Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lesson 6 of #mentalhealth/digital story telling training; suicide

the whole class with Merab from Samaritans Kenya in the brown printed dress
Did you know that World over,every 40 seconds, someone commits suicideYes, those statistics always make me doubt myself and I have to rush to my WHO guide book to confirm it is seconds and not minutes. Men have a higher suicide rate than women and someone said 'gossip' isn't healthy. It doesn't make you less of a man if you share what you are going through or go out to seek help. No!!! People don't commit suicide because Man U or Arsenal lost or because a boyfriend/girlfriend left them, that's the final push, suicide is an ongoing build up of unresolved issues that snowball until the day, your team loses or the love of your life leaves and all reason to live leave with that lose or that break up. People are buried at night with no funeral ceremony because suicide is seen as such a taboo and those who commit it are not worth day light and a ceremony when buried. Some priests won't precede over a burial ceremony of someone who committed suicide and in Kenya, suicide attempt is a criminal offense  and that's why people caught in the act or attempt and fail suffer the same wrath thieves face; mob justice...the list goes on and on.

If you have followed my blog from the beginning or my twitter conversations using #mhke hash tag, you know about my own challenges with suicide and suicidal thoughts especially around the time of my rape ordeal and also when trying to master my bipolar. I do not claim to have mastered it now but I am in a better place and I thank God greatly for that. As I write this, I remember days when I was sure I have over dosed on my bipolar and epilepsy meds then woke up in the morning. At first I peep and think, is this heaven or hell and it is my room wheeew and my theme song over and over was These Days by Ayo, I have posted the video at this post. I am glad, that suicide is the one thing I failed at and I have no issues with that failure, based on the work I do through my mind, my funk; the world truly needed me. 
Last week on Tuesday, I tagged along my friend Merab from Samaritans Kenya to speak to my students about Suicide. It was an amazing session that was graced by the Resource Centre's manager who sat in with the students and gave insightful contribution. Samaritans Kenya is a FREE listening and counselling service for those who are depressed and/or feel suicidal. 

Merab taking students through the session as I live tweet using #mhke

If you have followed my blog from the beginning or my twitter conversations using #mhke hash tag, you know about my own challenges with suicide and suicidal thoughts especially around the time of my rape ordeal and also when trying to master my bipolar. I do not claim to have mastered it now but I am in a better place and I thank God greatly for that. As I write this, I remember days when I was sure I have over dosed on my bipolar and epilepsy meds then woke up in the morning. At first I peep and think, is this heaven or hell and it is my room wheeew and my theme song over and over was These Days by Ayo, I have posted it at the end of the post. I am glad, that suicide is the one thing I failed at and I have no issues with that failure, based on the work I do through my mind, my funk; the world truly needed me. 

This blog post, just like lesson 5 on drugs will be more of a Q & A from here;

1. What is suicide?
Suicide is the act of taking one's life. There are people who use the word deliberately in their definition but this has been subject to objection especially from those who view persons with mental health conditions as 'not being in their right minds hence cannot be deliberate' what is your take on this?
Due to constant life ups and downs, we think about taking our lives every once in a while, this is termed as 'normal' but if the thought is ongoing and one is constantly thinking, talking about, reading up and even experimenting on suicidal methods, there is a problem here that needs to be address immediately.

2. Why do people commit suicide?
Most of the time, people do not contemplate committing suicide or actually do it to die, they do it to block the pain. One of the main causes of suicide is the inability to cope with a situation or constant feelings of hopelessness.

3. What are the common methods of committing suicide?
- Hanging self
- Using a gun
- Taking poison/overdose
- Inhaling carbon monoxide
- Bleeding, mostly through wrist cutting
- Drowning
- Throwing self in front of a moving vehicle
- Jumping from high ground


4. What are some of the risk factors for suicide?
The following make people vulnerable to suicide;
- Untreated mental health conditions e.g depression, bipolar, schizophrenia
- Traumatic experiences e.g sexual abuse, violence (My first ever attempt was the evening I got home after my rape ordeal)
- Substance and Alcohol abuse
- Bullying and the most recent type of cyber bulling
- Stress due to poverty, unemployment,loss of a loved one, family conflict
- Prior suicide attempts

The most at risk age group is 18-30 years.

5. There cases where many people in a family commit suicide, does that mean suicide genetic?
According to science, it is more of the gene to handle stress that is 'weak'. As you know, different people handle different situations differently; what might be stressful for you may be a walk in the park for me. This Sunday I got stressed because it rained and I just couldn't walk in black cotton soil mud and it really got to me I almost had a seizure and everyone else in the group found fun in the trail. I just couldn't walk and had to get a tuk tuk to take me round as it could also not wade through the mud. So if that gene of 'not being able to do mud' is passed, then that is what is the issue so stress comes along, and stress sure does come and if we don't seek counselling or release methods, we end up depressed hence vulnerable to suicide. If there is a build up of stress and untreated depression and know of one family member who shut it down via suicide, we follow suit.

6. How do I know if my loved ones are suicidal?
- Talking about death and suicide a little too much. (Don't ignore lines like I will kill myself soon, I wonder if dead people feel this pain, Life on earth is useless, I want out, I would be better if I wasn't here)
- Carefree lifestyles (giving away cash and valuables)
Withdrawal and not participating in activities that once excited them
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness

If you or someone you know is suicidal, contact info(at)mymindmyfunk.com for linkages with Samaritans Kenya and/or other facilities and organizations that can assist you.

S/O to Samaritans Kenya for facilitating, Pollination Project's #seedthechange and Cisco Systems for supporting the project.

1 comment: