The Modern Shrink Part 7 (Is suicide weak?)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Death is one of few things all of mankind have in common. At the same time it is something we fear and have difficulties fully understanding. Why people commit suicide, ending their life, is even more baffling.

Submitted: December 08, 2019

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Submitted: December 08, 2019

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Let me first of all provide you with some insight towards the choice of this kind of controversial topic. When i was 14 i had just one friend. Already at an young age i think i was introvert, even though i probably could have gotten more friends if i wanted. But then as now quality is more important than quantity. He was in a class above me and lived a couple of miles from me. To this day i am not sure why we became friends. One year age difference did mean something at 14, and we did not really have anything in common. He liked fishing and hunting, i liked football. He did not care about school or grades, at least i wanted to try.

The two things we had in common was that we lived with a single mum, and both got bullied at school. Every day for years. I experienced just the mental abuse, he got both the mental and physical abuse. To make a long story short, he commited suicide at the age of 15. My first real experience with death in my life. A shocking moment made even more shocking by the responses from the school and the public in general. It was the lack of empathy that shocked me. Nobody seemed to care. No speeches or nobody asking me how i was doing. One moment i had a best friend, the next day i did not. All the result of bulling and a bullet. Why did not people and the society care? Is it because we do not understand death, or is it that we blame the person? If we thing suicide is weak, an action done by people without the strenght to carry on. 

Global problem, local solutions and personal responsibility. Globally about 800 000 commit suicide each year, one for every 40 seconds. It is estimated that 16 million try to commit suicide a year, making it a global problem. The reasons behind theese thaughts and actions are varied with few commonalities. Poverty, lack of education, forced and arranged marriages, being a minority, abuse and many more. 

Does that mean that suicidies happen all the time? Not really. Even if 800 000 is a big number, there are about 7 500 000 (7,5 billion) people i the world. However true the statistics are, they can be difficult to decode correctly. As an example from Norway in 2008. According to the statistics men above 75 year old had a suicide rate of 151 per 100 000,  whilst women at the exact age of 20 had a rate of 2,6 per 100 000. At first glance a shocking difference. Do we treat our elderly so bad? The problem is that above 75 in a country here men are living to their late 80s and early 90s on a regular basis the number of total people adds up. At the same time as Norway do have a quite small population of 5 million. Which means that their are not to many woman aged 20 at any given moment. In reality the statistics showed that 998,5 per 1000 over the age of 75 would not commit suicide. For young women the rate is 999,9 of 1000 does not commit suicide. Just by going from 100 000 rate to 1000 we get a more truthful image of reality. This practice is called reframing, making an issue seem bigger than it really is. Both statistics are correct, but only the latter is practical to use. Eitherway the main objectice is to understand if the numbers are high or low. Why are so many people commiting suicide Vs. Why are not more people commiting suicide are two very different questions which requires different approaches. 

More men commit suicide than women worldwide, but it does not mean that less women want to die. The main difference is the choice of method. As suspected mens methods are more absolute and brutal like hanging and shooting. Making the outcome almost certain. Women typically have gone for poison and self-abuse, like in medication, starvation and cuttings. Means that take more time, and thus increases the chances of others to notice it. In wars and civil wars female suicides are far higher than that of mens. A fact we are seeing after the ISIS/ISILs treatment of women during their short lived reign. Still years after the Rwanda massacre, Yugoslavian civil war and many more we still see women struggling with coping. 

Mental health is a topic most countries in the developed world uses a lot of resources on. Less to none in developing parts of the world. Mental health is not cheap, eventough with help it is a investment in both people and the countries economics. Having mental issues prevents people from working and getting an education. Learn to cope with their issues can lay the fundation for a normal life. 

Trigger factors like stress and mental disorders are increasing worldwide. With the environments demands being to hugh for most people. As we see in Singapore, South Korea and Japan with people working so hard that they just burn out. The way we thing we should live like, instead of the way we want to live our lifes, is probably the greatest risk against the publics mental health in rich countries. I am writing this in Norway, a oil rich and very safe country to live in. If you have a full time job, you are making more money that most people outside of Norway. Certainly all the African countries, south American and oceanic. Even so we have the highest personal debts in the world. We have enough money to survive and then some. But we want more and more, believing that we can buy happiness. A notion strongly refuted again and again. Being a outsider is one of mans biggest fears. Maybe that is why we think that suicide is weak? When everything is said and done, we are not really prepared to be on side of the weak. 

So, is suicide weak, the final proof of ones inadequacy? For years after the death of my best friend i did believe so. That he was a victim of his own cowardness. Today i have a more nuanced understanding of mental health and the consequences of alienation. I do not believe that suicide is brave. At the same time as i do not view it as an selfish or cowardly act. Something in between, i do not know. The sad fact of death in any form is that it is impossible to fully understand. Like we do not fully understand the tormented souls of those prisoners of the damaged mind. 

Suicide is not weak. 

 

 


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