Suicide: Jumping off the ledge

Yesterday afternoon I witnessed something very shocking.

While having lunch with my parents and sisters at one of our fave restaurants in a residential mall, we were interrupted by a cacophony of shouts and confusion. Initially, we thought there was a celebrity in the building, and people were excited. However, when I looked through the window of the restaurant, I saw a shadow falling at high-speed towards the ground floor. Then, there was a loud crashing noise and the screams became worse.

We thought that something like a piece of building equipment had fallen from the floors above. A horde of passers-by started to gather around the balcony outside of the restaurant. Everyone had a horrified look on their faces. 

My family and I did not move from our table, but we were curious. So, we asked our waiter what happened. Did something fall down? 

“No”, she said. 

It was not something, but a someone

All of our faces went pale.

Two of my sisters became queasy instantly. Only my dad and my third sister went out of the restaurant to verify the waiter’s story. We found it hard to believe that someone had fallen. The complex itself had only 4 storeys, and all its balconies had relatively high panels. It would be hard for anyone to fall over.

When my father and sister returned to our table, we could see the terror plastered on their faces.

There was a body lying on the ground floor, and his head had cracked open. 

He died on impact.

It was about 1 pm in the afternoon. None of us could finish our lunch. 

Apparently, a young man had jumped from the balcony on the 4th floor.

He was at the food court on the 4th floor of the mall, with his mother. It was reported that he had an argument with his mother before deciding to commit suicide. His mother and two employees of the mall had tried to stop him, but could not hold him back.

It is believed that he was mentally unstable, and was suffering from depression.  

You can read about it here

What filled me with more sadness (and a certain rage) was the number of people who casually whipped out their phones, and started snapping pictures of the deceased. Some could be seen smiling, and no doubt had promptly posted the pic unto their Facebook or Twitter, and etc. So many vying to be the first to share this piece of news. 

When did we evolve into desensitized fanatical buzz feeders?

Has human life been reduced to entertainment, or even a spectacle? The compulsion to eagerly comment, post and share without any regards to the anguish of a deceased? 

That young man was someone’s son.

He was 26 years old. 

May he finally have his peace. 

*****

 

As I laid in my bed last night, I tossed and turned. I could not sleep.

To be honest, I was reminded of my own pain and its accompanying chronic misery – being a former sufferer of suicidal tendencies.

Sometimes, the torment can become too unbearable and death seems like such a relief.

I believe that not everyone can find their way out of the darkness, because depression has a way of shutting out all hope. Despair can be, and often is, all-consuming.

There were numerous times during my divorce in 2002 when I thought of jumping off the ledge. On a daily basis, I had thought of the different ways to end my life. 

If I had not the support and help of loved ones, I could very well be the one lying lifeless on the ground. 

The statistics on suicide in every city is alarming. In other words, it happens everywhere.

In United States, suicide takes about 30,000 lives each year.

In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for those between 15 to 44 years of age.

In Malaysia, there was an average of two suicides in a day in the year of 2011. So, you can just imagine what the current stats will look like, especially when the rate keeps increasing each year. You can read more about it here

South Korea has the third highest rate of suicides in the world. 

If you really want to learn about the suicide stats of each country, you’ll find it here.  

As we grow and develop as a society, we are blessed with remarkable advanced technology and medical care. But, have they turned us into more decent human beings or worse? Do we use all that we have created to help and heal, or to wound and maim?

Is this the real tragedy of our times? 

You tell me. 

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

16 Comments
  • Thom Amundsen
    July 17, 2014

    Horrific in its content, your ability to speak candidly to the truths is solid. Thank you for this and peace.

    • shirleymaya
      July 18, 2014

      Thank you for your kind words. Nice to hear from you again, Thom. Hope all is well with you.

  • astraltravler
    July 17, 2014

    Dearest Shirley,
    How could I possible like this…. Thank you for sharing such a tragic story with us. Please know I’m sending you Love & Light My Friend.
    With Love,
    Anastasia

    • shirleymaya
      July 18, 2014

      Thank you, my dearest Anastasia. Means a lot. Hope all is well with you. Big hugs and love back.

