SUICIDE. The word caught your attention, didn’t it? The truth is that suicide catches everyone’s attention. It’s only the actions that lead up to suicide which go unnoticed.
The high rate of suicides among Mauritian youngsters lately has compelled me to write this article. For research, I wanted a book on suicide from the library, and the librarian shouted, “Get lost! You won’t return it!”
The two QEC students’ suicide incidences in less than one month have quite shaken me. Once thought to be confined to older people, suicide is now claiming more and more youngsters; suicide among the Mauritian youth has actually been increasing over the years. There is such hopelessness among youngsters who should have so much to look forward to. These tragic cases reflect an ominous trend.
According to a report, every 18 minutes, one person commits suicide in the world. I believe most youngsters who attempt suicide do not really want to die. Actually, they are crying out for help. There seems to be universal agreement on the manner in which they act before their suicidal attempt. A large part of the problem is that young people are being born into the world and growing up without much hope. Suicide is not so much the desire to die, as it is the fear of living.
Suicide is never a solution to any problem but a sign of cowardice, a running away from the difficulties of life without facing them with courage and determination. Suicide, for me, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. In other words, it is killing the one person you could actually change. It is just an easy way of telling everyone that loves you, you hate them. Mind tells you to commit suicide, but think whether your hearts deserves that!
Suicide may end the person’s suffering, but in most cases they spread suffering to others by doing it. One of my friend’s sister committed suicide. I was talking to the friend, and what we couldn’t understand was her sister knew she was everything to him; it was the most selfish thing she could have done. She was his best friend. When he told me, my heart sank. Not for her, but for my friend because he is the one who suffers because of her selfish decision.
Three major reasons lead to teen suicide. They are academic disappointments, relationship failures and psychological imbalance. There are many socio-economic, psychological and cultural factors associated with suicide. (Contemporary Society Changes, 2011)
- The family situation – Family plays a vital role in teen suicide. Nuclear families running after money and comfort never think of the psychological conditions of their wards. Some decades back, the joint family system ruled supreme in Mauritian society and a child upset usually came back home to sympathetic grandparents, uncles, and cousins who were always willing to pitch in with assistance. But now, what is the situation of the family? Life in families is jam-packed and there is no time for anybody to care for the other.
Moreover, parents today are more worried about the academic performance to push them up as per their ambitions rather than the ability and condition of their children. The children are forced to study what their parents want.
- Closed emotions of teens – The mental condition of our younger generation is in turmoil. They are unable to outlet their suppressed emotions. The emotions of today’s youngsters are different from that of olden days, which I would say, the parents and elders do not recognise.
- Change in societies – Societies have drastically transformed into much more openness which undeniably has positive and negative consequences. TV and other media have become more important. They have their own negative aspects.
- Addiction to internet – Too much of addiction to Internet and self-centred approach often aggravates their isolated life. Teens become cocooned ‘insects’ without any interaction with anyone.
- Relationship failures – At home there is no one to care. Only stomachs are more cared than hearts. When a friendship or love affair fails, today’s emotional mind thinks of suicide as the only relief. Whether it is desirable or not, even the media suggest this end as an effective solution.
- Negative thoughts – Life seems to be nothing more than a hellish nightmare to the disappointed youth of the modern emotional world. They easily lose confidence in life as their unrealistic sense of hopelessness is one of the most crucial factors in the development of their serious suicidal wish. They do not wait to analyse things. Rather they jump to the conclusion that their problems are insoluble.
Thinking of suicide? (Reader’s Digest, 1985)
Ask the 25-year-old who tried to electrocute himself. He lived. But both of his arms are gone.
What about jumping? Ask Sudesh. He used to be intelligent, with an engaging sense of humor. That was before he leapt from a building. Now, he’s brain-damaged and will always need care. He staggers and has seizures. He lives in a fog. But, worst of all, he knows he used to be normal.
What about pills? Ask the 12-year-old with extensive liver damage from an overdose. Have you ever seen anyone die of liver damage? You turn yellow. It’s a hard way to go.
What about a gun? Ask the 24-year-old who shot himself in the head. Now he drags one leg, has a useless arm and has no vision or hearing on one side. He lived through his “foolproof” suicide. You might too.
But… Who will clean your blood off the carpet or scrape your brains from the ceiling? Commercial cleaning companies may refuse that job, but someone has to do it.
Who will have to cut you down from where you hung yourself or identify your bloated body after you’ve drowned? Your father? Your mother? Your wife? Your husband? Your son?
The carefully worded “loving” suicide note is of no help. Those who loved you will never completely recover. They’ll feel regret and an unending pain.
Suicide is contagious. Look around your family. Look closely at the 4-year-old playing with his cars on the rug. Kill yourself tonight, and he may do it ten years from now.
You do have other choices. There are people who can help you through this crisis. Call a hotline. Call a friend. Call your minister or priest. Call a doctor or hospital. Call the police. They will tell you that there’s hope. Maybe you’ll find it in the mail tomorrow. Or in a phone call this weekend. But what you’re seeking could be just a minute, a month, or a day away.
Fight off the demons
Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live.
For many centuries, suicides were treated like criminals by the society. That is part of the terrible legacy that has come down into society’s method of handling suicide recovery. Now we have to fight off the demons that have been hanging around suicide for centuries.