Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Suicide…if you’ve ever known anyone who committed suicide or had to console someone who lost a love one to it, you know how this word will stab you in the heart forever in time.

However, not all suicides are alike in the pain they create. I’m not talking about comparing the note leaving kind to the “done it to get attention” one. What I am referring to is asking the question “Can any good ever come from this terrible act?” I got to thinking about how some suicides, though emotionally painful to those who knew the individual, bring a good in the aftermath. Others just leave anger, hatred toward the person and negative unfinished business.

An example of the latter is Jeffery Epstein’s suicide this past weekend. No one knows why he did it but speculation has he could not tolerate the thought of being locked up in a box for 45 years. Poor guy…now all his victims will never have closure and never be able to see him brought to justice. He refused to suffer the consequences for his heinous acts so now his bad karma will contaminate the survivors of it for their lifetimes.

On the other hand, we have Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. We also don’t know why this kind, intelligent human being who produced such a great TV show as Parts Unknown, decided to take his life. But his good karma follows him even after his death. His life and his adventures have been showcased in the year since his death even to the point where his friends and CNN created an “Anthony Bourdain Day” this past June to honor him. I am also amazed as to where his name pops up. In my recent issue of Cowboys & Indians magazine, as part of the Editor’s Notes, Dana Joseph referenced him as a person who was a one of a kind artist (cook, chef, explorer, the Aug/Sept issue always focuses on artists) and mentions Anthony Bourdain Day. (There is also a “Bourdain Food Trail” in New Jersey based on the episode in Parts Unknown)

We discover that a word like suicide, standing alone can hurt, heal or have two emotional sides. Now I’m waiting, to see if after decades of “mass shootings”, any good can come from those two words. I believe that anything is possible through prayer and action. So Congress, I’m praying that you move your butts on gun control! That could transform those two horrendous words into something positive.

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Being that I am studying law, I follow a number of lawyer blogs. This week I surfed on over to the Associate’s Mind, where the lawyer Keith Lee has a blog, and started catching up on his postings. I was amazed to come across his post from April 9, 2018 that mirrors what I wrote in my post last week on “The ‘i’ Effect”. His is so well written that I have taken the liberty of reposting it here almost in its entirety.

“I’m sitting in another airport. They blur together after a while. Glass and steel and advertisements. Windswept arcologies of a future that never was. Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta. I’m currently somewhere over East Coast on my way to Boston. Sitting outside a gate, a glance around shows everyone next to each other, but face down, stroking a small rectangle of glass. [isn’t this a great description of what we do with our tablets and smartphones?]

It’s easy to notice how isolated people are in airports. The rushed weary business traveler is a cliché. Mind slung across the Internet seeking stimulation, body on the way to somewhere else. Their present location an inconvenience.

But even when not isolated by travel, we’re alone. Gen X, Millennials, the whatevers – it should all be balled up and called the lonely generation. It’s a constant refrain. Technology, the great disruptor and connector, is actually making us long for something more.

Sitting in a coffeehouse alone, yet surrounded by strangers. At the office, nose down in work. In the car listening to podcasts. On the train, thumbing through social media. It provides some thin thread of connection but often ultimately dissatisfying.

. . .what social media companies want, what they crave, is not for you to connect. What they want is your attention so they can profit from it. To create engagement. To further interaction with the system. Ad dollars pushing this product or the next in front of your eyes.

Their desire for our attention is insidious. When people respond with ad blockers and anti-tracking plugins, companies respond with Sponsored content, native content, and product placement. Something mildly enticing, striving to capture our attention for a moment.”

[Keith Lee, Are You Lonely?, (April 9, 2018), https://associatesmind.com/2018/04/09/are-you-lonely/  ]

Though we are “connected” 24/7 with our electronic devices, loneliness seems to be a topic everyone is discussing. Click on my Quote of the Week that came from an article in Vogue (June issue which is produced months prior) where Lena Dunham, actress and comedian, wrote after breaking up with her boyfriend, about experiencing and coping with “alone time”. One can only wonder how much loneliness is at the root of our increase in violence, suicides, and bullying events. So put down your iPhone and hug a human today.

