40,000 Suicides Annually and America Still Shrugs

Douglas Bloch
41
50

In my last two posts, Back in the Dark House Again: The Recurrent Nature of Clinical Depression and Am I Having a Breakdown or Breakthrough? Further Reflections on a Depressive Relapse, I have shared my recent relapse into depression. Although it has been tough, when I wake up each morning I am grateful for one thing — I am not suicidal. Others are not as fortunate.

Recently, USA Today continued it’s remarkable series on America’s mental health crisis with an October 9, 2014 article, 40,000 Suicides Annually, Yet America Still Shrugs. It is a powerful piece. The article points out that although suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America and the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15-34, funding for suicide research and prevention is pitifully low compared to the money spent on diseases such as prostrate cancer and HIV, which kill far less people.

But nowhere is the discrepancy greater than when comparing the money spent on suicide prevention with that spent on breast cancer. Breast cancer and suicide each kill about 40,000 people a year. Here in Portland, Oregon the Susan B. Komen walk for the cure attracts 40,000 walkers each September; yet the Out of Darkness suicide prevention walk, held three weeks later, attracts only 500 people. That means that eighty times more people publicly show their support for breast cancer research than for suicide prevention.

What is the cause of this disparity? I think it can be stated in one word — stigma. While positive publicity is given to women struggling with breast cancer, and rightfully so, suicide remains a taboo subject. I remember a member of my healing from depression support group who suffered from a serious depression and worked in the health care profession. One day, she came to group in a much better mood. When I asked her why she was feeling better, she smiled and told the group that she had just been diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the disbelieving looks of the group members, she explained that when she told her co-workers that she had cancer, people gave her lots of love and support. Yet for years she had not talked about her depression and despair for fear that people wouldn’t understand, or that her job would be in jeopardy.

However, when people do seek help for depression, the mental health system often tells then that they have “broken brains,” which can further reinforce feelings of helplessness that lead to suicidal thinking. In my case, all of my depressions have been situational—not caused by a defective brain or a sickness. The current depression I have been writing about in on this blog is a grief reaction, which is normal response to a relationship loss.  If we can see sadness as a normal part of the human experience, then we can embrace it as a part of life and not “medicalize” the pain by jumping to prescribe antidepressants.

Lately the news has been dominated by coverage of the Ebola outbreak. Every time an individual in an American city is suspected of having Ebola, the person is quarantined and a major official assures the citizens that they are safe. Yet while only one person has died from Ebola in America over the past month, approximately 3,3000 individuals have taken their own lives. If we had marshaled the same kind of attention and resources to suicide prevention as we did for the Ebola threat, many of those lives could have been saved.

Which is a greater threat to public health in America — the Ebola virus or suicide? Which should Americans fear most? The answer is clear. Unfortunately, until suicide prevention becomes a high priority and moves into the spotlight like the Ebola virus, this preventable tragedy will continue to afflict us all. 

* * * * *

Things You Should Know About the Suicidal Mind:

More information about Douglas’s approach to finding alternatives to suicide pain be found at http://www.healingfromdepression.com/suicidal.htm

Support MIA

Enjoyed what you just read? Consider a donation to help us continue to produce content, provide up-to-date research news, offer continuing education courses, and continue building a community for exploring alternatives to the current paradigm of mental health. All donations are tax deductible.

$
Select Payment Method
Loading...
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Donation Total: $20.00

41 COMMENTS

  1. But “suicide prevention” usually means psych drugs, and indoctrination that one is sick and inferior. Twice in the past month, MIA has reported on the Danish study that people were much more likely to actually kill themselves the more exposure they had to psychiatric interventions. If they had been admitted to a psych ward in the past year, they were FORTY-FOUR TIMES more likely to kill themselves. Not forty-four percent, forty-four times!

    I also wonder why the writer here labels himself “depressed,” but then says he is unhappy because of a breakup of a relationship. Why give oneself a diagnosis? I don’t understand.

  2. Exactly! Doug, what kind of “attention and resources” are you thInking about in terms of dealing with suicidal patients, particularly those often driven to that state because of the
    “help” they received in the form of neurotoxic drugs or drug cocktails Prescribed by inept, uneducated, indifferent, or even caring, but clueless “doctors” (psychiatrists).

    If I recall, you were driven to a suicidal state because of a reaction to single Effexor dose which triggered unbearable akathisia and had you running about flogging yourself repeating “electric shock for Douglas Bloch”!! But for a bit of luck, this could easily have ended up as a
    reality, one of those “rapidly effective” treatments aimed at “helping” sucidal patients.
    I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for anyone enduring deep emotional suffering, but, I am not sure that you need the ” clinical depression” label or really, if that in any way describes the feelings of grief and loss you are feeling.
    I guess I may be confused, but I often read about people who say they are startled to learn from theit doctor that they are “depressed” or have “clinical depression”. Isn’t this rather crystal clear? If you do not KNOW you are desperate, weeping, hopeless, and therefore
    “clinically depressed”, you probably aren’t. Is feeling REALLY sad or rejected or chronically fatigued or “deeply hurt or rejected or bummed out” a sign of “depression” or a sign of being human?

  3. And, is an “intervention” that likely means being incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital, which, from what we have read multiple times, usually adds to the trauma being experienced by the suicidal individual, the “attention” this person needs, coming with its usual serving of fear, shame, stigma, and drug or shock treatments for those expressing total despair?

    I read with disbelief an article by “Dr.” Edward Shorther that went on to state that the much loved, but suicidal Robin Williams would be alive today if he had just gotten some good ole ECT, which would have worked wonders for what Eddie has diagnosed as “melancholic” depression. Eddie bemoans the fact the people treating Robin Williams may have resisted this perfectly fabulous “treatment” ( closed head injury electrical lobotomy) because of his status and celebrity!!
    Stupid is as stupid writes in Eddie’s case….

  4. From the video, the third thing, “Everything changes”
    This is a lie.
    A psychiatric diagnosis , a prejudice , never goes away.
    Once a criminal, always a criminal.
    “Once a schizophrenic, always a schizophrenic”

    The schizophrenia diagnosis gave me the reason to try to kill myself twenty years ago.

    Drugs, drugs and more drugs, instead of confrontation. Bury all the upsetting thoughts and feelings with legal drugs.

    If you got the money (unlimited from Government) and got the drugs (unlimited from Government) drugs for life might work for appearances.

    BUT IT IS A SLOW SUICIDE, instead of a fast one.

    Average life expectancy of the seriously mentally ill is 25 years less than the average.

  5. “Calculating people are contemptible. The reason for this is that calculation deals with loss and gain, and the loss and gain mind never stops. Death is considered loss and life is considered gain. Thus, death is something that such a person does not care for, and he is contemptible. Furthermore, scholars and their like are men who with wit and speech hide their own true cowardice and greed. People often misjudge this.” Hagakure.

    Is it that the calculating people are considering that HIV and cancer can be turned into gain, whereas suicide will always be a loss? Thus they ignore what is already lost, and work on what may be turned to gain?

    Personally I’m with Peter Tosh wondering why it is “Everybody wants to go up to heaven, but none of them want to die”.

    I also wonder about the demographics of those who are committing suicide. Does this provide any clues as to why our society shrugs?

    Hope things are still on the up for you Douglas.

  6. Suicide prevention does not have to mean locking people up, forcing people on drugs, labeling people with diagnoses. It can mean lending a listening ear, a caring voice, a companion for a person in crisis. People can and do get out of crisis states, even suicidal crises. More money for suicide prevention would also mean more money for those of us working on alternatives to the current traumatic way in which many are treated once they admit to having suicidal thoughts, or make a suicide attempt.

    • No, it doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t.

      But it is. And anyone who takes money from the current “mental health” system is going to have to do what the people want who are giving out the money.

      Real alternatives to psychiatry won’t happen until the public realizes how bad things are now.

      • I do not call the authorities. The last girl I spoke to, and I spoke with her for hours, I eventually had to tell her that while I wanted her to live, I also understood that it had to be her choice. It’s not really living if you don’t have options, is it? I also had to tell her that while I respected her decision, I was not going to tell her the best way to end her life. She decided to live, but I don’t take any credit in her decision. Over time and a lot of heartache that my words tends to only buy a temporary reprieve. The truth is that every day is a conscious choice because, eventually, you always find yourself back pondering that haunting question. Some days, the only reason I get up is because I know someone has to feed the turtles., and that may be the best summary of the question of suicide ever. I have no many things in my life at this moment that I should be thankful for, but on the hard mornings, they don’t make up for what I have lost. What gets me past it is these tiny, obsessive, easily depressed, little creatures that don’t want me, but do need me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I don’t need and don’t want the lifetime movie script. I just need something simple to get me past the first step.

  7. My housemate is a former foster youth. I was talking to her about the correlation between psychiatric attention and suicide, and she shared with me last night that the only time she was ever suicidal was when they forced her to take Zyprexa. She reports what clearly sounded like akathesia for a few weeks at least, and says she had the knife in her hand, and only stopped because her cat bit her on the arm just before she went through with it and it brought her back to reality. She stopped taking Zyprexa, and has never been suicidal since.

    I think the number of suicides in the US is huge and largely preventable, but not by the current approach, which in fact seems to make suicide more likely to occur. Without a new paradigm, it’s hard to imagine what a suicide prevention effort that actually works would look like. I’d love to hear your ideas about that, Doug.

    —- Steve

      • Funny, I had two cats who intervened in my first attempt at killing myself. They were sitting next to me on the edge of the bed and all of a sudden the male cat reached out and put one of his front paws on my arm to get my attention. Both cats sat there looking very intently into my eyes. I’ve always kept one cat with me as a “friend” ever since then. And we call them dumb animals!

        True, therapeutic cats are cheaper than antidepressants and do better work than most psychiatrists do; at least they don’t push toxic drugs on you or take away your ability to choose what you feel is necessary for your own health and well being.

      • Steve
        Myself, I didn’t have a cat, but I was five minutes walk away from the Psych Unit. On my last occasion, I had been given a first time injection a day or two before, and I was ‘going bananas’.

        They tried to block me but I barged my way in, terrified of what might happen. I stayed less than 48 hrs and checked out – the ‘dopamine blockade’ had subsided. I weaned myself off the drugs after that (and became well as a result).

        But these long acting injections are usually given to people in rural settings (as a matter of convenience), and this contributes to the high death rate among (‘schizophrenic’) young men in rural Ireland.

  8. In a system which speaks endlessly about fostering recovery pre-mature mortality and morbidity runs counter to the message that “Treatment is Effective and People Recover.” The face of mental illness can’t be a peer who is dead or ill if the overarching goal is to get folks to reach out to a system which often evidences its most pernicious weaknesses when an individual is in crisis.

    The grim truth is that many who have taken their lives are well aware of what it means to reach out and don’t reach out again based on earlier experiences.

  9. I’m going to throw in my to cents considering it’s been 33 months since my husband and I found our beautiful, 6’4″ son, just 25 years old, dead by hanging, in our family cabin near Yosemite. ( I felt him die that day- an indescribable feeling of terror hit me on my way to work that day and my attempts to immediately contact my son were futile). Shane’s dad was driving that evening, after work, to spend the weekend, as he did for almost the last five months since our son begged us to let him move up there ” to start anew” after so much adversity hit him. I left work and my husband joined me for the long 5 hr drive to find our first-born. With each passing hr, our son did not respond back I near this foreboding feeling was preparing me my boy was gone. Not that he had given any suicidal warnings to us, but he had been hosp in a locked psych unit 7 months earlier ( we persuaded our son to enter and pre-arranged the drug rehab program once we found out our son had returning to using cannabis which for his young, developing brain had once again caused the start of his loss of reality). My son’s world collapsed with the 2nd hosp, he never got a second of drug rehab- < 24 hrs after admission tricked into their locked unit, and given massive amounts of neuroleptics until he was in such a drug stuporous state the staff asked us, each night, we visited " could he have dropped acid?" Nope, how sad that a well-known psych hosp in Pasadena, 2011, and the psych hosp, in Ventura, CA, 10-09 each time my son tested (+) for THC, these moron "experts" did not know 15% of users develop psychosis from today's cannabis "skunk" strains so ubiquitous with this culture. Kids today tell me " We don't even consider weed/cannabis a drug". What common denominator between my son and the parent's son in this article's video who also died, by suicide, age 24: both had used drugs, both had also received the "bipolar" dx. It wasn't until 2 months after my son married his longtime gf that we found out our than 23 y/o had been using cannabis (as Shane told us the night of his 1st 'episode' of psychosis). Yes, a drug as "benign" ( so this culture believes) as cannabis is altering young brains. I challenge anyone to tell me how a young man who had many successes plus a zest for life, friends from far and near, could have two 'episodes' of psychosis, than die by suicide within a 27 month time frame? And 3 more states just voted to legalize recreational pot. ( One more thing our son weaned himself off ALL psychotropics once his psychosis abated, before he moved away). Our son's toxicology report at death was (-). https://mail.aol.com/webmail/getPart?uid=32969372&partId=3&saveAs=professionalweddingpictures126.jpg

    • I am so sorry for your loss of your son. He was a victim of such tragic circumstances. The “help” he received is appalling to read about. To be coerced into a lock down ward, assaulted with neuroleptics, and labelled with an incorrect diagnosis of bipolar disorder by so called mental health experts must have been devastating for a young man.
      This approach and this kind of ignorance seems rampant in the world of psychiatry. It is an awful truth that parents and loved ones only learn the “truth” and become educated after something tragic occurs. It is important to hear your words, to see your efforts to educate and inform others about the dangers that lurk in the form of psychotic reactions to drugs
      young people do not know much about and the dangers that present themselves in the form of misguided “help” or “medical” “treatment”.
      I would venture you were told your son should have “stayed on his psychoactive drugs to “manage” his so-called “illness”?

  10. It’s such a long story which I have shared in ad nauseam but most of the MIA bloggers were so tolerant and really helped educ me about the tainted, corrupt MH “industry”. In my quest now 60 months long (27 months while my son had two ‘episodes’ of psychosis, 18 months apart, both times triggered by his use of “recreational” THC and the 33 months since his death) I have traveled far and wide to obtain the knowledge I have gained.

    First, I had to realize my son had 23 years of being the most normal, grounded, well-loved, with friends far and wide, young man until overnight, he lost reality. Fortunately, he gained his normal MH back, but the MH “industry” absolutely sold him a death sentence starting in the 1st psych hosp (10-09) because of their ignorance to know about the cannabis-psychosis link (just google the free search engine PubMed) even in 2009 there were ~ 1000 sci publications. I knew my son could not have this severe MI but it was so complicated by the arrogance and ignorance of these psych “experts” (in-patient and out-patient) who refused to accept THC could cause this break. And these same morons could not accept the 21st century strains of THC are such potent “skunk” strains. Even again in 2011 when my son who had 18 months of “normalcy” (like his first 23 years of life) returned to using THC. (I warned him and his wife about the research articles but considering their friends kept using because it’s so accepted in today’s culture and the shrinks did not believe this psychoactive drug was responsible for his altered state in 2009 unfortunately my son relapsed- at that time I had no idea how psychologically addicting this substance is for some brains).

    And if anyone who gets forced into a psych hosp with the MASSIVE amount of neuroleptics given to my son, which caused him horrific side effects (extrapyramidal sxs, 55lbs of wt gain in 4 months leaving stretch marks over his always statesque physique) is it any wonder a young person would ask the caring psychologist (who began working with our son once psychosis abated) to help him wean off these meds? Why would any human being continue taking meds that caused so much mental fog + the named side effects? The first time his wife made sure he dutifully received them and my son was a compliant kid, brought up to know you take meds when absolutely necessary but get off them if terrible side effects should occur . None of our family offered opinions to take or not to take because we naively believed the “expert” p-doc knew best. NOPE!!! My son was an adult and once he slowly weaned off these meds, he became himself more and more. The first time I always believed I was watching some kind of science experiment (I never thought the psychotropics helped my son) but family members and friends insisted “he needs these meds like a diabetic needs insulin” mentality. Of course my son was newly married, so we could only watch from afar. Sadly, the stressors upon my son likely led him back to the “recreational” use of weed. (I thought I had safeguards in place should my son EVER try to return to any substance which has psychoactive agents, but the safeguards failed me).

    After being completely “normal” (his psychologist shared he never believed our son was “bipolar” after working for decades with clients who suffer various MH issues) until the 2nd and last ‘episode’. His psychologist also admitted he was not well versed on the cannabis-psychosis assoc but didn’t rule it out but the out-pt p-doc insisted there was nothing to this link and brainwashed “bipolar for life”. My son elected to stop seeing the p-doc (best decision of all) who also dismissed my son had any “substance dependence or addiction” after his 1st psych hosp (and several other p-docs my husband and I took our son to trying to get some medical doctor to be reasonable and look at the kind of normal life he had for 23 years but no one offered any different dx other than MI).

    If my son hadn’t returned to “recreational” weed, I categorically believe he would be alive and thriving today. Just the adversity he was facing and the stressors really clouded the bigger picture- today’s cannabis “skunk” -meaning the very potent strains of THC this culture uses- they have no idea most of it is genetically cultivated hydroponically which is causing some young brains (~15%) to develop psychosis. There isn’t a soul alive that didn’t meet my son, after he came out of his altered thinking which lasted ~ 10 weeks the 1st time, who could have known he had been dx with this severe MI.

    And if anyone wants to educate themselves with the biochemical and pharamacology of both THC and our own bodies naturally occurring endocannabinoid systems which THC in essence displaces upsetting the neurotransmitters that keep us “balanced” it’s not so hard to comprehend why some especially young, developing brains (up to age 25, some scientists believe age 30) when the “neural pruning” is happening can develop depression, mania, psychosis… It really boils down to the disruption of the neurotransmitter, anandamide, which THC mimics disrupting the homeostasis. Anandamide is involved in thermo-regulation which explains why some of those in cannabis withdrawal develop sweats. The disruption from THC in many brain structures is why THC overwhelms the EC system. THC over time alters the EC system which can lead to problems with memory, addiction and MH. I believe my son’s altered reality was “temporary” once the last of the THC metabolites exited his brain (the last place this lipophilic molecule leaves) but it can take weeks. But where the jury is out is when a person who had in essence a brain break returns to that same substance again, I still have questions.

    My son did come back to reality, again ~10 weeks after his 2nd loss with reality. Though instead of giving him the drug rehab I pre-arranged (and we paid ~$13,000 plus my son’s PPO ins) <24 hrs coerced to their locked unit, given multiple neuroleptics that exceeded FDA and verified since I subpoenaed his medical records many month after his death when I read in the LA Times about the ongoing deficiencies and scandals surrounding this same psych hosp/rehab) my son was warehoused, labeled, his toxicology (+) for THC IGNORED (AGAIN LIKE THE 1ST EPISODE) than "dumped"once his ins refused further stay. (Too bad the insurance evaluators didn't bother to call us, his parents, who had full HIPPA rights since our son signed upon admission we be kept informed, and share why they refused to let our son continue- it was obvious to us, his parents, each night we visited how WORSE he got day after day while the liar p-doc told us he would move our son to drug rehab.) Oh, the "system" is just egregious in so many ways. Just to confuse any young person, despite the massive amounts of neuroleptics given my son during his 2nd psych hosp, the same in-patient p-doc followed my son out-patient. At my son's first f/u visit, I drove since we had to take away my son's truck as he had been drugged into such a stuporous state and despite how he was admitted (just a mild degree of psychosis) after 13 days in that locked hellhole completely in full-blown psychosis when he was "dumped" from the locked unit. This same JERK p-doc, now so impressed how handsome and well-groomed my son looked just a week out of that horrific environment he was kept against his will (but the hosp records report "voluntary" -all true FACTS) now tells both my son and me (the p-doc allowed me to stay for the session) "stop all neuroleptics immediately- he doesn't need them" (little did he know or care to ask what meds my son was taking because as soon as he was "dumped" I looked at insane amount of neuroleptics and told my husband "I hope you trust my judgement with my professional degrees and years in health care because I am not giving our son Haldol…." . This absolute imbecile, with his Harvard educated med degree, and law degree!!! did not realize this same kid, a week later, was coming out of psychosis because his mother had the good sense to start weaning him off the massive psychotropics that locked psych hosp had forced upon his poor brain!!!!! I can not tell you what I wanted to say to that "expert". Imagine, any p-doc would not have thoroughly assessed my son upon admission (trust me I have all my son's records) and than blasted his brain with so much crap, labeling him with this severe MI, and IGNORING the toxicology report!!!

    And sadly, I did not know than what I have since learned. We allowed our son to move away "to start anew" with the blessings of two psychologists who were involved. But no one (family, therapists) knew how that cessation from cannabis, ~ 6 months out, is assoc with the greatest risk for suicide. (Since our son never got the drug rehab he was promised, I will always hold the psych hosp directly responsible for his death. The reason why we took our son 35 miles away from our home is because a friend whose own son had finished this hosp's drug rehab program and felt it very helpful. The hosp evaluator had actually told me the day I pre-arranged for my son to enter once finding out he had returned to using cannabis "you need to bring your son here because we get so many mis-diagnosed kids with MI that don't know how weed mimics MI in their brains"). Pretty sad that we, unknowing and naive parents, didn't get that knowledge as I totally believed as long as our son never touched another mind-altering substance, and healed up in nature where he moved to live, attending AA, he was home free.

    I hope other parents will wake up and stop believing society which continues to promote lies that today's cananbis "skunk" is benign which clearly for some young brains is not. I wonder if the parents in the video linked to this article ever realized their son's MI was actually drug-induced?

  11. Stigma for suicide is different that stigma in mental illness…I always think about Durkheim’s study on suicide. Suicide is completely individual. The motivations, emotions, perspective of that person build a road map to this final outcome that is constructed of a life time of memories and experiences. It takes society less than five minutes to generalize the entirety of this person’s experience down to , “they were selfish.” or “they were looking for an easy way out.” or “they just wanted attention.” In my own suicide attempts, I never experienced any of those, and I have tried to explain that because part of the problem is that we don’t understand suicide. The thing is, people don’t want to understand. They want to be angry. I think they are afraid that understanding might mean taking the blame, and in order to avoid that, they turn the victim into a perpetrator, and the only thing left of him is, “he was selfish.”

    I’m including my recent blog post from an exercise where I was trying to come to terms with a friend’s suicide. In case you are interested.
    http://ahighlonelyplace.blogspot.com/2014/11/in-my-life-ive-lost-lot-of-people.html

    • Love your analysis, acidpop, rings true to me. The irony is tragic–suicide ideation and attempts can easily be the result of being in a vicious cycle of shame and blame, and taking it on, internally, believing these negative projections. Even if we don’t, fighting it when it is so powerfully projected and insisted upon by society at large is draining and exasperating, truly an uphill battle. But one worth fighting, nonetheless, I feel–somehow, someway; truth-speaking, I guess, calling it out, like you’re doing.

      And I agree, that’s been my experience, too–to be shamed and blamed for wanting to be free of pain, which in essence, is yet another example of how one individual can be expected to take on the anxiety and negativity of others. It doesn’t stop, even after death.

      We are all free to choose how we respond to life, and it ain’t such a party most of the time. Some people make it more challenging than it need be, imo, going against their own integrity.

      I shudder when I think of how others were treating me and responding to me when I survived an attempt. (Same as before, actually, nothing had changed–simply as I was trying to heal). I was in no condition then to respond from a space of inner strength and self-respect, of which I had none at that time; but I have since found my voice and my truth, and I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing how to respond to this spiritually and emotionally wounding tripe now. If we’re calling this ‘mental health treatment,’ then it’s the height of incompetence, at the very least. Talk about kicking people when they’re down, jeez…

      When we don’t understand others, first thing we do is shame, blame, demean, and marginalize, one way or another. I found this to be modeled in “mental health care.”

      Whereas we do have the choice to ask questions and show compassionate interest and curiosity, rather than harsh judgment and complete dismissal of that person’s truth. I ran across no one in the mental health world who came from this perspective, trying to understand how things had gotten so bad so that we could reverse that trend.

      That was a red flag to me, that lack of curiosity and direct engagement. Clued me into why it was that I had gotten to feel so badly about myself, while trying to heal in the mh system and under ‘psychiatric care.’ Plus, I could see that no issues were being resolved, in the slightest, and trauma was only being perpetuated and repeated.

      Even when in spirit, it’s a crappy vibe, that’s how I feel it. What and who does that help? No one, it only makes things worse, that’s common sense. We want to learn from our mistakes, not blame others for them.

      In a toxic system, there is usually at least one person who knows how to rally troops against a ‘threatening’ individual (for example, calling them ‘psychotic’), which results in some people feeling completely alienated, based on mythical stigma, generated by those that know how to ‘influence’ (manipulate, instill fear or guilt in) people. It’s sinister and insidious, and I’ve seen this a lot. I had to wake up to this in my own personal world, and when I did, it was like the clouds parted, and recognizing this truth is where my healing really took a turn and accelerated. I felt freed learning how those around me operated. Whereas my naiveté had led me into an emotional prison.

      One of my favorite quotes that was buzzing around the internet a few years ago is:

      “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low-self esteem, make sure you are not surrounded by a**holes, first.” Anonymous.

      It’s a hard truth, but liberating, nonetheless.

  12. Suicide is more popular than homicide. So much for the survival instinct. I just think that one of the problems we have is that people are always reacting to the fact of suicide without dealing with the causes. (By cause I don’t mean, that confusion of terms, “mental illness”.) This reaction, in turn, only drives up the suicide rate. It starts with that question: Why is, what Freud referred to as the ‘death wish’, thumping the instinct to survive so often? When people are caught up in the absurdity of modern life, I’m not at all surprised. I’d say that there is certainly a relationship between the suicide rate and corporate person-hood. If your ideal of success sits at the head of the board of directors in a business that is gobbling up much of the globe, well, there you go. If you are not a cog in the corporate machine, according to this view, you must be a failure. For communities, families, and people in general to begin to matter again, well, first you need a change of perspective about what is worthy, and what is not worthy. You, here, being society at large.

    • So well said. Alcoholism and depression (not sure about suicide, I’d be curious) increased dramatically among American women during the 60’s and 70’s because they were not Donna Stone (Reed).

      Corporate social expectations and practices are cold and disregarding of humanity. That culture only looks to replicate itself arrogantly and shuns individual creativity and diversity. Who on Earth could authentically feel ‘worthy’ in THAT world? Success there depends on being phony baloney, being a good liar, watching your back, and disarming others for the purpose of ‘getting ahead.’ I fail to see the attraction.

      • I wouldn’t disagree about the corporate social expectations being a contributing factor but would add the role of the State into the equation as well.

        The criminal justice system, the Family Courts, and Mental Health Services are arenas where if one becomes involved with them would ‘gaslight’ a person to the point of suicide. The levels of corruption one experiences if engaged with these State services would lead anyone to want to end their life because of the injustices experienced.

        • I was recently going to write about how things in the mental health system are worse now than they were 30 years ago. Rising mortality rates, poor prognoses, forced drugging, assertive community treatment teams, assisted living facilities and group-homes. Thanks for bringing up mental health courts, that’s one I missed. Sure, there has been some deinstitutionalization but, as we learn in Anatomy of an Epidemic, the numbers of people on the disability rolls for psychiatric reasons are increasing. Surveillance and monitoring of people in the mental health system is bigger business than it ever was previously. Now, following Sandy Hook, psychiatrists are invading our school system in a further effort to catch children with “mental illnesses”. The criminal justice system has a lot of stupid laws, and they are very diligent about finding ways to harass homeless and other displaced peoples. People, in other words, who are not working for the corporations. I would, once again, point to what this has to do with corporate profiteering. Political campaigns run on these super pac (political action committee) funds. Politicians, then, in many cases are owned by corporate interests. If big money means so much, the impoverished and marginalized must be kept in line and, therefore, the abusive mistreatment of those who are not ‘with the’ corporate ‘program’. No wonder there’s a great deal of depression in the world, either you’re with the program, or you’re a failure in the popular mind. This being the case, let’s hear it for the unpopular mind. I think there needs to be an overhaul of priorities if, that is, we want to decrease the suicide rate rather than increase it. Reacting to the fact of suicide alone, it is shown, again, with the best of intentions, only seems to increase that suicide rate.

          • A sound priority would be living by one’s own truth, regardless of how anyone perceives it, especially ‘society-at-large.’ Changes occur when we ascend group think and expectations, without feeling as though we are ‘failing,’ but more so, garner feelings of strength and empowerment from following our own path, however that may look or sound to others.

            That’s what they want people to feel, like failures. That is where the mainstream gets its power, by marginalizing independent thinkers. A person doesn’t have to feel like a failure, regardless of anything. That’s merely a perception.

          • Well, I can always flip people the bird, but that’s not what I had in mind. I do think it’s possible for people to work together, and I think they can work together to make things better, no matter how much effort people put into making things worse. I’m definitely not saying one head works better than two. Social justice is possible, but it’s not going to come without a struggle, and birth pangs.