Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Robin Williams appeared to have everything that a person might desire, but it was not enough.
I have been contemplating suicide on and off for many years, but haven’t pulled the plug, and I have not achieved the material success that he achieved or the admiration of millions of fans.
I remember deriving comfort when I was a child from the comforting realization that I could end my miserable life anytime and be no worse off than I was before I was born.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not depressed.
Absence of meaning in a world gone mad greets me everywhere I look.
Yet, I persevere somehow and do not know why.
Robin Williams’s surrender informs me that I am not alone.
NBC News reports today,
The suicide rate among Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC, and it’s possible to slice the data more finely than that. Among white, upper-middle-aged men, the rate has jumped by more than 50 percent, according to the public data. If these men were to create a breakaway territory, it would have the highest suicide rate in the world.
“We absolutely have to start focusing attention on the middle aged,” said Julie Phillips, a sociologist at Rutgers and among the first researchers to notice the rise in Boomer suicides. In a paper she presented last year, she argued that Boomers are “the tip of the iceberg.” They have the highest suicide rate right now, she found. But everyone born after 1945 had a higher suicide rate than expected—and everyone is on pace for a higher rate than the Boomers.
She calls it, “the new epidemiology of suicide.”
Houston, we have a problem.