When someone takes their own life, the first reaction is always pity. Then comes the judgments. “Why did she do it?” or “That’s stupid”. But if you really think about it, we really don’t have the right to judge them, do we? Because after all, we were trained to try and take away the pain. Not live in it.

Suicide is a term that people often look at with their very own shrewd expressions. It accounts for over 800,000 deaths worldwide with nearly 40% of these occurring in low and middle income countries (LAMIC) in Asia.

According to a report submitted by the World Health Organization in 2014, September, Sri Lanka was ranked the 4th in suicide rates.

While the suicide rates have indeed decreased within the past year, it is still something that happens. We all have statistics we can look up when a suicide happens. However, we never really think about the person themselves. If a loved one kills themselves, we try to understand them. To understand why they would do something like that, take away their own life.

“I was ten years old when my sister came into my room one day. She was sixteen then. She woke me up and said she loves me no matter what happens. She told me to tell mom and dad that she’s sorry. The next day, my mother found her in her room, in a pool of blood. To this day, I don’t know why she did it. To this day, I try to understand if it was my fault,” 20-year old Sharon said.

“When a person is trapped in a burning building, he or she will make the conscious decision to jump out the window. The people outside, safe on the sidewalk don’t often understand this decision. They don’t understand why she didn’t hold on or wait for the firemen. They don’t really understand that- for her- the decision to jump was deliberate. Done in order to prevent the pain of the flames. They don’t really get the fact that she knew that her decision would kill her. But at that second when the flames are closing in, all she can think about is escaping.

That doesn’t mean she feared the fall any less. It just meant that the pain from the flames was too much for her to bear, and she had to do everything in her power to stop that pain. Everything else becomes inconsequential,” said Priyangi who is suffering from depression.

The term suicide means “to kill oneself”. However, to those who pick this path out of the so-called term “depression”, suicide actually means “to save oneself”. Because honestly speaking, it cannot be killing when you’re trying to save yourself from your own mind. We must never forget that even Troy was destroyed when attacked from within.

Risk factors for suicide vary by age, gender, and ethnic group. And risk factors often occur in combinations.

Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder. Many times, people who die by suicide have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Often they have that problem in combination with other mental disorders.
Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors, such as clinical depression, may lead to suicide. But suicide and suicidal behaviour are never normal responses to stress.

Other risk factors for suicide include:
One or more prior suicide attempts, Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse, Family history of suicide, Family violence, Physical or sexual abuse, Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain, Incarceration, Exposure to the suicidal behaviour of others.

Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:
Always talking or thinking about death, Clinical depression — deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse, Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights, Losing interest in things one used to care about, Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless, Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will, Saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”, Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy, Talking about suicide or killing one’s self, Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.

Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. And never judge.

“In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge those people who decide to die? No one c1an judge. Each person knows the extent of their own suffering or the total absence of meaning in their lives”-Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die