Suicide is a difficult situation to deal with when it happens to a spouse or other close family member. One author proposed six reasons that persons commit suicide and another suggests that it can be a consequence of passive aggressive personality disorder. Either way, depression and mental disturbance are constant findings in those who commit suicide. Here we will look at the mental health issues and the conditions that can lead to suicide and to the resulting effects on remaining family members.
It is often a combination of genes…inherent mental coping skill deficiencies…… and environment……being in a situation of high stress and depressing circumstances. It must indeed be a combination of both factors since many Native Americans live in depressing or stressful living environments and have an inordinately high suicide rate. Just like all genetic traits, the environment will accentuate or sublimate a trait so that it will temper the expression of the trait. Those who have it all going for them from and environmental standpoint, for example, can also succumb to suicide. This latter example indicates that the genes can be strong enough to over ride the influence of the environment. Hence, there is a delicate balance between nature and nurture for expressing of genetic traits that applies to all proclivities and inborn tendencies. Which is more important? …They both are… depending on the strength of the gene and the strength of the stimulus. Consequently, a powerful genetic presence in combination with a highly conducive environment will produce the most cases of suicide. The converse circumstances will produce the least. In other words, phenotype and genotype are both powerful depending on the case at hand.
In this presentation we will present information to help those who are the casualties of those who commit suicide…..the remaining spouses and family members. Often the lives of the family and spouses are changed or harmed irreparably. Many spouses and even siblings feel a profound sense of guilt and remorse that they were left out of the persons pain and suffering or that they could not do anything to help. Some may even feel they contributed to the suicide….a second tragedy. The biggest problem with mental health issues in general is that we do not have a good scientific basis for the diagnosis and treatment of many mental disorders. The DSM series have changed over the decades to now include many and varied diagnoses that seem to fit a fad or disease du jour. Therefore, until we find a good model for the diagnosis of mental illness we will continue to have poor outcomes in treatment of these conditions. Sadly, many are even attempting to thwart advancement in the science of mental illness for selfish and material aims… What was once abnormal is now normal and vice versa. Pheno-genomics or Astrophenomics is the current scientific model that seems to show promise in the elucidation of facts and truths regarding the field of psychology and psychiatry.
From case studies in the practice of medicine and phenogemomics it has been found that there are certain phenotype markers that are characteristic of those who commit suicide. As has been stated before, like all diseases, there are varying degrees of expression or severity. Mental illness in general seems to be really varying degrees of affective disorder of the schizophrenia type. Mild disease will cause mild thought disorder, mild delusions, mild hallucinations, mild depression and or elation….to moderate……. to moderately severe…… and then finally severe or profound. Mild diabetes is real just as severe diabetes exists. Why we want to exclude psychiatric diseases from this model is curious.
From the files of my research, those who commit suicide invariably have mild to moderate schizoaffective disorder. Again, if it is more than mild….. in the moderately severe category, the person will not be overtly psychotic but still ill enough to have symptoms that can lead to suicide…even if the living conditions are great or non conducive. Hence placing the person who has mild to moderate schizophrenia on medications for mania may actually worsen their condition. If a persons disease is seen as only Bi-polar for example, and not be treated for thought disturbance but for mood disturbance, then this person may actually deteriorate further into psychosis caused by improper medication or just worsening of the condition into the overtly psychotic or severe range. Hence, improper diagnosis can be lethal in certain circumstances. With the high suicide rate we have both a medical diagnosis crisis and we also have an environmental crisis marked by conducive conditions to suicide.
Moreover, evidence indicates that like many if not all psychiatric disorders there appears to be defense mechanisms and compensatory manifestations of the disease at play. The diagnosis of Narcissism is one that comes to mind. Narcissism is named for story about a lad named Narcissus who saw his image in a pool of water and became so enthralled that he would stare at himself for hours on end. Clearly he became self absorbed and self centered. He was not overly in love with himself, as some wrongfully label Narcissism, instead he was overly self absorbed due to the fact that he was insecure and needed constant reassurance of his self worth and looks by looking at his image for days on end. Hate of self or profound insecurity, is Narcissism. People who love themselves in truth do not need constant reminders of their self worth. They are strong or secure enough to be humble and do not need to prove their worth to everyone by being an egotist….constantly needing attention. Please rewrite the definition of Narcissism to reflect this reality……enough already. Likewise, with severe depression, there is a defense mechanism at play or a compensatory response that belies the real mental state of the depressed. Evidence indicates that depresssion is fact anger that has turned in on itself. These persons are not happy with circumstances and are angry… but hide the anger in sadness. Hence, sadness becomes a tool of manipulating the persons that they are angry with or who are nearby…….passive aggressive personality disorder. Emotions are our tools for survival for they provide resourcefulness and adaptability to take a blow from life and bounce back like water responding to a pebble. Emotions are water and there is lack of emotion in affective disorders including depression. Emotional immaturity causes a negative reaction when things do not go their way….anger and sadness. Is it a genetic problem or was it an over indulgent parent? Nature and nurture are again at work. Here is the link to the article describing this feature of persons who commit suicide. http://www.mdguidelines.com/passive-aggressive-personality-disorder . If the anger is not released via appropriate psychotherapy the person will kill himself……or others. We need more and better mental health services not less.
So for those of you who have dealt with the death of a loved one, stop destroying yourself. Some people are so kind and sensitive that they are devastated for life by the actions of a person who was actually intent on harming them because they wanted to harm themselves. You must realize this as the real nature of mental illness. Suicide and murder are closely related. Instead of a double death, there is a psychological death dealt to the spouse sometimes by the pain and trauma left in the wake of the suicide….. Be thankful that they did not kill you too at the same time as many, many cases happen just in this fashion. Save yourself for others who love you and have the mental strength and stability to fight life’s battles and get through the growing process that is pain and suffering. The main purpose of life itself is growth that comes from rain or tears caused by pain and suffering. After each cloud there is a rainbow or sunshine . You just have to hang in there and your blessing will come shinning with the light of the sun..