This is my first essay of 2015, but I have been composing it in my head for a few weeks.
Some cases of depression can lead to suicide, some suicides are caused by depression but other factors are included. This is just a non-medical person’s opinion.
I was inspired to write upon this subject by new research on suicide involving factors other than shame, fear, self-hatred or bi polar conditions. That factor seems to be altitude.
In this essay I am looking at three cases of suicide that do seem to be connected with the first of these factors: shame, fear, self-hatred and bi polar conditions.
I also include the man that was featured in the new movie The Imitation Game, Alan Turing.
The first case of which I have a personal involvement was of my own older son Michael Temps.
He had a self-loathing, and was treated for depression which in my humble opinion was a wrong diagnosis. He should have been tested for bi polar syndrome.
Mike got into a fundamentalist religion, and took all his social cues from this religion. When the object of his attention rejected him, he could not live with the pain.
I think this is the case because there were similar cases of depression and bi polar conditions in the family. With the proper medication this can be controlled, He refused to take his medications, and insisted that his life was not worth living.
He also was a shy person, and not too social with anybody. This lack of social education may be laid to the fact that there was a divorce in his young life, and he became very isolated. Having an alcoholic for the custodial parent and a new step mother probably did not help his adjustment either.
At age 28 he used the Coronado Bridge to end his pain.
I always say that Danielle Steele and I have a lot in common, as she lost her son Nick to suicide by drugs when he was only 19. She wrote a pretty extensive book about him and his life, and I wrote a short biography and “grief journal” on Mike.
I think Nick Traina had some strikes against him when he was born. His father was a drug addict, and not too present in Nick’s life.
Although Miss Steele had the money to place Nick in programs to help him, she also let him have too much money as an allowance so that he could go out and buy drugs. Being in a rock band probably did not help either.
Nick was left by himself even though he had round the clock “minders” and succeeded in obtaining a large dose of morphine. The needle was still in his arm, so not much enjoyment was to be had out of the last shot.
Since he had exhibited the symptoms of bi polar syndrome from childhood, there probably was not a whole lot to be done to prevent his eventual demise by his own hand. I was told that if a person is really bent on killing themselves there will always be a way.
Turning to the case of Alan Turing, I think his suicide by cyanide was mainly to end the pain.
Alan Turing, according to the movie, was a shy child growing up in the hideous clutches of the British private school system which was run on The Lord of the Flies pattern. I fail to see how bullying small boys can lead to well-rounded and smart citizens of any society.
Could there have been signs of his homosexuality at age nine or ten? Can other boys smell out “differentness” and home in on any weakness?
Alan Turing was one of the bright lights of math in the years leading up to WWII and did the work that enabled Britain to crack the German codes. By applying a statistical method of using the code against the Germans, it was claimed that knowing where armies and navies were had the effect of shortening the war by two years, and saving millions of lives. Since the Russian lost many more millions of soldiers’ lives than any other country, I wonder if these lives saved were Russian, English, American or Germans? Nobody tells that tale.
Alan Turing was not only prevented from benefitting from his effort in breaking codes that won the war, he was prosecuted by his own government for being a homosexual and forced to have chemical castration or prison. He chose the castration, but held out for only a year before ingesting cyanide at the relatively young age of 41
For our new statistics, several studies have shown that the suicide rate is higher in those states with high altitudes. Perry Renshaw published a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2011 that shows that Utah is the number one state in anti-depressant use.
Since depression can lead to suicide the studies seem to confirm that mountain states lead in suicide rates, and that the high altitude is the cause of brain chemical imbalance.
In 2010 Case Western University published High Altitude Medicine and Biology studies that show that suicide rates start increasing between 2,000 and 3,000 feet in all U.S. regions. South Korea and Austria show similar results.
Since Utah rates of anti-depressant use seemed to correlate with religious practices that lead to depression and suicide, it was long held to blame. Now we can see that it may not be the sole cause of depression in women in Utah, but a combination of social factors and higher altitude.