The alleged suicide of Café Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha, a couple of weeks ago, owing to financial stress, left the corporate world in shock. Be it a business tycoon or a poor farmer, personal and professional stress may often lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies. According to a recent study, 50 per cent people in the world suffer from stress and depression in their lifetime, with India holding the dubious distinction of being the biggest contributor to total number of suicides in the world. Of the approximately 8,000,000 people who end their lives worldwide every year, India accounts for 1, 35,000 (17%).
However, there are many who also have succeeded in overcoming depression and suicidal thoughts, either through proper counseling or with sheer willpower. Sunday POST spoke to a few people who managed to overcome suicidal thoughts. “Committing suicide is as good as killing a person because an unnatural death affects many people related to the deceased. That’s the reason attempt to suicide till some time back was a criminal offence under the Indian Penal Code,” says Pragyan Paramita (name changed) who almost decided to end her life after going through a crisis in personal life.
“I was in an abusive relationship during my college days. It started with friendship but gradually the boy became over possessive. So much so, that I was neither allowed to talk to other male friends, nor smile and dress well. He started behaving like the master or controller of my life. I felt trapped and helpless. Although I tried my best to come out of the relationship, he would often threaten me of dire consequences. ‘I would commit suicide or hurl acid on you if you talk about walking out’, he used to shout. I felt trapped and there was no escape route. Left with no option, I decided to end my life,” says Pragyan.
According to pshychiatrists people who end their lives don’t want to die – they just want to escape. If they see a little light at the end of the tunnel, they change their mind. And that’s what happened with Pragyan.
Someone else entered her life and fell head over heels in love with her. Her past didn’t matter to him anymore and he assured Pragyan that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her under one roof. “I couldn’t have ignored his feelings and proposal. More than love it was freedom for me. I started loving life and with time my previous relationship died a natural death,” says Pragyan, adding, “Just don’t take any bizarre step in haste. Give yourself some time as every cloud has a silver lining.”
Madhusmita (name changed) fought with her family to marry her boyfriend. They got separated from their family and started living at a rented accommodation. However, the relationship soon turned sour, resulting in regular fights. Situation turned so ugly that one day Madhusmita consumed poison in the absence of her husband.
“I couldn’t find an escape route. Our neighbours rushed me to Capital Hospital. There I remained in coma for 15 days and spent one more month on ventilation. My family, which was against the marriage and had severed all ties with me, spent nearly `3 lakh to save my life. After recovery, I realised that I was committing a crime. My death would have brought untold misery to my parents and siblings. I learnt a lesson from that episode – if you take a decision on your own, you also need to fight it alone till the very end. Committing suicide is not a solution,” she says.
Madhusmita decided to end her life to teach her husband a lesson but didn’t realise that in order to do so she has to remain alive. Today, she is back with her husband and their occasional fights continue but she never thinks of ending her life.
Well-known psychologist Sambit Nanda says that major personal setbacks like break-ups, loss of loved ones, unemployment and job loss often compel people to take such extreme steps. Adolescents often suffer from inferiority complex when parents compare their achievements with their friends’. “A few other common causes include anxiety disorder, taking drugs and alcohol,” says Nanda.
“The most important thing is to recognise the problem. Suicidal tendencies arise when you stop taking interest in life. These people eat less, don’t get involved in their hobbies and keep themselves isolated. In such a scenario, the near and dear ones shouldn’t leave the person alone and should keep talking to them. Professional counseling also helps. The family should consult a competent psychologist to help the person. Monitoring is most important and we should deal with the case as a team,” he adds.
BIJAY MANDAL, OP