How to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts by Dr. Olajumoke Alaba Adewumi
What is suicide?? Suicide is the act of ending one’s life due to whatever problem you think is the situation. It’s often a premeditated action and it’s usually the end result of a long term contemplation or thought pattern.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines suicide as “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.” Other terms used to describe suicide include, self-harm, self-murder and self-slaughter.
The World Health Organization records that approx 800,000 people annually die by suicide, which is down to a whopping 1 person every 40seconds….in the developing nations, like Nigeria, the youth and elderly women are especially prone to suicide compared to the elderly men, while In the developed countries, men are more prone to commit suicide than the women and children as at 2016.
Men have been credited more with the act of completing a suicide compared to females. They usually use the more violent means of suicide than females, eg gunshots to the head, intravenous drug administration,as opposed to other means. They also tend to commit these acts in places where they’re less likely to be discovered compared to women.
Suicide was the second highest cause of death among 15-29 year olds, also in 2016… it still is on the rise as a common cause of death, especially in the last one year in Nigeria…..
Common causes of suicide
Common causes of suicide include the following…
- mental health problems
- bullying or discrimination
- different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse
- bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide
- the end of a relationship
- long-term physical pain or illness
- adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy
- money problems
- housing problems, including homelessness
- isolation or loneliness
- being in prison
- feeling inadequate or a failure
- addiction or substance abuse
- pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
- doubts about your sexual or gender identity
- cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
- other forms of trauma.
But suicide is preventable. How???
Suicide is usually the end result of a thought process; the subject often has a lot of time to contemplate the willingness to perform, and the means to complete the act. Hence, with loving care and patience, and with prayers and sensitivity of people around them, like friends and family, among other factors, most suicides are preventable.
Suicide should not be under the list of criminal offences. It should be seen as a desperate cry of the human heart for help!! And the help should be given whenever possible!!
My experience with suicidal thoughts
As a teenager, while in senior secondary school, I struggled with suicidal thoughts. Often it came as an “idea” to “just end it all”. On and off it came. I was in SS 2 by the time. I was doing poorly in a core science subject, Chemistry. That second term, it was so bad, I couldn’t study well.
I failed chemistry that term, as in, red biro- failed. It was unbelievable. Well, I took it in stride. By then I wasn’t in the choir again. The only thing that kept me going was the FCS, Fellowship of Christian Students. And the weekly Sunday services.
I don’t know if anyone else around knew what I struggled with at the time.
One day, I went for a prayer meeting. Up till now, I don’t know how I got the chance to join the meeting, because I wasn’t a prayer band member at the time. During the meeting, a sister gave a testimony about how she was freed from suicidal thoughts through the power of prayer.
That marked a turning point for me. I prayed and the power of God took over…those dark thoughts started clearing up. Until I stopped having them. My outlook on life improved. I rejoined the choir again. My studies improved. I never failed chemistry or any other subject again. When I eventually graduated, I got all credits. 9/ 9 subjects. I got an A3 in chemistry.
After graduation from secondary school, while at home, I used to become suddenly depressed, for no apparent reason. I would then start contemplating suicide again. But that cloud no longer came down as heavily as before, and after a while it went away. At least I remember one main occasion like that. I want to mention here that, these after graduation blues started again when I thought I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time.
The third major time in my life I remember this “cloud” of suicide coming on me was one time that I had a serious argument with my spouse. This happened in December 2010, barely six months after we got married. I was accused of marital infidelity because I stayed overnight at a studio where I went for the recording of my first music album. I had to travel to where he was staying at Lagos, just to resolve the matter.
But he was so angry that he denied me entry into his room. I just sat down outside in a general room, despondent, and wrote a long letter, planning to drop it off and go out into the black night… PS: How to find my way through Lagos at that time??? I was basically a novice. I had no particular place I had to go to then!!
It took the sensitivity of a very senior doctor who was there for his exams at the time, to tactically ask me what I was doing.. he took the letter and read it. And then he declared that I was going nowhere… what are you doing???? God used him to intervene and that was the last time I remember that cloud of suicide in my life.
Now, I have had many other challenges in my life, like my professional exams. I didn’t pass my part 1 exams on time. But that didn’t make me suicidal. Because I knew by then that, there are many more things to live for on the earth.
Which brings me to the next question.. why are you on earth?? Do you think you are on earth only to eat,drink, have fun, marry, have sex, have children, get a degree, become a consultant or pass exams, work and do more work, grow old and die??
God that created you sees so much more value in you than just all these things. They are important things to achieve in life, but if this is the only thing you have to achieve in life, then you have got it all wrong.
There’s life after death. There’s eternity. Which is either in heaven or in hell. And it’s how we live on the earth that determines our afterlife.
- What we do with our opportunities to move with Jesus matters.
- What we do with our talents and abilities, skills and experiences on earth, matter a lot in eternity.
- Matthew 6:33 (KJV) says, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- God knows what we need. He already knows what is important for a happy life on earth. He only needs us to focus on him, and his ways.
- This is his formula for success on earth. Simple, isn’t it? But difficult to follow. But that doesn’t change the truth.
- So, enough of the long talk. I think it’s time for practical now.
- If you need to talk you can reach the author of this article on WhatsApp number 08184024786 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Thank you and God bless you!!
About the author
- Olajumoke Alaba Adewumi is writing from many years of experience. She is a children and teenager Bible teacher, as well as a writer and singer of gospel music.
- She lives in Zaria with her family, where she works as a medical doctor.