I was having a conversation re suicide with someone on his blog, and I thought i’ll put it up here, and perhaps get more views… Neither of us are experts on the subject, so pardon the ignorance if you are! (oh do share your views if you are = ) )
( The original author is a post-doc at the Biopolis, originally from China, so his native language is Chinese. He did his own English translation of the original Chinese post)
7 days ago, 3rd July, a male caucasian jumped from high floor of Fusionopolis, Singapore, died from suicide;
Some months ago, a research assistant from China committed suicide in Nanyang Technological University, died;
It says that some years ago, a post-doctoral fellow committed suicide in Biopolis, died too.
It says that the suicide emotion is contagious. The human resource of our company sent an email to suggest people who got affected by the incident go for counselling. There is no shadow in my mind resulting from this incident, but I am curiously wandering what kind of difficulties drove these persons with high IQ, high education, decent income and social respects to the dead end?
When a person don’t fear of death, what kind of things can make him fear and crush?
It says that it is a very short time between suicide impulse and suicide behavior for majority of suicides.
In this short period of time, their rational thinking give way to strong emotions, abruptly make up their mind, the valuable life soon gone with winds…
However, the things are not as bad as they believed when their mind were occupied by impulse.
To me, a person who love life and play in it at will, suicide is an absolutely impossible decision.
To me, the life is like taking a journey to a new place, I am here to watch sceneries as I travel, the journey only ends when I died naturally.
What I need to do in my life is to go to more places, view more beautiful sceneries, get more happy experience and give more contribution to the society when I am capable of.
In the journey of life, it is inevitable to encounter difficulties. It is good to solve the problems, however, when we cannot solve it, we can just pass around it. It is like when we travel to the foot of a huge mountain and no way to climb it, we can try to pass around it; if there is no way to pass around, we can return to the road which we came from and explore again when new roads show up.
Life is a free journey without boundries! There must be somewhere suitable to you!
When we feel not accustomed to certain kinds of life style, works get troubles, lonely, very upset and we cannot figure out how to solve it, let’s just move to another place. The most extreme situation is to go to a totally new place, cutting off all the connections to the old life and start a new one. This extreme situation is much much better than suicide. If we don’t fear of suicide, how can we fear of going for a long term vocation in a brand new place?
mathia Lee wrote:
“I am curiously wandering what kind of difficulties drove these persons with high IQ, high education, decent income and social respects to the dead end?”
Many artists, writers, singers, brilliant minds etc etc suffer from depression, insanity, drug/alcohol problems, eating/sleeping disorders……….
“When we feel not accustomed to certain kinds of life style, works get troubles, lonely, very upset and we cannot figure out how to solve it, let’s just move to another place. The most extreme situation is to go to a totally new place, cutting off all the connections to the old life and start a new one. “
The thing with some successful people is that they thought moving to another place, or getting rich, or achieving their goals would make them happy. When they have succeeded in moving, getting rich or achieving their goals, and they still do not feel happy, things seem hopeless, because they start to feel as if nothing in this world can ever make them happy anymore. That is when all the problems start coming in . The drugs, the depression, the deaths.
If you notice, a lot of religions that stand the test of time and give people hope, tend not to emphasise happiness. What they do instead, is to convince you that suffering is good and meaningful. When people reconcile suffering with living, it becomes easier to move away from death and despair, because happiness is no longer a goal.
阿龙 Along wrote:
1. What I want to know is “what kind of difficulties–the real problem they faced”. The suffering you say about some artists, writers and singers is true, but I don’t think it fits on these three researchers.
2. I agree that many religions try to convince people to be able to bear sufferings, in Chinese it is called 修炼.
I think we are talking about different aspects of the question of “how to deal with suffering?” The suffering I am talking about is the outside difficult environment a person faces, and the suffering you are talking about is the inside struggle a person bears in his mind. That is why I ask the person to get away from the suffering environment and you said the person will still carry the suffering even move to a new place. : )
Even the suffering is becasue of the inside struggle in a person’s mind, I believe when he move to a new place without outside pressure, he can also feel much less struggle in his mind. That is why we normally feel fresh when we go travelling, forgeting the daily troubles after getting out of the old environment.
mathia Lee wrote:
Why do you think that these researchers are facing external real problems and not those inside?
A lot of times, personality is the main determinant.
