A 30-year-old male, with an alleged history of poisoning, was brought by his brother and father to my emergency department recently. For the 1st time in my life, I read someone’s suicide note (which fell out of his pocket during resuscitation). Trust me, the experience of reading someone’s last words, and his helpless elderly father holding my feet in a public area of the hospital to somehow miraculously save his young son, was traumatic.
Over the past 10 years of being an emergency physician, I have seen an 11-year-old boy hang himself when asked to study by his father, a 22-year-old female slash her wrist after a breakup, 13-year-old girl drink ‘######’ when stopped by parents to use Facebook, 17-year-old with cocaine intoxication- just to mention a few, among the many suicide cases which I have seen so far, and will continue to see in years to come.
I write this because I get deeply disturbed by such instances of people, including children playing 'GOD'. They have no right to take away the happiness of their loved ones. Why has life suddenly become so cheap? Why is it that people foolishly and impulsively decide to end their lives? Why be so selfish? It is the worst thing in life for a parent to give a ‘kandha' to the 'arthi’ of their own child. Where do people get that kind of heart and strength from? In most cases, it is just one moment of stupidity or a fit of rage.
A few facts straight from my psychiatry book – A person commits suicide every 6 minutes in India –
Method: Poisoning > hanging > throwing oneself in front of a train –
Incidence: Males > females – Age group 18-30 years.
Though some might argue that it takes courage to take away your own life, in my eyes such people were cowards to leave their family mourning and struggling, looking at the lifeless bodies and an irreparable future. It is disappointing to see the current generation of kids and young adults growing up with social media, computer games, movies, relationships, sex, drugs, spoiling the naïve mentality and innocent childhood of most of them.
Before people do stupid things that can threaten life, I wish they could come to a hospital, and visit the Emergency Department or the ICU to see what DEATH can be like. You can see the fear of death in many patients’ eyes. They know it is coming; it is just a matter of when. While some prefer to cry with the relatives, some look out of the window in hope of a new world, and others prefer to stare at God’s image and chant prayers written next to it, and so on. I understand that we are mortal, we all have the same destination, but for those who don’t value their existence, is life so painful that death is like a garnish on the celebration?
Yes, one fine day our world will collapse, the present will become past, people will move on and all that will remain will be memories. We all will grow old, get weak, become dependent on others; it is a natural progression from being a carefree child to an independent adult to an old person requiring support again, before the party is over. It is my sincere request to everyone reading this. PLEASE VALUE WHO YOU ARE AND APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE. VALUE THIS GIFT CALLED LIFE AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT. IF YOU EXPECT MORE FROM LIFE, WORK HARD. There are no shortcuts to success.
The solution in many cases is ‘communication’. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is talking about it. If this article can make even a single person think again before taking that drastic step, my intention to write this will be rewarded.