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Magic, Depression and Trauma in Mental Space

Methods, Suicide and Suicidology

There's an interesting newsgroup, it is called alt.suicide.methods and it seems to me that there are some folks there who have a weird hobby indeed - discussing the ways they plan to "off" themselves or as it is known in such circles to "catch the bus." Most folk there want to know the best way to kill themselves without making it in anyway painful. A peaceful but effective exit is paramount - maybe life is painful enough already without adding more pain and suffering to it. The irony is that none of the suicide methods that are successful will ever be published there, or as one wag posted: "Anyone had any success with hanging?"

"Geo-Stone" seems to be happy with his suicide site. It is well worth a look as it has lots of pictures of messy success stories, diagrams and descriptions of tried and tested methods, if you like that sort of thing, or you can go to Amazon.com or ebay for a copy of his book. As I say, for some people suicide is a hobby (just so long as it is other people's suicide), but before you make "Geo-Stone's" day and top yourself, check with Scott Christensen first. He has some creative methods and would really like you to send him all of your money before you do it.

Almost every week I see a newspaper report of a teenage suicide and some reference to the internet. Usually it follows an average moribund teenager who seemed so happy until an evil dark side crept in and took over - and that dark side was the internet. Years ago before we all had computers, it was the heavy metal music that was making people kill themselves. Judas Priest seemed to get much of the blame, so we all went out and bought their records - that is just the way the world works. That's right folks, the kids were alright until they listened to that evil music with satanic messages encrypted backwards. Won't somebody please sue Judas Priest - their music killed my future! Phooey!

The suicide rate within any one country is just one method that is used for assessing the gross mental health of the population. You'd never know it but apparently the overall success rate has fallen recently, therefore our collective mental health is rising. Very good news indeed. This is interesting and it makes me wonder if it is the decrease in tricyclic anti-depressants and barbiturates that used to be given freely to the unhappy people reporting to their GPs for help with their misery. Oh yes, a handful of barbs', bottle of tric's and several litres of gin. Ding Ding! Fare please!

Why do they go to their GPs? Well, maybe their misery isn't the internet or heavy metal music, it's a chemical imbalance. Yes, that is right. That's a more scientific explanation. That'll do for us today.

Recently I was at a school. Half the kids in the classroom were medicated in varying forms (Prozac and Ritalin mostly) and the subject matter they were being taught was banal and pointless at best and a omnipresent CCTV camera over the blackboard prevented any insurrection or deviant behaviour that might break through the chemical fog. The thought police were ever present as the kids were conditioned to use increasingly politically correct language and social ideology. Yet, they are taught to view every adult and stranger as a potential paedophile and a terrible danger waiting to happen to them. We feed them Big Mac meals and tell them to lose weight and we put colas in their school vending machines. We teach them their "rights" which make no sense but certainly ensures they are "protected" from their adult peers.

And we wonder why teenagers today seem so anti-social towards us.

You know why? They fucking hate us.

And I for one am in no way surprised.

Hell. So let's blame the internet! We can blame Marilyn Manson! We can blame Judas Priest! We can blame any one fucking thing and so long as we think we understand why these kids are so unhappy then we never have to blame ourselves and whenever have to face up to change. Conservativism rocks!!

Metanoia
When I first started reading this page, my initial reaction was that it was going to be a "don't kill yourself, let jesus into your life instead." I was pleasantly surprised by this highly informative and intelligent site which has a nice section about how to find a decent counsellor.

Now, compare those two previous sites to the information contained on this one: http://www.save.org/ It would be funny if this wasn't such an influential organisation. Be very afraid because these are the kind of people who are coming for your troubled children. Anyone wonder I get so angry? These are the kind of "experts" I work with and encounter often.

When I worked as a nurse in Accident and Emergency, I would see anywhere between 5-10 people with admissions related to a suicidal gesturing (as distinctly different from "deliberate self harm" without suicidal ideation/gesturing). This is a lot of people and they were teenagers mostly with far too much cider and angst on a Friday night followed paracetamol overdose and a cut wrist or two. I say we saw teenagers mostly because the older ones are generally more successful - they`ve tried and test the less effective methods before, you see.

Of course, these kids were almost invariably treated as "time wasters" and the treatment protocols were most very formulaic. Blood levels, gastric lavage, charcoal swallow or methionine. All delivered with a condescension of "Well, what did you really expect?" and followed by an admission to the ward overnight and a referral to the kiddies's shrink in the morning.

