I met this young tall dark and handsome man and my first impression of him was damn boy you look hot! He has dimples on his face and he’s ever smiling. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t say hi unless you do, but once he gets to know you, he talks until your left wondering if its the same person. For some reason he was so open and told me his story after a couple of days and I was left speechless. I call him Erick.
It all began in High School when he was a freshman and no sooner had he joined, did he realized that the school he had gone to also had a neighbor from his estate who was a senior. That is the joy of any student joining high school, to find anyone they can call a friend. He was happy, never bullied, sat with the seniors! I mean life in high school was great!
After the seniors left high school and the form 3’s were now the seniors, it was now hell on earth for Erick. They hated him for being the favourite of the previous year seniors! They picked on him and he had a terrible time in school. Erick started keeping to himself, after all, anyone who became his friend was attacked by the senior students. He was bullied, punished, called all sorts of names to a point he thought of committing suicide.
He thought of ways of getting rid of his pain, and for him the only thing that made sense was to cut himself with a razor blade and after that, he would go to the lab and burn the wounds up. At this point am shocked and asked him to describe the pain and he said at first he felt pain, but soon he got used to it and he never felt anything. He never removed his sweater to hide his scars. He saw himself as worthless, a nobody that everyone hated. He sat all by himself during lunch break and all breaks, no one talked to him. He was a bright boy who got good grades, but soon his grades started going down to a level that his parents were called in. He wanted to explain to his parents what was happening, but they only yelled and scolded him because of his poor grades, to the point he shut and never explained what was happening.
Erick was now addicted to the cutting and burning, that no single day went by without him doing it. He made friends with the chemistry teacher and he was made the chemistry prefect. For him it wasn’t about anything else except getting access to the lab and burning his wounds. One day some of the boys were going for drama festival, and Erick gathered courage to send one of them to buy him soap and other things he needed for school, to which they agreed. However, he had no idea what was being planned! The boys went out for drama festival, came back with alcohol and placed it in Erick’s bag. Then one of them went and tipped off the teacher on duty and a search was called immediately. When Erick’s bag was searched, they found alcohol, he couldn’t explain himself, he went blank and that is how Erick was expelled from school.
His parents were mad with him, he tried to explain himself as to what really happened, but no one wanted to hear his side of the story. “How can my own flesh and blood ignore me and treat me like a suspect?” at this point he stops sharing and starts crying and we take a break so that he goes through the emotion. When he’s ready we continue and from here he talks with so much authority and finality. Erick was now completely obsessed with cutting himself, but he always has to wear long sleeves or a sweater to cover his scars. His parents take him to another school and Erick had to repeat that year to keep up. At this point he was tired of school, hated everyone around him and he made a vow to himself to commit suicide immediately after finishing high school. So I ask, why after high school? why not before and he said, “my parents always said that to have a high school certificate was important and it would enable you get to university, so for me, I only wanted to make them proud of that one achievement and thereafter, leave them because I seemed to have caused them a lot of pain.”
Erick finishes high school, however, that is the same time as when the blue whale challenge was going on and Erick found solace in it. He says, he discovered there were people just like him and so he did each and every challenge until he reached the one of committing suicide, something that he had longed for. Erick tells me that he decided to write on his Facebook page that he was going to commit suicide to see if there was anyone who would stop him. He vividly describes how he was going to kill himself but all he got were people saying stop joking! get a life and so on! That was when he realized that no one really cared about him and he decided he had to go through with his plans. The day finally came and he went and had breakfast with his family, hugged his mum and told her how much he really loved her and apologized for not being the child she always wanted. His mum kissed him back and told him “I love you son,” and she went to work.
One girl saw his message on Facebook and she decided to call him, Erick didn’t pick, so she rushed to his house and knocked, but no one opened. Erick had already put on the rope and had hanged himself, she managed to get some soldiers to knock the door down, and she went and found Erick just in the nick of time just before he died and together with the help of neighbors took him to hospital. Erick recovered fully and is now undergoing counselling to help him cope with issues.
Erick has given me permission to write about his story to bring awareness to depression and suicide that young people his age are currently going through. My question is, how well as parents do we know our children? do we have a relationship with them to the point that they can come to us with anything that they are going through? How often do we listen to them? How often do we spend time with them and just allow them to share whatever issues they might be going through? This is a wake up call to all parents out there. Erick was lucky and he says, now he knows that he has a purpose in this life and he will create awareness for suicide and depression. What about the rest of the young people who were not so lucky? Don’t their lives matter?
Depression is real and so many people, doesn’t matter the age or gender are going through it. Pastors are taking their own lives because of depression, mothers are killing their own children because of depression, and the rest of us are left there judging how could they? yet we have absolutely no idea what they went through to come to that decision.
Lets stop the judging and be each others keepers! Today call someone whom you haven’t in a while and just find out how they are doing and lets make the world a better place than we found it.