The main overriding theme of #Y was suicide. When I asked the director why he made a film about suicide – and if that is really the norm in my generation – he straightforwardly answered YES. Studying in the U-Belt area, he claimed that it was a normal occurrence for a student to simply jump off the building. In fact, the number of students who commit suicide are never really reported for most of these kids belong to well-known families who would rather keep everything private.
Come to think of it, suicide is a tough thing to deal with. From the person attempting to commit it to the people left behind after the act. So many questions. So few answers.
It appears that despite the socially connected world we live in, we still suffer from isolation.
It appears that despite the socially connected world we live in – with Facebook and various social media channels; with the Internet making communication faster and almost instantaneous – we still suffer from isolation. In fact, we are more isolated now than before in the time when social media cannot even be fathomed. It’s pretty paradoxical given that we are surrounded with various modes of communication and hundreds of friends and yet in reality, we feel alone
I remember McDonald’s and Coke’s recent campaign about the art of conversation where they encourage people to put down their phones and mobile devices for a while and rekindle the age old art of conversation.
So why would Miles commit suicide? It is said that no one really knew why. He had a loving family. He had friends who cared about him. He led a privileged life. So why would he end it. No one really knows why. People who commit suicide – you don’t really know the reason behind.
Miles was just shown as someone who fancied death. He was fascinated when his grandmother died – finding it cool how in one instant she stopped breathing and died. He was fascinated when he had to kill his cat to put it out of its misery. And in the end, he was fascinated that there were people who can die on the same day they were born.
Was it his fascination with death that led him to commit suicide? Was it because he had schizophrenic tendencies as what the doctor said? Or was it something else? No one really knew the reason why.
But, I do.
Why People Commit Suicide
Growing up with a loving family, being part of the popular kids and basically having a life that others admire – I know what it feels like to be “living your life to the fullest”. Anyone who knew me would never believe it when I say that I had entertained thoughts of just giving up on life. They would deny it outright claiming that I am always the bubbly kid, the optimistic friend, the proactive leader, the go-getter and other positive stuff. No one would imagine me as anywhere near depressed, emo, pessimistic or downright suicidal. But that is what they see. That is what I want them to see.
Being surrounded with friends – thousands in fact; being an extrovert – always the first to initiate conversation with strangers in a party; being the dependable friend, colleague and daughter – I have always portrayed the extreme end of the spectrum – happy, bubbly, optimistic, always excited. Living life to the full.
No one knows that there are days, very dark days, when I would swing to the other end of the spectrum. When, once alone in my room, with just my thoughts as companions, all bubbly-ness would fade into seeming oblivion and the wisps of depression would start to crawl eventually enveloping me in her dark and deadly embrace.
I understood what Miles meant when he said – “being happy and not having the right to be unhappy are two totally different things”.
My mantra has always been to get real close to people – but only when we are physically connected by distance and only to the point wherein only good memories of me will remain once we drift apart. The reason I have thousands of friends is mainly because at one point or another in my life, we have been tight and close as best buds but as time passed and life happened, the separate course we took forced us to be apart and I have stopped communicating. Yet, we remain friends, and the occasional, once-in-a-blue-moon get together would find us simply picking up from where we left off. Such is the nature of my friendships. I am your dependable friend – ready to lend an ear, willing to keep you company and going the extra mile for you – and I expect the same but rarely will I invoke such privilege.
And so I could relate when Miles found solace talking to Abby – a virtual stranger, someone he hasn’t and probably wouldn’t meet. I understood how he was able to pour out his soul to her and how, in the face of deep depression, he reached out to her – practically depending on her for his survival. Miles knew he had a life to live. He knew that he had life to face – that as Ping told him, we all have bullshit in our lives and most of us are just man enough to face it. How many times have I reached out to strangers? How many times have I poured out my soul to people I virtually didn’t know but once they became my friends my relationship with them changes.
strangers do not remain strangers for long.
