Suicide, Mental Health and Gatekeeping

Someone in my family committed suicide a few days ago. It was quite unexpected, not just for me, but for a lot of people. Apparently, he had been quite unhappy for a long while with things stemming from childhood, things that he was addressing in therapy. I keep wondering what it is about one person that they can lead a life of misery, setbacks and struggle, without ever earnestly considering the thought of suicide, while another lives a relatively affluent life whose happiness was derailed during a formative period, who then decides to take their own life?

It makes me reevaluate existential pain and suffering. The human psyche is too complex to compare two situations. It makes me reevaluate a lot of the mental health gatekeeping which happens. Someone claims to have ptsd, and others jump on that person for suggesting that their pain and suffering is en par with the suffering of others who have a more “legitimate” form of ptsd, like soldiers. You simply can’t compare the two cases on such a superficial level.

Anxiety

I’ve always considered myself to be a person with a generally low level of anxiety. Especially when compared to some of the people around me, I felt that I wasn’t afflicted by the same levels of anxiety as those I saw in my peers. Over time, I’ve learned more about anxiety and the ways in which you can express it, and I’ve realised that from time to time I’ve experienced it, but never in a way that was either unpleasant or debilitating. I’ve known fear, especially when I was young, but anxiety was never a significant part of my life.

The last few months have been a bit of a struggle. Work challenges have preoccupied me, my motivation has gone down, less exercise, less endorphins, less happy overall, etc. And what I’ve noticed is that my general level of anxiety has risen to a point where it’s having some interesting effects on my mind and the things that occupy me in those random moments, when I’m cycling to work or take a shower.

I start thinking about accidents more often. About getting injured. About what would happen to the people I’d leave behind if I should come to die. What would happen to me if one of my loved one died. That sort of thing. It doesn’t happen very often, and I always consider the thoughts kind of silly, not lending them much gravitas, but I wonder; if this trend continues, will I still be able to enjoy jiu jitsu as much given the possibility of injury?

For now I’m taking care of myself a little better. I make sure to get to training two times a week. Go running two times a week. Not indulge in junk food too much. And make sure to do those things that bring me joy and calm me down. My friends and family have been quite helpful, too. They’ve all given me the space I need and have put up with my terrible mood, for which I am very thankful.

A Beautiful Time to Be Alive

At the moment, Joasia is on a flight to the U.S. on which she has internet access. I’m chatting to her, while I can simultaneously track her flight, see at which altitude she’s flying, at what speed, and at which gate she is scheduled to arrive. The internet has become more and more ubiquitous, which is a blessing as long as we are mindful of how readily you can be tracked.