  • Ranting Crow
    July 18, 2014

    The like is for the questioning this day and ages suicides. Are they of this century indeed, what leads us to this decision.
    Though it might be considered cowardly. I still hope he found his/her peace and will know what they done to those left behind.
    I do think it is a real tragedy of this day and age. where stress and loss of that little closeness we have a day might get us over that edge.

    • shirleymaya
      July 18, 2014

      Thank you for sharing, RC/TJ. So good to hear from you. You are right that those left behind will undoubtedly feel the grief and loss. However, I do think that the sufferers of depression and mental instability have more pain to endure. I often asked myself if I was a coward for not jumping, or courageous for deciding to choose life? I still don’t quite know the answer. However this is how I have begun to see it – one needs to be courageous to end it all because there is a lot of pain to be felt all at once as life ends, and one also needs to have courage to continue living as well. As you know, life is also filled with challenges and adversity. Both are not easy choices. But in time, with living, we grow stronger. So, perhaps it is inner strength that is needed most at our most vulnerable times, along with courage. This is, of course, just based on my personal experience. It would be different from others.

      • Ranting Crow
        July 18, 2014

        I know that either way it takes a great deal of self encouragement. to argue with what is right and yourself. I stood on the ledge, I waited for a truck. You are right but not every suffering is the same, it is that we do not know their true reasons that make such moment heartbreaking and more sad.
        Sometime I still doubt I am growing stronger or just that i just care less about the end.
        I do like to think they found peace, and they chose the right path for themselves.
        Only been a year or two we had some friends take their live. Yes more than one.

        Loved the piece. Thank you for sharing. And it is good to see you as well.

        • shirleymaya
          July 20, 2014

          I certainly hope you do grow stronger each time, TJ. In fact, I hope we all do.
          Because those who survive and keep on living no matter how hard it gets gives Hope to the rest. And we all need hope, encouragement and inspiration from time to time.
          Just you (and the rest of the online community) being there, answering and commenting, sharing your experiences and thoughts with me – all the above are so deeply appreciated.
          To know that at the other side of this laptop, there is a friend.
          Though our conversations may be brief and infrequent, they are all dearly valued.
          We can never know how much we can touch someone with our words, or kindness. Or even a smile. It could save someone’s life. We never know.
          This beautiful connection we all share is all I could ever ask for now. It is enough for now.
          Peace, my friend and stay strong. Hugs x

          • Ranting Crow
            July 20, 2014

            Big hugs stay strong xx you kick ass. and together we can over come

          • shirleymaya
            July 21, 2014

            :)))

  • Rene
    July 18, 2014

    There are many cartoons which show a major event happening, sad or tragic, while people stand around with their phones taking pictures. It is not funny, but a real part of society. One must ask two questions, at least as far as I can see: what has happened to society in that we regard a suicide so lightly; and is the suicide rate so high in all these countries because we have become so disconnected personally from each other. You stated he had family which attempted to talk him out of jumping, but I would wonder how close he was with these family members in the first place. Did they really know all which was troubling this man? Was this some sort of intervention gone horribly wrong? Horribly asked lastly, were things said by his family which may have been the proverbial last straw? Although in my life I have considered suicide as well, it has always been the consequences of my act upon my mum which would follow me in karma. My mum and I really don’t get along that well, but we accept each other as we are, but to leave my suicide with her would be too much for me to bear in my afterlife. I am sure it would place me many ‘steps’ back in the advancement of my soul. So, I guess for me, I have never attempted suicide due to how it would make my mum feel, and for selfish purposes, not to throw my soul backwards.
    Thanks for the great piece.
    Peace & Love

    • shirleymaya
      July 18, 2014

      HI Rene, thanks for sharing your thoughts and story. I truly appreciate that. We would never truly know what went wrong, if at all. May be the poor soul just got too tired of going through the painful motions over and over again, and felt that he was done. It could also be that it was his final heroic act – to be less of a burden on his mother, family and etc. May be he thought he could relieve them from his painful situation. There are many ways to look at it.
      I know I thought I was a burden and wanted to remove my loved ones from the emotional roller coaster they had to endure while with me. However, it was really the thought of my daughter, who at that time was 2 years of age, that stopped me from actually ending my life. I did not want her to be motherless, and felt that she was somehow responsible or that I did not love her enough to stay. So, I chose life instead.
      Thank you for stopping by. Much appreciated. Hugs x

  • neil
    July 18, 2014

    RIP…we only live once. .

