by Michelle Algarra
Suicide and attempted suicide is a common theme on TV and in the newspapers. So common that people often recognise it as actually normal, or acceptable behaviour. Even some medical professionals, like doctors, believe it is a practical solution to egregious problems, including long-term and excruciating pain due to terminal illnesses. They use the term “euthanasia”, or physician-assisted suicide, commonly referred to as mercy killing, and psychological trauma.
There are so many methods by which people have attempted suicide, both physically painful ones as well as more “acceptable” ways that are perceived as painless, such as overdosing on inordinate amounts of a variety of psychotropic medication or tranquillisers (e.g. antipsychotic drugs with sedating properties, MAOI’s and SSRI’s (antidepressants that may also induce sleep, and even benzodiazepine anxiolytics that flood the market), or else through lethal injection. The latter involves the following ingredients — anesthetic sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride; or else diazepam/valium (cisastacurium, and fentanyl citrate). In order to ensure efficacy, or achieve results, sometimes tranquillisers in all their variant forms (not all have sedating properties or induce sleep) and barbiturates are taken with copious amounts of alcohol to potentiate the effects. With all due apologies, this article is not trying to teach people effective means to kill themselves; the author is merely narrating a few ingenuous methods people have contrived to force the brain into a cloud of unconsciousness towards oblivion, or endless sleep, which is death.
People do not realise death is not a solution to one’s problems. They are merely seeking an easy way out of their sufferings, minute or humongous (according to individual standards). Suicide has become so prevalent that even young teenagers or adolescents and even children have attempted it. Misguided psychiatrists have even inadvertently caused it through the medicines they prescribe which are so readily available via prescriptions. They use their licences to actually induce severely (even not so severely) depressed patients to take their own lives. Antidepressant drug commonly taken in the United States that has become very popular even in the Philippines is fluoxetine hydrochloride, one of the brand names of which is Prozac. SSRI’s or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have an inherently dangerous side effect when taken habitually. SSRI’s enhance serotonergic neurotransmission leading to increased suicidal tendencies (serotonin — neurotransmitter induced in depression). SSRI’s initially enhance or elevate the mood of the patient, which makes him or her less timorous and therefore less inhibited when it comes to taking his own life. The literature of antidepressants indicate you actually have to wait for a “period of remission” to occur before the drug would take effect, seemingly after a plateau.
Medication is usually prescribed in conjunction with psychotherapy, however many times the latter does not produce positive results depressed patients are not responsive. Doctors even suggest and even implement harsher methods in treating severely depressed individuals, by placing them in hospitals or institutions for treatment.
Humanistic psychiatrists are only trying to implement a misguided attempt to solve the problem of suicide, thereby exacerbating the patients’ problems. Psychiatrists who are advocates of various Jewish or Protestant Christian religions, inclusive of proponents of Christian existentialist psychotherapeutic techniques, usually have a better view when treating patients because of their religious background. Existentialist psychiatrists, for one, view suffering as part of life and try to view the meaning of one’s existence not devoid of suffering but actually transcending through varied personal philosophies.
In other words, the reason why suicide is so prevalent is because society has left God out of the picture. All human problems, though flagrantly bad, are “light afflictions” compared to the purpose by which man was created. God allowed suffering to be part of this world not because of some grandiose scheme of a wrathful being, but because it is the main “side effect” of “worshipping” the god of this world, Satan. Even pastors and preachers in professing Christianity use, as some sword of Damocles, a wrong doctrine regarding hellfire, to try to prevent people from kicking themselves. They do know suicide is self-murder, and the destiny of murderers, supposedly, is the eternal fires of hell.
True Christians in God’s church realise that man is inherently mortal, and death will lead to unconsciousness. Being judged at the present time and having tasted of the blessings of God’s grace through proper understanding of the truth of God, they know if they take their own lives they will wake up in the second resurrection and not in the first. People who commit suicide at the present time will have to relive their physical lives, and will still be required by God to solve their problems, in addition to the more grievous sin of self-murder they have committed. Death is not a solution, in other words. As commonly believed in God’s church, it is an enemy and not a friend. Antithetical to the glorious immortality God wants to bestow all the firstfruits, or first batch of Christians to be saved, in the first resurrection.
Suicidal ideation itself, or contemplating on suicide, is a sin, and not just the act itself. It is not alright to imagine oneself committing self-harm every time one’s problems are very serious. It is also a manifestation of profound lack of faith, as well as ignorance, of God’s power and wisdom.
Constant and prevailing prayer is the best means to employ in order to lift the cloud of depression. Even great Christians in the Bible went through periods of despondency, but they trusted and relied on God to help them remain resilient and steadfast throughout their periods of suffering. It is usually the case that the feeling diminishes with time, as the individual learns to adjust through adverse circumstances he finds himself in. Ministerial counselling, help in providing positive solutions to one’s problems and in-depth understanding of the spiritual perspective, is one of the best methods in seeking help, because ministers are trained counsellors understand the Biblical dimension understanding suffering.
The Word became a human being, Jesus Christ. He divested Himself of Godship in order to experience suffering in human terms for which reason God can empathise with all the problems people go through. Two of the fruits of the spirit are joy and peace, which God can give to Christians in dire need of psychological, and most especially, spiritual, healing.
Some Important Definitions (from the Medical Dictionary):
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor — any of various antidepressant drugs which increase the concentration of monoamines in the brain by inhibiting the action of monoamine oxidase.
Monoaminergic — liberating or involving monoamines (as serotonin or norepinephrine) in neural transmission (~neurons) (~mechanisms).
Prozac — used for a preparation of hydrochloride of fluoxetine.
Serotonin — a phenolic amine neurotransmitter that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found especially in the brain, blood serum, and gastric mucous membrane of mammals — called also 5-hydroxytryptamine.
SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) — any of a class of antidepressants (as fluoxetine or sertraline) that inhibit the inactivation of serotonin by blocking its reuptake by presynaptic nerve cell endings.
Suicide — the act or an instance of taking one’s life voluntarily and intentionally, a person who commits or attempts suicide.
Suicidology — the study of suicide and suicide prevention.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
“Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time?”
“Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.’ ”
1 John 4:1
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
“You shall not murder.”
1 Corinthians 3:17
“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.”
1 Samuel 31:3–6
“The battle became fierce against Saul. The archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.’
But his armour-bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it. And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword, and died with him. So Saul, his three sons, his armour-bearer, and all his men died together that same day.”
“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”:
Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.’ ”
“The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.”