I know someone (you know also lah!) who was brought up in a family where for 4 generations of women, they are taught to be wary of other people. (not in a consious manner, but because they are unconsciously influenced by the personality of their mother/family. ) They will interpret everyone else’s actions as having the worst intentions they can think of. If they children don’t call or visit, they won’t think “oh, my son is so busy these days, I wonder how i can help him to ease his burden?”. Instead they will think “Even my son doesn’t love me anymore. He doesn’t even make an effort to care or be filial”
When you talk to such people, they will be able to tell you a lot of real external problems. If you just met them, you might believe them. But if you know them well enough, you will know the real reason.
And if you take this person to a new environment, it won’t really help. The same thing will happen. This person will think she has hostile new neighbours. And because of her belief, she might act in an unfriendly way to a new neighbours, and that will make her problem real.
If this person doesn’t realise the root of her problem, or doesn’t want, or is unable to change that root of her problem, she will take her problems with her everywhere she goes, and in everything she does.
After a while, things like depression, alchohol problems, eating/sleep disorders etc etc will set in. Then this person will interpret this in the worst way too, think that she has uncurable illnesses, that her doctors are lousy, and start thinking about suicide
This is just one example.
You, Along, are a happy person. You are very blessed to be. Because I know you personally, I know that your personality has alot to do with your happiness. Even when you see things or experience things that are problematic to most people or even to yourself, you do not see it as a reason to be very upset. You take it in your stride and deal with it. You need something super major —– taiwan bombing xiamen for example (??? hehhehe = ) ) —- to be really upset. Which is wonderful.
Therefore, when you look at other suicidal people and wonder what kind of problems they had, you are looking at them with your personality, where you need real big problems to be that upset. But to understand suicide, you need always to think about their personality and mental state.
The above example is only one type of personality that puts the person at high risk for suicide. There are other examples. I’m sure there is a lot of literature.
Leo Tolstoy wrote “Anna Karenina” a classic. I am fascinated by his character development. The internal thoughts, feelings, personality are so well described as the characters face different situations. The main character “Anna Karenina” is a woman who has everything — great beauty, style, intelligence, wealth , a lovely son. She doesn’t really love her husband passionately, but she cares about him and is a good, rational wife. Then she meets this man she falls head over heels in love with and leaves her husband. This man also loves her very much. She should be happy, but her personality makes her impossibly demanding of this lover. That creates conflict in their relationship even though they both love each other very much. In the end, she is driven to suicide.
Many readers/reviews I found on the internet hated Anna Karenina. They couldn’t understand how she could think/feel/behave like that, and feel that she is selfish and spoilt. I didn’t think so. I was thinking, given her personality, the way she was, was it even possible for her to escape her fate?
A friend of mine (not local) and I had a conversation over msn, and he was questioning my stand against legalised euthanasia, because he empathises with people who are actually seeking euthanasia to relieve suffering. Here’s our conversation, him (A) and me(Me)
it’s REALLY strong to watch
you can google for more images of her and about what she had…. she committed suicide….
it’s about someone that had a weird kind of cancer…. but it deformed her….
Me here’s what i think. There are some laws which you can’t enforce, and they do more harm then the good it’s supposed to. example. laws against abortions. Whether you legalise them, they happen. When they are legalised, girls go to hospital, where the death rate from abortions are below 2%. Make them illegal, and they STILL do happen, in backstreets where the deathrate is 40%.
If you clamp down on illegal abortions, abortions will still be done — by the girls themselves. And then the deathrate really shoots up. So it’s better to legalise abortions.
Another example. Laws against sex with minors (girls below 16) Again, you can’t enforce them, and girls below 16 will still have sex with their boyfriends. But if they get pregnant or get an STI, they will be terrified to go to the doctor because they love their boyfriends. So they risk their own lives with DIY cures
Another example Laws against homosexuality. You can’t enforce them, and it still happens. But then educationists and the media (in singapore at least) cannot talk about it, so they cannot increase awareness or safe sex or they cannot seek legal protection or anything !
The same thing with euthanasia. I’m pro-choice. Whether or not you legalise suicide or euthanasia, it will happen., But the moment you legalise Assisted suicided, or assisted euthanasia, you’ll get a lot of abuse cases which are hard to prove. In essesne you are legalising murder, not suicide
Plus, what is the incentive for the government to subsidise sophisticated, but expensive healthcare, if death is always an option you can provide?
