In the 1970s, my office shared the same floor with another company, a small private firm. There was a young man who worked in that company, more or less like the office assistant. Though he was the youngest in the company, he carried himself with dignity and went about his work diligently. My colleagues and I admired him a lot. Then, we returned from one weekend to be hit with the news: the young man had taken his life. We were shocked. It did not make any sense to any of us. He did not seem to have any problems or issues. Yes, he was quiet and kept to himself, but he was also always cheerful.
What was it that made him take his life?
Back in secondary school, I had a senior we all admired. He came from a rich home and was dropped off in a private car with his junior cousins each morning, while the rest of us came by trotro. Yet he was the perfect gentleman – a good mixer, great hockey and guitar player. He was generally an all-rounder. Years later, when I entered the University of Ghana, Legon, I saw him loitering around one of the halls and he seemed like someone who was going out of his mind. I mentioned it to my brother, Kweku, who was a member of that hall, and he said, “Yes, loves to come to my room to chat though he isn’t a student but you are right, he is losing his mind.”
What would make such a wonderful person lose it?
Sadly, such stories abound, and I am sure it’s not new to you. Truth is, you never know what someone is going through or what they are dealing with. And you’ll never know how much more they can take, that is, the last straw that’ll break the camel’s back. As a counselor, I am always amazed at how much people deal with and still manage to put on a cheerful façade. The courage many people exercise every morning to get up from the bed and face the world with a smile will shock you.
I believe that we should all watch our mental health and try not to let issues pile up in our minds. We should learn to deal with stress better. Also, we should try to look out for one another because you never know how many times that colleague of yours in the office has contemplated taking his/her life.
Let’s cultivate the habit of making things easy for everyone we deal with, be nice to people because you never know how much they are already carrying and how close they may be to their breaking point.
We are all damaged in one way or the other, and I think it will be wonderful if we understood this and created a community of broken people who are committed to supporting one another in any way we could. I believe that is when we get to live our best lives.
So hang in there, dear one, because the sun will come up again tomorrow.
Source: Uncle Ebo Whyte