Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dad's just Sad

Contrary to popular belief, males in their 30's to 50's ARE committing suicide.  And not solely "poor" fathers/husbands, many are successful in their own world.

So why and what to look for.  Well the common thread wheeled out when these males suicide is that they were suffering "Mid Life Crisis" and they will deal with their issues.  Why? Well the obvious sign is that they tend to succeed at work and are able to deal with issues that surround them there therefore they have the tools to ride out their crisis'. But this is not always the case.

I have known six males in this age group who outwardly showed no indication that they were suffering, be it depression, suicidal thoughts, or anything that would permit harm on loved ones.  One day they were there, the next, Gone!!  And no the demographics don't show any particular pattern (barring one).  They just did it. Two were pakeha males in their 40's, one was a Maori male in his 30's, and another was a pakeha male in his 30's.  All were in the Armed Services barring that One.

So why did they do it.  Well to be frank only three had reasons after the fact.  The Maori  mate had taken on Maori land claims for his iwi after hs father and rangitira died and the pressures of that on someone ill prepared to do it was too much.  He was always the life of the party, a steady and strong leader in his trade and an all-round good bloke.  But no one saw his depression, even his wife and children.  As Mike King would say, The Tale of the Mask.

Another, the 30's pakeha was heavily in debt to gambling, once again only borne out after the act.  And the other was a mental health client who repeatedly made "noises"  about suicide, but was largely brushed off as ok.  The train driver today still is haunted by the victim's action and the lack of adequate care for that client..

So who sees the changes and what is done.  Well for everyone it is different manifestations.  Largely the group I am identifying has close family, friends and workmates so you would think many would be showing outward signs of suicidal tendencies.  Well the answer to that is a resounding NO!!  What generally is displayed is Mid Life Crisis and that's what it is called.  Many go through this stage without committing suicide but equally many don't.  There generally is a loossening off of Family contact through depressing or OCD behaviour, and this can be seen in many afterthoughts of an act of passing.  "Gee Dad was quiet all that time" "Gee Dad never smiled or laughed anymore" "Gee my husband turned the sex tap off" and that too transpires to work where many withdraw from relationships too alienating old friends but for no apparent reason.

Yes you have heard it all before but never really put two and two together.  In a society that is evermore alienating relationships and bearing towards the Me generation I think it is important to turn back the clock and actually restart dialogue when we feel something is amiss.  Not only would this tactic save a life but it would save those self same relationships.  The family can seek family help from within, but what of workmates.  Especially if they are in roles that say Male Pride rules (like the Armed services).  We need to stop and consider our friends behaviours if out of the ordinary and probably destructive.  We need to keep the lines of communication open.  Sure the outward signs of someone in this group is hard to identify but the small things make the difference.  We see small changes but rarely act on them.  Dare we start?

Mid Life Crisis is and will be that if nothing is done.  Not just for the close family, but for the community as a whole.  See the Signs, Reach out, Act accordingly and save a life.  Intervention is a positive key to survival. And remember dialogue does save lives.  Don't be afraid to intervene if you truly care.

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