Kate Spade a few days ago, Anthony Bourdain today. Hung by themselves. We tend to think that when people commit suicide, they are depressed. While depression may be a factor, in the moments before a person actually commits the act, feelings of depression may be relieved by the very-final decision. According to CBS News Ms. Spade’s father said he spoke to her the night before and that she sounded happy about a trip she planned to take. Many people feel resolved before committing the act.
I know because I was there.
I struggled with depression mildly before 9/11, and after 9/11 depression was a way of life. My practice of the Nicon Method (aka TIPI) more than eleven years later resolved the depression, but thoughts of suicide still returned, particularly after experiencing covert gender discrimination at work and realizing my job had become dead-end. Although my depression had been resolved, I still struggled with lack of motivation. From PTSD experience, when you experience traumas, such as seeing people die, everything else in the world becomes practically meaningless. Nothing seems to matter anymore. Little joys may remain joys, but those too become meaningless. The only thing that helps is having a greater purpose.
I wanted to kill myself because of the void of not having a reason to be here. My life insurance policy would cover the cost to dispose of my belongings. There would be assets left over for my family to use. Everyone I cared about had someone else to care for them. I’d already contributed to the world by writing a book that had successfully helped other people. What more does the world need from me? I spent the next few days trying to figure out how I would do it.
I was not afraid to die. I decided to leave my job, a decision that was blessed by being laid off and getting a severance package. Then, I had a 9/11 nightmare. In it, I fell through a burning floor to my death. In a half-sleep, half-cognitive state, I believed I actually died. “Finally!” I said to myself. My boyfriend rocked me awake in his arms. It was the next best place to be, but I was disappointed.
When a person decides to die, he or she can feel resolved and look forward to ending it. The problem is not a mental struggle. So how do we stop the act before it happens?
The fact of the matter is, the world needs more leaders. I don’t remember when I decided to live again, but I do remember that what made me change my mind was realizing that if I died, my leadership skills would be wasted.
Everyone has leadership ability. This is not an exaggeration. If you care about anything, you have the ability to turn that care into a leadership skill.
We won’t be able to stop everyone from killing themselves, but we can make a decision for ourselves to make ourselves useful for a world that needs us.
RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain
(My AlphaDog book can help anyone who is willing to learn leadership skills. Even though it’s about dating, the principles apply to all relationships. The Kindle version is only $2.99. By purchasing through these links, you also help me pursue my nonprofit work, CareForUs.us. Thanks for your contribution.)