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.

20 comments:

David Isaak said...

Hi, Peter! Welcome to the blogosphere.

I've linked to your blog from mine.

Anonymous said...

This is Dr S Steele just finding out about your blog topic here. I'm wondering: in your definition of "life-threatening illness" you are also including diagnoses of alcoholism or other substance addictions? From my experience in working with detoxifying clients in various stages of withdrawal, it was quite common to observe reports of considering suicide; from "I just can't go on living like this", to actual attempts at ending life.

Does your study extend to substance abuse/addiction as a means of "slow-suicide" in attempting to deal with [or escape from dealing with] the receiving of a life-threatenting diagnosis?

I found much relevance in the quote form Marsha Linehan that "suicide is the ultimate form of dissociation", with many examples of penultimate dissociation found leading to the final step outside the circle.

I agree with Dr V that your study seems very significant and warranted. If there are people that are offended or otherwise uncomfortable with the topic, this is possibly an indication that the topic is covering very sensitive material in the cultural pscyhe, and therefore relevant for consideration.

Also: On your blogpage titled: Erased by Craigslist Flaggers, I was unable to locate the actual listing. I am quite interested to view the actual wording that aroused such "litericide"(?). Further wondering if this was committed by the same fixated individual or by another person equally incensed. I agree with your comment that it would indeed be quite informative to hear any feedback as to the reasoning for such censory action.

Always with you running free with the dogs in the hills and on the streets of the Mind.
in the rain

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