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Tag: Death

Pray Tell…..

Christina Nana Araba Asamoah

…….Why does death doll out
          Sorrow
            Pain
               Abject Misery?

Is it lunacy to want to shout;
         No!
           Remain!
             Stay with me!?

I would that he’d not knocked on our door
Touched your flesh with his icy digits
And snatched you from us

I’m afflicted with
Seeming streams of salty tears
Threatening to reduce me to a
Pathetic Puddle;
A pitiful mess.

You are gone way too soon
And I truly begin to wonder
Why death dolls out, such;
         Sorrow
           Pain
             Misery
Torment of never seeing you again.

~Daixy~


Some say we should have seen it coming.  After two strokes, why should we have expected her to survive?  But you see, those who say that didn’t see her the last time I did, before she left for her home.  She’d stepped out of our guest room dressed to the nines in a gorgeous kaba and slit.  It wasn’t really the outfit or her neatly pulled back hair that struck me that day though. It was the smirk she wore when she walked out the room and the confident stride she took up.  She looked ready to face the world…ready to fight.


I wish I’d taken a picture…

When Life is Just too Hard to Deal With: 13 yr old girl commits suicide!!

Image via Wikipedia

Reading the paper today, this story caught my eye. Girl, 13, Commits Suicide.

Apparently, thirteen (13) year old Abigail who lives with her Aunt (Beatrice) in Takoradi decided that life was just too much for her to deal with. This child hanged herself for what she claims to be unfounded accusations of promiscuity and theft. A day after reporting the suicide to the police, Beatrice produced a “suicide note” in which Abigail is said to have stated that a colleague and friend of Beatrice’s (Sophia) had accused her of stealing phone cards and a charger. The little girl went on in her note to state that her aunt had accused her of flirting, and most importantly, denied those claims.

Perhaps I’m being picky, but shouldn’t the police when they investigated the scene, have discovered the note? What sort of detective work did they do? If you come across a suicide scene, isn’t the first thing you do after checking to see if there is any sign of a pulse to look for a note?

I wonder who this little girl was. I may not have known her, but I wish I knew who she was and what happened to her. I think about whether or not she had NO ONE to talk to about the persecution she felt she was facing. I’m wondering how bad it had to be for her to decide to end it all. I’ve already given her a profile in my head. Most likely she is orphaned and living with the only relative who would have her. Or perhaps her parents are incapable of caring for her and chose to send her to stay with a better off relation, as is often the case here in Ghana.

My question is, how did this child come to the conclusion that she could go to no one for help? Was there not a pastor she spoke to? A playmate? A concerned neighbour? If it was that bad, could she not have run away? Why did she feel there was nothing else out there for her?

I wish someone could have saved her from her demons, real or imagined as they may be. I figure what disturbed me most was how in the “Weekend Mirror” an “observer” was quoted to have said that the girl killed herself to cover up her crimes. That person hinted that Abigail may have been pregnant and may have killed herself to avoid punishment. Grr. I sincerely doubt that anyone, choosing to end their life for a crime they committed, would choose to leave the sort of note Abigail did. Most likely, she would have apologised for her crimes in the note. It would take a truly bitter soul to leave a farewell note declaring themselves innocent of a crime they committed. Like, think of it. If you’re leaving the world anyway, why hide your sins? It doesn’t gel with me. This girl in whatever state she was in, still felt the need to declare her innocence. And goodbye she wrote out in capital letters? She made it very clear who it was she was running from. If she truly were pregnant, would she not have given some explanation on that? Perhaps an apology for killing her unborn child?

So now, I feel terrible for her aunt, who most likely did not realise what was going on. Surely, she never meant to harm the girl. It’s quite probable that there were reasons for her to believe Abigail was headed for trouble and she acted the only way she knew how. How can this woman feel now, taking the blame for this tragedy?

Whether she is responsible or not, I doubt there is any way that she will be able to get out of this without feeling guilty. Little Abigail did far more than take her own life. She marked at least one woman for life and most likely ruined their reputations. This woman will forever blame herself for not seeing this coming, for not dealing with the situation properly, for not listening…..you know us humans; even without the note, she’d make herself responsible.

This raises a lot of issues about the way children are raised in this country. How much is too much chastising and ridiculing? When is it not okay to call a child up, sit them down and tell them to the face that their actions are wrong? When should you give up on correcting a child and guiding them on the right path?

This is where counseling services would be helpful in Ghana. Sure, a person has committed suicide, but what of the people who are left behind, those that feel guilty? Who is to save them from sinking into the same states that their friends and loved ones were in?

I feel that if we had better child services, if CHRAJ and WAJU and other social services were running properly in this country……would Abigail still be alive? I’m wondering how many more cases such as this will have to occur before something is done in this country and wish that people who have the Know How will step forward and DO SOMETHING about mental health issues in Ghana. At least our children should have one place they can go to when they feel oppressed and depressed.

