It's Okay Not to Be Okay with Life

May 14 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

It is impossible to talk about life without bringing up death. Death seems distant, something we often try to avoid discussing. We only realise the possibility when we either come near it or when someone close to us passes away. Afterwards, we are haunted for months, sometimes years.

For a long time, I avoided the topic. I never accepted that all of us leave this world at some point. I was scared of dying as I was not sure what awaited me in the afterlife. In a sense, the journey in this life has not been that bad for me, and no matter how hard it gets, I know I will get through it. But the thought of what will happen to me after I pass away is frightening. Nowadays, I have to some extent made peace with the possibility; however, I do not know how I would continue with my life if the people I love, especially my children, died.

Recently, a friend of a friend committed suicide. Seemingly, people who commit suicide are usually those who have lived through a lot of hardships and who at some point thought, “I can’t deal with this any longer; I might as well end the suffering.” But, people that commit suicide are the ones that have not lived long enough yet. The age group with the highest suicide rates is young people.

Why do they do it? What made them do it?

There is no definitive answer. It is not like leaving a note is as common as the movies would have us believe is the case. On the surface, they seem like regular kids who lead normal lives until they seemingly wake up one day and decide to take their own lives, leaving their parents with questions and regrets. A parent would always feel responsible; it feels like there must have been something they could have done to stop it.

“I was supposed to pay attention. Had I been more attentive or paid attention to detail, then my child would have been here with me,” they reflect.

Mental health awareness needs to be given greater attention in Ethiopia. Not a lot of people have a sound understanding of psychological issues. Most people think that feeling down from time to time is a common phenomenon that does not cause any concern. It usually is not something to worry about but not for someone who is battling depression. People confuse boredom and depression, the latter of which is not merely refusing to leave the bed, binge eating or mindlessly watching something. But people with a clinical mental health issue could carry out their daily lives, even overdo their tasks, but could still be battling dark thoughts in their minds. These are the kind of people who one day end up taking their lives and few can say why. Many of us do not know how we can help these people before it is too late.

The usual, “it is going to get better, don’t worry” retorts are not practical for the average person, let alone someone with a mental health condition.

We have to believe that there is a purpose to our time on earth and even in our death. This is not to mean that we should condone or encourage suicide. But we need to be able to accept suffering and believe that there is a reason for it. The hardship often passes. Nothing happens into infinity.

We should also make it a habit to check on each other constantly. A safe space needs to be created between loved ones so that it is possible to share without fear of ridicule, prejudice or repercussions. This way, we will be our brothers’ keepers.

PUBLISHED ON May 14,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1150]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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