Livid when it comes to injustices! But grateful to be alive! Especially in these increasingly worsening times. "You're kidding!" you say. No. You've heard: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Well, it is the same today. Follow along as I show you why.
Today's news highlights the increasingly little value people give to human lives. Some of the reasons people have for taking their lives are mentioned in the article below. . . What are the reasons that people feel they must take the lives of family members before they take their own my be varied. But, for whatever reason they feel it is a necessity, we the living need a solid hope for ourselves, the survivors of these victims, or people who sincerely want to help others to cope. The following articles should help.
Awake! 2004 11/22 28
unemployment, and drug and alcohol abuse continue to be cited as the main
factors contributing to a “large increase in suicides among young men” in
England and Wales, according to an article in The Times of London. But
Internet chat rooms where young people meet and arrange suicides are causing
increasing concern. “The internet itself attracts those most prone to suicide:
young men. Seventy-five per cent of suicides are by men and 80 per cent of those
are committed by men aged 15 to 24,” says the paper. There may be thousands of
so-called death sites on the Internet. “Most participants in suicide websites
feel unloved and already seem to be contemplating suicide, or have attempted
it, and there is plenty of advice on how not to be talked out of it,” the
article adds. Some sites encourage the potential suicide victim to follow
through with his plans rather than change his mind.
Why People Give Up on Life
Awake! 2001 10/22 3-7
“Each way to suicide is its own: intensely private,
unknowable, and terrible.”—Kay Redfield Jamison, psychiatrist.
IS suffering to live.” That is what Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a popular writer in
early 20th-century Japan, wrote shortly before committing suicide. However, he
prefaced that statement with the words: “Of course, I do not want to die, but
. . .”
Akutagawa, many of those who take their life do not want to die as much as they
want “to end whatever is going on,” stated one psychology professor. The
wording so commonly found in suicide notes suggests as much. Such phrases as ‘I
could not take it any longer’ or ‘Why go on living?’ show a deep desire to
escape life’s harsh realities. But as one expert described it, committing
suicide is “like treating a cold with a nuclear bomb.”
the reasons why people commit suicide vary, certain events in life commonly
is not uncommon for young ones who give in to despair and commit suicide to do
so even over matters that may seem trivial to others. When they feel hurt and
cannot do anything about it, youths may view their own death as a means of
getting back at those who have hurt them. Hiroshi Inamura, a specialist in
handling suicidal people in Japan, wrote: “Through their own death, children
cherish an inner urge to punish the person who has tormented them.”
recent survey in Britain indicated that when children are subjected to severe
bullying, they are nearly seven times as likely to attempt suicide. The
emotional pain that these children suffer is real. A 13-year-old boy who hanged
himself left behind a note naming five people who had tormented him and had
even extorted money from him. “Please save other children,” he wrote.
may try to take their life when they get into trouble at school or with the
law, suffer the end of a romance, get a bad report card, experience stress over
exams, or become weighed down by worries about the future. Among high-achieving
adolescents who may tend to be perfectionists, a setback or a failure—be it
actual or imaginary—may bring on a suicide attempt.
adults, financial or work-related problems are common triggering events. In
Japan after years of economic downturn, suicides recently topped 30,000 a year.
According to the Mainichi Daily News, almost three quarters of the
middle-aged men who killed themselves did so “because of problems stemming from
debts, business failures, poverty and unemployment.” Family problems too may
lead to suicide. A Finnish newspaperreported:
“Recently divorced middle-aged men” make up one of the high-risk groups. A
study in Hungary found that the majority of girls who contemplate suicide were
reared in broken homes.
and physical illness are also major triggering factors, especially among the
elderly. Often suicide is chosen as a way out, not necessarily when an illness
is terminal, but when the patient views the suffering as intolerable.
not everybody reacts to these triggering events by committing suicide. On the
contrary, when faced with such stressful situations, the majority do not take
their life. Why, then, do some view suicide as the answer, while most do not?
of the decision to die is in the construing of events,” says Kay Redfield
Jamison, professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine. She adds: “Most minds, when healthy, do not construe any event as
devastating enough to warrant suicide.” Eve K. Mościcki, of the U.S. National
Institute of Mental Health, notes that many factors—some of them
underlying—work together to lead to suicidal behavior. Such underlying factors
include mental and addictive disorders, genetic makeup, and brain chemistry.
Let us consider some of them.
among these factors are mental and addictive disorders, such as depression,
bipolar mood disorders, schizophrenia, and alcohol or drug abuse. Research
in both Europe and the United States indicates that more than 90 percent
of completed suicides are associated with such disorders. In fact, Swedish
researchers found that among men who were not diagnosed with any disorders of
that kind, the suicide rate was 8.3 per 100,000, but among the depressed
it jumped to 650 per 100,000! And experts say that the factors leading to
suicide are similar in Eastern lands. Still, even the combination of depression
with triggering events does not make suicide inevitable.
