THIS IS A THIRD INSTALLMENT Of A SERIES ABOUT SUICIDE
By Mick Holien
I have long been prompted to write or record my personal overview and recollections of suicide, its corresponding effects on me and concern at least, fear at the most that some unidentified gene may well make me more of a candidate to claim my own life.
I think it is no different that someone who is concerned about say hereditary medical issues, one of which I will include in this series and other potential maladies or even tendencies.
Coming from a tiny and equally rural Washington state Columbia River town where it seemed everyone was related and probably knew too much of everybody’s business, I knew early on there was a family suicide incidence.
And while it was never quantified or diagnosed until my mother was elderly as an only child I also was well aware from her mood swings that there was some kind of mental irregularity.
If my recollections are too explicit, raw you could say, I’m sorry but hope they might help someone and I have found them to be cathartic.
I didn’t realize until I ran across a front page of a newspaper that my mother kept that her mother graphically committed suicide, the exact manner not contributing to the story other than to say that my mother found her.
I don’t remember my Mom ever talking to me about such thoughts of her own but her occasional actions and drastic mood swings led me to realize such a potential. And I do vividly remember a couple of would-be attempts
I also not aware whether she was ever diagnosed or sought treatment or medication but I do remember maniac depression. now recognized as bi-polar, being mentioned.
My Mother never recovered from my Dad’s early death during an elective surgery when he was but 46 and my absence in the Military exasperated the situation. I am sure my continued absence in raising my own family in a different town no doubt added to her mental instability.
I share this in our series only to give you perspective of my overview of this desperate act that can be preventable and, while some disagree, experts will tell you is not one of selfishness.
Having been a reporter most of my adult life I long have responded to reports that were ruled suicide which media outlets do not share unless it involves unusual circumstances, is done in a public forum or is a person of note.
That does not mean such scenarios do not affect the people, like law enforcement, emergency services, and media, whose job it is to be involved. Several Deputy coroners after their retirement have told me with next of kin notification it was the hardest thing they did.
The scene of the death of one roommate and a second ex-roommate and former Sheriff’s deputy some years back had a profound effect prompting me to again information about the phenomenon, share it where appropriate and make myself available, even sometimes inserting myself in situations, and sharing my opinion.
Kay Redfield Jamison, PHD, professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University wrote “the suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.”
Our series continues tomorrow with facts, figures and formulas gleaned from a study from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and also the perspective of gun advocates.
Incidentally since the weekend there has been a 25 percent spike in calls received by the National Hotline.
That number 1-800-273-8255.