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Two weeks ago, I began a subscription of Netflix, the streaming platform. The first show that I wanted to see was '13 Reasons Why'. Apart from being highly talked about and being somewhat of a controversial show, I wanted to see the portrayal of the book upon which the show is based. I had read the book earlier. I wanted to see how the show represents the book. Well, it wasn't a good experience, emotionally, which I believe was what the producers of the show were aiming for. To be fair, I liked the show much more than I had liked the book. The book had not explored in such intricacy the characters of Hannah's parents, which the show did. While I saw the show, I saw myself examining my parenting style. The show left me with a lot of questions that I have jotted down and I aim to find at least some of the answers later.
Then a week back, a friend of mine wrote a post on Facebook that a mother of her childhood friend has committed suicide. Another news on suicide. For the past week, this friend of mine, kept writing about the emotional state of mind related to suicide and so on. I commented on some of her posts and some I just browsed through.
Then, this week, there were two 'celebrity' suicides, those of Kate Spade's and Anthony Bourdain's. I honestly do much know much about Kate Spade except she was a designer of caliber and I mostly avoided the news but today when I read about Anthony Bourdain's suicide, I was shaken. I used to follow Bourdain's show on CNN and the man himself on Twitter and Instagram. I went to his Twitter page today... nothing, empty... He was actually quite active on Twitter, and I often retweeted or marked his Tweets as favorites. And anyone who uses Twitter knows, you form a unique relationship with someone you follow on Twitter regularly... and I am not saying this in a creepy sort of a way but, as a Twitter follower, you can actually become a small part of his/her life.
And these events brought me to writing about this phenomenon today.
I myself, have had a distant encounter with suicide.
I was in tenth grade and a classmate of mine tried committing it. Thankfully, he didn't succeed. I still remember the day when I walked into school, this was a really small school, in a close knit community, where most kids knew each other and their families. And that morning, there were these small circles of students who were discussing something in hushed tones. When I approached my friends, they informed me that this classmate of mine had tried killing himself and was currently in hospital, undergoing treatment, failing the attempt. I remember walking to my desk, depositing my bag, and just going blank in my head. This person used to sit in the next row to my right. I kept glancing at his empty desk and wondering, what pushed him to the edge.
I think he took that year off and didn't come to class, or probably did, I don't remember. I had tried blocking him off that year... But long after that I thought of him often, and my thoughts were not necessarily always empathetic. Some were out rightly cruel... You see in India, suicide is considered a crime. If one succeeds, well, there is no more to be said of it, but if one fails, one needs to be arrested for the crime committed. I do not who or how this wholly inappropriate law came up, but probably it made its way into the country's rule book during the colonial British period. I also do not know, what the current position is on the law. Either ways, it doesn't help people who are having suicidal thoughts.
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Now when I think about it, I feel disgusted about my behavior and my thoughts. I am not fond of suicide as a method of dying. I don't think anyone is. But I am trying to become more understanding. I now know that there is possibly something very dark that crosses their minds when they take this decision. Possibly they have seen all the options and have decided that this is the sole option left for them. I have done a bit of research on the subject in the preceding days, and till date there is no conclusive reason as to why a person decides to take his/her own life. There are multiple reasons of suicides, such as mental and emotional disturbances, depression, economic and financial reasons, the lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, family problems, so on and so forth, but no one can ever pinpoint to the reason as to why a person did what he/she did.
I am in no way an expert in this subject, hell, I am not even an amateur in this, but I think, if we just talked to people, if we, became less judgmental of people and of their circumstances in life, probably a lot of these people would reconsider their decision. From what I have learnt in my life, a little conversation, a small email or a text message or a telephone call actually help others. We are often scared that if we intervene and ask about others, we might be seen as being nosy, but probably we need to be nosy, at times, we need to let other's know that we are there for them.
I have decided to be more involved in the lives of the people who matter to me. I know that it'll probably not solve anything, but if a friend of mine is harboring these thoughts, I want to be there for them. I want them to know, that they are wanted, they are loved and they are cared for. It might help someone not to go over the edge.
Here are some helpful resources to go to in order to get information on suicides and how to help someone who probably might be having such thoughts.
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National Suicide Prevention Hotline: