Tragic headlines hit home

Tragic headlines hit home
15 September 2011

LOCAL newspapers have recently been full of stories about UAE residents and their debt problems. By far the worst was a report of a family suicide; debt was mentioned as the probable cause. Although many of these stories have resonated with me, this one made the biggest impression.

Initially, on reading the article, I felt very sad for the family, but I was then struck by the startling realisation that, not even two weeks prior to this terrible incident, I was contemplating exactly the same thing. For me, suicide was a means to an end, an escape, a solution to not burdening my partner with my debt – a way out.

Following this realisation, I was so angry with myself for even having considered suicide as an option. I contemplated robbing my family of a wife, mother and daughter because I could no longer cope with the constant threats, the abuse from debt collectors or the uncertainty as to whether I was going to land up in jail or not.

I couldn’t find help or a reasonable solution to my problem so I considered suicide, but since when is that a reasonable solution?

Anger at the system

I was not only angry with myself, but also with the current system in the UAE. The banking institutions are unable to offer a reasonable solution. Most are unprepared to offer any form of assistance and seem to be more than content to resort to using what I consider to be blackmail to get their money: “A bounced security cheque equals jail – pay or else!”

The well-advertised debt counselling agencies are also not what they seem. Both the agencies I approached for assistance took an upfront fee before they would even consider seeing me, assured me that they could help, and then never returned an email or a telephone call.

I have no idea if there are plans to make changes to the system but I’m afraid that if something isn’t done soon and people continue to be unable to seek assistance and solutions from the banking institutions we are going to continue to read tragic reports in the newspapers.

Stronger resolve

Personally, I have made a deal with myself that once I am working and earning again I am going to seek help from a psychologist as I really don’t like what’s been going on in my head over the past few weeks.

I’m still no closer to resolving my own problems, but have decided that I can no longer continue to be sucked in to this downward spiral. I have strengthened my resolve and am trying to keep a positive outlook.

I came across this quote from Oprah Winfrey yesterday: “Plant a little hope in yourself and see what grows.” I’m adopting this as my mantra and am hoping that by the time I write my next article I will have a garden which is starting to bloom.

Pic credit: Stuart Miles/

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