Gang consultant Jason Davis on the impact of violence, on suicide, schizophrenia and bipolar diagnosis.
What does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to live a dignified life? Should the two not go together? When a person no longer has any real awareness of her existence, no recognition of previously loved friends and family, no control over body functions, no ability to feed herself, is this a dignified life? Is this a human existence? How much worse the situation must be to a person who exhibits all of the above losses, but who still retains enough lucidity to understand the situation. Living must be a torment, a “hell” on earth, except to those who still retain a belief in a “heaven” after death. To someone like that, the only control left, is over food. Whether to eat and live, or refuse to live, and die. Suicide by starvation. I was faced with just that situation.
I let her die. When my aunt was admitted to a nursing home, she weighed about ninety pounds, and was hardly eating. The team of doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, suggested a feeding tube. They were shocked by my immediate refusal, as they felt it was the only way to keep her alive. I was the [...] continue the story
To be or not, as Shakespeare said, or to live or not to live. That was the question which plagued me. I was now seventy-seven years old. Did I want to live into my very senior years, given that I had developed neuropathy which was hampering my ability to walk and causing me great pain? Then, a further question appeared; would it take more courage to commit suicide, and avoid the painful future which would include a lessening of my faculties, both physical and intellectual, and would include requiring someone to look after me, or to choose to live, and accept the years and changes to come, as a challenge?
I had always been healthy, strong, and independent. Thus the concept of not walking, and needing someone to look after my daily needs was an anathema to me. The neuropathy had probably been developing over many years, as I can now recall getting tired faster, and not being able to walk as far. Also there appeared a numbness and tingling sensation in my legs, along with pain up my legs and into my back. As well, the tingling had begun in my fingertips. So now fear really set in. How long [...] continue the story
My name is Jon. I am an addict in recovery. I am 24 years old and have just completed the Our House program here in Edmonton, AB. Over the last 10 ½ months I have changed so much. I have found the peace and serenity I have been looking for my whole life. I used to be insane.
I grew up an only child with a lesbian mother. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I was kind of a loner until I started using drugs. I started drinking when I was 13 and I loved it. I drank until I blacked out. I started smoking pot when I was 14 and I was partying like most teenagers do. I got introduced to cocaine at the age of 16 when I was at the bar. I partied all through high school and graduated as the all-star quarterback with the trophy girlfriend at the age of 17. I had started apprenticing to be a welder out of school and started working all over the map. I got kicked out of bars all over Alberta for fighting. I started realizing I had problems because I couldn’t stop using, gambling [...] continue the story
Glenn Close, the founder of http://BringChange2Mind.org, tells the very personal story of how mental illness affected her family. Visit http://BringChange2Mind.org for more information on how you can help combat the stigma around mental health.
October 21, 2009