Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Thresholds...



In the dead of the night this past week, I got a phone call that got me dashing to the airport with just my handbag. Someone very close to me had attempted suicide and was in critical condition. I was told a suicide note had been written and addressed to me. You see, I knew there was a situation but I thought everything was under control. We all have our threshold-for pain, disappointment, pressure, you name it. I kept asking myself how she managed to reach hers and no one saw it coming? Sadly, most of us don’t know when to cry out until it’s too late.
I think it has something to do with this facade of perfection we all try to maintain. ‘How are you doing?’ Oh, fantastic!’ you respond, and I walk away wondering why your eyes are swollen. We never stretch out the withered hand. We grew up being told not to wash our dirty linen in public, so we take humiliation, pain, abuse and yet keep our heads up and hide our wounds in designer clothes, flashing Colgate teeth and smiling for the cameras-the very definition of picture perfect.


Life isn’t meant to be endured, you shouldn't go through it sad, lonely, depressed or frustrated either. If God felt we could do very well on our own, we each would have a planet to ourselves. We are on earth together for a reason; when you sense you are about to hit your threshold for whatever situation you are grappling with, forget decorum and cry for help. Do it before you fall to pieces. My dad used to say ‘Na pikin wey raise hand dem dey carry’. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have on Facebook or how many numbers and BB pins you’ve got, when the chips are down, you find out that there are very few people you can call and pour your heart out to, learn to keep them close to you.



Gradually we have become increasingly focused on ourselves and less on those around us-The me, myself and I syndrome. My boss is just plain impossible, my hair is breaking OMG, I need to get rid of these goddamn stretch marks, nobody has bothered to call me this week, I need to move out of my cousins, they are so mean... It’s all about you and how life sucks. Sometimes just listening to someone else talk about their issues makes you grateful that your situation isn’t as critical.



Take time out of your super busy schedule and call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long while, ask how he/she is doing and try not to talk about yourself. I remember a story I read a while back. A lady was about to commit suicide. She had assembled all the drugs in her medicine cabinet. On her way to get water, her phone rang; it was an old friend she hadn’t spoken to in years. She picked the call and her friend said ‘You’ve been on my mind for some time now and I just thought to call and make sure you are doing ok’ she broke down. That phone call lasted 3 hours, but by the time her friend was done, she was saved from going over the brink. I wonder what would have happened if her friend sat and wondered when she was ever going to call, or decided not to call her if she didn’t call first.



Personally, I try to stay away from people or environments that make me feel bad or guilty all the time for doing or not doing something, for not being there, and sometimes for being there but not as much as they would’ve liked. I can’t always be there, only God can. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by people who understand that limitation but love me all the same, and are content and happy knowing that even when I don’t call, out of sight is never out of miand if they ever need a shoulder, I’m just a phone call away.
I never got to read the suicide note, I couldn’t bring myself to, but then there wasn’t any need, ‘cos as at the time I bade her farewell, I knew the worst was over. She made it. 


© Naomi Lucas

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