Why Suicide Has Become an Epidemic--and What We Can Do to Help - Newsweek and The Daily Beast
It's a lengthy article, but well worth the read. As a mid-30's male who has spent over half his life trying to intellectualize periodic impulses to make a permanent exit, I think Thomas Joiner has nailed it with his universal theory of how individuals reach the "desire to die."
To summarize, it's a set of three overlapping psychological conditions, one or more of which we've likely all experienced at one time or another:
- "Low belonging". It begins with an aching loneliness and having our fundamentally human needs for inclusion and belonging thwarted.
- "Burdonsomeness". When people see their effectiveness as providers for their families, resources to friends, contributors to the world at large undermined, it metastasizes into the perception of oneself as a liability. Feeling that we fail those we need, we may prefer death than to continue burdening those closest to us.
- "Fearlessness" or "the ability to die". It's a trait that emerges slowly, over time. Suicide is born from a slow habituation to pain and numbness from violence. It's not impulsive or weak. It's not about cowardice. Overriding the body's natural instinct to endure and flee from death requires a certain kind of courage -- and not one that's laudable, yet tragic nonetheless.
The intersection of these three conditions is where those intent on suicide or a near-lethal attempt find themselves. Foiling any one of those three variables could very well be the key to finding a way out from the grip of suicide.
My synopsis doesn't do justice to the article, but if you are considering suicide, you owe it yourself to at least read it. I promise it's not preachy, won't assault you with guilt, or offer a glib list of ineffective and offensive banalities spun from the mind of the obnoxiously and perpetually positive who just don't get it.
The way through is the way out. And through this essay, you may just find a way to step away from the ledge.