A couple of days ago, a Masters student (who was known to me personally) at UoN’s School of Law committed suicide. That very day, a gentleman made a casual post on Facebook asking if anyone knew the most potent poison that could take his life quickly. Some thought he was bluffing. A few hours later, he was confirmed dead. Last week, a young woman in Lang’ata, after a fight with her boyfriend, swallowed hundreds of pills in the middle of the night and was found dead the next morning.
The three cases, though unrelated, share a remarkable similarity. The victims were all aged between 27 and 32. It is undoubtable that mental health issues are on the rise in this country. But what is striking is that a disproportionate number of those who struggle with depression and suicidal tendencies are young people. And I’ll tell you why.
Unlike out parents’ generation. We lack grit. We don’t know how to hang in there. We can’t take a fall and get up. We live in a generation conditioned for quick fixes. The moment we are unable to wave this magic wand over our problems and get instant results, we completely lose it. The thought of losing your job makes you want to commit suicide. The thought of losing your partner of three years pushes you into depression. The very idea of failing a test sinks you into oblivion.
We also live in the age of image. We predicate our sense of self worth upon how our contemporaries look. We spend copious amounts of time on social media trying to seek validation from people we don’t know. Social networks put on us this pressure to appear perfect, fabulous and successful. In the age of image, we study in school to get good grades so that society can approve of us. We get into relationships so that other people can be impressed with us.
The outcome is empty souls. People with no sense of direction and purpose. People who will think of taking their lives the moment they can no longer keep up with demands of this age of image.
Finally, and most importantly, we threw faith down the trash can decades ago. We have no spiritual grounding. We find solace in 18/24 and not in the church. A human being with no spiritual foundation on which they anchor themselves is lost. They’ll be tossed around by the wind, and will have no place to run to when the tempests rage.
There are four things we need to do more than ever before. First, let us not be consumed with the pressures of this age of image. I want you to know that it is fine if your don’t look as siccessful as others. It is okay to go through harshships and difficulties. Live life at your own pace and in your own terms. Secondly, if you find yourself sinking into depression, take a break from social media. Develop a hobby. Take long walks, read a book, paint, etc.
Third, develop real friendships with people. Forget this facade on social media. Have people around you who know you as you are. Those who can share you pain and miseries. Finally, edify your spirit. Read the Bible, get grounded in the word of God for in him alone can you find strength at your point of need.