• Shawn
    10.8k
    Given my threads about depression and the like, I want to ask members about their knowledge about why people commit suicide.

    This is a very complex question that I understand has differing sociocultural ramifications for differing countries. In Japan, the act is seen as sometimes a noble death. Insurance companies are more lax there about the issue...

    But, there's no way around the fact that suicide is seen as an act of desperation with regards to some illness or financial reasons. Suicide is predominantly committed by young people. But, it is also prevalent among middle aged folk also.

    So, what do you understand to be the real reason people are seeking suicide as a way out?
  • Noblosh
    154
    what do you understand to be the real reason people are seeking suicide as a way out?Wallows

    They must think that living is a voluntary activity or, in other words, that (the capacity to) will precedes or transcends being alive. As I observed, that belief will only be reinforced by those urging them to "have more volition" and "not give in". I also think that most suicidal people in the modern world are nihilists (self-obsession would be the vehicle they take on their suicidal path), so suicide for the sake of noble values like honor, like the Japanese seppuku you allude to, is virtually absent, except when it's invoked as a cultural vestige.

    IMHO
  • tim wood
    4.9k
    So, what do you understand to be the real reason people are seeking suicide as a way out?Wallows

    I suspect the reasons differ as the people differ. However, we talk about it in some detached way. I'm persuaded that suicide for most is a desperate act of people absolutely doing the best they can, even as they kill themselves - maybe not all, but most.

    Fact is (so I think) that most folks simply are never under the kind of stress the can bend a mind into irrationality or real desperation, and consequently never really know what suicide is about.
  • Chisholm
    15
    “I tend to believe that, at rock bottom, the pains that drive suicide relate primarily not to the precipitous absence of equanimity or happiness in adulthood, but to having been a victim of a vandalized childhood, in which the preadolescent child has been psychologically mugged or sacked, and has had psychological needs, important to that child, trampled on and frustrated by malicious, preocuppied, or obtuse adults.

    —Edwin S. Schneidman

    I have no idea if this is true in most cases, but it does capture so much of the sense of grievance and thwart that I frequently encounter when I talk to suicidal people.
  • Brett
    2.3k


    This is an interesting statistic, though a little old.

    Australian men aged over 85 have the highest suicide rate in Australia, and more than double that of teenagers, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2015 data

    Also, a very interesting and well written book on his experience with depression and suicidal thoughts is ‘Darkness Visible’ by William Styron.

    One of the things I remember Styron saying, I think it was him, was that he had reached s point where his mind was actually in such pain that he didn’t feel he could deal with it anymore. Note that he said his mind, not his head or brain.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Fact is (so I think) that most folks simply are never under the kind of stress the can bend a mind into irrationality or real desperation, and consequently never really know what suicide is about.tim wood

    I don't think suicide as being irrational. Some might even say that suicide is the result of an overly-rational mind.
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Yeah, jogging my memory a bit, the socio-economic landscape of Australia has changed to such an extent, that elderly folk are having a hard time coping with it. I don't remember the details; but, maybe @Banno has a better idea of what's going on in the land of Oz.
  • Brett
    2.3k
    don't think suicide as being irrational. Some might even say that suicide is the result of an overly-rational mind.Wallows

    The response to the intolerable situation of suicide might be a rational decision but it’s a decision based on a lot of pressure which wouldn’t seem to allow much room for calm objective thinking.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I would first dismiss from discussion those who are psychotic and experiencing very negative hallucinations and those who have CD, MI, and other 'comorbidity' factors. It isn't that they don't matter -- they do -- but that their circumstances are quite different from those without major MI, CD, or abuse histories, etc.

    There are those who have long-term reasons to think about suicide: those with degenerative diseases approaching terminal status; those with cancer which can be treated with only palliative care; those whose lives have become unsatisfactory owing to illness/injury/age (usually in combination).

    Actually, it seems to be the case that most people who suffer from terminal illnesses do not attempt suicide. They may talk about it, prepare for an attempt, or seek help, but generally do not complete the plan (when they could). Life becoming unsatisfactory appears to be a more potent cause of suicide.

