In recent times, there has been a festival going on in our country. And it cuts across every zone. It is a festival of suicide by our youths. It grieves my heart. It is worrisome. I do not understand why able-bodied young men and women should delight in killing themselves. It is really surprising and annoying. It is a problem of depression and suicide. So I requested a youth to talk to fellow youths. Consequently, Oluebube Ifekauche, an Ozubulu born undergraduate student of the African Thinkers Community Of Inquiry, Enugu, bares her mind on this issue. She wrote a wonderful piece. Below is her contribution to this malaise. Let us listen to her:
Everyone of us can feel down at some moments in our lives. When these feelings become intense and consistent over a period of time, it is termed depression. A person who feels downcast for days, weeks or even months may be said to be experiencing depression. It is true that we all feel sad or moody from time to time but there are individuals who experience these feelings intensely for long periods of time, though for no cogent reasons at times. Depression is not just a low mood, it is a serious condition that affects our physical and mental health
The signs may include loss of pleasure in activities, fatigue or loss of energy, difficulty in concentration, change in sleep pattern (either too little or too much sleep), an increase or decrease in appetite with a corresponding change in weight, feelings of worthlessness and self-blame or exaggerated feelings of guilt, hopelessness about the future. There is growing evidence that depression is in part an illness with a biological basis. It could be more common in individuals with close relatives who have been depressed. Research on the physiology of the nervous system suggests that the level of activity of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin changes in longstanding depression. Antidepressant medicines probably work by correcting a “chemical imbalance” of this kind. While depression does appear to have biological components, it is certain that psychological and social factors also play a vital role. The social factors that can contribute to someone falling into depression may include loss of a loved one, disappointments, break up of valued relationships, several unsuccessful attempts to reach a target in life, continuous failure in examinations, neglect and abandonment and a host of others.
Depression kills slowly. It destroys not only the organs of your body but also that of your spirit. Its earlier stages could be distress. It leads to hallucination, being angry at God and at yourself. No life is devoid of challenges. As humans, we are bound to pass through the thick and thin attributed to human life. It is very important that we understand this and not put ourselves and others into unnecessary mental or rather psychological pain. I am not unaware of the fact that there are man-made problems which could have been avoided but due to carelessness and sheer neglect, people now suffer for what should not have been. Reinhold Niebuhr quotes “O Lord give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the ones I can and the wisdom to know the difference" (the serenity prayer). There are things you cannot have control over no matter how hard you try. Courage is also needed to take a bold step and play your part before things get out of hand. Wisdom too is a major factor to be able to juggle through the wilderness of our world.
Family and friends may provide all the support needed in mild cases of depression. Having someone who is willing to listen and ask concerned questions can make all the difference. However, even the most caring and involved friends of family members may not be enough when depression is more severe. In such cases, it is advisable to seek professional help. The mental health professionals who may be consulted include psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists. Some may also seek help from a general physician or a religious counselor. Each professional has their own perspective and expertise. It is wise to seek help even when symptoms are not severe to help prevent depression from getting worse. Sometimes, depression responds to medications prescribed by a physician after a thorough evaluation. A positive effect may be noticed within few weeks. Therapists can help individuals make changes in difficult life situations. With permission from the person, meetings can be set up with friends and parents to explore ways of resolving a crisis. Depressed individuals who are at high risk of killing themselves may need to be in the hospital temporarily. This is in a bid to enable close attention and surveillance. While this may seem a drastic measure, it can be life-saving and also allows the person to get the treatment and support they need.
Suicide is the act of killing oneself, mostly as a result of depression or other mental illness. People feeling suicidal are overwhelmed by painful emotions and see death as the only way out, losing sight of the fact that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary state. Most people who attempted suicide but were rescued are glad they did not die. The warning signs of suicide include loss of interest in work or school, giving away beloved possessions, withdrawal from friends and loved ones, talking directly or indirectly about wanting to die or “not being around”, significant changes in appearance and hygiene etc. For the past weeks now, it seems like a suicide demon has been on the loose in the country. The victims are mostly the youths. Not less than six people have committed suicide in recent times in the country. Most of them are undergraduates studying in the universities. However, some people claim that there are possible spiritual inclinations to this. The possibility of some atoms of truth in the statement cannot be overemphasized.
Some of the people who committed suicide could have been helped. It helps to listen in a way that shows you can help and empathize. Change can be slow. Trying to help and the person is not showing signs of quick recovery can be frustrating and anxiety provoking. It is important to take care of yourself and get help too. If you do not, you may burn out, feel angry or give up on the person. If someone expresses a suicidal thoughts to you, it is important to take it seriously. Prayer as a key solution of the menace cannot be overlooked. We all have friends and family; it is noble for us to always reach out to them. We should not just assume they are doing fine on their own. A call, visit or random complimentary message will not hurt but will surely go a long way. The person involved should also help himself or herself. Stop bottling up your troubles and trying to solve them on your own. Always confide in trustworthy people to help out in some issues. Two good heads are better than one. Do not keep too many secrets, though keeping a few things to yourself is not bad.
We should however always bear in mind that suicide does not take away pain. It rather transfers it to the living while the victim is not sure of making heaven. A promise should be made; to God, ourselves and to the world that suicide will never be contemplated as an option but that in whatsoever condition we will continue to strive and stay alive. The living have lots of hope ahead. Ours is a borrowed life and we will account for it someday. We did not take it unto ourselves and we do not have the right to terminate life. Let not our youths, and indeed, everybody be associated with 'sniper' and suicide again in this country. Life is sweet. A luta continua, vitoria e certa. Let the struggle continue indeed. This is my message to my fellow youths and to everybody. Thanks a bunch.
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