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Success and Suicide

Updated on May 3, 2016

Some years back, I wrote a piece here on Hub-pages about Suicide and Hunter S. Thompson. I loved him as a writer and when he chose to take his life, I felt it was an honorable decision. The man lived a full life, with countless books, movies made after his books, etc. When he took care of all that he needed to take care of and then, took his own life (because he was simply "done"), I wished him well and respected his decision.

On the other hand, there are many instances when people take their own lives due to hardships, to mental illness (as was the case with my brother-in-law) and/or stress. So, in this piece of writing I decided to focus on suicide, stress and success (the latter two being interconnected). Now, I found no specific data on how many people commit suicide due to stress.

What I did find were some bits of information scattered from country to country which put together paints a pretty dire picture. In an article from 2008 in the Guardian, titled: “Stress driving pupils to suicide says union”, one head-teacher was quoted in saying that at his integrated college, in Londonderry: “between 600 and 800 15 to 24 years olds killed themselves each year – equivalent to the population of a small secondary school”. In the same article, 73% of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers stated that they believed that students at that time were under more pressure than a decade before.

Here in Canada, the community of Attawapiskat just declared a state of emergency last month, when on the early morning of April 10th, seven children were brought-in to the local hospital with “potential drug-overdoses from suspected suicide attempts”. For those who do not know, Attawapiskat is a Cree First Nations community, in northern Ontario (the province I live in). Yet, this type of tragedy is not contained to Attawapiskat. Many other First Nations communities across Canada are having very similar problems: more and more children committing suicide and/or attempting to commit suicide.

To continue with the odd pieces of the puzzle I am making, I had a good friend of mine visit me from South Korea a couple of months ago. He is a teacher at a university and he was telling me how students there spent from morning until sometimes one o’clock at night going to school, studying, getting tutoring lessons, or doing homework. They basically study from morning to night. I complained saying how that’s not a life to live.

Indeed, it is not a life to lead because two nights ago, surfing through what documentary to watch on the web, I came across a documentary titled: “On Patrol with South Korea’s Suicide Rescue Team”. It is a short documentary but straight to the point. (I will add the link here for those who wish to take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jYBWBlEd0U)

South Korea has the highest rate of suicides among all the OECD countries for the last “eight years”. It is explained in the documentary that after the Korean War in the 1950s, South Korea went through a period of extreme, rapid economic growth but as a result, people have become “spiritually and mentally exhausted”. There is indeed a price for everything. Sometimes we do not realize the price, until for some people it is too late.

In Japan the situation is quite similar: chase success at all costs, even if You die at the office. Some office buildings have crematoriums in the basement, just in case You don’t make it through the day. This is the world we live in. These are societies we have created and unconsciously we keep chasing money, fame ... success.

I mentioned Japan because three nights ago, the night before I watched the documentary on South Korea, I watched a documentary titled: “Suicide Forest in Japan”. Somehow, this has been the trend for me but it did bring things into perspective. It underlined the idea that we push people to be successful so much that when they are not, their ego is destroyed; they are looked at as useless members of society, or lazy maybe. Such people easily fall into depression, sadness and some resort to suicide.

“Succeed or die” seems to be the mantra that Capitalism has ingrained in us and most of us follow it blindly. Not only follow it blindly but we push children on the same road too ... that sad and lonely road that for many simply leads to the “Suicide Forest”.

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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      22 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You Mrs. Shenko. : )

      Not much I can add to this except perhaps what the Warrior Crazy Horse is supposed to have said: "Hoka-hey!" (It is a good day to die!)

      Any day is a good day to die if You live fully every day, without regrets.

      Thank You again for passing by.

      Cheers!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      22 months ago from Texas

      Mr. Happy, I thought about another poem I heard some time ago that relates to your story.

      "Only those are fit to live

      who do not fear to die

      And none are fit to live

      who have shrunk from the joys of life

      Life and Death are part of the great adventure.

      *

      *

      Blessings always my friend

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      23 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You so much for the great comment, Mrs. Shenko. I appreciate it as always. Sunshine does follow after every storm so, perhaps if we discuss such topics, we may be able to shine some light on them. Change is really all up to us!

      All the best! : )

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      23 months ago from Texas

      Mr. Happy, again this makes me sad, no one should feel so alone that they want to just go away. Life is a gift and should be kept, not thrown away. Thank you for this informative piece.

      "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."-- Hunter S. Thompson

      Blessings and hugs my friend. [:-)=

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You Mrs. Shenko. : )

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S Thompson

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Mr. Happy, this is very informative, I loved the quotes from Hunter S. Thompson, you can find one for all most any situation.

      Blessings Mr. Happy.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Sorry for the delayed answer here. I meant to comment last week then, missed doing so and left the city until last night.

      I agree with You on the veterans issue - it is truly shameful after all they have done, literally putting their lives on the line.

      I am happy having these conversations, no matter how difficult they are because they regard the well-being of Life. How can anything be more important? Yet, not many people like to talk about these things. It's okay, I will continue doing so as long as I can.

      Thank You very much for taking the time to read this hub and leave a comment. All the best!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      With so many military taking their lives every day, America is wrestling with this problem as it never has before. Sometimes I wonder if the help we are offering is really any help at all. If you call the Veterans Administration Hospitals in the US they tell you to hang up and call another number for suicide prevention help. Seriously? You're lucky enough to get someone to call for help and you can't just put them through? We can put a man on the moon but we haven't mastered call forwarding when someone is on the brink of suicide?

      I hope you hub reaches someone who is in need of help. I wish we could tell teenagers to hang on for a few years. Most of us look back on those years and wonder how we survived = but we did and see things so differently looking back.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for taking the time to read and leave a comment on this hub, Mr. Billybuc. Sorry for my delay in answering.

      Suicides are nearly always tragic (with exceptions of Samurais committing seppuku, or some sort of other agreeable circumstances) but there is something extra-wrong when You hear about students, or children committing suicide. I'm rather speechless when I think of this.

      Thank You again for passing-by.

      All the very best!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is a sad statement about society....so many people out there who derailed somewhere between there and here, and I'm afraid there is no righting those cars once they've slipped off the track.

      I've known five suicides; two were students of mine; their loss affected me in a number of ways....such tragic loss.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. Spirit Whisperer,

      "Too much information and not enough transformation" - Sathya Sai Baba. I just learned about this quote about a month or, so and it seems to fit-in with your comment.

      Thank You for stopping-by.

      Cheers!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      2 years ago from Isle of Man

      This is the price our children pay when schools concentrate only on developing the intellect at the expense of the emotional mind. Thank you.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Yes, sobering indeed Mr. Ericdierker.

      I am glad You have not pushed your children too hard on the ladder to success. Living a kind, pleasant and compassionate Life is really enough.

      Thank You for your comment - cheers!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Whoa that is sobering. Makes me very sad. It also makes me happy for the children I have that are not too stressed out trying to climb a ladder.

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