Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stepping Out

My name is Peter. I’ve been doing PhD level research on suicide and life-threatening illness since 2005. In 2006 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and have been intermittently despondent since that time. So I’ve been grappling and coping with some of the same issues as experienced by the participants in my study.

The purpose of the blog is to invite a dialog by and about individuals who’ve given serious consideration to suicide within the context of a life-threatening illness. I’m particularly interested in the way we manage our suffering, with a focus on the tension between the dual threats of death, one from the “outside” as configured by an illness, and the other from the “inside”, as represented by the thoughts and emotions which may arise during an in-depth exploration of self-destruction.

My experiences while doing graduate research, working on a suicide phone line, facilitating groups of depressed persons, and struggling personally with cancer and suicidal ideation – have convinced me that deep meaning and positive personal value often emerges when an individual is allowed to freely examine the meaning of his or her own life in relation to the very important question of suicide.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Erased by Craigslist Flaggers.

In an attempt to find participants for my research project, for several months I've been posting "recruitment" ads on Craigslist SF Bay Area. Recently, my ad has been "flagged" by Craigslist viewers, and subsequently deleted (twice). BELOW IS A COPY OF MY CRAIGSLIST POST.

Any Craigslist viewer may flag any post for any reason. With enough flags (the number is not disclosed by Craigslist), the posting is automatically deleted. And, the more times a posting has been deleted, the "easier" (whatever that means) it is for the same ad to be deleted in the future. No reason has to be given for the flaggings, but if I can figure out how to take part in a sort of "flagging forum" offered by Craigslist, and ask very nicely why I'm getting deleted, then some of the flaggers may tell what they think the problem is with my ad.

I'm working on ways to change the recruitment posting, and am asking readers of THE WIDENING GUYER to digest the recruitment ad below, and to give me feedback on how it may be changed for the better. In addition, I'm interested in your thoughts in general about my research. Is it appropriate, morbid, provocative, something worth doing? What are your ideas?

Research Participants



My name is Peter Guyer. I am a doctoral candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies in SF, conducting a study about persons who have seriously considered suicide while dealing with a life-threatening illness. I will be inviting participants in private face-to-face interviews to tell their life stories within the context of these very serious and sensitive personal issues.

Most research on suicide concentrates on the goal of its prevention. By contrast, this study explores the suicidal process as an experience, in and of itself. What is it really like, when confronted by a life-threatening illness, to honestly and openly examine the possibility of death by your own hand?

When we seriously consider suicide as an option, many powerful forces of society oppose the very idea of our examining the subject. Doctors, police, clergy, therapists, friends and family members simply want us to stop the process, and to get some help.

I want you to live. And if you have ever struggled with the idea of whether or not to live when confronted by a life-threatening illness, I will be inviting you to tell me where that experience has taken you, offering to witness your exploration of this potentially meaningful process.

I am looking for research participants who meet the following criteria:
1. Age) 40-60 years. 2. Type of Illness) The diagnosis of an illness which is life-threatening, but not at a terminal stage. 3. Gender) Both women and men are invited to participate. 4. Level of Suicidal Crisis) Subsequent to the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, having had the experience of seriously considering suicide as an option. The general question of suicide may remain unresolved during the study, but persons who are actively suicidal at the time of the study will not be invited to participate.

No direct benefit, either monetary or resulting from the experience itself, is offered or guaranteed. You may, however, find the experience to be interesting, challenging, and emotionally meaningful. If you are interested in taking part in this research project, you may contact Peter Guyer in the following way: (510) 658-3130. e-mail: