Empty Unhappy Youth who Kill Themselves or Kill Others

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For the last two days, my mood has been strangely introspective.  My son’s friend, who was a student with him at the same university, committed suicide.
Thereafter, we also heard news about campus killings in Oregon, America.

Although the real reason can never be known, people deduce all sorts of reasons for a young person’s suicide. One reason given was ‘parental pressure’.  Also, that the day he took his life, he had said to one of the girls in his class, “I feel empty inside.

Parents again. Oh, but isn’t this a question being raised all the time, that ‘parental pressure’, which itself has its roots in ‘societal pressure’, lies heavy on many students’ head when they do not come up to their parents’ expectations?
Most students deal with it, some can’t cope.

My son’s friend is (was) actually the older brother of one of his classmates, with age-gap of only a year, but they all studied together.  Although both brothers are/were academically brilliant, and both got along well, but in a way the younger of the two was doing better. And now that this tragedy happened, people are quick to deduce that the older brother was probably not happy with his academic career, howsoever good it was.

That said, I couldn’t help probing further reasons for this unfortunate incident. Why did he feel ’empty inside’?  He had three loving siblings and had both parents alive. Then where and why was the parental pressure? Is it that the child assumed there is pressure? Is it that the younger sibling was out-performing him and he felt left out?  Probably, day-to-day comments and harmless little nagging within the families is not so harmless after all. A growing child, and a young person being consciously or unconsciously compared to others, loses his self-esteem and self-worth. I feel like hugging his soul. How lonely he must have been during his last hour or so!

loneliness

Photo Credit: animalnewyork.com

Essentially, loneliness is a part of growing up. Late teens to early twenties – this is the phase when children are no more considered children, even if, due to their lack of life experience and not much exposure to the world, most of them continue to be a child at heart.

As they leave their teens behind, they are full of anxiety. Anxiety of behaving sensibly like a new adult, that of being a role model for younger siblings, of performing well as per the societal or parental expectations, of getting admission in best possible courses, of out-performing others so as to secure a great job, of issues related to a girl-friend, of not having a girl-friend while others have; all this while out-doing many others who themselves have similar mind-set.  Each young person trying to excel in this rat race because eventually the fittest will survive.

While I was deeply brooding on all this, I shifted my thoughts to the other news, that of mass killing at the community college at Oregon campus. News about campus carnage in America is no more news for the international community.  This time too, the culprit’s age-group is the same as in most other campus killings, and the victims too are mostly young students or else teachers.

Oregon massacre, as the news slowly reveals, was based on hatred for organised religion, and quite like previous campus killings, this is also related to frustrated youth – an acrimonious revenge of some sort, for it is strange that the shooter was at some stage enrolled in the same college.  So it was about rebellion and about getting noticed. This too is about perceived or real societal pressure to conform (to religion), and it’s about retaliating and giving back pressure to the society. It’s about saying: Look you mean society!! I don’t believe in your dictatorial religious dogmas and pseudo-principles. I shun you. I have the power to kill you all.

As I mentally compare a young man’s self-killing to that of another young man’s mass-killing of others; both have similarities as well as differences.

Suicidal youth are the ones who have lost all hopes from life. Their needs are not being met, they’re crying for help but unable to say it, or else they try to convey but no one pays enough attention to their feelings. Eventually, when they feel life is more unbearable than death would be, that’s when they escape life via one impulsive step. Likewise, the youth who finally resorts to a killing spree, he also conveys or protests spitefully via media and other means, till one day he decides to take some rebellious action. As the Oregon killer said ‘He did not like his lot in life”.

Youth on the verge of a suicide assume they haven’t found their rightful place in the society and can never get it, hence they finish their life.  In comparison, aggressive young men who kill others also feel the same, except that killers try to get their place forcibly, by attempting an act that would leave a larger statement behind. Both seek attention, one does it passively and the other aggressively. A suicidal introvert passively punishes the family and society by withdrawing from it; whereas the shooter does so aggressively by taking lives within unsuspecting campuses.  

Taking one’s life via suicide, or that of many others…these are angry, unhappy, lonely, frustrated youth, not born that way but possibly they had been seeking attention since their early age as is clearly visible from the early life of this campus killer. Their mental tension and loneliness took root in their childhood, that is long before they culminated their anger or anguish in this extreme manner.

This amazes me as a parent, and I wonder at what stage do parents mentally lose contact with their child and why does this happen. Is it from early childhood that some odd behavior goes ignored, or else at the age of 10, 12 or 15?  Possibly more so after they turn 16 or 17, as that’s when they start to go out on their own.  In a nuclear family, which is a norm these days, there’s no support from extended families, hence the pressurized parents are either too engrossed in balancing their career with family life; or busy looking after their younger kids while getting more and more detached from the older kids. The older ones thus grow distant from their families and soon their lonely voices go unheard.

Here the problem is, how much parenting is enough? There are parents who would like to be forever involved in their children’s life, but they face another ‘societal pressure’, one that reminds them that parents should let their kids be; should set them free, let kids grow up on their own. Over-caring parents are considered helicopter parents – over-anxious and too fussy about their grown-up child or new adult.

Well of course, good parents need not be helicopter parents but they should not be so unobtrusive or unavailable that if their child is feeling “empty inside” they don’t even know it.

