19 votes

How Suicide Quietly Morphed Into a Public Health Crisis

21 comments

  1. [8]
    good (edited ) Link
    My point is a bit tangentially related to the article, but I feel like this is the right place to respond. I feel like the impetus of this article was Bourdain's suicide, so I'm going to speak on...

    My point is a bit tangentially related to the article, but I feel like this is the right place to respond.

    I feel like the impetus of this article was Bourdain's suicide, so I'm going to speak on that briefly.

    I am... disappointed with how much Bourdain is being lauded in his death. So many "troubled artist" excuses. He wrote some great books, made some great television, was an excellent chef, and also left his 11 year old daughter without a father.

    I can only imagine what finally led him to his end, maybe there's information I don't know about, maybe he cleared the slate before leaving everyone, though I highly doubt the latter.

    He wasn't terminally ill (as far as I know thus far), he was facing a mental illness that didn't get treated properly. Now we have an 11 year old girl wondering what memories of her father would be like. That's the real fucking tragedy. Not the missing season of "Parts Unknown"

    That's something I can't imagine. That's awful.

    A part of me feels like what he did was selfish, but I'm sure there's a a slew of David Foster Wallace analogies about burning buildings to "explain it". I know it. I live it. I was fortunate enough to have people around me to help me adjust my view on life enough to change. I'm really lucky.

    So I'm drawn back to... Why did this man leave us? I know I'd like a singular note to explain his ultimate decision, but that's not what we got.

    There are no winners here. There's no good slant. A man ended his life because of ____________. We'll never properly know that blank. I hope his family knows better than us.

    It's Jimi Hendrix or Kurt Cobain all over again. The myth is worth more than the reality, and the media is gonna run with it.

    I have a real strong inclination, a week's time from now, no one's gonna give a fuck. All we're gonna be left with is a kid without a dad and some smatterings about how much we liked his show.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      rib Link Parent
      Though well written, I'm not quite sure what to take from your comment. I guess that we'll never know. The only thing I'll add is that despite the lack of information we know one thing, whatever...

      Though well written, I'm not quite sure what to take from your comment. I guess that we'll never know. The only thing I'll add is that despite the lack of information we know one thing, whatever he was facing he decided death was the best option, someone has to be going through an internal experience of serious hopelessness/dispair/pain to decide death sounds better than life. I don't know any other explanation for a decision like that.

      6 votes
      1. good (edited ) Link Parent
        Rereading what I wrote, I think I'm venting more off of the media reaction than the actual event, and this was just the most relevant post on tildes. The sad part is, there isn't really a lot to...

        Rereading what I wrote, I think I'm venting more off of the media reaction than the actual event, and this was
        just the most relevant post on tildes.

        The sad part is, there isn't really a lot to say about it. I think we all agree we wish there was more to say about it, we wish we could help, some sort of solution, but instead it's just tragedy on tragedy.

        2 votes
    2. [3]
      Deimos (edited ) Link Parent
      I thought about submitting it separately, but this seems like a good place to post this article I read earlier today about Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I thought it was an interesting one that's...

      I thought about submitting it separately, but this seems like a good place to post this article I read earlier today about Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I thought it was an interesting one that's written from a different direction than most seem to be: https://www.popehat.com/2018/06/10/randazza-trying-to-make-sense-of-bourdain/

      5 votes
      1. silva-rerum Link Parent
        Other than one strong contention, I think this piece is spot on. My point of contention is this: Given the present American opioid crisis, this sounds particularly tone-deaf, and I disagree that...

        Other than one strong contention, I think this piece is spot on. My point of contention is this:

        For most junkies, heroin is a disease. For them, it is usually easy. Step one: Quit heroin. Step two: Get better. For people like Bourdain, heroin is a symptom. The steps defy logic. Quit heroin, problem remains. Maybe even gets worse. Seek new cure. Fail. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

        Given the present American opioid crisis, this sounds particularly tone-deaf, and I disagree that this distinction exists – I think heroin use is always a symptom of a deeper problem.

        Every step he took on that climb toward the summit put him in more rarified air. As he looked up, and it seemed that the summit was in reach, the air got thinner and thinner, making each step exponentially harder than the one before it. Like climbing a smoking volcano, where it gets colder, and the air more sparse, and each step is not not just on rocks that might slip and tumble beneath his boots – but now into crusted snow. And the air gets thinner and thinner and colder and colder so each breath feels like knives. He looks back at those who couldn't get there with him, who turned around, or who were satisfied at where they reached. All the while, that smoke coming out of the volcano – noxious gas – is under nobody's control. One shift of the breeze and sulphur dioxide can come streaming toward his face and fill his lungs and squelch out the static forever.

