Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone?

I’d say most of us consider suicide a sensitive topic, and it’s rare to come across someone who’s outspoken about their suicidal experiences. But is suicide more prevalent in this day and age, or is it because of social media that makes it seem more common?

My name is Tai, and I would like to share my views and experiences on the choices of life and death. I’m recovering from substance addiction and depression, and I attend the CAMH addictions and mental health program.

In my group therapy sessions we often discuss emotional well-being and its effect on choice-making. During one of our sessions a particular member came out and admitted that he had attempted suicide. Not only did he surprise the entire group and myself, but also caught the counselor off guard because she didn’t quite know how to respond to him.

He recounted that fateful night with vivid description, where he went out and purchased what he needed to hang himself.

He said he survived only because someone found him hanging unconscious but just short of zero vital signs. He went on saying that he does not regret surviving, but he regrets that he botched his suicide because he now feels stigmatized as “the guy who tried to take the easy way out.”

Opinions aside, I just have to say I deeply admire his courage to speak up and share his darkest of experiences. I myself have had suicidal thoughts but even sharing my thoughts I find it difficult.

There’s a saying, “the will to live is great, but the will to die is greater.”

So, did he really take the easy way out?

* * *

I want to sincerely thank my friend Tai for writing this very honest post and sharing his personal experiences here. As he said, suicide is a very sensitive subject and maybe most people would prefer to avoid it altogether. However, I feel like there is just not enough attention brought to this problem which is much more widespread than most of us probably realize. In one of my recent posts, On Mental Health: If You Got Issues, You’re Officially “Normal”, I talked about the stigma surrounding mental illness and the need to talk more openly about these issues and I appreciate Tai contributing to this discussion.

Since publishing this post, I’ve come across a couple of other posts on suicide that I think are worth a read and certainly got me thinking more about the question: Is suicide selfish?
A letter to my brother-in-law by Twindaddy (about suicide being a selfish act)
Suicide isn’t selfish, so why don’t we all quit saying that? by Sara (the title explains her take)

CAMH is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health


49 thoughts on “Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone?

  1. he didn’t take the easy way out. he was trying to end his life and now he has the stigma of failing to do that and that is eating away at his soul. he just wanted to end his pain and he failed. what can you do is be supportive and no be judgemental. trying to take your life is not easy, i have tried many times and failed so I know what it is like. You just feel like the biggest failure in the world and that you somehow cheated fate because you didn’t die.

  2. In Finland, where I am from, we have one of worlds largest numbers of suicides (compared to the amount ppl living here). Usually is men who try, women less. There is many reasons:lonlyness, alcoholproblems, social factors, family problems… maby not talking out about problems? Its said that darkness, coldness and isolation in small villages on the countryside can be a reason.

    Today it IS SO difficult to fit in to the social expectations! The example im going to give, is one from my own experience. I know a boy who in my are a possible victim (really hope not). He has no alcohol problems, but big dreams about what he wants to do. He cant do none of this dreams becouse he have a mental handicap. He went to “normal” school, and lived in a long time in the dream he can be like others. Then, as older he got, he had to relize that he cant work, or do anything for him meeningful. So he dosnt want to live. Thats what happend many times, when society and parents give to high expectations to a person who cant deal with it. if someone didnt give him that hope, he could work like a cleaner or do some easy jobb, but he was given too much hope. Saad.

    • This reminds me of a research study I learned about in class (when I was in school). There were two groups of youth from a very poor neighbourhood. One group got to be in this really awesome program with tons of opportunities and inspiring things. The other group didn’t get it. They ended up finding out after following both groups over time that the group exposed to the program had higher rates of depression, substance abuse and involvement with the criminal justice system. It appeared that while both groups didn’t have the resources to achieve “big” things in their life because of their poverty and lack of social capital, it was the group who had gotten a taste of what it was like to experience a life of opportunities and who had been inspired to dream big that saw their high expectations crashing down around them.

