My discussions tend to not be received very well, and this one won’t be an exception.
The topic of suicide has been on my mind a lot recently, not as an option but because stories seem so prevalent in media these days. Yet, at least one thing that contributes to the epidemic of suicide is that no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room; for some the act is blasphemous and/or selfish, while others have some understanding of what could drive someone to it. SuFu posted a blog entry two weeks ago about the suicide of Bill Zeller, and what Mr. Zeller wrote resonated with me. Truth be told, thoughts of suicide have occurred to me throughout my lifetime, but never so much as since diagnosis.
So I wondered whether others on this board ever thought about suicide, specifically in connection with their diabetes, and whether anyone would respond to a poll on the topic.
Hopefully, the link below will work; I’ve tried to post this several times but something always goes Oswald on me It’s through Poll Daddy, so responses will be anonymous.
Have you ever entertained suicidal ideations?
EDIT: P.S. Comments are welcome and encouraged.
I’ll jump in. I was glad you prefaced that you are not currently thinking about suicide as an option. You are right that people are not comfortable talking about it. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I thought he might be thinking about suicide but I didn’t want to bring up the subject so I didn’t give him the idea.” In reality it’s the opposite. When someone is thinking about suicide it really helps for someone to say, “Have you been having thoughts of killing yourself?” because then they feel free to talk about it, and talking helps. It never puts the idea in someone’s head if it wasn’t there to begin with.
And I’ve always enjoyed your posts.
On a personal level, no I have never thought about suicide in connection with my diabetes. I was diagnosed much later in life and I feel I’d developed good coping and adopting skills to just take in and deal with the diagnosis. But I know that for everyone it is not that easy, and it must be very hard to integrate with a self image of a young person with everything ahead of them. I have thought of suicide at earlier points in my life, and pretty much barely survived a very self-destructive adolescence, Many people feel suicidal because they can’t see their way past some problem, or because they are suffering from untreated clinical depression, some symptoms of which are hopelessness and despair. Drugs and alcohol definitely play a role in suicidality. You are right, Muragaki, suicide is something feel people talk about, but it is a virtual epidemic, especially with young people.
Hi Vicki: I think this is an important discussion topic, especially here on a social network site for people with a life-threatening, chronic disease. I think it is brave for you to bring it up. There is actually a relatively high rate of suicide amongst teens with Type 1 diabetes–they choose to OD on insulin. Hopefully this forum provides a place where people can feel less alone and get some support and assistance, and feel understood.
So far so good as long as I can walk and go fishing there is no need. It is a good thing to discuss this.
I think this is a difficult, but important topic. We, as diabetic, suffer from high rates of depression. I think it is more than just having to deal with a chronic disease, but something about diabetes itself. What makes it harder is that each of us in our own way has to make active choices every day to choose life.
What bothers me sometimes is, how hard I have to work all the time just to keep from dying. I mean, I miss my shots for a day, I end up in death-spiral DKA. Or don’t catch a hypo in time, I’m unconscious on the floor and if I’m lucky I either come out of it or someone alls 911.
So that’s not exactly suicidal thoughts but a kind of conscious awareness of how hard I have to work, and the tools I depend on, to keep from cashing out? I’m supposed to be happy that I’m alive and I’m looking at it as a never-ending chore instead. And I’m scared to even talk with my family or even my doc about it because I’m supposed to be superman aka “the perfect diabetic” and just power through all these problems. And even if I could talk about it, nobody has any solutions.
Its a touchy subject and I am mixed, to say I frown on those who can’t take the hardships of life is an understatement. I have refused to attend services for friends who because of things such as depression and other life issues push them to the limit, I have watched in horror and dismay as other have killed themselves through addiction. But at the same time I respect and honor the choice of people such as Hemingway and Thompson who as their life was nearing its end decide to go out on their own terms. A friends father with terminal cancer “Mistakenly” over dosed on pain pills before bone cancer could take his life, I respect and feel he choose the path right for him.
Have I ever considered yes but not for the proper reasons in my youth. Would I consider it now no. Would I consider it if I knew complications of diabetes were to soon end my life yes, but not because I just had diabetes I would have to truly know my time was done.
I will leave with a link to a speech given by Terry Pratchett on suicide and as with most of what he has written and said I must agree with him http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/feb/02/terry-pratchett-assisted-suicide-tribunal
I have thought about it when I was much younger and sometimes do think about it but Diabetes is usually not the cause for these thoughts. they are caused by the usual life stuff. I wouldn’t label myself suicidal or at all likely to hurt myself cause I’ve had good friend attempt suicide and one suceed and the pain and devastation it caused is incredible not to mention the problems they faced were not actually that bad but they had just lost hope and did not want to ask for help. glad ur all here to support each other
Lots of thought-provoking responses here including one I don’t entirely agree with, but that’s just one reason this forum is so successful – it gives everyone a voice. Thanks to all who rang in.
