Tag Archives: suicide

suicide

have you ever thought about killing yourself? i have. for many, many years i thought that was totally normal. it wasn’t until my life got much better that i noticed the absence of this soothing thought: to just disappear myself … now, when that kneejerk image arises occasionally, i know it’s a warning sign: something’s not right.

i grew up thinking that suicide was a completely normal way to die. some people die of cancer, others of old age, and others of suicide. the good thing is that this normalized suicide. the bad thing is that this normalized suicide.

so … let me try this …

let’s imagine you’re thinking of ending it all. you just can’t think of another way out of that thing that just seems to crush you. debts, a broken heart, a feeling of uselessness, terrible loneliness, a sense of being trapped …

how do you feel? overhwelmed, right?

can you relax just a tiny bit of yourself? just a bit … maybe your hands … maybe the way you sit on the chair …

here’s a strange question.

how does your brain feel?

yes, feel that brain. just for a moment.

sometimes it feels like it works well, doesn’t it? maybe that was a long time ago. but there probably was a time when it felt like it worked pretty well. maybe when you played with that dog. oh – dogs aren’t your thing. sorry. maybe – maybe it was when you hung out with your buddy when you were six … can you do me a favour, look for a time when your brain worked ok?

thanks.

so … i wonder … how does your brain feel right now, compared to that time when it worked well? is there a difference?

there is?

it feels a little – weirder, doesn’t it? maybe a bit cloudy? or perhaps it’s a just a bit noisy in there.

can you do me, and yourself a big favour?

i know life feels awful right now. i’d really like it, though, if you could wait with your decision to destroy yourself. please wait with that decision until your brain feels better.

if you don’t know how to make your brain feel better, stick around, please. i have a bunch of ideas we could try. and i know people who have way more ideas. they’ve worked, too. as terry wise, a woman who survived suicide, says “there are other ways to overcome pain.”

tweeting against suicide

in preparation for world suicide prevention today, i listened to some tweets. and then I listened to my heart’s response and wrote it down:

spread the word, save lives, get people talking!

yes, let’s TALK about it! who can YOU talk to about this today? and not just on world suicide prevention day.

today is world suicide prevention day. make sure everyone knows you’ll listen and that they’re important.

in a way, people kill themselves because they feel their lives have lost value, or sadder even, never had value. who can we tell today that it matters to us that they are alive?

suicide has affected our family, zero words to explain the pain. it never goes away. they shall be loved and remembered always.

who can we bless today, in silence even, who has lost a loved one? because words – words may just not do the job.

we have the power to change and reduce the stigma of suicide and mental illness, and we need people to talk about it without judgment or fear

power – i mean the power that rises strongly from within, often from a place we didn’t know could be a source. that strong, good power inside – what can you do today to nurture it?

you know what pisses me off? suicide. i am so fucking angry right now. two friends last year, and a close friend’s friend this week.

if we pretend the anger doesn’t exist, if we’re just meek and sad and ignore the fury that can come with surviving someone else’s suicide – that’s not going to help. how can we help this anger be healthy and productive?

today is world #suicide prevention day – get to know the signs, how you can help and how you can give help!

what do you know about signs of suicide?

today is world suicide prevention day. so everybody out there, before you do anything rash, just remember : somebody loves you.

somebody loves you. somebody loves you. somebody loves you. keep saying it. maybe right now you don’t believe it’s true. keep saying it anyway. hear the words. taste them. write them down and look at them. a mantra: somebody lives you. somebody loves you.

today is world suicide prevention day! please hold hands n spread the message……….let us save LIFE!!!!!

hold hands! whose hand can you hold today? who can you get just a tad closer to today?

u guys shld write the word love on ur arm because this week is suicide prevention week 🙂

love on my arm. so i don’t forget it. it’s so easy to forget. love. love. love. somebody loves me.

out of the darkness! take part, get the word out bout suicide. don’t wait to lose a best friend like i did to realize it is real.

don’t wait! death moves so fast. who have you been afraid to tell that you love them? is it time today to finally say it?

everyone wear something yellow tomorrow please! spread the word; suicide prevention <3

imagine – we all wear the clothes of life.

top parental worries: kidnapping, school snipers & terrorists. actual highest childhood risks: car accidents, homicide, abuse & suicide.

just imagine: knowledge can prevent lives. what are the assumptions and illusions that keep us away from life today?

light a candle near a window at 8pm on world suicide prevention day sept 10th

a candle in the window: you are important to me. i’ll wait for you. see the light? we’re waiting for you, to come home, to come back into the warm embrace

gay & transgender youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight peers.

the fear and shame and loneliness of “being other” kills. who can i call my brother today?

schizophrenia, involuntary admission and family members

the following is a press release from vancouver’s north shore schizophrenia society.  since no-one seems to have picked it up yet, i’m publishing it here.  it addresses the important question of when involuntary admission for serious mental illness is applicable, and the involvement of family members.

vancouver coastal, in a review of the death by suicide of marek kwapiszewski, has ducked the leading question they needed to answer: why is “dangerousness” still considered a requirement for involuntary admission rather than “to prevent the person’s… substantial mental or physical deterioration,” as spelled out in the mental health act?

what was promised by CEO david ostrow to have been an “independent” review, moreover, turned out to be not so independent after all, with senior managers under question in the review taking part in drawing up its recommendations.

kwapiszewski, 54, of vancouver, who suffered from schizophrenia, jumped off the granville street bridge to his death june 29, 2008. his sister, halina haboosheh, together with her lawyer, had made 16 different attempts to get him the treatment he needed – treatment which required involuntary admission since kwapiszewski, like many suffering from schizophrenia, did not have insight into his own condition.

instead of dealing with the factors leading to kwapiszewski’s death, the review came up with three brief items in a so-called action plan, which involved no changes or improvements in practice, nor was any fault determined although it was an obvious case of clinical failure.

“the ‘action plan’ should have been called an ‘inaction plan,'” NSSS president herschel hardin commented. “it was as if a review had not taken place.”

the so-called action plan was presented to haboosheh and the north shore schizophrenia society, which made the original submission in the case, at a meeting july 26, in vancouver coastal’s boardroom.

the first item, to facilitate a discussion to consider development of an operating definition of “deterioration,” makes no commitment to ultimately do anything, and is highly questionable to begin with in any case. nor does it apply to the kwapiszewski case, where the deterioration was quite clear and substantial.

the second and third of the three items were bureaucratic filler, not representing anything new and showing no grasp of what the problem was.

the review also completely missed two other crucial factors in the case: the failure of vancouver coastal staff to involve the sister, halina haboosheh, as an integral member of the treatment team, following best practices, and the concomitant failure to share clinical information with her. if that had been done, marek kwapiszewski might well be alive today.

it was also learned that the items were not the independent work of the external lawyer and psychiatric consultant hired to undertake the review, but were a consensus arrived at with senior community mental health managers and, possibly, vancouver coastal’s risk management officer. in effect, they had a veto over what would be presented.

as well as forfeiting the review’s independence, this meant that a major shake-up of senior mental health management, called for in NSSS’s 2009 submission, could not even be addressed. instead, the primary subjects of the review, as NSSS considered them, were parties to the review’s outcome.

in response to vancouver coastal’s items, NSSS has presented four recommendations of its own to vancouver coastal and has asked ostrow and his board for leave to speak directly to the recommendations at a board meeting.

for more information, please go to the NSSS media center.

links: psychology, morality, social media and dogs

in my long-suffering attempts to organize my internet life better, i’m going to see what it’s like if i post the occasional link article.  so here’s a stroll through the links open on august 1, with the first paragraph of each post so that you can get an idea what it’s all about.  you may even end up reading something!

gifted relationships: on being “too much” to the right of the curve

for most of my life, finding friends and work that honored my intensity and intelligence wasn’t an issue for me.

make my psychotherapy plain, but with a twist
by tom ellis, PsyD, ABPP on july 23, 2010

jon allen‘s post “is psychotherapy going to POT?” is spot on in terms of describing the quandary faced by psychotherapists and their patients with respect to the double-edged sword of “prescriptive therapies.”

my hopes for mental health camp UK

the moment i spotted MentalHealthCamp toronto i wanted to help make it happen here. years ago i was a volunteer MIND mental health advocate in the old hackney psychiatric hospital (a former workhouse) which was a schooling in one side of mental health services. now that i’m an accidental digital innovator i can see the huge potential in a mashup of mental health and digital, which i can’t really put better than the MentalHealthCamp toronto mission statement :

dr. khalid sohail, a psychiatrist by profession has been passionately writing for the last two decades. his collections of poems, stories, travelogues, novellas and essays have been published in english, urdu and punjabi. his writings are an attempt to share his humanistic philosophy of life. he summarized his views in his book “pages of my heart” in the following words:

edge: getting at the neuroanthropology of morality
edge has just posted a new seminar, the new science of morality. you get lots of access to interviews, links to papers, videos, exchange of views, reactions from the press, and more. quite stimulating.

calling all social change geeks: it’s netsquared camp vancouver

a month from now, on saturday, august 14, i’ll be attending vancouver’s first NetSquared camp, a day-long event for people who work at the intersection of social change and technology. the goal of the event is to build skills and capacity through peer learning, and invites the participation of “nonprofits, activists and social entrepreneurs [along] with their friends and allies in the world of technology and communications.”

