Would you blame someone if they died from cancer?
Thanks for saying that. This is a tough subject for me to talk about. I have been writing and rewriting a post for the last half hour about this and just didn’t feel right about it.
Someone close to me tried to commit suicide a couple a years back. I was the person who found him/her and drove him/her to the hospital. I have seen close up how depression skews someone’s decision making processes and makes rational decision making impossible for them, and make killing them-self seem inevitable.
So I don’t want anyone to think that I’m saying suicide is okay. But some people need help and support, and some people who never get the help that they need. While you or I might have the mental energy and fortitude to deal with whatever life throws at us, some people just don’t. Some people are at such a low ebb that they find making a decision about what to eat for breakfast leaves them anxious (not making that up…that really happened).
I would if they didn’t seek treatment. And I don’t equate depression with cancer - I think it’s pretty offensive to the total suffering and agony cancer patients go though.
I think we need to qualify mentally well as it’s a crutch to excuse behavior. He wasn’t insane. He wasn’t inebriated. He unaware of his decision. He acted consciously and deliberately here. Knew what he was doing. Choose to do what he did. Put it above his family.
You can be mentally unwell and be aware that you have a problem, and seek all sorts of help. Hundreds of thousands of people do it every day. And if you’re on your own with no responsibilities it’s one thing, but this guy just wrecked his children and wife. The waste he leaves behind can’t be ignored, and his responsibility for it can’t be swept away.
I think that in many cases, it is just a mistake to see things in terms of “fortitude”. You can’t will your bowels into fighting the tumor they are infected with, and if the mental ilness you have is bad enough, no amount of strength or willpower can stop the suicidal ideation. It is just how the brain is effected by the way it works.
Miqque may be correct that any clinical depression and suicidal ideation may be halted by good mental healthcare, I remain skeptical that this is true, however it may be so. However it must also be admitted that that requires the ideal situation of accessibility of this level of healthcare.
I also believe personally that people do have the fundamental right to end their lives, even if there is not really such a thing as clinical depression, just a longing to end this life (which may by some people also be defined as a form of depression, I am not sure that it is). However I do agree with Jim there are specific circumstances imaginable when this is not ethically defensible, like the raising of children.
I’m not going to pretend to be familiar enough with the man and his situation to really know what was going on with his life. So while I can completely understand where you’re coming from, I don’t feel in a position to judge the situation.
[quote=“Jim, post:584, topic:5713, full:true”]
I would if they didn’t seek treatment. And I don’t equate depression with cancer - I think it’s pretty offensive to the total suffering and agony cancer patients go through. [/quote]
Depression is pretty agonizing. And do we know he wasn’t seeking treatment at some point? Suicide is terrible, and I understand your perspective, but I do think most people who haven’t personally suffered from depression don’t really understand the perspective of someone who does suffer from it.
I’m getting far more involved in this conversation than I’m really comfortable with being, so if it is okay I will post this and then I’m out.
Weirdly I have experience with people in my family suffering from cancer as well…so I kind of understand what you’re getting at.
And I apologise if I used a poor choice of words. I wasn’t suggesting that depression is that simple. Of course it isn’t. In my case, the person I spoke about had a bad day at work (wasn’t fired or bullied…it was just a tough day), came home and took an overdose. You or I might have coped fine with a similar bad day
I respectfully disagree, but I realise that everyone’s situation is different. I think that a mixture of having people around to help and care, and medication helps the person cope on a day to day basis. There are still days when then black moods come, but he/she can distinguish them for what they are and can call to say “I’m feeling down. Can you talk to me for a little while?”
To be clear, I agree with Arjan that depression and other conditions are quite lethal, yet we cannot blame a person for succumbing to suicidal imperatives. I’ve been there. For me it was an incredible fight, as there are reasons to feel down in the dumps but that actual suicidal urge is a whole different dragon altogether. It’s a force, and it not at all weak. Nutty and forgetful as I can be sometimes, it turns out I’m about as mentally tough as humans get. I was able to fight that suicidality, and banish it. Also beat the depression, but that took another twenty-some years, so that’s not the same type of fight; that’s a siege.
I understand the strong feelings coming out about this! This is good! Write out your feelings! Especially if all alone with your reactions - share them.
They can both be unstoppable diseases, that’s how they compare to me. And the suffering of a mental illness such as depression can be immense, it is of a different nature than the suffering of cancer, but the suffering is not necessarily less.
