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November 12, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Mental Health

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Suicide Stigma

Question:

I am a white male who is a business professional, 49 years old, never married, heterosexual who has not been in a relationship for 13-14 years and who no longer dates or seeks a partner - I've learned from personal experience and from looking at others relationships don't work, and no one I know who is in one (i.e., married, living together, dating seriously, just dating) is happy. Women find me a good listener and I am the person they always complain to about the "jerk" or "idiot" they are dating. But I stopped dating because women all wanted to be my friend but not my girlfriend (I've heard every avoidance line in the book: "We're such good friends, let's not spoil it by dating" and "You're really sweet but I don't think of you that way" etc., leading me to finally conclude that I am not physically attractive). When I look at myself in the mirror, I realize they're right, I wouldn't want to sleep with me, either.

I have no close friends or hobbies that mean anything to me. I live alone. In the past five years, my parents died (old age), my sister and her family were killed in an airplane crash and my brother died in a car accident. I have been increasingly depressed about life and have been suicidal for maybe two years. I am "hoarding" Phenobarbital that my dog takes for epilepsy; when I have 75-100 (100mg) pills saved from her prescription I will put her and me to sleep. I am not religious, don't have a physician, and saw a shrink for six months but quit because I was just as depressed after 25 or 26 sessions as I was the day I walked into her office.

My questions are: Why is there such a stigma to suicide? After all, it is just a terminal mental illness. Assuming that it will take 25 pills to make sure the dog dies (she weighs 80 lbs and from what I've read on veterinary medicine sites, I think that should do it), will the remaining pills be enough to ensure that I die as well? I am 6' tall and weigh 176 pounds and in good health. Are there any organizations that help people turn the corner and take the pills? I have lived alone my entire adult life, and don't want to die alone.

Thanks for your help. Please answer, if at all possible, in the near future.

Charley (49 year-old man) Toronto

Answer:

Dear Charley,

Why take the dog down with you? Isn't that a little self-absorbed and arrogant on your part? Add that to your flaws. My point is this: you're no angel or sage for you to think you belong outside the realm of this world. This world is a difficult place to be without the kind of honest, loving contact I hear you yearning for. A big, if not the biggest, error in your thinking is your belief or conclusion that that sort of contact is not available. I say it is, and it's worth living and fighting for.

I see two major issues when I read your letter: First, the many losses you've experienced in your family, and second, lack of satisfaction or intimacy with a woman (and I don't just mean sex). You need help with both of these problems. So get it. Look for it. It's not a sin to be at your rope's end. And if you're genuinely suicidal, you've got nothing to lose anyway, so go for life more radically than you've done so far. Your negative mind-set is just that: a mind-set, and not reality. Mind-sets can be changed. Find the help you need to do that.

Like it or not, you are clinically depressed, and in a bit of denial to boot. You need vigorous help from a therapist or a therapy group that will love you enough to also kick you in the ass appropriately to help you challenge your self-defeating attitudes. I would seriously consider anti-depressants. You need a new approach, involving something you don't currently know, and something beyond what you've already tried. Finding this involves the real "death" you are seeking--a radical transformation. Go for it. It's easy to take one step off a cliff to end it all, and it's much more a measure of a man to take one step at a time in life.

About your calculations with your dog's Phenobarb: you might be wrong. Check into the Hemlock Society, created by Derek Humphrey, who wrote a suicide handbook called Final Exit, in which he advocates a person's right to end his or her own life in the face of a terminal illness. He never said depression warranted that. You're wrong when you say suicide is a terminal illness. It's not. It's an action.

I wish you the best.

Sincerely,

Andy Bernay-Roman

This question was answered by Andy Bernay-Roman, RN, MS, LMHC, NCC, LMT. He is a nationally certified counselor in private psychotherapy practice in South Florida working with individuals, couples, and families with a deep-feeling therapy approach. Andy's medical background as an ICU nurse contributes to his success with clients with difficult medical diagnoses and/or chronic physical conditions. He also serves as head of the Psychological Support Department of West Palm Beach's Hippocrates Health Institute.

For more information visit the site or contact information page on QueenDom.

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