“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage”Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally, as defined by Merriam-Webster. We’ve all heard countless mentions of the word over the course of our lives. And yet, I had to look up its exact definition.
One of my favourite celebrities- Sushant Singh Rajput took his own life in June 2020. His death shook me to the core. But I could fathom why someone would take such a drastic step. I too was once so deep inside a tunnel that the light at the end was nowhere in sight.
While I do understand, I don’t agree with the idea of suicide. It’s not limited to taking one’s own life. It also involves disrupting the lives of those who love you, believe in you, and will be devastated by losing you.
And yet, approximately 8,00,000 people commit suicide every year. According to WHO, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds.
Why Do People Commit Suicide?
An individual may contemplate suicide due to multifarious reasons. You may be sound and of the opinion that no problem is big enough to end your life over. But that may not be the case for those actually dealing with those problems. Trust me, I know!
There was a point in my life when I wanted it all to end. The pain, the suffering, and the torture. It was too much to bear. I sat with a blade for hours, gently stroking my wrist with the sharp end, knowing full well that a little more pressure would help me make that one fatal gash.
Thankfully, the surge of power that had come over me subsided and I couldn’t do it.
Let me walk you through my state of mind during those unfortunate moments.
- No one loves or needs me
- The pain involved in killing myself will be short-lived, as compared to the one I’m having to endure every single day
- I must get through this one step and it’ll all be over
- My suffering will end
- My life is not worth living anyway
The problems that existed in my life then are long gone. Now when I introspect, I wish for my past self to see my present, and realize that all suffering is temporary. It passes.
If you can muster enough courage to get through your current situation somehow, happiness is bound to find you. If the hope of a better future doesn’t dissuade you from trying to kill yourself, think about your family.
What Suicide Does To Families
When you lose a member of your family, you experience immense grief. But when you lose that member to suicide, you’re left with an array of emotions. Anger, shock, shame, confusion, and guilt! You also carry with you the burden of those unanswered questions, the most important one being “Why?”
Picture your parents in the hospital, tears welling up in their eyes, holding your little baby arms the day of your birth. Nine months of a difficult and complicated pregnancy, but there you were. It was all worth it.
Now imagine them crying again, but this time at your funeral, bidding farewell. They’re inconsolable. They had always imagined you laying them to rest, not the other way around. Can you even begin to understand their pain in this scenario?
Harvard Medical School has revealed that more than 45,000 people kill themselves in the United States every year. And every dead member leaves behind at least six grieving members, also known as “suicide survivors”. It also states that these suicide survivors are at a greater risk of contemplating suicide themselves, to overcome their guilt of not being there for the deceased member.
Suicide destroys families. Persons engaging in the act inflict wounds upon themselves, but the scars are left behind on the souls of their loved ones.
What Religion Says About Suicide
Most religions across the world believe that human life is God’s property, and is not for you to take, be it your own.
- Buddhism views suicide as a negative form of action. It states that suffering is samsara’s nature. If we don’t learn to relate to it, we’ll never be able to get out of it, even if we end our own lives.
- The Catechism of The Catholic Church states, “Suicide is seriously contrary to justice, hope, and charity. It’s s forbidden by the fifth commandment.”
- Hinduism permits the killing of oneself, but only through fasting. This method is called Prayopavesha, where the requirement of time and will power is abundant, ensuring that the decision is not impulsive. By all other means, murdering oneself is as sinful as murdering someone else.
- Islam considers suicide as being detrimental to one’s spiritual path. But Allah, the ever-so-forgiving almighty, forgives those who go ahead and commit the sin anyway.
- Suicide is forbidden in Judaism as well and is regarded as one of the most sinful acts of mankind.
No religion perceives suicide in a good light. To engage in the act is to upset God. If you’re an atheist, you’re still answerable to your future self, if not to God.
Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts? Seek Help
It doesn’t matter who you reach out to. A therapist, a friend, a family member, or even a stranger. Share your woes with a living soul. It’s possible that you may not get a solution to your problems despite sharing. But you’ll end up feeling a lot better, more prepared than before to gracefully deal with whatever’s going with you.
Life is beautiful. It’s God’s gift to us. Don’t disrespect it by way of destruction. I have been where you are now. And I can tell you from personal experience that time heals everything.
There’s no denying that your pain is immense. But it’ll get better. Have faith in yourself and in those you love. Reach out to them. Hug them. Cry, if you will. You’ll emerge victorious. That, is certain!
If you’re looking to talk to someone over the phone about your troubles, you can call the Aasra helpline – 9152987821.