Posts Tagged suicide
myths about suicide, by Thomas Joiner. Publisher: Harvard University Press 2010. Hardcover. 304 pg.
We need to get it in our heads that suicide is not easy, painless, cowardly, selfish, vengeful, self-masterful, or rash . . . that it is partly genetic and influenced by mental disorders, themselves often agonizing; and that it is preventable . . . and treatable.
Joiner’s father committed suicide which infuses his academic research with additional empathy and relevance. He states that people die from suicide because they possess both the ability and the desire. In additional, a suicidal person feels both perceived burdensomeness [view that one’s existence burdens family, friends, and society] and a sense of low belongingness [perception that one does not belong—the feeling that one is alienated from others and not an integral part of a family, circle of friends, or other valued group]. The finely articulated points in Myths About Suicide make this book an excellent resource about a highly stigmatized topic.
Some myths that Joiner discusses:
Myth: suicide is an easy escape.
–successful methods of death by suicide include jumping, drowning, decapitation, hanging, stabbing and shooting in back of the head. None of these are easy to do.
Myth: suicide is an act of anger, aggression or revenge
–anger and vengefulness an be risk factors
–American Association of Suicidology mnemonic for suicide warning signs—IS PATH WARM?
Myth: suicide is selfish
–going back to the burden theory, the person committing suicide thinks that in doing so will relieve others if she is no longer around.
Myth: you have to be “out of your mind” to die by suicide
–”People who die by suicide do, I believe, undergo a kind of mental break involving their views of death—they come to see death as a comfort to others and to themselves—but this mental break is not the same thing as psychosis, intoxication, dementia, or delirium.
The best evidence to date indicates that around 95 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death.
Mental disorders are surprisingly common, but most people who have a mental disorder are neither psychotic, demented, intoxicated, nor delirious.”
Myth: most people who commit suicide leave a note behind
–3/4 of those who die by suicide do not leave a note
–Kurt Cobain’s lyrics told his unhappiness. He also left a note.
–Sylvia Plath wrote many poems which expressed her depression. She did not leave a note.
Myth: children do not commit suicide
–U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicides by suffocation (mostly hanging) accounted for 71% of all suicides of girls aged 10-14
Myth: if someone wants to die by suicide, he or she can’t be stopped
–Joiner suggests that mental health isn’t taken seriously and follow-up and diagnosis is poor.
Myth: it’s just a cry for help
–“Ignoring or otherwise mishandling suicide-related communications can have tragic consequences.”
Title: Legend of a Suicide
Author: David Vann
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (March 16, 2010)
Category: literature/ short stories
Review source: publisher
In this collection of semiautobiographical stories, a son copes with his father’s eventual suicide. David Vann explores dark thoughts and re-imagines events in an introspective, sharp manner. Legend of a Suicide naturally flows with honesty and grace.
His father left him, back into the trees, and Roy took up the ax and chopped and hated his father. He hated this place, too, and listening to his father crying every night.What was he talking about, babies? He felt bad then, because he knew the crying at night was something else, something he was afraid to belittle.
During 2004, a filmmaker and his crew recorded events at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for a year. This is the #1 suicide spot in the world. In this film, we see many of the 24 suicides committed during that span of time. It also includes interviews with those who attempted suicide and survived as well as with family members and friends of those who successfully jumped off the bridge and ended their lives. It is somber material and strangely compelling. Really actually fascinating as it delves into mental health and treatment of the mentally ill [denial about depression, mental illness or the commitment to actually end one's life by those closest to the person]. The Bridge juxaposes the beauty and power of this beautiful structure and the devastation of mental illness and this bridge as a way out of the pain of despair, intense sadness and hopelessness. It is honest and rare for suicide to be addressed so directly and honestly by a film. Unless you have felt such crushing depression or the feeling that there is no way to go on anymore. You’ve tried and tried and feel you do not fit in, you will never succeed and most importantly will never feel content in this world. For many, the only way out is to jump. Many of the friends and family members understand the choices that these people make. “I have understood that there are people who have incessant pain,” one woman says. Jumping off the bridge is dramatic and either draws attention or will prove to someone that no one even notices or cares. But it is quick and painless. There are a few cases where the person survives, though.