encouragement and distress tweets hoping that she was OK.
Thankfully, Warah is OK and is getting the help and support she needs.
Today’s column is dedicated to the many people reading this — especially the young people — who are contemplating suicide.
Depression, suicide and mental health in general is an issue we like to skirt around but we must admit the truth to ourselves; now more than ever, more young people are experiencing depression, many are contemplating suicide and even more are committing suicide.
If you are among the many young people who are thinking of taking your life, today’s article is for you.
Life, by its definition is difficult.
ENDING IT ALL
Being an adult or “adulting” as my fellow millennials like to call it, is a tiring task. You get into adulthood filled with hopes, dreams and massive expectations of an easy life, but the truth — the bitter truth is — the world is a dark, cold and unforgiving place.
Your dreams will often not come true, your expectations will turn into massive disappointments, and your hopes will be crushed.
As an adult, you will face life greatest difficulties, you will experience deep loss resulting from the death of a close one, you will be heartbroken by people you thought you would never live without, and you will make life-altering mistakes that will change the course of your life forever.
Life will break you. Life will put you on your knees. Life will humble you.
You will go through things in life that will hit you in places you never thought you would be hit.
In that bottomless pit of despair and hopelessness, you will battle helplessness, guilt, shame and deep sadness that never seems to go away. It will feel like a heavy burden on your young shoulders, or a dark cloud above your head and the tightness in your chest, the lump in your throat will seem almost permanent.
You will be tired but cannot sleep, you will lay awake at night, worrying about your life and your future. Even when you get a full night’s sleep, you will wake up tired and exhausted because even though you may sleep, you never really rest.
Soon, you will begin to think about “ending it all”.
But at that moment of despair, when you are convinced that suicide is the only way out, I want you to know something. You will pull through. This dark clouds hanging over your head are not permanent; you will get through it.
BEST DAYS AHEAD
It might not seem that way now and pills down your throat may seem like the easiest way out right now, but believe me when I tell you, this too shall pass.
If you are feeling like your life is on the edge, that you are just breezing through life, I want you to first and foremost, change your thoughts.
“As a man thinketh, so is he”.
For as long as you entertain nasty, negative thoughts about yourself and your capabilities, you will forever be incarcerated in that cage of negativity.
So emancipate yourself by only thinking positive thoughts about yourself and encouraging yourself that “I will get through this, and I will not give up”. Healing, begins in your mind. You conquer the mind; you conquer the world.
Number two; I’d like you to keep yourself busy with work, a new hobby, friends, family, a charity organisation or even church. Try working out, running might help.
Lastly, I suggest you get help. Friends, family and professionals might help, but I have a feeling that perhaps this might be a good time to get in touch with your spiritual side.
The one thing I know for sure is that your best days are ahead of you. You will pull through this, you will smile again. You will enjoy the sunshine again. You will be happy again.
Do not, for a moment underestimate the healing power of time. Time heals all wounds. So hang in there, mate. This too, shall pass.