It’s bad enough when adults who should know better commit suicide but when our children turn to it? We should know by now that we have a problem and our Nations leaders should quit arguing about which members of parliament are homosexuals and actually get down to doing their work. People like Derrick Adjei, should be talking about ways to keep our youth from pulling stunts like this, not mouthing off about Akuffo Addos’s supposed diminutive stature. Just you wait! Your time in Daixy’s corner will come sooner than you think.

~Daixy~

related posts:
Daixy on Suicide Prevention day
Daixy on Suicide Debunked
Links within posts

When life is just too hard to deal with: World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and it’s got me thinking a lot about things I can do to make the situation better in Ghana.  Depression, Suicide and abuse are not treated properly in this country but at least we have CHRAJ and WAJU.  Depression and suicide and mental health issues are ignored in Ghana and I believe that’s a huge boo boo.  I don’t know why it is that we are so afraid of death.  It’s a subject most do not want to discuss and even more so when someone takes his/her own life.  But I think burying our heads in the sand won’t make the problem go away.

Adults and children alike have been committing suicide in Ghana for several years.  Our poor record keeping though, means we don’t have actual figures.  Most info on suicide in Ghana comes from the sensationalist tabloids who aren’t given much credit for their newsworthiness.  We get stories like this one from time to time which shock us to the core momentarily and then we go about our daily business and forget all about the tragedy.

According to this article, over 1500 people, most of them between the ages of 20 and 35, were reported to have committed suicide in 2008.  I checked the Annual report of the Ghana Health Service and this wasn’t mentioned. I truly wonder if these reported cases come from the Ghana Police Service or the Health service.  Where are these figures from?!!!  The 2009 Annual report doesn’t mention Mental Health at all.  In 2007 however, according to their annual report,only 3.6% of the budget allocated to the Ghana Health Service went to the Mental health Services.   3.6%?  Healthy Mind Healthy Body!!!!  I know we have major diseases to deal with like TB and Malaria and Lymphatic Filariasis but seriously…..3.6% explains why we have so few mental health centres and why they are understaffed.  Shame on you GHS.  You should know better.

I have heard that KNUST has started a counseling centre to deal with these issues amongst its students. It’s a wonderful idea, what with the number of jumpers Tech has had over the years.  In searching for that, I discovered Lifeline Ghana.  I wonder if they’re fully operational and will be looking deeper into it.   They were kind enough to list their phone numbers so I will be giving them a call.


I’d love to see Legon do the same thing Tech is rumoured to be doing, and eventually spread it out all over the country. Anyone interested in seeing that happen should holla @ me.  I’m ready to get stuck in but will need all the help I can get.  More people on board will give us a bigger voice.

So um, Happy Suicide Prevention Day! 😀  Remember to hug your loved ones and tell them you care. And that loner of a coworker, maybe you should invite em out for a cup of coffee. I want to see us do this all day of the year.  This ain’t christmas to think about only on the D day 🙂

Anywho, don’t forget to check out :

WHO
IASP
WHO WSPD statement 2009

~Daixy~

When life is just too hard to deal with: Myths debunked

“Ghanaians don’t get depressed,”  This comment had me laughing early last week.  “it’s americans like you who flip out over everything.”   
First of all, I am very much a Ghanaian.  I simply open myself up to other cultures 😛 
Second, just cuz I’ve had a very interesting past and it’s scarred me a bit doesn’t mean I’m mentally unsound.  Why should it take a crazy person to think about steps to prevent suicide? I find it odd that the second I try to talk about rape, abuse, suicide or depression, it becomes a game of driving nails into dry concrete with me bare fingers!
Third, dealing with my issues shouldn’t stop me from facing up to reality and saying, I want to do something about this.  Doesn’t have to stop me from starting whatever movement I want or lobbying my local MP or regional health director for infrastructure I believe should be in place. And now that that rant is over, I can get down to the business off the day.
What I’d like to do today is debunk a few myths about self harm and suicide.  I can’t cover them all and I’m not going to explain what they are.  Links below should be sufficient methinks….
Suicide rates per 100,000 peopleImage via Wikipedia 
Myth:  Suicides don’t occur in Ghana.
Fact:  Suicide occurs all over the world. In fact, it is the 10th leading cause of death globally. Over a million people commit suicide every year all over the world.  Sadly, no one seems to be collecting data on suicide in Ghana and most of Africa.  We do not as yet have the necessary systems in place for reporting and recording of suicide attempts and successes. The map above is as accurate as the WHO can make it.  Without actual data, there is nothing they or any other organisation can do.
To save face, families in Ghana bribe police officers and medical practitioners into changing the cause of death.  This is most especially so when they are christian.  As such, the police and hospitals here very rarely report such cases.
Myth: People hurt themselves or attempt suicide for attention.
Fact: Au contraire. People who self harm are simply trying to feel, something anything. They usually are detached from this world and feel they are alone, unloved, repressed. Cutting, burning, they turn to pain as they cannot feel happiness, love. Other times, they are punishing themselves for some crime they perceive they committed.  A lot of people suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) will do this. Quite often they have suffered physical or sexual abuse and are unable to deal with the psychological fallout.  The result therefore is a need to externalize the pain, to “make it real.”
Myth: People who talk about suicide are looking for attention.
Fact: People who talk about suicide are reaching out for help. They’ve thought about it and are scared that they’ll actually go through with it.
Myth:  If you’re depressed, just make yourself happy.  Snap out of it.
Fact:  If it was that easy, your friend, family member, colleague wouldn’t have the cuts, burns and bruises they do, and most importantly?  They wouldn’t be thinking of ending it.
Myth:  Suicide occurs without warming.

