Thread: Suicide prevention
August 9th 2007, 10:15 AM #16
Re: Suicide prevention
The "addiction" mentality you refer to IMO is mostly prompted by legislators who have absolutly NO business restricting health care providers from prescribing higher dosages of palliative therapeutic drugs. The real issue is the absurdity of a legislature meaning to restrict the amount of controlled substances any person may posess without any differenciation between illegal drugs and pharmaceutical products meant to control pain. That is the case in the State of Florida.(I am currently working on addressing that issue to our new Governor and educating other Florida residents so that they may contact their respective state legislator).
Currently, we have a man who was sentenced for some 25 years of criminal internment in a Florida penitenciary for being found guilty of illegal posession and traficking of controlled substances. Reality check : he was reduced to obtain multiple pain prescriptions from various physicians in order to meet the daily dosage he required to control pain. Because his dosage was so high, the court concluded that he could only be trafficking by reselling his drugs "on the streets".
I don't think that one can neatly write off all suicide to "depression." Yeah, Allan was depressed at not getting any relief from near 24 hr a day severe pain that kept him from having a life and made him lose his job and everything he had worked for, and outraged, and humiliated. Uh.....who wouldn't be? But y'know, this man would not have ever considered suicide if he hadn't been in horrible agony for several years, been looked down upon like a junkie grubbing for a fix when he reported his pain, lost his life savings on useless "treatments" that only increased his suffering, and didn't even receive the comfort of a few pain free hours a day to allow him to sleep. Doctors did dump anti-depressants on him, and they did "counsel" him, and talk is cheap--it must be because that's about all Allan ever got when he desperately chased after the relief he needed and which never came.
By the way, I am not sure anyone in this tread meant to come across as " neatly writting off all suicide to depression".
I don't think everyone who commits suicide does so out of a sense of confusion or suffers from a mental disorder.
My buddy Allan was pretty realistic in his assessment of the unlikelihood of ever getting relief from pain and all of the happy pills in the world didn't make "sucks" not siphon. He wasn't willing to live in ceaseless physical agony. He wasn't abandoned by those who loved him, he went to the grave with much family and many friends who loved him, shared in his frustration at not being able to get the help he needed, and we would have done anything in our power to ease his suffering, but that ability wasn't in our hands.
Many people take their lives every year because of the refusal of the medical community to treat pain adequately.
They are the collateral damage in the war on drugs.
Jack Kevorkian would be run out of town on a rail and the "assisted suicide" movement would be mostly down the tubes if the reality of untreated and under treated pain didn't exist.
No amount of counselling and no number of antidepressants gives these people the help they need to survive. Their situation is just as desperate as that of people who jump to their deaths from a burning building to escape the torment of being burned alive, but nearly universally downplayed or not considered. It goes on day after day, year after year, and goes on today as you read this, and will go on tomorrow, and the day after that. I currently know of three individuals who will not seek treatment for serious but treatable medical conditions because they know that it will only prolong their suffering.
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't write off all suicide to sadness, mental imbalances, depression, and irrationality. Many cases do not fit nicely into that box. And if it's ever in your power to vote, advocate humane treatment of pain, or correct the notion that people who seek relief from their pain are trying to get high, please do so.
We lose too many precious lives because our society doesn't take chronic pain seriously and doesn't believe that it can be as severe as short term pain. Great people like Allan die from society's ignorance each and every day. It's a hellishly unnecessary waste of human life.
There is an even deeper issue : the acceptance that health care in general is to be a profit centered INDUSTRY. Resulting in HMOs and other health care insurance outfits dictating which drugs a patient can have access to. Thus the reoccurence of them denying a prescription for the most effective drug, requiring from the physician to prescribe a lower effectiveness and cheaper drug. Can you see the consequences for long term pain control care patients? What alternative remains for such person when they have developped tolerance to their usual pain killer and they cannot afford switching to another drug? Dosage increase will be regulated by law. (let alone the reality that some potent opiates can have a fatal outcome if a limit is not set as a safety cap).
