World Suicide Prevention Day.
Today is a special day for me. This is the 100th blog post that I have written on this website. 10th September, 2017 also marks the 200 day anniversary of my blog. If all of this wasn’t enough, Today is also the World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. These are the many reasons that this post in particular is going to be special for me. I have talked about suicide before. I have talked about the long term aftermath of suicide, the suicidal thoughts that I had to deal with and much more. Suicidal thoughts are hard to deal with; in a previous post, I talked about the choice that so many people have to face when they have suicidal thoughts. It is an impossible choice of having to choose between being burned to crisp by the fire in the building or to jump out of the window from 10 floors above ground. No one can make the right choice when these are the options we have. It is always going to end badly, no matter what you choose to do. I have talked directly to people contemplating suicide and discussed with people whose close ones have suicidal thoughts about how to deal with them. Now I want to discuss some of the common responses which I see when someone’s suicide is being covered by the media. This comes after the news of Chester Bennington and the Blue Whale challenge claiming many lives in my country in the past month.
People who play Blue Whale are stupid:
This is something that I have read very often. Why would someone play a game when they know the last challenge is to kill self? The question is very valid and unfortunately has not been answered by any of our journalists. People get into the blue whale challenge out of curiosity. When they hear that there is a challenge which is actually making people kill themselves, I would like to give it a try as well and figure out how mentally strong I really am. This is a bit of an ego issue but the participants of blue whale who are also severely depressed is a small minority, compared to people doing it just for the challenge.
The thing about blue whale is that once you start, you get hacked by the people running it. They retrieve your IP address and hack your personal files which most of the time contain something we wouldn’t want to share with the public. Once you are a few challenges in and wish to leave, you are threatened by the hackers. They tell you that if you don’t complete the game, they will release all your personal files and track your IP address to have you killed. They use fear as a tool to make people attempt suicide. People falling prey to Blue Whale challenge is more down to curiosity and fear getting the better of you than you actually wanting to kill yourself.
So people who you hear about on social media and news are not all depressed. Some of them just succumbed to fear. Curiosity and fear are natural human emotions and don’t make a person stupid. Hopefully this message reaches the many people who are still curious about the challenge and serves as an informative piece which resolves their curiosity.
Rich people shouldn’t be depressed. They are rich:
This was something that I read very often after Chester Bennington’s news. It is a common belief that depression or suicidal tendencies are more often found in poorer sections of the society but that doesn’t mean that rich people can’t be suicidal. Money doesn’t really eliminate any grief; it just makes it easier to deal with it. Sometimes no amount of money is enough to get through the storm that is going on in our heads and we are forced to take the fatal decision. I can understand why some people think that being rich would eliminate all the problems from our life but unfortunately that is rarely the case. If rich people are dying by suicide as well, then maybe money is not the universal answer to suicidal thoughts.
So many celebrities have died by suicide in the last few years; so many have talked about their mental health issues as well. Money will help you deal with grief but only up until a certain point, after that you really are on your own.
People who kill themselves are cowards/ People who kill themselves want to take revenge:
This one is a bit sensitive. Whenever there is news about a suicide, people are quick to bring out the labels of coward, selfish, vengeful etc. to the table. The thing about these labels is that they are more about rationalization/justification of the act rather than being the root cause of it. It is possible that the person who died may have been a coward or selfish but that doesn’t mean that they took this step because they were cowards. Now, I know some people use this justification as a defense mechanism to try and maintain their own sanity. They have convinced themselves that we should not commit suicide because it would be cowardly or selfish. I am not going to disagree with any of you on this. Suicide is never the right answer. No matter what you have done, how much help you have looked for or how much you have gone through, it is never the right answer. Whatever justification people have to stay away from suicide, all of it is good enough. You can consider them cowards, selfish, vengeful or any of those things and I am not going to stop you from using those labels as a reason to stay away from suicide yourself.
Of course, not everyone who uses these labels does so out of a primitive mechanism of our psychologies, some people actually believe that people who die by suicide are cowards. I understand their point of view as well, I would always love to have a chat with such people and try to figure out what makes them think this but to all the other people who use these terms as a defense mechanism, it’s ok. You are just looking out for your safety and integrity of your mental health. I can imagine how it would be like if the one thing that had been stopping you from killing yourself was the fear that you would be shunned by the society and deemed selfish and now here comes someone on their high and mighty moral high ground trying to convince you otherwise. It would ruin everything you know, everything you believed in and may increase your chances of suicide. So to such people I say, whatever you tell yourself to stay away from it is good enough, whatever it is.
Only stupid people who have achieved nothing in life are suicidal:
This is another one of the common myths I have read. It is said that people who were too stupid to do anything with their lives, who failed academically are the ones who commit suicide. If they had focused on their studies more and worked harder, they wouldn’t be where they are.
This is another one of the many rationalizations that are doing the rounds these days. People who have failed academically are more likely to be depressed and might be suicidal but they are not the only ones. People with high IQs and those who have various accomplishments academically are prone to suicidal thoughts as well. I know that my experiences are anecdotal at best but I had everything I could have asked for in my life when I started feeling depressed and suicidal. I was getting into a reputed college, I had great scores in my exams and I had friends as well. I just wish to point out that yes, you can say that people with low scores are more likely to be depressed but they are not the only ones who are depressed and/or suicidal.
To conclude, I would just like to say that there may be multiple reasons a person kill his/herself. If we keep trying to rationalize rather than finding the root cause of it, this is something that will continue to rise among the public. If a person tells you he is suicidal, listen to them, patiently. If you don’t have the time just guide them to someone else to talk to. You can help save a life. You never know how many lives you may have already saved. Keep trying.
To anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, I understand how hard it is. I understand what it is like to try and keep your mind off of killing yourself and how it ends up being a vicious cycle which keeps reinforcing those thoughts. You should talk to someone about it, frankly, candidly and maybe this will help you. It is not going to be a quick treatment, it will take time, it will be tough, but you can get better. It is never too late in this case. Here is a link to all international suicide hotlines, wherever you are. If you can’t find a friend, talk to a stranger. Sometimes it helps more than you thought it would.
I am not going to leave you with a cheesy quote about how suicide is bad or immoral or something like that. I am just going to leave you with some hope
Hope that it can get better,
That it will.
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