This blog has been created to discuss the topics covered in my book : Beyond Discouragement-Creativity.
My goal is to post relevant news articles which both reflect and refute my opinions and observations. As a visitor, your comments would be most appreciated. - Bienvenue. À vous la parole.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Too Many Just Give Up

Teen Suicide - Mental Illness? Yes, But Also Homophobia - Melissa Carole (PhD student at McMaster University) Globe and Mail - October 7, 2011

In response to the wisdom-filled commentary of Ms Carole I corroborate the claim that “blaming” teens “ exonerates each of us from our social responsibilities. . . (and) overlooks the evidence that there are other risk factors that go beyond mental illness.

James Hillman the prominent psychologist entitled his 1993 book : We’ve Had A Hundred Years Of Psychotherapy - And The World’s Getting Worse. His premise was then, and remains to this day, based on too much of a focus being placed on the within and not enough on the environment which affects us and which spawns aberrant thinking, feelings and actions.

There is no life in a vacuum - no winning, no losing, no calm, no turmoil. Suicide, or the attempt, is impossible without taking into account the environment that feeds such inclinations and actions. Suicide attempters do not consider it so much a reflection of their inner turmoil as they see it as the only way they can cope with a world within which they have no place. Suicide is less a mental disturbance of an individual than it is a reflection of a disturbed society which sociopathically shows no sign of consideration for those who populate it.

But are we not more informed and caring regarding this subject today? No. A heavy dose of lowest common denominator stimulation does not constitute a more informed mind, substantive thought or a more caring viewpoint. It simply makes what we know “user friendly”. Our most recent obsessive attachment to the discussion of suicide is also rather eerie. It  appears tainted with a celebratory tone. . . We seem to laud those who suffer from its effects rather than wonder why suicide is a sad reality in need of objective analysis. We introduce the subject in the media more in line with entertainment (i.e.: emotional post-news hour presentations) rather than vital information. We seem to treat individuals touched by the horrid hand they are dealt as proud victims and their fate a manifesto. Never do we contemplate that it is an attack by an outside force on the very soul of an individual. The attempt, the act, is always the titillating topic, never the research delving into its causes or solutions.

In the visual arts, portrait painters often encounter problems with drawing a nose, a mouth a hand. . . An amateur focuses on the incorrectness of the nose, mouth or hand. The professional hones in on the surrounding areas in order to discover the “real” problem. If we are to understand reactive suicide we must consider what that soul is reacting to. We must stop honing in on the subject and realign our thinking to the environment which spawns such aberrant feelings, thoughts and actions. We have to stop being enamoured with the heroism with which we imbue victimhood. We must stop celebrating and sentimentalizing pain long enough to focus our attentions on what surrounds those who feel it so intensely. We need to focus on what needs changing in our communities, societies and countries in order that they offer each of us a healthier life, a more promising future.

As it stands, the whole concept of the media and society’s feeling your pain has more to do with reality TV formatting than it does with the reality of suicide and its causes. And that is sad.

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