I would not dismiss counseling and the use of anti depressants as SUPPORTIVE therapies for long term pain care patients. Nor would I dismiss rehabilitative therapies as secondary supportive therapies to conventional pharmacology based treatments. I think I already mentionned to you an advanced stage spinal stenosis patient who undoubtly benefited of both physical and massage therapy alongside her drug regimen. Her taking a mild anti depressant allowed her to overcome the discouragement caused by her obvious physical disability. Physical pain causes physical disability. Which always affect the overall level of self motivation for anyone. Going from full ambulation and autonomous daily activities to limited activities means losing control. That loss of control triggers a depressive effect.
Even my now for 20 years full quad necessitates mild anti depressants. No matter how long that man has lost control over his own body, he still can reach lows if his mind dwells too much on that loss of control. The drug keeps him "balanced" within his psyche.A dog will leave paw prints on your heart.
August 9th 2007, 11:06 AM #17
Re: Suicide prevention
The problem is that pain tolerance is a very individual matter. And it can be quite frustrating to deal with a nurse or doctor engaged in a procedure who responds to an expression of pain with "oh... that should not hurt". Then, it is quite cheering when you are being warned that there will be some "discomfort" but you basicaly feel no discomfort. It shows that there is no accurate way to measure pain itself. The person's level of tolerance and her/his sensitivity to any pain should be what prevails.
We are kind of off the topic of "suicide" here... but this thread may also be helpful for readers to understand how pain works for each of us and quite individualy.
The general rule is to not underestimate the expression of pain, whether it be emotional or physical. There should be a unilateral response based on concern and relief.
The man I mentionned earlier is currently wheel chair bound. His "relief" consits of a morphine line into his spine. Eventualy, he will develop tolerance to his daily dosage. Being interned in a prison facility and NOT a medical facility, I doubt he will be provided with efficient pain control care. Let alone the daily personal care any disabled person should recieve. There was media coverage of his tragic case.
He too is a colateral damage victim of the "war on drugs". His freedom was also taken away. His family torn apart and all assets reduced to nothing. He was treated like a common criminal and judged as such and condemned as such. His "crime" was to find any possible means to survive pain. His case is coming up for appeal. Some local organizations fighting for the rights of Disabled Persons are gathering human and financial resources to support legal fees. It is my understanding that the Governor has already recieved some petitions.
So, there is not total indifference in this society. But it seems to take tragedies such as Crow's friend for folks to start questionning and demanding changes.A dog will leave paw prints on your heart.
September 19th 2007, 09:50 AM #18
Re: Suicide prevention
Turning Lives around
In 1998, I created the Suicide Prevention Help website, on which I share my experiences of suicidal thoughts and feelings, and how I came to see and cope with these powerful urges objectively. I was motivated to publish the site, which contains my “friendship letter” to readers, because I was shocked to find websites that encourage people to kill themselves.
Over the years, I have answered thousands of letters from people of all ages and circumstances, including, for example: young people being bullied in school; teens dealing with their emerging sexuality or peer and family relationships; spouses going through the throes of divorce; individuals experiencing financial or health setbacks; or senior citizens who are housebound and lonely, because they have not heard from their children for years. Each of their stories is heartwrenching and I have offered resources online and offline that hopefully help them in their particular situation.
Some of the stories I hear have come from people whom I would not have expected to write. For example, Lorne [name changed], a missionary in the Far East, wrote to tell me about the severe depression he had been suffering from, which had been exacerbated by the absence of his young family who were out of the country on holidays. Or Rhonda, the nurse who wrote: “Most people would not believe that I am suicidal. I just keep a cheerful face, but inside I am crying all the time.”
