There was a very disturbing story in USA Today this week about how the suicide rate in Japan is at an all time high. With some 34,000 people taking their own life last year alone, this is certainly a tragedy.
While I can understand how a person can sink to such a level of despair, having been there in my own life years ago, I also know, today, how totally unnecessary it is.
There is always a way out of any circumstance, regardless of how it may appear in the moment. As a wise man once said, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."
While I do not profess to be an expert on this subject, there have been times as I said earlier, I have been close enough to understand what might drive a person to an act with such finality.
One of the things that helped me get past it was, believe it or not, my incessant curiosity. To me, committing suicide is like walking out of a theater before the end of the movie. I figured I was going to die sooner or later so why not stick around to see what happens. Looking back from my current perspective, I'm sure glad I did.
Another thing, which probably had more impact than anything else, is that I'm essentially an optimist and know that, sooner or later, everything will work out. I believe in God and know that he/she has a better future in store for me.
I'm reminded of the story of the ancient King who summoned the Royal Jeweler to make him a ring that would, "Make me happy when I am sad and sad when I am happy."
The wise old ring maker came back with a ring inscribed, "This too shall pass."
People who have reached the point where taking their own life seems the only way out may want to consider that, whatever is happening right now, will certainly change. And probably in the very near future.
Financial markets will bounce back, real estate prices will rise nice again and the world will keep on spinning. Everything in our life will be different in a short time.
In the case of those taking their own life, 57% were unemployed middle aged men who took the cowardly way out--yes, suicide is a cowardly act. It takes courage to face our problems head-on and do something about them. In those cases in particular, they could start asking more empowering questions like, "What else can I do to change this situation?"
They can seek professional help or even join one of the many support groups to help them better cope with the current situation.
With all the opportunities available today, in Japan and elsewhere, there is no reason anyone has to resort to ending their own life as a way to solve any problem, much less an economic one.
While committing suicide may be considered an acceptable way to solve a financial crisis, it doesn't take into account the effect on one's spouse or the long term damage to children left behind to sort it all out.