For months I’ve been planning to write upon this subject matter but always held back my fingers from my laptop’s keyboard. I am not quite sure myself what made me so reluctant to discuss this with the rest of the world out there or to articulate my thoughts to all these 7 billion people. However, what I’m certain of, is that it was never the stigma of suicide which was holding me back, I guess it was the controversy which this word brings along with it, like the cousin you feel obliged to bring along to your best friend’s house party, and the various concepts and intuitions people have vis-à-vis this term. What substantially triggered me to write about it are the drastic increase in the number of suicides since the past couple of months or more.
After the renowned suicides of Robin Williams and Chester Bennington (though we are not sure if it was a suicide attempt or a homicide because sources are claiming that Chester along with Chris Cornell was about to reveal a list of pedophiles among which famous Hollywood celebs’ names were mentioned. The cause of death of both these celebrities is suicide by hanging which categorically raises suspicion.) a series of suicide attempts followed and in the year 2018 a great upsurge has been noticed in these rates. The thing is that when celebrities take their own life, it results in huge media interest around the world, but it also triggers many people who are at risk of suicide themselves. A study released in February by researchers at Columbia University said there were 18,690 suicides in the four months after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014, suggesting an excess of 1,841 cases — nearly a 10% increase, based on previous monthly suicide data from 1999 to 2015.
Speaking of the contemporary year Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name Avicii was a Swedish musician who died on April 20, 2018 at the age of 28 in Muscat Oman. TMZ reported that the cause of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries. Some sources claimed he had died of blood loss after cutting himself with broken glass from a wine bottle. Just after one month on June 5, 2018 Katherine Noel Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade was found dead in apparent suicide at the age of 55. She was an eminent American fashion designer and businesswoman and was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York. CNN reported that after Spade’s death, suicide hotline calls rose by 65 percent. Two days after, on June 8, 2018 Anthony Bourdain died Friday morning of an apparent suicide at 61. Anthony was a gifted chef and storyteller who used his books and shows to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition.
Coming to my homeland (Pakistan), on 31st May, 2018 a boy named Ammar jumped off from the 4th floor of Centaurus shopping mall at Islamabad. Since suicide is considered as a taboo in this country more than any other country of the world, Ammar’s family tried to cover this incident by giving different statements first saying that the boy did not jump, he fell accidently, later claiming that he was under the influence of spirits and demons which forced him to perform this action. However the CCTV footage clearly shows that it was no accident and Ammar jumped purposely. Reports are telling that the boy was suffering from chronic depression and attempted suicide twice within the past few months. He was also bullied by his college fellows who made fun of his voice and dark complexion.
Moving towards the birthplace of Islam, the country of Saudi Arabia, the holy city of Mecca, a man, 26 years of age, who was a French citizen committed suicide by jumping off from the third floor of Grand Mosque, just meters away from Kabbah. The incident occurred on June 8, 2018.
After hearing or reading such appalling and devastating news I wonder what comes in the minds of people. The first thought that comes in my mind is, why? Why would they do it? What was hurting so much inside of them that they chose death over life. Taking your life requires so much courage and vehemence, not everyone can do such a thing. I feel sorry for these people and it breaks me from the inside because I always say to myself, if only I could help them, if only I was there I would’ve talked them out of this thing and not being able to do anything makes me feel so helpless and impuissant as if I am paralyzed.
Within every 40 seconds each day, someone out there in the world commits suicide. There is this phenomenon that, Everything Affects Everything, which simply implies that whatever action you do will affect another human being and then this cycle will continue. Sometimes you may think that there is no reason for you to live, you think that your actions are not affecting anyone so you may as well kill yourself because it will not affect anyone but my friend this is the point where you’re at fault. You see when you get out of your home daily for school, you feed that stray cat some leftovers of the breakfast, you reach the bus stop where your friend always wait for you, you go to school and you’re in the school’s football team and not to your surprise you’re the best player the team has got. You’re the Messi or Ronaldo or Salah of your team. Now imagine if you supposedly kill yourself, that stray cat won’t be fed anymore by anyone, it might die as well. Your friend who always used to wait for you at the bus stop may be so heartbroken from your death that he might not have the energy to come at the same bus stop daily because he will miss you, so he might as well change the school bus, the football team which you were in, they won’t be the best team of the district anymore because you were the one who raised them to the heights of success and glory. Your mother will lose her sleep and diet. She will cry days and nights for you, which in result will have an adverse affect upon her health and she might go to a depressed state or become sick. Your father will be devastated and he won’t be able to perform well on his job like he used to before. Your friends will miss you every day when they’ll pass by your home or see your old instagram feed. Everything will be affected by your death, everything. Sure Robert Frost said that, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Certainly it will go on, certainly the sun will shine the next day and the birds will continue to sing but your action will have consequences, upon you and upon everything surrounding you, your family, that stray cat, that football team, your friends, your school, everyone and everything will be affected by it. So next time you get the thought that your death won’t affect anyone, think again.
I sometimes wonder how do people ravage the lives of others and sleep so peacefully. How do they live with themselves knowing that they have caused hurt to someone else, that they have brought pain and tears to them. Making a mess of someone’s life is not a joke. It’s funny how people think that their actions are not affecting the people around them, or even if they do they act oblivious to it or they just don’t seem to care at all. People ruin each other. You do not know what is going on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not just messing with that one part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life , you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything!