study shows possibilities for predicting how patients will respond to antidepressants

in a study of an experimental treatment for major depression, pretreatment testing to probe the function of a specific brain center predicted how patients would respond to ketamine, a medication that can lift depression rapidly in some people. the work suggests it may be possible to develop ways to use such assessments in the future, not only to better understand depression, but to guide treatment choices for individuals.

effective confrontation

basic principles to remember:

the 30 second rule: the first 30 seconds in a confrontation, or your response to being confronted, will determine whether or not productive dialogue will even begin.

coaching at work magazine – mark on a difficult case
mark mckergow is featured in the current issue of coaching at work magazine (http://www.coaching-at-work.com). in the troubleshooter column, a difficult case is presented and expert responses are sought. here’s the problem:

international online training program on intractable conflict
conflict research consortium, university of colorado, USA

non-violent struggle
the problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties’ only concerns are victory, vengeance, and self-defense. in these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. what matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. this problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence.

eight steps for workplace confrontations
one of the challenging things about working in a team environment is that there are times when people behave in ways that we find unproductive, offensive, or hurtful.  when we ignore these feelings the relationship can suffer as our resentment festers.  yet fear at confronting others can prevent us from taking positive action.  today’s post contains a checklist you can use to determine if a confrontation is appropriate, and if so, how to move forward.

the missing ingredient in most social media strategies
what is the missing ingredient in most strategies i’ve seen? actual strategy.

expressive writing for the treatment of gay-related stressors

according to research published in the journal of consulting and clinical psychology, writing about stressful or traumatic events related to one’s sexual identity may be an effective treatment for gay-related stress.

forms in english haiku
keiko imaoka

japanese haiku have been traditionally composed in 5-7-5 syllables. when poets started writing english haiku in the 1950’s, they adopted this 5-7-5 form, thinking it created a similar condition for english-language haiku. this style is what is generally considered “traditional” english haiku.

gogyōka (五行歌?, literally, “five line poem”) is a form of japanese poetry invented by enta kusakabe (草壁 焔太) in 1957, in an attempt to escape the constraints of haiku and tanka poetry.[1] unlike traditional japanese poetry, gogyōka has no mora or syllable requirement for the length of its lines, which is instead governed by the duration of a single breath. the only defining rule of gogyōka is that the poem should be five lines long. in addition to japanese and english, gogyōka have been written in french, chinese, arabic, tagalog, korean, and latin.

on being chronically absent : “calling for my soul, at the corners of the world, i know she’s playing poker, with the rest of the stragglers”
i have always been an absentee.  sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance. i still do all of my work, and put great effort into it.  but i have never been keen on always attending class.  sometimes i feel that the time is better spent working from home, getting much more done. some classes i never want to miss, and am sad when i do.  i don’t play hooky, like i must admit – i did quite often in elementary school – but at times absenteeismt is necessary. sometimes i need “mental health” days off.  actually, i find it ridiculous that this isn’t expected at the “workplace”, since it has been found that most “sick calls” are due to feeling mentally worn out, than due to being physically ill.  if you get the flu, go home, best that you not spread it!  i feel the same is true of mental exhaustion and the need to get away for a while – a short leave of absence is simply necessary for one to “perform to the best of their abilities” (what any employer assumedly wants – accuracy, efficiency, obedience…, but when you  try to suppress the negative energy that fills your disposition, it spills out onto the people you are working with, and for (diners, students, etc.)

the rise of the psychopharmaceutical industry 1987-2010
written and submitted by mary ackerley ***md, mdh

mary beth ackerley md is a harvard and johns hopkins trained board certified psychiatrist. she now practices holistic psychiatry.

robert whitaker’s brilliant book anatomy of an epidemic asks a simple question.why , if psychiatric drug treatments are so efficacious, has the number of people on disability for mental illness more than tripled in the last 25 years? most doctors and researchers answered this question by stating that the numbers have increased simply because we are diagnosing more people with mental illness. in response to this stereotyped dismissal of his data, robert began to do more research on the efficacy of known psychiatric treatments. and then, while poring through the psychiatric scientific literature on treatment effectiveness for the last fifty years he found an even darker question beginning to emerge. “is it possible that psychiatric drugs are actually making people much worse?” could it be that far from “fixing broken brains” the drugs being offered actually are worsening, and even causing, the very illnesses they claim to heal?

handy google search tips: 19 simple tricks you need to know

google may be expanding into cell phones, operating systems, and tablet pcs, but it’s still known best for search.  google’s engineers have tricked out the search engine with a number of tools, shortcuts, and features that can help you better access the information you’re after–whether it’s finding out how many euros to the dollar, when your favorite team is playing next, or whether to leave home with an umbrella.