    Middle aged white men with high school educations or less seem to be most likely to kill themselves. I would submit that this is because their lives have become much less satisfactory than they believed it once was. This group faces many large barriers to achieving greater satisfaction: Their best-fit jobs have largely disappeared; they do not have a large set of flexible skills; because they are "middle aged" (35-45 years of age) they are no longer physically able to compete with younger men, or get new kinds of jobs which offer a bright future. Age discrimination is real. Middle aged men are also likely to have ready access to effective means of delivering their own death.

    There are quite a few people for whom suicide seems to be a sudden response to a sudden change in circumstances and who were able to act on the impulse immediately (for this group loaded guns pose a much greater than typical danger).

    Young people who experience intense emotional lability are likely to go from feeling great to feeling very dejected in a short period of time. Weaker impulse control which will come with maturity may not stop them from reaching for the means to attempt suicide.

    Desperate Housewives's ghost narrator came across a box with a loaded gun in it. She impulsively pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger. Dead. Such a scenario is not common, but it does highlight the danger of guns: a loaded gun can deliver a certain death instantly. (Yes, it can be screwed up...). Drugs, hanging, car accidents, suffocation, etc. all take time. Bang. It's all over (for the trigger puller).
  • Banno
    8.9k


    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-30/australian-men-aged-over-85-have-the-highest-rate-of-suicide/8569740

    Old news, but things have not improved. There's a Royal Commission (no idea what the equivalent, if any, would be in the US - Not sure there is one) into treatment of the elderly, and another into treatment of the disabled.

    Evil stuff.
  • fdrake
    4k
    In terms of mental health suicide risk factors, suicidal ideation is pretty key. But suicidal ideation alone doesn't let you distinguish between people who have it that are likely to kill themselves, and people who have it that are unlikely to kill themselves.

    These conditional risk factors for people with suicidal ideation are real instances of self harm, emotional volatility and impulsive action. Impulsive self harm rather than ritualised self harm is a big thing for it. So is lack of insight into its social effects; if someone is really convinced the world will be a better place without them, and doesn't feel 'weighed down' by the love of their family and friends, they're more likely to do it.

    Substance abusers for drugs that have a fine boundary between OD levels and not-OD levels also fit here.

    Edit: the story this tells for suicide attempts is that they're usually done in a fit of despairing passion, which makes use of previous plans (say, buying a gun).
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    guilt is the most common reason in my opinion. I believe there are more practical ways of dealing with guilt and depression then suicide. Suicide draws people a way from what little beauty is in this world. Suicide leads to future suicide among other people. I don't really see suicide as just a bad reflecition on the person who commits it but also a bad reflection on society.

    I've often promised my self that i would sooner cut something off from my life or cut something out of my life before taking the final plunge. Becoming a Buddhist monk isn't entirely out of question for many.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    In terms of mental health suicide risk factors, suicidal ideation is pretty key.fdrake

    What's the whole deal with suicidal idealization? I mean, psychologically what is driving the mind to generate these thoughts? Does this happen on a subconscious level? Freud called it the death desire or instinct; but, is that view held to this day?
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    I think the amount of pain, stress, suffering an individual is going through is secondary in suicidal ideation. What seems more important is the individual believing they have something to live for. Note, I say believe, because some people seem to have nothing going for them, and they think their lives are worthwhile somehow, and others seem to have the whole world at their disposal, and yet kill themselves, because they lack some inspiration to take advantage of it.

    Personally, I think that a lot of suicidal people should be encouraged to participate more in charitable activities or things that help others--helping others is often what gives people a sense of purpose in life. It also helps to shift their focus away from the ego. Too much naval-gazing is unhealthy.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    I agree. Suicide is usually caused by a person having some measure of ability to see reality for what it is but at the same time not being able to solve it. I would encourage people who are suicidal to deal with their guilt before ever getting married. I believe the single person can solve suicidal thoughts simply by moving to another country. Suicide is very sad and i wouldn't wish it on Hitler.

