I will kill myself!

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Portrait of a sad African American man over gray background

Suicide is a subject many Africans are not comfortable about. We pride ourselves on being able to stomach hardship, (suffering and smiling), so it sounds absurd. It may be a cowardly way out, but it has been in existence since the time of our forefathers. You may have read of the evil forest, where people who died of questionable causes were dumped. We must learn to take threats of suicide or bodily harm seriously, and get help for such people, before we lose them.

Early one morning, probably between 7 and 8am, a young man was rushed in by a large group of people. He was semi-conscious, so we immediately began to revive him. While we worked, I pieced together the story. He was the younger brother of a lady who had come into some money by being given a political appointment. In Nigeria, this is the quickest way to go from rags to riches, from grass to grace. Obviously, he saw himself partying with the rich and famous, cruising in fast cars, popping champagne, and dating the hottest girls. It didn’t quite happen that way. Not only was his sister rather tight-fisted, (at least he felt so), her husband worsened matters. He was a clog in the wheel of my patient’s progress. It seemed he advised his wife not to be generous to him.

After several threats, which they disregarded, the young man decided to make a point. He wrote a suicide note, went out to their gate, fashioned a rope, and hung himself there. Luckily, passers-by saw him, cut him loose from the gate, and alerted his brother-in-law. It was this group, comprising of political enthusiasts, relatives, stragglers, and so on, who brought him in. We soon stabilized him. His brother-in-law was very angry for some reason, and kept complaining. From the nurses,(who are excellent at getting the scoop), I gathered the story.

It appears his wife’s attitude had changed with her new status, and the boy was a thorn in the flesh. It didn’t help that she was in a “very important” meeting, and couldn’t leave to find out what was happening. Her husband was mad about this. For him to be the one to take care of a boy, who he had warned his wife she was indulging (I’m sure the boy thought otherwise), was painful. The long awaited wife arrived in the evening. She was also fuming, (what an angry family). When she got the details of what happened, she decided to call the police. Her premise was, she didn’t want the incident to repeat itself and be misinterpreted as murder. I saw her point, but the manner in which she went about it was rather callous. First, she gave her nephew a dressing down, then, she started barking orders at the nurses.

Personally, I dislike people shouting at nurses. It just rubs me the wrong way. That someone is serving you, does not make him or her a servant, and even servants deserve respect. I have been known to walk out particularly rude patients. You cannot get the best out of a nurse by calling her “Illiterate”, “Dumb”, or “Idiot”! The belief that someone who finished high school is Illiterate, just because she doesn’t have a university degree, is just wrong. By the way, submitting your butt to an illiterate for injections, is dumb as well, just saying.

Back to my story: Her husband had just stepped out, before her arrival. He burst in to hear she invited the police, and went berserk. A loud argument ensued. They were like 2 titans. We could not get control of the situation. She stormed out, with her thugs following, and he ordered her not to return. Of course she did, with 2 policemen in tow. Her husband refused to allow them interview the boy. To calm matters, I told them that he would stand surety for the boy, and they could return when he was out of the woods. Actually, the boy was much better, and I was eager to get rid of him, but his uncle would have none of it.

When madam heard of her husband’s intervention, she stormed into the ward. All this was in 1 day! I hear you wondering if this is fiction. Suffice it to say, God was preparing me to write this blog, by the adventures I had in that hospital. The couple began to argue loudly in the ward. This was a large ward that was a receiving point for in- patients, and had about 15 to 20 male and female patients in it at any time. I was accidentally caught in the middle because, I was making my notes at the nurses’ station. His wife ran in and stood behind me, her husband was threatening her in front of me. And what was the argument about? I truly don’t remember. Next thing I heard was a whizzing noise by my ear. The husband had removed his shoe and thrown it at his wife. It whizzed past me, narrowly missing my ear.

Honestly, I barely felt a thing, but as a wise lady, I screamed and held my ear

“You people want to kill me! My ear o!”

The attention shifted from the quarrel to me. Everyone was so apologetic. I sat in the chair like I was dying.

“Please, discharge them, nurse, before they injure me!”

Both of them started begging. I didn’t calm down till they promised to take their fight home. That is how they left us to do our work that day. The boy was discharged 2 days later. There was no other confrontation, and the police handled their interview discretely.

