May 1, 2012

The Digital Era: Higher Suicidal Intents?

Small picture, simple words. You are somebody's reason to smile.

How often do we forget to admit, that we matter to people? Maybe not the whole earth, but some people do actually care about us. They love us for who we are, for our qualities and imperfections. Repeat: They love us for who we are.

Not about who we were, who we will be, what we do, things we possess, talents that we have. It's not about that. It's not even about how we treat them. They simply love us for who we are. Our existence matters to them. They have joy by having our presence in their lives.

In this digital age, I always think it's so easy for us to fall into the extreme side of individualistic lifestyle. Based on my own personal experience, I can be content staying at home doing my stuffs and find all the information that I need through the internet. Interpersonal communication starts to take place by all the digital means - facebook, twitter, skype, pinterest, name them.

I'm not saying that digital communication is wrong. In fact, I'm really grateful God gives birth to a Zuckenberg or Larry Page and let them own the social media world. The world will never be the same without them. My concern is just this, if communication has evolved to be this effortless by all this budding digital shift, why does the world see an equal amount of depression/suicidal rates throughout countries? Even worse, these rates are increasing. Alarmingly.

Suicide, is a grave issue faced by many government authorities anywhere in the world, not exclusively in the Asian region. Take Japan as an example. For the last 14 years there, more than 30,000 people annually took their own lives. That means a staggering 82 lives are gone a day! South Korea also has it high, with approximately 15,000 suicidal deaths occurred in a year. That's 41 lives a day.

Many research have shown that depression is the single, highest risk factor that contributes to suicidal behaviours. Clinical depression is a serious issue. Don't treat it lightly guys. Nip it from the bud.

So why do I talk about all these stuffs? Because I believe, if suicide is mainly caused by depression (research-proven statement), then depression is caused by identity crisis that is so often seen in people these days.

Information age in this last 2 decades has generated a huge cultural shift for the citizen of the world, specially the youngsters. The freely flowing information can sometimes be an excess, creating a whole new norms for personal identity and boundaries. Self-identity can be so easily diffused with others: Too much is known about others and too little is kept behind the door.

Is this a problem? I certainly think it is. But just like any other thing in the world, everything is a double-edged sword. We can always opt to utilise this communication accessibility to our advantage, or be taken down by the digital shift.

Going back to the basic, I've seen so many individuals lose sight of who they are. It seem like life is simply another day to live with for them, who are waiting to be swept away by the world. Somehow I also realise these people are actually the ones that is prone to fall into depression. In general, there are two types: The devil-may-care bunch who'll end up killing themselves, or the hysterical bunch who'll sob their tears out and attempt suicide.

I was previously part of the hysterical bunch, so I know how bad it can be. It doesn't matter whether you have a happy life or not, a happy family, a great grades or awesome job and boyfriend. It's not about those things. You can look happy and glittery on the outside, but when the inside is empty, it's meaningless. It's about inner strength. It's the assurance of knowing your identity and your purpose of living the life you currently have.

You who read this, you know how it feels :)

I'm sure every one of us has been through this phase before. I've gone through it safely by the grace of God. If you think you're still in that stage, hang on there, it will pass. Pray to God that He'll give you direction and the strength to carry on.

It's a serious problem, so don't treat it casually. Never treat the emptiness of your heart lightly. It's a problem you can never solve using your own strength. Seek the Higher Power and be at peace, knowing that you are surrounded by people who love you simply because of who you are. Seek that true, inner strength, and be confident!

You're somebody's reason to smile :)

Credit to Wikipedia, WHO, yonhapnews, medscape