I’m screaming so loud, screaming till my voice is hoarse, screaming till my ears hurt and my eyes water. I’m screaming yet no one hears me. I’m screaming yet no one understands. Help me I beg of you. Help me before I hurt myself. Help me because I’m drowning, help me because I can no longer cope, help me because I’m losing the battle, help me because I’m not strong enough. Don’t be fooled by my smile, look into my eyes. Don’t just say hi and walk by, sit with me for a while. Give me your strength, just a bit of your courage and maybe I’ll have the will to keep on, maybe a bit of magic can have my spirits restored. I’ve sunk into grave darkness, the world has grown silent, all I see are people too busy to stop for a moment, my screams drowned by the bustle of the season. I need calm so I reach for the bottle of valium…a tablet too many is all it takes, I hear the whisper over and over again and then I swallow………..*Blackness………….Curtain falls!
I’m sitting in a car crawling in Lagos traffic and I look at the faces of my girlfriends as they laugh away and despite their excited chatter, a somber mood settles…I wonder if any of them is depressed, I wonder if any of them is gonna wake up one morning and take her life. I love my friends dearly and I know this all sounds a bit bizarre but I lost someone recently, unconfirmed reports say it was a suicide. We went to school together and tho’ we weren’t close, I can imagine the pain her family and friends are going through. They will probably never outlive the shock.
Beyond the shores of Nigeria, people get therapy for depression, they get professional counselling before and after a doctor breaks bad news. They form support groups to offer strength and a source of hope to strangers needing them. But here we think we have immunity, we believe in the power of love and the strength of the bonds connecting us to family and friends. We believe in our sense of personal strength and our ability to fight back when the world tosses its bleakest weapons in our path. We believe in the power of prayer. But only one who has sunk to the depths of depression knows that sometimes you are too weak to pray, too tired to even whisper those words and as hope slips away, for some, it takes with it their desire to live…
How many times have we been too busy doing our own thing to reach out and be a friend? How many times have we wondered why someone looked so sad and withdrawn but never bothered enough to ask why? How many times have we heard of the calamity that befell a friend when we should have been with them right through it, holding their hands every step of the way? How many times have you confessed in an unguarded moment how you seem to have lots of friends but in a time of need you have none? How many times have we turned to far away family for help rather than a friend close by because they seemed like the only ones we could actually rely on? How many times have we stayed away from a friend who needed us, unwilling to have them dampen our mood and justifying our actions by saying we wouldn’t be able to help much anyway? There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother so the Bible says, yet we are hard-pressed to find friends like that. Our ineptness at picking friendships can only be rivaled by our knack for picking unsuitable partners in a relationship. Why would we invest time, money and love nurturing a friendship if in an hour of need, the bank claimed bankruptcy leaving us alone and afraid?
Remember the Hollywood stars who died lonely deaths because though they were loved by many, they still felt lonely and alone. Could it be because they never let anyone get close enough or because those who were close enough were too busy looking out for themselves to look out for someone else?
There’s a girl dead today because she felt like she couldn’t go on. There’s a man somewhere who looks so ambitious and well put together from the outside but inside sobs uncontrollably, desperately trying to stay strong while hoping that someone, anyone will see his facade crumbling away and save him before it’s too late…Many are losing this fight.
I look at my beautiful, confident, energetic friends and make a vow to be a better friend, to check up on them more frequently than I’ve done and to say a prayer for them every once in a while. I want to go from being a good friend to being a great friend…
“A good friend is one who bails you out of jail, but a great friend is the one sitting right by you in the cell…” 🙂
Every individual is different and every person has an elastic limit. Knowing when to wave a red flag and ask for help is crucial in this game of survival. We can’t always be sure of what life will throw at us but always remember that as long as there’s life, there’s hope. A problem shared is half-solved! May the souls of those who died alone in their struggle find mercy and rest in the life after. Amen.
Have a lovely day peeps…xoxoxo