N.B: This article is focusing on the distressed student. However, it can be helpful in all spheres of life such as at home, work places and social life. Please read through.

We all face stress in our lives. Stress can be positive sometimes, however, it can be debilitating when it is a lot. Students are usually under a lot of pressure with both their academic and personal lives. While students have found different ways to cope with the system, sometimes it can become too much and thereafter lead to distress or even depression.

Emotional distress can be explained as a state of mental anguish which may result from a certain circumstance or mental health issue. The staff of a school have the better opportunity to notice when a student is distressed and that includes the school counsellor and fellow students too. This is because, they get to interact with them throughout the day. It is crucial for all school staff members to be familiar with, and watchful for, risk factors and warning signs of suicidal behavior. The entire school staff should work to create an environment where students feel safe sharing such information. 

Sometimes, students who are distressed may be perceived as simply ‘naughty’, or ‘bad’ by teachers and peers. This perception may in turn damage their self-esteem and make them feel shunned by those around them. It is thus important that teachers and school counsellors be on the look-out for any indications of stress or depression.

There are several matters that could cause distress to a student, including (but not limited to):

• Broken relationships/family

• Loss of a family member/friend

• Illness of a loved one

• Conflict with family or a close person

• Victim of assault

• Sudden change i.e. moving to another town/school

• Traumatic experience example rape, war, accident, floods etc

• Mental health condition

When one is faced with such difficult situations, there might be some changes in the person. The following are some of the indications of a student who is struggling.

  • Unusual Behaviour:

 • Falling asleep in class frequently

• Threatening or disruptive behavior in classroom  

• Marked changes in appearance, example hygiene and weight

• Extreme mood swings or inappropriate, excessive display of emotion

• Sudden withdrawal from others or excessive sleep

• Chronic irritability, excessive anxiety or hyperactivity

• Confusion, bizarre behaviour or disorientation

· Unusual bruises or cuts on hands or body

· Sadness, tearfulness

· Extreme loss of appetite or binge eating frequently

· Dependency, i.e. the student keeps making appointments to see you

· Lack of energy and enthusiasm about various aspects of student life

• Preoccupation with death

  • Problems with Academic Performance:

• Poor academic performance or a sudden decline in performance from previous tests.

• Request for special accommodations

• Speech or test anxiety

• Not attending classes or not doing assignments

  • Harmful Statements or Behaviours:

• Uses statements of helplessness or mentions about suicidal thoughts

• Indications of prolonged unhappiness

• Extreme risk-taking behavior

• Use of drugs or alcohol

• Getting violent or aggressive with classmates or other students

In addition to the above mentioned signs, if a student is suicidal, they show other clues of their struggle:

  • Verbal cues: a student may directly or indirectly communicate their suicidal thoughts (sometimes even using jokes) or intentions by saying things like:

· “I’m going to kill myself.”

· “Everyone would be better off without me.”

· “I just can’t take it any longer.”

· “I wish I were dead.”

“I am tired of this life.”

  • Behavioral Clues: a student may do something that may reveal self-destructive intentions, like:

· A previous suicide attempt, especially if recent

· Giving away valued possessions

· Procuring means: asking for sedatives or buying a gun

· Composing a suicide note

·  Resigning from social groups, extracurricular activities,  

· Crying spells without external triggers

· Visiting a physician for unexplained or vague symptoms

· Substance abuse

Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school staff, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to ensure the student’s safety. According to Worthington (1982), the most crucial step in assisting another person, is make them believe that you understand them. This can be achieved by asking the right questions, listening attentively to their concerns and evaluating the person’s needs. When a youth gives signs that they may be considering suicide, the following actions should be taken:

• Remain calm: To be of greater assistance and to reduce the student’s agitation one needs to stay calm.

• Provide a quiet, private place (if possible) for the student to rest in the mean time

• Talk to the student clearly and in a straight forward way on whether they feel suicidal or are considering committing it.

• Listen to them and do not judge! Be kind and empathetic.

• Reassure them that there is help and they will not feel like this forever.

• Do not leave them alone

• Make arrangements for appropriate aid from other experts

• Remove means for self-harm.