So next, the fun really begins. You see, when you are the failed suicide everyone wants to know "why?" and "what's happened?" The kids look at you in disdain as though they might as well be screaming, "What's happened?? WHAT'S HAPPENED??? Are you insane?? You seriously expect me to explain my entire miserable fucking life to you in this meaningless interview?"

What's happened indeed. Again, they always try to find that one single thing that is to blame so we can pretend we all understand "what happened."

After much more frustration and the pains of further blood testing and patronising lectures, the kid is discharged. Hopefully he'll have learned his lesson the staff tell each other.

It's no wonder I get so angry.

To balance things up a little, here is a great site: http://www.suicidology.org Suicidology might be a strange vocation in life, but the producers of this informative site seem to know their subject. As indeed one would seriously hope for.

But now, it is important to realise that it isn't just teenagers that are getting all the suicidal action. Some uncomfortable facts from the World Health Organisation suggest that suicide rates have increased alarmingly in our modern times. They tell us that in the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Yet this is despite an ocean of psychopharmaceuticals bathing the brains of the populations of the developed world - we as a species certainly don't seem to be any better for it. Now, here's something to consider - whilst more women attempt suicide, more men actually manage to actually succeed with it. This might well be due to the fact that guys tend to use more violent methods. A bottle of gin and a handful of pills doesn't quite have the same effect as a handgun or a car filled with exhaust fumes. Or maybe it's because guys spend so much longer on the internet, looking at porn, suicide newsgroups and listening to Guns and Roses?

Now W.H.O. also say, "Although suicide rates have traditionally been highest among elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries."

Old people killing themselves? Oh yes, quite common, almost traditional even. After all, Hindu women used to lie on their deceased husband's funeral pyre. They weren't always particularly old either.

Not entirely sure how voluntary all this Sati was, but sometimes the social consequences of living without a partner can outweight the social consequences of a DIY barbeque. Social isolation is a terrible thing, but in our developed and ever so modern age, there's always the nursing home. The medication issued en masse to nursing home residents will soon dull your senses and soon you'll stop being lonely and certainly learn to quit complaining.

Another problem of living longer into increasing old age is the problem that physically there is far more to go wrong with the mind and body. So whilst some contemplate the choice between suicide or the nursing home, others are contemplating the choice between suicide or the next 10 years of pain and dribbling. There are indeed many people who would prefer a rapid and ensured exit than a drawn out, confused and wet one. Of course, the law tries to prevent this - you must never be allowed to determine the mode of your departure, no siree! There are moral rules and outrages about these things!

Euthanasia has had a lot of publicity recently. Some poor soul demands the right to have her life ended comfortably and with medical supervision to ensure it works properly and is denied by the courts. The pro-lifers only tend to kill those that oppose them, I guess they learned that from the ancient Romans. Dr. Jack Kevorkian still resides in a jail for openly doing what his patients so desperately wanted him to do. There are those who think Jack is an evil man who deserves to die the death of a serial killer. Maybe these are the same people who are willing to dedicate themselves to the relief of the suffering of those who ask for euthanasia?

Many years ago when I was a Staff Nurse working in Accident and Emergency we had brought into our resuscitation room a 30 year old man who had taken a substantial overdose of amitriptyline, alcohol, and a bathroom cabinet full of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. The reason why? Well, this guy had one of the worst genetic conditions I've ever encountered (and I have seen quite a few, let me tell you) called, "Huntington's Disease" - apparently he can grown weary of the constant writhing and spasms, the psychosis, the incontinence, the confusion and inability to lead any form of normal life ever again. He had decided that maybe, just maybe a fatal overdose was preferable to the miserable death that just wasn't coming soon enough but sure enough was coming sooner or later?

So what did we do? We gave him a gastric lavage, pumped him out, gave him the antidotes and sent him to the ward for his miserable and desperate life to be saved. Of course, we felt guilty about it but hell, we were just doing our jobs as the law dictated we must do. It's called a "duty of care." To fail to do so, might have just landed in the gaol cell next to one of Britain's very own Jack Kevorkians.

So yes, collectively our team didn't feel comfortable doing what we were doing but we did it anyway. I guess it's similar to by-stander non-intervention where we walk by the person in need of desperate help that we could give so easily if only we didn't make our own excuses about how we are so busy right now. Just doing our job.

It's because of the law you see. We might as well have blamed Judas Priest.