Mental Health: The Silenced Killer of Lebanese Youth – إلى نورهان المشاكسة

Nourhan Hammoud

Nourhan Hammoud was Lebanese girl in her twenties, from the South, full of life, her friends had never known her to be fragile, non-smiling or weak. She dreamt of the days when she would leave this country that brought her down, but the afterthought of her mother kept her here.

On August 29th, 2016 – the weights of this world proved too much for Nourhan Hammoud and she decided that ending her own life willingly was the easiest of choices.

Nourhan was not smiling all the time. She was wearing a veneer of strength in a society that viewed her ailment – depression – as nothing more than something of which one could “snap out” of. But depression is never something one could “snap out” of. It’s the weight of a thousand boulders on your shoulders, oppressing your chest, suffocating every breath out of your lungs, as your lips turn into the shadow of a smile to let your friends be fooled into thinking you are okay.

Our ad agencies make fun of anxiety. Our society makes fun of depression. We ridicule schizophrenia. We fear bipolars. We look at these people who are ill and call them “insane,” put them in a corner, chastise them, segregate them, drive them away instead of in.

Nourhan committed suicide not out of cowardice. There are no harder decisions. She did so out of necessity, out of feeling that there was nothing in this life worth living for anymore. We’ve fostered that kind of feeling in her and inside everyone in this country who has done so, or is suffering from a mental health ailment.

We are losing our own youth to our own prejudices in more ways than one. We’ve turned “mdapras” into a joke. We’ve let those who seek help feel ashamed of doing so in the clinics they seek.

Nourhan Hammoud, may you rest in peace.

I leave you with the words of her friend Aly Sleem:

هي من ابشع اللحظات التي لا نعرف ماذا نقول فيها، فنحن لا نحبّ الوداع ونكره الرحيل ونتعلّق بالذكريات. نورهان…. لم أتخيّل يوماً بأن أسمع “خبرك”، عادة لا يموت الا الكبار في السن، لم أتعود بعد على فكرة أن المفعمات بالحياة يُخطفن وهنّ ماضيات في حياتهن، غير آبهات بأحد… أتذكّر منذ اشهر قليلة، في مزيان، قلتي لي انك توديّن السفر، ربما تفكرين بتركيّا، لكنك تخافين فراق الوالدة، وفراق شارع الحمراء وفراق الأصدقاء، لكن أنانيتك أبت إلّا  ان تتخلى عنهم جميعاً، في لحظة، دون استئذاننا، دون تحضيرنا نفسيّاً، بلا حتى رسالة على موقع تواصل اجتماعي حقير وبائس كحالتنا.

لكن مهلاً، انت لست بقويّة، انت خدعتنا جميعاً ولا زلت يا جميلة، حتى برثائنا لك نمجّد قوتك التي لطالما افتخرتي بها، وهل القوة هي بإنهاء حياتنا بأنفسنا يا متمرّدة؟ أتذكرين كم مرّة اطلقتي السباب على السياسيين والوطن؟ لماذا رحلتي دون أن تلعنيهم مرة اخيرة؟

لكن ايضاً مهلاً، كيف كان يحصل كل هذا ونحن غير مدركين؟! كيف لم ندرك ان نورهان متألمة؟ أن مشهد الضحايا في سوريا أدماها، ان الأمل المتلاشي في بيروت خنقها، ان هذا الكيان لن يُكتب له أن يصبح وطناً؟ أن “كبار العيل” في البلد سرقونا ولن يرحمونا؟

كيف يمكن لنا ان نمجّد قرارها “الحر” بالموت؟ لا، هذه الثقافة غير مقبولة، نورهان وغيرها تمنوا لو لم يأخذوا هكذا قرار، لا يمكن لهؤلاء أن يقبلوا بتهليل دموع وصريخ الأحبة… هذا جنون، كان لا بد لنا أن نضع حدّاً لمشاكسة “زهرة الجنوب الصغيرة”، كل ما كانت تحتاجه هو بضعة من الأمل والأمان… نورهان بحثت كثيراً، لم تجدهما فمضت في رحلة بحث عنهما.

وكأن بي أسمعك يا نورهان الآن تقولين: الموت يحاوطنا كما تحيط الدائره بمركزها لكننا لا نشعر به إلا عندما تضيق الدائرة وتمسّنا فى أشخاص قريبة وسرعان ما تصل الينا، دون أن ندري… تشبثوا بالأحباب لا حب فيهم فقط بل لطفاً بعذاب الأمهات والأخوات والأولاد إن نووا الرحيل…

لنحسب أن نورهان نائمة اليوم، لنحسب أنفسنا استيقظنا قبلها لنصلح كل شيء، لنعطي أملاً بأن الحياة لن تله بنا بعد اليوم وتسخر، ثم نوقظها، نوقظها لتسامحنا….
كل الحب…

An event is taking place on Saturday September 10th to raise awareness for suicide. Check it out and go for Nourhan, and every other Lebanese whose conditions we’ve made intolerable.
Lebanon Suicide

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10 thoughts on “Mental Health: The Silenced Killer of Lebanese Youth – إلى نورهان المشاكسة

  1. All suicide is cowardly and never necessary. Its sad but its their choice. Its not societies fault when someone commits suicide but the commiter’s own. While I agree lebanese could be more sympathetic and encouraging, its never right to shift responsibility from the commiter. We all make our own choices, she made hers, whether right or wrong is irrelevant.

    Reply
  2. There is always a solution to everything. The solution to everything lies in the science of experiencing the Transcendental field within ourselves. It is the field all of the laws of Nature, the field of all possibilities, the Unified Field as known by the Quantum Physics.
    Solution has never been and never will be on the level of the problem itself, nor on the level of speech, etc.. it is always on the level of enlivening the Total Orderliness, so disorder is automatically removed.
    How to experience this Transcendental Field and enliven Total Orderlinrss? Simply through the practice of the simple, natural and easy technique of Transcendental Meditation (TM).

    Reply
    • TM is a big Hollywood; however, the essence of what you are saying resonates with me, and i would recommend viewing the teachings of Alan watts, Krishnamurti, and Terence Mckenna as a starter!

      Reply
      • So kind, thank you 🙂 From my humble personal experience for more than 23 years – as a starter of course – and from almost 700 scientific research studies done in 250 universities and scientific institutes in 33 countries and published in 150 scientific magazines of the most known around the world, and from the huge results and benefits that more than 6.000.000 pracitioner of Transcendental Meditation around the world, I should disagree with you 🙂 TM is NOT a big nor a small Hollywood. Good luck with whatever you practice and do. And wish you will reach the highest soon.

        Reply
  3. I agree that mental health issues should not be taboo subjects and should not be viewed negatively by society. This is a cause I’ve been fighting for a long time now. I also think that its everyones birth right to take away their own life.

    My only negative from this post is that it was kinda unethical for you to report her name and post a photo of her out of respect for her family and loved ones. In any case, my heart goes to her family.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: A Lebanese Healthcare Milestone: Mental Health Is Now Covered By The Ministry Of Health | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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