Get help: No one should ever agree to keep a youth’s suicidal thoughts a secret and instead should tell an appropriate caregiving adult, such as a parent, teacher, or school psychologist/counsellor. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources as soon as possible. School staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional or administrator.

As for the students themselves, it is also important to be on the look out for any weird or unusual behaviour in yourself, your mates and friends. A lot of times nowadays, youth use social media as a way to seek help. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THEY ARE SIMPLY SEEKING ATTENTION. Don’t gamble with that. So whenever you see any posts with suicidal ideation or posts of self-harm like cutting oneself or jokes on suicide (especially when done more than once) reach out! This could be their cry for help and you could be all they need to stay alive (Okay perhaps not ALL they need but you could play an important role in preventing them from taking their life and that should count for something).

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth. These include:

  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
  • Peer support and close social networks.
  • School and community connectedness.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict-resolution.
  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, sense of purpose.
  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.

To get assistance, here are some counselling offices that you can reach out to, not just when feeling suicidal, but whenever in distress.

  1. Taalluful Quloob: 0780 222 205/0111 222 205
  2. Noor Counselling Centre: 0739 724 234
  3. Amani Counselling Centre: 0735 744 389


Benton, S.A. & Benton, S.L, (2006). College student mental health: Effective services and strategies across campus. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Inc.

DeRosier, M. & Lloyd, S. (2010) The Impact of Children’s Social Adjustment on Academic Outcomes, Reading & Writing Quarterly, 27:1-2 DOI: 10.1080/10573569.2011.532710

Grothaus, T. (n.d.) School Counselors Serving Students with Disruptive Behavior Disorders. asca | Professional School Counseling, 16(4).

Worthington, E.L.. (1982). When someone asks for help: A practical guide for counseling. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press

National Association of School Psychologists: https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/mental-health-resources/preventing-youth-suicide/preventing-youth-suicide-tips-for-parents-and-educators

All this talk about suicides and depression got me thinking.

I can remember the number of times crossing the Nyali Bridge in Mombasa on foot, and looking at the water far down there and thinking, what if I just ended all of it, right there? There would be a funeral, and in a couple of months everyone would forget about me and life would continue. And my pain would be done away with.

In retrospect, what got me across the bridge to the other side every time was thoughts of my family. And friends. Knowing how much they loved me and how much my exit would hurt them. And the fact that there’s so much I haven’t done yet.

And then once in a while we joke about how attempted suicide is criminal. We don’t talk about that shrill voice in the head telling you if you are going to do it, you have to make sure it works — so you don’t have to be there to deal with the repercussions.

I have a couple of friends with whom with we have long conversations that span hours, whenever either of us is feeling down. The smile on my face after such a call is often enough reason to push through another week. It’s recharging, therapeutic too.

I have read and heard people saying to reach out if one is feeling depressed. Listen, depression doesn’t take away someone’s need for company and reassurance, it just takes away their ability. When you are depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything, seeing anyone, or talking to anyone. You want to, but you simply don’t have the energy to even attempt anything. Telling depressed people to reach out isn’t the way — one needs to be really strong emotionally for that to happen — but depression strips most of the strength and resilience away.

In my opinion, only way to beat depression and perhaps stop these suicides is going back to humanity. Let’s be more caring and loving — towards those around us. Especially those who are usually strong. Remember, the higher you go the harder you fall. The strong person is hit harder because depression brings them down from a very high place. Reach out to them, instead of waiting for them to.

There’s people we have random conversations with, in the middle of the day or late in the night, about nothing in particular, but the joy these conversations bring about are worth every single second and cent spend.

To those who have been in that dark place before like myself, build yourself a support system when you are still strong — they will hold you when you are down. Make friends — lots — and develop really deep relationships with them. Call on the people in your life randomly just to check in. Make it a part of your life, a habit. Make sure the people closest to you know how you are doing — and you know how they are doing.

You are no more human than the next person, but neither are you without them.

When you hear Netflix, the next word that comes to mind is Chill, yeah? Lol. Chill. Of the many shows on Netflix, the one I hate the most is 13 Reasons Why. Lubnah had to beg me, several times to watch it. Bruh, that show is suicidal af. That’s what I thought when I saw the promos all over Facebook/Instagram.