What does the “i” stand for in iPod, iPhone, iPad? Does anyone know? We’ve become the “i” generation, plugged in 24/7. Go to a museum and you see people walking through the galleries checking their iPhones instead of looking at the exhibits. Go into a Barns & Noble and watch the people who, while selecting CDs in the music section, are plugged into their iPods. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost run over a pedestrian who is staring at some tiny screen instead of being conscious of the traffic around him. Don’t even ask me about my opinion of the jerks who have to use these devises while driving. And it’s not just the “kids” who are immersed (here is another “i” word) in that other universe, it’s every generation! I recently took classes at college and, to my chagrin, had to deal with an 80 minute lecture that was broken up repeatedly by the professor checking her iPhone. For what reason? To get the latest score on her hockey playing son! In another class, there were numerous students who had their phones on silent mode but would then get up and leave the class to take the call. This other professor did not discourage their behavior feeling that they had family matters to check on. However, these people walking back and forth in front of me while he was giving his lecture made me want to scream.

Insensitive, isolationist, inconsiderate, interactive but in an alternate universe, does anyone ever connect with the real world anymore. Most people are more concerned with their “likes” on Facebook, the number of people viewing their Instagram pics, and responding in delayed time to Twitter words. It’s been proven that one can have relationships with humans where the only connection is in cyberspace but has anyone ever received a feel good emotion from hugging their iPad?

So why this rant today? I am trying to work through a very tough question in my life due to the deaths, last week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain: Why do people contemplate and become suicidal? I have a very good friend, who when she gets winter SAD, cuts herself off from all human contact and thinks about doing it. OK, this has nothing to do with iPhones but like I wrote a few sentences ago, it’s isolationist. We human beings are meant to connect flesh on flesh, voice to ear, touch to touch, and see each other in real time. As humans, we are genetically programmed to react to our environment, either in fear or in delight. (And studies have shown that babies who do not experience human touch don’t thrive.) Electronic devices (even the smartphone’s latest attempt at virtual reality) can’t replicate that, they put up a wall between us.

Yes, I know that people commit suicide for many different reasons but I just can’t help wondering how much all of our “i” devices are contributing to the uptick in such deaths. When social media debuted no one would have thought that it could be the reason people would commit suicide. Today we know differently.

We’ll probably never know why Spade and Bourdain took their lives. They definitely were not isolated individuals. They both had family, friends and a support system. But what about the thousands who are just like everyone else in the plugged in generations who one day discover that the world of pixels is not enough. That the light on the screen can’t show them the way out of THEIR darkness and thus they decide that the only answer is to hit the off button on their life.

(if you think someone you know is going this route don’t stay silent. Talk to them, ask them if they are contemplating suicide. And give them this number: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255, where they can talk to people who are trained to help)

 

 

It’s been all over the media, the story of the woman who egged her “friend” on to commit suicide. Through the use of social media she managed to convince him that that was the best option he had. And then there was the smart, pretty 12 year old girl who committed suicide due to all the bullying she received via social media.

I wonder, if Jesus Christ were to be crucified today, how many people would pull out their iPhones and snap a picture of his agony to post on Facebook. And yet that is what we do each time we post something negative about a friend, something private about a neighbor, tear down a politician, or post a photograph which never was meant to be shared with the world. These actions crucify and create agony in the target person’s life.

You don’t have to be a bully or psychologically impaired to have your e-mails or tweets wreck havoc on someone. Just look at how our President, yes the president of the United states, has negatively impacted not only the objects of his tweets but his own presidential image. Sometimes it’s not so much the content of a social media post that is the problem but the choice of words used to express an opinion.

For good or bad, social media in all its forms is here to stay. Maybe it’s time to stop and take a look at how our social media words and pictures pollute and demean our existence and hurt the ones to whom we send it. We have the choice to spread messages of hope and beauty rather than despair and ugliness. Let’s make life better by choosing to use it for good