        Sorry for the mega-quote, but this part in particular hit me so hard. This to me does a better job of describing Bourdain's likely state of mind than the David Foster-Wallace quote that's been circulating around, because I do think he probably felt trapped by his success.

        4 votes
      2. good Link Parent
        Thank you for sharing that. It was a great read. I feel like I may be coming off as "anti-Bourdain" maybe but I really don't mean to be. He was a huge influence on me. There's just something about...

        Thank you for sharing that. It was a great read.

        I feel like I may be coming off as "anti-Bourdain" maybe but I really don't mean to be. He was a huge influence on me. There's just something about this angle on his earlier life that I think is missing the crux of the real problem. I wish we could know his mindset the day before, because Heroin and his 20's probably weren't on the forefront of his mind, but all of these articles are seemingly devoted to his life from when he was 40 years younger. The man was 61 when he took his life. He'd started a family, things seemed normal. There's a different catalyst to this that I don't think we're ever going to truly know.

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      silva-rerum Link Parent
      This is 100% speculation, but I personally think this could have been a motivating factor for why he did it – his status as a living myth, and his cognitive predisposition to be unable to handle...

      The myth is worth more than the reality, and the media is gonna run with it.

      This is 100% speculation, but I personally think this could have been a motivating factor for why he did it – his status as a living myth, and his cognitive predisposition to be unable to handle that level of sustained notoriety. It's one thing to be a celebrity, it's another thing to be on the level he seemed to have reached, and to never be able to escape the myth you've cultivated because it is you. I don't imagine that would contribute to a healthy state of mind, nor that it would serve as a solid emotional foundation for someone who shot to fame and stayed there like he did.

      I wonder if after awhile it starts to feel like a chore to maintain that persona, like you can't have more than a bad day here and there, like you're no longer allowed to make mistakes and be human. You're just expected to talk about them as if they're long gone, something you look at in your rear view mirror but no longer experience...

      Then again I could be completely wrong. He might have done it to escape an ominous health prognosis like Robin Williams did, or he might have had a sudden mental crisis triggered by something that seemed inconsequential from the outside, or it might have been the last in a string of times he'd contemplated it only to finally go through with it, etc.

      3 votes
      1. good Link Parent
        I feel like that's all reasonable speculation. In his books Bourdain talked plenty about how much he hated the celebrity chefs that he eventually became. I guess my point was more, what was the...

        I feel like that's all reasonable speculation. In his books Bourdain talked plenty about how much he hated the celebrity chefs that he eventually became.

        I guess my point was more, what was the end result? We remember him for the things that made him famous. We'll miss him for the things that made him famous,.

        The question I ask myself though is: if Anthony Bourdain was a half-assing dad who killed himself and left a child there but he wasn't famous, what would the story be?

        It definitely wouldn't make the feed here.

        My concern is that people are making a hero out of someone who wasn't medically well. A bit ironically, this article is exactly the kind of thing I hope more media outlets run with. I guess I'm falling in that reddit trap of speaking outside of the article presented, cause this was the most on topic post.

        1 vote
  2. ourari Link
    Suicide rates in other Western countries have been rising as well. I wonder if framing it as an American problem with an American solution will do any good. Yes, there are challenges unique to the...

    Suicide rates in other Western countries have been rising as well. I wonder if framing it as an American problem with an American solution will do any good. Yes, there are challenges unique to the U.S. (guns/access to healthcare), but something like changes to society due to advances in technology are not.

    In the Netherlands, men are twice as likely to commit suicide than women. More men between the ages of 20 - 40 die of suicide than die of cancer, heart and vascular diseases, or traffic accidents. In 2015 the number of suicides per 100.000 inhabitants was 11. (Which was a record compared to previous years, even though the year before had a dip in number of suicides after a steady increase. It had been higher in the late 70s/early 80s, which was 14,4 per 100k.)

    The UK has/had a problem with suicides - especially with young men - as well.

    If you want to learn more about the why, look into the work of Thomas Joiner. Here's how I learned of him: http://www.newsweek.com/2013/05/22/why-suicide-has-become-epidemic-and-what-we-can-do-help-237434.html

    He's known for the Interpersonal theory of suicide.

    And on a personal note: Each time I hear of a new suicide I feel like we've lost a team member in the fight against depression.

