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SUICIDE Part Two of Three - 10/1/2010

To better understand the nature of the difference in suicide today, you have to look at three very significant factors that, I believe, contribute to the increased suicide rate.  1) The world that young people face today is far more complex, competitive and technological than the simple life many of you had to deal with as a youth.  2) In today’s world, the notion is that, if you’re sad, unhappy, anxious, stressed or distressed, if you feel helpless, aren’t, in your own eyes, adequate, then you’re either sick or something is very wrong or seriously lacking in you.  It indicates you’re broken and need to be fixed.  If there is one notion I’d like to dispel, it’s this one.  Think about it.  A person goes to a doctor and says, ‘I can’t sleep.  I’ve lost my appetite.  Nothing seems worthwhile and  I don’t feel life is worth living.”  “Well,” the doctor asks, “what’s happened in your life recently?”  The answer may be, “My husband is divorcing me; my business went bankrupt; my spouse died.”  “I’m very sorry, the doctor says. Let me write you a prescription that will take away your anxiety, mitigate your depression, help you to sleep, give you energy and cause you to feel considerably better than you do at this moment.”  My question is, Why?  When someone dies, you lose your business, or your spouse files for divorce,  aren’t you supposed to be anxious, stressed, depressed, lose your appetite (or, in my case, increase it)?  Isn’t a strong reaction normal?  Isn’t that one of the ways the body emotionally and physically repairs itself, or strives to deal with what’s going on?  Doesn’t a person have a right to be sad, disappointed, forlorn?  If they experience a major loss, look at their lives and discover that they messed up sufficient times, that they haven’t achieved, haven’t accomplished what they’re capable of, or what they hoped for, isn’t depression, stress and/or anxiety a normal reaction?  I think so.  For a while, you may feel paralyzed, incapacitated and helpless.  During tough times, or after catastrophic events, it seems to me that people need to mourn and grieve before they can regroup, emotionally.  It’s not something to be medicated for.  And, by the way, the doctor reassures you, you needn’t worry about the side effects.  If you get tremors, there’s a  pill for that.  If you lose your bowel control, have suicidal thoughts, dry mouth, or can’t operate machinery, there’s a pill that will help you deal with those, as well.    

To my way of thinking, you need to accept that life isn’t a picnic.  Even when it is,  sometimes ants show up and, occasionally, some food spoils.  You need to learn to throw out the bad and search for and devour the good.  That notion isn’t prevalent today.  Because, somehow, people aren’t supposed to be sad, suffer, have pain, or experience the consequences of their behavior.   

There is a third issue that I believe strongly contributes to so many people presently choosing to end their lives, rather than cope with or face it.  That is that parents, over the last several decades, have been told their kids’ problems are their fault.  Indeed, we parents contribute to the scars and wounds our children experience in childhood and, without a doubt, every child experiences wounds as a result of their upbringing and the mistakes, mostly unconscious, made by the loving people rearing them.   But, for crying out loud, there comes a time when people have to say, “This is what I went through.  This is how I’m going to handle it”, instead of dealing with it by not facing life, giving up, or blaming everything on your parents.  Parents and situations are the facts that may explain what took place early in your life, but you’re the problem and you have to fix you, not spend the rest of your life complaining about them.”  

Although I fully recognize that some disturbed parents actively contribute to the  problems their children have, through extremely rejecting, hostile or abusive behavior, would you believe that’s the minority of cases?  Most parents genuinely love their kids, want the best for them, oftentimes too much so, and the mistakes they make are the result of them not having dealt with their own problems and/or their lack of awareness of how devastating their words and actions can be to the emotional health of their children.  These parents have no malice aforethought.  The problem is that child rearing practices and society have become so overprotective that children no longer need to learn how to protect themselves.  I am aghast at parents who have notes at their doorbell, “Do not ring doorbell - child is sleeping”.  If you’re let in the house, you have to speak in hushed tones, the t.v. can only  be on at a very low volume, and you’re instructed not to create any unnecessary noise, because they don’t want to disturb baby.  No wonder, years later, so many women and men can’t sleep in the same room, because their spouse has restless leg syndrome and it doesn’t allow them to sleep, or watches tv, or reads a book in bed with the lamp on and the light bothers them, or “he snores and I’m unable to get my rest”.  Well, maybe if mother had let you hear pots and pans, doorbells, chimes and tv’s blaring, you would have learned to sleep through anything.  I’m amazed at how many people go to great lengths to baby-proof their homes, putting plastic inserts in electrical outlets so children won’t get shocked.  I find it odd because one of my earliest memories was crawling across the floor, seeing four holes in the wall and knowing what they were for - to put my finger in.  I must have been all of a year and half old .  But, throughout the rest of my life, I have never again put my finger in another electrical outlet.  You see, learning of an emotional or kinesthetic nature, takes place early in life and overprotecting kids and overindulging kids only robs them of lessons they should have learned earlier in life, rather than learning the hard way later in their lives.   

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