    • shirleymaya
      July 20, 2014

      Yes, we do only live once. Good to hear from you again, Neil. Thanks for your comments.

  • scottishmomus
    August 5, 2014

    I ‘liked’ to say I’d read, Shirley but there is nothing to like in a story such as this; not for the boy nor his family nor those like yourself and family that were in attendance when it happened.
    I had a cousin commit suicide about thirty years ago and it impacted on all our family in ways very varied and sometimes difficult to explain. His mother, my aunt, was, of course, distraught and wondered what she could have done differently to alter the decision he had made. And it was a decision. No momentary act of impulse.
    He had been severely depressed after losing his job, hadn’t been able to find another, felt like a burden to his family and had then signed himself into an institution to seek help. He signed himself out, bought a train ticket, wrote his name and family phone number on it and then jumped in front of a train. I can’t begin to think what that must have been like for the train driver, the other passengers waiting on the platform, those on the train. A truly hellish experience.
    For me, I had had a falling out with him just a few weeks previously over some remark he made in a pub I was working in. I had retaliated. He later came to visit our home, I was still living with my parents at that time. I learned then that he had been suffering from depression and made peace with him. Not long after he was dead.
    I became haunted is the only word I can use by the loss of Thomas and felt I began to understand something of why he had chosen that route. It felt to me that he had been trying to save his family from the possession he felt in the grip of depression and despair. Like he was trying to spare them from who he had become.
    I know it sounds unreasonable to some extent when we think of the loss endured by all those who knew him and how they would have treasured the chance to make him see differently. But, in the grip of despair and distorted reasoning, I suppose it may have made some sense to him. It didn’t feel as if he were being cowardly at all. More that he was attempting to do what he felt was his only choice at that point.
    Depression is a curse I know. I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to go to sleep and not wake up because it all seemed too difficult to go on. For me, medication worked and, from time to time,I’ve returned to the doctors when I’ve become aware of the warning signs.
    In recent years I’ve felt no need of that believing instead that my perception has changed in what I need to be. I feel less pressure to be superwoman – pressure I put on myself. We have expectations surrounding us that are so unrealistic and the pressure to perform/succeed for both young and old is, I believe, part of the key to why we plunge into depression. When we feel we have failed despite other circumstances that surround a situation. I understand better the chemical imbalances that can occur when stress and pressure are brought to bear and almost negate now the possibility of succumbing by refusing to do/be more than I can.
    This is only my experience and I know others will have different views on the subject. Mental illness needs more speaking of and more done to support those who suffer. I believe more people do suffer than is even hinted at as we all attempt to cope with pressures and fluctuating chemicals.
    A change in perception about mental health and a network of family and social support may go some way to eradicate the stigma still attached and the reluctance people have to seek help.
    I’m so sorry you had to experience this, Shirley. As for those who use such an opportunity to post gratuitous pictures of suffering I don’t know what to say except it makes me shake my head in wonder at their lack of compassion.

    • shirleymaya
      August 9, 2014

      Thank you always for your beautiful and thoughtful sharing, SS. I appreciately it immensely.
      There is so much we do not yet “empathize” about mental illness and depression. It is more than just being weak and wanting to give up. Like you, I have been there and was even suicidal for a while. Hence, I do understand what you mean when we just want to end the agony and not be a burden to those around us. I felt the same then. When we can’t find a way to resolve what torments us, the torment becomes us. There is never an easy way out or a right way. Everyone suffers differently.
      I feel very fortunate that I have come this far. I am eternally grateful for the kindness and compassion I have received over the years. This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about us spreading awareness and cultivating deeper/higher understanding through our written collaboration. Without an understanding heart, there can be no loving kindness between the mind and the hands. Peace, love and big hugs.