So one day I’m really bored and I watch the series, because Lubnah insisted on saving them on my laptop with words close to if not at all ‘you’ll watch it when you’re ready to or when you run out of stuff to watch and re-run’.

My thoughts are confirmed. That series was wild from the word go! And not wild in a good way. P.S I’m not making a review or rating it but I think if anything they gratified Suicide, instead of preventing it by causing awareness. I mean at the end of the day, the girl did slit her wrists and died in a bathtub or whatever. It is so dark in such a way that I fear some not so smart kid, will borrow a leaf from Hannah Baker’s book and you know record shit on CD or Flash Drive just so she could make everyone who hurt her pay. After their death.

I know, at this point you’re all thinking like “Why is she being insensitive to stuff she probably hasn’t gone through”. This is obviously the most polite way of telling me I’m a b#tch. I am not about to disregard Mental Disorders because I for one know that they’re as real as they can be. I might not have had an episode of a nervous breakdown but I know of people close to me who have. Or at least on several occasions spiraled out of ‘normality’ and go down the rabbit hole. That place is shitty as hell because it’s like fighting to live when you’re drowning, but then you wanna give up and go like mahn,let’s just get it over with.

Bulimia isn’t a cute brown haired girl with her friend pulling back her hair as she makes her way out of a classy hotel after glaming herself in the washroom. It’s a puffed face girl with vomit trickling down her cheeks. Anorexia isn’t someone shyly refusing to eat a cupcake. It’s constant avoiding food because paranoia. Don’t even get me started with Depression, that shit isn’t a TV show model with smudged mascara down her face, it’s staying awake at night staring at the ceiling and wishing you could for once close your eyes without tearing up and wish you’d be like everyone else. Anxiety and Panic attacks aren’t just hyperventilating and shortness of breath where some cute guy will surprise kiss you so you can get your breathing pattern together, it’s walking in late in a room full of people thinking they’re judging you or sitting in a room full of people and fight the urge to make your way to the toilet when you’re so pressed. Self harm is not a cute boy raining kisses or caressing your scars, it’s a constant fringing reminder that one day you gave up all your will to live and decided that that is perhaps the easiest way out, it’s wearing long sleeves because your hands sting when water runs on them. So stop romanticizing and covering up all the mental disorders with effects that teenagers would adapt and imitate.

You know like how HIV/AIDS revolves around some super powerful virus thwarting your white blood cells and making them so weak to an extent even the weaklings of all bacteria on the surrounding make your immune system useless, Mental Disorders is having super powerful invisible people each trying to dominate your mind all at once and your mind becomes so fringing clueless on which to follow it becomes confused by its own self. This is as close as I can come to defining what a mental disorder is.

Sometimes I think suicide is for cowards. Perhaps this is the half part of me that hasn’t had a mental crisis. The logical and there’s an answer to everything. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to undermine anyone who’s ever had suicidal thoughts…but come on man…you’re better than that. Life is too short to be living under constant pressure from your own self. But then, there’s the other compassionate and empathetic half of me that thinks like have I considered how many times this person tried to talk to anyone about it and they disregarded them. Because people, like 80% of all of us think its non existent and just say ‘you’ll get better’; and when they finally acknowledge its existence, they think its something that is curable, like take a pill and you know Pharmacokinetics will play its part and you’ll get well. It doesn’t happen that way. A person with anxiety needs constant reassurance that it is not going to end as horribly as their brain made it to be. Or that the weirdly giant web of entangled thoughts are just but thoughts that they have control over; because really, they don’t.

There was the old guy, the comedian who killed himself…Robbin Williams, I loved him as Genie in Aladdin and the Nanny in Mrs. Doubtfire. He killed himself but then his wife attributes his cause of suicide as a struggle with Lewy Body disease. This brings me back to my point, how people close to the affected ones shun their suffering because ‘Oi, its effects are not medically tangible you know’ I mean I could be having anger management issues and spontaneous anger outbursts that lead to displacement..like hitting stuff to breaking point. That people will acknowledge because its effect is seen. You damaged stuff, but for a depressed person, they’ll just consider you sad and so like yeah, just get up and go be happy because someone out there is not as ‘fortunate’ as you are.

