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Suicide


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Been stewing a bit about this one, and a post by a new member here got me thinking. The other night, had the call for a suicide attempt. Not much more info than that. To make a long story short, instead of the usual 22 year old female who is angry with her boyfriend and planning to end it all by taking 3 Midol, we arrived to this-

18 year old male lying on his bed in a basement bedroom, GSW R Temple, exit wound occipital area. Assumed it was self inflicted and police concurred. Sad that a kid so young can see no other option than taking one in his head. His attempt was successful- DOA and turned over to the police. So- the back story. Lives with aunt, who came home from work to find him dead. Probably for a couple hours by the looks of him. Aunt is obviously upset, but is also enraged because her 2 teenage daughters were home and claimed they heard nothing. She said they were probably on their phones or talking on facebook. Aunt says victim had PMH of depression, had been hospitalized for it a couple times, but not taking medications. I asked if he was noncompliant, and the aunt looked at me strangely. No, apparently his mom- noncustodial but still active in his life - said that her son did not need those medications, that she should leave her son's problems in the Lord's hands. WOW.

Aunt says she thought he was doing OK- had even just taken the ACT test in school that AM. Part 2- the weapon is MIA. Before we and the PD arrived, someone took the gun. Either the aunt, the cousins, or someone else- removed the weapon from the victim. Is this the first time someone I saw someone robbed while they were dead or dying? Hell no.

So like someone who wants to" pray the gay away", now we have someone who thinks they can pray the "grey" away and treat depression with prayer. It's not the suicide that bothered me- seen more than I could ever count- it was the rest. Stealing from a dead kid, not hearing a gunshot in your own house, and thinking God himself is going to treat your son's depression.

It is amazing how so many people do not have a grip on what it's like to live in the real world. No offense to anyone who is ultra religious here, but I simply cannot fathom how/why someone could jeopardize the health and well being of their child for something you have ZERO PROOF OF even existing.
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Posted · Report post

I will blunt, wait, that's no different than how I usually am.

I have come so close to hanging myself twice its not even funny (both because of things I've seen or had happen to me as a result of the Ambulance Service)

I am also fairly religious, I don't go to Church (really should start doing that again) but have a strong belief in Jesus ... and having said that I'm 100x the realist some of the people out there are. I haven't exactly had the poster perfect life, infact it's been kinda pretty seriously fucked up.

There's some seriously messed up people out there man ... I'm not saying that being religious is messed up but eh you have to kind of scratch your head sometimes and wonder
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Posted · Report post

My step father hung himself a few years ago. It was the most traumatic experience for my mom...I hated the man from the first time I met him. I knew he had something off. After he did what he did everything made so much more sense. People are sick. He planned killing himself for at least 2 years that we could track. I know that things are bad in your life, but I don't understand how it can get to the point where you don't care what your family and friends would go through. Is it ever really that bad?

I have seen suicides where a terminally ill patient wheels themselves outside with their oxygen tubing trailing and shoots themselves. At least in that scenario you can see a bigger picture... but I can not wrap my head around a young-middle aged healthy person actually ending their life. I just don't understand it.
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Posted · Report post

First, I think this suicide business needs to be put into context:

The human body is a biological organism that is entirely built around survival. In fact, it's only been the past several thousand years where we had creatures on this planet that have been able to really think and ponder concepts that do not directly stem from "survival instinct" if you will. We in health care, who are also scientists in a sense should be keenly aware of just how important survival is. It's built into our nervous systems, we see in in the ability to clot, we recoginse it when we undergo physiological changes at high altitudes, we see it in the physiology of our patients who are experiencing various forms of shock.

With that said, when a person is at a place where they are essentially overiding millions of years of evolution and natural selection based around survival, this should be considered profoundly abnormal. I know many people simply look at suicide as being a sin or a profoundly selfish act. However, a person has to be profoundly disturbed to overcome basic survival programming. Unfortunately, we often do not really appreciate the absolute seriousness of a person who is suicidal. If we can appreciate suicide for what it is, then we can appreciate how desperate and profoundly sick these patients are or were. We clearly appreciate the gravity of the situation when a patient has severe DKA, but often fail to appreciate that with people who are suicidal.

With all of that said, we should also realise that mental illness is not a problem with the "soul." It is a real, tangable and potentially devistating problem that requires aggressive treatment just like the DKA patient mentioned above. Even after initial treatment, this is often something that will not go away. Just like insulin dependant diabetes, we understand that a life long battle will ensue. Also, just like diabetes where even compliant patients can end up with serious exacerbations such as DKA, we can expect people who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts/ideation and the like to also experiences exacerbations in spite of treatment.

Religion is a tricky subject. While I believe it can play a positive role in some cases, we need to put religion in to proper context when considering the physical world. Religion is not a particularly good mechanism for exerting control over the physical world in the sense that things can magically occur as a result of divine intervention. I could be wrong, but have not appreciated evidence to suggest my hypothesis is incorrect. However, religion can play a significant role in people who can use it to help make sense of "life" and esoteric questions that cannot be answered by science. Religion can give us faith, hope and fellowship. These are all potentially important and helpful. Religion is a good way for like minded people to get together and support one and other and hopefully support others who are not as like minded, but that is another topic and another discussion. Clearly, this can become perniscious in some cases, but can be very helpful and supportive for some people.