      I think from both this example and what you mentioned, the lesson isn’t really about not giving people these opportunities. But rather, it seems like there are only certain kinds of career paths or futures that society sees as being valuable, and everyone from very young is very clearly sent the message of this. Obviously not everyone is going to be able to achieve those positions though. So why can we not put more value in other things that people achieve? Why can’t we look at someone who is a cleaner and say, that person works hard and they do a great service. They should be proud of what they do. If we could change our mindframe, more people wouldn’t feel like failures, like they are inferior to others.

  3. As an older, divorced white male who lives alone, I’m supposedly in a fairly high-risk category. And I can see why. At this age, it’s easy to feel like you’ve accomplished all you will in life, and if you’re basically alone there can seem no one and nothing for which to strive. And I used to spend many a dark evening wondering if maybe death and whatever comes next wasn’t preferable.

    But I came to realize I’m just too curious about what tomorrow might bring. A fatal disease and a severely compromised quality of life, and I think I’d choose to go out under my own power, but short of that… tomorrow is just too damn interesting. Anything can happen! (I’m still waiting for aliens to land on the White House lawn… there’s no reason that couldn’t happen tomorrow! I’d be really pissed if I left the party early and missed it.)

    • Hey! It’s interesting what motivates different people to keep pushing on. Seriously. That’s why I love hearing different people’s takes on life. There may certainly be others in your “category” who aren’t motivated by the curiosity of life’s twists and turns. Hopefully they can find incentives in other things though. Thanks for sharing and keep enjoying life’s party :)

  4. Hi Janice,
    I waited a couple of days to read this post because obviously it is a serious post that required some thought.

    In my work, I have done a lot of research on suicide. I can’t remember the statistics because it’s been a while but more than half of all suicides are impulsive. One of the hallmarks is the absence of a note. Another hallmark is that it’s done by gunshot. Which is why keeping a gun in a home is far more likely to result in the death of someone in that household. Guns and depression is a deadly combination.

    Adolescents and young teens are most at risk. People experience a serious loss: loved one, home, job, etc. are often triggers.

    From what I’ve read, sometimes it is a person taking the easy way out. But not often, I don’t think. Folks who are so severely depressed that they are not just thinking about but acting on their suicidal impulses are thinking of nothing and no one but their own pain.

    As a society, we have much work to do. Folks with mental illness are shunned, and isolated. Left alone. Our laws don’t permit much action by family members until and unless their troubled sibling/child/parent takes action and becomes a danger to themselves and to others. That thread goes through many of the violent acts – the shootings at Aurora Colorado and Virginia Tech, for example are perfect examples.

    We need to let people know that if they are troubled there is help available. We need more than a sign on a bridge saying that “Life is Worth Living.” We need to become a society where they can see that.

    • Hi Elyse,
      Thanks for really taking the time to comment on this. I can see that doing research on suicide has had an impact on you. I read your comment a few days ago and have been thinking since then about what you said, about society having a lot of work to do and that we need more than the sign on the bridge. I thought to myself how for someone (me) who feels so strongly about people going through these kinds of struggles and the need for society to do more to help, I feel afraid of getting personally involved in that fight because of the very fact that I do get so emotionally invested into these kinds of issues. (Which made me think: if I find it too overwhelming to step into, why is anyone else who doesn’t feel invested at all in the issue do anything to help? I know, a sad thought). At my last job, I was immersed in research involving homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, incarceration, etc, pretty much every day and I came face to face with some of the people I was “studying” at times. It really impacted me, sometimes it would really stress me out. But still, I want to do more than just put the sign up on the bridge. I’m just not sure how.

      • I agree. The reality is so very difficult. But part of it, I think, is going back to more of a community feeling towards each other. Just like “It take a village” to raise a child, it takes a community to make people, who are social animals, feel whole. With the amount of technology we focus on, we lose the human touch way too often. And I am terribly guilty of this too.

