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Why Did Leo Tolstoy Attempt to Commit Suicide?

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It may be shocking news to know that suicide attempts due to Modern man is becoming more and more dejected and depressed. He is losing his hold on life in the modern lifestyle. Leo Tolstoy, the renowned novelist, attempted suicide many times because of his depression. How to overcome this depression?

Suicides because of depression are on the increase in the modern world. Statistics on suicide attempts in the US show that suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-19 aged youngsters and it has increased to 300% over the last 30 years. It should be timely warning to the modern society.

Why do suicide attempts occur?

Depression is said to be the leading cause of this self-immolation. Although most people who are depressed do not come to a sudden decision kill themselves, untreated depression can increase their risk of possible suicide in due course. It is found common for depressed individuals to have thoughts about suicide whether or not they intend to take action on these thoughts. Although severely depressed people often do not have the energy to harm themselves, when their depression is lifted up they gain so much increased energy that they may be more likely to attempt suicide.

Tolstoy had everything in life

The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy had everything he wanted. Born into a well-to-do family, he was given every opportunity for social advancement. In addition to his inherited wealth, his novels brought him enormous amount of money that could guarantee him all pleasures of life. He had a beautiful wife through whom he got thirteen children. But despite of his wealth, his success, his fame, and his family, Tolstoy suffered bouts of depression which forced him to the end of his life.

Tolstoy on the edge of suicide

He wrote in one of his letters, "If it were impossible to live, then one would kill oneself; and consequently one cannot speak of life as being unbearable. The possibility of killing himself has been given to man, and therefore he may kill himself, and he continually uses this right - when he kills himself in duels, in war, by dissipation, wine, tobacco, opium, etc."

In his book titled 'A Confession', Tolstoy wrote about his inner struggle to find the meaning of his life. He explains how he decided to bury himself in his work in order to avoid facing the deeper questions of life. But the more he tried to avoid, the more problems began to torture him.

As time marched on, his bouts of depression grew more frequent and more intense, threatening him. He began to think that only death can save him from the smothering depression.

What did save Tolstoy from suicide?

Eventually, Tolstoy did find a meaning in his life, while he was reading the Bible. 'The Sermon on the Mount' enlightened him. The words of Jesus came to him as food for his soul and light for his heart. He came to a conclusion that the purpose of life was to forge a living relationship with a loving God. He dedicated the rest of his days to building up the kingdom of God on earth.

This is spring. It is the season of Lent. Let us take courage to approach God and have appositive look on life.

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