This week we’re talking about Suicide — the fact that it has become tragically more common in recent years, and some reasons we think that might be.
We also talk about how we personally view suicide, and what we’ve learned about it in our own lives.
We share expert insights about the signs that someone near you might be having suicidal thoughts, and what you can do if you have been experiencing them yourself.
We unpack some different viewpoints, and some suggestions for how to process the thoughts and feelings you might be having about this complex topic.
Finally, we offer you some experiments to help you expand your understanding about suicide, and to show up for others in ways that help you build compassionate, life-nourishing connections in your own world.
“Suicide” Episode Highlights
- The difficulty of making sense of suicide from the outside, and long-term mental and emotional processing involved in reacting to it
- The increasing frequency of suicide in our culture, and why sensitive, thoughtful people may be most at risk
- How environmental inputs — toxins, molds, food intolerances, for example — can contribute to depression via inflammatory response and circadian rhythm disruption
- Adolescent vulnerability to extreme social pressure, especially via social media
- The ramifications of isolating ourselves from the in-person social connections and rituals that are so vital to our health and happiness in all stages of life
- The particular tragedy of high suicide rates among veterans returning from war
- The ways our dehumanizing culture has failed us by creating a definition of success that is unattainable by most people — and deadly to some
- How the mass media contributes to the problem
- Reclaiming your health and mental wellness by getting back to the basics of good food, movement, daylight, nature, natural rhythms
- The importance of compassionate intervention in supporting people who are having suicidal thoughts
- Helping people whose loved ones have committed suicide
- Signs that someone is thinking about taking their own life
- The idea of creative maladjustment, and creating a world where everyone can survive and thrive
Listen to Meg Hutchinson’s song “Gatekeeper” (lyrics linked in Resources below) in a quiet place, free of distractions. Let it sink in, and notice what feelings and emotions it brings up for you. Consider how the notion that “we keep each other here” rings true for you, or not.
Create a space for intimate connection. If you’re struggling, ask for help. If you know someone who you think might be having problems, connect with them. If neither of these apply to you, reach out to someone anyway and ask them (relative to Meg Hutchinson’s lyric, referenced in Pilar’s experiment above) what their plans are for tomorrow.
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- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline with lots of linked resources
- “When Someone Is at Risk” via the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (a quick rundown of what to watch for and do if you think a person might be having suicidal thoughts)
- “How to Help When Someone You Know is Suicidal” via Real Simple
- The Work of Byron Katie, and her story of recovery from severe depression
- From Sebastian Junger: his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging; talks and interviews, including the Joe Rogan podcast episode that Dallas referenced; and “How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield” via Vanity Fair
- Our “Anxiety” and “News” episodes
- Meg Hutchinson’s beautiful song, “Gatekeeper” (lyrics here), about dealing with suicidal feelings, and how “we keep each other here”
- The dystopian film Children of Men, based on the novel by P.D. James, in which the U.K. government encourages suicide for people 60 and over as a way of conserving scarce resources in a world where civilization is on the brink of collapse
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