Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.

People pontificate, “Suicide is selfishness.” To evade fingers of blame, to impress one’s audience with one’s mental fibre, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it - suicide takes considerable courage. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching.

It is not seen as insane when a fighter, under an attack that will inevitably lead to his death, chooses to take his own life first. In fact, this act has been encouraged for centuries and is accepted even now as an honourable reason to do the deed. How is it any different when you are under attack by your own mind?

MAHA SALEEM,

Karachi.