Many years ago a friend told me about her failed suicide attempt.
As a teenager she felt the urge to be like other girls. She thought they were pretty, smart and outgoing, everything she felt she was not.
She wanted to be like them. She wanted to be accepted. They knew it and made her do things. She stole from her parents, she snuck out of the house to go to parties, she drank, smoked and partied hard.
Her parents were first of all shocked and did a lot of talking. Then they started beating her and then started to curse her and use terrible adjectives on her.
Despite all she did, this group of girls never really accepted her. They treated her like their slave and were sometimes nasty to her.
Back at home, she was regarded as the black sheep. This affected her relationship with her parents and siblings who were ashamed of her and didn’t want any public association with her.
She became bitter and angry. The locals called her a useless child, some called her the street whore. Some swore she was adopted.
She didn’t care anymore.
She failed her exams several times and did not get into university with her age mates.
One day, she decided that her life was ugly and needed to come to an end.
She went to the pharmacist and asked for all sorts of drugs. The pharmacist was suspicious. He asked her several questions which she could not answer. She could not respond to his questions around her symptoms and why she needed the drugs she was asking for
He closed the store, took her hands and told her his own story. He had been there before. They formed a bond that day. He became her coach, counselor and lesson teacher.
Today they are married with kids.
When she told me her story, I had tears down my eyes.
I could not believe that the girl I knew of back then with that lifestyle was going through a horrid time. We all assumed she was just wanted to be a bad girl. We did not know she just wanted a hug and wanted to be loved.
She still feels some anger towards her parents and siblings.
I listened to her vent. I felt sorry for her and her family.
Suicide and depression don’t often present symptoms. Even where they do, we are not adequately educated or prepared to deal with such.
How does one even know when another is depressed or suicidal?
It is tough!
WRITTEN BY: Lande Omo Oba