For some, life begins at the very beginning, at birth. For many others, it begins severally with one event shutting down and another starting. Its not about when it begins, it is about identifying the beginning of each beginnings and letting go when it actually comes to an end. So for me, a man has several beginnings. No wonder we can easily shut our eyes to yesterday and start today as if yesterday never happened. can we?
This platform for me is a new beginning. When will it end? Probably today, tomorrow or never. My old friend, Segun Adewara once told me i had stories to tell. He advised me to tell them and I am like where? who would listen? But somehow I started and now I find myself creating this platform hoping that the stories I tell will inspire, motivate and get people back on track to their real purpose.
So let me start with the story of young Bola (not her real name). At age 14, Bola had completed her secondary school and was awaiting the release of her West Africa Examination Result. Well thats probably not the beginning of her story. As the second child from an average home growing up was torturous. She was ugly (so she thought) and was taunted by her classmates in school. She perceived that nothing good would come out of her life like many of our youth today. Her image was battered continually and she could not bear to stand around her classmates. The six years in Secondary school was like six years of torture in hell. So you can imagine how glad it was for Bola to eventually walk out of hell to paradise after her secondary school.
Bola’s WAEC result was released and some how she managed to get 5 credits including English and Mathematics. That was fair, life was finally smiling at her. She would get admission into the university, she thought. But alas, that was not to be because in the process of her miserable life in the college, Bola had failed to register for JAMB and of course was not eligible for admission into any university in Nigeria. This was in spite of the funds that was given her to do so. In a bid to cover-up Bola, came up with several lies that indicted not just her school teachers but got her father to travel over 650 kilometres to process admission using fake documents supplied by Bola.
Wrapped up in the web of lies and deceit, Bola’s life became more miserable. She was depressed. She had cooked up several lies to her innocent parents that there was no way for her to turn back. At the age of 14, Bola began to contemplate suicide. The night before the suicide, Bola summoned enough courage to approach her father. She confessed that she never purchased the JAMB form and that the documents she gave for which her father had been pursuing her admission were fake documents and that was why her name did not feature in the University.
“You mean, you allowed me travel over 650 kilometres with faked documents, to pursue admission in a university that you never applied to?” Bola’s father was too furious for any reaction. He ordered her to go to bed while he thought out a solution in the morning.
That night Bola could not sleep. shame and anger against herself kept her awake. How could she have done this to herself. Well, she could not wait till the morning to face her father who meant the world to her. So silently, she tiptoed to the fridge while others slept and forced dozens of aspirin down her throat. She went back to the room and wrote her suicide note; part of which read “I am sorry daddy, i am too ashamed to face you in the morning. Please forgive me” She then laid down to die.
Three hours after, Bola was still alive. she didn’t die but rather went through excruciating pain that was worse than death. Did she survive? Yes she did, because if she didn’t you wont be reading this story. I survived, yes, I did, to the glory of God. But unfortunately, many do not. Even as I write this, some young folks are still killing themselves.
Today, many of our youths have low self esteem. Many are struggling hard to meet the expectations of their parents. Many suffer peer pressure arising from intimidations from classmates and colleagues. Many are being assaulted and abused daily by family members and bear the shame in silence.
It is time to give attention to our teenagers and young adults who are at the age of confusion and contradictions. For the ladies among them, they are neither girls nor women. They are caught in between and need to be properly guided. Suicide is not only a decision of adults, today young undergraduates are victims. Many people try to explain by saying it is diabolical or what is called edi (spiritual hypnotism) in yoruba. Why for instance will a teenager or young adult suffer depression?
There are many questions begging for answer. When we truly answer them we will be able to help our future generation.
How is success measured by parents and the society? What kind of relationship do you have with your kids? Do you condemn them so badly when they make mistake that they loose their self esteem? Do you compare them with your friend’s children who you perceived as being better than them? Do you discuss your children’s weakness with family and friends? Do you preach fire and brimstone instead of love? Do you listen enough when they are talking to understand what they are not saying?
The future generation is what we are talking about now. Depression is not coloured. It is not gender or race sensitive. It has nothing to with age. It calls always for attention and the signs are always there, if we care to look enough.