Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Suicide and the Artful Mastery of Self-Deceit – Stream of consciousness Saturday.

It was startling and extremely disheartening to learn that a friend’s husband committed suicide three days ago. He shot himself and it wasn’t by mistake. It was a premeditated action.

To say the least, my mind meandered from pillar to post. I couldn’t even begin to fathom the horror his wife and daughter must be living through. I couldn’t even begin to think of how brokenhearted they must be.SoCS badge 2015

It’s a nightmare that never goes away. The questions of ‘why’ will forever dance around in their heads. The first question that popped into my mind was equally why and the second question as foolish as it might sound was ‘how did he get a gun?’ 

Guns are not easily obtained back home in Nigeria and I have only ever had a gun close to me when armed robbers pointed it to my head and I found myself staring into the nozzle of the gun and praying as fast as I could in my mind.

Jokes apart, I stared my death in the face and I grew cold. I know that it’s Grace and Mercy that saved me. That Grace and Mercy stopped the robber from going trigger happy and coldheartedly shooting me.

In my ruminations, I realised that for a partner or anyone to decide to take his/her life then their sense of despair must have been horrendously hopeless. It’s just sad. It also makes me realise that a lot of artful concealing of emotions and self-deceit must have played a role until things got out of control.

The worst deceit that one can indulge in is the artful deceit of self. Indulging in such cover-up cheats one of the ability to be true to themselves and to reach out for the help they need. The saying ‘fake it until you make it,’ has always made me ask the question, to what extent should someone fake it until they have to pause and take stock of their fakery?

How long should one walk around wearing an artfully decorated mask that smiles, laughs, chit-chats and conceals the pain going on behind their mask? There are days that I felt a small wild animal growling in my head about one thing or the other but yet, I apply my gloss, wear my glad rags and get on with my to-do list like the World is all bright and beautiful. However, I’ve learnt to express and share my emotions when I feel overwhelmed and it’s not only cathartic to do so, but also offers the opportunity to hear good counsel as well.

Here was an upwardly mobile young man, who by all appearances had things going well for him, but for some reason, his thoughts fell apart to such an extent that he felt suicide is the only way forward. If he had sought help is it possible that he wouldn’t have resorted to this?

In core African societies, mental ill health is grossly overlooked and neglected and it’s almost seen as a taboo to insinuate that a person has Bipolar disorder or PTSD. Its results are far-reaching though suicide is not particularly a common phenomenon possibly due to the strong social and family system in existence, nonetheless, the dearth of professional care in this regards especially with the increasing level of stress and societal dysfunction in our present World makes this a cause for concern.

SOC’s prompt for this week coincided with my thoughts on the art of masking emotions based on the suicide incident.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

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Out of the silent breath

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha’s poems portray images that stare us right in the face. Images of love, joy, death, pain, challenges, violation, and freedom. She writes in a language that’s rich in imagery, earthy, honest, vulnerable, yet full of the promise of hope, of loving and of Grace. A collection of light and dark soulful prose.


16 thoughts on “Suicide and the Artful Mastery of Self-Deceit – Stream of consciousness Saturday.

    1. It’s unfortunate that mental health is not seen as any other illness out there and I think this is probably the reason behind the hiding and lack of sufficient care. People would rather hide their problems until it got too late (based on fear of other people’s judgement).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Depression is a complex condition poorly understood. People affected by it feel powerless, hopeless, helpless. It is often only in hindsight that loved ones can begin to identify some of the signs and symptoms that led up to that last final act of desperation. I can well believe that living in a country where mental illness is not condoned let alone understood, it would make the situation even more hopeless and helpless. Depression is a condition that cannot be shrugged on or off at will. I don’t know that a person dealing with the depths of depression to such an extent as to lead to suicide, has the capacity for willful artful deception. In my 30+ years of working in mental health, I recall many such cases. Often they simply believe they are beyond help and opt for what they believe to be the only way out. So sad. Condolences on the loss. Hopefully his family will receive the help they need to move on from this tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s truly sad. Depression is underrated and in societies where people can be judged or looked on as ‘crazy’ for suffering from mental ill health the tendency is that most people will trudge on and keep pretending that all is well with them until it’s too late to seek any form of help. Which makes me wonder how many individuals are suffering in silence.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, it’s a lot. Coming out for those with mental illness would have to be akin to coming out as gay. Probably worse in some respects.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. its truly sad , hope the family passes through the storm

    also ive read somewhere that suicide never ends depression it only transfers to another person .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry to read about this terrible tragedy. I was not aware of the extent of the taboo about mental health care in African countries. Thanks for being courageous and writing about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post really hit me as yesterday I found out that my uncle committed suicide. He planned it out for 8 months after my aunt died of cancer. He told a few people but no matter what they tried they couldnt talk him out of it. I guess the depression was too great to see the path. Hearing this news upset me even though we were not close at all. It brought back other deaths I have had to go through and brought my anxiety to the forfront. I am sorry to hear this has happened to you and your friend as well.


  5. Deepest condolences for you, Jacqueline and especially your friend’s family. I understand the loss and confusion entirely and shall pray for you all. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


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