I see religion as playing a role in helping people in certain situations, but it cannot get in the way of therapy that is based on observation and emperic experience within the physical world. It may sound like I am an atheist; however, many here know that is not the case at all. With that, we cannot let our faith based ideas encroach upon the emperically derived physical world.

My best wishes and thoughts go out to people who struggle with these issues because I gather the struggles can be difficult and are life long.
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Posted · Report post

chbare - Masterfully said. Simply a great post.
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chbare-

Well said. I think your post gets to the root of what I was referring to. Religion can help you cope with a wide variety of things, but for too many it replaces common sense, logic, and rational thought. Then again, when you boil it all down, religion DOES replace those things since it is based solely on faith. As you say, religion can help us cope with deeper philosophical issues, but to ignore the real world manifestations of a problem such as depression- or even physical problems-it just makes no sense to my pragmatic self. I'm not anti-religion, nor was my post meant to imply that I was, I guess I do believe in a higher being/power, but I am also realistic about the "control" such an entity can and will exert over our daily lives.

In the call I referred to, I am very happy the mother was not on the scene because I would have been very uncomfortable since I know her position on religion directly contributed to the death of her son. One could say that this woman will deal with guilt for the rest of her life, but I don't think so. Countless times I have heard families of gang shootings say things like "It was God's will." that he died.

BULL. It was stupid behavior by some dirtbag. No God I know of- or would want to believe in-is ok with an infant being killed by a drive by shooter who misses their target, or a little girl to be paralyzed because a bullet goes through her window as she's watching TV.
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I lost one of my close friends When I was in the army to suicide. i've always wanted to know what makes people think of the methods. He was severely depressed after returning from Afghanistan. He drank all the time, from the time he opened his eyes until he passed out. One day, he called 911 gave a description of his vehicle and said the vehicle had a wreckless drunk driver operating it. after a short chase drove his car straight into a tree. Dead instantly. Had a baby on the way. survived explosions and bullets wizzing by his head, but couldn't live with the guilt he felt. my stomach knots up at the thought of it.
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[quote name='chbare' timestamp='1319831450' post='267887']
The human body is a biological organism that is entirely built around survival. In fact, it's only been the past several thousand years where we had creatures on this planet that have been able to really think and ponder concepts that do not directly stem from "survival instinct" if you will.
<< snip>>
With that said, when a person is at a place where they are essentially overiding millions of years of evolution and natural selection based around survival, this should be considered profoundly abnormal.
<< snip>>

However, a person has to be profoundly disturbed to overcome basic survival programming. Unfortunately, we often do not really appreciate the absolute seriousness of a person who is suicidal. If we can appreciate suicide for what it is, then we can appreciate how desperate and profoundly sick these patients are or were. We clearly appreciate the gravity of the situation when a patient has severe DKA, but often fail to appreciate that with people who are suicidal.

[/quote]

Here you go, heres an extract from my mates last leter to his family, died 30 may this year, aged 27

[quote]Yesterday, I felt so lost and alone. I was looking for a way out, preferably quick and something that didn’t indicate suicide. I wanted desperately to die, but couldn’t bear the thought of the extra turmoil that the stigma of suicide would create for the family. I could only see the negatives in all things. I felt lost and vulnerable, with no one I could unburden to. All family and friends have enough stresses in their lives for the moment.

I felt like my mental stability was gone, like it was cyclical, whenever the pressure built I wanted the “easy” way out. [u]And yet suicide is the hardest thing to do, harder than living as you have to overcome the body’s inbuilt desire for life and self preservation. [/u]Yet I couldn’t see other alternatives, all my prospects bleak. So much judgement and self loathing - my own worst enemy - like being sabotaged from within.

It seems like a game, with odds stacked against you. You get well and become complacent about maintaining good mental health. You recognise yet ignore the warning signs that the spiral is beginning again. The negative thoughts are subtle at first, then bang, you cant sleep at night. They overwhelm and paralyse you - yet in some ways like an old comforting friend. Then the battle, it rages to and fro. The warm embrace of not hurting anymore, the sweet release and freedom of death. The soul freed from its coil to search and wander the universe without limit and restriction. A call so strong and welcoming. How I long for it, yet the guilt it battles too. The people who would experience such hurt, angst and anger at my death. My soul feels the hurt and causes such compassion for them. Then conflict is severe, each side gaining ground and losing it. Like a war of attrition

The constant conflict is wearing me thin, more and more I can rationalise my death. It seems so petty, compared to war, famine and distress and suffering around the world. Yet in my local world so many people would be affected. Can I really rationalise and philosophise the hurt cause as just something that they are to experience and learn from? Is that my place? Is that my role in this lifetime?[/quote]

Yeah, i totally understand what ch just wrote...
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[quote name='HERBIE1' timestamp='1319823194' post='267871']It is amazing how so many people do not have a grip on what it's like to live in the real world.[/quote]Sorry to take illusions, but the descripted weirdness IN FACT IS the real world...
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My twin brother killed himself 2 months ago. It is so painful to realize how much he was hurting and for how long and excruciating to understand that we could not help him. My 82 year old mother sat by his coffin and howled in her grief. Months later and she is still calling me and crying.

