Suicide survivor shares experience

The Chronicle

Tafadzwa Chibukwa, Chronicle Reporter
CASES of suicide among young people in the country are alarmingly on the rise, which is a major cause of concern for society.
Many reports have been shared of students at local universities committing suicide. Mr Frank Chirisa (22) who once attempted to take his own life spoke out on the reason behind the action.

On July 18, Mr Chirisa from Nketa 9, Bulawayo tried to commit suicide by lying on a railway line so that a train could run over him. Fortunately the train did not show up. Family members and his friends searched for him and found him at the railway track. They took him to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and he was transfered to Ingutsheni Central Hospital, where he was counselled for two weeks.

United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH)

In an interview, Mr Chirisa who is a stand-up comedian said he overdosed on aspirin pills while waiting at the railway track in Emganwini suburb. He said he was experiencing so many problems in his life that he saw it fit to end it. Mr Chirisa said as life continued handing him lemons, from which he could not make lemonade, he lacked someone to talk to and open up about his problems.

A series of unfortunate events, he said, accumulated and blew up in his face. For this reason, Mr Chirisa had been bottling up his emotions which led him to overthink and triggered suicidal notions. He said while nursing his depression, he came across an article online that touched him.

It was a four-page suicide note that had been posted by a Bulawayo girl. Mr Chirisa felt the girl was addressing his problems and he was inspired to go ahead with his suicide attempt.

“I was having family issues. In March I got robbed and assaulted by thieves in town. I sustained injuries and was left drowning in debt. I started hearing voices in my head but wasn’t aware that I had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because I never went to therapy for it, I just bottled it inside,” said Mr Chirisa.

He said after the robbery, he kept seeing visions and hearing voices of the incident, as if it was on repeat in his head.

“I had gone to collect US$1 500 for my boss from Western Union opposite Bulawayo Centre. I wanted to change my bit of cash to forex. Thinking I was talking with money changers, I got into a stranger’s car and they drove to Belmont where they assaulted me and left me for dead. They took my boss’s money, ” he said.

Bulawayo Centre. Image taken from Bulawayo24

As a small-time comedian operating in an unrecognised industry, Mr Chirisa faced challenges as he would take the little money he would have made and save it towards repaying his boss.

Within a few months after the robbery, Mr Chirisa got involved in a scandal that saw him facing legal issues. He got involved in a car deal which got him arrested and landed him in court. The arrest resulted in pressure from his family, friends and colleagues who were disappointed in him. Mr Chirisa said his stay at Ingutsheni was tough and hostile as the environment was not bearable. He said he managed to learn and acquire new skills from his stay at the hospital.

Ingutsheni Hospital

“I got a lot of therapy and medication that helped my situation get better, my stay at Ingutsheni was very effective. I learnt so many things about myself and mental health. I learnt to communicate and I have been going for therapy since then. I even made a lot of friends that side. I still go and visit the other patients when I’m free. I also don’t stigmatise mental health patients anymore,” he said.

Mr Chirisa said his experience at Ingutsheni Central Hospital made him bold. He said it also helped him become a better person and the experience has transformed his career as he got a lot of jokes from the stay at Ingutsheni, which gives him more content on stage.

Mr Chirisa said he has dedicated his life to fighting for mental health awareness since he has been through it all. –@Sagepapie14

Article Source: The Chronicle

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