The End of a Journey #SuicidePrevention - GODYEARS

The End of a Journey #SuicidePrevention

September 10, 2016


  • As a teenager, you become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Unable to handle life, you commit suicide.
  • Having suffered the shame of being homeless earlier and now watching your marriage fail, you successfully kill yourself via carbon monoxide poisoning by running your car in an empty garage.
  • Struggling to come to terms with your hidden sexuality, you kill yourself using the gas oven.
  • A failure at your job and with no real prospects for the future, you drink a bottle of furniture polish. You successfully die.
  • Raped at nine and pregnant at 14, you don't know what to do. So you drink a bottle of laundry detergent and end your life.


The reasons are many but the premise remains the same - you suffered and are sure that there is no way out. You are ashamed of how far you have fallen from where you thought you would be.
It is okay. You need to believe me, it is okay. I hate that you lost but you need to know this isn't the end.

Read it aloud if you must - The end of a journey in life is not the end of your journey in life. Whether it is in love or in your career, whether it is an exam or an ailment, it is not the end of YOUR journey.


You don't know how brilliant your life can be if you only try.
Today, you may be someone who has lost in love. Someone who is divorced or broke or both. Today you are someone who cannot find a single friend to spare a moment to listen to you. Today you are watching everyone else move forward in life while you are sinking.

That is today. And it is going to be a few more 'todays' after today as well, I admit. But a day will come when 'today' won't feel so bad. When the stinging pain of your loss and the dull weight upon your heart won't feel as pronounced. When you start to look forward to tomorrow.

When you finally realize there is more to life than what you lost. I want you to believe in that 'tomorrow'. A tomorrow where things will not only get better but you will acknowledge the role of this loss in making you into the best version of you that you could be. A tomorrow where you can look back and tell your younger self you are proud you held on.

Just believe it exists. That is enough for now.

You are destined for bigger, better things. You will make a mark - a positive mark - in someone's world. It will be a positive one because you have suffered the pain of negativity and know the value of being there for others when they need it.

The empathizing nature of your heart which made you feel the pain of loss so strongly will now help you become the healer just as powerfully, your experience affecting not just your own life but inspiring others to hang on as well and believe that it is not the end of their journey.

Looking back at those examples at the start of this post, you can see how dire those broken souls are. You can perhaps empathize with their pain. If not condone, perhaps you can understand why they chose to commit suicide. But if you can empathize with their loss of self-belief, surely you empathize with their resurgence too?

  • The drug addicted teenager did not die. As the years passed by, she toned down her wild streak and focused on her life and career, rebuilding after her tumultuous teenage years. She is an Ambassador Against Hunger for United Nations. Of course, I still remember Drew Barrymore's smile as she struggles to remember her love story in 50 First Dates. 


  • The divorced woman did not die inside her garage. She went on to become a role model for African Americans all over the world. Till date, Halle Berry remains the ONLY African American to win a Best Actress Academy Award ever.


  • The young married man struggling with his sexuality did not die. He accepted who he was and moved on, focusing on what he did best. He went on to sell over 300 million music records, win five Grammy awards, an Academy, a Golden Globe and a Tony award. He would go on to be knighted too, now that I think about it. Of course, to Disney movie lovers, Sir Elton John will always be the man behind "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"


  • The man who failed at his previous job failed in committing suicide by furniture polish consumption too. And it is okay. Because I can't imagine anyone else but the legendary Billy Joel singing Piano Man with so much gusto.


  • As for the pregnant girl, well things would get worse for her, I fear. She did survive the suicide attempt but she would lose her child soon after birth. She was a runaway too so really, she had no chance in life. You and I see thousands of street children like her in every busy road of India, don't we? Ah, but she chose not to give up after things got worse which is where this story gets interesting. She went to school, became a grocery girl and later on a radio anchor. Being African American in that era was just another hurdle but I would say she handled it well. She started her own talk show and listened to her audience, empathizing with them instead of judging them. She became what she lacked most growing up - a caring friend. By the time she turned the lights off on her show decades later, Oprah Winfrey was the first African-American billionaire, 'the most powerful woman on Earth (CNN)' and the only living person in Life magazine's '100 People who changed the World'.



If she can change the world after the horrible set of cards dealt to her, can you imagine what you could do if you believe in yourself?

I will see you tomorrow, my friend.

Authors note:

Updated (March 2017)
Every year on September 10, I write on the topic of Suicide Prevention.
Till date, the articles I have written on Suicide Prevention include
Previously I had focused on what should be done from the point of view of both the sufferer as well as the friend of those suffering.
This year, I wanted to focus on the future and the endless possibilities, if you just hold on. It does not apply to celebrities alone. In real life too, I have seen friends of mine teetering on the edge of the sill wondering whether to hold on. They did and their lives changed as time passed, becoming far better than they could ever have imagined as they gave up on old dreams they had once cherished and allowed new ones to enter their lives. 

