“TO whom much is given, much is expected”, this quote speaks right to Madam Mary Addy, founder of Cultivating Minds, a Non-governmental organisation that seeks to reduce suicide in the country.
Being a survivor herself, she has come out to narrate her story to provide hope for readers who may find themselves in similar situations or worse.
The truth is that anyone is capable of committing suicide, given the circumstances of depression as only a few are premeditated, according to psychiatrists.
She has therefore, taken it upon herself to interact personally with people who for one reason or another, are contemplating suicide.
Madam Addy hails from Jamestown in the Greater Accra Region. She had a turbulent childhood as she had to stay with different relatives and seldom had contact with her biological parents.
For someone who lost her self-esteem at a tender age, she recounted to The Spectator how she faced daily mockery from peers at school due to her shabbily outlook. She engaged in food vendoring, as a result of financial instability and negligence on the part of her guardians.
“On this note, I advise parents who leave their children in the care of guardians to be observant of some of the complaints made by their wards concerning their welfare, and not just be solely dependent on the assurances of such guardians,” she warned.
Her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, was fizzled after she was defiled by a school watchman at age nine, and eventually dropped out of school after form four.
Recounting her ordeal, she said resorting to isolation was an option to avoid social stigma.
Life after school
The diamond boom at Akwatia in the Eastern Region during that time, informed her decision to relocate to that area to earn a living.
She engaged in all manner of trades including operating a chopbar, however, her zeal to ensure that her children, aged three and six, had access to quality education forced her back to Accra.
Road to suicide
In Accra, she lived with her paternal aunt and suffered extreme financial constraints and criticisms from family members.
Emotional as she reminisced on circumstances leading to her failed suicidal attempt, she explained that her aunt sent her out of the house one rainy evening after facing abuses in front of her children.
”It was on December 25, and I remember that, I had given up on my health which was deteriorating at a fast pace due to acute malaria. As my two sons and I were soaked in the rain that night with no shelter, I felt completely helpless”.
“It was at that point that I decided to poison my sons and myself because I did not want to leave them behind. The oldest was eight and the younger, five. No family member was ready to take me or my children in,” she lamented.
Recounting how she earlier had to sleep in cemeteries, verandas, school buildings and even on trees, she decided that her sons did not deserve to face the same tribulation.
Just at the time that she was about to end her ordeal, she received a breakthrough and renewed strength through her older son.
“Not aware I was about to end our lives, he approached me and said, Mama, why are you crying? Is it because aunty threw us out in the rain? Do not worry because when I grow up I will build you a big house,” she recounted.
She said it was at this point that she abandoned the idea of suicide and felt a new strength to overcome her torment.
She made the decision not to dwell on her torment in subsequent days and soon landed a job with a security firm, describing it as her first breakthrough.
Renting her first single room, was an emotional moment for Mary and her sons.
“My children were so happy when we entered the room. They felt as if they had come out of prison. That day, will never be forgotten in our lives We were filled with tears and emotions,” she recounted.
For someone who had survived breast cancer and kidney failures, she said but for her strong faith in the word of God, she would not have survived the rough path.
By Eva Borley Odamtten and