Midlife suicide is an occurrence that many people have a hard time understanding. I have seen the severe despondency and overwhelm up-close and personal. Working in the mental health and addiction fields for many years, these types of situations are all too common. I personally have experienced such silent despair that seems endless and overwhelming at the same time. I hope to shed a perspective that may help you in your development and desire to understand.
Many midlife suicides happen within a person who has a veil around them which creates a feeling of being alone and isolated, even in a crowded room or with a big fan base. In fact, the bigger the fan base, the more this veil plays into the problem. As a fan, you have an expectation of what that person is like and what they should do. You are wrong more than you are right, yet you hold them to your personal view of them based on the stories you tell yourself from what you learn about them or see in them.
This fan expectation and the veil that is present leads to inner isolation, despondency and often a real sense of being alone in the world. Some of my notable clients have said that there was a point that the passion took the back seat or left and then it was like they became a dancing monkey, performing on demand while no one really saw them or knew them.
This lack of trusted authentic human connection leads to separation and depression that can also lead to many various addictions.
The risk of being vulnerable is real. It is a necessary part of maintaining your mental health. To be vulnerable, psychological and physical safety are required for the psyche to be open. Think about it, the people who admit wanting or needing help must do so outside of the public eye because in a minute they will be judged and talked about. When you are depressed, overwhelmed or otherwise feeling dark inside, the last thing you need or want is more judgement from people who have no idea what is going on within you.
I work with many midlife people who struggle with the transitions in life and how they are going to continue their lives with purpose. Some have notoriety, and some do not on the larger scale. The common thread in them not talking is the societal judgment and the perceived bartering of information. I have many things I teach along with ways to navigate the often-insensitive world. There are many factors involved in what can create the ideas and actions toward suicide. When substances are involved the chances of a successful suicide that could be an accident are magnified. Some people cry out for help and they have no other way, so they think, and the impaired judgment makes the fatal mistake.
Some suicide because the ongoing pain is too great to handle any longer. These people have been suffering for long periods of time. You can look happy and not be happy or satisfied.
You can be successful and not have a sense of your real value.
This is one of the reasons I travel with my notable clients. This way they have someone there to connect with who will unconditionally listen without judging. They know that I see the real them with compassion and kindness. I know the pain personally and somehow our connection brings hope and my clients who are able to heal some of the inner darkness and separation.
Telling a person who is experiencing these deep, intense dark emotions to reach out and call someone is ludicrous. They are not able to at that point. This is why suicide seems so alluring. It ends the pain and trauma of what is happening, and chances are no one around them has been able or willing to help ease the pain.
The person who contemplates midlife suicide must on some level be open to some sort of support or resolution to the deep pain.
Simple affirmations, thinking positive, gratitude lists and mental activities do not significantly help. Naming what you have going for you doesn’t help and sometimes I have seen that line of thinking create more problems. What does work is authenticity, care, kindness and authentic safe listening. Everyone wants to be seen, heard and loved with authenticity. You lose your perspective as you place expectations and judgments on the person. This fuels their inner hell.
Here are a couple of scenarios to ponder:
- You go to see your favorite band in concert. You have great seats and you are excited, right? Now, what would you say if that favorite band chose to play new music, music you have not heard and other songs, leaving out your favorite songs. Do you trust the artist to put on a great show without expectations? What if the artist wasn’t feeling that one song they have had to sing every day for the last 400 years? Would you be grateful for the amazing show or would you be making judgmental and negative comments because they did not play that certain song?
- You become excited about a certain product or brand that is progressive and exciting for you. You follow the founder on social media and maybe even find a way to meet them. You create a story about who they are and what they are like. Then one day, the founder crosses your lines of expectations by sharing an emotion and suddenly the person, the brand and anyone associated with it are rubbish. Haven’t you had a bad day? Sound crazy, right? Sadly. many people act in this manner. Whether you agree or not, the person is a person. You have the right to disagree. You cross the line when you judge the person.
