Today I woke up to find a news on my Facebook feed that left me sad as well as puzzled. A 23-year old engineering student jumped to his death from the 19th floor of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, and before that, he broadcasted a Facebook live video which is supposedly a tutorial on how to commit suicide. He also left some notes for his family and friends, and mentioned that he had been depressed. Given how disturbing this incident is, we cannot just wave it off as one of the many youth suicides in the country. The fact that this has become so frequent now, especially among the young people who could have had a promising future to look forward to, is exactly what we cannot ignore.
According to reports, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people in the country. As highly alarming this is, it is to be noted that a portion of this is due to career and examination-related issues. The major motivation is mentioned as “family problems”, but that of course includes financial constraints, which further pressurises them and leads them to this drastic step. But is anything under the sun, anything at all, worth taking your own life?
I have always seen people commenting what a fool that person was, or why he or she did not think about his or her family before attempting suicide. I agree, it was a foolish decision. But how many of us are actually willing to get to the root of this problem and trying to find a solution? When it comes to mourning an unfortunate loss, we are sympathetic enough. Then we scroll down our news feed, and forget it in a few minutes. But we fail to realise that this person could have been one of our friends or family.
How often has it been that your friend or your sibling has come to you asking for mental support, or a simple advice about an important decision they are unable to take? And how often have you actually sat and listened to them, keeping your phone and laptop away, and not taking it trivially? It often happens that someone wants to pour out their heart to us, tell us all about how their day went wrong or how they got treated badly at work, but at one point we tend to interrupt them and start our own “similar” story. We want to be heard as well, but we don’t like to listen. But no matter what experience we have had, it might not really match up to what the other person wished to tell us but couldn’t, because apparently it’s not so important for us. This only leads to a distance between them and us, and eventually they stop approaching us.
Yes we are good friends to our fellow human beings. We go clubbing with them, take pictures with them, post those pictures on social media with sweet captions. But are we comfortable with sitting for few hours with someone and listen to them say whatever the hell they want, NOT judge them, hug them, and say that everything is going to be fine?
The most important thing is, although many of us might be having friends who would listen to us, most of us don’t have parents who would. In a country where high school students cannot stand up for themselves and tell their parents that they don’t want to do engineering because they are into something else, you cannot expect them to confess that they messed up somewhere badly, or started doing drugs, or anything of that level. And then of course there is this rat race. You have to be in the competition even though you don’t want to, and above all, you have to win. You MUST win. Else if you are not strong enough to bear the failure, you choose to die.
It is always best to talk to one’s elders about something seriously bothering, but if we cannot, that is if they aren’t as understanding as we need them to be, we must talk to someone trustworthy. Depression HAS to be talked about, no matter what. Get hold of your best friend, or even a stranger. There are quite a few websites nowadays where you can at least talk to people anonymously, if you are afraid of being judged. But if you sense even for a moment that things are going out of hand, consult a therapist. We badly need to stop thinking of depression as a taboo, and address it openly.
Of course the root of all evils is the faulty education system, unemployment, and every other problem you can imagine. But until we are in a position to say that these issues don’t bother us any more (which is going to be a long long wait by the way), let us simply lend our ears to our friends and family, and help them open up to us. Just a simple gesture to show that we don’t judge them and that they mean something to us, can go a long way in creating a depression-free world.