Cycle Of Pain

Cycle of pain By Lynn Keane The heartbreaking reality regarding the recent off-season suicides by former hockey players is that the role of an NHL enforcer is to inflict pain on their opponents. The tough guys function as the gatekeepers and thus are there to protect the best players on their teams. In this role the enforcer accepts that he is in constant danger and is also subject to serious bodily harm. Thomas Joiner, author of Why People Die by Suicide, and a suicide survivor states “various kinds of recklessness may predispose people to suicide precisely because it leaves them open to injury and danger”. Repeated injurious experiences, he suggests, “in turn, makes people fearless about a lot of things, including self-injury”. We know that the roots of suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation emerge as a result of a many factors. Including psychiatric symptoms (mental illness), changes in the physiology of the brain and body, enviromental factors and impaired social functioning symptoms (personal or societal). We are living at a time where a percentage of the population in our communities are highly traumatized as a result of addictions, emotional and physical abuse, divorce, loss and isolation to name only a few of the factors. Regardless of the symptomatic origin(s) of suicide, the common internal sorrow remains for the sufferer. In his memoir, Darkness Visible, William Styron, writes: “depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self. To the mediating intellect, as to verge close to being beyond description”. Depression and mania indicate a Bi-Polar disorder, with periods of hypomania or extremely productive states, followed by depressive episodes, where a person can be agitated, miserable and suffer from sleeplessness. Wade Belak was not ‘selling his well-being’ as was reported in the National Post, September, 3, 2011. Even in the midst of his raging mental illness I am sure he courageously tried to be present with his family and friends. And at that point in his life he was fighting for his own survival. These professional hockey players did not choose to die --they simply had to end the chronic debilitating cycle of pain. Sadly, for our family we lost our son to suicide in the spring of 2009. Daniel, like Wade Belak was the funny guy and the person that everyone thought had life figured out. Suicidal behavior is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years (WHO). Death by suicide crosses all cultural and socioeconomic lines. As individuals living in the midst of this worsening epidemic we must correctly respond with appropriate clinical treatment. We need to listen and support those who suffer. Research by (Joiner) suggests:” perceived burdensomeness combined with failed belongingness constitutes psychache, and when this pain becomes unbearable, suicide can be the outcome of this horrific suffering.” As survivors of suicide we will never know all of the reasons why our sons, brothers and fathers ended their lives, but what is clear is that many of these young men suffered from some form of mental disorder, which was not diagnosed and or treated correctly. All of these young men desperate to end their mental anguish, ultimately lost hope. As Canadians we can no longer ignore the fact that 4000 Canadians die by suicide each year. Lynn Keane (Suicide loss survivor) & YLC Ambassador Oakville, Ontario