RAZOR’S EDGE

Yet another victim of stress, a post-graduate student in gynaecology attempted suicide by consuming sleeping pills. Here, Rishi Majumder talks to people who have been in similar circumstances and gets expert tips on how to cope

razor's edge
Caller: Who is this? Helpline: Mr… (states name)… Caller: What do you do? Helpline: Well, right now, I’m talking to you. What’s up? Caller: Nothing, just wanted to tell you I’m committing suicide.
And that’s how a call for help begins. “He heard when he walked into the water, the forgetful surf creaming on those ledges,” was how poetess Sylvia Plath ended her poem Suicide Off Egg Rock, some time before she ended her life at 31, leaving psychologists to coin the term “Sylvia Plath Effect” for mental illness in creative writers. The causes for suicide however, are far wider.

Take Ram Kumar, a medical representative who missed his MBBS entrance by two marks. After years having to try and sell medicines daily to doctors whose position he longed to occupy himself, Ram stood on a rail track for half an hour, hoping to end his life. Then realising a therapist he knew had an office close by, he walked in for a life-saving chat.
Or take Nita Sharma, a 12-yearold who “fell in love” with the boy next door. Various movie scenes egged her on to try and kiss him. The boy’s mother complained to her parents, who dealt her with sound admonishment instilling shame and the desire to slit her wrists. Luckily she was found and saved in time.

With an approximately 20 per cent increase estimated in Mumbai’s suicide rate in the last five years, WHO reports have held Mumbai accountable for 14 per cent of India’s suicides. The proportion of women who have committed suicide has increased each year, as has the proportion of youngsters. Shocking the city today is the attempted and successful suicide of two qualified doctors (respectively): Dr Yogini Kaje and Dr Ashwini Patil. As the Hippocratic oath turns on itself almost, psychologists Varkha Chulani and Dr Jagdish Shah (who also runs a helpline), lay out for us a brief but comprehensive guide to deal with this phenomena.

WARNING WATCH

Relationship failures, financial downfall and academic disappointments each embody unrealised expectation. Here are symptoms families and friends must look out for following such circumstances:

• Complete withdrawal from interaction

• A break in day to day activity pattern

• The discontinuing of things which held one’s interest most

• Continuous crying

• A claim of wanting to commit suicide

MOMENT OF EPIPHANY Asking one’s self these questions before committing the act, would place it in some perspective:

• Imagine yourself 10 minutes from now, dead. What do you think of yourself in connection to the world?

• Who are the people you most care about in this world. And who care about you?

• Can you picturise them now?

• How will they get on without you?

• Besides practical considerations, what social and emotional effect do you think your suicide will have on them?

• What situation, however impossible, would give your life the one ray of hope it needs?

MOMENT OF EPIPHANY Asking one’s self these questions before committing the act, would place it in some perspective:

• Imagine yourself 10 minutes from now, dead. What do you think of yourself in connection to the world?

• Who are the people you most care about in this world. And who care about you?

• Can you picturise them now?

• How will they get on without you?

• Besides practical considerations, what social and emotional effect do you think your suicide will have on them?

• What situation, however impossible, would give your life the one ray of hope it needs?

don't do this if you're not feeling too well...

This article originally appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/qpqr

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