The headline was deplorable, 'man kills himself after being denied money to buy bhang by the mother'. A young man, only twenty-six years, with an entire lifetime ahead of him decided to do away with himself just like that. If suicide was justifiable then the reason behind also should be. But in this case, very few can actually grasp the intensity, it is always easier to condemn than to dig deeper.
The truth of the matter is, addiction means everything to the addict. They strive, not to build an empire, but to satisfy the ever-raging craving. Their entire world revolves around addictive substances. Simply put, it means lacking control over doing, taking, or using something to the point where it is harmful to you. Addiction is a disease.
The addict's lifestyle and personality are all built on that one pillar. Could be weed, alcohol, and sometimes even sex. That is what they live for, it is what keeps them up, or helps them to sleep, at night. It is the engine that keeps their lives moving and is usually the force behind most crimes.
One fact about addiction is that it runs in tandem with other mental illnesses, mostly depression, the silent killer. We can rarely tell which one comes before the other, which one is the egg and which one is the chicken. Do people take drugs to cope with depression or do they get depressed due to drugs, we might never tell.
Depression darkens life, it is like a thick pregnant cloud that follows a person wherever they go, blocking out the sunshine and blowing cold wind. Lengthy midnight. One feels that they can never face another day, they just want to disappear into nothingness, to fizzle out. It is a heavy load that one carries on their shoulder always, with no breaks. Depression, even to experts, is hard to explain. Sure, adverse life experiences play a role, and insufficient dopamine plays a role too but for some, it just happens, like cancer.
We have all heard about men suffering in silence, and how can they talk anyway, or be vulnerable? The mockery that follows is immeasurable.
Peering through the strong masculine guise is nearly impossible. It is a thick opaque wall but what can they do, they have 'to be strong' for their wives, children, mothers, the whole clan, the entire society, and the world. The weight of responsibility men carry around is insane.
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Remember the set book in high school, "Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe"? We probably forgot the storyline but not this statement, "when the centre cannot hold, things fall apart." The centre, sometimes, cannot hold, and things actually fall apart.
Let us face it, men, at the core, are just human. They have emotions and everything else that makes us different from robots. They get depressed, which most will never admit, so they run to bhang and alcohol. For that man, it is better to be known as an addict than an emotional sponge. Good news, there are some telltale signs; is he drinking a little too much? Is your father or brother becoming a little too irritable nowadays?
There it is, the red flag, he is literally waving the white flag, so be there for him.
Honestly, I have never seen anything more horrid under the sun than how men take their lives. Gruesome. They reserve enough anger to follow through, to jump from a twenty-story building, or to dangle their entire being on a rope.
Research shows that men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. It also shows that women use less aggressive means.
Instead of shouting at the man in your life whenever he gets home drunk, be his peace, especially when you suspect he is depressed. Offer him warmth and do not expect him to open up, he might or he might not. But it will do him good to know that he is not alone in his world and that his efforts are appreciated.
So don't sit there expecting him to 'man up', what does that mean anyway?