Heads up, this is not a fictional tale as the turn of events might make it seem so.
Until recently I was part of the majority of people who did not believe in the reality of mental sickness or as it has come to be popularly known, depression. I was very ignorant of the fact that a person may exhibit symptoms of “madness” and not be actually insane if you get what I mean. Previously my argument on this issue was that a state of depression was self-imposed by oneself from overthinking and that a simple spanking routine could recover such a person {now I think of it and realize how unaware and not exposed to reality I was}. But for me to realize this I had to experience two seemingly unrelated events that changed my perspective.

Back in high school my best mate and with whom i shared my desk, Fred {name withheld of course}, was from a well-off family. He had all the comforts that money could provide. He was a generous fellow who used to assist in his capacity wherever he could to help the less fortunate. In our early years i.e. Form one and Form Two, he was a composed, soft spoken lad who never had any signs of mental problems or rather he was hiding them from his friends towards the end of Form Two.
But when we reached Form Three he suffered a breakdown and could not hold it anymore. Apparently during the last stages of Form two his parents had undergone through a brutal divorce and as you’d assume he was the major issue that protracted the divorce sessions. He was torn between who to choose to stay with, his mother was reckless and erratic who couldn’t manage a young teenager while his father was out of the country most of the time by nature of profession but he settled on his mother ultimately who ever was drunk and changed men every night. The situation reached a point where he decided he was going through a lot and attempted to throw himself in the school well. Were it not for a quick response from our classmates he would have done it.
Now at that time we had a deputy who was a self-imposed disciplinarian. At first he took the issue lightly and organized a routine counselling procedure for Fred. But then he lost his nerve on the same day when at night Fred attempted to commit suicide again this time the security staff coming to the rescue. The deputy saw this as a breach of discipline and that Fred was going overboard. In typical fashion he gave him the beating of a lifetime. The trick worked for a few days but then one morning Fred was nowhere to be found. On inquiry, we realized the deputy had arranged for him to be escorted home for being unruly, he had attempted the act again but this time in one of the classes with a rope but had failed. We never heard from /of him again until some years after.
Four or there so years later after we finished high school, one of us from the WhatsApp group relayed to us very disturbing information. Our deputy had been in and out of hospital for a couple of months and yeah you guessed it he was suffering from depression. In a weird turn of events he had also gone through a rough patch with his wife and being a known alcoholic the wife had been accorded custody of their three children {I am in no way alluding that he deserved whatever befell him} but karma had shown his hands again. But as it is our way of doing things he was not given much consideration and reinstated before he even recovered. Weeks later we got the unfortunate message that he had committed suicide, at night, in the same class that Fred had wanted to do the same. Some classmates and I attended his burial and it was there that we decided to try tracing Fred.

It has been two years since we found him. Fortunately, it had taken his father to intervene to find him appropriate counselling in one of the city’s best hospitals but his condition has never fully been back to normal. This is a case of what could have been had two situations given much light at the genesis. Sometimes, during the weekend we always find time to visit him at the hospital. He doesn’t say anything meaningful but when we are their he exhibits a certain sense of comfort then when we are on our way out, he always breaks a tear which sends us into uncontrollable tears also. I have never taken mental health more seriously.

By Ansias

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