psychologists develop two potent new predictors of suicide risk

sciencedaily (july 30, 2010) ” two powerful new tests developed by psychologists at harvard university show great promise in predicting patients’ risk of attempting suicide.

saving the lives of 15 eight week old puppies
a better life dog rescue has just agreed to save the lives of 15 eight week old puppies that were going to be euthanized by a california shelter on friday. a rescue organization in los angelos asked numerous rescue groups in the states and canada for help to save these puppies lives.

dog breed selector quiz
ibizan hound size: medium. coat: silky. straight. coat length: short. grooming: easy, low-maintenance. very unlikely to drool. little to no shedding. very high activity level. bred as a game hunting companion. low intelligence. somewhat easier than average to train. very wary of other pets. tolerates strangers well. good with kids four and up. very affectionate. quite dependent. quiet. somewhat shorter than average estimated lifespan. in america, a rare breed. not well suited for apartment living.

stigmatization through silence

you don’t have to spend a lot of time leafing through therese borchard’s beyond blue: surviving depression and anxiety and making the most of bad genes to find some mention of suicide. here, for example

i understand why people who haven’t experienced severe depression believe that a mother who commits suicide is extremely selfish and totally careless in leaving her children to deal with that ugly and permanent baggage. but the truth is that i envisioned my suicide as an act of love for them. i was sure that by removing myself from the picture, i was affording david and katherine a chance to lead a normal life, as they would be no longer victims to my moodiness and despair. the way i saw it, if eric remarried a nice woman, my kids would be far better off than if i stuck around. so i began to search for a suitable bride and mother. i felt pressured to execute the plan as soon as possible, before david and katherine formed memories, before my depression shattered their innocent lives.

i tear up whenever i write this, but it was BECAUSE of, not despite of, my ferocious love for my children that i wanted to disappear.

i think we need to read about things like this more often. have you read about the common suicide myths? two of them are

talking to someone who is suicidal about suicide just makes the urge even worse

and

suicidal thoughts need to be kept secret so as not to embarrass or upset anyone.

such myths contribute to people keeping mum about the topic. they help bolster the feeling of discomfort or panic that many people feel when the topic is raised. “do we really have to talk about this?” “this is not the right time to discuss this” or “now you’ve spoiled the mood!” are typical reactions, uttered aloud or under the breath, when the word “suicide” rears its supposedly ugly head.

i’m so tired of mental health being a non-issue, and of life-and-death matters like suicide being brushed under the carpet because they’re not pretty. that’s why i’m glad that people like therese borchard lay out her suicidal thoughts for all to see. because you know what? bringing them out in the open goes hand in hand with her talking about how she made it out alive, how her children can keep hanging out with one cool mama.

in recognition of the importance of opening our mouths about this, versus keeping nice and quiet, raul and i have decided, in our limitless hive-mind wisdom, to dedicate this year’s MentalHealthCamp  to “stigmatization through silence”. neat, huh? (only we’re looking for a catchier phrase. can you think of one?) oh, and the camp will take place on july 10.

suicide and … what? do words make sense here?

i’m sitting here checking my email after a lovely weekend away. my daughter is doing the dishes to hedley’s “for the nights i can’t remember”. my husband is exercising on the Wii.

and i just opened an email from an artists’ email list i belong to. norm tucker, a fellow vancouver artist and writer, committed suicide some time this month, it says.

how do these two coexist? the contentment of a happy family and the tragic end of a life, full of suffering for everyone.

i don’t get it. i guess there is nothing to get.

but there are things i can do. i can send good thoughts to norm’s loved ones. i can extend my hand to others who are deeply unhappy. i can talk about it.

every single person i’ve talked to who had seriously contemplated or attempted suicide has talked of the importance of bringing it out in the open, one way or another. each one of them saw suicide as the only way to end pain.

there is never, never, ever just one way to do anything. but that’s easy to say for me right now, sitting here in my happy living room, not tucked in the corner with depression, not bouncing off the walls with mania. still, i can gently hold this (temporary) sanity for others, hold it for them while they plumb the depths of despair, hold this sanity like a rope. i can listen to whatever words they manage to throw my way.

do these words make any sense? i don’t know. i just wanted to bring something, however small and nonsensical, to this life that was norm tucker.

here is an excerpt from his last blog post. it is called the last dream and more questions

but do we give up?
do we abandon our dreams and hopes?
do we embrace ego and desire?
or does the infinite solace
of what might be, what could be, or should be
motivate us to trudge beyond everyday oblivion?

buried within the big picture is the little picture,
us – you and me – persons, people, humans,
do we count?
can we count?
what can we do in our own small way
to move us into the dream – the living dream?