Lessons; if someone threatens to kill himself, don’t laugh at him, or shrug him off. We need to take emotional and psychiatric cases more seriously in Nigeria. There are people trained in this area who have gone into trading because, people are not making use of their skills. Be there to listen, encourage, support, and even cry with the hurting. The word says we should mourn with those who mourn, not tell them to ‘Be strong’. What does that mean? No, we must not indulge excesses, but we should not allow anyone to feel hopeless, if possible.

Phew! My longest post yet! I hope you enjoyed it. Do let me know, Dr. N

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15 thoughts on “I will kill myself!

    imperfectlyperfect92 said:
    March 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Dr N, you hope we enjoyed it? as always, this was awesome, and not just a write up, its filled with lessons, indeed, we can do better with the way we handle persons going through issues, we can be there for them, pray for them and nurse them back to healthy mental health.
    thanks Dr N.

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      U’re welcome dear. Thanks

    Berry Dakara said:
    March 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOL @ your reaction when the shoes whizzed by you. I would totally do the same 🙂

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Hahaha! Where have u been? Thanks for dropping by. Mmuah!

    fluffycutething said:
    March 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    1st time here, just stumbled on your blog! the write ups are rather powerful and i’m challenged to come around here often.
    This post in particular leaves me with mixed feelings! i generally agree that we should pay attention when our loved ones cry out for help in this manner! But this young man in question seemed somewhat like an attention seeker and perhaps an indulged fellow! His reasons, for goodness sake, weren’t grave!. i’m sure if i where his sister i won’t bother showing up at the hospital….. mcheeeewwwwwww why didn’t he hang in the privacy* of his room???????

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      I agree with you he might be an attention seeker, but isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? Maybe he didn’t need money but counseling? Or mentoring? Or even deliverance, as Nigerians like to do. Thanks for dropping by

    tenderonii said:
    March 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    This is really true and I’m encouraged. I agree with the previous comment, and at the same time your reply eased up my concerns. Great post as usual Dr. N. Welcome to the crew of writing long posts….lol

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 6, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks. Shorter ones from now

    Fola Daniel Adelesi said:
    March 6, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Haha! Dr. turned actress! Hope your ear is in good condition? Thanks for the regular and hilarious hospital gist, or memoirs

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Lol. Ear is great, thanks

    Cee said:
    March 8, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Thank Goodness we are beginning to talk about suicide. Most Nigerians (or should I say Africans) believe it can’t happen to us. I know a fourteen year old who just committed suicide and it was shocking to hear what a lot of people had to say. Thumbs up Dr N. I love your blog.

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 8, 2014 at 7:12 am

      That’s a shame! I hope we learn to take threats seriously. Thanks

    D'Dream said:
    March 10, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Hmmm. this is a serious i for one has attempted that during my teenage years and in my early twenties. it seems i was the odd one in my family, sort of a late bloomer. cos of that i am usually nd consistently a victim of sarcastic and derogotary comments and talks.
    i became extremely quiet and always alone most times. i would have been dead perhaps by now, i just dont know why soneone always found me out at my suicide plot.

    i thank God i am alive but all the same chronic depression nd family i think can causes someone to want to take his lifw.

    thanks Dr N for sharing. Dunno wat the ‘N’ stands for tho. perhaps its nneka(that was the name of the gal that whooz me slap for daring to write a love letter to her, Lol)

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 10, 2014 at 6:19 am

      Hahaha! Whoz u slap? No be me o! No not Nneka.
      To chronic depression, the word of God has d cure. We have all been victims of sarcasm. I was told as a teen that I was too skinny to give birth. Rather than get depressed, I dived into God’s word. I delivered 2 children without pain or complications. Some bigger ppl have terrible stories. God is our solace. What if Joseph committed suicide in the pit or in prison? Keep hope alive!

    D'Dream said:
    March 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Thanks ma. Truly the word of God. i remember that during those period that i became addicted to the bible, motivational books nd tapes.
    mayb thats why sm folks in church and elsewhere says i look, walk and talks like a pastor (cover face) when i lead fellowships. ppl can label sha.

    I think i am just bringing to lifr what i have allowed the word of God to deposit in me as you cannot give what you dont have.

    *PS: seriously i could preach a storm, Lol

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