It has helped all of us to realize that my brother was ill. His lifelong depression led to alcoholism. Having struggled with depression all my life, I feel so blessed that medication and self-knowledge keep me functioning and happy. It took decades to learn how to do this and I did not do it alone. I was fortunate that I had the resources to get the help I needed.

My brother was unwilling to get help. He felt it made him weak. Even before this happened, I was very sympathetic to the suicidal among us. Even the 18 year old mad at her boyfriend got sympathy and counsel from me. A suicidal gesture is a cry for help. Just because it is ineffective does not mean that the patient is not suffering. They are hurting.

Never stop urging these patients to get help. Empathize. Do not judge and do not dismiss them. The wreckage my brother has left behind is indescribable. Do what you can to prevent this tragedy.
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[quote name='chbare' timestamp='1319831450' post='267887']
First, I think this suicide business needs to be put into context:

The human body is a biological organism that is entirely built around survival. In fact, it's only been the past several thousand years where we had creatures on this planet that have been able to really think and ponder concepts that do not directly stem from "survival instinct" if you will. We in health care, who are also scientists in a sense should be keenly aware of just how important survival is. It's built into our nervous systems, we see in in the ability to clot, we recoginse it when we undergo physiological changes at high altitudes, we see it in the physiology of our patients who are experiencing various forms of shock.

With that said, when a person is at a place where they are essentially overiding millions of years of evolution and natural selection based around survival, this should be considered profoundly abnormal. I know many people simply look at suicide as being a sin or a profoundly selfish act. However, a person has to be profoundly disturbed to overcome basic survival programming. Unfortunately, we often do not really appreciate the absolute seriousness of a person who is suicidal. If we can appreciate suicide for what it is, then we can appreciate how desperate and profoundly sick these patients are or were. We clearly appreciate the gravity of the situation when a patient has severe DKA, but often fail to appreciate that with people who are suicidal.

With all of that said, we should also realise that mental illness is not a problem with the "soul." It is a real, tangable and potentially devistating problem that requires aggressive treatment just like the DKA patient mentioned above. Even after initial treatment, this is often something that will not go away. Just like insulin dependant diabetes, we understand that a life long battle will ensue. Also, just like diabetes where even compliant patients can end up with serious exacerbations such as DKA, we can expect people who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts/ideation and the like to also experiences exacerbations in spite of treatment.

Religion is a tricky subject. While I believe it can play a positive role in some cases, we need to put religion in to proper context when considering the physical world. Religion is not a particularly good mechanism for exerting control over the physical world in the sense that things can magically occur as a result of divine intervention. I could be wrong, but have not appreciated evidence to suggest my hypothesis is incorrect. However, religion can play a significant role in people who can use it to help make sense of "life" and esoteric questions that cannot be answered by science. Religion can give us faith, hope and fellowship. These are all potentially important and helpful. Religion is a good way for like minded people to get together and support one and other and hopefully support others who are not as like minded, but that is another topic and another discussion. Clearly, this can become perniscious in some cases, but can be very helpful and supportive for some people.

I see religion as playing a role in helping people in certain situations, but it cannot get in the way of therapy that is based on observation and emperic experience within the physical world. It may sound like I am an atheist; however, many here know that is not the case at all. With that, we cannot let our faith based ideas encroach upon the emperically derived physical world.

My best wishes and thoughts go out to people who struggle with these issues because I gather the struggles can be difficult and are life long.
[/quote]

Thanks for these interesting thoughts!

I`m always a bit torn, when it comes to this subject. Surely, the most cases of suicide we see are the result of some sort of psychological disease/condition.
Still, the concept of a "voluntary death" exists, but there`s always a debate about wether such a thing is really possible, or wether all suicide are the result of a mental condition.

Personally, I guess there is such a thing, but it`s a tricky subject.
Although, I`m also thinking that the concept spoken of, was mostly applied in the context of socially relevant necessities, mostly as a way of "keeping your honour" (i.e., I`m thinking Ancient Romans and Japanese Samurais) - so it propably wasn`t such a free decision, but at least they weren`t the result of a mental condition in the first place. Edited by Vorenus
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Posted · Report post

[quote name='HERBIE1' timestamp='1319823194' post='267871']something you have ZERO PROOF OF even existing.
[/quote]
Funny, kind of like how you have zero proof that it doesn't exist?
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[quote name='Linuss' timestamp='1320012755' post='268114']

Funny, kind of like how you have zero proof that it doesn't exist?
[/quote]

Exactly, therefore such a concept will never be an appropriate theory for defining the physical world. For something to be a valid theory, it has to make predictions that can be tested and it has to be potentially falsifiable.
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