Friday, 13 May 2016

Shoot The Damm Dog

It very much looks as though the journalist, magazine editor and agony aunt Sally Brampton took her own life earlier this week.
She has written much about her life long experience with depression, indeed before I started work as a Samaritan, her book Shoot The Damm Dog- a Memoir Of Depression was one of my suggested background reads.
Last night, I was reminded of a quote from that book. It is, perhaps, the most graphic yet simple explanation of the suicidal act.

" Killing oneself, anyway is a misnomer. We don't kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, "He fought so hard." And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”

45 comments:

  1. many of us do battle with the dog on a daily basis. My way of shushing it away is to immerse myself in colour and sew like a demon. Cheaper than drink or nicotine and you get to enjoy the after effects. And no I am not dissing the almighty fight that many go through, I find that my attitude works for me.

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    1. All the 'little thingsa' are what have kept me going over and over, Pam. And my dogs of course!

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  2. I appreciate your quote about suicide. As one who has struggled off and on with ideation, I often feel resentful about opinions that it is merely a cry for help or done out of anger directed at someone else. It is a struggle, a deep and personal one. The pain is multi-layered and often beyond the reach of even the best efforts of the sufferer. Your work on the suicide line is brave, hard, and appreciated. But sometimes the darkness wins. It's no one's fault. It is a disease and it can be fatal. Thanks again for your understanding attitude.

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    1. Just want to agree with you xx peace be

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    2. (((Nora))) Yes ideation has never been about others or anger for me, it is about peace at last.

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  3. I'm sure that no one considers suicide on a whim, it has to be a tough battle by one's self.

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  4. I cant understand how people say someone committing suicide are being selfish. I have always thought they are being very brave to take that final step.

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  5. Touching quote, John. Winston Churchill, George Muller and others gone before us, fought that damn black dog. Many people - medical and technical progress notwithstanding - still suffer today.I feel for them; I'm sorry to hear about Sally Brampton's death. xx

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  6. Regularly visited by the black dog, and deeply saddened by this latest loss. Thanks for your blog. On the days when nothing else alleviates the darkness your blog has kept me going. Xx

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  7. Excellent quote . . .
    Thank you for the mention John . . .

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  8. I have no words for this today other than- yes. So true.

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  9. Thank you John. That was helpful.

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  10. A profound quote indeed. May she rest in peace from her struggle.

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  11. Absolutely. It's a long, hard struggle which sometimes can be contained and sometimes ends in utter despair and suicide. The idea that it's a casual off-the-cuff decision is quite wrong. The idea that it's selfish is also wrong - unless you think putting an end to unbearable pain is selfish.

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  12. Had to google her. Oh, Elle. When my brother tried to commit suicide resulting in horrendous injuries, so bad that he has no memory of what he did or why, we asked ourselves why and there was no answer and he with some damaged brain cannot tell us. While we all ignore the circumstances of his 'accident', it is the back of our minds and quite puzzling. At least he survived.

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  13. I just ordered her book. The black dog has been kicking my ass for 2 months. Why do we think we're the only ones suffering? Thank you for posting this.

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  14. My son lives with the black dog barely caged and constantly looking over his shoulder, and yet devotes his life through his work to helping others in need on a daily basis. That he can do this and do it as well as he does makes me so proud.

    He is currently on holiday all by himself in Cyprus, a lone foreign holiday that he was determined to accomplish before he hits the big 30 next year. He sent me a text this morning to say he had just swam in the Mediterranean, he couldn't even swim until he took lessons a few months ago especially so he could achieve this dream .... the black dog did not swim with him, he's safely caged back at home!!

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    1. Thats a wonderful achievement for your son, being able to not only get up and go but conquering something new whilst there too, I can imagine what this must mean to you. X

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    2. I can see why you are so proud of him. He sounds like a great guy!

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  15. What a profound statement.

    I try to hide it but dealing with depression is a daily, hourly thing for me and I was raised by people who said, Get over it and pull yourself up by the bootstraps...I try.

    I can understand the leaving but never think I could.

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  16. When suicide happens, those who are left behind wonder what they might have done to prevent or at least to delay the final act. Usually, a different path might have been taken so it is always very sad to learn of such deaths.