Many people choose euthanasia because they don’t want to be a financial burden. If the govt does not increase subsidies, but uses legalised euthanasia as an option when medical budgets get “too high” you will have more people opting for legal euthanasia
I agree some people would choose death over suffering , and no one can stop them from suicide if they are really determined. I think they have a moral right to. but its their choice not for the state to endorse or encourage
A ok, the first 3 I am completely on your side….. the more a subject becomes taboo because it goes against religion or whatever, the worse it gets….. I say religion because sex and homosexuality usually are banned/persecuted/illegal because of a goverment’s proximity with churches and religion….
now, in Euthanasia…. let’s split it in two, let’s talk about health care first, because you said some interesting things about cost and burden there, and then there is the moral and ethic decisions there…
Health care: let’s go utopia for a second, imagine we have a perfect health care system that allows you to be able to receive the medical attention you deserve for a cost that doesn’t make you a burden on your family, like hopefully Obama will do in the USA……. now, there are a bunch of cases in which euthanasia is practised but not with that name, like stage-4 cancers in which patients are put off life-support because all that is left for them is to suffer….. but on the other hand, and me being in science community feel a little guilty, is that we don’t have answer for every disease that is out there….
I had an aunt (fav aunt) that died in one year and we all knew it was going to happen since the beginning…. or this woman I just showed you, I can’t imagine how she felt, what she thought about, how she managed to go outside without feeling rejected by society, which is why she pleaded for death, and in the end she got it….. now, didn’t she deserve better?
Me now what if your aunt, or child had a terminal illness, and all the standard cures that were subsidised (in singapore, only certain things are subsidised) were useless to help her. You hear of this potential cure, but it is REALLY expensive. But you really love your child and want him to live. If you were very rich, you give up your holiday to europe, to pay for the treatment for your child.
If you were middle class, you sell your house and belongings for your child. If you were poor, you choose euthanasia for your child because there is no way you can afford and the government will not pay, because euthanasia is a legal option
What if that’s not your child. What if that’s your aged parent? Then would you even sell your house for your parent?
A I see your point…. and I think your problem is more with the current health care situation than Euthaniasia itself…. yes, I agree that you shouldn’t help someone die if there’s a hope to save him…… although the situation in which the cure might work would maybe would mean more suffering for that person…..
I know I’d without a shadow of a doubt save my child…
I also know my mother would ask me not to lose all my savings for her because she already ‘lived her life’
Me I’ve no problem with euthanasia itself, i’ve a problem with the state using it as a healthcare option, which is what they are aiming for in legalising it
A Ok, we are on more common ground then…. because when I think of euthanasia, I think about the patient first….. is he/she suffering (and by that I don’t mean only pain, I also mean mental anguish)? is there hope for him? does he want that hope?…… but yeah, having euthanasia FORCED on you because no one will pay, I’m against that too
Me where do you draw the line? If the person was poor , could not afford, and choose to let his mother die, is that legal euthanasia? If the person was rich, but chose not to give up his europe holiday, and chose to let his mother die of the same cause as the poor guys, is that legal euthanasia? or if the person did not want to sell his house?
legalised euthanasia does not aim to protect the patient, it aims to protect the people who assisted the patient.
A Where do you draw the line? I honestly can say I don’t know…. with my aunt we did our best to keep her with us as long as possible…. with this woman, I’m guessing she wanted the total opposite….. But, money or resources should NOT be the main deciding factor of something thinking about life and death…… and when it is, it just throws everything off-balance, for everyone…..
q for you… can you imagine a way in which you had the resources to save yourself but would chose not to?
Me i can……. and i would support anyone who made that choice….. but it has to be a personal choice, not something other people choose for you. Money should definately NOT be the main deciding factor, but you know humans. The moment you give it that legal loophole, every murder case will become a case of legalised murder…….
A I know, but I do believe pacients should, in some cases, have access to it, but those “cases” should be entirely medical and not economical….. but actually I think the goverment would make a better health care than private insurance companies….. but you are right, drawing the line is tricky……
Me in a perfect Utopia, where everyone is perfectly ethical , and the government is perfectly responsible in providing the best health care, i will applaud legalised euthanasia……… but given what reality is …… And the health minister proposed in the context of “an aging population” and “overwhelming cost of medical care” and the “need for creative solutions”
A “need for creative solutions”? isn’t creativity like one of the utmost principles of life?
Me its like , should we allow private citizens to keep guns at home, given that we have the right to defend ourselves…. yes……………… it is……….. they just want to market euthanasia and justify capping medical benefits
the sad thing is, few people see it that way
the catholic church came out against it today, and many people opposed the church , because they resent religious decrees….
but no one really looks at the motivation behind the governments proposal
even the right thing made for the wrong reasons is a wrong thing to do……
A the thing we might not understand is that maybe (based on what my mother has told me) they (older people) are ok with this because they don’t want to burden their families, they don’t want to be tied down to a bed or a hospital, they’d rather go than have a half-quality-life……
Me sigh……. yeh i can see where your mother comes from
and i can see why people may support it for those reasons
many parents think that way too……