Suicide-Part 3


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 death.

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 didn’t realize until I ran across a front page newspaper that my mother had kept that her mother graphically committed suicide, the exact manner not contributing to the breath of 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 the potential.

Never mentally recovering from my Dad’s early death during an elective surgery when he was but 46 and my absence in the Military exasperated the situation and I am sure my continued absence in raising my own family in a different town no doubt decreased her mental stability.

I share this part of the series only to put in a bit of 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 has responded to reports that were ruled suicide which of course most 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.

The scene of the death of one roommate and a second ex-roommate and Sheriff’s detective some years back had a profound affect prompting me to gain as much information about the phenomenon, share it where appropriate and make myself available, even sometimes inserting myself in possible situations, and sharing my opinion.

“The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible,” wrote Kay Redfield Jamison, PHD, professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, “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).

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