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  17. So sad. Depression is a dreadful thing.

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  18. If depression is a chemical abnormality in the brain, why can't pharmaceuticals or chemical implants help? Such a loss of life and talent!

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  19. Very sad to read this. Her page at the back in Psychologies magazine was always the first thing I read.
    x

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    1. Yes, I always read her column first in Psychologies so was upset to read of her death in the Guardian yesterday.

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  20. Depression is one of the hardest battles to fight. No open wounds, no bleeding or chemo or casts, so no empathy. No one ever tells a cancer patient, "Oh get over it!" yet depression and PTSD victims hear it way too often.

    Thanks for sharing this post with us.

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  21. What a remarkable woman and a sad loss.

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  22. Very sad and tragic - - and her quote is absolutely right on target.

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  23. My husband suffers from PTSD and depression, my daughter is bi polar, both of them have been told by so called professionals to 'pull themselves together'.

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  24. How very sad. My brother in law was a doctor .. he committed suicide. He was always depressed, said my sis in law. He would speak of death as relief. really tragic for everyone concerned.

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  25. My mother suffered from depression. She attempted suicide a few times. She lived to 87 and I can say that a good part of that 87 years was spent not wanting to live.
    My younger brother committed suicide when he was 19. I believe he just couldn't face a life burdened with depression. I understood.
    I agree with Sally Brampton's quote.....life can and does defeat a lot of people.

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  26. Brilliant quote.
    I am so sorry that the interminable battle became too much for her.

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  27. My brother died aged 21 years. He battled it for about 6 years. Took me about 10 years to accept it. What a terrible state to get in. Heartbreaking.

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  28. I have nothing to say.

    Love,
    Janie

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  29. Reading through the comments, it is blatantly obvious that almost everyone is touched by mental illness in some form, whether personally or through a relative or friend. Thank goodness it is becoming less hush-hush and more understood. I've known far too many young people who have either contemplated suicide or committed suicide, and yes, the others left behind do wonder what they could have done. Thank you for posting about this, John. -Jenn

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  30. My bouncy sis was a 'bootstraps' person until she got post natal depression with her third baby. Now she understands and is much more compassionate. I have dealt with depression enough never to condemn someone for making that choice. It makes me very angry though that we have lost too many lovely people from the Lyme Disease community due to critical loss of hope because of lack of support from officialdom and even family. I think our society is currently badly failing the chronically ill of all kinds, and part of that is lack of compassion for their struggles.

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  31. Thankyou John. Sadly my 52 yr old neighbour succumbed to the black dog on Thursday morning after a battle for many, many years. We as neighbours are all in a state of shock as this struggle with depression is not visible. His wife and three children have many wonderful people supporting them as I'm sure he knew would happen. Life will never be the same for them.

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  32. "The ultimate form of self criticism" the impact on others seems greater than other deaths. I am still unable to write about a fellow blogger who committed suicide last year - we failed him, he failed himself.

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  33. I think the word suicide means self murder. If you cannot contemplate murdering another human, then how much harder it must be to kill yourself? We have lost quite a few family members to suicide, are always sad but rarely question, their often inevitable, final choice, it is what it is. We all often feel afflicted by some sort of sad joke, constantly battling, not always succeeding.

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  34. Most everyone is touched by the black dog from time to time, and for some it is a constant companion.

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  35. It's an illness that people don't see. Wear a pot and you can guarantee that people will say "poor you" tell them you are battling with depression and they tend to step backwards slightly. They are embarrassed to say Do you need any help ? yet many people just need someone to confide in and tell their troubles. Some don't and try to end their life. It is a constant struggle to maintain a healthy day to day life for some. Some don't sadly come through it. Had the "black dog" looking over my husbands shoulder for the past 40 years. Parkinsons is taking its toll and making it a drain on him. Thus I wake up in a morning and Thank God we got through that one yet again. Depression changes lives and outlooks. It's a horrible disease which no one seems to know the answer to.

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  36. Mental pain is as real and overwhelming as physical pain. And just as dangerous to a person's life.

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  37. I don't think anyone should judge another's actions...you cannot walk in another's shoes.

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