Even less funny, given the report on a current affairs show in Australia recently about the phenomenally high rate of suicide in Australia. This is a quote from the show – “in Australia, it is the “LEADING cause of death for both men and women under 30”. What? That’s mad. The LEADING cause of death… under 30 ? Surely not !!!
The Australian Bureau of Statistics site shows “Intentional Self Harm” (Does that mean suicide?) as the 10th leading cause (across all ages) of death for men in Australia, in 2010.
Ah, then we get to the following note on that statistic… “Excludes Sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide. See Explanatory Notes 98-101”.
Um, what? Yep, sorry, that’s when my brain goes dry. Can not the ABS call a spade a spade, and just say what’s what. Clearly not. Are they saying that death by “intentional self harm” is not “necessarily” suicide, or what?
I’d say “care needs to be taken” when trying to research anything via bureaucratic websites. There’s even a league table – a league of nations table, if you will – on Wikipedia. I have no idea how accurate the information is, and some of it is several years old, but… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate
WTF is going on in Lithuania, South Korea, Guyana, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Seriously, it’s simply terrible.
Australia is “Ranked” as 46 in this league. Why? Why is Australia the 46th highest ranking nation in terms of people suiciding (not even sure if it’s a verb, but then everything is potentially a verb these days, n’est pas.)?
This is the “lucky country” right? “God’s own chosen land”? Yes? Isn’t that what we always say? I’m being slightly flippant, but beneath this I am deeply disturbed by these stats.
What I want to know is what’s being done about it? Why is the rate so high? Why are men killing themselves at 3 times the rate of women. What the F**k is going on here?
Actually I think I know what’s going on here. But the problems are so deep, so endemic to our societies, that “fixing” them, according to my way of thinking, is a long way off, and will only come about as a direct and attributable result of a massive paradigm shift in the way we think and live; a complete change in the things that we value and aspire to, and conversely (and perhaps obviously) a complete volte-face in the things many of us don’t value or aspire to.
But, for starters, as suggested in the show, let stop not talking about suicide or calling it something other than it is, or turning away from people who are the “victims’, of suicide, ie: the family and friends left behind to try and understand and deal with the fact that someone they love has been so desperately unhappy that they killed themselves.
I think many of us have got to stop sweeping things we find disturbing under the carpet because they make US uncomfortable, and WE find them difficult to handle, when there are people who GENUINELY find just being alive difficult to handle !!
I want to say to anyone reading this who might be contemplating suicide – DON’T.
I know that that’s facile, and easier said than done, and I understand that many people in that situation are dealing with mental health issues that preclude thinking rationally about their own well-being.
The most important self-preservation question is – Do I need help? It’s not a difficult question to ask yourself, and even in the grip of despair – you know the answer. If the answer is yes, then get help. Get PROFESSIONAL help, and get it now. Bugger pride. Bugger not wanting to ask for assistance. Bugger not telling people how you really feel. Bugger all this nonsense that makes people hide how they really feel behind a veil of coping.
Guess what? I’m NOT alright and neither are you.
Definitely, definitely go to a shrink (sorry shrinks, I think you do an absolutely essential and admirable job in society, but I still like using the word Shrink!).
I’ve been to a shrink, and I wasn’t at the bottom of the pit of despair, I was on my way down, but I hadn’t hit rock bottom, and I hope (but I don’t know) I wouldn’t have contemplated taking my own life, even without the help. But the help was amazing. It helped me to get perspective on my level of despair. It helped me to look at things in a different way. It helped me to discover what my particular neurosis was (apparently most of us have at least one), and to start to deal with it. And it helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone… that the pain that I was feeling had been felt before, by many other people, and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
I discovered things about myself that I had been unintentionally sublimating, and acting out in various scenarios, for all of my adult life. I now know what they are, and where they come from… that doesn’t mean I’m “fixed”, and nor does it mean that I was particularly, or especially “broken”. In mental health terms, I’m relatively mentally “well”, but I still had a time in my life where I really felt like I was “falling” and I NEEDED some help… not from a “pull yourself together type”, but from someone with the knowledge, expertise, compassion, empathy, and workable practical solutions that only a shrink could offer.
IF YOU NEED HELP, GO AND GET IT. NOW. REACH FOR THE LIGHT.