What to consider when it comes 'studying' suicide?

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sidetrack
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17 Oct 2018, 5:23 pm

Forever grateful to 'Crash course philosophy video #46' on Youtube.

When I intellectualized in the past, abortion was one topic which consistently pressed on my mind. I did not ponder another form of assisted death (euthanasia) as much though. When it comes to euthanasia, I think to myself how understanding suicide could lend itself critically to the task as understanding gender issues does to abortion. Gynecology and neurology as well for that matter.

Please do notice, I have no 'real need' to do so; currently there are no situations or circumstances similar to that which are present concerns for me--when it comes to explore where the more morbid like components of my curiosity might take me 'methods of death' like suicide and euthanasia are ones which I don't have 'as much' of an opinion on, arguably and I would like to think that it could potentially contribute to my understanding of forms of assisted death and intentionality behind them 'in their entirety' even further if I do.

I will admit though that within me is a 'thread of guilt'--I fortunately don't really have a history of regarding 'taking action' related to suicide. I have written privately elsewhere, what factors might probably or possibly relate to my potential to do something like that; goodness knows how addiction and inferiority complexes usually hover around me. I would like to say though that having been involved with a community related to treating mental health concerns that I am profoundly thankful for the openness of others in sharing thoughts and/or experiences related to suicide. I am bothered by how I realize it 'ought not' be a 'taboo' thing to speak about but I worry that I delve into making a 'study' out of it, it would be disrespectful to the persons I have known who have had thoughts and/or experiences related to it.

:| What shifted in my mind after coming to know persons with experiences related to suicidal ideation is how it doesn't necessitate 'complicated' reasons to do so..in the past I used to think that a 'self-sacrifice impulse' might be more common but now I realize how aside from 'pre-existing' factors like say depression and addiction not being treated validly and say any possibly related issues to gender/sexual identity and abuse experiences...a consistent pattern seems to be how even persons who we accept for their 'mundane presence' (example: a convenience store clerk you might routinely buy bus tickets from) might become 'self-pressured' enough to take their own life because of emotional misunderstandings when it comes to relationships with others, not the least friends, parents and the unwitting pressures of patriarchy, classism and neglect.

I think that what I am asking is 'how to approach' making a study out of a subject like suicide when you yourself are not at risk for such experiences but would like to not be disrespectful to persons with experiences related to that?.



Trogluddite
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17 Oct 2018, 6:16 pm

sidetrack wrote:
...suicide when you yourself are not at risk for such experiences...

As you very nearly, but not quite, said yourself, there is no such thing as a person not at risk from suicidal ideation. Without warning, any human being could experience a trauma, something which profoundly calls into question their beliefs, extremes of ill-health, or any number of other things which might make their previously resilient psyche crumble. This is probably the single most common misconception about suicide, and as good a place as any to begin your study.

There are many people like me, who have struggled with suicidal ideation frequently for many years, and may have constructed elaborate plans for how they might act upon it. But most research indicates that such people are a small minority. It is more common that a very rapid onset of negative feelings temporarily overwhelms a person and causes a strong compulsion to kill themselves, and the method will be improvised in the heat of the moment; most recover rapidly so long as the means to act is denied them. The majority who do not complete the act go on to never make another suicide attempt.

The biggest problem in both cases is that the majority of people expect to "see it coming." In the case of the more common rapid-onset kind of suicidal ideation, this isn't possible, because the suicidal thoughts are as unexpected to the person experiencing them as to anyone else. Those with more persistent suicidal thoughts, as for depressive people in general, usually learn very quickly to hide the problem from other people very effectively. I quite recently attended the funeral of an acquaintance who had killed himself, and the wake was full of people resolving to "keep an eye on each other more". This may help indirectly if it fosters a more supportive social life in general, but the assumption that the untrained eye can easily detect signs of suicidal ideation, or even depression, is incredibly flawed.


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liminal
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17 Oct 2018, 6:37 pm

You could start with The Myth of Sisyphus by French philosopher Albert Camus.


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sidetrack
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17 Oct 2018, 8:00 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
sidetrack wrote:
...suicide when you yourself are not at risk for such experiences...

As you very nearly, but not quite, said yourself, there is no such thing as a person not at risk from suicidal ideation..This is probably the single most common misconception about suicide, and as good a place as any to begin your study.


My gratitude. Might I say that as someone who realize how it can't really be said that anyone is immune from morbid like ideation (this from someone who once had a breakdown due to intrusive thoughts related to sexual violence) that means a lot to me.

liminal wrote:
You could start with The Myth of Sisyphus by French philosopher Albert Camus.


I tried to read it when I was ~15.5 and from the 'Crash course philosophy' series, one take-away by Camus is how it could be said that life is literally whatever it is which is preventing you from killing yourself.

Not to detract from things with apparent levity but this webcomic which stars Camus in my opinion highlights the how the issue of suicide can be overlooked by those who followed a scientistic or Positivistic like world-view.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/230

I remember a conversation between (I think) Natalie Portman's character and someone else in the movie 'Annihilation' about not conflating self-destructive with suicidal tendencies.



liminal
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18 Oct 2018, 1:46 am

An obvious approach is to read suicide letters.

One to start with: Professor Will H. Moore, self-diagnosed as "borderline autistic" (whatever that means):

https://willopines.wordpress.com/2017/0 ... nched-out/
(posted on this forum previously in this thread: viewtopic.php?t=340374)


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SocOfAutism
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18 Oct 2018, 10:38 am

Durkheim’s “Suicide” is required reading in sociology. A good historical study, if you are truly interested. Reads like an older book, which is difficult for some people. Here’s the Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_(book)

It’s on Amazon I’m sure.