Suicidal Tendencies

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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Zhust » Sun May 13, 2012 11:04 am

Elliot wrote:The film I mentioned yesterday is Whose Life Is It Anyway, with Richard Dreyfuss. I don't remember seeing it, but it deals with this problem -- Dreyfuss portrays a suffering quadriplegic.


I haven't seen "Whose Life is it Anyway", but the one that comes to mind is "Le scaphandre et le papillon" ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). (Picking the relevant parts of my own blog post ...) It’s about a guy who was perfectly healthy until a stroke rendered him completely paralyzed except for being able to move and blink his left eye. He starts out feeling trapped, depressed, and annoyed. It’s an interesting movie exploring the will to live and the human need to find contentment and happiness in any situation.

Often people say how amazing it is what he went through, but in a way, it was more a demonstration of necessity: because of his condition, there was no way for him to kill himself — in fact, it was because of the quality of health care he received that kept him alive at all, so in a way, it wasn’t that he was unable to kill himself, but that he was unable to prevent others from keeping him alive.

But it also demonstrates that there appears to be a level of personal happiness that is unrelated to one’s life condition. If happiness truly were tied to one’s life condition, then extremely well-off people would be constantly overjoyed and poor people would beg for brevity in their miserable existences. And remarkably, it seems to have no limits. It’s challenging to imagine a worse fate than being completely paralyzed and kept alive irrelevant to your consent. Yet here was Jean-Dominique Bauby (the character was based on a real person) who lived that very nightmare. His personal disposition — once the trauma of the sudden, dramatic change in his life wore off — seemed to return to a level not dissimilar to himself in his past, fully ambulatory life.

So I guess when it comes to misery and suicide, I have to wonder how much is innate (one's default mood) and how much of it is circumstantial. And of the part that's innate, how moral is it to manipulate that with drugs? So if someone is innately miserable all the time no matter what the circumstances, I can see how it makes sense to chemically manipulate jeir brain so jee has a more pleasant existence. But if one is miserable because, say, jee can see living jeir whole life working in cubicles and whose only purpose is to simply exist and consume resources, I think it's less about a defective brain and more about a defective society.

And now I have more questions than answers. Maybe ideally believing in one another — that each of us should seek joy in life and that seeking that joy is the most important thing.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby MyDearFriend » Sun May 13, 2012 3:50 pm

Triken, that is an amazing story. And yes Jayce there are more questions than answers. I do believe in the reality of human suffering, and that it is not always amenable to treatment. :(
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Sun May 13, 2012 3:55 pm

Triken, that's an awesome story, and I mean that word in its true sense. It inspires wonder. Your resilience and gratitude are remarkable, and I think they're a real testament to how much you loved him. Many of us (including, almost certainly, me) would be inclined to give in to self-pity and regret, and I would not begrudge anyone for doing so. I don't know if this metaphor makes sense anywhere other than in my little head, but you have a heart of iron.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun May 13, 2012 4:13 pm

If you think about it, throughout human history (and even longer, pre-history) we have lived in conditions that we would find appalling. And people have managed to be happy, even if only in snatches, all that time. And it makes a kind of sense, if we didn't have the ferocious commitment to life and to raising our off-spring (not creating them--that's the damn trap!), we'd have died off millennia ago. (WTF, my spell check doesn't have "millennia"?) I think the far more pertinent thing is the "do we live meaningful lives" is the far more important criterion.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby graidawg » Sun May 13, 2012 10:55 pm

Stephen Hawkin.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Mon May 14, 2012 12:00 am

graidawg wrote:Stephen Hawkin.


Stephen Hawking does not owe it to the world to stay alive. I'm grateful that he has chosen to do so and has continued to make amazing contributions to the project of understanding the universe is a great thing, and we all benefit. I don't know whether or not, or how much, he suffers as a result of his illness. And I don't know what he will decide to do, or has already decided to do, when his illness progresses to the point where he does suffer unbearably, or where he can no longer work (or engage in other pursuits that make life meaningful to him). I just don't think that the fact that some have accomplished great things while living with great, incurable physical or mental anguish means that anyone who finds him/herself in such a state should have to continue living (and working) longer than they wish.

Can people's lives be rich and meaningful despite the fact that they are suffering? Of course. Can they still contribute to and enrich humanity? Of course -- goes without saying. But the question isn't about whether we should write people off or encourage them to stop living simply because they are suffering or are no longer contributing in tangible ways; rather, it is whether, when someone has carefully considered the question and concluded that a hastened death is better for him/herself than continued or increased suffering, we have the right to deny them that choice.
__________________________________________________________________________



I think love demands that we pursue ever-better ways to reduce the suffering of the living, whether that's through improved pain-management tools, better emotional/psychological/material support, or reducing the stigma of illness and disability. Likewise, we ought to affirm each person's worth, regardless of how tangible their contribution to the human community, and emphasize their right to live as long and as fully as possible, should they wish to do so. However, I think that love also means that we need to let go and to allow people to die, perhaps even to hasten their own deaths, and maybe even help them to do so, if necessary, when they have made a sober and considered decision to do so. If Triken had ignored her husband's wishes and forced him to keep living, for her sake and because she felt he still had gifts to give the world, would that not have been a selfish act on her part?

For me, it is this last phrase wherein lies the rub: We are, of course, unable to truly know another's mind. Can we be certain that the decision to die has been made with a sound mind? That the person has not been coerced or pressured into it? That other avenues for the relief of his or her suffering have been tried and found wanting? In situations where the decision was made in advance, and the person has since lost the ability to communicate, can we be sure that their wishes have not changed, or that they understand what is happening? These doubts -- and the fear of making an irreversible mistake -- are genuine and need to be balanced with respect for the person's right to decide their own fate, but that is a very delicate balancing act, and again, there are no answers, only questions and choices, as Elliot and Jayce both said. And as Delle pointed out, there's the further problem of not knowing the future. We're forced to make our choices partially blindfolded.

We do tend to factor in age when we make these choices -- it seems natural, yet I wonder whether it is in fact an injustice to both the young and the old? It seems to deny the reality of suffering in the young and to diminish the value of the lives of the elderly.

I'm back to the place where I throw my hands up in the air and say I'm glad I've never had to make this decision, and I hope I never will. But in addition to being unrealistic, that's also utterly unhelpful.

It's very late. I only slept 4 hours last night. I wonder if I will still think this makes sense when I re-read it in the morning? One of the challenges with issues like this is knowing our own minds, let alone those of others. Sigh...
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby goathead » Mon May 14, 2012 1:38 am

Ffwcio eich diwrnod
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Tpaxhnte ball aehb
Nasrat na vas den
Namaste, zkurvysynu
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Zhust » Mon May 14, 2012 5:46 am

catinthefunnyhat wrote:We are, of course, unable to truly know another's mind.


And yet to know is something we are desperate for and terrified of.

My old-age conservatism comes out when I say society needs to know that there is no way to know — no proof — so we must first realize that is true, and take at face-value what people say (further knowing the ramifications of coercion and the varying nature of mood, thoughts, and beliefs.) I have this little piece of paper with my picture on it that purports to certify my identity. But what ever for? It is entirely possible to produce an adequate forgery, so how is it so much better than me saying who I am? Ostensibly it's to "keep people in line": true in two ways. First, in the way I think it's intended by most: that by being known and traceable, we are more considerate of others (unlike, say, in online forums). But second, as a way for authority to reign over people.

Narrowly back on topic, it is these people who crave authority and the ability to control other people that is the basis for my "impossible enemy". The "impossible enemy" is the construct of the "angry man" in my head, concocting someone who cannot be stopped and whose sole purpose is to ruin my life. And that's the seeds of the suicidal spiral in my head: a bunch of what-if's.

Broadly on topic, Burning Man is the sandbox where we try out living life without identification cards. As it turns out, the level of cruelty does not increase like it does with other kinds of anonymity. In fact, it's one of the things that lets us be the person we want to be rather than the one we are inexorably assigned to be. And it prevents the second-case I mentioned above: there are no authority figures at Burning Man. At least not nearly the micromanager level authority of police on the corner, nor inspectors and permits for every task.

So again narrowly on topic, I know personally that misery is not just in physical ailments or brain chemistry problems. For me, it's that I see the artificial construct of our society as a game that I often don't want to play, and I get frustrated that I don't have the option to quit in any way but one.
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Depression

Postby gyre » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:48 am

The Charlie Rose series on recent research on the Brain is utterly fascinating, and I highly recommend it.
I think you can watch them online too.

The most recent one is on depression.
There was some discussion about this elsewhere, in regard to therapy.

With active imaging, changes in the mind aren't just guesses anymore.

Scans show that some people really respond to just psychotherapy, others to only medication.
Some need both.
But real changes in brain activity are measurable now.

There is considerable information about brain areas interacting too.
I can't recall all the details, but an Area 5 was mentioned in relation to depression.

One thing I found striking was the discovery that the amygdala responds to novel situations, not just survival reactions.
This is interesting.

There is a lot of discussion about genetic research in this area too.

If you're curious about yourself, or life in general, this series is a good starting point.

Depression can be seen and measured in scans.
It is a real thing, and not a ghost.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby dana » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:47 pm

delle wrote:I think that the question is not so much of age, but of ABSOLUTE irreversibility of misery.