The other day a 26 yr old French guy of Pakistani origin threw himself of the Tawwaf ring at Makkah is it. So many theories revolve around my head. You know like perhaps he had been battling depression, and no one notices this and he is left to literally withdraw himself from society, but then this is where perhaps religion comes in and so he goes like ‘Lemme go for Umrah, the peace and solitude will make me feel better’ but obviously that’s not it so he ends up throwing himself and him plummeting to his death.

But is suicide really the end game? I mean yes you’re dead…but when you die…it is not you who feels your death…it is the people close to you, your loved ones. Those are the people who feel the consequences in the world. That’s not the end of it though, is it? I mean yeah, so you killed yourself…you’d expect God and His angels to like welcome you with open arms? Like he had been fighting this for so long we were waiting for you to come home. That’s not it… Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire, and that is easy for Allah” [al-Nisa’ 4:29]

Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein forever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, forever and ever.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It was narrated from Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (radi Allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

And in the full narration of the Hadith in discussion (and with a different translation) it was narrated that Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allah (radi Allahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Among those who came before you there was a man who was wounded and he panicked, so he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop flowing until he died. Allah said: ‘My slave hastened to bring about his demise; I have forbidden Paradise to him.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This might come out harsh you know…but then God doesn’t give you a burden you can’t bear, just do everything else but don’t you ever give up on God yo! I mean yeah it’s hard and all but it is said that no affliction shall befall a man, But from it is a sin is expiated. Why you insist on getting to Jahannam when Allah has willed for you paradise for your perseverance and endurance? But then again who knows perhaps the said person was a believer in Allah and His Messenger and a follower of Tawheed, not a mushrik, so that automatically makes him subjected to the will of Allah. If Allah wills He will forgive him, and if He wills He will punish him, but even if He punishes him He will eventually bring him forth from the Fire, because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills” [al-Nisa’ 4:48]

This clearly shows how much suicide is considered NOT THE WAY OUT.

Oh dear hurting, wavering soul, talk, talk and talk to anyone and everyone about it. Shout if you have to so that some years later, a boy/girl can proudly speak up because you projected their words. Talk so that not another single human would resolve to suicide by wondering at what point in time did they lose their voices. Talk because talking already makes it better. I mean you’re spewing your messed up thoughts to someone real not the virtual horcruxes in your mind trying to take over and that they’re going to be there for you and help you by constantly reassuring youre actually not insane.

And as for the ‘normals’, be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and a hand to lean on when things get rough for someone close to you. Stop being close minded about Mental Illness because it’s as real as Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus and Cancer.

Also, I know I might come off b#tchy and all, but yeah, I promise I’ll try to listen to you when you wanna b#tch about your ‘virtual dweller’. Also I’m a good secret keeper, James and Lily Potter would still be alive if they hadn’t chosen the rat coz he snitched…I might tell Lubnah though, coz she’s like 99% feely and I’m 99% assertive….but that’s about it. She might reach out and be there for you…because she’s a darling like that. Just Kidding, I kinda have myself vested in the Patient Doctor confidentiality so your troubles are safe with me.☺☺

You are standing by the window, watching the raindrops hit your windowpane before touching the ground. The rain is rhythmic; you love its predictability, unlike your life. Your life needs a Sherlock Holmes to solve the unending mystery. Every other day, you seem to have a surprise stored for you. It makes you wonder whether you are a guinea pig of a social experiment. Perhaps some scientists just want to find out how much can a human being handle when in distress. You can almost hear their voices on the opposite side of the windowpane. They are using a lot of scientific jargon and psychological terms as they scrutinize you. You don’t really understand what they are saying but you know you are the subject of interest. Perhaps if this experiment and the theory works, you’ll become rich from what they’ll pay you. A happy guinea pig. You smile then sigh.

From afar, you hear your neighbour sobbing. There is a lot of commotion and shouting going on. Her husband is beating her up. Your heart aches a little more. Then you sigh again. Life is miserable, you think. They had been married for ten years; happy and blessed with six children. Then he re-married and boom! everything shattered. It wasn’t the re-marrying that brought the problems per se, it was the attitude towards his family. Life is scary like that. People change, love fades off, evil is real and the world is yet to end. Or you are the one who can’t wait for your own end.