  5. Thirty years ago one of my best friends and my roommate at the time committed suicide. He didn’t have to do this, things would have gotten better. Life would have improved. He was only 24 years old. But one day he decided his life was never going to be better, despite a family that loved him, friends that loved him, a good job and a future. He decided his wife, who had been his high school sweetheart leaving him and treating him terribly in the process was the end for him. He came home from work, walked into his bedroom and shot himself. That is how I found him.

    I was furious and heartbroken. His mother was heartbroken. His friends were heartbroken.

    His father had committed suicide 18 years earlier.

    I think we have to talk about suicide. We are losing more and more young people because they think there are no options. We fail to address some fundamental issues with compassion and empathy, including mental health and bullying in schools. Suicide is a terrible option, it hurts all those left behind and leaves a terrible hole that often is never filled.

    • Hi Valentine,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. You have been through so much and I am so sorry that you have had to experience something so tragic and heart-breaking as that. I hope that some way, you have found a way to deal with the pain. I honestly don’t think enough people understand the gravity of the problem of youth attempting or committing suicide and what leads to it. There has to be more done to prevent things like bullying and to address mental health issues very early on.

  6. i think everything we do is selfish, so suicide definitely is. Did he take the easy way out? I don’t think I can answer that because I don’t know the circumstance. Not that I condone suicide in any circumstance but some people can live some overwhelmingly hard lives. To me suicide seems illogical if anything because you only get to live once and you never know whats around the corner, but I guess those who fall to suicide lose faith in that. I think everyone is their own hardest critic and biggest source of inspiration, its the people and events that surround us that bring those characters out in us. I think people have developed a sort of phobia towards people who have been labeled “mentally ill” and generally distance themselves, making it harder for victims from things like depression. Imo suicide is a symptom of society’s many illnesses. its great that you guys are talking about it though. Just reading some of your responses just shows how fragile and resilient people can be.

    • Hey Seto,
      You know, there was once a time when it was so hard for me to understand how people can get to that point where they don’t want to know what’s around the corner, where they feel like there’s nothing left to live for, even if they still have people around them who care for and love them. But I think I can somewhat understand now. When I was going through all of that verbal/emotional abuse crap, I really felt like I wasn’t even a person anymore. I felt so worthless. I felt like I was going crazy. And I often wished that life would just stop for an indefinite period of time. No, I never thought I would go that far because there is no way I could bring that pain on to my family. I just wished life would stop and that when I woke up, everything going wrong would be gone. But it was at that time that I could understand how people get to that point where they feel like they don’t want to face another day. I just imagined my life being x times worse, and I could see how one could get to that point. But as you said, people can truly be so resilient and there are so many who have come out of worse than I have to become happy, life-loving people. So I do have faith in this world :)

      • I think I can understand what its like to be depressed, I don’t think i was chronically depressed but i felt shitty for months (teenage years). I became trapped in a downward spiral of shitty feelings. I dwelled on those feelings, never looked to reason (overwhelmed by emotion), and just reflected on all the sad or bad things that happen in life. But with some time, friends and just smacking myself with some logical reflection, it just went away.

        I’m wondering if I think those who commit suicide or those who are depressed should be viewed as sick or ill. Kids becoming suicidal from bullying, people buckling under expectation and social pressure, the amount of suicides of American solderers exceeding the amount of causalities in the actual war. 200,000 Indian farmers committed suicide because of the exploitation from a single company, Monsanto. It seems to me that society is sick and suicide are results of these social fuck ups (foreign policy, corporatism, materialism). The only thing I can exempt from this list are new mothers who fall in depression and become suicidal a short time after having children (don’t know the name of the disorder).

        • I’m sorry you felt like that when you were younger. It’s so shitty how so many people feel that way. Like honestly, why do so many people have to be made to feel that way? There might be other things to exempt from the list, but I think so many suicides could be prevented if society wasn’t so sick, as you say.

