Mental Health Check: Suicide watch. The thought of my life being taken away from me doesn’t scare me at all, if anything, it brings a sense of comfort. The thought of death brings an overwhelming feeling of warmth that inhabits my entire body and makes me feel hot, so hot I feel claustrophobic in my own presence.
“Sometimes I get scared to be left alone. Left to my own thoughts. Memories of my past. Left to my never-ending darkness. Warm tears begin to stream down my face as my entire life flashes before my eyes, especially the one fateful day I will never forget, but all I feel is numbness. My mind goes to that dark place that it often wanders to during such an episode. PAIN!
Physical pain, is what I crave to overshadow the emotional pain and distraught I am feeling. I open my wallet and take the “feel good” razor out. I stare at it in cynical admiration and wonder if cutting myself this time will bring a different feeling compared to the time before. Will I feel the cut at all if I’m feeling so numb right now!? Well, there’s only one way to find out…
The room is quiet and still, you could hear a pin drop. The silence is deafening but my mind is loud, all I hear are voices screaming at me to do it. “DO IT!” “DO IT!” “You’re worthless” “Nobody’s going to care if you’re dead or alive” “Who do you think you are!?”
I slit my wrist and wince in pain as I see the blood gush out. I rush to the bathroom to attempt to nurse my fresh wound and a wave of regret and confusion washes over me. “Why did I do it?” “Why am I feeling this way?” “WHY DIDNT YOU JUST END IT ALL THIS TIME!?” …” I go on to the medicine cabinet as I stain the carpet with blood that is still gushing out of my wound like an open tap of water.
I grab a hold of the packet that has pain killers. The label clearly states “Take-Two after a meal”. I stand there and contemplate whether to feed into the voices that have been screaming at me to take my life. Losing a lot of blood leads to me feeling an immense state of dizziness.
I proceed to put an immeasurable number of pills into my hand and take them all in at once. The last thing I remember is closing my eyes as I lay in the bath tub and let myself go. “This is the end”, I told myself.”
Laying in her bed in the emergency room, Tariro was filled with unbearable pain as the doctors and nurses looked over her to see if she was stable. In that moment, all the painful memories of her attempted suicide and the reasons why she was at peace with taking her life flooded her mind.
Two days earlier: Tariro was at her breaking point. Suicidal thoughts clouded her mind for a month and a half. All she wanted was to be at peace, forever. The only way to achieve that was to kill herself. Thinking back to the day she was violently violated, she was filled with feelings of disgust, hate, anger and embarrassment.
She was on her way to a friend’s house, which was located 30 minutes away. She requested an Uber and made her way. Her Uber driver, Fred, was friendly and made her feel a false sense of safety. He asked if she minded if they would pick a friend of his along the way, she went on to agree, not thinking too much about it. Fred proceeded to pick two of his friends along the way who sat on either side of Tariro.
She instantly felt a sense of discomfort. Abruptly one of the men pointed a gun to her head and demanded that she hand over her belongings to the other man. A gut wrenching feeling of fear came over Tariro. She couldn’t speak, she could hardly breathe. Her palms were sweaty, her hands shaking. In that moment, she didn’t know what exactly to expect. “Are they going to rob me and leave me in a deserted place?”
“Are they going to murder me for some gang affiliation!?” “Am I dreaming!?”
Fred went on to divert the trip and took various turns that resulted in Tariro being unaware of her location. They got to a neglected place that had a ditch.
These men dragged Tariro against her will and threw her into the ditch. Fred and his friends shouted provocative and heart wrenching slurs at Tariro.
“You’re worthless and naive”, “Nobody will believe you if you tell”. She tried to fight them off but their strength overpowered hers. She screamed, shouted and fought but to no avail. They started to beat her in an attempt to get her to quiet down. One man ripped Tariro’s clothes off and they all proceeded to violate her. Once the men were done, they spat on her and left her in that ditch and drove off without her.
Tariro was left stranded without her phone and purse. She lay in that ditch, crying silent tears. She was robbed off of her innocence, her dignity, her sanity – she was left broken, shattered! Tariro looked over her body and saw blood, she was bruised and dirty.
She winced in pain as she attempted to put her clothes back on. Being unaware of her location made it difficult to wrap her head around the direction she should take. She just walked in hopes that someone would give her a ride back to the city.
From that day on, her entire mood changed. She was always blank-faced, reserved, tired and unenthusiastic. She had no strength to fight for justice or tell anyone about what happened. People constantly asked what was wrong but she was too ashamed and traumatized to talk about it.
She was so traumatized that all she wanted was to die. She felt that it would’ve been better for the men to take her life rather than to leave her with the shame and pain she carried on a daily basis. This is what led to her desire to kill herself instead.
