Home » Sports » Suicide – An Escape From Inner Scars [opinion]

At least 90% of people who committed suicide had a mental disorder while 60% were severely depressed, statistics have shown.

But sadly, in most developing countries there is no comprehensive training in suicide management for those who major in mental health.

Suicide has been around for ages and has earned varied opinions. Some view it as a selfish act since those left behind will have to deal with the emotional trauma.

Recently 25-year-old Brenda Chinguwa jumped to her death from the 13th floor of the Harare City-owned Trafalgar Court into CBD following a misunderstanding with her husband.

The media was awash with gory pictures of her broken and bloodied body sprawled on the pavement. Social media was inundated with comments, some viciously attacking the deceased while some sympathised with the family.

Clearly, this dark phenomenon will never be truly understood. The Standard last week spoke to two women who attempted suicide at some point in their lives and candidly share their tales.

*Netsai was only 18 when she attempted to take her life.

“I was very unhappy with my life because everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I had passed O’Level with flying colours but my stepfather refused to pay for further studies saying I needed to get a job and assist my siblings,” she said in a voice raw with emotions.

As if that was not enough, he started abusing her sexually.

“The first time it happened he called me to his bedroom and raped me at knife point,” she said choking back tears.

“He called me a worthless prostitute only good for quenching men’s physical needs.”

Thereafter Netsai sank into depression. She lost weight, could not sleep at night. But the abuse did not stop.

“He threatened to throw my mother out together with my younger siblings. I was in no position to support them and so I kept quiet,” Netsai said.

The abuse continued until one day when she snapped.

“I was angry that despite joining a powerful church this torment was not coming to an end. I bought some tablets for treating malaria and locked myself in the bedroom,” she said.

“I was lucky because neighbours rushed me to hospital. I could not speak, eat or talk for two days.”

Netsai recovered from her ordeal but she will never forget the excruciating pain.

“It felt like someone was ripping my insides. I choked on my own vomit and up until now I cannot swallow a tablet,” she said.

With the help of church counsellors she regained part of her former life but still she kept her secret for her mother’s sake.

“I only told one woman from my church,” she said.

She found a job as a maid for a lovely couple and a year down the line she got married and now is a mother to a three-month-old baby.

“My stepfather died last year but I still cannot bring myself to tell my mother. I will take the secret to my grave,” Netsai said.

She however finds it difficult to be intimate with her husband.

“At times I do not want him to touch me. I’m also moody and do not want to socialise,” she said.

While Netsai might be on the road to recovery, *Lucy, another survivor of suicide, is still battling to contain the feeling of wanting to end her life.

“I have attempted to kill myself thrice and the last time was on Christmas day last year,” she said.

Lucy was happily married and her enterprising husband provided well for his family. But they started having marital problems and before long there was another woman in the picture.

“We fought every day and during one of the fights I threatened to kill myself if he did not end the other relationship. It worked for a while and he stopped going out at night but it started again,” she said.

The first time she tried killing herself she drove a kitchen knife into her belly.

“I was shocked by my action. As we argued I grabbed a knife and told him I was going to kill myself. He taunted me saying he couldn’t care less,” Lucy said.

“That hurt and with blinding speed I stabbed myself once and was going for the second stab when he wrestled the knife from me. There was so much blood. I passed out,” she said.

Lucy was lucky, the blade missed major organs but the jagged scar is a constant reminder of the horrific incident.

“Our relationship blew hot and cold and no amount of counselling was working. Then last year on Christmas day I discovered that my husband and his mistress were going to Durban for New Year celebrations,” she said.

“I went ballistic and smashed things in the house. We were both screaming and in a rage he jumped into the car and as he did so I threw myself into his way.”

The car missed her but she hit her head on the ground sustaining life-threatening injuries.

Three days later she was served with divorce papers as she lay helpless in hospital.

“I felt so drained and so empty. After everything, I still thought we could work things out but that piece of paper said otherwise,” Lucy said.

Still bent on ending her life, she tricked friends into bringing her painkillers.

“I downed a handful before a nurse walked in on me,” said Lucy.

She stayed longer in hospital and the doctors were not sympathetic and once she was out of danger they discharged her.

“I was still weak but I think they were tired of my suicide attempts.”

Although she has not made another attempt, she does have thoughts about committing suicide a lot of times.

“I miss my husband, my kids [he won temporary custody of the two girls] and my life. Right now I live with my mother in a dingy two-roomed cottage in Mabvuku. I’m finding it hard to adjust. From a double storey in Greystone Park to this,” she said shaking her head.

Lucy is currently undergoing therapy with a private organisation and she is making steady progress although she relapses once in a while.

Talk Show host Rebecca Chisamba said women should learn to let go of “toxic” relationships.

“No relationship is worth dying for and once you realise that it is not working, let go,” she said.

Mai Chisamba, as she is popularly known, said lack of access to financial resources was also crippling women from extricating themselves from situations that were potentially harmful to their mental health.

“Society too should desist from frowning at single parents or divorcees. There is so much stigma for this group of people, resulting in some women choosing to stay in abusive relationships,” she said.

However, senior pastor with Arise Ministries in Belvedere, Charles Mutema, said suicide was spiritual and needed g prayers and fasting.

“It is the works of the devil. He’s cunning and that is why we urge our followers to constantly renew their minds with the word from the Bible,” he said.

Sociologist Anderson Dube says suicide is premeditative and rarely an impulsive action.

“People who kill themselves do not just wake up and decide to die. It is premeditated. They actually plan how and when they will die. To ordinary people it might appear to be sudden, but they would have figured out everything,” he said.

Dube also said in many cases they try to reach out to someone before they actually carry out the act.

“It is a cry for help. No one really wants to die but at times society fails to read the telltale signs on time to actually save a life,” he said.

According to the first systemic study of suicide by French sociologist Emile Durkheim titled Le Suicide, there are four types of suicides.

The first one is egoistic suicide which involves individuals who feel socially excluded, with little social support and no integration with society, resulting from a sense of personal failure.

Then there is the altruistic suicide. This is said to be quite the opposite of egoistic suicide. It describes individuals who are actually overly integrated into society and feel that only through suicide can they meet society’s demands. It was most common in countries like Japan in the 19th Century and was performed for personal honour.

Anomic suicide occurs when individuals become, for example, redundant and the societal rules that guided their lives are no longer appropriate. This leads to instability and alienation and, in some cases, suicide.

Lastly there is fatalistic suicide, which is the opposite of anomic. Thought to be prevalent in instances of excessive regulation where individuals have lost all direction in life and feel that they have no control over their own destiny.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard