Aderonke Odumosu is a burn survivor who has shared her horrifying experience from a gas explosion and the difficult journey to recovery. On her Instagram page, Odumosu narrated how she contemplated suicide and why she chose to share her story on social media. She wrote:
“So I have never had the urge to share these burns pictures of myself when I suffered a gas explosion. I have told my story to some people but never shared pics perhaps because I hate the pity party, until today when I got a call from one of the docs who operated on me and wanted me to speak to a young lady who recently suffered gas explosion and is feeling suicidal.
“He thought I was the best person to talk her out since I was in the same situation 3 years ago. I dropped everything I was doing and headed straight to the hospital. On seeing the young lady I remembered my ordeal, how I felt suicidal. I got emotional but I had to remain strong for her. After sharing my story with her and reinforcing that suicide is NEVER an option, I hope / pray I was successful at talking her out.
“I attempted suicide 3 times myself but God said it wasn’t my time. 3 years ago I knew what it meant for your life and plans to be brought to a screeching halt. To be sicker than I ever thought possible, to know kindness of hospital workers and strangers. To feel very alone and at the same time part of a large community of people who call themselves burns survivor.
“To me burns survivorship is about living through burns treatment and finding a way to integrate the impact of the shock and treatment into your new life. Using the word survivor to describe myself was one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with, so I believe a conqueror is more suitable because this experience has helped me to become a better person, to appreciate every little thing and to see the world from a different perspective. No matter what, I have conquered a sense of hopelessness.
“To all burns victims out there it will only get better trust me…Your scars will fade away eventually and a new you will emerge. Keep hope Alive! Of course, my story wouldn’t be complete without this amazing lady @ebigoo1 who introduced me to one of the baddest docs on Harley street Dr Rajj London, St Thomas’s hospital London, docs at LASUTH Gbagada, Georgia plastic surgery Atl, @grandvillemedlaser and my supportive family. My treatment spanned 3 continents. Pic 1 taken the morning of the explosion pic 6 (bottom right) taken Today. Alhamdulilahi.”
Ninety per cent of burn survivors have resorted to self-immolation as a result of domestic violence, though most suicidal or homicidal burns in women are reported as kitchen accidents resulting from gas burst, leakage or defective burners.
Burn injuries can impair skin integrity, cause hypertrophic scarring and make one susceptible to sepsis and other neurobiological changes that can also affect functionally important body parts. The subsequent rehabilitation efforts including dressing, medication, physiotherapy, surgical debridement (removal of damaged tissue) and the wound healing processes are excruciating. As the physical wounds begin to heal, the psychological ones become more pronounced.
The stigma around scars and disfigurement, blaming and shaming by relatives, fear of ridicule and lack of legal guidance negatively influences the agency of women burn survivors. They also have to deal with an ecosystem that is impassive and unresponsive, at times even adding to the perpetuation of violence beyond the initial act.
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