Suicide rates spike during Yuletide.
Curious, isn’t it?
Why would anyone be depressed enough to commit suicide during the Christmas season? The Christmas season is about the most festive season in Nigeria, the world in fact! Everyone is gay, happy, looking forward to something extra: 13th month salary for the workers, a bigger tip from customers for those who provide services, gifts from loved ones…it’s a season we want to lavish love and gifts on everyone around us, right?
We let our hair down, the grumpy boss loosens up, the lazy worker gets a bonus; the gateman opens the gate and his hands wider for more than a few pennies; there’s food aplenty, drinks on the house, friends with ribald jokes, loud laughter, music, shrieks of joy from children and neighbours.
We spend a lot of money too, have you seen the traffic out there in the last few weeks?
That’s money making the rounds. We are busy buying stuff to take home to the folks in the village. some are stealing stuff too, cars, laptops, et al to show off as proceeds of their hard labour, abi? All join, na labour.
So, why would anyone in their right mind want to commit suicide or be depressed? Doesn’t sound logical, right?
Aha! That’s just the thing.
There are people who have lost loved ones this year, and Christmas is a painful reminder of their loss. And those out there who will spend their first Christmas without their spouses or child or son, cousin or friend, some loved one they have always had memorable times with and Christmas, gay as the season is, will only make their absence difficult to bear.
There are families, who for the first time in years will feel the pinch of not having chicken to go with their plates of rice.
And if they get the plate of rice, they may not have the comfort of a roof over their heads or the tight hug of a loved one, especially when they see families, lovers, friends, bond and have fun this season.
And of course, there are many parents who will feel they failed in their responsibilities when they are unable to afford the outing they have been promising their kids since January; sons and men who feel like losers for not being able to buy that new dress for their mothers or their girlfriends.
There are men, women, going through painful separations/divorces. There are children who will experience the trauma of not having mum and dad sit at the same table as a family for the first time.
There’s a lot of pressure this season for people to meet up to their commitments. And for some, promotions the boss skipped over them, rent they are unable to afford, fees they find they can’t pay and the new year is looming.
These are just some of the reasons many get depressed and suicidal.
But here’s the thing, only the living experience emotion; only the living feel pain, depression, love, anger…only the living.
Life is precious, too short to live in longing for a past that is long gone, wishing for a loved one who doesn’t want to be a part of your life anymore, life is too swift to waste.
My message to the depressed: You are alive, so there is hope!
Things may not appear as rosy as you want them to be. Things may not be smooth. In fact they are so rough, you are traumatized by the turbulence, yet you live. And as long as you live, live in hope of a better dawn.
My message to the rest of us: while you are tearing off that piece of fried and peppered drumstick, while you are downing the third bottle of coke or beer, while you are punching in that pin number for purchase of yet another set of items for a loved one, spare a thought for those who have not; send a word of encouragement, give that tip, that plate of rice, that piece of chicken. We will always have the poor and depressed around us and you can make a difference simply by sharing.
And maybe, stopping a suicide!
Merry Christmas folks!