His pitch black lips and his blood shot eyes stood him out from the crowd, and I could almost swear that I perceived weed each time he opened his mouth. I hear voices regularly but this was different.

I listened as the bus conductor announced in a husky Yoruba accent,

“Everybody abeg come down for inside the moto, it have spoil”

Some of the passengers immediately protested,

“Oya conductor, give us our moni” requested one of the passengers

“Wait nah, e duro, dem go do the moto now now!”

The conductor requested, and then pointed towards the driver to indicate that he had already identified the problem and was working on it.

“Where she wan go self” I thought to myself

I had just completed a not-too-promising visit to an uncle on Lagos Island. He managed to add to my depression but gave me some money for transport back home. I was really hoping to get back to my one room apartment and pretend as though I was hopeful that my Uncle would help me with a job soon. But here I was on the 3rd mainland bridge, surrounded by water and almost every car that came on the bridge was already packed full.

We were stranded, I was scared.

It wasn’t because of the large expanse of water, no, far from it. There was a voice in my head and it was louder than usual.

“End this your miserable life now, jump into the water”

I looked to one side of the bridge and I observed a lady just gazing into the water, she had a blank look on her face and pain was written all over her face. The wig on her head was looking so unkempt,

“She must be having it rough”, I thought to myself

“Maybe she self wan jump enter the water”   I wondered

Lately, thoughts of killing myself has been hanging around my mind. Sometimes it is so hard to hold myself from doing something harmful to myself.

I started hearing these voices about 5 years ago. I was a 300 level student or maybe it was before this time. But, I remember that I just started thinking and talking about death then I just went into long periods of depression. I didn’t even know why I was depressed but I could always hear voices in my head. I was angry, confused, frustrated and then I didn’t see a reason to stay alive. It was beginning to seem okay to just give up. I just began to lose interest in the things around; I just didn’t care any longer.

The voices got louder, there were sometimes I want the driver to drive fast hoping that we would all die. These days I find myself saying things like,

“you go kill me”

“I go die”

And I am certainly not talking about the popular comedian, I really was wishing for death.

“Am I possessed or just crazy?”

I find myself staying away from my friends, living in isolation from family and true friends and I always want to be alone. I try very hard to say a proper goodbye because the voice keeps telling me that it might be my last goodbye.

Sometimes I don’t know which one hurts more, anger or depression. The voices in my head get louder when I am depressed. I find myself drinking “ogogoro” in Iya Sule’s shop and hoping to drown my depression.

Most times I get home soaked in cheap alcohol but the voices allow me to sleep, most nights I pray I never wake up but I always wake up with a hangover. Gradually things have gone from bad to worse.

“I want to kill myself”, At least that would stop the voices permanently.

 

“Oya everybody, enter moto, dem  don do am”

The conductor announced.

I looked at the lady that had been looking into the water and I saw her smile, then laugh and I couldn’t help thinking that she was hearing the voices too.

***

Facts and Statistics

SUICIDE is a big issue in developed countries and there is an established pattern or warning signs. The warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:

  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression — deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse
  • Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death such as driving fast or running red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Talking about suicide or killing one’s self
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20% and 50% of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.

 

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