A recently-made friend and I had a conversation a few weeks ago, and she rhetorically commented that diabetes probably changed my outlook on life. I surprised even myself when I replied “Yes, but on death too.” Living alone and without a support system, I used to worry about dropping low overnight and not waking in time to correct it. Nowadays, it doesn’t concern me because I realized I would never know.
I hope the conversation continues. I am not so naive as to think that anyone has the power, once someone’s mind is made up, to stop their acting – but perhaps the thoughts expressed in this forum will provide encouragement to someone seeking a better solution.
I agree, Tim! Sometimes I see the maintenance associated with T1 to be every bit as self-defeating as, say, laundry, washing the dishes, sweeping the floors! I suppose I harbor some animosity toward people around me who DON’T have to think 24/7 about how not to die…
And, true enough, no one has THE solution; but in the case of Mr. Zeller I only wish someone could have offered him the opportunity of EMDR therapy. It wouldn’t have banished his demons for ever but it would have given him a different perspective through which to view the trauma.
I agree that this is a useful discussion, and appreciate everyone who has responded. I teach Community College and when we discuss suicide I know that either a person in the class or someone one of the students knows, will be affected by the topic and hopefully come out and seek help. If anyone on here is currently feeling suicidal, whether because of diabetes or not, please know that it does help to talk about it, even if you don’t think it will. Every community (at least in the U.S., others can provide info for their own countries) has a Suicide Prevention Hotline or just a Crisis Hotline that you can call anonymously and speak to someone who is trained in dealing with crisis. I’ve talked to hundreds of people who were feeling suicidal and unfortunately known a few who completed suicide. Rarely do the ones who talk about it don’t go on to complete, at least not at that time.
Ok, well, I probably have a very unusual outlook on this and because I have a degree in psych - i might have a different on viewpoint on this.
First off, I don’t fear death - at least not any more. I fear a few things in life and death/and the process of it is not one of them. I fear height, large spiders (esp. ones that move fast and are hairy) and driving in bad weather.
Death in general - well, I am curious about it honestly and I interested to see what happens… I think might have to do with the fact that I have dealt with my beliefs and feelings on it. I have done lots of research and reflection on the subject. I don’t believe in God, heaven, hell or any of that. I lean more towards reincarnation but even that I am on the fence about. I think a persons belief systems will affect their views on this subject too and mine are shall we say unorthodox.
Which brings us to suicide - I don’t there is anything wrong with it. This is not mean I am condoning anyone to do it or that I am planning on doing it (no matter how curious I am about the death process itself - that can wait). I am sure people will think me morbid for this but everyone should have control over their own lives and bodies - if they really truly don’t want to be here, as a living thing on this earth anymore, well who am I to stop them from fulfilling their wish. I am sure I will get reamed for this viewpoint but nevertheless this is how I view it. The body is just shell - it isn’t “you”.
In modern society, we are programmed to put a stop to all “bad” feeling - suicide is included in this. I think once people realize that there is nothing wrong with being depressed or sad at period in your life than suicide won’t be as prevalent in society. There is too much pressure on everyone to think that they need to be perfect all the time, that they have to be like everyone else and life has to be perfect. Well, guess what, it isn’t (unfortunatley). So you feel depressed and bad sometimes - it never stays. If were not meant to feel these types of feeling than we wouldn’t - there is a reason why we can.
Well I’m not new to this subject either, but I tend toward the “melancholic” temperament sometimes and way before diagnosis these kinds of thoughts would enter my head. However, I have two young children and there’s no way I could bring myself to abandon them so deliberately. So… whenever I have thoughts like this I rally myself thinking about them.
“no matter how curious I am about the death process itself - that can wait”
was it woody allen who said I’m not afraid of death but just comes at the most inappropriate times?
It is very difficult for me to read some of the viewpoints in here.
I have personally struggled with Clinical Depression and suicidal thoughts since I was merely a child. It really just doesn’t help that society at large does not understand Depression, and often it feels as though it doesn’t care to understand it, either. It merely wants make judgment calls about the situation, as we often want to make judgment calls about everything in life in order to reduce it to something more infantile that we can better manage in ways we don’t have to be mature adults about. People watch some movie… about some rich banker who shot himself after he made an awful decision and lost millions for his bank, and then they assume that all of us persons with Depression are whimsical people. That we were just cowards who wouldn’t take on the responsibilities and pressures of life, and then decided to end it all… That people don’t really need medications – that they need to just suck it up, and smile at life. People don’t realize Depression is a MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESS. It is not a state of mind one can choose to turn on and off. It is a horrible mind warpness and it is a mental war you wage with your mind CONSTANTLY when you are going through a major depressive episode.
It can often be triggered by illnesses, or by suddenly stressful situations like a job loss or a death in the family… Or by no reason at all! But it is a MENTAL HEALTH ILLNESS.
