A friend of my father’s committed suicide last week. He hung himself. It brings up alot of thoughts and emotions that I had buried very deeply. It pains me. It angers me. What type of society do we live in where an elderly man turns to suicide? As you know, for very long period in my life, I struggled with suicidal thoughts. But it was only in 2017, in Sri Lanka, when I realised that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, but with our society, our culture. I felt so cheated, to have been fooled by it all. For years, I blamed myself, I tried to give a name and an explanation for why I was like this: bipolarism, chemical imbalance,etc…
From the second we are born, our society makes us feel feel that there is something wrong with us. And we grow up, with this constant fear that we are simply not good enough, too fat , too skinny, too quiet, too loud, too nice, too mean. Nothing made sense. I didn’t understand anything, the economy, the education system, physics, biology, history, social norms and etiquette, the government. I couldn’t understand the way the world was set up, in a way that created an environment where people turn on each other, instead of cooperate. And the whole time, I thought there was something wrong with me.
My father’s friend had been struggling with his depression for 10 years, since his wife passed. I remember a day where my father mentioned how this friend was feeling down, and a thought crossed my mind that I should bake him a pie and go for a visit. But instead, I talked myself out of it, thinking how strange it would be of me to do that. How is it that I could talk myself out of doing something nice for someone, but at that point of my life, I could not talk myself out of not having a drink, or not overeating, or not getting upset at work.
I had chosen the wrong thought.