The Truth About Suicide

Most of us will probably be touched by a suicide in our lifetime. In a world that fancies itself evolved, suicide remains a leading cause of premature death and is more popular today than ever before. There are groups and chat rooms dedicated to the promotion of suicide and it is not uncommon to hear of suicide pacts and self-inflicted copycat deaths. Some cultures create cultural myths and mores which promote, even glorify, the suicide act. Rock stars do it all the time.

There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding around suicide that it is difficult to know where to begin. I regularly meet clients and patients who have been devastated by the suicide of a loved one and subject themselves to self blame, recrimination, and second-guessing on a pathological scale. Sons are still mad at fathers who killed themselves twenty or even forty years ago.

How could someone do that to themselves? How could someone do that to their family? How could a sane person have ever convinced themselves that their children and family would be better off without them? Isn’t that insane?

You know it.

I thought of taking my life once, or rather, constantly for a single period of time.

I can look back at that Scott and see that he was an incredibly sick little boy. He was completely and totally off his nut (sorry for the clinical terminology). I look back at that Scott and I can see clearly how he could believe that he should take his own life. I can re-enter his mind and see what he sees, taste what he tastes. I’m back there right now as I write. He’s crushed, broken, deeply wounded and unable, even unwilling, to lift himself up. He’s insane with grief. Is he capable of believing that he should end it all?

Why not.

I did a lot of things I regret, once a long time ago. It’s easy to wallow in the guilt and the muck and actually believe that this insane, crushed, broken man was fully responsible and incapable of being forgiven. If health has taught me anything it’s that I need to be more gracious to myself when I was sick.

Back to our topic.

I have no idea how you are reading this article but it was intended to bring healing to someone out there who still cannot let go of the anger and the pain. Maybe it will help someone else become more empathetic, more understanding of those who are battling mental health issues. They were insane, and insane people do insane things. It was never your fault. It wasn’t even really their fault. People in their right mind do not take their own life. I know.

Think Differently To Break Bad Habits

Smoke 1The best strategy to break a bad habit such as smoking, eating too much, drinking excessively, gambling, shopping excessively, and so forth is to not develop the habit in the first place! I know…easier said than done but prevention is really the very best way to avoid the formation of bad habits. As problematic habits unfold nipping them in the bud in the spirit of prevention is so very important if you can do it.  by Thomas G. Plante

However, for so many people the train has already left the station and the bad habit is now fully formed and causing all sorts of troubles and distress. So now what? What do you do once these habits have solidified? Most people rely on willpower and motivation. This is a big mistake in my view since willpower and motivation vacillate and are totally unreliable day-to-day and over time. We really need to let go of the use of willpower and motivation to deal with long-standing bad habits. It just doesn’t work for the long-term. Rather, we should use social engineering which is a much better strategy for sure. Basically, can you create an environment for yourself that forces you to change behavior for the better? Can you socially engineer your bad habits out of existence?

Let’s take a few examples. Perhaps you are a couch potato and don’t exercise much if at all. If you get an active and fairly large dog that needs to get walks in everyday it will force you to take lots and lots of walks. If you struggle with eating too many problem foods at home you can work to keep the challenging food items out of the house. If you struggle with internet pornography use you can put filters on your computer. None of these solutions are perfect or easy but if you put enough barriers in place (especially those that you can’t dismantle very easily) you are likely to make good progress over time on your bad habits.

The problem with changing bad habits for most people is that they rely way too much on motivation and will power when they should be focusing more on prevention and social engineering strategies.

So, what do you think?