As you may have noted, there is currently a suicide crisis in the U.S.
Unfortunately, such matters usually blast unto the news only after they involve celebrities.
In this case, there have been the recent deaths of comedian Robin Williams, TV chef Anthony Bourdain, and fashion designer Kate Spade.
The list is long — and more importantly, it is in society as a whole for every life is equal to that of any celebrity). Since 2009 there has been a twenty-five percent jump in suicide, often occurring among the young.
“Today, behind so many of those smiling faces we see are people… suffering from depression and other mental disorders who battle suicidal thoughts 24/7,” notes a columnist. “Some people reach such depths of despair and pain that they actually begin to believe that they would be better off dead. Many believe their families would be better off without them. Mental illness is cruel and embarrassing. There is stigma attached to the illness. It is not something people choose. It is not a character flaw. It is not a sign of laziness or weakness. It does not discriminate based on age, class or ethnicity. It knows no boundaries and affects all segments of society. It is, however, an illness that can be successfully treated with medication. Mental illness does not have to result in suicide.”
There are mental illnesses. At the same time, modern psychiatry and society at large ignore the spiritual influences — from oppression to depression to outright possession (hear the “hssss”?) — that come into play. Until this is recognized, psychiatry, which depends on drugs suppressing and too often masking the problem, will continue to have a less than lustrous success rate. Ask Princeton-educated psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gallagher of New York, who strongly believes in possession and cites cases whereby evil spirits (“fallen angels,” he calls them) control what a person thinks and even hears.
The sense of hearing can be manipulated.
This is stark when one considers near-death experiences. Whether Catholic or otherwise, they across-the-board describe an unpleasant situation during near-death episodes for those who take their own lives.
The most lucid may have been that of Angie Fenimore, who said:
“For me there was no blaze of radiance, no arms waiting to usher me into the Divine Presence,” says Angie Fenimore, a woman from Seattle who, as a young troubled mother, deliberately took a drug overdose.
Of her near-death episode:
“There was only blackness, as though I were suspended in outer space, unbroken by a single glimmering star.
“Where was I? I was immersed in darkness. My eyes seemed to adjust, and I could see clearly even though there was no light. I was aware that I was standing on what felt like solid ground, but nothing was there. The darkness continued in all directions and seemed to have no end, but it wasn’t just blackness, it was an endless void, an absence of light. I knew that it had its own life and purpose. It was completely enveloping.”
Against a grim backdrop of rising suicide rates among American women, new research has revealed a blinding shaft of light: One group of women — practicing Catholics — appears to have bucked the national trend toward despair and self-harm.
Compared with women who never participated in religious services, women who attended any religious service once a week or more were five times less likely to commit suicide between 1996 and 2010, says a study published Wednesday by JAMA Psychiatry.