Suicide: Superstition and scientific facts

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suicide facts
Many people of Bangladesh thinks suicide is due to possession of jinn-ghosts.

ASST. PROFESSOR DR. SRIJONI AHMED

Whenever we hear the word suicide, so many thoughts come to our mind, ‘Is this something to talk about?’, ‘People do these things if they have no other things to do.’, ‘Trend these days!’, and ‘Only a coward will do! Whereas some others think like ‘This is the only Solution ‘,’ I can’t do it anymore – it’s better to finish myself ‘. Some get frightened when they hear the word, some become silent but upset. No one wants to talk about it. If there is a case of suicide in a family, they try their best to hide it or they will be subjected to various forms of harassment. In a fit of rage, the bereaved parents try to cry in secret, creating a narrative of the incident so that at least no one familiar with the dead soul can insult it. Some of our ideas work behind this situation. While there are no scientific, analytical explanations behind these ideas, the ideas survive due of support of the majority in society, for the sake of luxury, tendency to flee from problems or our preference to avoid problems. Unfortunately, in our society, if someone has ever thought about suicide or has attempted once in a lifetime, he then becomes marked with that incident for the rest of his life. But suicidal thoughts or attempts are not characteristic of a person but rather indicate that the person is in dire straits and needs help and treatment. Conventional ideas about suicide keep the person away from that help and treatment. In this article, I will try to tell our readers about the common misconceptions.

Misconception: Only mentally ill people think about suicide.

Fact: Many mental patients do not think of suicide. On the other hand, not all people who commit suicide have a mental illness. Studies have shown that suicide rates among mentally ill people are 3-12 times higher than those who are not mentally ill. But in many cases ongoing life crises such as relationship complications, legal issues, being the victim of a conspiracy, a complicated / long term physical illness, death of a loved one, becoming homeless, sexual abuse, financial crisis can also lead a person to suicide. In 2016, 80,000 farmers in Maharashtra, India, committed suicide because of the high cost of seeds and the burden of debt on their heads. In 2016-17, the number of suicides among farmers increased due to severe floods in the Haor region of Bangladesh.

Misconception: Once a person thinks or tries to commit suicide, it lasts a lifetime.

Fact: Studies have shown that severe suicidal ideation is in most cases short-lived and specific. It can be seen that many people no longer think of this path after getting proper help and treatment. Once a person survives a suicide attempt, he or she can lead a beautiful, successful life. Of the 29 suicide survivors who jumped off the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco’s history,  said that in less than a second after jumping off, they thought, “This is the worst thing in life.”  and they wanted to survive in that moment. In one of his research papers, Dr. Stacey Friedenthal showed that only 7% of the 515 people who thought of jumping off the bridge later committed suicide. Which means, most did not think or attempt suicide later.

Misconception: Most suicides occur suddenly, without any warning or dangerous thought.

Fact: Most people show some signs before committing suicide. It can be through speech, it can be through behavior. Many people report these symptoms only to those close to them. There are many reasons why people close to them or may not understand them or overlook them; Such as depression, self-loathing, whimsical behavior, frustration, sudden mood swings, dividing responsibilities. Which is why the idea is created that the suicide happened suddenly without any prior signs.

Misconception: Those who commit suicide are selfish and coward.

Fact: The reason behind committing suicide is not that the person does not want to live, but they want to end the suffering. The person who is thinking of suicide is suffering from deep pain and despair. They are not just ‘seeing themselves’, they are suffering from a mental illness or a crisis in life. When pushed away as ‘coward’, ‘selfish’, they are barred from seeking help.

Misconception: Talking about suicide means pushing towards or encouraging suicide.

Fact: Most people don’t want to talk about suicide because there are so many negative ideas involved. But talking about suicide doesn’t just reduce negative perceptions about it, through this one can get help, check their thoughts in a different way and can help others by telling their own stories.

Misconception: Suicidal intention is due to possession of Jinn-ghosts.

Fact: In our country, like other mental problems, suicidal tendencies are also considered as jinn possession where the actual problem remains the same and Kabiraj, Ojha’s pocket becomes heavy. There is a lot of oppression in the name of expelling jinn, causing the person to fall into more trouble. For example, perhaps a housewife had an attempted suicide due to the in-laws torture seeking dowry, she is then seen to be taken to Kabiraj, which makes her more helpless and pushing her towards the suicide again.

Talking about suicide removing all the misconceptions, helping the person who is at risk instead of pushing away can only not save someone’s life, It can also enrich society and related sciences. Therefore, I wish our readers to try to know and understand more about this complex subject without dwelling on the conventional ideas.

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