Dear fellow BVs,
I woke up in a 300-year old inn in Concord, Massachusetts to the news that last night in Paris, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. I felt compelled to write you all, not just because news like this is startling and upsetting, but because you might be asking, “How can this happen so suddenly and what can I do to prevent suicide?”
As any of you who have experienced suicidal thoughts already know, suicide is not random. This thoughtful, well-written article
from the Chicago Tribune shares some of the variables that seem to be consistent in suicide death:
- Perceived burdensomeness, “this idea that my death is more valuable than my life"
- Thwarted belongingness, “meaning I try to make meaningful connections and they just don’t work out”
- Hopelessness, “OK, I have this and it’s never going to get better”
- Acquired capability, the ability to set aside normal psychological and physical constraints and perform an act that may be painful or horrifying
If you have struggled with mental health issues or felt any of the feelings described above, you know how isolating it all is. You also know that hearing you’re not a burden from others doesn’t always help. Those can feel like empty words even if they are true.
I speak from experience. I know hopelessness. Before I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, I knew something was wrong and did not believe it could get better. I had been to 5 therapists over the course of 15 years (not to mention innumerable “healers”). I had taken every action I could imagine. How could anything change?
Thank goodness I was proven wrong by an experienced neurologist who diagnosed me correctly. Though I was never suicidal, it’s not hard to imagine becoming so if life were a little different.
So what can you do to help prevent suicide? You can speak up. By sharing specific examples of times you felt hopelessness, thwarted belongingness, or perceived burdensomeness, you will be helping someone else feel less alone, less hopeless, less like a burden, and more like they belong.
I know it’s not easy, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than losing someone you care about and asking later, “What could I have done?”
Love to you all, beautiful voyagers, and may you feel safe and strong today.