I’ve always believed that it is very important to talk about mental health, but today I will also be talking about suicide. Please bear in mind that these are my opinions, and should in no way influence you. So if you’re uncomfortable with, or unable to read about sensitive topics like this, please skip this post. Thank you.
Amidst the chaos of an ever-growing pandemic, we’ve come across so much death, despair, and pain. And despite living in what somewhat resembles a post-apocalyptic world, we will never be comfortable with the idea of losing a life; regardless of what the reason is.
While I’ve already talked about this before, I think it is important to keep talking about it. Not only to raise awareness but also to make sure things eventually get fixed. Yes, we are in the middle of an incredibly dangerous pandemic, but mental health and well-being are just as important.
Suicide has been an extremely touchy topic for the society for generations. People always talk about, wonder what went wrong, and try to draw their conclusions. While most people can be respectful about a situation like this, not everyone has the decency to follow along.
I’ve always been extremely emotional when it comes to suicide, because I honestly cannot fathom how difficult living could become for someone. I have and continue to battle depression, but the inconspicuous fear of pushing myself to that point will always haunt me. No, I’m not saying it to sound extremely edgy or gain your pity. I’m saying this because I’ve come pretty fucking close to feeling it, and it is scary. It is so very scary. You’re alone, you’re scared, and everything and everyone seems like they’re against you. And because of this topic being a taboo in our country, it isn’t as easy as opening up to someone or asking for help, regardless of what people say.
14th June 2020, might have started well for me, but it had no intentions of staying that way. While lazily scrolling through my phone, I come across an article talking about the death of a popular Bollywood actor. Unfortunately with how common rumours are, and along with him being incredibly young, my mind immediately screamed ‘fake’. But curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to look it up, and my heart sank. He died of suicide, but apart from speculations, no one had the answers. The only thing that was made public was that he was suffering from depression.
And that’s where things start getting crazy. A few news channels I happened to come across were discussing his filmography, his career, and more. However, what struck a chord with me was their dismissal regarding his mental health. The anchor says something like: “He kept giving us good movies year after year, what could he be depressed about?”
I first talked about this back in 2017 in ‘Despair’. Someone the world cherished, loved and supported lost their battle against depression. It is always hard to know what goes through someone’s mind before going through with it, but the signs had always been there. Fans were crushed because he helped them win their battles, but despite that, he got ridiculed by most of those very ‘fans’. Being in the public eye obviously has a lot of downsides, but not only did these very ‘fans’ personally attack his life prior to this, but they also questioned his apparent depression.
However, in 2018, two more people had allegedly died of suicide. But the backlash to these two incidents was far more intense than back in 2017. Not only was it disheartening to hear about how people were saying vile things about them, but it also makes you wonder about just how bad their mental health probably got, despite ‘having it all’.
Just A Thought
I don’t want to draw attention away from the various of other people we have lost and haven’t heard about, but unfortunately when someone as popular dies of suicide, it is easier to open up Panodora’s box and force the world to look into it.
Despite being exposed to so many incidents that have been a result of poor mental health, we still seem to be desensitized towards it. Mental health has not only been a taboo in our country, but it has been an issue around the world as well. Not only have people called out the media for talking about a situation as sensitive as this, but social media becomes an extremely toxic place to be in during the aftermath of it.
While I don’t believe in giving such ‘trolls’ any more attention than they already get, I do need to point out what the things some of them have said and done. The media happens to be the only source we can refer to in regards to any incident, so it isn’t any different with this one either. But a few of them have been incredibly insensitive in regards to reporting this particular incident because catchy headlines are all that matters. And if that wasn’t enough, some evil mind decided to further ruin and desensitize this man’s death. I’ve even come across a TikTok user who happened to cash in on this discussion by asking people to click a link on his page to find out what really happened.
These incidents have garnered a lot of attention and have caused nationwide outrage, and rightfully so. With many people coming to speak out against this, we also have a healthy dose of speculation and conspiracies surrounding it. And while I have nothing against people discussing this situation respectfully, I genuinely believe that speculating and discussing what could have led to this could in some ways be disrespectful to the man.
