So now the NEWS is on a suicide watch (they always seem to find some poor old horse and beat it to death, don’t they? Get a hold of one sorry bone and keep worrying it until they need something else to try to get people worked up about, because getting people in a panic is good for ratings, you know.) It may only be a perception, but they say suicides have increased. The report I saw said the rate is up compared to 1999. I don’t know whether it really is, nor by how much (as Twain said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics), but let’s assume there’s been some sort of extra-statistical increase.
I am not a professional – just a human being who likes to analyze problems and situations, so remember that I’m just thinking out loud. Do not take this as any sort of medical advice or diagnosis – YOU should seek out a medical professional for that. And these are not meant to make any claims about any individual suicide, just general observations of the phenomenon.
People are bemoaning the suicides of famous people, exclaiming that THEY HAD SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR.
THEY had so much to live for? We all do, although it would seem that one of the main driving forces behind suicide would be the failure to see that. If you assume that the rich and famous have more to live for than you do, does that mean you believe you don’t have enough? This is where envy, coveting, and THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER SYNDROME are working in spades. How many times have you heard someone who has it tough say “But there are people who have it so much worse than me”? I think many suicides are people who can’t empathize with those who have it harder – they view themselves as being far more deserving of pity – “How could anyone have it as bad as me?”
How did we become such self-absorbed, unempathetic wimps? Do we spend too much time (society as a whole) looking around and thinking just how UNFAIR life is, how IT ISN’T RIGHT that someone else has more than I do? At some point, if we’re raised correctly, we are supposed to understand that LIFE ISN’T FAIR – sometimes bad (or good) things happen to us and others, with no explanation for why any more scientific than AN ACT OF GOD or DUMB LUCK.
Do you think that those participation trophies might have obscured the lesson? Would some tough love, or a kick in the pants be more effective than coddling? No options should be taken off the table.
I’ve been lucky enough not to have people around me threatening to kill themselves, but I’ve known people who’ve been put through that guilt trip by self-centered would-be suicides (you know the type: “If you don’t give me what I want, I’m going to kill myself, and THEN you’ll be sorry”; nope, nothing selfish about that, either.)
And if you didn’t have anyone else to hurt by offing yourself, well, then I guess it really was ALL ABOUT YOU (although lets face it – our worlds and lives are so interconnected that NO ONE exists in a vacuum. I wonder how many people you inspired to give up, too, and how many people they hurt.)
I don’t presume to know what goes on in anyone else (I am not as good as the thought police) – just throwing out ideas, here.
Some suicides might be a problem with a lack of hope for the human race rather than individual problems. The world can seem a scary place, what with the War on Terror, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Anthropogenic Climate Change and other hyped CONSPIRACIES of how someone is out to kill us everywhere we can imagine. Maybe if we stop treating EVERYTHING as the end of the world, those people who are susceptible to Chicken Little would be more hopeful and less stressed. Could be; who knows?
We’re examining our navels now, declaring a war on suicide, and the idea is all over the place that we just have to do “X”, and we can prevent people from killing themselves. It’s natural to want to solve a perceived problem (or at least to feel like you have the power to affect it); why does it feel like another utopian delusion of “we can fix this – all we have to do is know what’s in everyone’s heart and soul so we can stop them.”? I seem to recall that one of the statistics (quietly) used to swell the numbers of “gun deaths” while making the case for gun laws is the people who suicide by gun (they may be the largest percentage group in gun-related deaths.) If we outlaw guns, I suspect they’ll still find a way to kill themselves, anyway.
There is an underlying societal problem here – otherwise, it wouldn’t be widespread. And society needs to be fixed to solve it. Is it that we’ve turned our backs on God? Or on each other? Or that we’re depending too much on a remote and impersonal government to solve our problems, instead of relying on ourselves to fix things?
For now, try not to be so wrapped up in your own problems that you are unaware of the struggles of others (that’s good advice for people thinking of going suicidal, just as it is for those who are concerned about them.)
Ultimately, I still think life is a test – or maybe a game (but not “he who has the most toys wins.) We weren’t put here to be taken care of and have everything handed to us; we are here to strive and struggle. We are tested not by how we handle victory, but how we buck up in defeat. I never tip my king – it’s not my way.
William Mangieri’s writing – including his most recent collection The Last Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’ – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri