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“All I Really Want to Do Is Sleep”

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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A recent article in NYTimes [1] declared that the rising rate of suicides among our baby boomer generation now made suicides, by raw numbers alone, a bigger killer than motor vehicle accidents! Researchers quoted within the article pointed to complex reasons like the economic downturn over the past decade, the widespread availability of opioid drugs like oxycodone, and changes in marriage, social isolation and family roles. Then I scrolled down, as I always do, to peruse some of the readers’ comments, and that’s when I paused.

I suppose in hindsight that I had expected readers to exclaim at the shocking statistics (suicide rates now stand at 27.3 per 100,000 for middle aged men, 8.1 per 100,000 for women), or lament over personal stories of relatives or friends who took their own lives. While I certainly saw a few such comments, I was amazed to discover the number of readers who were sympathetic to the idea of suicide.

“Molly” wrote “Why is suicide usually looked upon as a desperate and forbidden act? Can’t we accept that in addition to poverty, loneliness, alienation, ill health, life in world [sic] that is sometimes personally pointless means that death is a relief? I believe the right to die, in a time and place (and wishfully peacefully without violence) is a basic human right.”

This post was ‘recommended’ by 351 other readers at the time of this essay being written.

“MB” wrote, to the approval of 394 of fellow readers, “Has anyone considered fatigue?…. Stress and overwork (and the prospect of continuing to do so until my health gives out, without any realistic hope of retirement, assuming that I want to keep on eating when I get really old) have taken a toll. All I really want to do is sleep. I’m tired of fighting, tired of running on adrenaline for years at a stretch. Adrenaline was designed for short bursts of energy, not a multi-year slog. I dream about suicide chiefly because it would enable me to take a long rest.”

Such comments proliferated.

My first thought was to worry that by acknowledging the appeal of suicide, the NYTimes readers would somehow descend into suicide advocacy and subsequently, actual suicides. As a student of psychiatry, I watched patients create ‘chain analyses’ where they mapped out for themselves how an emotion led to a thought, which led to a behavior, and subsequently an action. After all, the whole field of cognitive behavioral therapy rests on the principle that governing thought patterns is critical to staying safe and maintaining control.

Why aren’t the NYTimes editors moderating and removing these comments? I thought.

But then I remembered something else that I learned in psychiatry: asking patients about their suicidal impulses does not actually encourage the act. Asking depressed patients about a thought or a plan does not remind them to leave your office and buy a gun. If someone is thinking about taking his or her own life, your questions will not result in an iatrogenic increase in those thoughts [2]. If anything, patients welcome the opportunity to confide in someone they trust about these intrusive thoughts, and the possibility of talking through their emotions in a safe environment.

The weight of depression is often compounded by the conviction that patients carry of not being understood. While shadowing my preceptor in an in-patient psychiatric unit, I often saw patients offer bland responses or false, brave fronts in response to our probing about mood and activity. The ability to refuse to accept such superficial facades and demand to understand the truth of a person’s internal life is of the utmost significance in any psychiatrist’s office, and is the hallmark of this profession. After all, a patient who understands completely the undercurrents of his or her thought processes will likely not need a shrink.

But an empathic understanding of suicide need not be the sole province and possession of psychiatrists. As one of the great psychiatrists of our times, Leston Havens, once noted in an essay titled “The Anatomy of a Suicide,” such empathy can grow from an open-minded review and understanding of our own lives, for most people have had suicidal thoughts, perhaps even suicidal impulses [3].

Often, it is up to peers, friends and strangers on the Internet alike, to listen to and try to understand each other. As many of the NYTimes readers acknowledged, the slow burn of aspirations meeting harsh reality, the progressive compromise of our deepest wishes, and surrender of hope for change in the future is the disappointing but normal trajectory of a human life.

On the NYTimes readers’ page, I saw exactly this transpiring. I began to see other readers both acknowledge the existence of suicidal thoughts within themselves, but also point to protective factors present in their lives – a family, a home, a job. They began to protect each other. There was hardly any of the “oh banish such thoughts from your heads” but rather, comments like these: “please go hug your friend, tell him that you are there for him, and take him to the emergency room.”

