"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes." — William Gibson.The Problem of Suicide: You Are Not Alone
As the survivor of an arduous suicide attempt I've subsequently come to contemplate this subject a bit more than most. Throughout the years I've seen friends, family, and loved-ones take their own lives. Each time I hear of another suicide I am reminded not only of my own attempt, but also the attempts by those I've known. To be perfectly honest... my response is probably indicative of some PTSD. But I'm more than a decade removed from my major depressive episode and I feel that the subject of depression and suicide ought now be addressed.
It should be pointed out that suicide is now a leading cause of death in the United States. Amongst the young adults it ranks as the second or third leading cause of death (depending upon the specific age range examined). In other segments of populations around the world it is also a primary cause of death. Economic factors seem overtly connected with suicide in many nations. Certain professions have a higher rate of suicide than others. And, for U.S. soldiers, suicide has proven to be more deadly to them than combat. This problem of suicide could accurately be described as a public heath crisis or an epidemic.
While a variety of factors contribute to individual instances of suicide and the overall suicide rate, I believe that progressive radicals, anarchists, and social justice activists have somewhat unique psychological factors that can also come into play. Although they are probably just as likely to suffer from problems like social isolation or drug dependency, I believe that those who are informed about the myriad of crises that humanity currently faces are given an extra punctuation in terms of reasons to be dismayed. So, in addition to any personal problems they may have, they are also aware that the world seems to be going to hell in a proverbial handbasket. And while I personally believe that's a fairly accurate assessment of things, I don't advocate suicide as a response to this reality.