And while this situation has paved the way for a conversation about mental health, it is unfortunate that it had to this way. Not only did this incident show how little we know about mental health in the country, but it also shows that we’re a long way away from changing that.
Social media, in my case, has also played a huge part in further demotivating me from living my best life. This may sound like a joke, but it isn’t. I’ve mentioned how social media makes me anxious or question things in various posts. Because the whole facade of a perfect life, or how most pretend to be happy there, really fucks with my head. Yes, comparing myself to them isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t help when it is so easily accessible.
But believe me, I’m not bashing on social media. I find it comforting at times, even when I’m close to having an anxiety attack. What I mean is that things like the news or social media are a platform that most use to influence. However, like everything else, there can be positive and negative outcomes. And while most are posting about mental health on social media, it can truly bring you down on most days.
What’s This Life For?
Suicides, while often looked at in a negative light, have been extremely prevalent in our country. While we have lost an amazing actor and human being recently, I know there have been many students, farmers, and people who aren’t as famous who’ve lost their lives to this too. So why is this topic still a taboo in society? Why are we still unable to speak about it? And why is it talked about only when someone has lost their life?
Whenever the media or society tackles mental health, the conversation has never been positive. The environment we’ve created or attempt to create is more toxic than safe. In the light of this event, I’ve come across many posts talking about how important speaking up is. But if we don’t create a supportive space to openly talk about mental health, this wouldn’t help at all.
Not only is it frowned upon to ask for help, having to hear that it is something that’s ‘just in your head’, or ‘a phase’ can be extremely disheartening. I’ve also come across many encouraging us to start by speaking to a close friend or even family, seeing how that would be easier. However, and I mean no disrespect to anyone, they can often say the wrong things even if their intentions are in the right place. And that isn’t it, not only is this an incredibly important decision, you have to maintain and help correctly. There have been times where we would say words like ‘I’ll always be a phone call away’, but when time comes to be there for someone, we bail.
If you fully intend on helping someone out, pay attention to what they say, actually check in and understand how they’re feeling. Implementing active listening in your life would make it easier for you to help your loved ones. Not only do you have to be mindful of listening to what is truly bothering them, but being mindful of what you say is just as important.
I’ve had so many people tell me that I can reach out to them whenever I’m low or anxious. However, I barely speak to most of these people, at all. Yes, we don’t always have to keep talking, but when it comes to speaking to someone, it doesn’t hurt if said person would keep checking up on you.
You’re Only Human
We lost countless people to suicides in the past few years, and while it is a huge issue, we haven’t quite been able to tackle or understand the root cause for it. However, for a country like Japan, suicides have been an issue they’ve struggled with for quite some time. I’d briefly touched upon this topic in ‘Japan’s Battles with Suicide’, emphasising on how like in India, depression and suicide are a taboo in Japan too.
Not only is the Aokigahara forest known as the Suicide forest, it is also one of the most prevalent suicide sites in the world. What’s fascinating is that Aokigahara is also a very popular tourist spot, but also popular for school excursions. To actively prevent any suicides from taking place, officials have put up signs asking people to not take their lives, and to seek professional help.
And while a lot of things can result in the mere thought of suicide creeping into your mind, it doesn’t make you a coward. It is your last step yes, but it’s never too late to get help. It is especially important to understand that, while things may seem like they wouldn’t get any better now, they always do. You’re strong enough to fight it, and conquer it. But you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Because regardless of what people say, asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re strong enough to admit that you need it, and will continue to work towards feeling better. And if speaking to friends or family isn’t helping, then you can contact the following:
United For Global Mental Health
Hotline: +91 22 2754 6669
Hotline: +91 40 7904646
The Samaritans Sahara
Hotline: +91-22-2307 3451
And if you’re outside India, please visit IASP or Suicide.org.
I, in no way, condone the act of suicide. But I refuse to call someone a coward or selfish for ending their life. By just trying to speak or even get help doesn’t make your problems magically disappear. But it would be a lot easier to tackle them, knowing that you have support and guidance when you need it the most.
If you’ve read all this way through, then thank you for letting me vent about what has been bothering me for a long time now. I hope you know that you are amazing, brave, and loved. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this, then you can find the rest of my work here.
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