  7. It would be interesting to know if there were any stats relating suicide to particular cultures… to see if its within a person’s given cultural conditioning to have a higher percentage to commit suicide. I second Mike’s thoughts having lived and worked in Japan for a few years. I don’t believe suicide is an individual’s problem, but society/community as a whole. If we were more collectively sensitive and intune to those around us, perhaps (just perhaps) we may notice that sudden shift of emotion/energy in others (i.e. your next door neighbour). These subjects are always difficult and there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to suicide for it is a matter of one’s emotional resilience and stability that can not quantified nor truly understood unless we’ve lived that person’s life right up until that moment…

    • Hey B.L.

      I think there’s definitely studies about particular cultures with high suicide rates and theories as to why people in those cultures might be more susceptible to committing suicide. Like Korea is another nation that had (still has?) a high suicide rate, particularly after they went from being a relatively under-developed country to an extremely high-tech, competitive, developed society seemingly overnight. Well, not overnight, but it just happened so fast that people who have researched this say that it contributed to a certain kind of dramatic shift in the mentality of people in Korea that led to an increase in suicides (I think around the competitiveness factor, although I’m not suggesting it’s merely that simple of an explanation).

      And as Mike was saying, when you have a society where people might feel driven to suicide that looks down on people even having an open conversation about suicide, it must be even harder for those people to get help and feel like they’re totally not alone in their struggle.

      I do believe that society has a part to play in why individuals become driven to believe that they are not worthy enough to live. Obviously at some level it’s an individual problem, but when you have things that occur at such a broader level, like suicide, poverty, homelessness, etc, you have to ask yourself how society is contributing to these problems instead of blaming individuals for not being able to turn their lives around.

      Thanks for your thoughts :)

    • The National Institute for Mental Health does collect statistics that include race broken down somewhat: You just need to know where to look. Here is one place: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-in-the-us-statistics-and-prevention/index.shtml#races

      Are Some Ethnic Groups or Races at Higher Risk?

      Of every 100,000 people in each of the following ethnic/racial groups below, the following number died by suicide in 2007.1

      Highest rates:
      American Indian and Alaska Natives — 14.3 per 100,000
      Non-Hispanic Whites — 13.5 per 100,000
      Lowest rates:
      Hispanics — 6.0 per 100,000
      Non-Hispanic Blacks — 5.1 per 100,000
      Asian and Pacific Islanders — 6.2 per 100,000

  8. Unlike other problems, I think suicide should stay taboo. If it wasn’t then more people would do it. What I think shouldn’t stay taboo is why people would want to kill themselves. Feelings of loss, depression, loneliness, those types of things should be dealt with more than jumping straight to suicide prevention.

    I also find anyone who hasn’t at one point thought about killing themselves, even if for some selfish or childish reason, to be lying. Maybe they’ve had it that good in life but thinking about having the ability to end it all under your own power is a common feeling I think. I spent most of my teenage years fantasizing about it, not ever making any attempts, just wondering what ifs and how it could make people feel. For younger people it’s a lot about feeling ignored or violated, at least from my own perspective and others I have talked to about this. I won’t lie and say I don’t still think about it from time to time but never with any seriousness. I have enough sense to know I can solve the problems I have in others ways and there are millions if not billions of people out there who have it much worse than I do whether I ever met those people or not.

    Great post by the guest blogger!

    • Hey Tim, we talked a bit about your thoughts on this already, but as I mentioned, I found it interesting that you felt that suicide should stay taboo to prevent more people from doing it. Maybe it depends on the specific discourse around suicide. Like I wonder about the theory on suicide copycats, where people believe that if suicides are portrayed in the news (especially of celebrities or “high profile” people), then others who are contemplating it will feel compelled to follow suit.

      I am sure though that, yes, feelings of loss, depression, etc, need to be dealt on a way greater level to help people to not get to that state where they feel like there is no other way out.

