I really liked Anthony Bourdain’s shows. And while I don’t know Kate Spade, I didn’t like the news that she also committed suicide.
But I’ve written before on suicide (here, if you’d like an older article), and I’ve been watching young people over the last ten years. I honestly don’t think it’s going to get any better in the short term.
We’ve been fiddling around at the edges. On the older side, our society is bombarded with the message that assisted suicide is the best, most noble route for terminally ill people. Remember Dr. Kevorkian? I certainly do, since I lived in Michigan when he was in the news. He wasn’t a hit with the locals, partly because he tended to leave bodies at local motels. Contrary to popular opinion, most of his “patients” weren’t terminally ill either.
Society is also working at the other end of the spectrum. Abortion is now discussed as a women’s choice movement, and is actively prescribed if you have a positive diagnosis (no matter that it could be a mistake) for anything from birth defects to Down Syndrome. But we’re even past that now. The euthanasia debate is now at the child level, where teenagers are now being murdered in Belgium.
The fiddling will continue. Look closer, and you’ll find that many of those that request suicide have mental illness of some kind, or simply feel like a burden on their family. The classic view of the man or woman in great pain that just wants to die is not the person that is most often murdered off, just like how most abortions are of convenience and not about the life of the mother.
This brings us to Anthony Bourdain. We are shocked that he would consider suicide because we view him as a successful individual. But I’m not shocked. Behind the glitz and glam was a man struggling in some way with himself and his relation to the world. I’m sure he had his own demons, just like all of us do. But we now live in a society that says life can be thrown away easily. As soon as it’s hard, inconvenient, painful, or any other combination of “not fun,” just end it all. I’m sure he heard the message just like you and I do.
Human life isn’t always fun. It’s painful. It’s hard. It’s a struggle. We all struggle with it in different ways. A significant part of life is learning to accept our struggles, learn from them, offer them to God, and find meaning in the pain. If that sounds hard, it is. I know because I’ve struggled with it, and I’ve known others that have too. That pain helps to build resiliency, and it can make us stronger if we let it. That’s hard for a society not accustomed to being uncomfortable though.
We lied to ourselves in the name of living a pain-free life, and all it got us was more pain.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. However, I honestly think all the agencies would like to lower the suicide rate, so if you need help, please call someone. If you’re at all lost on who to call, dial 911.
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