Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inner demons

Many have varying interactions with the darker sides of life, but usually don't admit it.

Edgar Allen Poe's "The Oval Portrait" has some parallels with Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" but written some 50 years earlier. We are subliminally interested in the blend of love, life and our mortality. Indeed it has always been a big subject with Woody Allen also and countless other writers.

It is a sensitive subject, but many truly do struggle with inner demons as too much gets on top of us. Look at all the suicides in Ireland and indeed the recent sad case of the mother who appears to have killed her children before taking her own life. Edgar Allen Poe himself was a very troubled individual but it may have helped him a little to write his macabre tales.

One of my daughters is a student psychiatric nurse. She is very professional about never mentioning names but in general terms seems to come across such a range of problems which very ordinary people have. Psychiatric problems seem to be on the increase.

My attitude in life is to see the funny side as much as possible, certainly it helps me. My wife is the same and in addition she has often said that those who are contemplating suicide should force themselves to go out and do something useful for others. If the inner pain is too much to live then maybe project outwards and just help someone else in a small way, even as a last deed. I would think it could be very therapeutic for the troubled person.

I don't pretend to know near enough on the inner demons and darkness which people go through. It's too big a subject for me but such a growingly important topic in today's world.


Claire said...

Very timely John, a friend of mine committed suicide two weeks ago and it's still hard to understand.

As I sat at his memorial service and saw his family who obviously loved him, his friends who respected him and heard about the charity he was involved in it just made no sense to me. I guess sometimes the demons are just too great.

John of Dublin said...

Hi again, Claire.

Gosh, that is tragic and the fact that the guy was involved in a charity meant he wasn't necessarily too inward looking by nature. I guess helping others isn't so therapeutic after all. If you are struggling too much with your own demons I suppose it can cloud everything.

It seems to be mainly men who commit suicide, I suppose we don't talk enough about what's bothering us and seek help.

Very complex subject.

SheBah said...

John, our little blogging community (a pretty international bunch, but with lots of Irish) recently had this discussion - an Irish blogger known as Anti-Barney posted on suicide and we though he was about to top himself as he initially left no comments section - see http://selfunemployed.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_selfunemployed_archive.html
It provoked quite a reaction and some thoughtful posts from

and it made me realise how you come to care about virtual friends through blogging. Very strange, but comforting!

SheBah said...

John - His post was titled "The Ultimate Sulk" and is in his February archives.

John of Dublin said...

Thanks SB for the comments and links. Yes, rather disturbing reading indeed.

Omaniblog said...

I've stood on the edge of a platform waiting for the underground train to come in. I've stood there berating myself for not having the courage to jump in front of it.
It is understandable for someone to say 'you should just immerce yourself in some external work'. To someone who has never experience the total collapse of self esteem, it must indeed by a mystery how someone can be so desperate.
When i am well, I find it had to understand how I could have been so un-well.
Those who are fortunate enough to have lived free of the demons, may they remain so. But I'd like everyone to know that it is possible to become lost and alone and trapped in your own fears. When that happens to you, you are not far away from wanting to end it all. You can't tell how well someone is from the way they look or from what they do on a daily basis. So many people get shocked when someone near to them kills themselves. Pleasant as it is to assume that all is well when it appears to be so, you can be sure that someone near to you is struggling to cling on in there.

I write about my own mental illness on my blog. It was good to hear Brian Kennedy talking about his therapeudic experience during a recent radio interview with Marion Finookin (I forget how to spell her name.)

John of Dublin said...

Thanks for the interesting comments. I've admitted how little I know on this subject.

I wonder does it help to write exact things down exact thibgs which are troubling a person and confide in someone. Maybe if there are a number of nasty things going on it just fry one's mind and you can't even think straight. Sometimes of course there is depression with chemical stuff going on in the brain.

You are right about the shock when someone near to you kills themselves. I did know someone fairly well who committed suicide. He was someone who seemed confident, very outgoing and had been friendly and helpful to me and others in a club management role we had for an amateur hobby sport. I do partly understand why he did it, there was a specific issue going on. But I've a hunch that another part of the problem is that men are often bad at admitting and discussing problems. A bit too un-macho to deal openly with seeming weaknesses, it all gets bottled up.

Anyway, I'm out of my depth here. It's clearly a huge, complex and specialised subject to pass any sensible comments on by people like myself who have never come close to considering suicide and don't have professional training in this area.