THE CURIOUS CASE OF DEPRESSION IN AN AFRICAN SOCIETY

Last time I checked, the country with the highest number of suicide cases is Japan. It’s not like they like killing themselves. Traditionally, ending your own life in the country is something that’s noble. It is believed that there is tranquility in death.
Come to Africa and we’ll tell you a different story about suicide. It is a shameful act. Not even shameful, something worse than that. BLOGI
If you come from a long line of suicide victims, you’re always wary the suicide-spirit will seize you and drag you to your death. If you are caught attempting suicide, you will take a severe beating first before going through lectures about the idiocy of your decision. Despite the fact that we abhor it, why does it happen occasionally?
It always starts with depression. He/she talks less, is easily provoked, and takes to drinking-name it. The signs are as visible as a candle in extreme darkness. We watch as the person plunges into the sea of his doom.
A scene in American television series Power triggered my thoughts. A lead actor-James St. Patrick is involved in an altercation with his son. He was in the middle of divorce and his son had known about his affair with another woman.
The teenager, Tariq, is obviously enraged to the point of disrespecting his mum. James tries to have a man-to-man talk with him but when it doesn’t bear any fruit, he resorts to therapy. Therapy? I don’t even think my own parents would have thought about hiring a therapist to talk to me about life, unless I was nuts and was in a rehabilitation centre.
It rarely happens in Africa. Times are changing though, and this could be the trend in future. What usually happens is if they realize you are straying from the right path in life, you are given the endless lectures which you only pay little attention to. Some, unable to contain their rage, turn to the rod (spare the rod spoil the child type) though in most cases that’s not effective. It is how a typical African parent deals with the effects of a teenager filled with raging hormones.
Teenagers aside, depression is something that can happen to anyone, anytime. The ingredient is heaps of stress, and more heaps of tress and no people to hear your internal agony. You are like a building made of bricks. When you’re depressed, a brick falls off each day. Some may see the bricks falling and look on in surprise; others may see it, run, pick it up and return it to its place.BLOG2
When fate pushes you to the thorny side of life, one usually struggles to get out and start all over again. Some wallow in anguish and never make it out of their troubles. The old maximum that sharing a problem is like having half-solved it comes in mind.
When a person succumbs to depression, you realize that he was not able to share his problems, or those close to him were too busy to help. Most of us believe that getting help is a weakness. You get yourself stuck in mud and call out to people to help you out. Sounds ridiculous, right?
It may be so, and you must know when to call for that help. My rumblings about depression today don’t mean I am of the opinion that we should hire family or institutional therapists.
Among your family, friends and acquaintances, there is a clique that’s always got your back. No matter what. And there’s another one, (the majority), that will watch with a sinister smile as life is sucked out of you.
The small group of family members and friends should be the ones you go to when feel you have no longer have a reason to live.
A few weeks ago, a friend tells me, something shocking happened at Likoni Ferry. As usual, when the ferry arrived from the other side they crammed inside and then it started ferrying them over to the other side. They were half way through when suddenly a man jumped into the water. People stared in horror, women screamed, others cried, some shouted for help. I can’t imagine how the situation was. That’s how he ended his life. Tragic.
Today, I feel like reaching out to someone who’s depressed and tell them that they are surrounded by people who can help. For us Africans, it is time we admitted that depression is not something that runs in the family. We must embrace this age of therapy. The age of pouring out our hearts to people who care.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s