      I read someone else’s comment on another blog about there being many people who do think about suicide and maybe even consider it on a relatively serious level, but their darkness and depression is not on a level of those who seriously live every day in complete torture. It made me wonder if people generally think that there are different types of people who attempt/commit suicide and whether a certain type of person is more “justified” in their minds of ending their life.

      More thoughts. As I told you, I’m confused on this whole subject now!

  9. I think it takes a lot of courage to come to that decision and pull it off, you know? I mean, think about this – it’s easy enough to say, set your mind to end your life and decide to cut/hang yourself, but out of those who tried, I’m sure MANY backed out at the last minute? Or didn’t go all out if you know what I mean. Like, cutting yourself but not deep enough maybe? And those who do it and do it right, that takes a whole lot of courage. To make the decision, to carry out the action, to go through the pain and fear. And the fact that they feel like that’s the only thing left for them to do, they must have been through A LOT for A LONG TIME. That’s just what I feel. So in my opinion, there’s nothing easy about what these people did. Although, I don’t agree that that’s the answer to all problems.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I do understand what you mean when you say that it must be a hard thing to do. And also as you say, it’s not the answer to all problems. I’m sure that for many people who have committed suicide, there could have been ways to prevent that person’s situation from being so bad that it had to get to that point. What does that person need to turn their life around and how are they, with help, going to get there? There’s nothing easy about it but hopefully more people who have these thoughts of ending their lives do find a way to get there.

  10. Hi Janice! :) I hate to rant about this topic but:

    I hate it when people say “tried to take the easy way out”. How is the decision to end your life because it seems like only relief from what you’re going through easy?! In that case are all cases of suicide stigmatized as “easy way out”? What about girls and women in countries like Afghanistan/Pakistan, parts of Africa, India who kill themselves because of forced marriages and spousal abuse? Are they taking the easy way out?

    Suicide is never something I would recommend for effective problem solving but if you’re talking purely on whether people who attempt or contemplate suicide are doing it because its easier than dealing with life…who knows, we’re not mind readers. But I would say there is nothing “easy” about being in a dark place where you have no will to even hope.

    I’m sorry…:(
    I read too many biographies and watch too many documentaries on major social injustices.

    • Girl, rant away. I’m totally with you and you couldn’t have said it any better. I’m willing to bet that people who talk about “taking the easy way out” have absolutely no idea what it’s like to want to end their own life. And I also bet those people have that kind of mentality where they feel everyone is responsible for their own happiness and they make the choices that they do, if they didn’t want to be depressed they wouldn’t have to be, blah f**king blah. This is why shit never gets dealt with — because people just expect everyone to deal with their own mess, why should the rest of the world help them? Blagh.

    • Hi Janice and Karen,

      I am a person with a positive disposition in life even when I was still a child. It’s just me, positive and strong. But when something happened to me last 2011, it felt like it was the end of everything for me. I’ll just skip on the reason what really happened but let me share with you about thinking of suicide.

      I am against suicide, abortion and divorce. It’s not because what my Roman Catholic church is teaching us. I just believe they’re wrong and never an option. Back in late 2011 when I was in my lowest point, I honestly, seriously thought of suicide. It’s not because I wanna “take the easy way out”. But that time, that only time, I felt like it’s not right, but it’s the only thing to do.

      As I am writing this comment, I am looking back at the emotions I have felt back then. It was too much too handle. I was vulnerable and fragile. Even when the sun shone on me, I only saw the darkness. I almost lost it. I was in my mother’s business office on the third floor of the building and was already looking down the window. I was almost there. I could feel the gravity in my body.

      Then I stopped myself and held on to the little sanity that I still had. I told myself it’s never the end.

      2 months after, the worst happened. Worse than what I have already experienced. Suicidal thoughts came back. Then I thought of the beautiful things that happened to me, my childhood, my youth, my son who is the most precious thing that ever happened to me, the more beautiful things that will still come to me… I got hold of my sanity again. I should never end my own life. No one has the right to.

      Right now, I still have the same problem I had last year. But I am no longer thinking about suicide or anything that will hurt myself and my own son. We are living this life together.