Your father left your mother while you were two months old and she was critically ill. You are lucky to be here. There was a time you almost became homeless, you almost dropped out of school, you almost became malnourished, your mother almost died, YOU almost died; twice in fact. You look at the marks of the razor that went through your hand skin. You look at the scars skillfully and very carefully hidden under the famous Kenyan flag bracelet. You are lucky to be alive, with your mother and under a roof. You seem to have the nine lives of a cat or is it just life that loves you? Perhaps it is the scientists, pumping oxygen forcefully into you. They can’t lose their guinea pig.

‘I don’t want to be part of this social experiment anymore,’ you whisper to the virtual scientists. They look at you like you’re crazy. Like they want to shout on your face, ‘Do you know how much we’ve spent on you?! On this experiment?!’

You feel the burning sensation in your eyes. You force back the tears. ‘Wanaume hawalii’ (Men don’t cry) they say. You ask who? People. In the streets, the wazee in their barazas, youth on their Facebook posts. Real men don’t cry. You are tempted to ask how much tears can a man shed before he is regarded as ‘a useless man’ or even told, ‘You are no different from a woman’ Like a woman is a bad person. But you can’t ask because then, they’ll doubt your manhood.

You hear your mother groan in pain inside. It turns out she has leukemia. You’ve been jobless for the past five months. She’s been strong all along but strength at this point isn’t enough without the ridiculously expensive treatment she needs.

‘God? Can you hear me?’ You look up to the sky and gaze at it. Like you are waiting for a response from God. You and God, you have a strange relationship. Some nights, you stay up throughout, kneeling, begging, praying, crying in silence and talking to Him one on one. And sometimes, some days pass without saying a word to Him. Those days when you feel like He has abandoned you. When you feel like He doesn’t care about you. You get angry and ignore Him like a disappointed lover.

‘God, can you hear me?’ This time, you let the tears flow. It is night, no one will see your tears anyway. Your eyes have now become the Niagara falls. You had missed this. Talking to Him.

You remember this old man in your neighbourhood, he once told you, ‘Snap out of it; the self-pity. God is always there for everyone and anyone who calls out to Him.’ You slowly wipe the tears as you remember his most famous story that he narrates to you: ‘Job (Nabii Ayub A.S) didn’t die despite his severe illness. Abraham (Nabii Ibrahim) didn’t die despite being thrown into the fire.  Jonah (Nabii Yunus) didn’t die despite being swallowed by the whale. Joseph (Nabii Yusuf) didn’t die despite being thrown into the well. Jacob (Nabii Ya’qub) survived despite losing his son and his sight. And Ishmael (Nabii Ismael) survived despite the order that he is to be slaughtered. Whatever the test and turmoil you are in right now, God has a plan for you. Don’t give up on His mercy.’

You stare at the clear sky. It has stopped raining now and once again you call out, ‘God?’ Suddenly, you see a star, it twinkles. With tears in your eyes, you smile.

‘He is listening. God is listening!’

Photo Courtesy: http://allswalls.com

I came across this meme the other day, it was actually a tweet of someone asking something like, “What motivates you to live?” and someone replies, “Suicide is haraam.” And you know it sounds funny but we all know there is so much truth and pain behind most of the memes. Maybe it is because they are quite relatable and you think, “Oh, at least i’m not the only miserable one.” so we just laugh it off even when are writhing in pain deep inside.

I am not sure how things got to the state we are in right now, the current generation that is. I, for one, know that several people would attempt suicide hadn’t it been illegal and an abomination in almost all cultures and religions. At this instance, many have thought of suicide, some have contemplated it, some have attempted it and some went ahead and committed it. What is so wrong about us? Is it that we are too soft or is it that we are just impatient beings who want bliss on a silver platter.

From what I always hear about the previous generations, our parents and grandparents went through a whole lot of hardship too. They would walk for hours to get education, they too suffered due to unemployment, from forced marriages, from ugly divorces, from death of parents and what not…They too suffered but it is important to note that they survived and that suicide was almost unheard of except for the abnormal or mentally ill patients or in very rare cases, the normal people. Were their hearts made from harder and metallic content different from what we are? Or are we simply the spoilt generation?… I am still trying to figure this out yet on the other hand, I do have an idea of where this springs from.

