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There is no cure for depression, but the symptoms can be managed so that a person can function in society. But even then, setbacks will occur and the depression symptoms will become overwhelming. One of the most alarming of these symptoms is thoughts of suicide. Longing for death and an end to the suffering of depression is a constant struggle for many people with depression, including this writer.

I was diagnosed with endogenous recurring depression in 2003 (now usually called “major depressive syndrome, unspecified” by the fourth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). This basically means that I can become suicidal for no reason at all. The first time I tried to kill myself was when I was in the early 1980s. My last attempt was in April of 2003, but suicide still crosses my mind. So how do I ignore it? ….

Please read the rest of my article at Yahoo! Voices.  Thanks!

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When I was a pre-teen eons ago, my Mom confessed that when she was a teenager she tried to commit suicide.  Obviously, she didn’t succeed.  She found a bottle of her father’s sleeping pills and took most of the pills, but left just enough pills for a couple of regularly prescribed doses.

When I asked why she didn’t just take all of the pills, Mom replied, “Because if I took all of Daddy’s pills, he would be mad enough to kill me.”

Okay, granted, I don’t quite get the logic here.  Mom wanted to die but yet was scared her father was going to kill her AFTER she died.

Well, actually — there  IS no logic.  Then again, none of you ever met my Grandfather.  Consider yourself lucky.

However twisted this reasoning was, it managed to save my Mom’s life.  When I feel suicidal, I tend to do think the same way. “Wait – if I manage to commit suicide Mom will somehow find me and kill me. Yikes! I might as well live.”

Doesn’t make sense, but it works for me!  Perhaps it might work for you.  When it comes to keeping yourself alive, you do what you have to do.  Don’t be embarrassed about it.

Good luck to everyone reading this.

The Death of Seneca by Luca Giordano

For the last few months, I’ve been learning about the Roman Empire.  I’ve been doing this voluntarily.  I hope this doesn’t mean I’ve developed a brand new mental illness.  Anyway, in studying about the lives of Roman aristocrats during the reigns of the first five Caesars, I couldn’t help but notice that there was a suicide happening every other day, especially during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14 CE to 37 CE.)

It turns out that people weren’t more depressed in Roman times than currently.  Laws were much different.  If you were executed, the government took all of your property and belongings, leaving nothing for your family to inherit.  But if you committed suicide, your family was allowed to inherit.  During the reigns of some Emperors, there was a wait of a few days between sentencing and execution.  This gave the condemned enough time to “do the honorable thing” and commit suicide.

Methods of suicide were pretty grim and showed how determined these people were to die.  They included:

  • Falling on your sword (I’ve always wondered how this was accomplished.  How did the sword stay up as you were falling?  Did you take a running start?)
  • Poison (not done very often)
  • Starving yourself to death (now that takes willpower, since the body can survive on just water for about a month)
  • Slitting the veins in the wrists AND ankles (One accused Senator, during his trial, quietly asked for a stylus and managed to do the deed with it.)
  • Jamming a dagger into your chest or throat (the latter was supposedly how Nero committed suicide, but there are conflicting accounts as to how and when he died)
  • Pissing off the Empress (Guaranteed death!)

The most bizarre suicide I’ve read about was that of Nero’s third tutor, the legendary orator and playwright Seneca the Younger.  After he retired from advising Nero, he was convicted as being a part of a conspiracy to kill Nero.  He was given the option to commit suicide.  He took it — and his young wife, Pompeia Paulina, who was not convicted of any crime.  Seneca and his wife slit their wrists and ankles.  After a few hours, the wife passed out but Seneca managed to revise his latest book.

Realizing that he was taking too ling to die, he went into his bathhouse so the warm water would make him bleed faster and stop clotting up.  Roman bath houses consisted of three baths — cold, warm and hot.  After an hour or so, Seneca was still alive in the warm bath and went to go into the hot bath.  He finally died — from suffocation.  The steam was so thick he choked.

What about the wife?  She survived because Nero heard about the wife’s actions and commanded that she be kept alive.  She stayed alive for a few more years, but ancient historians note that for the rest of her life, she was “very pale.”  I bet!

Heartbreak — I’ve been there. I know what it’s like.  Itseems like the world has come to an end.  Well, even worse because the world hasn’t ended.  Everyone is telling you to get over your ex and you just can’t.  So, not only do you have a broken heart, you have zero sympathy.  This makes suicide look like a soothing solution.

Society makes heartbreak worse than it needs to be because of the myth of the soul mate or true love.  You know this one by heart — there is just one person in the world who is your perfect mate. This is because no two people are alike.  All you have to do is find him/her/it.  If that person leaves you, it’s because YOU screwed up.  What a tragedy!

This makes it seem like you have just one shot at romantic or sexual happiness.  It’s a lie.  True — not two people are EXACTLY alike, but they’re not that different.  Look at all of the widows or widowers who find love again and claim to be happy.  Men seem to fall in love all of the time and can have equally intense feelings for more than one mate (which gets them into a lot of trouble.)

Besides — there’s nothing anyone can do for you that you can’t do for yourself.  For example, I’ve given up on dating after my last boyfriend nearly killed me.  Since 2004, I’ve only had fantasy relationships.  They work for me!

In closing, here’s The Police’s Can’t Stand Losing You, about an immature lad planning to commit suicide as revenge on the girlfriend who dumped him: