Musings · Quotes

We don’t know how to respond to someone expressing feelings of distraught sorrow

Today, while I was sitting in a lecture I received a text from my roommate about emergency services surrounding the building I was in. Curious, I considered going outside to find out. She texted again saying there seemed to have been an alleged suicide. At this I left my desk immediately, wandered around the building and saw a few people crowded in front of the building, the police, security and paramedics speaking in hushed tones, but nothing really being done.


A 44-year-old lecturer, unknown identity had jumped from above the 20th floor and landed on the roof of the 6th floor. To retrieve the body, they used a crane like machine, drawing attention of all students to a body bag.


The university campus was a quiet chaos. Many people seemed disturbed by the event, but it was the topic of every conversation.


Emotions, conflicts and deep-rooted issues really make us feel uncomfortable. We don’t know how to respond to someone expressing feelings of distraught sorrow; we don’t feel comfortable hearing about unpleasant events.

We are all guilty of gossip and curiosity of others’ lives, but when someone is going through something difficult or they are suffering with a mental illness, we find it unpleasant to speak about it.


This is how it has become shameful. The subject is too raw and shocking for us to engage with.

People with depression can simply “pull themselves together”. No one enjoys misery, if someone with depression could find a quick fix, the world wouldn’t be as chaotic as it is.


So when someone commits suicide, the following questions are usually raised:

What was this person thinking?

Well, it wasn’t a fleeting thought. It’s a build up, its inexplicable and simply, this person found logic in not being alive anymore.

What kind of person does that?

Someone who is suffering so badly from fear and misery and even past trauma isn’t any “kind” of person. This is a person, who felt hopeless and helpless and felt no means of control in their lives.

Don’t you think it’s so selfish? What a coward!

The thought pattern in this persons mind does not only revolve around themselves but probably how much better off the people in his/her life would be without them alive.

What’s really selfish is a society that turns a blind eye to the daily pressure and pace of our lives, writing depression off as someone’s own fault and not listening.

I think its pretty brave to make such a huge decision that can affect everybody in his or her immediate reality.

Why didn’t he or she speak to someone?

Suicidal thoughts and depression are taboo in our society. We are all taught from a young age that no one likes being around someone who is “gloomy”. People don’t want to think about unhappy things, we rely on their friends to make us happy and distract us. We become so used to putting on this daily “I’m fine” mask, even we start to believe it.

Why would someone do this to himself or herself?

I see it, as the thought of living is more terrifying than the concept of dying. I can’t imagine feeling hopeless enough for this thought to even cross my mind. Suicide doesn’t think of the aftermath, but how to end this reality, how to stop the world right here and now. The future doesn’t exist.

Suicide is a sin.
So is living a lie, lying to family and friends about your mental state. All religions have different stances on this, without any disrespect, this was someone’s choice, and whether or not we agree about heaven or hell, we need to respect and understand that this person has made their peace.


I feel absolutely torn up about this incident, not only as it is traumatic for all students/staff on campus, but in terms of the act itself and the family of the deceased.

I only hope that his death was not in vain, and it brings some kind awareness to such a prominent issue.





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