I have had dysthymia, which is a mild form of long term Depression, all of my life. I remember playing with my Barbies and just being depressed out of my mind… I wasn’t thinking “gee, homework is too hard,” or any other nonsense people might think I may not have wanted to face… I was only about 6 years old! I’ve had Major Depression episodes when I had uncontrolled, undiagnosed Hypothyroidism, and when I had uncontrolled, undiagnosed Diabetes… Sometimes, it is outright painful to try to focus on anything at all, much less “happy thoughts.” The train wreck of overwhelming feelings is very, very overpowering. It is extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to fight back on our own.
I have been on medications before… And I have been hospitalized before. Why we would ever be like children and try to “punish” sick persons by not attending to their funerals, making judgments on them and who they are and how they lived and suffered, is BEYOND me. I am just… beside myself with the selfishness of some human beings. We accuse Depressives of being selfish – and in many ways, they are… It is a disease of “self focus”… But at least it’s not REAL selfishness… Sheesh. This is the point were people need to understand science and divorce whatever religious beliefs they might have because not only are they awfully judgmental, but they are WRONG, scientifically. Depression and Suicide are not selfishness, people… They are an ILLNESS.
Please, for the love of those who may need you… LEARN to be more empathetic, and try to HELP out those who may desperately need you because they are hurting a lot more than your selfish little mindset might let you see. Sigh…
Lizmari, I was hoping you would ring in to this conversation – thank you.
Depression, unfortunately, falls under the same umbrella as any other chronic illness (including Diabetes): no one really understands it until they experience it. I have a only a moderate level of understanding of depression through my former partner, who went through a major episode while we were together; also through the experience of a dear friend’s son who completed suicide five years ago.
I think the most powerful lesson I learned about depression is, when a person is in such a state, they have no ability to foresee a [better] future OR to think about past positive experiences – life is as it is at that moment. That may be the key for outsiders to turn the perspective of “selfishness” on its head.
My reaction to the funeral statement was similar to yours; which truly is the more selfish act? But it still falls in the realm of personal viewpoint. In that sense I still learn something, even if it’s a what-never-to-do lesson.
True Joe_h. Don’t know if Woody said that but sounds like him.
I honeslty can say, since I am not afraid of death itself, but the pain that might lead me too it! Lets just say I am wimp when it comes to pain. Of course doesn’t eveyone wish they would die peaceful in their sleep. The timing itself doesn’t bother me - no one know when they are going to die - I could be hit by a bus tomorrow but that said, I hope it is as quick and painless as possible. I guess I look at death as a process, another part of life - true it has many unknown which is why so many fear it. But we all have those unknown - we all went throught that fear and eventually adjustment when we were Dx’d. Not the same I know - but the process can be similar.
After watching metastatic kidney cancer ravage my beloved brother – like a monster eating him alive from the inside out – I finally and fully understand why people will say that suicide is “selfish”. I walked around half-dead myself for about eighteen months after he died. It was like someone had taken a claw hammer to my sternum and clawed out my heart. The ache was not just emotional, it was physical agony to lose him. It nearly killed our mother.
Doing that to my family intentionally? That wouldn’t just be an act of selfishness – it would be an act of evil, a crime that would stain my soul with shame. I’d be no better than an assailant attacking my family and friends.
Assisted suicide for people like my brother at the late stages of cancer is one thing. I believe that can be merciful when someone has no more chances, no way out and is ready to go.
But depression is temporary and treatable. It comes and goes. It rides in and out like the tides, eventually. It DOES get better.
Violating everyone who loves me? Just to stop temporary emotional pain? No. I could never do that.
You know, you’re posting to a thread that is being read by diabetics – most of us have experienced clinical depression not once but several (many?) times in our lives.
I’ve been struggling with it off and on for forty plus years.
Just because people come to different conclusions than yours does’t mean that they’re lacking in empathy, infantile or selfish. They may be more mature, more experienced and wiser.
Hey, it’s possible. ;0)
The problem is… that you put yourself in this boat to judge that everyone’s depression is temporary, treatable, and that it will get better (perhaps because yours was just mild)… and even worse… that they CAN make a conscious, well thought out choice, to not kill themselves while in the midst of a very deep episode of Major Depression… And in all insights of this you are incorrect.
People don’t sit at home, rationally, thinking… “how can I stick it best to my family?” Depression… TRUE, real, deep Depression… WARPS the mind… so that you may end up thinking “The only way I can make life easier on my family is by not having the burden of me around anymore,” etc, etc, etc.
This is the reason many of us have had to be HOSPITALIZED. Because it is NOT an issue of conscious thought or decision, true evilness, or levels of maturity.
To this degree, the judgment on those who may end up committing such an act is very misinformed, uneducated, and sometimes… yes, very infantile.