      With my experience, thinking about suicide happened because I was not in my right self. I was not thinking straight and only focused on the bad things that were happening which would trigger the negative vibes more. But if those people who took suicide had a family and friends to support them, things could be easier for them. Lighter to handle.

      I couldn’t blame them for what they did. This is why we need to guide our own children and the next generation. Life is never easy. But there are much better days ahead, better people to be with, more beautiful things to share in this lifetime.

      We will all get by. ♥


      • Hi Victoria,

        Thank you so much for sharing your personal story with us. And I am really sorry that you went through that difficult time and have to now go through the same problem again. I really hope that you will be okay <3

        I also hope that others see your message and that if they feel they are in the darkest of places, that they might know that someone else was there once too and found a way out. I think what you mentioned about a strong support from family and friends is so important to helping people gain a different perspective on their lives. I can't imagine doing it alone.

        This issue on suicide is seriously a lot more complicated than I already knew it to be from the beginning. I'm thankful for everyone sharing their own views on this to make me think more of what my own feelings on it are.

        Janice xoxo

      • Hi Victoria,

        Thank you for standing up and telling your story. I am against taking one’s own life as well. I do also believe we really don’t have any right to. But that being said, I know that getting to that point where you feel like its the only option must be a really dark place. Friends and family do definitely help, even if only to make the person realize that they have more to live for then not live. In your case, it was your son.

        A lot of people seem to be in so much despair that even close family and friends can’t see it. Its the kind of hopelessness that I cannot imagine. And I certainly can’t imagine someone calling that hopelessness “easy”. A friend of mine once said that many people think that the greatest thing that will get us through anything these days is love. Well maybe its not. Maybe the greatest thing is hope.
        Maybe hope is the greatest gift you can get from those you love and those that love you. It seems like you can be surrounded by people you love and still be unhappy and feel hopeless.

        Regardless, I’m glad you found both- hope and love, in your son. To overcome something so huge in your life warrants a certain level of confidence that you’re strong enough to handle almost anything, And the one thing you have that most of us don’t is perspective. You’ve been through hell and back. Most of us can’t even get through traffic.

        You’re a strong woman. But I don’t need to say it. You’re already a walking testament. Goodluck to you, Victoria and God bless you.

        • Hi Janice and Karen,

          I thought I am doing okay. But the hardest thing about being strong is that when you feel weak, you’re at extreme points. Strong as I am is how much weak I could also be.

          As of this writing, I am feeling so bad again. Same problem from last year. I don’t even know when it’s really gonna end. But it’s getting messier.

          Suicidal thoughts came by again today. And so I have thought about this post again and what I have told you ladies. I felt like I owe it to myself to give justice to what I have just said here last week that I will never consider suicide ever again. But when one is at his lowest point, he can’t avoid thinking about it.

          I believe that when one is thinking of doing suicide is emotionally and mentally troubled, that being said, no normal person will ever do this. That even how smart he is or even if he knows suicide is the worst thing to do, he can never see this when he’s emotionally stressed.

          A month ago, I have finally seek for a professional help. Here in the Philippines, suicide is not as much as in other countries because of our close family ties and support from friends. So, it’s also unusual to be consulting a psychologist for some help. So, it took me time to finally get one. So, I realized in one of our sessions, that when I was thinking of suicide, I was indeed not in the right state of mind. But as what I have said in my previous comment, I held on to the little sanity that I still have.

          Right now, I am still holding on it. And most especially, my son. By the way, when I first thought of suicide last year, I was still 7 months pregnant with my son. So, you’d understand how much he means to me. It was because of him that I couldn’t hurt myself. That even if my “not right state of mind” is telling me to hurt myself, I couldn’t. Because I have my son. My pregnancy was the first of the many best things in my life. Motherhood is now my purpose in life.

