March 23, 2009

The suicide's baby commits suicide (at the age of 47).

"[Sylvia] Plath’s suicide in effect froze her children in time so that in the public memory they remained a one-year-old and a two-year-old lying in their cots, carefully sealed off from the gas leaking over their mother in the room next door. [Ted] Hughes did everything that he could to shield them from the increasingly lurid interest in their mother and did not tell them that she had killed herself until they were teenagers."

Self-murder and its aftereffects.


Bissage said...

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

KCFleming said...

Suicide is an act of agression, a fatal punch whose reach extends further than one would ever imagine.

Jason (the commenter) said...

The woman is perfected.
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment...

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty...

Edge, from the book Ariel, by Sylvia Plath.

Bissage said...

There is no expression of personal autonomy more sincere than the act of suicide.

Nor is there any cost/benefit analysis more carefully considered. It is our selfish nature that sees to that.

If one takes the long view, it is trust in the unknowable, itself, that is irrational for this life can be a sad veil of tears.

But we’re only human, after all, so the great majority of us live on and suffer until we don't.

Evolution selects for traits such as optimism, or so it seems.

former law student said...

Evolution selects for traits such as optimism, or so it seems.

Traditionally a man who lived to be 47 was already a grandfather, so the evolutionary argument fails.

We don't know why he killed himself -- he could have been diagnosed with a fatal or debilitating disease. His sister suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (translating ME from British to American). Rationally the most a 47 year old can expect from the remainder of his natural life is to maintain the status quo. Perhaps he simply decided to cut his losses.

Or, as has happened to other depression sufferers, the beneficial effects of his medication have allowed him to plan and carry out his suicide.

Chip Ahoy said...

I never understood the Plath/Hughes thing. A long time ago, before I attained my full height, I saw a movie about them, at I think it was about them. They were playing a weird game Russian roulette or some such with a gun. I think Huges was shooting an apple placed on Plath's head. Drugs. Put me off the poets permanently. I understand she was a good poet but I wouldn't know. It's all more of the Jade Goody/Nadya Suleman type publicity-scandal consumption syndrome.

Shame, that. Depression is treatable.

PatCA said...

Gosh, terrible. Like the Hemingways or the Turners, a toxic mix of nature and nurture.

Anonymous said...

The kind of thing that makes you blink and swallow hard. Cringeworthy...

Joe said...

I think many blog entries on this, especially on Instapundit, have been rather tacky. Depression obviously has a strong genetic component.

Palladian said...

Is an art
, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

Anonymous said...

at age 47 i had finished my marriage, had raised all three children to adulthood, been a grandmother once with another grandchild along the way. I made a difference. All there is left to do is eat, sleep and find more meaning somewhere it doesn't have to be in people.

I have been diagnosed with depression two or three times, refused medication, and become a problem in my family.

I remember my divorce changing my depressing life. going to the first lawyer and him telling me that he couldn't really decide if my separation agreement was fair or what really was fair. I remember asking advice of people and they told me divorce was about the money and fairness. At that point I saw the second lawyer whose wife and friend were psychologists. After appointment and appointment with him , i told him that being a lawyer must be very depressing work hearing all these stories. He replied it was very rewarding, on the contrary, because you get to straighten out peoples lives, and while not saying it directly, you get to get even. That put me off, but by that time he was too far into my business to cancel and sart with another. I would have faired much better and happier with the first lawyer who basically just told me to sign the agreement and movalong. The second lawyer dragged out my divorce and probably made my life very deprssing and tore apart my family. It's taken me two years to recover from him straightening things out.

I still regret the day i didn't stick with the first lawyer his film noir office with the glass door and gold decal letters on the door. It wouldn't have been fair money wise, but it wouldn't have caused so much pain.

And now at the age of 49 and finally welcoming my diagnosis of bordeline personality with a narcissitic leaning and bipolar properties as the chemical and physical make up of my brain and brainwaves, what's keeps me alive is just the basic nourishment of foraging, finding food and cooking it.

Everything else is excessive kaloric consumption and does nothing for my happiness. That my children share my genes and have endured my nurturing, well, all i can say is that's the cycle of life and death.

I lived. I loved. Now i am supposed to just survive.

Revenant said...

I find it more likely that the mother's and child's suicides stemmed from the same cause (depression) than that the latter was somehow caused by the former.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Thanks for bringing up this sad news. There is a term 'anaclitic depression' which originated when infants were moved out of London during the blitz. They were to be cared for by nurses in shifts and it was found that w/o a stable mother figure (to lean against as it were, thus the Greek term anaclitic) the infants showed depressive affect and failed to thrive. The 'son's' suicide might be seen as coming after an object loss, the job, which could have revived, as it were, his ancient loss. In her calm poetry, quoted by Jason, reflecting on agitation, Sylvia prefigures the loss.

blake said...

Rationally the most a 47 year old can expect from the remainder of his natural life is to maintain the status quo.

What? You mean physically? I doubt that's even true for most.

I don't think Hemmingway belongs in this category: The shock treatment he received is what took away his reason for living.

CarmelaMotto said...

Chip Ahoy - you are thinking of William S. Burroughs.

Suicide, especially when you have children - babies - is unforgiveably selfish. I wouldn't kill myself because I wouldn't want to devastate my parents for example. I have suffered depression, but that thought (among others) kept me going.

Revenant said...

I wouldn't kill myself because I wouldn't want to devastate my parents for example.

I think that's a common reason for staying alive while depressed. The danger is in becoming so depressed that you convince yourself your loved ones will be better off without you -- or, worse yet, that you don't really have any loved ones to begin with.

Sixty Grit said...

I have lost friends to suicide. It is devestating to those who are left alive.

Hemmingway was in 3 plane crashes and suffered brain injuries. You don't ever really recover from those. He could write no more, so he had no reason to live.

I have suffered through many changes in life, divorce, job loss, life-threatening illnesses and the treatments that in an of themselves cause suicidal ideation. I refused to take that route due to what I learned as a youth - suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Now I am a lot older, still dealing with many physical issues, but one can get better. Where there is life there is hope.

However, when it comes to end of life issues, diseases for which there is no cure, I really can't speak to that - one has to make one's own decision.

kentuckyliz said...

I did a suicide intervention once, in which I appealed to her to hang on till the morrow to call her therapist...for the sake of her young nephew who loved her dearly...if she didn't want him to grow up to see suicide as the solution to his problem, she can't do it now. It would make it more possible for him. She loved him more than her own self that moment, but she lasted the night and called her therapist in the morning and got on a more even keel.