Since writing about my own Crohn’s disease and social unsupport-related suicide (well, euthanasia) attempts I have researched suicide a bit and found something interesting. Much more interesting than the usual twaddle about anxiety, depression and so-called “mental health” issues that sorry, every woman in this hell-dimension probably experiences somewhat regularly as oppressed people who are almost always trying to keep things alive in a necrophilic culture whether it be plants, pets, children, partners, elderly parents and/or ourselves.
In my estimation, the unusually high stakes of that particular game and myriad of obstacles intentionally placed in our way — meaning quite literally that if we let our guards down for a fucking second, and even if we don’t, literal death will come knocking for ourselves and/or our dependents for which we will suffer both the loss and the blame — would tend to be anxiety-producing in many, most if not all women. Understanding intellectually, intuitively and/or by experience that our role as lifekeepers in a more or less global necrophilic (patriarchal) context is likely to be impossibly difficult (and ultimately futile, because mortality) is depressing. And when I say depressing, obviously I mean that any of us would be forgiven if we just couldn’t get up the mental or physical energy to do it anymore.
And we all know the effects of gaslighting by now since it was very helpfully illustrated in a play and then 2 derivative Hollywood movies that perhaps not very many modern people have seen but which concept has come to be understood and referenced in popular culture as well as in clinical and research literature studying abuse — the intent and effect of gaslighting is to deliberately drive the victim insane. So we have deliberately and predictably anxiety-producing living conditions for most if not all women, which conditions are or become depressing due to futility and exhaustion and then everyone we know and indeed our entire culture/s gaslight us about all of this — telling us in a million ways every day that these conditions that are demonstrably real, aren’t — until we crack, if we don’t die first. There’s your “mental health” crisis innit.
Honestly piss on so-called mental health if that’s the case since no one except an insane asshole wouldn’t be negatively affected by all of this. There’s a reason males are held as the paragon/standard of mental health, and we should always, always keep in mind that the “people” who diagnose, treat and study this stuff — doctors and researchers — are literally torturing and killing animals
for science for fun and profit. The ones who are morally or otherwise opposed to torturing and killing animals for fun and profit have no choice but to exit the medical and research fields early on, often by committing suicide themselves (srsly, check out that link, it’s a doozy and describes medical students experimenting on live animals in required “lab” classes in medical school, and doctors flogging corpses and whatnot in practice, or choosing to kill themselves if they can’t). Oh and P.S., there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain causing these things and therefore no chemical in Big Pharma’s arsenal is likely to successfully treat anyone’s anxiety, depression, insanity or suicidal tendencies and the “treatments” actually tend to make things worse over time. But I digress.
Anyway, as the above video explains, considering issues of defeat and entrapment in cases of attempted or completed suicide seems to be a new development in the field of “suicidology” (WTF) and this material gave me much food for thought. While it is beyond the scope of this post to delve deeply into the research, a few things stand out to me and seem worthy of further thought and discussion.
Firstly, and this may (or may not) be minor point, defeat is conflated with “humiliation” in the literature, which seems to be a decidedly and jarringly male standard doesn’t it? Humiliation is probably the least of my own troubles now that I’ve been so roundly defeated by chronic illness and social unsupport that I am facing a future of homelessness and serious illness at the same time. If, like many homeless women, I end up raped and pregnant on top of it, my humiliated feelings about my situation will not be my main concern, or even in the top 10 or 100 or 1000. Rather, my main concern/s will certainly be the very material reality of being completely victimized, completely colonized, completely at the mercy of Western medicine for both my disease and my “condition” of forced pregnancy and the diktates — medical, legal, religious and so on — of patriarchal motherhood.
This is what women face when we are “defeated” and it is directly related to what we were trying to accomplish in the first place: to somehow, some way, for some period of time, protect ourselves from the worst patriarchy has to offer specifically females, meaning, female-bodied people under a more or less global patriarchy. Truly, being born female is the ultimate humiliation under this regime and we experience this as seconds-old infants. I think I’m over it by now, yet defeat remains on the table: this means that for some of us, meaning for women, defeat and humiliation are separate and distinct although they are not treated separately in the literature. The straightforwardness or even the applicability at all of this model to females then, where our experience is othered from the start is questionable, but let’s keep going.
In these most recent models highlighting the roles of defeat and entrapment in cases of attempted and/or completed suicide, feelings of entrapment in this defeated (or for males, humiliated) state lead directly to suicidal behaviors, or act as the bridge between mere suicidal thoughts/ideation and attempted and/or completed suicide. (Entrapment is also known as arrested flight or arrested escape.) When a person is defeated and trapped in that defeated state, the mind then “ruminates” — another judgement-laden term Western psychiatry favors much like anxiety and depression — but it’s not for no reason. Like an animal trapped in a cage, the ruminant human mind tries desperately to locate an exit/escape from the trap and it will continue to do so until it finds one. If there is no escape presumably the mind continues to work on the problem forever, or until something stops it: death for example, or a mental vacation from the horrific reality if you can manage it, or the literal chemical lobotomy offered by psychiatric drugs if you can’t.
