Ridwan Adeoye: Why Would Anyone Want to Take His/Her own Life

I watched Mrs. Doubtfire growing up and was in awe with Robin Williams playing a nanny, so when news of his death filtered in earlier this week, it was indeed a sad reminder of possibilities conceivable in the human mind. We see them, we watch them, we admire their success, we even envy them and deep deep in the recesses of their minds, nothing is worth it. I am lucky not to have been close to anyone who has committed suicide, the only incidence was sometime in July this year while on a business trip to Port Harcourt. The client whom I was meeting had hurried down to the Omagwa International airport that fateful morning to pick me up. While we were driving to site and also discussing national issues, he received a disturbing phone call, the person at the other end of the line broke the news that his cousin committed suicide earlier that morning. The young man who I later learnt was 27 years old had hung himself. The person who put the call through to my client narrated how he and the young lad had had dinner the day before and joked on some issues before he saw him to his house, where they had customarily said, see you tomorrow in their native dialect. The question was; what could have prompted him to commit suicide? Apparently my client's cousin had a well paying job, had no criminal history, did not owe anyone and was not heartbroken. The cousin had no known squabble with anyone and most importantly had no mental illness. Suicide was also not part of the family history. So why will he chose to end it all? The suicide scene had no suicide note, no clues, no references, nothing, just death of a promising young man. The family were in shock and needed answers to ascertain the cause of his irreversible decision. That is just one of the few cases we get to hear. In this part of the world everything just goes with the wind. I must say my client has not become himself since then and the question lingers - Why? Why? Why? When I was younger, I knew an old man, in his early 70s who happened to be the grandfather of a family friend. The old man left home suddenly on a fateful day and never returned. After a lot of searching, which turned negative, one of the children stumbled on a note which the old man had written stating he had gone to jump from the top of the third mainland bridge and into the Lagos Lagoon. The family have not been able to ascertain this because there was no record of such incident around that time. The old man has never returned home, your guess is still as good as mine. Apparently, it becomes more worrisome when people who we are supposed to see as role model travel this inhumane path. I have from time past heard of actors and actresses who have taken their life. From Brenda Benet who shot herself in front of her ex-lover, to Ray combs who destroyed the inside of his home and had also been banging his head against the walls, he was admitted to a psychiatric ward in a hospital and placed on a 72-hour mental observation. Early the next morning, Combs fashioned a noose from his hospital sheets and hanged himself in a closet. More of recent is the case of one of the finest TV character of this era, Robbin Williams who coroner reports shows apparently hung himself with a belt. The big question is: WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO TAKE HIS/HER OWN LIFE? The causes of individuals committing suicide are enormous ranging from; mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or drug abuse. Stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a role. Views on suicide have been influenced by broad existential themes such as religion, honour, and the meaning of life. Most religion I know kick against this act. Suicide, the taking of one’s own life, is ungodly because it rejects God’s gift of life. No man or woman should presume to take God’s authority upon themselves to end his or her own life. It is evident to note how Islam strongly disapproves this act. According to the Holy Quran, in Suratu-l-nisa, verse 29, Almighty Allah said "And do not kill yourselves, surely God is most Merciful to you." The prohibition of suicide has also been recorded in statements of hadith, (sayings of Muhammad). Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "He who commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in the Hell Fire (forever) and he who commits suicide by stabbing himself shall keep on stabbing himself in the Hell-Fire."… Also narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever." We need to take time to get into the minds of those around us. I believe there is always a reason to hang to life, no matter what card we have been dealt with. I also believe that mental illnesses should not be over looked. There is also need to show much care and attention when we have people around us who are going through hard times, because that smile you see on their faces might be hiding a lot of darkness. Remember that taking life is never the answer to any problem, it will only create problem for those we leave behind. May Almighty Allah not inflict us with what our heart cannot bear… Amin. Ridwan Adeoye is an animal technologist, a budding writer and social media enthusiast. He writes on relationships and life issues.

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