...Maybe the key word is potential...


...be nice if that particular switch came with a glimpse of the future.
I was shown my future during a particularly dark time. I was able to recall only one thing clearly enough to write down the details. The rest just melded into a blur that basically left me feeling that Everything Was Going To Be Alright. And it was. Starting that day, and because of that "dream", I changed many things, and found ME again.

Someone really had my back that day!!!)



I think this is one of the more profound ideas on this thread. One of the biggest determinants of health and recovering from an illness is our relationship with the future. If we can only see a future that is bleak, we don't do too well at all. But in fact we have a multitude of possible futures - some very dark, some brilliant. During suicidal thoughts we can't see any real hope or change for the better. Wresting yourself out of that pit can be herculean. Your experience speaks to a more powerful part of yourself that came to your aid. (reminds me of transpersonal psychology)
I'd love to hear more details of the experience (the "dream")
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Box Burner » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:50 am

It's the first thing I think about when I wake up. And the Last thing I think about when I go to bed. Surely it must be time.
Dance in the heart of chaos. . . . .

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- Σωκράτης

.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:56 am

(((BB)))

I refuse to believe that there's no potential for joy and peace left in your life. Have you sought professional help? There's no shame in that. If you have, and it was unsuccessful, maybe you need to try a different person -- social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist.... maybe drugs, maybe talk, maybe a combo. Meanwhile, talk to a friend or other loved one who can give you love and support on a personal level as you go through this.

(((BB)))

Please be safe.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Elliot » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:58 am

What the furry critter in the goofy hat said! And you can start with us un-professional folks -- several of us have been thru the same crap. Post here or use PM; we're here either way.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby wh..sh » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:10 pm

:(
*hugs BB and doesn't let go*
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby AntiM » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:14 pm

Hugs and listening ears and loving hearts, on the ready.
Some sunshine, some dust, a little paint and a tutu. Yeah.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:22 pm

Box Burner wrote:It's the first thing I think about when I wake up. And the Last thing I think about when I go to bed. Surely it must be time.

It is time to embrace life, my friend.

Have you noticed? The really bad stuff comes and goes like a wave, but the really good stuff just hangs out in the background waiting to be noticed. :)
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby maryanimal » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:55 pm

(((Box Burner))) My friend. I know things can look like they'll never get better, or the hopelessness, helplessness, and emotional pain will never end. So let me tell you this, I almost ended my life last year. The depression was that bad. I thought it was the only way to finally have peace. I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. If you've read all of my posts, as well as others, you'll see what a group of caring, loving, and empathetic people are all here for you. We want to help you though this in anyway we can. WE are here for you BB. These people, these warm and sensitive people took me into their collective arms and swaddled me with love, and the sense of family. They all helped me through the roughest time of my life. And now, suicide is no longer an option for me.

I received help from a wonderful therapist. It was on a sliding scale and was truly affordable. You can get referrals from your doctor, your city/county Health Department. There are a lot of options out there, you have to be willing to seek them out. Have a friend help you, or family.

Never feel like you're alone BB...because you're not. ((hugs tightly))
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby ygmir » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Dawg nab it BB!!
Hang in there........many of us loves you muchly, and, if'n you need help, or a shoulder or an ear. call on us, (or Ed Gein).
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby wh..sh » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:09 pm

BB, I have been thinking about you the whole day.
I plan on lurking in here until you come back and post something.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby dana » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:28 pm

Box Burner wrote:It's the first thing I think about when I wake up. And the Last thing I think about when I go to bed. Surely it must be time.



time? For what? To actually whack yourself, or to be done with the question?

I ask because seeing it all clearly is part of the work. (While drugs can be helpful I don't think they are a real substitute for the inner work of sorting through how you process reality and your emotions.)
I went through a prolonged period of several years when my life just seemed too dismal (financial, personal isolation, etc.) During that time I would often contemplate whacking myself. I would drive home up a steep mountain road and start driving faster and imagine just slamming off a cliff, or think about putting a bullet in my head. It came to a partial end when someone in an old ratty car drove off the cliff in what was an obvious suicide and not an accident (car tracks). I thought about the curious coincidence of someone doing what I had contemplated in the same spot and wondered about the idea that we are all making patterns that influence others - so the question of maybe making a better pattern.
But then I continued to periodically feel bleak about my life and the fact that my house is still not finished, I'm still very in debt... etc. etc. I continued to play with that idea of suicide whenever things took a turn for the worse - the temporary setback would turn into the pit of hopeless despair. Again I evenutally had something happen that made me seriously consider this low-grade death wish. I came very close to dying while kayaking and realized it may have been a kind of indirect suicide. I finally started to see the game I was playing with the whole idea. When I'd go into that pit I knew in the back of my mind that I didn't really want to whack myself but felt helpless at making my life better. Toying with the thought of suicide was a kind of game I was playing to avoid the obvious fact that I was not willing to take responsibility for my life.
It all got a lot easier when I chose to stop that whole game. I also saw how much of the pit (and in particular those slippery edges of it) were about just giving up on myself, abandoning myself. I decided not to do that. That self-abandonment is a major way we feed rage.

