Psychological Self-Help

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research, or even better, if one is concerned about bipolar disorders
and wants some sound advice, see Kay Redfield Jamison (2000). 
Other researchers describe two other basic kinds of suicide: direct,
quick self-destruction and indirect, slow self-destruction. The first is
when someone shoots him/herself or runs a car into a tree. The
second is when someone self-destructs by being accident prone,
refusing to get or follow treatment, abusing drugs or food, abusing
his/her body, risking getting AIDS, etc. Most of these people deny they
are killing themselves, and I agree that many factors other than death
wishes are involved in over-eating, driving recklessly, neglecting to
use a condom, etc. Unfortunately, some people even believe the
ancient Arabian idea that destruction or death is necessary before re-
building or getting a new life at a higher level. 
Two more views of suicide
There are many explanations of suicide: some erudite psychosocial
speculation of the clergy and psychologists and some puzzled wonderings by
grieving friends and family. I’ll share with you a sample of the wisdom of
both. Both convey many insights.
First sample: In his reflection about the causes of the deaths by suicide of
two friends on the same day in Ireland, Dr Sean Brady, the Archbishop of
Armagh, singles out the "twin afflictions" of (1) despair and (2) presumption
as the "enemy of hope". Despair because it eats away at hope, and
presumption because it involves a sense of entitlement to wealth and status
that encourages selfishness. 
The Archbishop writes: "Essentially despair derives from a loss of hope. This
despair is often accompanied by a crippling fear; a fear of the present and a
blindness to the future. A sign of this fear is an inner emptiness which
consumes and debilitates and manifests itself in destructive ways which would
include the inability to make life-long commitments and to face long-term
responsibilities. This in turn often results in a frantic attempt to escape
pressing reality within an aggressive pursuit of pleasure, which temporarily
distracts, but inevitably disappoints and further exacerbates an already
precarious situation." 
Presumption, he writes, is the other contemporary temptation against hope:
"What is alarming though, in a society focused on material gain, is the
accompanying over-confidence that wealth and status can bring with regard
to the apparent certainty and comfort of one's own position. This
disengagement from the reality of the plight of others can anaesthetize the
conscience, creating an institutionalized self-centeredness and selfishness,
which are sometimes unquestioningly promoted on principle, pushing
The second example of trying to understand suicide is very different. On
January 1, 2005, the LA Times writers, Rubin & Murillo, describe some of the
events that preceded the suicide of a 15-year-old girl from a working-class
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