Suicide: Falling After A Valiant Struggle to Live

TEMPORARY GENERAL DEPRESSION NOT THE SAME AS DEEP DEPRESSION WHICH TAKES UP LONG TERM RESIDENCE

Sometimes people feel depressed because their team did not win. Or because they gained weight. Or because they’re going through a divorce. Or because they lost a promotion.

Sometime we might feel melancholy to varying degrees, and in a way, it is a mist carried by many a modern human being– for how could one not look at the suffering of the world, let alone in one’s own life, without having a reaction that is accurate for the circumstances.

But time-to-time melancholy, or being given pause, is not the kind of depression that presses and presses down on one– whispering and insinuating that it would be better to be out of ‘this pain,’ this unrelenting, never ending, no end in sight pain… and thus the only orderly, reliable and responsible way out of the pain, is to consider over and over the taking of one’s life…

OF TWO MINDS: ONE STRUGGLING TO LIVE– ONE WISHING TO DIE [TO OMIT THE PAIN OF BEING ALIVE IN THIS CONDITION]

When one listens to that voice, accompanied by unrelenting phsiological and psychological pain appearing to come from the deep depressions, then, sometimes without fanfare, often without ever speaking of it, and without what in clinical psychology and police work are called ‘suicidal gestures’ meaning the taking of some pills or cutting of the body as cry for help, rather than a means taken from which one’s life cannot recover. Guns and hanging, massive overdoses of drugs. And often, no phone calls indicating this is the trajectory. The desire to be out of not one, but many kinds of pain, to literally be at peace after having struggled so terribly long –appears to be, by the person so doing, a reasoned response.

LACK OF LOVE IS RARELY THE ISSUE: THE PAIN SCREAMS LOUDER THAN LOVE CAN SPEAK

In practicing for 43 years, I dont find credibility in some claims that some people kill themselves for spite, or to ‘get back at someone,’ or because they were so ‘thoughtless they didnt think of all of those who love them and would be devastated by their taking their life.’ I have never seen that.

But, I have seen in some souls, pain so great, that the person who takes their lives, hopes dearly their loved ones will understand the idea of nerve pain, heart pain, teeth pain, gut pain, unrelenting mental pain that is so sharp and so complete, that even love no longer registers –and that what appears to be a drastic chemicological variation thaqt drives the person into pain and hopelessness cannot be arighted, relieved by love, no matter how deep, how strong, how loyal, how true, love alone is no medicine for this serious and clinging condition. Being loved does not mediate this kind of pain. I wish it did. Many of us dearly wish love had great enough medicine to overcome what appears to be a severe bodily challenge.

MILD TO MODERATE DEPRESSION IS OFTEN A SCHOOL WE ARE LOCKED INTO FOR A TIME. SEVERE DEPRESSION IS BEING LOCKED INTO HELL WITH NO PASS.

Losing a game, weight, divorce, promotions are all luck of the draw in many ways. They are almost rites of passage in our cultures. They are understood as transient life problems, that one has many choices about, can mediate in several ways by reaching to choose better, different, more useful… Though events that hurt a person remain written in some part of the psyche, for most, keeping going in time will bring a majority resolution to the issues. People move on, learn from losses, sturdify themselves, re-tool their aims, come to terms in ways that matter to them. It takes a plan and effort and often supports of varying kinds, and it is do-able… and literally billions of our world do so daily, without becoming more than temporarily bewildered, disempowered, sad, angered and filled with paining heart ongoing for years and years.

However, generally speaking, if there are prior serious depressive episodes earlier or a sudden coming undone of formerly strong persona and ego— then difficult circumstances out of the ordinary, a sudden shock, a sudden risky behavior that brings deleterious outcomes, a challenging twist of fate, or even the lightest sudden tap of a downward turn in one’s lift can catapult the entire mood-action axis of the psyche into disharmony and sometimes ongoing maelstrom. We cannot know what is in people’s minds or the conditions therein. Sometimes I speak of ‘land mines’ in the psyche, mine, yours, ours… they are sometimes tripped by difficult or odd or even light circumstances that cause a huge disabling eruption.

THis too can be a factor in sudden despressive onset that does not respond to time and talk in a reasonable period of time… the hidden sensitivities in the psyche, unknown even to the person who carries them, until suddenly, one day…

CERTAIN SYMPTOMS of MILD AND MODERATE DEPRESSION

There are many ways to define a serious depressive time period that is more than just a sense of sadness or feeling one’s dreams have no power for the present or future: The DSM [Diagnostic Statistical Manual used worldwide for diagnoses] defines clinical depression in several symptomological ways that speak to loss of interest in usual life, relationships, unable to bring oneself back to an even mood, sense of selfhood as worthy without being seriously inflated or deflated, losing meaning in most everything, or finding meaning only perseveratively in only one thing/ endeavor/person/– loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, sexual life disturbances–

I’d say those may be part of a passing or transient depression. But, if all or most remain for long durations despite time moving on and, say, talk therapy to assist… they may be part of a larger physiological issue: brain chemistry confusion.