One reader expanded on this sound advice by recommending walks through one’s city. “These walks, if no more than around the block, are always interesting,” he wrote. “Incredible and changing sights, a constant and changing background of sounds, smells – and a gratifying reminder of the human race, of which we are members, even yet. We are not alone. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Meanwhile, it’s all – all, every aspect of it, pain and pleasure – interesting.”

References:

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in US.” New York Times. N.p., 2 May 2013.

Mathias CW et al. What’s the harm in asking about suicidal ideation? Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2012; 42(3):341-51.

Havens LL. The Anatomy of a Suicide. N Engl J Med 1965; 272:401-406.

Image: Jonathan McIntosh.

Samyukta Mullangi About the Author: Samyukta Mullangi is a fourth year student at Harvard Medical School. She is interested in narrative medicine, and has previously blogged for Medscape's The Differential. Follow on Twitter @samyuktaMD.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






Comments 20 Comments

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  1. 1. paulus 4:22 pm 05/13/2013

    I think it would be a bit more ‘scientific’ to separate these suicides into different categories rather than lumping them all together. For instance, those who were facing a terminal illness may not be suffering from depression, yet the writer treats all suicidal ideation as related to depression. I agree with her that much of the discussion on comment pages shows little depth, but it’s the comment page and not a visit to the psychiatrist’s office. The question of how easy it is to get Americans into a psychiatrist’s office when necessary is another can of worms altogether. The stigma mental illness carries precludes most Americans from getting help– and then there are the insurance companies. Good luck with them if you do need a psychiatrist. They seem to be more helpful to suicidal ideation than any question a good psychiatrist would ask.
    Finally, and buried deeply in the American psyche, there is the fantasy of suicide– and it is bound up with the fantasy of gun possession. While most Second Amendment supporter report they are advocating gun rights to protect their homes, many must be holding weapons to end their own lives–since more American die by their own hand than any intruders are.
    Which is a circular comment–we need to know what motivated the spike in suicides here before we can say it was depression which dictated them.

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  2. 2. the Gaul 4:35 pm 05/13/2013

    o.k, student, try to absorb this: individuals who seek psychiatric treatment are doing so for a specific reason. They are in the minority. The people who “recommend” or approve the comments to which you refer – a vastly larger number than those who visit psych oriented practitioners – do not suffer from “intrusive thoughts.” [your words] Simply because you have a problem with suicide does not make it anyone else’s problem.
    But, good luck with your fiction.

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  3. 3. zstansfi 5:30 pm 05/13/2013

    Very thoughtful.

    Just as a note, the author points out that “a patient who understands completely the undercurrents of his or her thought processes will likely not need a shrink”, but also the importance of numerous “protective factors… – a family, a home, a job”.

    I wonder what the role of the former (psychiatry) is in cases where individuals lack or cannot utilize the latter protective factors?

    Also a question for Gaul:

    What do you consider to be “intrusive thoughts”?

    My understanding is that such thoughts are the norm for most people throughout life. In contrast, severe cases of “psychiatric illness” tend to be associated with intrusive thoughts that are frequent, intense, highly negative and often seemingly uncontrollable.

    Just because there is a qualitative distinction between these two groups of people and their experiences doesn’t indicate that there cannot be a common language.

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  4. 4. the Gaul 5:52 pm 05/13/2013

    zstansfi: I do not consider any thoughts “intrusive.” I stated that people in general do not maintain that consideration. Psychiatry does, however, reference intrusive thought. If, as you suggest, psychiatric illness results from an overabundance of “intrusive thoughts,” then it’s the manner and matter of action control that determines outcomes – not thoughts. Big difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘doing.’ You do note that those thoughts may be “seemingly uncontrollable.” It’s that control that should be the focus of those who claim to be psychiatrists.

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  5. 5. John A. 6:14 pm 05/13/2013

    @paulus
    While most Second Amendment supporter[sic] report they are advocating gun rights to protect their homes, many must be holding weapons to end their own lives–since more American[sic] die by their own hand than any intruders are.[sic]

    Hundreds of millions of Americans support the second amendment. Only 20,000 people each year commit suicide. How many of those hundreds of millions of people have serious suicidal thoughts? How many is enough to qualify for “many?”

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  6. 6. the Gaul 7:14 pm 05/13/2013

    John A. – “Hundreds of millions of Americans?” Hundreds of millions?!?
    In America, that [whole] number would be 3. Fractionally, it would be ~3.4.
    While there may have been a few [sic]s in @paulus’ writing, the idea was sound. Which is a lot more than can be said about your effort.
    BTW, not all 3 support the Second Amendment as misinterpreted by the NRA and others. You’re way off…

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  7. 7. John A. 7:29 pm 05/13/2013

    Gaul, so 3 million or 3.4 million people support the second amendment?

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  8. 8. paulus 8:32 pm 05/13/2013

    John A., I apologize if I didn’t edit my content. I had no idea it was other than a comment page. If I made an error, I am sorry. As for that other issue (of suicide) my point was that far more Americans use guns on themselves and members of their own families than on home intruders, though irrational Second Amendment supporters continue to foster the belief that the guns are for their own protection. Any statistical analysis would show this is far from the truth. I am sorry if I upset you so much that you had to engage in an ad hominem attack, but I have wonder why so many supporters of the Second Amendment have yet to read that the right to keep and bear arms is qualified by ‘well regulated’ in the Bill of Rights. It seems only logical that ‘well regulated’ would mean the necessity of background checks, the banning of assault weapons, and etc. It should also be apparent that when 90% of the people desire those things they should become law in a democracy. But democracy has been corrupted by the dollars that pour into campaign coffers from the likes of the NRA, which was once a fine organization for sportsmen, and one which refused to take any money from weapons manufacturers.
    I appreciate dialogue, but I doubt if you can tell me why ‘well regulated’ should not mean background checks and banned assault weapons. We are losing our democracy in this country, and we have been absolutely corrupted by money, which the Second Amendment has done nothing to protect us from.

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  9. 9. Heteromeles 8:43 pm 05/13/2013

    One thing that’s deeply troubling to me is that, as a society, we are currently so fascinated by apocalypses, by this idea that we’re so short-sighted, greedy, stupid, or evil that we’ll kill ourselves, and perhaps the planet. Look at how many summer blockbusters use this as a basic theme.

    Somehow, I’m not surprised that people also think this is okay on a personal level, too.

    Here’s a question that might help better frame the issue:
    What does a sustainable future look like?

    Hard to answer, isn’t it?

    We theoretically know how to get there (conserve, go to renewable energy, get to 100% recycling), but there’s no vision of what this might look like, other than everyone descending to the level of a third-world slum, except for (maybe) the super rich.

    Is it any wonder that people choose to kill themselves, rather than face such a long decline?

    Dreams may not be real, but we do need them. Right now, most of our dreams seem to be rather bleak.

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  10. 10. halneufmille 9:45 pm 05/13/2013

    People unhappy with their lives don’t realize how comfortable the present is compared to the past. It is probably true that there is more loneliness, looser social bounds, and more hectic and insecure jobs. But I suspect that a bigger drive behind unhappiness is the media and social medias always comparing us with the ‘seemingly’ more successful neighbor. I like the old saying that other people’s lives are like garage sales. They look amazing from far away, but when we get closer, we realize they’re full of sh** that we don’t need.

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  11. 11. paulus 11:40 pm 05/13/2013

    Heteromeles you are right. In the absence of a vision, the people will perish. We need to envision positive futures, and reject the abundant dystopian narratives we are offered ad nauseum. I like Orwell, yet few remember the writer Eric Blair took his name from H.G. Wells who made a regular practice of envisioning positive futures. Sadly, all we have represented of his work on the screen has been of the dystopian or alien invasion variety.
    This is why we need to rebel with books, and turn our backs on the culture of the movies unless it surrenders to gentleness. We have become a martial culture on screen, killing our enemies ruthlessly.
    We engage in relentless revenge fantasies nightly on TV. We are becoming ever less empathetic. Isn’t it obvious that much of this is due to our surrender to a bleak and cynical description of tomorrow that is no more real than last year’s end of times?
    I have to admit that I am glad to have been born long enough ago to remember when people believed in progress and kindness, and we were not at one anothers’ throats in political arguments. I wish we could return to those more peaceful times when people imagined better tomorrows. We still can, and will, some day. Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later, but that is up to us.

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  12. 12. Matthewt69 2:46 am 05/14/2013

    The comments sympathetic to suicide highlighted in the article display some magical thinking about death. For suicide to be a relief, or to provide some kind of rest you have to believe that you continue to live after dying. If you don’t believe in life after death there is no ‘you’ left to experience any kind of rest or relief. Better to focus on what you would miss out on eg if I die I will have no more good experiences.

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  13. 13. way2ec 3:05 am 05/14/2013

    In my late teens suicide was “sneaking up” on me. A dear friend noticed that I was emotionally “flat” instead of my normal all over the place emotional self. She got me to write down a suicide prevention number although I protested that I was “fine”. Later when I couldn’t take my foot off the gas pedal on a twisting mountain road I remembered the number in my wallet, knew then that an accident wouldn’t be seen as an accident, and managed to regain control of the car. It was then I sought professional help. So no, ideation is not always present. I was desperately seeking a way out, some peace, a Rest In Peace. Learned a lot. Recently, after a divorce I didn’t want, then into a serious clinical depression, an early “retirement”, suicide ideation was insidious, very intrusive. My “joke” was that I was cured of fear of flying, wished the plane would go down (except for the other passengers). My counselor was so sincere and so earnest in her expressions of concern regarding my ability to “control” those cold dark empty bottomless pits. Back to the original article and this followup to it…do whatever is necessary to validate whatever another person is feeling. We need to express the internal reality(s) both to another person but also to hear it for ourselves, externalized. Hopelessness is NOT the bottom. Professionals need to help us answer what’s the point of going on, let alone how to keep going on. Suicide in my opinion is the ultimate in self centeredness, the overwhelming psychic pain at the center of our being and or the total emptiness at the center of our being dissolves all connections to the outside world and to others. Professionals can be the link when there are no others and must work to help us reconnect to others, otherwise what IS the point in going on? If you already feel dead to the world AND the world doesn’t seem to care or notice, the world seems to have already buried and forgotten you…

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  14. 14. justin ou 4:02 am 05/14/2013

    Life can become really tough and unbearable sometimes. Nobody is strong enough to overcome every piece of life-changing strikes. We need support, comfort and love from people around us, and occasionally be left alone and slow down a for a while.
    It’s not a shame or a demonstration of weakness or irresponsibility to possess the thought of taking one’s own life. It means that we need help. We are trapped by the negative emotional spirals and lost our directions. This is the moment when we need external resources to pull us out of the situation.
    No one is born strong, neither is weak. If we can survive that kind of watershed events, chances are that we can go back on our normal life track and continue the journey.

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  15. 15. way2ec 1:50 pm 05/14/2013

    At Matthew69, no, one doesn’t have to believe in an afterlife or a soul to see death as the ultimate R.I.P. Oblivion is the ultimate end to pain. For those who do believe in an afterlife, risking going to hell by committing suicide, eternal suffering, might be a deterrent if life on Earth is already a living hell, why risk it for an eternity. Feeling like you are already dead or dying inside makes “pulling the trigger” a shortcut to what already seems interminable. It is actually much simpler than all that, it is the desire to go to sleep and never wake up, ever.

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  16. 16. zstansfi 6:06 pm 05/14/2013

    @ theGaul:

    I will leave the discussion of the relationship between thought and action aside, as this is a whole other can of worms.

    However, I notice that you state: “I do not consider any thoughts “intrusive.” I stated that people in general do not maintain that consideration.”

    Could you clarify on this position? Is it that you reject the claim that thoughts could “intrude” on the mind but accept that they might be involuntary (e.g. relative to the subjective sense of control or agency that most people have)? Or do you disagree with the claim that people have involuntary thoughts at all?

    (As an aside, I do not say that psychiatric illness results from intrusive thoughts, but that in numerous cases the diagnosis of mental illness correlates with a shift in the character and content of these thoughts.)

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  17. 17. gmperkins 2:27 am 05/16/2013

    Lumping all suicides under the same hat is a very big mistake (paulus’s first argument, the 2nd ammendment comment is not applicable to this discussion), one physchologists seem to keep making ever since Freud created the field with hundreds of now completely disproven ideas/hypothesis, all mistakenly treated as theories. Stop the grandeousness, the pride, that is holding this field back. The changing times clearly make physchology a very needed field, so try to be a scientist at all times. The brain is very complex and probably cannot be completely understood since it takes a meta-system to describe a system (logic).

    As for distinctions, age is a good start. Over time, all our organs will fail, what if our brain is the first to go? Why can’t I choose to end my life before I become someone else, or so much less that I cannot care for myself and that is something I can choose to not live with? From there you have questions of cancer and what not. It is a fact that previous cultures embraced the idea that the elderly could choose but lately Americans seem to be philosophically infintile and thus cling to outdated belief systems, especially given how much longer we can live now.

    The group you seem to be addressing are the young who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. And yes, perhaps a more mature outlook on suicide as well as the connections being made would be helpful. I cannot say off-hand but it is happening and I personally think it will help, since I happen to believe Americans, on average, are maturing much more slowly than in days past along with many other factors that affect brain development. I believe that this is causing numerous problems since we seem to be evolved to develop various parts in a somewhat timely ways. Take an easy area, physical development. It develops far more than muscles. It helps in numerous ways, mental toughness for one, but especially in peer group understanding (paramount one is respect for others). Hmmm, won’t segway. Hopefully my point has been made, though probably only partially. Is a problem with forums/blogs.

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  18. 18. aidel 6:53 pm 05/16/2013

    No one has mentioned this but what bothers me about the recent media reporting regarding the increase of suicide is that it is being linked to the increased prescription of opiates. This makes no sense. Historically, people have been way under-treated for pain. The fact that more opiates are being prescribed and suicides have increased is either a coincidence or, perhaps with more data, we could stretch it to a correlation. What we clearly have not established but sticks in the minds of people anyway is that there is a causal relationship here. There are no data (at least that we have been shown) that support this claim and I would love to see it challenged.

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  19. 19. Ziroz 5:59 am 05/17/2013

    Hello from Japan, population density-wise the highest suicide rate nation on this planet called Earth.

    everything happens for a reason, stumbling into this blog may be one of them, as reading through about 18 comments i was rather impressed of the insightful & rather diversely toned array of colorful responses. perhaps its her PHD warding off the Trolls? who knows.. but of course there is always that one person who high-handedly writes off the tip of his nose.. science blog afterall. perhaps this is something i do subconsciously as well, but the point is to see we are all equals, & to realize when you pick out on someone else’s flaw, the irony tends to be that flaw is yourself.

    Id like to somehow start this off centered upon a recent online tragedy about a couple in Australia whom recently drowned & perished in what was intended to be a year-long getaway ‘dream come true’ ended in a nightmare. i visited the victims online crafting site Whipup.com & there was a post there that caught my eye being a quote of someone’s favorite book “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield :

    “A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and over think and hesitate.”

    Neverland or not, we’ve heard this quote over & over in many fashions & we’ll never come to terms with it. its something to do with ‘innocence’ perhaps.. according to the ‘original sin’ we are born ‘guilty’ & thus we spend the rest of our lives redeeming ourselves. now to start diverting into topic, Suicide is much like ‘innocence lost’.. isn’t it? meaning theres also many many ways to kill oneself without actually winding up in a pool of thy own blood each time. crazy people make suicidal decisions, for example. now to bring this to a much more galactic spiritual scale, we live in this mortal plane in flesh & blood, sometimes seen as divine punishment. i didn’t just make that up… i think the reason Earthlings thrive is merely on one principal & that is not the fear of Death entirely, but more the fear of Hell. this cryptic thought has been around since god-knows-when.. i recently touched upon it again through an ancient concept in Hinduism that there are MANY dimensions & realms of Lustful Hell we pass through.. almost like galaxies. so we ask, why can’t we solve something so trite as Global Hunger? Prostitution? the list of endless suffering which seems in an extremely obtuse relation with ‘happiness’. it recently struck me, because it was never meant to be solved.. much like existence in general.. just its said that moment you part as an enlightened being you will be given that Greater Truth.. which is cynical cuz an enlightened being wouldnt really care anyhow. an enlightened being doesnt spend the rest of their lives proving they are better than another for a reason. but this is one element that causes the depression that triggers suicide, which is the desire to live someone else’s life.. we often dont see how ‘celebrities’ suck the life out of fans to sustain their Ego. once that quota of ego cannot be sustained, then self-destruction tends to be the only way out.

    as ol’ Master Buddha pointed out, “Existence is Suffering caused by Desire”.