- A local professional begins to gain notoriety in their business. You begin to see more of them and you are curious, so you go to one of their events. You enjoy the event and you leave feeling great. That professional, as they gain velocity in their profession is at risk to the deep sadness of the veil. If you saw that motivational, seemingly extroverted professional sad or crying or even depressed, would you judge them? Maybe even say that their work is not valid because they are struggling? Be honest. Many professionals I know and some I work with struggle with this judgment by others and then have to learn to be their best regardless of the others. This is where help and a new way of navigating the world enters.
The more you are in the public eye, the more responsibility you have for your words and actions. As you become notable or you watch someone rising in their profession, remember that the responsibilities are enormous, often more than bargained for at the time. The attention and accolades are great and then there is the quiet time alone that can cause challenges. This is why I work with people on their inner authenticity and inner higher authority. It helps offset the human seduction of looking to others for validation or our sense of value as a human. Midlife suicide can come as a result of such a disconnection and disproportionate sense of responsibility that the person’s executive functioning gives up. We are meant to be connected to others. Isolation kills. You can be isolated in a crowd.
The road of self-discovery is long and winding which seems to be why many people are not willing to walk the inner road.
Many of the ones willing to walk the road to free themselves feel as if they have to do it in private. Thus, I fly to my clients as needed. The depression and isolation and having to act in a certain way in public continues and the person becomes a prisoner within their own success.
Comedians are not always funny, Musicians like more than just music. Artists aren’t always creating. Writers aren’t always writing. Visionaries aren’t always visioning. Athletes enjoy more than their sport. We are all people and as midlife comes upon us, priorities and personal needs become even more pronounced. This is the time for flexibility and compassion and gratitude to come alive in our journeys.
We are all human beings. Our jobs and vocations are an expression of our human – spirit connection. This is not who we are. We are much more than what we do or what we feel. It is time that we all start waking up and holding each other in compassion and care. Honoring gifts and talent and beauty while also caring for the person with all facets of them being alive. For the veils to slowly be removed, we, as a society must be a safe place for anyone to excel or not.
What about the mother living next door?
The mother next door is strong, smart and successful She has a great family and church support. She has had a successful career and is now devoted to volunteering and raising her children who are now in middle school and high school. She has great family time and like all families, there are some ups and downs. Everything there seems like a regular family. Then, one day, she suicides. Out of what seems to be nowhere. What? This makes no sense, she is smart and has a great family, what could have gone wrong? What you did not know was the recently diagnosed underlying medical condition that was creating so much pain that she, with all her might, could not withstand it one more minute. Sadly, the medical community and insurance companies told her she would have to wait 3 months for a treatment that could help. Her husband tried many interventions, to no avail. Their Pastor tried to help yet the medical system was not equipped to see beyond certain templates and she kept being told to wait or that she did not meet criteria for further help. They were turned away from hospitals for treatment of her severe depression and despondency. So many parts of our society failed this strong, talented, beautiful mother. Her was a midlife suicide. Now, her family moves on the best they are able. Forever changed. Her veil that others would not see beyond was one of being a strong woman who was intelligent. Her husband kept searching for solutions and he was at a loss. No one was hearing her or her husband who was trying to help. Strong people feel pain too. She may not have been a star in the public’s eyes, yet she was a star in her family and friends’ eyes. A senseless loss.
Midlife transition can be difficult emotionally and spiritually no matter who you are.
This is a time for more connection and personal kindness and love. There are many factors about finances, love, legacy, health, past guilt, worthiness and more. Many of these are parts of our inner landscape. As people, we must share more, be more authentically kind and caring to each other and we must be that safe other.
Midlife suicide claims far too many amazing lives. I feel the pain deep within my soul. You can make a difference by being a safe listener. If you are in midlife and suffering in silent desperation, I hear you. I understand. I am here, willing and able to listen in confidence. I see you.
This article comes from my heart and deep connection to the inner struggles we all face. There are so many more facets and circumstances than this format allows It is time for an awakening to the beauty of human life rather than the objectification. Midlife Suicide does not have to continue at these rates. I wish you Peace. Please leave a comment or email if you feel led to share your ideas. Click here to contact me directly.