Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The point of no return

Lately our yellow rag, which sunk to new lows today with its sensationalistic story of a doctor looking out his own window, has been dutifully reporting on a spate of suicides around our fair city. The reasons were not given. In at least one case, mental problems were hinted at but in the other cases, everything on the surface looked just fine.  Well it is dark and around the holidays...and our economy really is bad here.

In the US, suicides are the 10th  most common cause of death versus cancer, which is number 2. Rates really vary according to sex and age. Teenage boys for instance are four times more likely to kill themselves than teenage girls. A boy a few years older than Shanna killed himself when he found out that he was not admitted to Harvard (though he got into all the other Ivies).  Over the years, various other boys have killed themselves, many just on an impulse.

Despite having  many family members that have had cancer, cancer never killed them but in two cases, suicide did. In one case, mental illness was involved; in the other, despair due to the Crash of 1929 led a great-uncle to shoot himself. He left behind a widow and two kids. He must not have lost everything because his widow was able to buy cheap and after the depression, was quite wealthy.

In Steve's family, cancer has killed more of his relatives than anything else.

I never knew anyone really well who killed themselves though I was acquainted with three women who did. One woman I had only met once but I thought I knew her as her significant other discussed her for hours with me over a period of a year. I knew that she was profoundly sad but she had a child, how could she leave her?
Another was a neighbor who I had spoken to on several occasions. She was a bright, pleasant woman giving no hint on the darkness brewing beneath the surface. Her two, young children found her, which she should have anticipated. Another woman was a co-worker who did a swan dive off a parking structure; again WTF?

Could these have been prevented? The ex-significant other beat himself up over this..he ignored a crisis call having dealt with them too many times before. Not too long ago, an older brother of a friend of Naomi's had some sort of break-down and left a note leaving parents frantically scrambling to try to intercede. They were too late. He seemed to be one of the most popular boys at school.

About 8 years ago, I came across, through snooping, a suicide attempt. I alerted the mother. Was there any gratitude here? No..far from it (See shooting the messenger) but I thought ( and still think) that potentially saving a life was worth it.

I was awakened quite early this morning with a request to drive my daughter-in-law to work as her keys were mistakenly taken. Argh! Of course it was near rush hour, the roads right around my house covered with snow and ice and  they live 15 miles away. Fortunately only a small area right around my house had the ice (although this sort of screws up my running schedule) but the whole adventure took an hour. Maybe she won't ignore my Facebook friend request...

1 comment:

Alli said...

Sue a very interesting write! Having had just gone through a crisis point with my son, speaking with the therapist he too did confirm young men (boys) are more apt to attempt to take their lives, but not really want to follow through at first. Even one attempt is too much! Luckily I have an excellent Dr. that didn't try to be the hero and fix him, he recognized here was a young man with some issues that needed to be dealt with. My son has OCD and Severe anxiety issues. He is seeing a Dr one to one and also joined a group therapy, learning to relax, meditate and learning to recognize and deal with things before a pebble becomes a rock avalanche..Of course the offer of drugs is there he refused and I agree with him that taking a drug will help mask the issue and not help him deal directly. Parenting certainly isn't a Leave it to Beaver with June Cleaver being the perfect mom.. Love Alli .....xx


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