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Life is a boutique of experiences; vicissitudes are an essential part of life. Acceptance to all colours of life ensures happiness and achievement in life.
Being an academic, I have seen stress and anxiety to be universal. We all feel frazzled at one time or the other. The only thing that differentiates us from the others is our reaction to the situation. Attitude influences our decisions and personality. It also determines the bonding and stability of our relationship with others. Problems are exams that we must pass to succeed and upgrade our life. All the issues of our life come up with assured meaningful lessons and behavioural modification.
I have almost taken a decade to unbutton this issue of my life. Now, I have sufficient courage for the self-disclosure about this turning point of my life. I feel an urge to reveal to a younger generation so that they can courageously face and find the solution of their personal and/or career challenges and not allow any momentary glitches to take away their harmony.
Life is a mix of all seasons, and my life is not an exception. Back in years, my problems were about to sweep me away with their flow. Nevertheless, fortune knocked at me to enrich with lifelong messages.
I wish to share my story of the failure of committing suicide. Like any other adolescent, the first year of college life was the most awaited phase of my life. I also had big dreams in my small eyes to make a bright future, as it was entirely a new phase. I had a rosy picture of college life in my imagination. However, it turned out to be a dreadful experience towards its end.
The final examinations were extremely disappointing and were below my expectations. One after the other exam, I was disturbed for not being able to attempt well. Although I was burning the midnight oil. On the last day of the examination, I had thought, if I still do not attempt well, I will end my life. Because living in a conservative society, failure is taboo, stigma, and sheer shame both for an individual and the family. The self-created pressure of society was higher than not meeting my own expectations.
I was battling at individual, family and societal levels then. The constant thoughts of not achieving self-satisfaction, losing one academic year and career uncertainty, ruining parents’ hard-earned money, humiliation from society were the significant precursors of terminating life. Probably, in the short term, it was the only way to deal with failure, I could think narrowly at that time.
There was no other way to live with a bag full of embarrassment. Therefore, after the last disappointing examination, in April 2010, I got off the bus at canals of Faridkot, Punjab, to commit suicide. I wanted to end my life because I was sure I would not be able to acquire excellent marks in the first year of graduation.
There were several police officers on the canal. I walked at a distance to search for a place to jump into the water. However, I had no idea how to jump, whether from the bridge or going down the stairs. There was also fear that if police officers find me jumping and will beat me severely. Being alive after a failed attempt will add fuel to fury.
After struggling for some time and dealing with panic thoughts, I turned back home and was crying all my way home. At that time, I did not use to own a mobile phone. I was about an hour and a half late than the usual arrival time. My mother was extremely panicked until I got home. I found her at the gate, waiting for me. My mother left no stone upturned to locate me. She called on a few numbers of my friends.
On seeing my mother in an entirely sympathetic situation, I realised what would have happened if I had not returned home or have collapsed my life like a coward. ‘Even if reaching one and half-an-hour late is not affordable to her, how would she accept me no more?’
There was an ocean of thoughts flowing in my mind, and I was unable to control over waves of emotions. That was a nightmare; I remained awake throughout the night, and the face of my mother was revolving around me. I was guilty of my decision, how could I be so self-centred to contemplate death without considering the psychosocial effects of it on my family. I did not have an idea of the miseries of my family’s aftermath.
The presumed pressure led me to take the extreme step was more from society than imagining shattering of my own dreams with the failure. It happened because I was helplessly trapped into the web of prejudices. However, this downfall taught me an array of lessons in a few hours for the whole life to deal with adversities.
The result was in my favour. I had passed the examination. Even if I had failed, it would not have been so damaging to justify the inhumane act of committing suicide. What I had suffered was entirely out of meta-conceptions.
I decided to tide over the emotional distress, failures, and problems in my life. I decided to continue to live with dignity without thinking of society. I decided to resign pessimism and transformed myself to see growth in other ways.
Gratefully, I was failed but won many lessons in my life.
- Never be selfish to quit life. You are an onus of you, family and society.
- Problems do not end with suicide, but life does, rather the problems intensify. Be fearless and face the challenges of life.
- Loss by suicide is irreversible and irreplaceable.
- Never find irreparable solutions to your temporary problems.
- You can unravel problems in a variety of ways, but such extreme steps leave with no healing and recovery.
- Every problem comes with a solution. Therefore, failure is another chance to prove your worth. It is certainly not an end of the story.
This attempt took the life of my negative self and rebirthed me into a more powerful personality.
This academic stress is prevalent among the students regarding the fear of failure, acceptance issues, job anxiety, and achieving success. Parents and teachers should provide enough emotional space for children to discuss their psychological stresses to them liberally.
Parents and teachers should aim at strengthening the confidence and encourage students to face the odd circumstances with determination.
Image credit: Freepik
Parmveer Singh is an Assistant Professor of Extension Education at Khalsa College Amritsar in India. You can connect with him on Twitter @Parmsingh92