“Suicide, contrary to the lyrics of a popular song, is never painless.”
(Part 2 of 3)
(Continued from last week…)
FOR years, there has been an onslaught of terrifying events from just about everywhere, facilitated by the startling phenomenon of social media and the ease of anything going viral and trending through the internet. Social media, like any other invention during modern times, has become a double-edged tool. It can be used for good or ill, depending on the user and his motivation.
Against this gloomy global backdrop, what is good and true appear to be defenseless against unseen forces that doom personal struggles: relationship problems, self-esteem issues, financial problems, addictions, physical and mental illnesses and other ills too many to mention.
The result — there seems to be far too many lonely, alienated people these days. The suicidal stage is the most dreaded period of such a state of mind, when intense loneliness descends to a deep vortex of hopelessness and darkness. Suicide signals the end of a futile human struggle.
There is available help — a sliver of hope. Psychotherapy and the safe and judicious use of antidepressants can help keep deep depression at bay. But that is all it does — keep it at bay. One cannot help but think that there has to be a better way when an alarming percentage of those who take antidepressants still throw in the towel and end it all.
In simpler times, if you can call and label adversity by name, you can figure out simple ways of defeating it. Yet now because of the complexity of the world we live in, we don’t call people lonely. We call them depressed. They are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a whole dizzying lexicon of mental diseases.
Two thousand years ago, our ancestors called the whole gamut of mental diseases and bizarre behavior, possession by the devil. One is no longer in charge of one’s soul but has been overpowered by a sinister, evil force. The soul is its habitat.
Pope Francis, fully aware and deeply concerned about what is going on in the spiritual realm in today’s world, has ordained exorcism official Catholic practice. There are only a few of these exorcists among the dwindling number of clergy. Pray unceasingly that God sends to everywhere around the world more of this class of holy spiritual soldiers in the tradition of Michael the Archangel who defeated Satan.
The greatest lie perpetrated by the devil during modern times is to make people believe that evil does not exist. It does. People lulled by a false sense of security in believing they are not in the sights of that sinister, unseen force, have become like the dodo—fat sitting ducks for evil—unwary and often caught off guard when tested.
The dodo is gone because it did not recognize the predators that wanted to kill it. In the spiritual realm, it has always been the battle for the human soul — good versus evil. The battle is raging. Sadly, many are none the wiser. Remember though that hope springs eternal and the tide always turns in God’s perfect timing.
The beheadings, stonings and widespread Christian persecution in the Middle East and Africa by radical elements of Islam in recent years, and in the home front of western civilization, the pervasive liberalism that mocks Christian morality and values by touting political correctness, the world is yanked back to 1 AD all over again. This is history repeating itself — a throwback to two thousand years ago when the blood of martyrs flowed, and Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
This is the present social and cultural canvass that engenders hopelessness and darkness in the souls of many individuals today. There are far too many news of suicide these days and its horrible spawn, murder-suicide.
Consider the case of that deranged, suicidal Germanwings pilot who planned and deliberately slammed a planeload of passengers against an Alpine mountain, causing the death of 149 people.
Who can forget about that despondent Malaysian Airlines pilot who may have caused the death of others by murder-suicide? After 17 months of fruitless searches, debris of the ill-fated MH 370 have been recovered on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean close to Mauritius and Madagascar, perhaps dragged by ocean currents from where it crashed on March 08, 2014 killing 239 people onboard. To this day, this tragic incident continues to be shrouded in mystery.
And then there are the twisted beliefs of suicide bombers seeking martyrdom. They think they will go to paradise and be rewarded with seventy-two virgins for their atrocity. There are religious leaders intolerant of other beliefs, who incite their followers to eradicate Christians and Christian nations. Who can explain evil incarnate?
There is news of suicide that hits you harder because you personally know the person who took his own life. By all accounts, he has led a good life but unknown to all, was going through overwhelming personal struggles, quietly wallowing in darkness and despair never wanting to cause a ripple and simply gave up.
(Conclusion in next week’s issue …)
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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org