Is Suicide Really a Choice.

27 Jul

The one question every friend, sibling, family ask when someone close has committed suicide is — ‘Why did they choose to take their own life?’

The more I think about it, the more I ask myself. Is suicide really a choice one makes?

What does one do when one feels hopeless and helpless; When one finds oneself in an orbit of despair — A dark and dismal bubble from where there seems no escape.

How does one operate when the mechanics of going through day to day life appear unbearable?

When all the thoughts that swirl around in ones’ head convince him that he is drowning and there is no hope left?

Is death then a choice one makes?

Not to the person who decides to end his life.

To him, death is the only relief he sees, that will save him from his misery.

Its not death he chooses but a way to end the misery of living through pain.

Each person struggles with his own kind of misery — This misery grows inside him leaving him feeling alone and many a time he sees himself as a burden on others.

A long term serious health condition which has no complete cure, Struggles with addiction; Depression and anxiety; Stressful life events like- A job loss, relationship issues, financial problems, School dilemmas can all be reasons why ones thinking gets warped and makes one desperately look for an outlet to end the pain.

So if Suicide is a choice …. then it’s a choice made by a very agitated mind.

Its your distorted thoughts that compels you to get away from the extreme emotional turmoil you feel.

People who take their own lives aren’t exercising ‘choice’; Instead they are victims of an irrational thought pattern either because of an illness or unmanageable life events.

Then what is the choice they have — In my mind the only choice they have is to reach out to people. To ask for help and support, to believe that everyone deserves to feel valued and to know that there are people out there who will hand hold when the going is rough.

The recent spate of suicides makes our responsibility towards our fellow earthlings far more. Increasing protective factors and resilience in the community need active participation from all of us.

Despite the challenges in identifying those at risk for suicidal behavior there are preventive strategies that provide effective measures against suicidal thoughts and ideation.

· Destigmatize mental illness. As a society, we need to talk about Suicide as we talk of Cancer or a Tumor –After all isn’t it an impairment of the brain; of rational thought patterns. The stigma that surrounds Suicide or talks about contemplating such an act hinders treatment from reaching those that need it.

· Have empathy for those who struggle with difficult life circumstances or mental health issues. The angst of having to function in a helpless, unfair or hopeless situation is overwhelming and makes one believe that life is not worth living.

· Share your experiences about your struggles and leave with them numbers of suicide helplines or counsellors in your area.

· Adolescents typically share their feelings on social networking sites. Supporting research and technology that help create more apps which can be freely accessed by our youth will help them get timely assistance and make our outreach more effective.

· Educating the media on responsible coverage of a suicide is essential so that the message going out is that the person who committed suicide is actually ill. The news should emphasize more on mental illness, the health care providers who can help.; the warning signs that friends and family should know about so that they can identify and respond quickly to the person in need.

· Be an active listener, Understand warning signs and Be proactive in offering assistance to those around us who struggle through this emotional crisis. Suicide is many a time an impulsive decision. Many Suicidal people are struggling with the decision to live or end their life. Reaching out and connecting with a part of them that wants to live can save lives

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