Fact:  Usually, suicide victims will leave some sort of clue as to what they intend to do.  There is always some verbal or behavioural hint. Most often though, these clues are ignored or not taken seriously.

Myth:  Asking someone if they are thinkingof suicide will plant the idea in their head.
Fact: Talking about suicide will NOT give a person who is not considering it ideas.  If you feel the need to ask someone this question, then most likely they’ve left clues that led you to that conclusion.  Asking them will not make them go out and do it. A lot of suicidal persons will be relieved to have someone ask them about it.  It’s a huge burden to bear by oneself and someone who has been struggling with the urge and wants a friend to talk to will actually be grateful for the opportunity to share some of their fears.
Myth:  Once a person has attempted suicide, he or she will never try it again.
Fact: If your friend or loved one has made the attempt before, please keep an eye out, especially when they are under stressful conditions.  People who make attempts and fail are most likely  to come up with a different plan of action, with the sole aim of actually going through with it.  Perhaps the last time you were lucky enough to grab him before he ran under a bus.  Well next time, perhaps your friend would have researched on the number of pills he needs to swallow and would have made sure to lock his door.
Please do not treat any threat of suicide lightly.  If you suspect someone of having suicidal thoughts, talk to them. Find out if they have a definite plan. Someone who has gone so far as to set out a plan (or several plans) has had a lot of time to prepare and could take action at any minute. Try to get them to talk about their problems and see if you can get them to go see a counselor. Look for signs of self harm. Usual suspects are long sleeves (even in hot weather) to hide ligatures on the arms and a reluctance to dress in shorts/skirts. When your friend, daughter, colleague suddenly changes their style of dressing to cover up, it’s usually a sure sign of distress.
Sources and links:

Self Harm
Self harm on the BBC

~Daixy~

Yesterday…

 

Yesterday I slept
It was a fitful sleep
I tossed and turned
Whimpered and yearned
For the moment I would wake

Because,

Yesterday I dreamed
I dreamed of you
I dreamed of me
We had made plans
Wanted a family

Yesterday you died
I am kneeling upon the freshly packed earth
Staring at the spot that will soon bear your marker
A tear makes its trail from the corner of my eye,
Down my nose and now, hangs precariously off the tip
It drops to the ground and…
Finally it hits me

YOU’RE down there
There’s no air
You can’t breathe!!!

My fingers scrabble at the earth
Frantically
Hot liquid streams down my face as I call to you
My nails break but I feel nothing
I ignore the blood from the pads of my fingers
I must get to you!

My heart is hammering,
Loud in my ears
And now the soil is moist with my tears
Hands grab onto mine in an attempt to still them

A voice
Insistent in my ear
And yet I do not understand
They’re wrong
You’re not gone
You can’t be gone

The hands move up to my forearms,
Lifting me up
Pulling me away
“No!! He’s down there!!!”
My screams mingle with my words
My breath is laboured
My chest bursting with fear
(Fear of a life without you)
“He can’t breathe! Let him out!”

I feel myself being pulled down to the ground
(A life without your touch)
Arms wrap around me as I plead
(A life without your smell)
“You can’t leave him down there,”
(A life without your voice)
“He’s gonna die!!!”

The hands hold me tighter
The lack of response
The utter silence
The look in my companion’s eyes as I search them pleadingly…

My struggles cease
As,I finally realise
Yesterday you died…
And I died with you.
~Daixy~
I found this when looking through my old stuff.  All I can say is WTF?!!  It’s so dark, so painful and yet I’m so proud of it.  It still feels unfinished even after tweaking it so many times.  Ah well, no work is ever truly complete methinks. Always room for improvement