Geeks, you know that I love talking about deep, philosophical, pretentious things (as long as it's not a John Green novel). So I've decided to start a new series on my blog, now that the People Who Annoy Me series has run its course (although that may change once I return to college).
Today, I'm going to talk about something that isn't really much of a question: is suicide selfish?
Suicide and mental illness are two of the sub-themes of the novel I'm currently working on, and a few weeks ago, when I was rewriting a crucial scene, I remembered something a very important person in my life had said to me, many years ago: "Suicide is one of the most selfish things you can do."
And I'm here to tell you that it absolutely isn't.
Suicide is a touchy subject, especially here in India. It's like premarital sex or homosexuality, in the sense that we like to pretend it doesn't happen. Or that even if it does happen, it's a shame to society.
Suicide is a shame to society, but not in the way people think it is. Suicide is not a cowardly act or a way to get attention. Suicide is simply the result of a mental illness, and most people who've attempted suicide or even seriously considered it aren't doing it because they're selfish. They're doing it because they can't help it. They see no light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe they've asked for help before, only to be laughed at for being so 'weak'. Maybe they see no other way out.
And that happens because we as a society don't believe in mental illnesses. We don't understand that being depressed and being sad are two different things. We don't understand that telling someone to 'get over it' or to 'compare themselves to starving kids in Africa' can do more harm than good.
I'm all for being grateful, but you can't put an end to your suicidal thoughts by praying to God or thinking about the good things in life - at least, not most of the time.
By perpetuating this belief that suicidal people are selfish, cowardly or immoral, we are only making things worse. We are being selfish by denying medical treatment to those who need it.
So let's start accepting mental illnesses for what they are: illnesses. Not exaggerations or hallucinations, but real illnesses that need immediate attention.
The next time someone confides in you about their bad thoughts, think about the power your words have. You could help save a life. You could keep a million hearts from breaking. You could make a real difference in the world, just by being open-minded and considerate.
If you're having suicidal thoughts, or if you know someone who does, please ask for help immediately. You don't have to go to a hospital or look for a psychiatrist. Even emailing a suicide helpline anonymously can help.
Have you ever come across someone who antagonizes mentally ill people? Or are you one of them? Let me know in the comments if you disagree with what I said - I do love a healthy discussion... some of the time.
Next time, I'll talk about the morality of death sentences. Are they really doing us any good?
Until then, have a great week!