RITES OF PASSAGE: BIG CHANGES ONE INITIATES ONESELF –MAY CAUSE SADNESS BUT THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AS A CLINGING BLACK DEPRESSION

I hold a somewhat controversial viewpoint: that some people lean a bit into depressiveness and/or mania, and that they remain contributing with reason and often great care to family and work life… and their purview is not solely focused on self. Some would ‘diagnose’ them as deficit… but I wouldnt. I think there’s a broad spectrum of ‘normal responses to life’ that sometimes is far wider than what was held in the classical forms of psychology that were partially defined as much on ‘acceptible’ social strata ideals, as on actual psychological evidences.

I’d also note that sometimes, and I repeat, sometimes, a person who is changing eating, sleeping, sexual, companionship, friend, ideational patterns, grooming habits is not depressed at all in this sense: they may be fed up, and these changes may be their wise efforts to thrust themselves into circumstances that will lift and aim–or to avoid circumstances that feel meaningless and/or seem to add more depressive content to the unrest and dissatisfaction one already feels.

OUR CULTURE SOMETIMES OVERDIAGNOSES, UNDERDIAGNOSES, WRONGLY DIAGNOSES

There are good interventions in psychology and good mediations in medicine. But/and, our culture, I think, ought ever continue discussing and DISCERNING re wrongful diagnoses, and therefor errant interventions and remedies for persons who are in no way dangers to themselves or others, and are merely unusual or veering suddenly, but/and with reason. Television commercials by big pharma should not ever be the basis for diagnoses of actual human beings. It’s required that that be a listening and customized endeavor.

THE BATTLE TO LIVE IS AKIN TO AN INNOCENT BIRD FLYING IN A TERRIBLE STORM
From working with many souls who have had a chemicological variation/shock of brain chemicals and have a depression that cannot be mediated by ‘thinking positive’ and ‘talk therapy’ without also finding ways to mediate the body and its sufferings…I’d put it this way to convey some of what I’ve learned from persons who suffer so… I’d say, black and clinging depression is like the beautiful bird of life cannot find a ledge to rest peacefully. And the bird has been flying tossed by strong winds and is so tired and its ligaments and muscles and sinew are ripped and torn. And the creature is in so much pain and keeps flying and flying in the tumult. And there is no resting place.

The mind wings and wings in a constant storm of motion and emotion, fears and hopelessness, eventually mis-naming and mis-attributing motive to themselves and often others as well, and cannot find resting place to aright itself in thinking and in mood. This kind of depression sometimes appears to come on without or with an outside event[s] that tips the balance of body chemistry into a black and no-way-out seeming mind set that is just devastating to the person.

There comes a time when the once strong bird under such relentless duress winging and winging with its wings nearly ripped off in the efforts… that the bird cannot land on solid ground that will give shelter and time to rest and heal– the bird will instead then, there being no ‘perpetual motion machine’ in the psyche or in a creature… fall from the sky. The depletion of the most serious of the serious unmediated and relentless depression can be literally murderous to the being.

SUICIDE MAY NOT BE ‘A CHOICE’… it may MORE SO BE THE ONLY DISCERNED WAY OUT.

Some like to say suicide is a choice. And for those who do not have clinical brain chemistry deep depression, it is so. Suicide is one of many choices for feeling down, even for a long time. But in the person so severely disposed, to their thinking, suicide is not a choice. It is the way ‘out.’ Very different thought and reaction system… One fleeing thoughts from time to time… the other relentless, daily, hourly, minutely.

NOT CHEAPENING DEPRESSION INTO POP PSYCHOLOGY

Depths of depression like this, is not ‘loss of ordinary pleasures in life’ as I see treated so cheaply in ads on tv for depression medications. Loss of ordinary pleasures in life tend to go in cycles for most, and that is another matter altogether, one more of evolution in one’s life, noting what doesnt work, being sad but going onward with a modified or new plan.

A clinging physiologial depression that takes over the psyche and the body, is not ‘loss of ordinary pleasure’ … it is a descent into a storm in hell. This storm will not leave because of logic, positive coaching, looking at one’s dreams, walking on hot coals in a seminar, or by pep talks. This form of depression that takes not just the mind, but also the heart and the soul and the spirit and the body’s neurological, alimentary, circulatory, pulmonary, autonomic systems and throws them down to shatters time and again…

THE NEED FOR PROTECTIVE LEDGES

we only know that if this extreme and SUSTAINED physiological condition is not strongly mediated by a combination of approaches and brain chemistry restored, that the person is worn down by their own efforts to try to leap toward mood updrafts and resist the severe and utterly devastating mood downdrafts. But/ and, both storm and winged creature are inside the same person. The storm of devastating thought has to be stopped, gentled, brought down to a mist rather than a raging roar… allowing the person to discern, differentiate, plan, strengthen, aim usefully and realistically, and effectively–these are the cornerstones of moving onward

There is much much more to say. I can say it academically and clinically according to my training, but I hope by using the metaphor of the innocent winged creature, it might give those who have little idea what a clinging horribly persistent black depression can be like in terms of having to fight every moment of waking life and sometimes in dream life as well… against something that has a strong physiological component to it… and for which, we have helpful, but not perfect, measures available.

