Extreme success. A New Yorker. Middle-Aged. And, struggling with clinical depression.
Lawyers, if that profile fits you, your colleagues, and/or your loved ones, then recognize that these are The Hanging Times.
In New York City, there has been the third hanging.
High-profile clinical psychologist, best-selling author of "Brave Girls," and animal-rights activist Stacey Radin took her life yesterday. It was by hanging, just like the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Both Spade and Bourdain were middle-aged.
Radin was 52. She reportedly battled clinical depression. Here are more details from The New York Post.
There seems to be a copycat phenomenon in play. Hanging is a relatively slow, painful way to die. Also, it's not usual for women to take that route of self-deliverance.
According to the website Lost All Hope, suicide by hanging:
Is effective (leads to death) only 89.5% of the time. That means that a botched job could result in permanent brain or physical injury. In contrast, a gun shot to the head is effective 99%.
The process requires 7 minutes. Those can be a period of both physical (difficulty breathing) and mental (reflection on one's life) agony. In contrast, death by a gun requires only 1.7 minutes.
On a scale of 100, the amount of distress is in the 25.5% slot. When using a gun, that's at 5.5.
Clearly, the method of suicide can provide one of the dots on what might have been the mood at the time this decision was made.
Was the person so lacking in hope at that moment that the act was one of impulse? The mindset could have been: I can't take this one more minute. There's a way I can hang myself right here. In a support group, I have heard that line of thinking often.
Was the person full of self-loathing? In clinical depression there is a tendency to turn on oneself.
And, was the act, in its theatricality, a kind of rebuke to others? There is the thinking that all suicide is homicide. Those committing it are sending a message to those whom they perceive let them down.
A member of my nuclear family left an unfilled bottle of blood pressure medication on the kitchen table. My sister found her in the nearby bedroom dead of a massive heart attack. Some interpreted that as a passive suicide - and act of rage.
Lawyers in all locations, not only New York City, have to recognize the pull power of the hanging ethos in these chaotic times. It is difficult to hold on to anything - a nest egg in a portfolio. a high-powered job, looks when hitting middle age, trust in relationships, and a doable plan for semi-retirement or retirement.
Recently, I asked a 53-year-old colleague who sensed he was going to be forced out of a job, if he planned to kill himself. Maybe because he was stunned, he answered "yes." I made the appointment for him with a cognitive therapist who specializes in displaced professionals. And, as a coach I am helping him navigate the search for how to make a living. He was on the money: He had been forced out. He blamed both his age and that his boss had been fired.
Full Disclosure: I have been clinically depressed since age 11. What I have observed is that the mood can become so dark that it shifts into psychosis. It took relocating from the New York Metro area for me to finally get the upper hand in battling this monster. OF COURSE, I had sought out many traditional modes of treatment. I could teach a course at Harvard Medical School on all that and more.
Attention is the currency of the 21st century. Jane Genova helps you get it for products, services, points of view, causes, branding, careers after-50, and college admission.
In addition, this blog welcomes sponsored content.
Free consultation email@example.com