Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do you have the right to end your life?

Birth - we can't choose to be born. Death - we don't know when we will die. 

Or do we?

Some people presume that they can decide when and how they will die. And this presumption is called committing suicide. Some prove it right. Some fail to. Either ways, I think the episode is traumatic and scarring.

In the last one year of my life, I have been an unwilling participant in 2 such incidents. One successful, the other, a failure. Forced into it but I guess shit happens in life and one has got to face it. And sometime in the quiet moments after the storm has seemingly passed, the mind stops to think and ponder. Ponder over a lot of things. So, I guess that's what I am doing right now.

First of all, it is very shocking to come across something like this. (I say this because I have seen people nonchalantly brush it off) Yes, a lot of people commit suicide every single day. Nonetheless it is shocking when it happens to someone around you. I can't imagine the agony of family members when something like this hits them. Fortunately, my experiences did not involve family.

And it is shocking - even if there were signs of the impending doom, however imperceptible! I don't believe anyone would just wake up one morning and hurl themselves off a building or slash their wrists just for the heck of it. Except in the book - The Illicit Happiness of Manu Joseph - where my patience with the author till the end wasn't awarded with a plausible answer.

In my limited experience (which feels like enough to me), the 'contemplating' bit of committing suicide is generally a considerable time. Even months, in some cases. And the hallmark of someone determined to succeed is secrecy. I had read somewhere that people who kept coming back to their therapist/psychologist to complain that they couldn't endure life anymore and wanted to really kill themselves were the ones less likely to actually do it. People who want to really succeed ensure no one can pre-empt and stop them. Depending on how intelligent they are and what resources they have, there is research of some kind involved to explore multiple options and to figure out logistics. Yes, logistics! You wouldn't want to hastily hang yourself from the fan without being sure it'll take your weight. Or not consider the implications of slashing your wrists.

And it is this critical period of contemplation that is also the best for prevention, if anyone is interested. This is the time when the symptoms of what's coming should become discernible to the perceptive. But most of the times, we may have an inkling but we can't think of a lot of things to do. We are all busy with our lives and obviously can't shadow someone day in and day out unless the person is permanently shifted into a crowded family. And not many want to be saddled with the burden.

People who succeed, congratulations! But they leave behind a mammoth wave grief, guilt and emotional devastation for the survivors. But God bless your soul.

And people who fail - congratulations to you too! Welcome to your own guilt trip! You've just added to the list of failures which led you on to something like this in the first place. I don't know if you prepared for this eventuality. I don't know if you thought of the horror your own people would go through when they discover you half dead gasping for breath. But congratulations! You managed to give your loved ones an experience they will never forget in a lifetime!

You will now get the attention you did not ask for before you took the step. Everyone who knows you will now take turns and sit with you to ensure you don't jump out of the window. They will all ensure that they bear the additional responsibility of rehabilitation since no one likes to see their loved ones have a bad life.

I have always wondered what goes on in the mind of someone who decides to harm himself/herself to the extent that it ends their life. Is it utter hopelessness that they feel doing this to themselves is the ONLY thing possible to do? Or a moment of unreasonable passion that they don't realise what they are doing? I will confess that a lot of times, especially in the last one year, I felt so frustrated that I just wanted to end my life. Angry times when I thought I could have just hurled myself from a building. But then, I realise that it's just a thought. I never really looked down a building to gauge the height. I guess all of us have bad times when we just want to give up. But where do people find the courage to go the whole hog. Or is it weakness?

I find it highly disturbing when I come across such people. I don't think anyone has the right to end their life - NO MATTER WHAT!! Life is not perfect. All of us have troubles. All of us go through tough times. Sometimes hopeless times. But if we all resort to something like this, we wouldn't need disease and wars. We would be a community of losers and Earth would be a sad place to be born in.

Anyone feeling hopeless should remind themselves that bad times pass. Every problem has a solution. The triumph of overcoming challenges in life will be much more satisfying than the ignominy of having failed to end your life. If you are unable to take charge, reach out. And you'll be surprised at how responsive people are with help.

We can do something with a little faith, nothing without it - goes a saying. So have a little faith. The tide is about to turn. 


  1. Agreed. Though when you are low, logic and reasoning is for a toss! And people around you make you feel miserable. Probable option of peace then, seems to be death. Sound, sleep, forever!

  2. Completely agree with you! NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO END THEIR LIFE, come what may... Like you say, shit happens! Its important to get out of it and talk it out with people who matter... Seek all the help one needs... Things turn around... I have personally experienced such turnarounds and see people happy now.. Thank god and to them that they decided to speak rather than take their life.. No one has the right to end their life...