The Suicide Syndrome

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

This is an important admonition to those reading or perusing this piece; to those who had at one time or the other been depressed or have been in suicidal ideation; to those who have blamed victims of suicide, and to those who have attempted or intend to commit suicide. We need to be our brother’s keepers to avoid the syndrome of suicide.

We should be careful of what we write or say about the victims of suicide; or to those who have attempted to commit suicide. Rather, we should help victims who find themselves in the world’s quandary by making provisions for suicide prevention. Life is too precious to waste. We must join hands together to stop suicidal thoughts in our community; our nation, and the world.

What is suicidal ideation?

According to Christian Nordqvist Knowledge center, “suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation, are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideation do not carry it through. Some may, however, make suicide attempts. Some suicidal ideations can be deliberately planned to fail or be discovered, while others might be carefully planned to succeed.”

This writer works in an environment where suicide attempts are very prevalent. He has lost a beautiful, hardworking and professional colleague and instructor to suicide. No one had any inkling she could take her own life because of the betrayal by her suitor-to-be. This suicide victim killed herself with one gunshot in the head. It takes a split of a second after a careful plan for a depressed, disturbed and decided mind to commit suicide. If you have never experienced depression, hopelessness, anxiety, disappointment or betrayal, you will never understand the motivation behind a person’s decision to committing suicide.

According to Christian Nordqvist Knowledge center, statistically, in the United States, more than 30,000 people commit suicide each year. The vast majority of those people with initial suicidal thoughts do not carry them out to their planned conclusion. Roughly 9 in 10 American suicide victims are male, and it is prevalent among those who own guns. In Nigeria, people love life. Suicidal thoughts are becoming prevalent among people in Nigeria. The prevailing economic situation and the current recession in the country need to be addressed with urgency. The common cause of suicide in Nigeria is hopelessness and despondency. The current situation in Nigeria is pushing some people to a state of dysphoria (a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness and low self-esteem). The Federal government and the stakeholders need to act fast to alleviate the sufferings of the people before it goes beyond containment.

It is pertinent never to blame a person for any action or decision he/she makes by commission or omission in time of crisis. Never blame a person who lacks coping skills and ability to withstand difficult situations. Mind and soul can be terrible things to waste. If you have never been in a state of depression or dysphoria, you’ll never understand how our psychology works in dealing with galling situations. Some of us are weak in dealing with difficult situations while some of us are very strong at managing some burdensome circumstances. When the fragile mind of man crosses the borderline, it becomes difficult to realize the consequences of suicide attempt to suicide victims, and the lives of the loved ones around them.

It is a nauseating ignorance to blame people whose precarious conditions are circumstantial with chronic situations that are beyond their self-control. Let’s be our brother’s keeper by creating an atmosphere of love, compassion and grace. This will enable those who have excruciating and harrowing situations to feel loved and beloved. This will also save more lives on the long run. We should avoid deliberate indifference and help people in need of help from taking their own lives. The live of the victim of a suicide does not only belong to him/her alone, it belongs to the family, the community, nation and the world. If Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Macintosh, the computer guru that revolutionized the entire computer industry by the year of 1984, or Wole Soyinka, the acclaimed Nobel Laureate for Literature, or Alex Ibru, the newspaper publisher guru, or Barack Obama, the quintessential outgoing president of the United States had given up on all hopes in time of their precarious situations, the world would not celebrate their “Audacity of Hope” as we do today. As long as we have life, we shouldn’t lose any hope. We should encourage the vulnerable neighbors next door to get out of their difficult situations.

Most of the men exemplified above had great and profound intellects with quest for artistic innovation. Most of them were born in slums, but the slums were not born in them. They foresaw the pictures of “tomorrow” in their “today”. They provided remedies to hopelessness by giving hope through ideas and innovations. In time of adversity, hope is the medicine one can use more than any other- hope can cure nearly anything. In religious parlance, hope is the same as faith. Hope and faith are intertwined. A faithless individual is susceptible to hopelessness. A faithful people are hopeful people who always believe in striving hard to give hope; thereby giving life to the hopeless individuals.

Today’s African man is existentially selfish for immediacies and ephemera. African man tends to think within his cocoon forgetting that there is another world outside of his habitat. There are people who have so much knowledge, and they think that they don’t know anything. These people have not discovered themselves. It is pertinent that we assist and encourage them to discover themselves instead of encouraging them to feel inferior or lower their self-esteem to committing suicide. Help individuals with suicidal thoughts to get help by exploring various positive options for assistance and support.

There are people who don’t have much knowledge, but they know that they don’t know anything. These type of people wanton in self-ignorance and self-arrogance. These are the people that blame others who undergo depression before the victim of depression eventually punctuates his/her live or commit suicide. “I-too-know” people are unidealistic, they have no incorporeal or exponential ideas in their core values to help people in emotional distress. They’re sociopaths with no empathy and compassion.

There are some people who are knowledgeable, but they always pretend that they don’t know anything. These are the people that have penchant for knowledge acquisition. These people have sense of reasoning and fecundity of imagination. Their brains are sharp with unending imagination for possibilities. They always think outside the box with the aim of quenching their unusual curiosity and intellectual starvation. These  people can predict their own future. They can also predict the future of a generation in order to create it.

The last category of people have shaped the world in positive ways. Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Shakespeare, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Barack Obama and a host of other history makers belong to this group. Meanwhile, their ideas are futuristic with thousands of years of multiplier effects on humanity. They’re rustic in their natural habitat with concentrated thought process and mindfulness. Their ideas and works have changed the world for better. If they had succumbed to frustration, condemnation and discouragement and then committed suicide, the world wouldn’t have been how it is today. They have contributed to the advancement in technology, ideas and other positive nuances of globalisation.

Conclusively, the human being is an image molded by providence with an expiration date, that is the day the image sacredly needs to kick the bucket or die. Before the human life expires, we should not encourage early termination of life. We should encourage ourselves by being inquisitors of people with suicidal signs or depression. Our lives are very precious, not only to us but to others around us. Before that man or woman around you commits suicide, watch out for suicidal signs, and be conscious of how you treat the situation. Life is too beautiful for early termination. Together we can help save lives of vulnerable friends, neighbors, colleagues or members of our families.

Please, save a life today!!!

Written by
Yahaya Balogun
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