    What's the whole deal with suicidal idealization? I mean, psychologically what is driving the mind to generate these thoughts? Does this happen on a subconscious level? Freud called it the death desire or instinct; but, is that view held to this day?Wallows
  • Artemis
    1.9k
    i wouldn't wish it on Hitler.christian2017

    Well, he did kill himself in the end. Unluckily, too late for his millions of victims.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    I think the amount of pain, stress, suffering an individual is going through is secondary in suicidal ideation.NKBJ

    Sorry, I don't quite understand this. Secondary as the root cause or a casual factor or confounding factor?

    Note, I say believe, because some people seem to have nothing going for them, and they think their lives are worthwhile somehow, and others seem to have the whole world at their disposal, and yet kill themselves, because they lack some inspiration to take advantage of it.NKBJ

    But, wallowing is fine? :sweat:
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    What makes you say that guilt is the primary motivation for committing suicide?
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    just my opinion. I've felt plenty of guilt over the years.
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Over what, and has this resulted in suicidal ideation?
  • fdrake
    4k
    What's the whole deal with suicidal idealization? I mean, psychologically what is driving the mind to generate these thoughts? Does this happen on a subconscious level? Freud called it the death desire or instinct; but, is that view held to this day?Wallows

    Doubt there's one cause. You can probably group the causes into environmental factors like workplace or relationship stress, mental health issues with limited physiological or neural aetiology, mental health issues which have pronounced physiological or neural aetiology, and as a symptom of comorbidities of other disorders like chronic pain or (persistent) psychosis.

    Or you might just be a gloomy sod with nothing wrong with you otherwise.

    Edit: though I want to highlight that everyone can wanna die from time to time, even when there's no medical issue. Sometimes life inescapably fucking sucks.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    send me a private message and i'll tell you what i was suicidal over. Other that i can't answer your question out in the open. Not idealization.
  • Artemis
    1.9k


    Secondary causally. If suffering alone caused suicide, then victims in the Holocaust and slavery would have all killed themselves long before their circumstances did.
  • Chisholm
    15
    Why Do People Kill Themselves?

    A good summary:

    https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/suicidetheories/
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Thanks. What are more of your thoughts about why people commit suicide?
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    I think one needs to look more closely into the issue. I'm especially concerned about the word "suicide" which means killing oneself [voluntarily].

    Why is this important?

    Because it creates two different categories viz.

    1. Killed by others/not-self
    2. Killed by self

    When viewed in this fashion it draws people's interest because suicide is paradoxical - self-preservation is a primordial instinct and exists in ALL life, including us. Yet, there are people killing themselves. It's disturbing and "inexplicable" and so we muse over it.

    However, in my opinion there is no such thing as suicide as understood as killing oneself. It's always something else that does the killing e.g. depression and intractable pain both of which may arise from a variety of preceding causes.

    Think of it like this. Imagine two scenarios A and B. In A a man shoots and kills you. This is clearly NOT suicide.

    Now in scenario B the man points the gun at someone you love dearly and demands that if you don't kill yourself then he'll shoot your beloved. In this case if you focus, erroneously so, only on the mode of death which here is self-harm then you would scream "suicide!!" but if you look at the whole picture it actually is murder isn't it?

    So there is no such thing as suicide construed differently from other forms of death. To think otherwise is a mistake and confusion is inevitable.
  • Brett
    2.3k
    However, in my opinion there is no such thing as suicide as understood as killing oneself. It's always something else that does the killing e.g. depression and intractable pain both of which may arise from a variety of preceding causes.TheMadFool

    That's a very interesting take, and quite true, but what does it offer in terms of understanding. It's so intellectual and meaningless on the ground.
  • TheMadFool
    6.5k
    That's a very interesting take, and quite true, but what does it offer in terms of understanding. It's so intellectual and meaningless on the ground.Brett

    I thought identifying the true cause of a problem leads to a better solution. Much of the discussions on suicide are about the apparent paradox of self-harm. Just thought a different POV would clear things up.
  • Brett
    2.3k
    [reply="TheMadFool;303766"

    I'm not meaning to be difficult. It just seems like your idea comes down to ridding someone of depression (the gun), which is the problem, or what contributes to the depression.

    Edit: I mean the gun in the hands of man b.

    But your right, in that light its murder. But murder of who?
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