I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with hundreds of students across the country, many of whom have struggled for years against severe depression, manic-depressive illness, or alcoholism. A disturbing number have nearly died from their suicide attempts. Rarely do their parents or professors have any idea of the extent of their suffering or what it takes for them simply to show up for class, take their examinations, or write their papers.
Kay Redfield Jamison
The following short TED talk is quite interesting — I have written some postings about/related to suicide on this blog (for example, about the “It get’s better” project or somewhat related the TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert), partly because I think that creative people are more prone to it than others, and it is a shame when a creative (or almost any other) voice is lost. The following talk highlights a problem that is usually not talked about, but felt deeply by those involved, by someone closely involved:
For me an eye-opening experience was reading the book quoted at the beginning of the posting: “Night Falls Fast — understanding suicide.” by Kay Redfield Jamison (1999, New York: Vintage Books). I sincerely think that suicide is an option and a freedom every person must have — one has the right but not the obligation to live, but I also think that in most cases suicide isn’t a “free” decision, it’s the symptom of an illness. People are driven to suicide by psychological disorders like depression or schizophrenia. It’s not a rational choice or freedom, but impaired judgment and a skewed world-view. It’s coercion, not freedom of choice. I can highly recommend Jamison’s book in this regard — it’s not nice to read, it’s not a book to enjoy, but it’s eye-opening.