Stories about suicide

When khudkushi became her only freedom

The sky was a pool of black ink, dusted with stars at midnight. Arsh looked out from the window — she saw many little streets sprawled out below. She had only known these streets from inside the walls of her room. She had never walked on them. She had never been under the open sky. She looked at these streets longingly. To her, these streets and everything else of the outside world was a distant dream. Arsh was thinking about him. He came again tonight. Her caramel skin flushed bright pink as he folded her into his arms. Her heart ...

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Don’t invite child abuse victims if you can’t be sensitive or respectful towards them, HRPC

I was in attendance at the ‘Conference on the Protection of Childhoods’ that was held on March 17, 2019, at Al Hamra Hall, Lahore. The first conference of its kind held in Pakistan, it was organised by Human Rights Protection Centre (HRPC) and Positive Pakistan. On paper, the conference was supposed to provide a platform for change and awareness for the public on child sexual abuse. The panel had acclaimed media personalities, government officials and even a retired justice from Australia, Dr Robyn Layton, who has spent all her life working for child protection and women and children rights. On paper, ...

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I’m sorry, but I do not blame Shakeela for drowning her baby

It was an ordinary Tuesday evening and I was putting my three-year-old to bed, praying that her fever does not relapse and that she feels well enough to go to school the next morning. As I watched her gently fall asleep, I felt guilty for scolding her earlier in the day. I love her dearly, of course, but I too am human and have not been sleeping particularly well since the past week because she has been sick. I planned on taking advantage of the Kashmir Day holiday to sleep in late, but her tantrums spoiled all such plans. I took a deep ...

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Surviving suicide: My journey of grief and bipolar disorder

People most commonly associate suicide with depression, but it’s a misconception that a person can only feel suicidal when they are extremely sad. The first time I was ever suicidal, it was because I was depressed. For days, I drowned myself in tears, praying that either God would take my life or I work up the courage to take it myself. During the moments that I didn’t waste on prayers for death, I simply then switched gears and prayed for mania. I had never experienced mania before, but to my understanding, it was supposed to make me feel happy, energetic and most ...

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Another life lost to depression and yet we don’t consider mental health a grave issue?

Mental health should now be the top priority of every person wanting to function fully and maintain a healthy life. However, most of the world does not take this need seriously, and Pakistan is no exception. The country at large remains unaware of the importance of sound mental health, and while certain campaigns do address such issues, they mainly cater to a particular class. Bullying, depression, anxiety, and hundreds of other psychological conditions aren’t taken seriously here, as people believe they will disappear on their own or by prayer, or else the person will be treated harshly or ...

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RIP Anam Tanoli: Worse than being a woman in Pakistan is being a victim of depression and bullying

“Be grateful for what you have.” “Always look at people who are less fortunate than you.” “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel hopeless. You need to pray more – it’s the devil making you depressed and miserable.” “It’s all in your head.” “Stop being cynical, be positive.” “Stop overthinking.” “Stop overreacting.” And here is the worst one, “Stop pretending you have mental health issues to gain sympathy and attention!” If you have ever had anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental health issues, I bet your Pakistani family, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours, or even complete strangers would have used at least one of the aforementioned phrases after ...

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Being bipolar in Pakistan has not been easy, especially when people call you “pagal”

The squeaky voice of a trolley passing by woke me up. I was on a hospital bed. I slowly tried to get up while still trying to remember what brought me here. I was alone in the room, and the bed next to mine was neatly made up, with fruits and snacks lined up on the edge of the wall. ‘I had to be somewhere really important’ was all that I could remember. But where exactly? Nowhere! It was all just an illusion, a very dangerous one. I later learned that I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder (or maybe it was ...

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My best friend committed suicide – they advised him to ‘pray’ the depression away

These last few days have been particularly rough. They have been rough because one of my dearest childhood friends committed suicide, and not on account of a drug-based overdose or a road traffic accident (two of the most common causes of young adult mortality in our country). No. My friend shot himself. Before you go on to think perhaps a serious religious intervention could have saved his life, please halt your train of misguided, impulsive, ‘fatwa’ styled reasoning. Don’t even go there. Because my friend was probably one of the most religiously devout persons I have ever come across. He prayed five times ...

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8 ways ‘13 Reasons Why’ throws you into pits of darkness and leaves you there

What would you do if you found out that your loved one was suffering? “I just wish I die.” These simple words, said in a moment of frustration perhaps, are taken merely as words. Sometimes, that’s what they are, but sometimes, they mean more. Nobody reads too much into it, but perhaps we should. I was really young when I found out someone close to me was self-harming. At that time, I didn’t know what to do because I was still a child. The person told me about the cuts, the bruises and the sleeping pills. I did what you would expect a ...

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13 Reasons Why S2: A season of secrets, guilt and the power of kindness

The original Netflix series 13 Reasons Why released in March 2017 and took the world by storm. The show started an international dialogue about bullying, sexual assault, substance abuse and suicide. Although there was plenty of criticism that the show was glamourising suicide, the factors leading and contributing towards the suicide committed by the female protagonist, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), seemed to have been overlooked by critics. Photo: Netflix (Note: The following blog contains spoilers) In season one, Hannah, a high school student, commits suicide, but leaves behind 13 recorded tapes to explain her actions. Hannah left ...

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