They say death brings an end to pain and misery but what about the misery it brings to the loved ones of the deceased? Ever tried to wonder why people kill themselves? Ever bother to ponder upon it? Let me tell you why. You see many suicidal deaths that occur daily are of teenagers or of young adults. When you’re a teenager, you’re vulnerable to, well, literally everything. And some of us are born a little too sensitive, some of us are born over thinkers and worse some of us are born empaths. What goes inside the mind of a suicidal person are a series of thoughts, it’s like a spiral that goes all the way down and as you move down it tightens and then it feels like you’re choking on your very own thoughts. Over thinking leads to suicidal thoughts. Depression also tags along with over thinking and then voila! There you go, a completely messed up mind. Everyday a suicidal person wakes up and does not have the energy to get out of bed, suicidal people lay for minutes or even hours on bed thinking is it worth getting up and dressing up for school or not? They do their actions like normal human beings, for example, they’ll take a bath, eat their breakfast and take the school bus, do their homework like all the other normal kids but their mind won’t be present during all of this. In fact they’d be thinking something else, something completely different and sometimes totally irrelevant. They won’t find peace anywhere. They’ll continue to think that they are better off dead and this is especially because people make them feel like it. Their friends and family make them feel like this. Studies have shown that so many depressed teenagers have already decided how would they kill themselves, it’s just in the back of their mind. All they need is that incident to take place, that extreme mental break down to occur or just that one situation to happen and then they’ll do it, they’ll take their life. You see these people are usually extremely sensitive and over thinkers and when you tell them to just get over it and be strong man it’s nothing, trust me it does nothing but simply exacerbate the problem. If you genuinely want to help a suicidal person then be there for them when they need you, check on them every now and then and don’t just say you’ll be fine, drag them out of their house and make them watch a movie with you. Tell them the positive and beautiful things about life. Tell them reasons to live. Tell them they are beautiful and a great company often. Be with them and divert their mind so that they won’t over think. Anxiety and depression are the leading causes of suicides among teenagers. These things eat you up alive and then happiness and peace seem elusive to you.
I’ve seen people joking about suicide and mocking it. I do not understand that how do they even do it? Where do they find the audacity to mock the person who killed himself. You’re not supposed to hate the person who sins, you’re supposed to hate the sin. How can you even know that what was going on in that person’s life? If you think suicide is stupid then why not you try to behave and be kind to people who are suffering, who are going through mental trauma? Why not you people help these people before they kill themselves. You are the people who bully them, judge them, hurt them, pass comments and remarks on them whenever they are walking down the streets or hallways. A person who has anxiety or who is insecure about himself avoids going into crowds because he has the fear that people will judge him and laugh at him. He hears whispers in the hallways, when he walks through all these people he feels like everybody is watching him and judging him so he tries to walk swiftly just to get rid of their gazes. Kids at school, colleges and universities treat each other like trash. Mental illness is treated as a joke. When someone sees the scars on anybody’s wrists then they’ll laugh and joke about it and tease the person who has those marks on their wrists. When someone tries to talk about mental illness and depression they give them a shut up call by saying that all this is bullshit. People really do not understand how the other person feels or maybe they just don’t try to. Maybe they don’t want to.
A Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is based on the issues like suicide, mental illness, sexual assault, rape, bullying and all these issues which teenagers face in high school and in colleges. I’ve heard people mocking Hannah Baker. It hurt me so much to hear all these remarks because people do not want to understand the hurt of others. They just don’t want to admit that they messed up the lives of others and they still do. How can someone be so heartless and impetuous in judging others? When you hurt someone you do not have a say that you did not. They say that this show sucks and is hyped, well I assure you people none of the issue discussed in this series is hyped. Every single thing is happening in our society which is discussed there but people simply do not want to admit that. Some people say that Hannah was stupid for killing herself. Sure she did the wrong thing but don’t you all see what were the reasons for her action? People never want to understand the reason. Hannah was an extremely sensitive person who was always nice to everyone and who believed in being good to others and that is where every single person took advantage of her. When a girl is nice to others everyone declares her as a slut *laughs ironically* I mean who are you even to judge anyone by the choices they make? People never look at their flaws, they think themselves as the perfect, pious human beings who ever lived.
Dear people, you calling other people names can make them move one step closer in killing them, you slut shaming girls, body shaming others, judging others, raping girls, bullying others, taunting others and hurting others in any way can make them move one step closer in killing themselves, and who knows they might be already standing at the brink. Mental illness is a serious issue which must be taken into account. If you are facing any sort of crisis know that it’s never too late to seek help. Going to a therapist is not anything insulting. If you feel like you need help you have every right to seek a therapist or a friend or anyone you trust. We cannot afford to lose people like that. I guess we all have an element of humanity and kindness inside of us. Please please bring that out. Be nice to others. Love each other. Life is too short to spread hate. It’s okay not to be okay at times. We all have our dark days just never give up on yourself. Never think that you are not worthy of love. I ask everyone of you out there to help each other, love and respect each other and each other’s decisions and choices. Support them to achieve their dreams. Never make fun of anyone’s insecurities. It is never okay to hurt anyone.
To all those depressed people who are suffering out there, I want you to draw a semicolon on your wrist and whenever you feel like self harming or killing yourself just look at that semicolon and know that you are the author of your story and you are strong and you are living to prove all these people wrong. Project Semicolon defines itself as “dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury”, and “exists to encourage, love and inspire”.
I want you people to realize that there are so many reasons for you to live. Live for there are places you haven’t visited yet. You have to discover yourself. Live to see those cute baby animals, live for picnics, water balloon fights, movie marathons, food, Octobers, rainbows, slow dances, sunsets, naps, road trips, cuddling, climbing trees, going for walks, getting married some day, late night phone calls, cartoons, laughing really hard with your friends, full moons, flowers, messy hair, kisses, the sky and its colors, autumn leaves, late night walks, bonfires, kind strangers, pillow fights, sunrises, walks on the beach, smiling at strangers, just live for you are loved and wanted.
For those who need this;
Suicide Prevention Helpline Pakistan:
Remember you matter and you are loved and you are wanted.