Fiddling with the edges of suicide

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Fiddling with the edges of suicide

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.

Keep donat­ing to Da Tech Guy! Think about it, 5 or 10 bucks can go a long way. Hit the donate tab at the top right.

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.

Keep donating to Da Tech Guy! Think about it, 5 or 10 bucks can go a long way. Hit the donate tab at the top right.