Aokigahara: Taking a Journey to the Forest of Suicide

Aokigahara is a forest in Japan. Call it a suicide forest and you are correct! People go to Aokigahara to commit suicide. Can you imagine such a journey to end one’s life by oneself?

According to estimates, as many as 100 people a year successfully kill themselves in Aokigahara. Given its overwhelming spread in recent times, suicide is perhaps the new cancer globally.

Quite worrisome is the question bordering on why people kill themselves. What does a suicide-inclined person think about? Why should suicide be even considered at all? These questions beg for answers.

Undoubtedly, contemplating suicide is a deep-seated issue the concerned person must have fought many times. It is not likely that suicide is an easy decision to take. More often than not, people embark on a suicide mission following reluctance to talk about their feelings or to seek help when they need it. And truly, those who take the suicide route may have been people who avoid discussing their struggles. This is the reason the news of suicide shocks even those who are supposedly close to those who took their lives.

Research has it that people within the 15-30 years and over 70 years age brackets are more predisposed to suicidal thoughts. Pesticides (like Sniper), hanging and use of firearms (gun) are common means of suicide people adopt.

Despite the reluctance of those contemplating suicide to open up on their struggles, there are few signs to watch out for suicide-obsessed people who may be suspected of considering going to Aokigahara. When a person constantly threatens to kill or harm himself, writes or talks about suicide, death and dying, or is seen as likely abusing drugs, there is a tendency suicide is in the offing.

With the advent of social media, people even talk openly about the attempt to kill themselves before actually doing same. In fact, suicide is now streamed live on social media.

Documented causes of suicide, or suicidal thoughts include, but not limited to, having a traumatic experience during childhood, such as a rape; severe mental disorder; misuse of alcohol and drugs, poor job security, unemployment, low level of job satisfaction or not having a job; as well as being socially isolated, or even disappointment at failure.

Preventing suicide is difficult because the person contemplating it has a lot of work to do. Yet, he is the one thinking of ending his life. But in simple terms, it largely has to do with the mind. Maintaining a positive mindset is very vital. Anything that can keep the mind bright is capable of erasing suicidal thoughts. Exercise, good diet, association with others, opening up on personal struggles to friends and trusted counselors are, among others, ways by which suicide can be arrested. In addition, one needs to learn to forgive oneself for disappointments, errors, bad events, etc., which are capable of fueling suicide.

Are you contemplating suicide? Arrest that thought now. You’re winning the war. Don’t give in to the lies that only suicide can end the struggles that confront you daily. You can end struggles without ending your life.

Written by: Anani Sunday

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