Understanding Suicide: You Can't.

What Women Really Think
Sept. 23 2010 9:33 PM

Understanding Suicide: You Can't.

A guest post from Chris Morgan, editor of Biopsy , in response to Zoe FitzGerald Carter's post on the recent suicide of Wesleyan student Nora Miller:

The problem I have with Carter’s post is a problem that has been glossed over for far too long in regards to self-killing. It’s that we can somehow understand why it is that some people chose to kill themselves and then act on it. Carter speculates that Miller's success as a student was somehow a factor in her death, that she endured pressure to achieve the bright future that she was expected to have and at some point resolved to kill herself seeing little other option. True enough many of us feel a certain amount of anxiety when faced with the prospect of success, as well as the prospect of failure, and for some reason we're all expected to have bright futures ahead of us, just because. These feelings sometimes eat away at us, causing self-doubt and depression, or enabling a depression that has always been present. Few of us, however, have even considered self-immolation.

I don't know why Nora Miller killed herself, let alone in so extreme and painful a fashion. As someone who suffers from depression all I can really say is that it is like being in a vast, cold wilderness, without nourishment, company, or direction; and to some, suicide is the clearing in that wilderness when they finally see the sun, yet it is so blinding that they can't see anything or anyone else around them and nothing ahead of them. They are so desperate to be in the clearing that they just go.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You

It spreads slowly.

These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Activists Are Trying to Save an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?