by Dian Mashita
Few days ago, Malaysians were astounded by the headlines of 17-year old teenager, Sally Lee Qian Chun who ended her own life by jumping from the second-floor of her school.
She was said to post statuses and comments on her Facebook page reiterating her desire to kill herself. Her shocking remarks were apparently due to her failed relationship.
What was so disturbing to me was the fact that instead of consoling the despaired soul, her peers mocked and dared her to go along with her plan.
This may be an overgeneralization, but this reflects on the ignorance of the society we’re living in.
I’m afraid that we are becoming too selfish to bother about someone who is not from the same flesh and blood. But then again, according to Lee’s family, she seemed cheerful and bright on Chinese New Year’s day.
This impenetration of feeling is more dangerous I must say.
“Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.”
-Malaysian Psychiatric Association
“Suicidologist Adnan Omar believes the suicide trend among the young is getting more serious here and is fast catching up with Japan that has a rate of above 30 per 100,000 people.”
Isn’t it ironic that the number of social networking sites among youth (and younger ones) is steadily escalating at the same time too? I guess, it is not wrong to relate the suicide trend with the booming of social networking sites.
It is undeniable that these sites have its advantageous side, and vice versa. It is joyous to share photos and comments among our friends, and it is exciting to tell the world who we’re seeing and whatnot, but let’s try to put ourselves in someone who does not have as many friends as we do, or not as lucky as we are in that moment (Let’s face it, not everyone is sociable).
Have you ever wondered about how they feel?
Somehow, a new kind of attention-deficit disorder has been created from this situation. It does not only apply to the latter kind of people, in fact everyone who’s on the sites has this. If it’s not the main reason why we’re on it, it’s one of them.
For the youngsters, the expectation to be included in their peers will always exist, despite their consciousness. When the desire isn’t fulfilled, ignored, or rejected, that’s when it’s deadly.
And for many, they never expressed their feelings to anyone for fear of being looked down or called by degrading names. Are they to blame for having these kinds of thoughts?
The act of seeking for professional counselling isn’t a common thing among us, but it should be. Why is it not?
It could be because we are too caught up with excelling our studies, getting good jobs, meeting the right person, getting married, having kids, owning a house, earning buckets of money, that it’s a shameful thing to be depressed, to not get a string of As, to fail a relationship.
We’re not machines, we’re human beings with feelings.
We’ll make mistakes at one point or another. Sometimes we don’t need a solution, we just need a listener to remove the excess steam.
Many don’t realize, but depression is a disease, it should be treated and not bottled up to explode. The media should promote more of it and start breaking down the barriers. One side must start sharing, and the other must start caring.
This is what we all as members of a society should really tackle; our mindset.
More than half of us, especially urbanites, don’t even know who our neighbours; the closest strangers to us are. Aren’t strangers supposed to be friends that we’ve yet to meet?
It might be easier said than done, but here are some suggestions:
1. Make some time out of our busy routines to stroll out at the nearest park and get to know the ones in the neighbourhood.
2. “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Prophet Muhammad PBUH
Flash a sincere smile to a stranger. A powerful smile could turn someone’s frown (or life) downside up. Some might think you’re crazy and ignore you totally, but hey, at least you did your part, and it’s free-of-charge.
The Prophet also said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 589
3. Randomly call or text a friend/relative whom you haven’t heard in a long time. A simple “Hey, how are you?” goes a long way, trust me.
4. Never take things for granted. If a friend/relative/someone you just met say something suicidal or sudden long of silence, do not ever leave them from your attention. Silence IS a voice that we need to listen.
If you happen to be the one who constantly feel sad and down in the dumps, well stop for a minute and start counting your blessings and not think about what you don’t have. Fill yourself in someone else’s shoes. There are people out there who do not even have a shelter to protect themselves from rain or shine, clothes to change, food to relieve their thirst and hunger, or no family to call home to.
Every cloud has a silver lining. When one door shuts, there are plenty more to open.
Being young is a guarantee that you have plentiful of time (InshaAllah with God’s willing) to explore the world, provided you have the right mindset, because attitude determines altitude.
*Dian Mashita is a JPA scholar bound for Australia. She’s currently doing Australian Matriculation at KBU International College, Bandar Utama.