PCT and Suicide

[From Bruce Gregory (990606.1530 EDT)]

Rick Marken (990606.1210)

I think people consider killing themselves because they have lost
control of one or more perceptions. People dying in pain have
clearly lost control of their ability to keep the perception
of pain at zero. I considered suicide (for an instant) years ago
when I briefly lost control of my perception of life having any
meaning (I solved the problem by no longer controlling for that
perception; I'm much better now;-)).

Perhaps efforts to encourage the individual to exercise control in other
domains are a place to start. It may be that suicide seems to be an
attractive option when it seems to the individual that all his or her
attempts to exercise control are doomed to failure.

Bruce Gregory

[From Rick Marken (990606.1210)]

Me to Mark Lazare:

then why not talk about [topics of interest to you]? I bet there
aree many people on this list who would like to talk about these
things.

Hank Folson (990605.2000), after posting Mark's suicide post that
got no response:

I think you lost the bet. :slight_smile:

I should have said "why not try several different topics; I bet
some people will be interested in _one_ of them". I've posted
many posts that got no response. If you want to discuss something
that no one else on CSGNet seems to want to discuss then I suggest
trying to discuss something else -- or try to discuss it with
another audience. Remember, you have to _vary_ yours outputs (the
(topics of your posts) to get the inputs (discussion) you want.

But just for the heck of it (to prove, I guess, that route 1)
can work;-)) I'll respond to Mark's suicide post of 4/21/99:

The Problem

Suicide took the lives of 30,484 Americans in 1992 (11.1 per
100, 000 population).

Is this a problem for you or for the people committing suicide?
It seems to me that some proportion of those who commit suicide
may have _wanted_ to kill themselves. So suicide is not really
a "problem" (in the PCT sense) for these people. I agree that
suicide is a problem for people who are in conflict about it;
people who want _and_ don't want to kill themselves. Once they
kill themselves they can never solve the conflict any other way.

� Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among- Americans
aged 65 years and older...
Risk factors for suicide among older persons differ from those
among the young.

This is evidence that at least _some_ suicides are an approach
to dealing with incurable and paingful illness. In these cases,
the suicide was the solution, not the problem.

You report many other group level statistics on suicide. PCT
is really a model of individuals so let's start there. My guess
is that each individual does or does not commit suicide for
different reasons but all must be in some degree of conflict
about it; they do and they don't want to die.

I think people consider killing themselves because they have lost
control of one or more perceptions. People dying in pain have
clearly lost control of their ability to keep the perception
of pain at zero. I considered suicide (for an instant) years ago
when I briefly lost control of my perception of life having any
meaning (I solved the problem by no longer controlling for that
perception; I'm much better now;-)). I talked one girl out of
suicide by convincing her that I would _not_ turn her in to the
college suicide councelors who were trying to save her with
electro-shock therapy.

People who are in conflict oscillate between the goals in conflict;
to some extent this oscillation is disturbance driven (since the
conflict removes the ability to control the disturbed perceptions);
so a suicidal person leans toward suicide one day and away from it
the next, depending on circumstances that affect the variables
they are controlling.

If the loop gain of the suicide side of the conflict is made
artificially high (by having a gun available, say) then when
a disturbance pushes the conflict toward suicide, then that goal
can be achieved by a small movement of one's finger. If the person
has to use wrist slitting or some other low gain approach to
achieving the suicide goal, the conflict would have a chance to
move away from the suicide goal before the person kills themsleves;
this would account for all the unsuccessful suicide attempts; this
would also explain the higher suicide rate when guns are around
than when they are not.

In my experience, dealing with suicidal people is like dealing
with anyone with problems (error signals). The only thing unique
about suicidal people is that they have settled on one idea about
how to solve those problems: killing themselves. I treat such
people with respect; take them seriously; try to suggest alternative
solutions to their problems and make sure they know that no other
solutions can be tried once they've tried suicide.

Best

Rick

···

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Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/