Before I go on. Wait, did you see where that famous vlogger, lady X, had lunch yesterday? Breathtaking right?!! Such a beautiful place and the food looked so delicious! After that she went for a spa…you know, those self-love stuffs we keep talking about. And Mr Y, that instagrammer with 20k followers posted this epic image of himself. He wasn’t doing anything really, but he looks so savage just how he ‘lives’ you know. Its like some people are paid for just existing. Ah, but that’s not even the who we should be talking about. There’s this fashionista who was showcasing her new wardrobe, I almost cried at how gorgeous the artistic prints are. But she is too pretty herself you know, we have to give her the due credit. My God, where are these young people getting all this money to just enjoy life? I mean, I have a job and I earn a salary yet I can’t even afford to be as happy. Sigh. Never mind. Where were we before talking about these seemingly perfect humans?

Aha. Suicide. Have you ever contemplated it? Do you feel miserable because your age mates seem to have everything figured out so well? Your age mates are going for adventures, they are getting married to these ‘perfect humans like themselves’, they are having cute babies, they go to the beach…and you? What do you do? probably nothing compared to what they do right? And that ends up messing you all the time isn’t it? Like why can’t I have any of that? Don’t I deserve it? I know for sure, if suicide wasn’t haraam, many would have tried it.

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I think the current generation, my generation, are living in a complete illusion. We are soo engrossed in portraying how our lives are okay, no, in fact, we are more than okay. We are doing too good. We want our ‘haters’ to know that we are doing quite fine even when our haters are probably just people prettier than us or perhaps more successful. We want to be fancied, to be famous, to be noticed everywhere we go. We want to be able to afford any hotel in town and so we do anything to afford that. We want to be savage, to be envied and be seen like hot chocolate. But we all know in reality what goes down in our lives don’t we? We know what we show off and all that ‘awww thank you boo’, is a lot of pretense, sadness and pain. We pressure ourselves a lot and use so much of our energy in proving that we matter, meanwhile, losing the shreds of true peace and happiness within us. For the rest who are not obsessed with being ‘somebody’, we get carried away with what we hear and see about our friends, or these very happy couples and all these famous young people and we push ourselves way too hard to at least lead a ‘good life’ like theirs.

The truth is, what we see online is not even half the truth about what our lives or anyone’s life is about. There are so many fake smiles, fake laughter and fake lives plastered up on our walls to show the world we are doing great. But in reality, everyone is struggling. Each and every human being is struggling in some way. They may not show it but before obsessing over someone’s seemingly perfect life, always keep that in mind. And I know this has been said so many times even with the celebrities themselves, but maybe we should remind one another more often.

Keep in mind that each one of us has their own special journey, their own timeline and their own milestones. Concentrate on yourself, your special self and your special journey. Be patient and love yourself. So if you are thinking of suicide, or contemplate it from time to time, do know that the world is bigger than your struggles. You shall overcome them and you will be happy by God’s will. Life has never been a straight line. No one has gone through misery throoouughout and no one has ever been entirely happy forever. There are ups and downs, so with every low remember that your high is not so far away. Be kind to one another, you never know who needs it. And always remember that when God made suicide illegal, it was because He knew he created you with enough strength within you to tackle your battles. Have faith please and pray a lot.

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I know there are a lot other factors that contribute to the increment of suicidal attempts, but I thought to discuss about this first. If your struggles are overwhelming you way too much, please seek help. Please don’t feel ashamed to be helped. If you need a counselor, email me at info@lubnah.me.ke, i’ll link you to one. You never have to go through the storms alone.

To end this, i’ll just drop this forward I received this morning. It was written by one lovely counsellor:

“In the counseling session last night, the sister, after committing 100% to starting her journey of healing and self-care took a step back and asked very sorrowfully,

“But Sr. Bela, what about the years and years of damage, isn’t it going to effect my future?”

So, after taking her through a few more therapeutic processes to answer this question, I added – the example of a man who faced years and years of damage.

