10 April 2013

The Courage not to Commit Suicide

I am tempted to blame the media for the sudden rash of teenage suicides. On the other hand, media has really just been doing what it exists to do. Besides. I chanced upon an interview on DZMM by Noli de Castro with a UP Psychology professor; and apparently the slew of incidents is not the epidemic that is starting to seem.

There have been studies on suicides in the country and findings seem to indicate that the summer months are when suicides are most likely to be reported. The professor was quick to clarify that data was more on the reporting of the suicides extracted from police and hospital records. Whether the reporting is representative of the number of actual occurences per season, this she did not clarify.

This bit of information is at least curious because it contrasts with statistics in temperate countries where incidences of suicide are highest during the wintry months.

On the other hand, the age range in the Philippines is just as curious because data indicates that the most prone to committing suicide are those aged 15-24. If you attempt to even just loosely correlate these two bits of information, then the number of incidents during the summer months does not seem so curious, after all.


Thus, I think it actually takes courage to commit suicide. If only young kids who are thinking of blowing their brains away can be made to realise that that sort of courage can be used to face life and its challenges instead.
The start of the summer months, after all, are a crossroads for many young people. Late March and early April are when fortunes are made or broken – or, at least momentarily – by the release of grades and graduation from school.

Many who do manage to graduate will begin the quest for jobs. Some will not find jobs and that will be a source of frustration, even depression. Those who do will be at the bottom rung of the organisation. It is not an easy age-group to be in.

Seen in this light, then the recent spate of teenage suicides does not seem extraordinary, after all; and media has merely been reporting what psychiatric researches have known for sometime.

But it is; extraordinary, I mean.

The question has been raised of parental pressure. On the other hand, parental pressure has existed since Adam sired his first children by Eve. Expectations are laid down by parents as a matter of course. This is just the way family values are handed down from one generation to the next.

When young people take their lives one after the other, the really important question to ask is why are they not strong enough to withstand the pressures that come part and parcel not only of growing up but of life itself.

If I am not mistaken, four of the recent six cases reported by media involved guns; so why these were accessible will have to merit more than just a passing consideration. That said, had guns not been available, the youngsters would have found other means.

If you look at things differently, there is even a misplaced sort of bravery to the act of committing suicide. I think it is safe to say that most if not all of us have thought of it at one time or another; and the great majority will not even give sucide more than just a fleeting thought.

In my case, one trait that has always deterred me from even remotely considering committing such an act has always been a great instinct for self-preservation. That song that says suicide is painless, I have always disagreed it.

I have never been brave enough to even think of putting a gun to my temple; let alone pull the trigger.

Thus, I think it actually takes courage to commit suicide. If only young kids who are thinking of blowing their brains away can be made to realise that that sort of courage can be used to face life and its challenges instead.

The only thing that I consider greater than my instinct for self-preservation is the unwavering belief that my life is not mine to take. The very thought of being denied entry at the gates for taking something that was only lent to me by God, that has always been all the motivation I ever needed to take life as a package deal; i.e. with the ups and downs, the good things and the bad blah-blah-blah...

What ultimately makes me so sad about the recent spate of teenage suicides is that problems are only as bad as the moment. They all pass if you use your courage to not take the easy way out.

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This lovely song used to be the theme song of the 70's hit MASH. Never for one moment have I agreed with it.













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