Jamison, who once attempted suicide herself, says: “People seem to be able to
bear or tolerate depression as long as there is the belief that things will
improve.” However, she has found that as the cumulative despair becomes
unbearable, the ability of the mental system to restrain suicidal impulses
gradually weakens. She likens the situation to the way that the brakes on a car
are worn thin by constant stress.
is vital to recognize such a trend because depression can be treated. Feelings
of helplessness can be reversed. When the underlying factors are dealt with,
people may react differently to the heartaches and stresses that often trigger
think that one’s genetic makeup may constitute an underlying factor in many
suicides. True, genes play a role in determining one’s temperament, and studies
reveal that some family lines have more incidents of suicide than others. Yet,
“a genetic predisposition to suicide by no means implies that suicide is
inevitable,” says Jamison.
chemistry too can be an underlying factor. In the brain billions of neurons
communicate electrochemically. At the branched-out ends of the nerve fibers,
there are small gaps called synapses across which neurotransmitters carry
information chemically. The level of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, may be
involved in a person’s biological vulnerability to suicide. The book Inside
the Brain explains: “A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the
wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence
and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.”
fact is, however, that nobody is destined to commit suicide. Millions of
people cope with heartaches and stresses. It is the way the mind and the heart react
to pressures that leads some to kill themselves. Not just the immediate
triggering causes but the underlying factors must also be dealt with.
then, what can be done to create a more positive outlook that will regenerate a
measure of zest for life?
on page 6]
Gender and Suicide
According to a study in the
United States, while women are two to three times more likely to attempt
suicide than men, men are four times more likely to succeed. Women are at least
twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, which may account for the
greater number of suicide attempts. However, their depressive illnesses may be
less violent, and thus they may turn to less violent means. Men, on the other
hand, may tend to use more aggressive and decisive means to make sure they
In China, however, more women than men
succeed. In fact, a study reveals that some 56 percent of the world’s
female suicides occur in China, especially in rural areas. It is said that one
of the reasons for impulsive female suicide attempts leading to completed
suicides there is the easy access to lethal pesticides.
[Box/Picture on page 7]
Suicide and Loneliness
Loneliness is one of the factors
that lead people to depression and suicide. Jouko Lönnqvist, who headed a study
of suicides in Finland, said: “For a great number [of those who had committed
suicide], everyday life was lonely. They had lots of spare time but few social
contacts.” Kenshiro Ohara, a psychiatrist at Hamamatsu University School of
Medicine in Japan, commented that “isolation” was behind the recent surge in
suicides by middle-aged men in that country.
[Picture on page 5]
For adults, financial or work-related problems are common triggering
You Feel Like Giving Up on Life
Awake! 1/2012 18
EACH year tens of thousands of people in the United States
alone attempt to take their own life. The Bible gives a fundamental reason why
many are in such a state of despair. It explains that we live in “critical
times hard to deal with.” People feel the pressures of life with great
intensity. (2 Timothy 3:1; Ecclesiastes 7:7) When a person is overwhelmed
by life’s anxieties, he may contemplate suicide as a means to escape pain. What
can you do if you have had such thoughts?
You Are Not Alone!
though your situation may seem desperate, remember that you are not alone and
that sadly nearly everyone is coping with some type of problem today.
The Bible states: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in
pain together.” (Romans 8:22) While in the short term it may seem that your
problem will never be resolved, things often do improve with the passing of
time. In the meantime, what can help?
Share your feelings with a mature, trusted friend. The Bible says:
“A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for
when there is distress.” (Proverbs 17:17) The righteous man Job, described in
the Bible, opened up to others during his period of turmoil. When he felt what
he referred to as “a loathing toward my life,” he stated: “I will give vent to
my concern about myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul!” (Job 10:1)
Confiding in others can diminish the intensity of your emotions, and it may
give you a fresh perspective on the problems you face.
Pour out your heart to God in prayer. Some have the
idea that prayer is just a psychological crutch, but the Bible says otherwise.
Psalm 65:2 calls Jehovah God the “Hearer of prayer,” and 1 Peter 5:7 says:
“He cares for you.” The Bible repeatedly stresses the importance of relying on
God. For example:
in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In
all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths
desire of those fearing [Jehovah] he will perform, and their cry
for help he will hear, and he will save them.”—PSALM 145:19.
is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we
ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 JOHN 5:14.
is far away from the wicked ones, but the prayer of the righteous ones he
you tell God the difficulties you face, he will provide help. For good reason,
the Bible encourages you to “trust in him at all times . . . Before
him pour out your heart.”—Psalm 62:8.
When More Is Needed
reveal that most people who take their life have a history of depression. This
underscores the fact that medical attention may be necessary. A physician may
prescribe medication or recommend dietary adjustments. In some cases, a program
of exercise is an effective supplement to treatment. Professional medical care
has proved beneficial to many.
Bible contains much information that can give you support and hope. For
example, at Revelation 21:4, the Bible says regarding Jehovah God: “He will
wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning
nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” This is a
divine promise, and meditating on it can provide relief.
Witnesses are sharing this Bible-based hope with millions of people around the
world. As a result, many are finding genuine hope in these distressful times.
For more information, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area by visiting your
local Kingdom Hall, or write to the appropriate address on page 5 of this
magazine. You can also visit our Web site www.watchtower.org.
have received help by calling a suicide-prevention center or a mental-health
more information on depression, see the July 2009 issue of Awake!
Awake! does not
endorse any particular treatment. Each individual should carefully evaluate his
options before making a personal decision.
[Box on page16]
HELP FROM THE BIBLE
● “Do not be
anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with
thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that
excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of
Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
● “I inquired of
Jehovah, and he answered me, and out of all my frights he delivered me.”—Psalm
● “Jehovah is
near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he
● “He is healing
the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”—Psalm 147:3.
IF YOU HAVE THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE...
feelings with a trusted friend
Pour out your
heart to God in prayer
FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
and close friends are often the first to recognize that a distressed individual
is contemplating suicide. Taking action can save that one’s life! Be an
empathetic listener. Acknowledge the reality of the difficulties that he or she
is undergoing. The Bible says: “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:14) Urge the distressed one to get help, and when
necessary, follow through to make sure that such help is arranged.