He was thrown into the well by his own brothers. Wasn’t it enough to inculcate fear in him and make him lose trust in relationships? Damage. He was sold in a market. Wasn’t it enough to ruin his confidence and sabotage his self-esteem? Damage. He was invited to do an immoral act by a woman. Wasn’t it enough to make him lose his chastity? Damage. He was imprisoned for many years. Wasn’t it enough to give him the liberty of playing victim for the rest of his life? Damage.

But what happened as a result of all these damages?

He stood confidently in the court of a King convincing the king to make him – what we can understand as – a Finance Minister. The years of damage made him – PURE GOLD.

Our beloved – Yusuf A.S.

After years of trauma upon trauma, he emerged the victor.

Lesson: Your past only does to you what you allow it to do. This is the reason Prophets never dwelt on their past and remained persistently positive – came what may.

The damages and trauma come in our lives to

1- erase our sins
2- elevate our ranks
3- teach us what happiness and an easy life could never teach us.
4- make us PURE GOLD.

Take lesson. Learn. Implement and move on.

The victor inside you is waiting for it’s awakening.” – Bela Khan.

If suicide wasn’t haraam, I hope you’d be strong enough you still wouldn’t try it.

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Photo Courtesy: http://media.istockphoto.com/

2016 has been like any other year; with it’s own ups and downs, new innovations, great changes, tragedies, successes, new habits both good and bad ones. As much as we are encouraged to embrace change and accept it, there are some things that we shouldn’t be okay with, that we should STOP doing as fast as the four letters can be pronounced and that each one of us should really reconsider before doing them again. Let us make 2017 a better year.

1. Let the journalists do their work: This is one of the things that really REALLY bothers and pisses me off honestly and it makes me sad too. We are in this era whereby everyone is a citizen journalist, everyone is a photographer. Of course there is a good side and great advantages of this but we are sooo misusing the privilege. Having people take photos and videos of tragic events, heart-breaking scenarios is soo not okay. It is NOT okay to take photos of someone’s bloody body at the accident scene, of someone’s burial, of someone who just committed suicide, of a total stranger having his private time somewhere and you decide the world should laugh with you on how they had worn their dress the wrong way or make-up done so badly or whatever embarrassing moment they are facing. Or even ‘better’, making a meme out of it. For heavens sake, please just don’t. We have journalists for a reason. And we go through four years of learning for a reason. We are taught ethics which apparently many don’t have.

Sometimes, I come across very devastating situations in which I know I could create a master piece story from yet I, as a journalist refrain from taking the pic or the video because I always remind myself that I am a human being before a journalist. And this is something we should all consider before we are so quick to pull out our phones. Ask yourself this question, if I were in that same situation, would I want someone to expose me to the world like that?! Would I want that to be done if it was my mother in the bad make up? Or if it was my dad lying on the ground dead? Would I want the world my dead body’s picture circulating before even my own family is notified of my death? For those who have ever read the biography of the Bang bang club of South Africa, or watched the movie, they can tell you how photo journalists at that time suffered from guilt and depression due to the heart-breaking scenes they had to capture. One committed suicide yet his photo of a vulture waiting for a hungry child to die brought him great fame. It was all guilt…but do we have any left? He was a journalist, that was his job, yet he couldn’t stand it. What of us of the all day, all night selfie era??

Don’t say I can’t be in that situation. I can’t commit suicide. I can’t do bad make-up. I can’t I can’t…but you may do something way worse and trust me, you wouldn’t even want to admit it to your own self let alone the whole world knowing about it. We need to start acting like human beings with brains and with a heart. Act HUMAN!