    so comes the threat of just What Is Hell? every culture has its own answers.. but the cosmic balance as stated above is that for every Heaven there is a Hell.. so often both go hand in hand. most of us would not bare the burden of living as a celebrity nor as a circus performer, nor would we want to wind up in an Addiction that parallels all suffering. my theory alas, is it wasnt always this way.. as first off the population only exploded over the last few centuries, & there must be a good reason for that. That in an abstract superhero story sense, was once upon a time an Atomic Weapon was dropped on a fable called Hiroshima Nagasaki Japan, is when all Hell broke loose. it was when all those Hindi levels of suffering & bliss fused into one reality.. call it Science if you will. it was when Heaven & Hell now both exist on this planet in a single manifest ruled by a naked emperor called Love. & with always with the paradox, one man’s Heaven can easily be another persons putrid Hell.. that goes without saying when it comes to sexual warfare.

    again, i can say this while you ‘believers’ bite your thumbs at me.. because we will never know. reason again, while i have the habit of warping out of topic, is next to the original sin, is the socalled Cardinal Sin.. which applies to anyone who has chosen willfully to take their own sex-miracle-given lives. burn over & over & over.. as if in a Nuclear Nightmare right, as i live right next to one right now called Fukushima but i care not to go into that cuz ill write hatred infinitely. but this is kind of like life… its fleeting, & even more temporary. the galaxy as far as we know has been around for Zillions of years & our chance in it is a mere blink of a nano-second it would seem. & to the opposite of that, Death is permanent.. id hate to say forever but much like hate itself it has no limits, an abyss.. just like that liberating feeling we have when we look up at a flawless clear night sky.

    The Universe Within.

    i actually thought Constantine with Keanu Reeves had a very comical yet truthful take on where Hell is.. i didnt like the movie at first being corny & horribly edited but its one of those creepers. it teaches us ‘The One’ is capable of passing trough these many dimensions of Hell & such to a point where he gains a mission, of well, the usual ‘rescue fantasy’ i suppose. on the other end, there is someone whom i recently met & respect called Krishna, whom is the Ultimate Lord that will eventually descend upon us on his dark horse to put lustful, greedy, diseased mankind out of its misery.

    So my sad thesis is, well also for the sake of people whom are so pro-life they are afraid of dying.. is that suicide is not a way out. meaning its not a form of acceptable death, cuz in theory, why should someone whom has modestly strode through the graces of life be in the same courtroom with someone whom just put a bullet through their head? is this not the ‘justice system’ all you logics rant of ceaselessly? unlike the human justice system i think we can assume The Almighty has something in store for all of us.

    & to all those trigger-happy ‘i cant live without my weapons & electronics’ people.. it has been noted that now Suicide has surpassed Cancer as the #1 cause of death in America. now theres some suicidal pistol for thought.

    fact is, if we let all the Nukes off at once we could easily destroy this physical plane.. hell, maybe even the spirit world too.. i recently realized why we worship & scapegoat Superheros as Superman himself cuz Planet Krypton doesnt seem like much a farcry to our current dilemma. think bout it.. a planet fueled by super-mortals that eventually destroyed itself.. & that fragment of planet wandered in space for light light years until landing in *cough*canada*cough* it explains everything really.. our obsession with Nuclear Energy for starters.. as we spirituals as well as even mathematicians know even a tiny fraction of an element contains the whole memory & the information of The Origin.

    well before i rant aimlessly.. thank you for having the courage & kindness to read this far, as i write for Fun & am sorry if some of your values were trampled upon along the way of making a point. my conclusion is even for myself a day doesnt go by without a suicidal thought.. once one becomes too enlightened there is a nullifying void of how Meaningless everything becomes. but until that fateful day, ill just have to give thanks for what i have, which is boastfully alot but on the material plane, something that could disappear in a day, like a natural disaster. yet i have empathy as well as apathy for those who have lost their way, i used to be a Superhero myself until people buried me with their problems & ignorance.

    Big Brains & Tiny Hearts,

    Ziro Japan

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  20. 20. John A. 5:09 pm 05/19/2013

    Paulus, do you really think the millions and millions of gun owners in this country are more likely yo say the purpose of their gun is to shoot that other drug dealer or to protect themselves? Your statistics mean nothing.

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