It’s easy to talk to strangers. They wouldn’t judge you. They don’t know who you are. They will just listen. Yet strangers do not remain strangers for long. As you pour out your hearts to them, they begin pouring out their hearts to you and eventually you end up as friends. Miles poured his heart out to Abby. Abby started to care. Eventually she poured out her heart to him. And Miles knew, they were beginning to become friends. The illusion of a stranger will soon be dismantled.
Perhaps that is the reason why I blog and why I make it public. Virtually anyone can read it – and they don’t have to be my friends. They can judge all they want but in the end, they’re not people I care about so their opinions wouldn’t matter in the end. And yet my blog is read by friends, though I try not to promote too much, for fear that I would be judged in the end.
Will I ever commit suicide? I’d be honest. I thought about it. A lot. But, like Miles, I can’t seem to decide on the best way to die. Or rather the fool proof way to die. I wouldn’t want to attempt to die and yet be revived again (like what happened to Miles first time he attempted). I wouldn’t want to die and still experience pain in the process i.e. if I try cutting my wrists and ended up in a slow, painful death.
Please do not be surprised when I speak of death so candidly. Like Miles, I have always been fascinated with death. I watched older relatives die and have killed many animals in the name of science and with each instance, my fascination with death grows. Every time someone in the family dies, I would feel the pain of loss but then I would also imagine how I want my funeral to go, how I would want to die, etc. I have even considered donating my body to science to be dissected.
So will I ever take matters in my own hands? Will I commit suicide?
Eventually, I don’t really want to take my life for a very simple reason. I’m afraid to go to Hell. I believe in Heaven and Hell. And I believe people who commit suicide end up in Hell. But the more I knew people who committed suicide – Robin Williams and Whitney Houston for example – the more I wish that they didn’t go to Hell. I mean they’re pretty much decent people – Robin Williams made me laugh and Whitney Houston sang great songs – and I would like to meet them in Heaven.
I also feel suicide is a touchy subject in church. Primarily because if you preach that those who commit suicide goes to hell and you have a member whose son or daughter committed suicide then it would be like telling them their kid is now in hell. Pretty harsh, right? So I feel like the whole subject is seldom dealt with just so as not to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
I believe in Heaven and Hell. I’m afraid that if I commit suicide, I’d definitely go to Hell.
Which makes it even more confusing for most kids facing suicidal issues to know what to do or how to deal with it. I am grateful that I am wise enough to be able to deal with depression and God forbid I haven’t really done anything crazy (just wished at times a vehicle would hit me but then that would be a gruesome way to die).
Perhaps the best way to deal with suicidal tendencies is to have an outlet for expression. If you can find how to express yourself – devoid of the need for another human being to act as a source of comfort and strength – then you’d probably be in a better position to keep your sanity and hence, your life.
So if not a human being then what’s the next best thing? Actually, it’s not the next best thing – it is the best thing. Something called spirituality. I further believe that we are all spiritual beings. We have spirits and our bodies are not empty shells. No wonder we always search for more out of this life and try to find it in so many different ways. There’s a void in us that we need to fill. Those who don’t know how to properly fill in that void are the ones who, I believe, don’t make it, eventually ending up taking their own lives.
Spirituality does not mean religion. Those two are very different things. In the movie, Janna made a mental list of the different religions and justified why she choose to remain Catholic despite not really completely buying into it.
For me, it has never been about religion but has always been about relationship. My relationship with my Savior – with my Maker – the one who I call my Friend and Lover of my soul – this is what has kept me strong and alive, able to fend of the gnarling claws of depression. When I am aligned and connected with Him, I find myself in my happiest and most peaceful state of life. Even when faced with the toughest and most depressing challenge, I am able to withstand and remain strong. Such is the reason why, even after years of constantly battling depression, I have remained standing – strong and even serving as an inspiration to many.
This article is part of my series about #Y – probably the best film that tackled the issues of today’s generation.
Related: I have blogged about the issue of suicide some years back.