In her attempt to commit suicide, she overdosed on pills. She slit her wrists because she felt she was unworthy and undeserving of the life that flowed through her veins. She lay in the bathtub and slowly let herself go. A neighbour found her in the bathtub before she lost all consciousness and called the paramedics.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls.
It’s sad that women are the main victims of gender-based violence. Women bare children, we give life to the earth only for ours to be taken away. When men partake in gender-based violence it not only hurts the victims but the women around them. No mother wants to know she raised a monster of a son who does not protect and appreciate women.
The same way women need to be protected so do men. We need to come together and just respect and love one another. Others may say it’s easier said than done but it starts with the people around you. Protect your mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and female friends.
If you see that a girl is intoxicated and being taken advantage of, instead of being a bystander or participating in any incriminating acts, stick up for her and genuinely take care of her, that could be your sister at a different party. If you see a man provoking and intimidating a woman or a girl take the stand and stick up for her like she’s your mother or sister.
It is sad that women need to put such topics into this perspective to be heard and understood better. We are living in an extremely cruel and perverse world, let us attempt to spread love and light everywhere we go. We need to be more INTENTIONAL.
Let us not just be bystanders or instigators but rather protectors and caretakers. You might be thinking “It is not my job to protect someone else, I have my own life to live”.
That is fair and fine but remember what goes around always comes around, karma might not hurt you directly but rather hurt those you love dearly. If you have been involved in committing an act of gender-based violence to remember that your seemingly little act can drive a victim to take their own life because you have left them feeling worthless, broken and unworthy of love.
If you are a victim of gender-based violence, I’d like to say that I’m extremely sorry for what you have been through but remember that taking your life is not going to make your life any better.
Whether we want to admit it or not, life has kicked us so hard we’ve contemplated doing it. Maybe not suicide per say but hurting ourselves in different ways to feel some sort of validation. We’ve tried to stay strong and hopeful through so much pain and trauma that we’ve endured, but all we want to do is end it all.
However please always bear in mind that there is so much in store for you in this life. That grey cloud you are under right now will soon come to pass. I know it’s never easy to speak about what you’ve been through and the trauma you have experienced but as a famous saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem half solved.”
Speak about what you’ve been through, accept the past you have come from and embrace the amazing future ahead of you. Your story could touch so many lives and help people refrain from taking drastic measures to get through the pain they’re feeling.
•Speak about what you’ve been through, it is not taboo to open up.
•Find an outlet to express your feelings (paint, write, cook, bake, stay active so you don’t dwell on your past)
•Constantly affirm yourself: you are beautiful, you are loved, you are valued, you are strong.
Constantly check on the mental health of the people around you. You never know what someone could be going though and the positive role you could be playing in their life in that moment. As much as we need to be on guard in relation to our physical health during this pandemic, our mental health is probably affected the most.
Health Times reporter Kudakwashe Pembe quoted ZRP spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi that “In January 2018 to March 2018, the Zimbabwe Republic Police recorded a total of 94 suicide cases and out of these cases, 74 were through hanging and 20 were through poisoning where some victims would take some pesticides and where others would overdose on pills.
In 2019 we recorded a total of 129 suicide cases from January to March 2019. Out of these you will realise that 87 are from hanging and 42 from poisoning.” He added that some of the suicide cases were people suffering from mental disorders
Covid 19 has left us in a state where we’ve left to our own thoughts and devices and a form of isolation we cannot particularly escape. Our minds are extremely powerful, they make or break us in every aspect. We need to be extremely cautious of the thoughts we dwell on and entertain.
It is totally ok to feel tired, defeated and hopeless sometimes. It is human to feel like you have no fight left in you. When you do get to a stage of feeling such, you need to take some time out.
Time away from all negative energy. Take time out to meditate, pray, write. Do whatever makes you feel better, whatever gives you a sense of peace, belonging and genuine happiness.
I believe waking up every day is confirmation that your race isn’t over, you have to keep running and pushing through all the trials you face. There is no shame in being strong but rather wisdom and strength in the perseverance.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. DONT GIVE UP!
To everyone: Your story isn’t over so please do not cut it short by taking your life or getting involved in the unhealthy activity. You are strong, appreciated, worthy and extremely loved.
Source – H-Metro
In -news – COVID-19 lockdown measures relaxed
COVID-19 lockdown measures relaxed. And as schools prepare to reopen for examination classes, steps are being taken to ensure Zupco has enough buses to ferry teachers and pupils, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last night after the weekly meeting of the national inter-ministerial taskforce.