Most people suffering from depression that commit suicide feel their families would be better off without them. Oddly the thing that probably kept me from doing it was thinking it would be just one more thing I would have done to make their lives worse. Every other person I’ve ever talked to who has had similar thoughts said what I said before.
It’s not particularly anything new either. So it’s not this generations’ inability to cope. They just used to tell people that someone’s gun went off while they were cleaning it or some other thin bullshit because the stigma was even worse.
Well, bugger, this renders the Bond tune in a whole new light:
Arm yourself because no one else here will save you
I could equally say most people who don’t have children don’t understand what a massively terrible thing it is to abandon them.
Jim, in all serious this is pretty heartless.
The stigma on depression as a non-legitimate illness is long fought and comments like this are not helpful.
When the serotonin in your brain stops pumping, the pain is real.
Drinking yourself to death = “He died in his sleep”.
Inappropriate pregnancy = “gastroenteritis” (four months worth)
Flat-out murder = “the gun just went off”
Where is the kindness in lying, in covering up, in the use of euphemisms, in plain not acknowledging that human beings can and have been throughout history susceptible to such extremes of emotion so as to murder others or themselves? It’s the story of the first brothers in Eden. (Not a paradise, that Eden - just tropical.) Narcissism combined with just enough paranoia turns these murderous urges outward, and we have everything from a motivated businessperson to Attila the Flippin’ Hun. Murder and conquest are always built on coveting, envy and hurt turned outward and focused. Suicide is taking on all the load, a combination of feeling utterly powerless and one tiny gleam - that the only power remaining is when to check out. But that gleam is a lie, it is the hellmouth of suicidality itself, and if one does not retreat immediately and fight, things can go very badly very fast.
Without a rather precise balance - in all aspects of life especially neurotransmitters - folks are pretty much either down on themselves or down on others. Introvert/extrovert? Not quite, but that sort of polarity. The real demon in the mix is that, no matter if outward- or inward-oriented, somewhere along the line logic breaks down. We need other people to help us with our internal checks and balances.
There is only one War, the same War that has gone on forever. Life versus Death. Suicide is that Death right inside the mind, the personality, the life of its victim. The battles are epic, usually fought in dark bedrooms in the black hours with much tossing and turning, or hiding in a closet with a blanket wrapped tightly, or commuting to work and purely fighting for control that cannot flicker, or putting up with the in-laws inane comments, or whatever your own personal devil might be.
It can alway be fought. It can almost always be beaten.
We are not near the point in medicine or society to do better. And we are receding backwards, in society, at a terrifying rate.
Do not blame the victim. Fight the Enemy with everything!
National Suicide Prevention Line
Having had both of these close to me on a number of occasions - cancer and suicide - I can unequivocally say they are wholly different for one very specific reason, a cancer patient will be completely in tune with the value of their life, someone suffering depression will not.
I can look at this situation from afar and feel sadness that it happened, but I know my anger and if I was close to the person I’d be becoming enraged. I honestly think we need anger and support and love for anyone feeling suicidal and this is one of my main reasons…
“Better off without me,” is a common theme that needs stamped out, and anger in how we look at this is as important an emotion as love and pity and sadness and hope and constantly fighting to keep people from feeling silent when they feel suicide is an option for them. Anger is an emotion that can convey love very well, better than most to someone making a mistake or not thinking entirely straight, which we all know if we’d did something super dangerous and a parent or guardian caught us.
I’m not for one second saying that there should be no support or love or that anger should be the only emotion we use, but I found out recently when someone I know made an attempt that it is a very important one to be in the mix, my raging anger (as I am so rarely outwardly angry) really hit home with the person in question, and it was like a light bulb going off when it made them realize just how much people would actually feel if they’d been successful.
The hardest thing will always be the silence that comes before as someone feels as if there is no way out, though, and I do understand that it is a place that is desperately hard to for someone to fight on their own.
Also, I’m thinking should we maybe move this conversation to another thread at this point as there’s been a few personal stories?
Depression is one Hell of a lot easier to treat than cancer!
AS IF they were separate conditions! (Not causal, my hunch is one exacerbates the other. Stress kills.)
I’m 100% sure I didn’t say depression wasn’t a real illness Tim.
As this is semi-public, I am aware sharing can be an iffy thing. There are places to go if one needs to get a bit more personal. I think it’s a good thing for this level of conversation to exist, and the common support is the true spirit of MillarWorld. I would hope if occasional posters or lurkers wanted to speak up, that this would be a good time.
I’m 100% sure you were mitigating the pain sufferers experience by juxtaposing it to cancer, Jim.
That’s a fair point, indeed,