An ordinary suicide
Updated: Jun 26
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput's recent death by suicide seems to have surprised people across the globe. Numerous questions are being asked. Some of the media agencies have taken the liberty to comment upon the professional politics that has caused this heartbreaking incident. The actor's friends and colleagues have posted on social media painting a positive picture regarding his personality. His loyal followers have questioned his decision to look at his celebrated profile in the entertainment industry. Last but not the least, everyone in the country has felt this as a personal loss.
An actors' death brought in the wave of another pandemic – the crisis of mental health!
Like everyone else, this news was shocking to me however it was an acceptable event. We seem to have missed the death attempts and deliberate self-harm other than those of celebrities. It could be taking place due to any reason but it existed much before actor Sushant Singh Rajput decided to die by suicide.
School and college students, unemployed young adults, survivors of abuse, and women are vulnerable people who have engaged in self-harm and attempted suicide. People with mental health conditions are always outcasted for suicide and self-harm. School and college students end up losing their life as part of a romanticized notion of expressing love, bullying, and discrimination by peers or teachers, fulfilling expectations of parents, and are unknown to the idea of self-care.
In India, unemployment is a permanent friend to people than a person. There seems to be a lack of financial security which makes people less independent. The feeling of losing independence also brings in feeling powerless. The feeling to not be in control and lose power can create experiences of helplessness in people. Similar helplessness is experienced by survivors of abuse (men and women) who have been deprived of the power of consenting. At last, women who seem to struggle for their equal rights and position in the country have been at the receiving end of female infanticide and domestication. Since years suicides have been alarming but a hype was created because a man who was celebrated and assumed to have it all attempted the act.
There were less celebrated actors like Jiah Khan and the mental health was not even mentioned at that time. It is almost like we have a problem with the ordinary, average, or moderate. While we aim to strike a balance in our life, we seem to reject the average in us. Filmstars are human beings too!
The professional and personal lives of filmstars are diffused. The boundaries between the two lives are celebrated equally. It is still possible to have a private space in that person which remains unknown to others. Just like in our lives, it is possible in their life. Similar to the sense of belongingness we need, we also look-out for private safe space to let the mask off. The mask from the responsibilities of different roles we play in our life. Sushant Singh Rajput would have also had his self-goals, relationship goals, professional goals, and a past.
Financial insecurity and mental health condition of the actor have been highlighted since the beginning of this news. We are doing exactly what we did when he was alive. We are finding a reason to accept his absence when we should mourn his loss. One step at a time. His presence was never a reason enough to know about his lifestyle, childhood, interests, and maladaptive patterns that possibly could have allowed someone to reach out to him. A person in a state of mind where they think of attempting to suicide or self-harm is not thinking rationally. Isn't it unreasonable on our part as a society to tell them to reach out to us? We need to learn reach-in than ask someone to reach-out.
A conventional person struggles to reach-out, it must have been so overwhelming for a high-profile person like Sushant Singh to find a space to share. Other than work, emotions, and mental health there is a biological functioning of the person which is the core. Interestingly, it has gone unnoticed how the biological operations of our body have been disregarded from this practice. Mostly, celebrated film stars, comedians, musicians, and other entertainers have a dysregulated schedule. They work odd hours which disturbs the original sleep cycle and food intake. They compensate for their energy and performance using substances. These also alter personality and moods. Some of them follow routines such as exercising regime, healthy food, and mediation to feel calm.
There are roles they have to gain weight and immediately reduce those extra pounds which is not easy in the usual lifestyle. Their work is such that physical appearance makes all the difference. This induces a discrepant feeling between the real and perceived self. This difference is not only for the audience, but it also plays a role in their mind. In the end, all that there is Sushant Singh Rajput has his version of self which wasn't the masked one. It struggled and to release that pain he attempted to the ordinary method of hanging himself just like you and me!