Likewise, parents of a teen, who is soon going to to evolve into a monster with head full of bloody ideas like mass massacre, are either parents who are themselves party to such vile things or else totally ignorant about it.  Either way, they are not playing any positive role in the lives of humans they gave birth to.

Throughout the life of their child, parents need to constantly sow seeds of ethical, moral and righteous living in their children. There’s no age for that. Parents need to be present in their kids’ lives forever. There’s no age for that.  Parents need of watch out for signs of killer instincts in their growing children and youth. There’s no age for that.

There’s no age to fix things that have gone even slightly wrong. It’s better to mend them in time.

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Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar

Unlock your heart at Gabbing Club

This club called blogging
Heals and unlocks sealed hearts
Gabbing at its best

After accidentally starting my blog, for quite some time I was surprised to see the amount of sharing and connecting that is involved in blogging as against simple writing.  I had no idea about this.

Some bloggers open up less while others want to open up.  Many blogs have memoirs, personal musings while most indulge in occasional rant to say it out and feel lighter.  Of course this sharing of inner feelings is in the form of creative and inspiring writing, as it is in this Haiku Challenge, and in all other challenges and prompts .

But all that makes blogging somewhat similar to a club or any other hub of social activity. Some people go to a club a lot, others come occasionally.

If we look at most gatherings and congregations that involve physical presence of people, there is similar socializing that begins with interesting and relevant talking but has every chance of ending up in idle talk that people should preferably refrain from. There is that thin line. Sometimes I myself end up writing too much.

Hence, I’ll re-write my above Haiku by changing its last line:

This club called blogging
Heals and unlocks sealed hearts
Idle gab there be none

4050025453_d5c6d51f6c_b

Sculpture by Rose-Aimée Belanger

Does it mean bloggers should always be cautious about their posts and interactions? Won’t that make it too polished, while killing the charm of natural spontaneity of blogging.

Actually it depends on the purpose of our blog. There are some extremely formal academic and business blogs that have very minimal and formal interactions. Their objectives are different

In comparison to this, some bloggers feel like communicating a lot, for it is their need, as blogging is cathartic, esp. if bloggers remain anonymous and unlock their hearts, thus seeking solutions to their problems. Likewise there are bloggers who want to, and are in a position to, help others and win hearts. Again, this task too can’t be done without elaborate communication. If you want to help others heal their broken hand, there’s nothing wrong in narrating how your own hand was once broken and how you healed it.

In keeping the above blogging goals, many, if not most, bloggers want to quickly go viral and some do get successful in that. Thus fame and possible money are not too impossible by-products of this gabbing and healing club.

To each his own.  But basically, on any kind of social media that involves gabbing, we should crave depth over breadth, or else both.

Because…“Only on the Internet can a person be lonely and popular at the same time.” This quote by Allison Burnett does make sense.

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That was my response to:  Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge 49

This week’s words were – Lock and Gab.  I used these words in my Haiku.

Somebody has to Help. Links to Help Nepal !

Yesterday, another earthquake struck Nepal. Last month’s earthquake on the 25th April 2015 left more than 8000 dead. Hundreds of thousands are homeless and they need food, shelter, medicines, clothing and every other possible help.

I’ve donated via online sites. Whatever we give is like a drop in the ocean but every drop matters to those who have nothing left.

Here I have compiled some trustworthy links where you can donate online. Some of these accept Paypal, others accept as low as $5. Spend some time looking at each site and read what’s going on.

1).  Donate using Credit Card or PayPal via  World Vision:    Nepal Earthquake 

2).  Donate via UNICEF:  Help Nepal 

3).  Donate via SOS Children’s Village:  Nepal Earthquake

4).  Donate only $5 (minimum amount) via International Medical Corps: Support Nepal

5).  Donate using Credit Card or PayPal via Care International Nepal Appeal
Care International
Go to the above link and scroll down to see links for different countries – Care Australia,   Canada, India etc

6).  Donate via Credit Card or Paypal via Global Giving:   Nepal Fund

7.  Donate via Red Cross Australia:   Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal

8).  Donate via Caritas Australia:  Nepal Earthquake Appeal

9).  Groupon Australia asks for only $5 minimum. Affordable for everyone:  Groupon

Useful things to know before you donate – where and how of it.

I have no personal connection to any of these sites –  just a small step to connect large-hearted people with those who are in dire need. My fellow bloggers can share to facilitate maximum exposure to other bloggers.

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The fact remains, somebody has to help them.  Those who badly need help, can’t help themselves.
These are destructive Forces of Nature in these Himalayan regions prone to such natural disasters.

Thanks for reading !!

Image/s source: google

The Self-Ruled

Quote

Rigid rules are for the fools
who need to be reigned
or else they will run unruly
For only rules can rule
these rebels who do not use
their heart or mind
to know wrong from right

Thinking minds obey the laws
but set their own unsaid rules
Rules, they better not break,
for they know, if broken, it won’t
annoy some ruling authority
but crush and break,  
their very own identity
their inner integrity

 My above poem is in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Breaking the Law.”

The rules below cited at infographicaday, are worth following, though no penalty for non-followers

A.G.

7-Rules-of-Life2

Helpful rules of life. Pic source: infographicaday