It’s hard to imagine the thought process of people contemplating suicide, which makes it equally hard to convince someone not to once they become determined to do so.

Obviously there are many reasons why committing suicide would be the wrong choice in any situation, but here’s a coldly practical one: The odds are against you succeeding. According to the Center for Disease Control, for every one successful suicide attempt, there are twenty-five that fail. While that might seem like an encouraging statistic, there are still the after-effects to those who live on. For example, an incident that unfolded in China involving a couple looking to end it all serves as a reminder that things can get much, much worse.

According to various Chinese media outlets reporting on the trial of Yang Jin (pseudonym) which recently ended, the incident occurred on 28 June, 2013. During this time Yang and his girlfriend got into a serious argument. The details of the dispute weren’t made clear, but it seemed that over the course both Yang and his girlfriend grew sick of their lives and, tragically, decided to kill themselves together.

The couple reportedly moved a gas can they used with their stove into the bedroom and sealed the windows and doors. They then opened the valve so that the gas would leak out. However, as they sat waiting for the fumes to steadily fill the room, they both reconsidered their actions and decided they didn’t want to die. And so before succumbing to the fumes, the girlfriend went and opened the window.

With a new lease on life, the tensions these two where holding began to melt away and Yang, like any smoker would, decided to unwind with a cigarette. Putting aside the irony of celebrating surviving a suicide attempt by smoking a cigarette for a moment, we can all probably see where this is heading.

With a considerable amount of gas still remaining in the room, Yang’s cigarette ignited the entire enclosure sending both him and his girlfriend to the hospital with serious injuries. Both survived, but that still wasn’t the end of their troubles.

In the rather swift legal proceedings that followed, Yang received a one-year suspended sentence for negligence leading to injury. Although his punishment was considered light due to his cooperation with authorities and own pain and suffering, he was also ordered to pay the woman 150,000 yuan (US$24,000) for her medical expenses and other damages.

With all the trouble that followed this suicide attempt, the dark thought that it would have been better if they went through with it might creep in. But that’s far from true in the grand scheme of things. It would have just left some disgusting and toxic mess for some poor individual to discover or clean up. In reality, they would have just made the lives of anyone even remotely connected to them exponentially more awful. Without a doubt, their lives as well as everyone’s would have been much better off if they could have allowed themselves to find that quiet moment of clarity before dragging the gas can out of the kitchen.

Source:  CDC (English), Anhui Wang (Chinese) via Narinari (Japanese)
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