So what

Dear Hard Girl,

How have you taken the many suicides we have heard about recently? Doesn’t it bother you that more ladies than guys are taking their lives?

Well, I am very shaken by the reports and I have a few thoughts to share on it. I hope this encourages you and teaches you something.

Let us continue to share this Gospel According to Hard Girls! And remember, you are a hard girl so suicide is not an option no matter how much you mess up. Suicide is not the answer!

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Research suggests that the incidence of mental health disorders in female to male is 2:1. Meaning, women are more prone to psychological problems like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, which almost always precede suicide. Automatically, women are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than men. Our greater susceptibility to suicidal thoughts is due to our vulnerability to psychosocial stressors. Out of the seven reported suicide cases over the past two weeks, only one is a male.

These few weeks have been sad. Though death is the fate of every human being, some deaths can be averted.

Suicides, and the thoughts of committing them, are not new to the Ghanaian society. It is either we were good at pretending all was well or the media was not interested in people taking their lives until the recent case of the death of Adwoa Agyarkwa Anyimadu-Antwi, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the MP for the Asante Akyem Central Constituency. I dare say but for the fact that she was an MP’s daughter, the story would have been brushed off like all the other unheard of deaths. It’s been a few days after the last death was reported and it is obvious that we are tired of talking about it.

Apart from the personal survival stories people shared on social media to encourage others, our best response yet is the help line put out by the Mental Health Authority. Sad enough, the phone number is so long, it is easier to kill yourself than to keep it in mind and remember to dial it when you consider suicide as an option. Let me leave it here and say no more.

Girls, we know we are better at expressing our emotions. Our sense of feeling and expressing those feelings should not make suicide an option. Sensing more, feeling more, understanding more, interacting with the world more should not be a weakness. It is a strength and an advantage we need not be ashamed of. We should not allow our emotions push us to make silly decisions. When you are emotional, cry it out, don’t bottle it up, and don’t commit suicide.

Everyone makes mistakes. We all have messed up at one point in our lives, and we still do – every day. We are humans – fallible – so mistakes are bound to happen. It means enduring for a while, working hard at correcting your mistake or becoming a better person and knowing that in the end, you will be victorious.

Ending your life means you lose that chance. It means giving up, not only on yourself but on all the people who believe in you; giving up on those who love you and giving up on life itself. And, that is not who girls are. We are strong; stronger than we know we are. We are fighters. More importantly, we are winners!

That guy dumped you, so what? Your relationship was a public one, so you’re dreading the ridicule and trolling on social media. My dear, it’s better to be unhappy for a moment than to be eternally unhappy and scared and scarred in marriage. He did you a great favor. In fact, you owe the girl who took him off your hands some appreciation. Do not worry your head too much. That burden is no longer yours to carry. Forget about the time, money and energy you invested, consider it a loss. Go out there, pamper yourself, treat yourself to some good food and enjoy the world around you.

You are beautiful in your own way, there’s that one person out there who would appreciate you for who you are. Enough of the tears, carry yourself and work at making yourself better. You have a lot to offer the world.

The guy who dumped you would not put his life on hold because he caused your demise, so do not end yours because of him. He’s not worth the pain you put your family and loved ones through when you take your life. He does not know what he had, it will be too late when he realizes what he has lost. Suicide is not the answer. You will be fine.

You trailed a paper, so what? It is painful and humiliating, yes. It deflated your GPA, definitely. But suicide is not the answer, a re-sit is.

A re-sit is a second chance to set the records straight. It is another chance to prove to yourself that you’re not a failure. Do not judge yourself by academic performance. Your life is way bigger than your school grades. If you fail, try again. That’s the way to go.

No institution would cancel examinations because you killed yourself over how difficult the examination was. You are not the first person to fail; you will not be the last. Suck it up, study hard, rewrite all the failed courses and live your life. You will be fine.

Before you think about committing suicide, think about your family and friends. Think about the pain, tears and agony they would go through, the stigma that would be associated with them. In a video I watched, the father of the University of Ghana student who also took her life could not hide his emotions. He wept.

His pain was unbearable. I felt guilty when I imagined my family experiencing the same agony. I do not want this to befall my family and I am sure you do not want same.

Your current predicament is temporary; it’ll fizzle out soon. Suicide leaves a permanent scar on your loved ones. Suicide solves no problem; it makes things worse.

Remember, life is not a race. Your friend may be in a comfortable lead today, but do not envy her. Avoid unnecessary comparisons, create your own standard and challenge yourself. Being down today does not mean you can never rise.

Don’t sleep in your mess. Get back on your feet. You have the instrument to change the tune your life is singing. Your life is not yet over because you messed up. You can survive ridicule and shame but there is no coming back from death. So, do not opt for it. It is never the answer.

You can only make amends while you’re alive. Your life will not become any better six feet under the ground. I am not sure your ghost will be at peace when your family is in anguish about your death. I do not want to talk about how your soul will take the social media backlash.

Be wise. Be strong. You are a fighter. You are a winner! Live!

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