Suicide: how it looks like and what actually is

Olivia Gurumayum *

"Accept who you are, self-care, self-worth, and self-love, be happy and content with the small things you acquire, be thankful of your existence in this 'one-time' life and see how life transform beautifully."

Life is a tricky game, we often say. The twist of life tale is no less than the hardest level of puzzle game. Expectation is something we all have and that expectation sometime leads us to a dungeon where it seems impossible to get out of it. In this fast changing lifestyle, people often lost the grip to hold them back and gets slip into the rabbit hole.

In a race to conquer the top seat, many fail to realise human beings are offered to live once. There are many who bleed invisibly while fighting to win the race. People painted themselves in such a materialistic way that the real selves fade away in irreparable manner. But, is it to be blame only to the individual or the society that pressurise them to join the race?

Sylvia Plath an American poet, novelist and short story writer won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1982 The Collected Poems (posthumously). In one of her notable work, an autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar she reflects her life, the conflict that she goes through that resembles many of us. Surprisingly, she committed suicide. Kurt Cobain lead vocalist of the rock band Nirvana, shot himself.

Ernest Hemingway, American journalist, Novelist, Short Story writer and sportsman took his own life. It is believed to be a genetic factor when his family has endured five suicides over four generations including his granddaughter.

Recently, we heard of the Café Coffee Day founder, V.G. Siddhartha committed suicide as he couldn't handle financial burden. There are many suicide cases even in ordinary family. It is important to understand ones emotional needs. The more pressure we get from external forces the more we get conflict and imbalance with our emotions. We all want to be presentable but, it is not always about the outward appearance.

Suicide, as we all know, the act of taking one's own life. It is believed to be the second leading cause of death among the age of 15-29 years, globally. It was more common in people between 25 and 44 years old. There is also a controversy on using the word "commit" because it has a negative connotation. The suicide attempt is higher amongst female than male. Whereas suicide complete is higher in male than female.

And, homosexual are higher when compared to heterosexual. It is given in a study that male after 45 years of age tend to commit suicide and in female after the age of 55. In recent study, there is also rise of suicide among younger people.

Unemployed and unmarried are higher when compared to employ and married. High social status tops among the average social status followed by low social status when it comes to occupational area.

A good predictor of suicide is self-injury. There are some patterns of suicide that include suicidal ideation: when person think about suicide, suicidal intent: when a person is planning how to commit suicide, suicidal attempt: when a person tries to commit but survives. In western society, men tend to use lethal way of suicide, like, gunshot whereas women tend to ingest drug like cyanide.

Another way is the sub-lethal the lesser capable of causing death like cut-wrist, drug poisoning. Suicide in children is very low but, cannot be ignored. For adolescents and young adults, ages between 15 and 24 suicides may be associated substance abuse, mood disorder, conduct disorder.

Among the teenagers the attempts often associated with feeling of depression, anxiety, stress, self- doubt, pressure to succeed and bullying is also another cause. Suicide rates in college students are high and it is the second leading cause of death in this group. The pressure that parents put on them without assessing their capability is also one reason for committing suicide.

It is also important for both society and parents that rather than pressuring children and comparing one child to another it would be of more benefits if encourage them to be in the path that suits with their personality.

There are many theories and studies based on suicide. One of them is the Emile Durkheim the French sociologist who studied the sociocultural factors in suicide. He presented four types of suicide.

1) Egoistic Suicide: individual who lack social integration and are detached from traditional social bonds or society. People isolated and lack a sense of belonging, often much incline towards individualism. e.g., an unmarried woman who have no goal or ambition and/or no children.

2) Altruistic Suicide: those individual fall in this type are too socially integrated, feel their death would benefit society. e.g., Suicide bombers, sati custom

3) Anomic Suicide: in this, individual living in society where there is breakdown of social equilibrium due to social situation that cropped up suddenly and are unable to adapt to the changed environment. Eg., suicide after bankruptcy, market crash or loss of a spouse.

4) Fatalistic Suicides: this occurs in societies where social regulations are extreme and authority is oppressive and controlling. Individual lost sense of self. They think it is better to die than to live in that harsh condition. Eg., prisoner who cannot tolerate prison conditions, bonded labour.

In Edwin Shneidman's Psychache, it was given that the central factor in all suicide is the presence of the following:

1) Psychache which defines as the unbearable pain like guilt, despair, shame, pain, depression, hopelessness, etc. The pain in the mind can cause narrowing of view of things.
2) Perturbation: an unrest that causes one to feel like doing something to alleviate the uneasiness on feels.
3) Press: stress or pressure one feels and weights one feels under.

The combination of these three Ps is what is known as the cubic model of suicide. There are also many theories and studies on suicide and the causal factor of it. Some studies found it runs in the family, genetic factor.

How could it be prevented?

Currently, there are three main thrusts of preventive efforts: treatment of the person's current mental disorder(s), crises intervention and working with high-risk groups. To help them cope with an immediate life crises and support them to regain their ability to cope. To make them realize the situation and assess the situation accurately.

It is also important to help them see that the distress and emotional turmoil they are facing will not be endless. Besides, only consulting to professionals, parents must take proper responsibility guiding their children. Parents play a major role in the development of a child's life.

Initiating programmes for the high-risk group could be beneficial. Letting them involve in social and interpersonal activities that help others may lessen the sense of isolation and meaninglessness. Given above is small information on suicide.

The survival to the fittest is what applies to today's world. But, before we try to fit into the external world it is important that we keep the internal world fit in order to adapt easily to any kind of world.

It is not about being perfect but embracing the imperfection and employ according to ones personality. The grass is not greener on the other side we have to water our own grass.

* Olivia Gurumayum wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at olivguru(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 17 2019.

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