2. Stop putting yourself down: Stop waiting for a miracle to happen to bring you out of your misery. You need to believe in yourself, believe that you have a purpose in this life. That you do make a difference. It doesn’t have to be world wide difference. You don’t have to be mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela for you to know that you are making a difference. You are. Because you make someone in your life happy. Because you help your friends in their difficult times. Because you love your family and they love you back. You are making a difference just by your existence. So don’t allow rain drops look like a storm. Don’t create problems that don’t exist. Don’t overthink. Just believe. Have faith. Love and love again. Be kind and never let yourself down. Remember, you are amazing! 🙂

3. Staying low key is important. It is as important as you taking your medicine on time. I personally spend a lot of time on social media because that is where all my work is but if there is anything that I learnt is; learn to separate your personal life from social media. Stop worshiping the internet. Stop giving out too many details about your life. It is okay to let your friends know when you are happy and when you are sad or when you are having a nice time somewhere. Just don’t over-do it. There are many vultures out there waiting for you to trip or maybe even your downfall. You upload your every single movement; from hotel to hotel. From outing to outing. From boyfriend to boyfriend. From meal to meal. Do you believe that people actually are happy for you just because they clicked ‘like’? or because the comments got to 100 plus? Think about it. How many are actually your friends; REAL friends? Few I am sure. What then becomes of the rest who have so much information about you to write your biography yet you are actually strangers? Doesn’t it ever scare you that you have nothing left in your life that is private and unknown to the world? Be a little bit mysterious. It has it’s own beauty.

4. Regard depression seriously. It’s high time we stopped mocking people undergoing depression. They are not attention seekers. They are not drama queens and kings. They are not weak. They are just too overwhelmed with their lives. They just need your help, your advice, your support. We need to stop telling on them like they are being delicate babies. That they are not strong enough. We need to stop pushing them away because depression is an illness of the heart just as cancer is to the body. It is real. It is deadly. It is suicidal. We shouldn’t wait until someone has harmed themselves is when we say, ‘He told me how he had suicide thoughts many times. I thought he was joking…’ Sweet heart there is no jokes on depression issues. When your friend/family/close person comes to you then give them your time, your love, your prayers and assist them in discovering God and having faith in Him and His plans.

5. New beginnings: I believe in new beginnings. I believe in making changes, meeting new people and making new discoveries. I believe in better days and happy moments. But I also believe that none of these are tied to a new year. Every new year we want to make resolutions, we want a fresh start, we want the new beginnings. Yet 1st of January is not any different with 31st December or 20th August or 23rd of March. It is a day like any other. It doesn’t come with a miracle from Santa nor does it hide any surprises. It is all but our own perception of it. The resolutions we make each year, we rarely ever fulfill them. We just make them because everyone is making their resolutions. But it should never be so. Yes I believe in making goals and what better time to make them than on a new year? Yes that is fine. I also do have my resolutions and goals each year. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next new year for you to make the necessary changes in your life? How are you even sure you will live to the next 1st January?

Please stop complaining that it has been a terrible year, every single year! We hear the same words on and on and on, year after year. So when are you ever going to appreciate the good things that happened in the 12 months phase? Stop being a negative person. Appreciate good things when they come and be patient during tough times. And remember, change can be done any time any day even if it at midnight of a very stormy night. It’s all in your brain. You can start your new beginning right now, right this second. Who is going to stop you? Every day is a beautiful day; beautiful enough to be a fresh start 😉

It has been a year of it’s own. Let’s hope and pray that 2017 will be a more peaceful year for the whole world, a better year for us all, a year with more love and happiness than any other. May we all live to have our new beginnings and achieve our goals. Ameen 🙂

Photo Courtesy: www.ayeina.com

Poem By: Salsabillah Abdulhalim

I glance about but nobody’s around
I look at my knife, a threat to my life
but I gotta go cause time bids me so
what should I do i’m not a coward to so do.

I hold on to life and drop the knife
blood splutters bright enough to show the light
realization dawns while the heart stones
what should i do i’m not a coward to so do

Sympathizers would bluff while enemies would laugh
the cause of my deed will not bear seed
I might have gone but problems unsolved are not yet gone
so what should I do i’m not a coward to so do.

I stagger to my destination after a long duration
snatch my kit and wrap the cut bit
I gotta fight back or it will always be dark
so what should I do i’m not a coward to so do.

A glass of milk before I get sick
I gotta be strong to fight along
I gotta climb the ladder as i’m under radar
so what should I do i’m not a coward to so do.

After the long drive should I arrive
I would look behind to see the enemy’s teeth grind
I would still give them a hand to bring them on ground
cause i’m not a coward; suicide to again do.