Youthspace.ca (NEED2 Suicide Prevention, Education and Support) Youth Text (6pm-12am PT): (778) 783-0177 Youth Chat (6pm-12am PT): www.youthspace.ca
Crisis Services Canada Toll Free (24/7): 1 (833) 456-4566 Text support (4pm-12am ET daily): 45645
Canadian Crisis Hotline 1 (888) 353-2273
Better Helpwww.betterhelp.com Online access to professional counsellors On the web, and available for iPhone and Android users
The LifeLine App www.thelifelinecanada.ca Direct access to phone, online chat, text, and email crisis support E-counselling, self-management tools, access to crisis centers across Canada Available for iPhone and Android users
ONLINE PEER SUPPORTBig White Wall Canada Big White Wall Canada www.bigwhitewall.ca Anonymous peer support community accessible anytime, anywhere
‘Guilty mom-wife’, those were the words Jane’s friend said to her when she tried so hard to make her feel bad for being a career woman. guilty-mom-wife-what would you say to Jane?
What would you say to Jane, as those words plagued at her heart? Is she really a guilty mom-wife who denies her husband and kids of certain pleasure in choosing to pursue her dreams?
Coming into the house, Jane collapsed into her favourtie couch in her home. Taking off her shoes and kicking off her heels, she folds up her sleeves, ties her braids hair into a ponytail. Getting up, she walks to the fridge, scanning through, trying to figure out what to make for supper. Today was one of those days she does not get to have the luxury of time to catch her breath before going from boardroom Jane to mom-wife Jane.
Upstairs, she could hear her husband trying to convince their four-year old son to finish changing into his nightwear, before going down to say “hi to mummy”. Unlike her husband- John, Jane does not enjoy the luxury of flexible work hours. Perks you get for being your own boss. But it is a blessing as John helps pick some of the balls she has to juggle as dictated by the shackles of culture and tradition.
She enjoys her work as a policy consultant with the government, she also loves her mentorship group with ladies and teenagers she runs on weekends, but more than those, she loves being a wife and being a mom to her two little kids. Some might say she has a pretty good life, well balanced, with well-behaved kids and an amazing husband.
Why then does she feel so disappointed in herself sometimes, almost as if she feels guilty for having this amazing life, and for choosing to share herself with the world, to live for more than herself. To live purposefully? Is she really a ‘guilty-mom-wife’? What does that even mean?!
It does not help either that her friends and family make comments that add to this feeling of guilt, of not being enough for her kids and husband. Just when she thought she had heard it all, it did not help that her friend made a cruel joke about ‘being there to take over the care of her husband and kids, when he got rid of her’. In her friend’s words “no man likes a woman who has it all put together, so stop being this super woman, because if he gets bored and leaves you, I will be here to give him all the fun he wants and as a good friend, take care of your kids”.
Of course, she got rid of that friend- oh no, not the kind of ‘rid’ you are thinking about- like she stopped being friends…just focus please, will you? Thank you! So back to Jane, she stopped being friends with that lady, but the words have not left her. Is she really a bore for wanting to do the things she loves? Is her husband really not happy but just masks it? Do her kids really have more to lose than gain?
Is there really a cost to a woman wanting to be the best version of herself? To contribute to her home financially, and ease the burden on her husband so they can both have the life they want with each other and their kids? Could there really be something she is missing? What do men want, materialistic dependent ladies, or women who truly know their onions and are unafraid to pursue their dreams? If tables were turned, the expectation is for the wife to fully support her husband.
So if two truly becomes one, why can’t the husband support his wife’s dream, especially where there is no conflict like in her and John’s case? Even if there was conflict, can’t two matured adults talk through their dreams and aspirations and come to an agreement of how to make it work? Jane was getting tensed as she thought of her friend who has lost a sense of purpose in the name of ‘supporting her husband’s dream. “Who made these rules anyway?” Jane muttered under her breath as she pulls out a sizzling baking whole chicken from the oven.
My husband and kids are well fed and taken care of, Jane thought to herself. Given, she does not always cook as often as some other mothers, nor does she clean personally all the time. Considering she makes enough to pay for certain services other women do as chores and feel like the supermoms of the 21st century, she didn’t think it mattered if she personally did these things, as long as they were taken care of. If someone thought otherwise, that is not on her, it is on them for leaving their brains in the 1st century. Besides, her husband always reminds her that he is with her hundred per cent. So who cares what anyone else thinks? Right?!
Jane walks over to the dining, setting down a fresh baked whole chicken from the oven. “Honey, kids, dinner is ready”, she yells as she sets down the rice and peppered sauce plus a bowl of salad. She steps back to take a look at her work (did I mention she does love to cook fresh meals for her family?), she smiled very brightly as her husband and kids walk down the stairs, kids already in their sleepwear, giggling on the shoulders of John.
As she hugs them, she can’t help but think that she truly has a good life, and her husband and kids are part of the reason she strives to live purposefully. She reminds herself of why she does the things she does. So once again, as every other time in the last three years, she convinces herself to make peace with her choices.
Guilty mom-wife? Is that even a thing? Who made the rules? Who said she couldn’t? Jane wants to meet with them, perhaps it’s time for a little mind-shift. What say you?
Going from suicide to purpose on the day I ‘died’, I found life. I had just been stood up by my boyfriend at the time. He said he was too sick to go to class to read, I offered to cook him something and send to his room, he declined.