And so-called “rigid thinking” prolongs this ruminative state, where various supposed “options” are discarded without due thought, but let us be mindful of who is making these determinations of what are viable options for us and what are not: men, in particular Western medical doctors and researchers who have often demonstrated their own willingness to torture and kill animals and people if that’s what stands between themselves and their
professional financial and status goals and who likely have never met (or recognized) a true dilemma in their privileged fucking lives. Some problems have no solutions you fucking twats, for example, runaway climate change and other things that implicate the exponential function (like gestation for another example, where 2 cells become 4 and then 8). Women know this.
There is also the “problem” of being deliberately materially oppressed, where material resources are withheld on purpose through various overlapping and interplaying systems in order to serve a political goal — the complete disenfranchisement and complete colonization of females by males from which there is demonstrably no escape by design. If there is a solution to that problem my ruminating lady brain hasn’t found it yet — and 100 years of feminist activating in the West has similarly failed.
So what am I getting at here? For all the above-noted flaws, and surely more I haven’t addressed, I found the concepts of defeat and entrapment helpful additions to the suicidological literature which has been so lacking (and frankly rigid, which is the worst and most invalid thing ever except when the dominant culture does it) in its implicating and prioritizing anxiety, depression and “mental health” in the cultural conversation around suicide. For example, does it matter at all how anyone feels/thinks about their own defeat, such that it would be amenable to treatment with talk or cognitive therapy? I don’t know, but assuming that treating suicidality and/or preventing suicide is a legitimate medical practice and a reasonable social goal, and I’m not sure it is, it seems like the “defeat” concept has the most potential to be helpful if only because the “entrapment” concept, while interesting, is a dead-end: one article concluded that the defeat/entrapment model of suicidality, while probably correct, offers little in the way of a solution because to date, there is not and has never been an effective treatment for entrapment. You don’t say.
Even more interestingly though, the defeat/entrapment model of suicidality also accurately describes (doesn’t it?) the very real, tangible dilemma of those seeking legal, medically assisted suicide for serious, incurable and progressive disease, where a chronically or terminally ill person has been essentially defeated by an irreversible disease-state, has failed at attaining a reasonable quality of life, and is trapped in a hopeless situation as well as being trapped in a sick and/or dying body. Some communities have decided that treating and preventing suicidality under those facts is not a legitimate medical practice and is not a reasonable social goal, essentially making the case for rational suicide under some conditions of defeat and entrapment.
Of course, many communities have not adopted assisted suicide and do not consider any conditions of defeat/entrapment as being reasonably amenable to suicide. But in any case, these “deciders” and policymakers are largely the same people — men — who equate defeat with humiliation, rather than equating defeat with real, tangible negative outcomes which is how women experience defeat where we are thwarted in our attempts to survive as oppressed people.*
In fact, for women, we are entrapped when we are defeated: these things are one in the same, where our “successes” are often merely escaping the worst that patriarchy has to offer for another day, or month (=rent) or year. When we can’t do that anymore we are both defeated and entrapped, and there is no treatment for entrapment, thus there is no treatment for defeat either. Not for women anyway. For men, it seems as if a successful treatment for the problem of suicidality — if it even is a problem and I’m not sure it is — would seem to be (perhaps?) to deflate their massive egos so that they don’t suffer humiliation when they fail (or to stop giving men opportunities to succeed in the first place).
Whereas giving women money might stop us from topping ourselves, and that includes our use of medically-assisted suicide which we are known to seek when we are no longer able to take care of ourselves and can’t pay anyone to help us either. Excruciating pain (and defeat) we can often handle, such as the case of UK Crohn’s sufferer Marie Lopez, who chose medically assisted suicide when her benefits were cut and she was no longer provided help with the activities of daily living such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and the like. She had suffered the daily pain and indignities of Crohn’s disease for some 30 years by then and only sought to end her life when she had exhausted her personal resources and could no longer afford full-time in-home care.
This really wasn’t where I was headed with this post, but truly, it seems as if anyone were actually serious about “suicide prevention” the solutions are pretty clear — I’ve outlined them above. Since the (alleged) problem of attempted and/or completed suicide has not been solved, one could reasonably conclude that continuing to talk about it in disingenuous terms is its own ends, or a means to an end. And kindly note that it is possible — because I’ve just done it — to intelligently discuss suicide, using the medical literature, without the useless language of anxiety, depression and mental health. Also note that despite that possibility, almost no one ever does.
*Seriously, what are the anti-suicide squad even saying here? That it’s unacceptable to kill yourself over humiliation? Duh. I doubt most women ever would.