While there are a lot of rationales for a person committing suicide, it can be broadly classified into two categories. One of them would be the I-know-I’m-going-to-die-suicide. The other would be I-want-to-see-what-happens-when-I-hang-myself-from-the-ceiling-fan-suicide. In my opinion, the second one is probably more dreadful of the two as the person categorized as such may not have the right cognitive development or the normalcy to understand the meaning and impact of death on our lives. This category usually includes children and mentally handicapped people.
Oftentimes, we see that it is a taboo to talk about dying in front of a child because we want to “protect” the child from even the thought of death. But if that child has seen that somebody around him is doing well for himself and suddenly he has disappeared from the child’s life and he has been told that the person has died, without any context, it might come as a great revelation to him and he might go around investigating the matter himself. He might go around asking his friends who might give him a distorted view of the topic and eventually that might lead to the child’s self-harm.
So, to prevent such a thing from happening, I request all parents and guardians of children to give their children a basic idea on death, if not the whole sorry tale. And please try to make it a very casual conversation as making it a strict topic might encourage your child to poke further into it.
Now, I would like to focus on the first category of suicide i.e. intentionally putting a stop in your life. As Phil Donahue has said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” I agree with him completely. You don’t get another chance at this life. Which is why I’ll be attempting to explain to you why it might be a bad idea.
When I think of how my day went, I have this habit of nitpicking on all the things that went wrong or even slightly out of track. This may be because I want to control in my life. Who doesn’t want control in life? Who wants things to go a different way and what if that different way was the path to ‘ruin’ your life? When you think about it, this may be exactly why most suicides occur; because things aren’t going as the victim’s way. But recently a thought occurred to me. A thought that makes me want to look at things from a different perspective. A thought that evoked so many other thoughts and emotions that I’m falling behind on capturing them all.
That thought is a very simple thought; what if we didn’t over think things and just laid back and went with the flow of life. We, as humans, have this incredible habit of saying “oh God, I’m dying” about every little thing that doesn’t go our way, be it the teacher doing 5 minutes of extra teaching, be it your mom forcing you to eat veggies (but only if you don’t like veggies), be it you waiting for your date to arrive for 5 minutes, you always have a reason to say that phrase. I, myself, am guilty of this sin.
So, one fateful day, I decided I did not want to live this life of overanalyzing because it was exhausting. A part of the decision was influenced by the movie “Now You See Me”, which had that goose-bumps raising line “The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.” So I tried it. I tried being more laid back. I tried laughing more. I tried to go with the flow of life. I tried not to overanalyze the petty things in my life. I tried to adjust. And mind you, I tried all of this with an open mind. When I decided to be more patient with our landlady on her rude comments about me, I threw my grudge with her away into the ocean and willed it to never come back. That way, though I heard what she said, I didn’t even try to process or overanalyze it, because I knew it would hurt me, so I kept my mouth shut and tried to plaster a smile on my face that, hopefully, didn’t look very fake. I adjusted.
And let me tell you, in the initial days of my little experimentation, I had a hard time. I had a really hard time because all my life, I knew only the one thing: to have an explanation for all things being done to me or around me i.e. over analyzing. It was a hard thing to let go of that mindset, but using some helpful deep breathing and a chant (predominantly “I CAN DO THIS”) set in my mind, I went forward. And I’m proud to say that I’ve conquered it front and straight. Within a few months, I’ve learned how to be more laidback and more in control of my life at the same time. Laidback because I don’t think too hard about trivial things, in control of my life because flowing with the flow of the river that my life is, it feels more natural and hence feels more in control.
Because if you think a little about the natural things in life, suppose how a river flows, you’ll see that even if that flow of the river is being obstructed by a large boulder, though the river initially divides into two on either side of the boulder, in a surprisingly short time it manages to be back whole again. Life is just like that. The boulder is your problem. For a little time it will divide you and shatter you but with time you’ll be whole again. Our job here is to just go with the flow and even when we are shattered, learn how to rejoin with ourselves gracefully and keep in mind that it’s only a little bit of time until you’re whole again.
I am not saying the boulder is just these little problems in your life. The boulder may also be a life-altering problem. The decision always lies with you though. I believe that suicide is a fundamental human right. This does not mean that it is morally desirable. It only means that society does not have the moral right to interfere with your decision. But you always have to remember that when a person kills himself, he thinks he’s ending the pain but ultimately it turns out that he’s just passing that pain to the others he leaves behind him.
While it might seem that suicide is a very solitary event, seeing how alone a person feels when he is compelled to take his life away, it is not. It’s rather like throwing a pebble in a pond, the ripples spread and spread and as far as they go, they might even spread throughout the pond. Even if you’re feeling like your death won’t have an impact on this world, think again because this world is just like that pond. You’re that small pebble. You not being in the world is definitely causing a lot of ripples, whether you see it or not. Think again.
Each victim of suicide gives his act a personal stamp which expresses his temperament, the special conditions in which he was involved in, and which, consequently, cannot be explained by the social and general causes of the phenomenon. If you ever think about giving up, remember why you held on for so long. Because killing yourself will also kill the ones who love you. Think again.
As Dorothy Parker says, “Razors pain you; rivers are damp; acids stain you; drugs cause cramp. Guns aren’t lawful; nooses give; gas smells awful; you might as well live.”