If I had someone come to you with this problem you have and in the same way you have it, what will your response be? Will you hand them a bottle of Sniper and say, you know what, your problems are too much. Just take three teaspoons of this for relief?” or would you as a parent, hand a bottle of Valium to your bullied daughter or son, when his first girlfriend breaks his heart?
Except you are a psychopath and in that case, need serious help, your answers will be no. You will protect them, fight for them as it is in your power to do, you will not stop until they see the world right again and until they can step out every day bristling with enthusiasm again. You would do that and their happiness will bring you happiness as well. If you would do that for others, how then does it make sense that you do not get to do it for yourself? You want others to fight it out and win, but not you? You would defend others, be there for them, pick them up, cheer them on and you don’t think to extend the warmness to your soul?
The human mind is such a complex, convoluted thing, I can’t even pretend to understand it but I can try to understand you. I think I can understand enough to tell you that it is okay to feel the pressure and the pain and the rejection and the faultiness of your very existence and that you don’t have to feel them all at once. I want you to know you can look away for a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a year, a decade and see what happens. I want to be able to tell you that more people have thought of suicide than those who have never, and years down the line, they are grateful they didn’t take their lives, that if you would just look a little further, you will see more reason to live than die. I know you know suicide doesn’t mean you have won or that you solved the problem but then, stopping the pain is a much bigger prize than any temporary relief, right? But what if there is no trophy but you, what if your life is the only prize to contest for and win, not because you did anything insanely extraordinary but because, somehow, it is your journey and you made it to the end. For you fought to live, you were able to prove to yourself and everything in the universe that challenged your will that life is a gift you have chosen to embrace and that you will not let life’s tragedies force you to give it up? Give yourself reasons to stay, no matter how silly. The sillier, the better, so you always never have a reason to frown for long.
That said, stick with me a little longer, for my top Five Silly Reasons nobody will ask you to live for, but worth living for. Enjoy!
- YOU WILL MISS OUT ON ALL THE DRAMA
If you are a Nigerian, you can’t afford to miss all the drama put up by our politicians (honourable minister off you mic…it’s Ok..), civil service administrators (FIRS versus NIPOST), ASUU palaver, Twitter banters, Instagram skits and memes. On the foreign scene, Donald Trump, Trevor Noah and the likes remain best at their humourous craft and these scenes could offer the desired comic relief required to douse your disturbed state of mind. Come on dude, you can’t die and miss this world and her drama.
- DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATIONS
The other day, while chatting with a friend, we got talking about technologies and all the exciting disruptive innovations springing up from all over the world and how he wonders about what the world would look like in his eighties. It was comically tragic. Here we were, getting excited about the future and we haven’t even seen or ridden in an electric train yet. To be honest, if eventually, robots do not gain sentience and take over the world, I would be really sad to die and not ever get to know what happens next but if they do.
From the first moment man mastered the ability to make fire with flint, to conquering gravity and discovering how to fly, technology has mutated in leaps and bounds. Celebrated scientists of the time like Ernest Rutherford and Gregor Mendel, will be amazed at how the world’s knowledge has exploded in Chemistry and Physics. They will give anything to see this time.
Are you not curious about the next Steve Jobs, Tesla, Stephen Hawkings, Dan Brown that will show up and awed by the unpredictability of progress? Do you even realize that there is a chance, you could be one of these persons? If you die, you will never get to watch another Black Panther or see humanity conquer space beyond our galaxy or be part of the lot, when we finally defeat AIDS and cancer.
- WHAT WILL THE WORLD BE, WITHOUT YOU?
Ted Bundy, one of the most well-known psychopaths of the modern world, shocked the world with his cold, bold, heartlessness. He admitted to killing 30 women but going by his history, they could have been more.
His mother had him as an unwed Methodist and to avoid the shame, she was sent far away for delivery and afterwards, posed as his sister while his grandparents told everyone he was their adopted son. He later found out the truth about his birth but not about his father. He never found him. He grew up in the porn-obsessed, alcohol controlled, and abusive shadow of his grandfather. The question remains, ‘would his life have gone differently if he had his father?
Not that you are a Ted Bundy yourself, but think of the psychological impact of your decision on others, your absence? How many of the kids you know now, friends, siblings, would have this morbid fear of abandonment, so that they fear to form close attachments with others because like you, they may disappear forever too? How many lives will be ruined with guilt and regret, your parents, teachers? How many you know now, will grow up to become obsessively overprotective, paranoid parents?
What about those that directly depend or love you, those you give hope and friendship simply because you are the only one that understands them, those you protect, simply by being alive? Who knows, your death could be creating a future Ted Bundy or little Yummy, in your spitting image or at least, something just bad.
- MORE PEOPLE WANT YOU ALIVE THAN DEAD
Well, except you singlehandedly masterminded mass murders and the genocide of 6 million Jews or are one of the worst dictators to have come out of Africa, rumoured to like human flesh.
Given your peculiar “tragedies” and troubles in life, if a poll were to be taken, asking if you should just die because they were overwhelming, I am rooting for a whopping 85% saying No! The remaining 15% will be the insignificant group of the perpetually grey and bitter or cynical humans out there and they don’t count in this poll because they need sunshine and rainbow glasses for their sorry sights. So, you see, even people that don’t know you, want you alive. Why?
Because suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem– a temporary problem because they are fixable and are not entirely new. Think to the past, about the heroes we have immortalized; Jobs, Einstein, Marie-Curie, Edison, Gagarin, Shakespeare, Churchhill and Abraham Lincoln. Ironically, the latter two battled depression all their lives but because they chose to live, they survived. What if they hadn’t?
You can never know the end of your story until the end of your story. How would you ever know for sure that your voice is not going to be the next sensation, your fashion sense, your nerd-dom for another innovation, your research to better millions of lives? I believe that the greatest point of living is living with people in mind. What is yours? How can you be so sure you are a failure, a no-good, poverty-stricken and utterly hopeless case when you did not even exhaust all your options?
Please don’t jump off a cliff, until there is absolutely nothing left to fight for, you must keep your hope up. Your favourite cousin needs you on her graduation ceremony, your daughter wants you to lead her to the altar, your siblings want to share their lives and someone somewhere is going to desperately want you in their lives. Please, don’t die yet.
5. FINALLY…. WHAT WILL VICTORY TASTE LIKE?
- Like a wizened old man telling a younger generation how he is a life veteran, a survivor, since life is really like a war zone. Why do people love the stories of Oprah, Obama, Maya Angelou and Einstein, Edison, …(add any name that inspires you)? They survived and thrived, despite the odds against them.
- Like hope, like tomorrow, like help when you need it, a cure to cancer, an error rectified, true love, found, like a lottery, like sunshine, like a cone of ice-cream on a hot day. Hope is a relief, the promise of better days.
- It tastes like freedom, like strength, like getting back on your feet, tougher and stronger because you have endured life. People like Malala, lPhiona from the movie, Queen of Katwe, Ben Carson, they too passed through the turbulence, kicking back every day, grinding silently, falling and rising in the dark.
- Considering that you could have thrown in the towel, but you pulled through to the end. You could have blown your one-life chance but you didn’t, that you faced your problems and won. This is not to ignore the negatives, rather, to embrace them. You would not recognize light if there was no darkness nor appreciate shoes if you have no legs. Live life knowing that you have not been singled out for torture, embrace life in its wholeness, in its losses and victories and do that with the attitude of an adventurer or an explorer who must take something valuable out of every expedition. That is a legacy worth living behind; a legacy of hope and strength, and kindness…it is a legacy worth living for.