I know you know too, about the lack of protective and effective ledges for the innocents who fly so hard in the storm… is also a political issue of gutting the funding for effective and serious mediation for illnesses that may end in suicide.

CERTAIN OF SOCIETY’S LAME EXCUSES FOR NOT MEDIATING, HELPING

I’ve heard all the arguments against helping those who struggle with deep mental and physiological pain: fiscal ‘responsibility’, the ayn approach, the mao approach, the stalin approach, the hippie approach, the too much for too little return argument, the they have families debate, the churches and synagogues and temples will take care of them fantasy, the what’s prison for but for the mentally ill [meaning the suffering]? and the it’s too expensive trope, and the just let’s abort everyone who might carry the gene for x or y or z, screed… and on and on.

HOLD INSISTENCE AND CONSULTING WITH THOSE WHO SUFFER, INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING “TO THEM”. INSTEAD, WALKING WITH THEM.

I hold to, not hope, but to something far more gorilla and guerilla, that is the hard-headed insistence that we can help more and better and differently and thoroughly and in customized ways that are effective not by ignoring, but by listening to those who suffer and asking them to define to best ability both issues and remedies– not by suggesting weak means, but coperative ones, not by imprisoning people, but in collaboration with those suffering to free them from many, much, and/or all of the physiological ‘pushers’ that so hurt their bodies and minds.

————-
CODA
To those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, especially those who are mother and father, son and daughter to… best of friends with a deceased person … may you ever be comforted in ways that are meaningful to you– and yourself freed, if in fact there is a film of doubt left, that there was likely nothing in the least deficit in your love for your loved one. Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that we’ve heard of… and your loved one surely knows you loved with all your heart.

In my bare-bones understanding of non-understandable matters, I sense loved ones who have left this world would not want us to suffer one moment about whether we were or were not loving enough, bright enough, quick enough, slow enough, whatever we judge ourselves about. To question our integrity is the way we keep integrity. But/and once that time is past, and knowing seriously the actual reasoning of suicide in some clinical depressions physiologically based… then there is no currency in suffering. Remembering the person who is no longer here, was all about not suffering.

We can, I think, have many ways of honoring others’ lives. One way to honor those who passed, can be brought down to earth by seizing more of living freely with less unproductive, misery-perseverative suffering. It would be in our loved one’s honor, not to suffer over what was and is. To instead live free, as they wanted to as much as possible: free of pain.

This is just my .02 worth. To each his own. To each her own. In each person’s own way.

Auf Stumbleupon zeigen
Auf tumblr zeigen

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

  • sheknows

    A truly thought provoking article. I used to think that situational depression could be overcome with enough time and life affirming involvements and that clinical depression could be overcome with antidepressants and counselling.
    It wasn’t until I noticed how those suffering from the former were often left to their own devices after well meaning friends and relatives had left the scene, and those suffering from the latter were often just left alone.

    I believe it takes a continued effort on the part of those closest to the suffering to make a real difference. Often we have only transient glimpses into the world of such excrutiating pain, but I believe if we can help keep those we know in these states from feeling alone, hopeless or forgotten, we can stem the tide.

    A friend of mine from work was clinically depressed for years before I ever knew her. It began when she was in college and her sister died she said. Then she went through a bad break up, and then her father died. She said she spun into a whirlpool she could never get out of, but she said many times that if it weren’t for her friends and husband sticking by her, she would have “let go” many times. She is still trying to find the “right” medication, but feels that eventually she will emerge from the chasm and join the rest of us.
    It is just so important to let people know they are not alone.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    thank you sheknows, you said it well, your compassionate view is valued.

  • zusa1

    “It is just so important to let people know they are not alone.”
    I couldn’t agree more about how critical this is. I would just add that it can be difficult to think clearly and make proper decisions and having someone to provide not only emotional support but cognitive support in finding the appropriate help is also important.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    I’ve lived with this condition, albeit admittedly milder, for the entirety of my adult life. People just don’t get it, they really don’t. This:

    HOLD INSISTENCE AND CONSULTING WITH THOSE WHO SUFFER, INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING “TO THEM”. INSTEAD, WALKING WITH THEM.

    is the best!

    If you know anyone with this condition, just do this. Screw the rest. Be there, and just understand when things go astray that the best thing is to be cool, be a friend, understand, and move on.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    I appreciate your saying that Barky, and many others will also. Thank you.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    zusai, I’d agree re thinking clearly… ‘cognitive support’… excellent way to say it.