    7 votes
  3. silva-rerum Link
    Quite frankly I find this article infuriating because of how tone-deaf it sounds in describing the widespread decay and neglect American society is facing. There's a reason why 'This is America'...

    In surveys, younger respondents are more likely than older ones “to believe we have the right to die under certain circumstances, like incurable disease, bankruptcy, or being tired of living,” she said.

    The cultural currents that deepen despair and increase the chances of suicide have long been staples of sociological debate.

    Quite frankly I find this article infuriating because of how tone-deaf it sounds in describing the widespread decay and neglect American society is facing. There's a reason why 'This is America' earned the attention it did – because in a very general sense, it's a microcosm for what's going on in the US – people can't even agree on what issues are fucking them over most because of all the noise, and many of them are too distracted or too busy fighting each other to care.

    This is a country of people who are being encouraged to live on the surface because its societal infrastructure can't or won't tolerate treating people as if they should have dignity, depth or worth. Depending on your lot in life as an American in this day and age, you're more than likely to see broken systems everywhere you look, at so many different levels of society.

    Having said that, I personally think this is a symptom of a society that hasn't kept up with the progress it's made, to its own detriment. Modern society has reached the point where it can produce more people with unprecedented minds who want more than surface-living, but who are instead forced to live in hellish conditions given present circumstances that are far beyond their control. It's bittersweet that humanity is at a point where people like this exist, but are too aware of the circumstances they've inherited to put up with it for very long.

    6 votes
  4. [11]
    settdigger Link
    NYT, being an eager and willing pawn/ conspirator with the pentagon in all things, helps to contribute to those suicide numbers.

    NYT, being an eager and willing pawn/ conspirator with the pentagon in all things, helps to contribute to those suicide numbers.

    1. [5]
      ourari (edited ) Link Parent
      The most sense I can make of your comment based on what I know is that you may be referring to Judith Miller and her role in making the case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the early 00s?...

      The most sense I can make of your comment based on what I know is that you may be referring to Judith Miller and her role in making the case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the early 00s?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Miller#The_Iraq_War

      Or maybe the drawbacks of 'access journalism'?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_journalism

      Help us out here.

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        settdigger Link Parent
        That'll do for starters; but more generally, they never met a war or a wall street fraud that they didn't like.

        That'll do for starters; but more generally, they never met a war or a wall street fraud that they didn't like.

        1. [3]
          ourari Link Parent
          Could you back up your claims with a few concrete examples other than the ones I gave?

          Could you back up your claims with a few concrete examples other than the ones I gave?

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            settdigger Link Parent
            They lie about Israel, the Pentagon, elections; you name it. They are some of the best liars in the business. Take this article: ultimately it's disingenuous of them to wring their hands about...

            They lie about Israel, the Pentagon, elections; you name it. They are some of the best liars in the business. Take this article: ultimately it's disingenuous of them to wring their hands about suicides without asking how we got here. A path taken, that as I said, NYT helped shove us down. Also, just to be thorough: Wikipedia is even worse.

            1. ourari Link Parent
              I was kinda hoping you'd actually provide sources for your claims.

              I was kinda hoping you'd actually provide sources for your claims.

              8 votes
    2. [5]
      good Link Parent
      que? Just trolling? What does this even mean in relation to the article?

      que?

      Just trolling? What does this even mean in relation to the article?

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        settdigger Link Parent
        Maybe look in to how our mainstream media are run. Also, just for the sake of this friendly new community: not everyone who has views different from yours is a troll.

        Maybe look in to how our mainstream media are run. Also, just for the sake of this friendly new community: not everyone who has views different from yours is a troll.

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          good Link Parent
          Very true. I just saw some buzzwords and thought maybe you were trying to get a rise out of folk. Your post just seemed a little out of left field and your comment history doesn't elaborate on it...

          Also, just for the sake of this friendly new community: not everyone who has views different from yours is a troll.

          Very true.

          I just saw some buzzwords and thought maybe you were trying to get a rise out of folk.

          Your post just seemed a little out of left field and your comment history doesn't elaborate on it much. More than happy for you to send me more details on what you mean.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            settdigger Link Parent
            Who runs the New York Times? How are their editorial decisions made?

            Who runs the New York Times? How are their editorial decisions made?

            1. good Link Parent
              I honestly don't know. I don't read the NYT regularly. Just skip the rhetorical and let me know. I know I can google it, but I'm guessing you've researched it more than a google search.

              I honestly don't know. I don't read the NYT regularly. Just skip the rhetorical and let me know. I know I can google it, but I'm guessing you've researched it more than a google search.

              9 votes