Then there is Avi, a young man in Israel who was dreading completing his service in the army because he was frightened “to death” of the possibility of killing someone – even in self-defense. Then there was Hanan, the young Muslim woman living in Saudi Arabia, who was struggling with her beliefs and family and was seriously considering killing herself as a way out of her difficulties.
I have come to appreciate that for those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings, there is often a lack of kindness in their lives – frequently there is an over-abundance of cruelty in their experience. Often we hear reports in the media of people who have killed themselves. Yet we do not hear of the agony, shame and stigma people feel when they are despairing and contemplating the act. Sadly, mental health and mental health issues are still taboo, thus making it difficult for many to seek help.
I had had suicidal feelings from an early age, and as a young child I tried to hang myself on a tie rack. I grew up believing that I was neither wanted nor loved and that I was essentially not loveable. In my teens and into adulthood I struggled with depression and suicidal feelings.
I again tried to kill myself, taking a massive overdose, and almost lost my leg through dehydration as I was found unconscious only after two days. But this did not end my suicidal feelings. Fortunately, I had a good psychiatrist who helped me deal with childhood issues, such as being given up at birth or being raised in orphanages and foster homes, or being subjected to physical and mental abuse.
At the time I was also dealing with the dissolution of my 10-year marriage and my sexuality. During this period I was told, mistakenly, by my physician that I had Aids. At one point, I was determined to throw myself off a bridge but was spotted by a policeman who stopped and asked if I was OK. I told him I was a “bit down” and he offered to take me out for a cup of coffee. I was so embarrassed that I told him I would just go home. He slowly followed me as I walked home. I was then a chief executive of an NGO and feared that this information would get out.
Even though I was determined to deal with the root causes of my suicidal depression through reading self-help and psychology texts, taking personal development workshops, and being very present in my psychotherapy, I could not get rid of the deep despair I was experiencing.
Once, tired of “complaining” to my therapist and close friends, I took a video camera and videotaped talking to myself as if I was a dear friend. Then I watched the video without sound to observe my body language, and made another video talking to “that person” who was so sad and truly needed a friend. This process led me to see myself with a more compassion and self-love.
Another time, when the self-loathing was particularly profound, I decided to work on an artwork of acrylic and gels. After I completed a layer, I would apply a glaze gel and decided that I would wait for the gel to dry before coming to a final decision to kill myself. Over time this painting had many, many layers and weighed quite a bit, but it enabled me to take the time needed for the waves of suicidal despair to subside.
According to the World Health Organization, in the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (both sexes). In the year 2000, the WHO says approximately one million people died from suicide: a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
Whoever it is and whatever their situation, the impact of these suicides has a deep effect on family members, colleagues and friends. The survivors of suicide go through excruciating grief, and struggle hard to come to terms with their loss.
I am amazed at the number of people who have come forward to tell me of their experiences of a family member who has died in this way. The striking singularity of these conversations is that years after the family member’s death, one can still hear the pain of what those left behind experience. I do not think this agony ever goes away entirely. It may abate, but the questioning and self-doubt are never far from the surface.
My first personal experience with someone else’s suicide was when I was in my early twenties. An accountant in my office had killed himself, leaving a young family. I was shocked and deeply saddened. Many years later, after I had published The Friendship Letter, I saw a young teen throw himself on to an oncoming subway car. In this case I was as profoundly shaken as if he had been my own son. However, it was the suicide of a friend’s brother, whom I had known vicariously, that encouraged me to do everything possible to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
I encourage readers who are confronted with a situation where someone shares their suicidal feelings, to please take them seriously, and to offer a kind and generous ear.
Suicide Prevention Help Web Directory
December 8th 2007, 06:28 AM #19
Re: Suicide prevention
Stigma associated with mental illnesses can prevent people from getting help. Your willingness to talk about depression and suicide with a friend, family member, or co-worker can be the first step in getting help and preventing suicide.
February 17th 2009, 09:52 AM #20
March 14th 2009, 08:57 AM #21
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