          I am sharing my thoughts to you so you and I can also understand what goes on to someone who thinks of suicide. The one talking with you right now is the positive me and we’re talking about my weak side. I am also using this to help myself. Oh God, it’s never easy. But yes, I am looking forward to better days.

          • Hi sis :)

            I know what you mean about going through those strong and weak points. Just remember that the reason why anyone gets to be that strong is because they overcome some seriously tough, weak moments. I’m so glad that you thought back to the post and your words to us during your hard moments. Definitely know that you are helping yourself and others by doing justice to your previous comment. And of course you are doing the most you could for your son, who maybe doesn’t understand or know what you’re going through now, but will be so grateful for you pulling through down the road — whether or not he ever finds out what you went through.

            There is so much stigma everywhere about going to therapy, but I guess here it is becoming somewhat more accepted. I can’t imagine how much harder it must be in a place where it’s seen as very unusual. I’ve seen a therapist before to try and sort out certain things in my life and I know that doing that at least helped bring a new perspective to the confusion I felt. I’m glad that it seems to be helping you figure things out and I hope you continue to do it so long as it helps you. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I feel truly honoured that you would trust us enough and feel comfortable enough to do so. Stay strong and if you ever need to talk, at least virtually :), just know that I’m here for you!

            Janice <3

    • What was the reaction you wanted to/thought you would get? And did you get it?

      Please feel free to leave the link to that post here, I’d love to read it :)

        • Hi twindaddy,

          Firstly, I wanted to say I’m very sorry for everything you and your wife/her family have been through. I hope you don’t mind I included your post link in the post above. I really found it thought-provoking; it made me think about how while I don’t believe people can truly understand why someone would want to end their own life if they haven’t lived in that person’s shoes, I also don’t think people can truly understand why some may look at suicide as being selfish if they haven’t experienced what it’s like to deal with the enormous effects of having lost a loved one to suicide.

          I think it’s important to understand both perspectives as much as possible. Thank you for sharing your perspective on this.


  11. Yup. Very brave of Tai to speak out about that. While I’ve never really thought about that for myself, I do talk about it in classes at the university on occasion — and it is a delicate topic, indeed. In a country like Japan with one of the highest suicide rates on earth, you know that talking about this in class means that you are quite likely talking with somebody listening thinking, “He’s talking about me.”

    • Hey Mike, I think I was under the impression that you taught something completely unrelated. Just wondering how come you do talk about suicide sometimes at the university? (which I think is great)

      • Well, in higher level classes, topics arise that aren’t on the syllabus. Most teachers avoid any touchy topics in Japan…it’s somehow seen as inappropriate to teach things that are controversial…and that’s probably one reason why there are so many young people with truly messed up personalities in this country.

        • Yeah, for sure. You can only teach a person so much to avoid controversial topics before they burst from feeling totally lost and alone. Better to educate them before that happens. Do you find that a lot of the students open up about it or most of them are just weirded out about discussing the topic?

          • In class, it’s more me talking about things so that they know that topics of depression, suicide, sexuality and so on are nothing to be ashamed about. And some people might offer up an opinion…then after class you will get a person who stays behind and tells you what they really think — so things don’t get done in class so much, but it helps you identify people who can use counseling and so on when they open up after class. People in Japan are just so incredibly private about personal issues — between that and the huge pressure toward conformity, work related stress and a million other wacky things, it’s not at all surprising that more than 30,000 people kill themselves annually here.

            • Oh God, 30,000 a year? That is so mind-boggling. Seriously, so terribly sad :(
              Even if you can’t reach all of them, I’m sure that there have been more than a few who have appreciated you letting them know, directly or indirectly, that they aren’t abnormal or alone. I’m very glad you could be there for them :)

  12. Honestly I’m afraid to say something but nevertheless, yes I admire those people who shares their experience even how dark was it.Most important is they overcome and ready to face life to live in better perspective.

  13. In today’s society with peer pressure and the daily financial pressure we endure, it’s becoming really hard to survive. Sadly, it often leads to suicide. Good post!

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