I had exams in two days, so I decided to go study on my own. At seventeen, I was in my first year of school. My academics was my safe place, I did it right and never joked with it. Off I went to one of the classrooms in the famous Obafemi Awolowo University and guess who I found getting cozy with his ex-girlfriend or so he claimed?
Just a Trigger
I know what you are thinking, you wanted to kill yourself because of a guy! Nah, it was not about him. Been suicidal since I was about eleven (11). Nothing helped, I lost weight, had good grades, pretty (still very pretty), had tons of family around me, drank, smoked, but felt empty. He was just a trigger!
I had cut myself a number of times, I had held a knife to my belly so many times. Once, I took overdose of a drug. There was fantasies about a car hitting me off the road. So much so, I did sometimes intentionally walk into the road in hopes….Each time, I either could not follow through or something interrupted me.
Now that we have established it was not about a boy, can we move on? So, seeing him cozy with this girl, I dialed him up. He picked and was murmuring, saying he was cold and wished I was there, they both laughed, and that laughter felt familiar.
It was not the first time someone had made fun of my naivety and gullibility. Yet somehow, the brightest idea I had of how to not let that happen again was to end my life.
I Just Want it all to End
I remember crying so hard, I ripped the chain I had on from my neck. It felt like my heart wanted to pop out of my chest, I honestly thought I was going to die from a heart attack, well that did not happen!
I walked from one end of school to another, in search of ‘otapiapia’ (a drug used to kill rats) at about 2am. They were all closed, except for one where this man took one look at me and blurted out “I am not selling to you my dear, go to your room and sleep and come back tomorrow. Bless that man!
To my room I went indeed, but not to sleep. I cried some more, pulled out a knife, put it to my belly, about to stab, when a thought hit me: “you know it won’t be fair for your roommates to find you in a pool of blood when they wake up”.
Taking a deep sigh, I put the knife down, and for the fist time pulled out my Bible. I hated God because as far as I was concerned, my horrible experiences were His fault. But that day, I prayed: “Dear God, I don’t know if you are real or there, but if you are, all I want is for you to make sure I do not wake up in the morning”.
Hugging my Bible, I slept off. Soon enough, I woke up to the sound of busyness in the room. Recalling what happened, I blurted out “God you are a coward who won’t let me come up to you” (do not ask me what I was expecting to happen when if I indeed died). In an attempt to roll over, my Bible fell and opened up. Without trying to read it, my eyes fell to a verse.
It was as if God responded to me saying “if only you knew what I had in store for you”. Then I saw Dupe Akinsiun (nee Osho) walking towards my room as she usually did every Sunday morning to invite me to ‘cell’. This time, I did not run out the back door. She doesn’t know, sssshhhh, don’t tell her!
Holding my Bible, I followed her without fight or questions, this same verse was read during the cell meeting, and later that day at church. That day I gave my life to Jesus Christ, dying to self, I was raised to life.
See I started that day wanting physical death so badly, but the reality of my spiritual death hit me. It hurts me that I do not remember the exact date, but it remains to me the day I went from suicide to purpose. I found a new reason to live as I hope someone out there today does as well.
The things we go through sometimes feels unfair, and I get it. But, do not let anything get you to the point of your ending your life. You may not have heard God for yourself yet, or maybe you have, but let me be His voice to you: “if only you knew what is in store for you”.
Looking back, people would have said I killed myself over a guy, who by the way never knew what happened. But I am so glad I am here today to share this, and perhaps let you know you are not alone. Hope it help you see that in depression, suicidal thoughts, you too can find purpose and life. YOU are part of my purpose and why I started LoudSilences.org.
My name is Ann Adefuye, a.k.a Anita (nee Young-Itiye). I am Nigerian (soon to also be Canadian). I am from the Kalabari tribe (Rivers State) in the South-South Region of Nigeria. I also regard myself as Yoruba- by marriage.
I have three great passions that will be driven through this platform- teenagers & young adults, sexually and domestically abused people, and mental health. I have personally experienced ugly sides of some aspects of all three, hence the passion to be a voice to those who are still trying to navigate these valleys.
I have plunged to the lowest points of life and somehow sprung back up. My worst experiences are known by very few people in my life and of course not accepted by all. Not because they do not know the truth but because of a fundamental concept that has plagued the Nigerian and African culture for the longest time- the ‘Culture of Silence’.
“It is well”, “Insha Allah”, “Don’t disgrace this family”, “shhhhh, how dare you say such things out in the open”, “what would people say”. The list goes on and on in the different forms that we put the lid on cans of worms. These can take purely religious or cultural undertone, or both. But not anymore! We have a beautiful culture to a large extent, and we can harness them for good, not to keep people bound!
The silence is getting so ‘loud’, it is deafening, the rising number of suicides, deaths by domestic violence, increasing number of divorces, the shaming of victims. There is tremendous work being done by diverse organizations to bring these ills to light, but the voices speaking for victims and calling for prevention strategies can never be too much.
So I welcome you to loudsilences, where we will add our voices to others, help one another understand the impact of the ‘The Culture of Silence’, and turn things around, by unlearning and relearning.
I will tell stories (some would be real stories of real people, including myself), I might share videos, whatever forms of communication it takes to help us undo the damage of years of silence, including sharing reports and/or data.
I need something from you in return, challenge the status quo of your thoughts and perceptions towards these things, educate yourself and others. Choose to empower people who have been trodden down, build compassion and lend a hand and heart to a broken soul. Be a voice and together, let us quiet down these loud silences, and raise our voices to the tune of a better world.