My own did too.


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33 comments

  1. So much inspiration and love in this post, Roshan! I am so glad you touched upon this the way you did. May more people overcome their demons and confront their fears. Suicide will NOT win. We won't let it!

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    1. I want to find more ways to get the message across... but in the end, it comes down to getting the message to the right person at the right time, I have realized. Some people do not need it this year... but a year from now, their lives would have changed and this same message becomes more relevant.

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  2. Dr Rodham good job.
    Just add my thought.
    Nothing is permanent not even your problems.

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    Replies
    1. True.. these words need to be repeated during bad times as well as good times.

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  3. Great post Roshan. Loved your quote very much. Good write up and good examples too. Yes Suicide is not a solution.

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    1. Thanks Vasantha... loved your recent quote based post too. :)

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  4. Great post Roshan. Loved your quote very much. Good write up and good examples too. Yes Suicide is not a solution.

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  5. Roshan, your post made my eyes well up! The utter despair that some people go through and the fatal step they take, as opposed to others, who face hurdles and yet keep going - it just goes to show that one can reach for the stars if one has it in them to not give up, but keep fighting, in spite of everything going wrong!
    Such inspirational stories of all those amazing human beings - it warmed my heart and is sure to give hope to the countless out there who so need to know about it.
    Great post, doc!

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    1. I think more people need to know that their heroes in life won after losing. It is a lesson that would inspire so many not to give up. Its horrible to think that we still live in a world where teens commit suicide in India because they did not get good grades in entrance or had a love letter discovered. We need to show them that the world is not so small and hard that these are adequate reasons to end their lives.

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  6. I did not know all these stories but there can never be a wrong time to tell these stories. Very inspirational post and I am going to share it.

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    1. Thanks Sunaina... the more people who hear it, the better. We never know who needs this the most on our timelines.

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  7. Wish we could have Indian parallels too. Would help our youngsters identify better.
    As always, great writing

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    1. I honestly don't know many Indian versions... people who've been honest enough to reveal their stories after fighting their way back to the top.

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  8. Inspirational and much needed post Doc. Way to go.

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  9. So touched, Roshan. I wish kids especially read this post and get inspired and don't give up easily. I'm worried seeing kids taking the path to suicide more and more these days , it's not right.

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    1. We talk about so many topics at home with our kids around. Sadly topics like this which affect them the most are never discussed. And that is sad... they remain the most vulnerable age group even today

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  10. Such a lovely way to get the message across, doc. My biggest fear these days are kids. And I hope that we can make them mentally strong to weather the storms and emerge stronger. More importantly to ask for help when they are sinking.

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    1. You are not wrong to be afraid. I keep telling that they remain the most vulnerable group. Just because they haven't seen as much as we have does not mean that they don't suffer the pain of loss or are emotionally equipped to deal with loss and failure at their level. We need to get them to open up during times of sorrow... and show them that losing is not an end.

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  11. How do you do this all the time Roshan? Seriously! Your posts are always so inspiring and heartfelt at the same time. And this is a wonderful thing that you do every year!
    More power to you :)

    Cheers
    Geets

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for that, Geet :)
      It is a topic that means a lot and I need to believe that somewhere some anonymous person will read this and stay alive awhile longer...

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  12. Excellent One, Doc. This is so inspiring even for non suicidal people who are just lazy and have no hopes or motivation.

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    1. True. There is a lot for all of us in these examples, I agree. We all could use the extra push sometimes.

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  13. Roshan, you took small examples of successful people but make the post golden and unique. Your words captured the heart and soul. It's truly magical. I never knew such names were afflicted. It's true one shouldn't judge someone going through tough times but listen to them. It was three years back when I wanted to kill myself over a career doing the down slide and loans, EMIs hounded me when a friend told to wait for another five years. How it changed perspective. In fact, another time I wanted to kill myself when I was in 12th since I was bored with life, feeling I am not doing anything concrete!

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    1. Thanks for the honesty.. and for hanging on. During our worst moments, we need someone to change the direction of that narrow telescope we are looking through... show us that there are other means to succeed and survive.

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  14. Beautiful post. As someone whose husband has lost two relatives to suicide, I am sharing this. Many of us have tough times, and if only we can work our way through it, we find better times - but that message needs to be shared again and again.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your husband's relatives. And yes, I agree.. the message needs to sent over and over.

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  15. This is so inspirational. There's so much more to life beyond the negativity, if only one has the patience, belief and faith to wait to see the future.
    It's a really great post, doc. Your initiative is super good. (y)

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    1. Thanks Mithila :)
      Its a lesson that applies to us too often.

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  16. Too good post sir.very inspiring .keep going with good work.

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  17. Too good post sir.very inspiring .keep going with good work.

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