Stigma

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

In a week when two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide within days of each other, so did hundreds of other people in the U.S. One of them was named Flinn, a classmate of mine in high school. On Flinn’s public Facebook page, an outpouring of sympathetic posts, one after the other, […]

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“If You Take Meds for Mental Illness, Do Not Feel Ashamed or Weak”

“If You Take Meds for Mental Illness, Do Not Feel Ashamed or Weak”

If you take psychiatric medications – or want to – these words written by a dear friend of mine, MaryElizabeth, might help you: I feel compelled to say this. If you take meds for mental illness to help you stay alive, or just as importantly, to move from surviving to thriving, do not feel ashamed or weak. […]

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Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

What will people think of you? What will people say about you? Some people asked me these questions when I told them I was publishing an essay in the New York Times (“A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past”) about a very dark time in my life when I made a suicide attempt. I can’t really blame them. […]

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Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Written by on October 28, 2015 in All Posts, Misc, Stigma with 34 Comments

People who die in tornadoes are so selfish. They have people who love them, people who will be hurt terribly if they die. Yet they die anyway. People who die in tornadoes are thinking only of themselves. They take the easy way out when they refuse to overcome the storm. They don’t care that their […]

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10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

  “I want to kill myself.”  Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you […]

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Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Across the Internet and elsewhere, people apply the term suicide survivor to two different groups of people: 1) people who struggled with suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, and survived, and 2) people who were never suicidal at all, but who lost a loved one to suicide.  In a post last year, I defined a suicide survivor […]

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What is a Suicide Gesture?

What is a Suicide Gesture?

Many clinicians and researchers advocate for abandoning the term “suicide gesture,” but its use still persists. Over the last few years, several definitions have been reported: “…A suicide gesture is like a one person play in which the actor creates a dramatic effect, not by killing or even attempting to kill himself, but by feigning […]

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Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

“I had no idea what I had done to you, although I should have known it in retrospect. So I guess now is a good time to say I am sorry, although it is about 19 years too late.” Those words came from a dear friend of mine who went through a prolonged suicidal crisis […]

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“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

A friend recently sent me an anguished email about someone she knew whose teenage daughter died the week before. The mother was telling others that the death was an accident, when it was unquestionably a suicide. This saddened my friend greatly – not only the suicide itself, but also the family’s shame, so intense that […]

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Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

“She is not really suicidal. She just wants attention.” “He did not really attempt suicide. It was just a cry for help.” “If she had really wanted to die, she’d be dead.” These are often the reactions of friends and family to a suicidal person. Sometimes, it is true that a person who made what […]

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