I don't know if any of that helps??


I think Ugly Doug got it right.
"The really bad stuff comes and goes like a wave, but the really good stuff just hangs out in the background waiting to be noticed."
I was riding the wave too long and dismissing all the ways that things are actually quite cool. But there's a lot of things that were keeping the pattern in place that I needed to sort through before I could change any of that.
Last edited by dana on Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:35 pm

dana, I don't think an honest discussion of your own experience can hurt--at least not if offered in the spirit of helping and understanding.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Sham » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:05 pm

BB, you've been posting here for 6+ years, and I would like to offer you to PM me your phone number if you wish.
I'm not a professional, but I have a nice way with people. :D
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby MyDearFriend » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:38 pm

Yes, (((BB))), he does.

Please don't leave us.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:59 pm

Indeed. You're a member of this family and we'd miss you something terrible...
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby dana » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:59 am

I thought I should mention some things that are related to what Gyre was talking about above. (I haven't read through this whole thread so pardon me if someone already discussed this.) There is a relatively newer understanding in neurophysiology called "neuroplasticity". It's really important to understand when it comes to depression, chronic pain states, and psychotherapy in general. Neuroplasticity means that our brain and nervous system changes over time in response to repetitive patterns of emotions and thought as well as other kinds of sensory stimuli. For example they found that feelings of depression, hopelessness, etc will tend to increase the amount of chronic pain people have. Part of what this means is that your sensory processing changes such that the same situation is interpreted in a different fashion. So for example the person who spends a lot of time in martyr (feeling overburdened and unappreciated) will get to a point where they literally can't get it that someone is trying to give them love and gratitude. (I know that one personally!)

So that fits in with depression in a number of ways. You will often hear people say "Oh no no no, this is a chemical imbalance in my brain. I HAVE to take these meds in order to function." This is both partially true and partially untrue. The neuroplasticity does induce the imbalance of brain chemistry but the long term solution is to switch the neuroplasticity back towards health. Both drugs and psychotherapy, separately or together can help produce that change. But in my own experience it seems that people who make a stronger commitment to changing their life are the ones who can more easily get off the meds. Choice is a major part of it. Another big part is regaining that sense of self-mastery and control over your life.
The other big way that neuroplasticity comes in (especially I think with depression) is that it gives people a model for getting healthy. When they understand that repetive patterns of emotion and thought is what got them in the pit in the first place, they can more easily grok that they can take charge of that. They can also understand that it will be a gradual process and that they can start to encourage their own progression by noting the changes taking place. They can also step back and more easily look at the impact of their own cynicism, pessimism, hopelessness, etc. Also it seems that it also helps to imagine things simply working better. I think this is especially well documented in athletes that have learned to use imagination and visualization in improving sports performance.

just some thoughts...
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:02 am

Yeah, last I heard drugs and therapy in conjunction were the most efficacious method of treatment.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:42 am

For some, maybe, Fishy. Personally, I never got anywhere with talk therapy other than bored and broke. :) And those pills, do they just make you feel numb?

Probably for some, their depression is caused by their diet and eating habits, etc. But it's worth looking inward; for most people, that's the last thing they want to do.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby dana » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:07 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote: But it's worth looking inward; for most people, that's the last thing they want to do.


Sadly true. A lot of people develop the attitude that their emotions are just a burden, something they can stuff or ignore, or medicate away... All these commercials that show people merely taking a pill for their depression don't help. Its kind of embarrassing to think of how long it took me to be able to get used to working with my emotions. It helped that I had the oppurtunity to watch other people painfully dredging up their issues - like pulling teeth sometimes.. Eventually I realized "Oh, yeah. I could do that." People learn to be afraid of the intensity of their emotions and hate showing their vulnerability. I finally saw it was mostly just my ego trying to keep it all under wraps - "who me???!"
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:52 pm

Mood disorders are very complex and there is no one answer that works for every one all the time. My statement was a reaction against the stark simplification and inferred judgement that Dana's post embodied for me. I'd hate for anyone to overlook anything that could help him or her because of some careless post on the internet.
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Re: Suicidal Tendencies

Postby dana » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:08 pm

What simplification and judgement would that be Fishy?

I can't help but notice that a lot of your posts are all about approving or disapproving someone else's post. What's up with that?
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