The new taboo: suicide

by midlifecrisisqueen on January 25, 2013

I have been surprised and just a bit OUTRAGED by the response to this recent post I wrote on military and midlife suicide, which I called “Do We Care About Suicide?”  My answer seems to be a resounding, “NO!”

We have a new taboo subject in this country.  Sex is everywhere on the Internet and my colleagues assure me that any blog post about sex gets thousands of reads.  But just mention the word “suicide” and everyone runs the other way.

Most revealing to me was the fact that even the Huffington Post, who has been publishing almost all of the articles I send them lately, completely ignored this one, not even bothering to send me a rejection notice.  I found this response particularly interesting since I mentioned in my article, how those considering suicide feel no one cares, and how the whole subject seems to be completely taboo in the mainstream media today.

Unfortunately, those of us who have had family or friends kill themselves, don’t have this luxury.  And I have a sneaking suspicion if more people were willing to confront this horrible loss of human potential instead of doing their best to ignore it, things might change.

That is part of the reason why I did the research to create my book: Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife.

I wondered what is it about midlife that is causing so much distress to so many?  Why is the suicide rate increasing among those 40+?    I wanted to explain to myself and then to everybody else exactly what this phenomena is all about.  I also wanted to encourage those who feel stuck in midlife hell, that things often do get better and our perspective does change as we age.

Mostly I wanted to share the important news I discovered through my own research, that midlife is a unique new stage in adult psychological development, an amazing revolution in human history.  Yes, you may experience quite a bit of confusion, chaos and even depression, but this is actually a natural, healthy rite of passage into older adulthood.  Perspectives change and things do get better.

This is how I chose to respond to the apparent suicide of my brother John.

Conclusion: Action IS the greatest antidote to despair.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Carpool Goddess January 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Keeping putting the message out there. I recently heard of a college boy taking his life in my friend’s son’s fraternity. It’s devastating and horrifying at any age and it needs to be talked about. Kudos to you.

midlifecrisisqueen January 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for your kind support.

Emily January 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Great post and such an important message…I’ve known several people who have taken their own life and it’s a tragedy that we hope we can prevent if enough people discuss it.

Cathy Chester January 26, 2013 at 5:59 am

It IS an outrage when this is clearly such an important topic to discuss. Why not discuss it? Teens are doing it in droves and we must create a constructive arena to discuss it in order to open up the conversation. Knowledge IS power and we want to deal with this issue head- on. Kudos to you, Laura, for tackling it. Stick with what you feel is important – that is all that matters in the end.

Cathy

Tammy January 26, 2013 at 9:29 am

Wow! Surprising and ever so sad and disturbing. I think we just need to keep the subject out there. Keep talking about it, solutions, coping mechanisms, organizations established to help. I truly commend you for that! Good piece.

midlifecrisisqueen January 26, 2013 at 10:03 am

Thanks for your comments Emily and Cathy! Midlife is when we realize “what matters in the end!” LLC

Renee January 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

There have been times in my life when the only thread of light that kept me here on earth was the unconditional love of my cat, or a phone call that came from out of the blue. Life is a dance between pleasure and pain. Today I spend 95% of my life in absolute joy, but the 5% remains. Your message is important. I will share.

midlifecrisisqueen January 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thank you for your honesty Renee. Yes, I have walked that thin line myself a few times, but I have found that it is only fair to tell those I love when I have felt myself leaning towards self-destruction. It appears midlife is an especially vulnerable time and that is why I caution those experiencing isolation and depression.
Take care not to jump to conclusions too quickly. In my case the love of my life and a promising new purpose was waiting just around the corner for me… so PLEASE: HANG ON IT ALL CHANGES!

Haralee January 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Laura Lee, suicide like death and terminal illness, people who have not been touched don’t want to talk about, want to stay in denial is my opinion. I wrote a blog about Oregon’s assisted suicide and how most people don’t use it. It is an interesting phenomena.
http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7986870602500512416#editor/target=post;postID=6783261769101930991

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