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Thread: Suicide...

  1. #1
    RGA
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    Suicide...

    A very nice man who worked as the accounting clerk in my school killed himself over the weekend.

    It shocked me because he was always helpful and was always smiling and seemed to me to be in very high spirits all the time. People closer to him than I were also trying to figure out what was going through this man's mind. I always figured there would be some noticeable signs. But he was good at his job and seemed on top of things.

    The standard reason in Hong Kong they seem to dole out is that "he was in debt" and they seem to say it in every suicide case. But that seems unlikely to me as bankruptcy is no harder to do here than in Canada. Hell a few years ago I filled out a financial balance statement and they recommended that I declare bankruptcy - I would have no stress about this - if I could not pay my debts and could not find suitable work - I'd be all too happy to declare bankruptcy and save myself a bunch of stress. As an accounting clerk I would expect him to know that.

    I guess I just don't get it. A genuinely friendly, happy-go-lucky guy -- on the outside anyway. This not long on the heels of one of our 15 year old students who jumped from his window earlier in the year - apparently for being in debt (less than $1,000 US).

    Kind of taking this harder than I thought given that I barely know the guy - say hi in the morning and talk to him now and again about various paper work. Usually there are signs in hindsight but I'll be damned if I can find any.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    People kill themselves under various circumstances. Being in debt per se is never the reason. It virtually always has to do with a general sense of hopelessness for a better, more fulfilling life. I've know cases pretty close to home.

    It's OK to be personally touched by the case of person you know even if you didn't know him/her well. This is being human, (granted, some people seem to lack that attribute).

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    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    You just never know what lurks below the surface. It has always been my Plan B. I think more people think about suicide than attempt it.

    Suicide has been more accepted in different times and cultures. It is a tragedy for family and friends. Recently a young friend committed suicide. He was gay and was totally rejected by his father. He tried to be straight and fathered a child. The child was born with multiple handicaps. Life just became one struggle after another and one night he lost the will to fight.

    I do not think there is just one reason someone takes their life. A combination of hurts, disappointments and traumas contribute to the desire to end it all. Of course it could be someone who is clinically depressed and has not had those experiences. It can be just brain chemistry.
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    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    RGA, I’m sorry for your loss. Although you may not have known this man well, it is still a loss. I have been through a similar experience to yours and, I too, was shocked at how strongly I was affected by it and how I fought to come to terms with not having answers.

    Many years ago, there was a Financial Advisor who worked for the company that I worked for (I was in marketing). His wife had recently been laid off and they saw that as an opportunity for her to join his practice and expand the business. He invited me over to his home office to help him put together a marketing plan. This was a gentleman who I didn’t know all that well but always enjoyed spending time with. He made me a wonderful lunch. He showed me his Orchid greenhouse (his hobby and pride). And we enjoyed a nice few hours together discussing the future of his business (among other things) and put together a marketing plan. He seemed very positive about the future and was excited for his wife to be joining him.

    I learned that he had grown children. He was President of his Rotary Club chapter, and he sat on the Board of Directors of several charities. He seemed to have a very rich and fulfilling life.

    Three weeks later he climbed into his car, left the garage door closed, and started the engine. There was a suicide note to his wife so there was no doubt of his intentions. It completely blew my mind. I kept going over our meeting to see if there was any sign…anything at all that I could have picked up on…I came up empty.

    I’ve never quite gotten over it. But the one thing that I learned from that experience is that we are never sure what secrets are lurking in people’s heads. To this day I wonder whether he was already thinking those thoughts when we met. Or was it something that came up later? Did he wake up that morning thinking “today is the day” and plan his wardrobe accordingly? Was it more spontaneous than that? These are answers that I’ll never have, but still make me wonder.

  5. #5
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    You just never know what lurks below the surface. It has always been my Plan B. I think more people think about suicide than attempt it.
    Well that scares me. I hope that Plan A never gets so bad that Plan B has to go into effect.

    I do agree that lots of people think about it. I know many people who have considered it. I know others who have achieved it. And I know a few who have tried and, thankfully, failed.

    Mental illness excepted, I just can't imagine how bad life would have to be for someone to think that this was the solution. It's heartbreaking.

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    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    Well that scares me. I hope that Plan A never gets so bad that Plan B has to go into effect.

    I do agree that lots of people think about it. I know many people who have considered it. I know others who have achieved it. And I know a few who have tried and, thankfully, failed.

    Mental illness excepted, I just can't imagine how bad life would have to be for someone to think that this was the solution. It's heartbreaking.

    Sometimes the soul gets tired. It is tough surviving certains events in life but it is tougher fighting your way back and learning how to live again. There are some pains that you always carry with you. But do not worry I would not make my dog an orphan.
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    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    ...
    Mental illness excepted, I just can't imagine how bad life would have to be for someone to think that this was the solution. It's heartbreaking.
    Not quite what you're saying, but I have heard it said quite often that a person must be crazy to seriously consider suicide. That is simply not true.

    All it takes is a sense that life is miserable, futile, and that it cannot substantially improve. The the last is almost certainly untrue at least for young people. But looking at it in that light, suicide can be quite rational.

  8. #8
    Charm Thai™
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    Reminds me of my senior year in high school when we had 5 suicides that year. I distinctively remember one day that year a tall kid picking on and bullying another kid sitting all alone in the lunchroom. Ironically it was the bully and not the bullied who off'd himself with revolver a few months later.

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    RGA, sorry to hear about all the turmoil your going through at this time. People are so unpredictable when it comes to this kind of thing. I code medical records for a living a read patient history and well and current medical condition for the current visit and it never ceases to amaze why people choose to act out the way they do. Some other persons's breaking point may seem so odd or strange to those who can't identify with the afflicted persons unhinging. It makes it all the worse when a caring or generous soul would have liked to help but did not know to do so or how to.

    I hope you will soon be able to heal your emotions and psyche over the loss.
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    RGA
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    I guess I'll/we'll never know for sure the reasons why. I won't as I get filtered news being in Hong Kong. The principal told me to not trust the news cause they will just make it up - sure enough he was said to be working at a "firm" and highly overworked. Umm, he worked at a school and while it is a busy place no one is under business like stress in that manner.

    Someone said perhaps people just get something in their head and that combined with bad feelings and you make a fast decision.

    The principal took the day off today - can't blame him he strikes me as a very sensitive guy and he worked 15 feet from Mike for the past few years.

    Hong Kong can be a lonely place - you would not think it given the tight population but it's a compartmentalized society made worse via the isolation of all the portable devices. Head down and walking fast through shops and street - very little talking or human contact with all the people on the trains buried in a video game or facebook chats. I make good money here so I can afford to go out and do things and meet people but this fellow didn't make much money (clerks are grossly underpaid - I would have been paid $18-$23 an hour Cad for his job easy - he probably made the equivalent of $5 an hour.

    A low salary, not many prospects of getting a better job and possibly loneliness and after awhile it might have been wearing on him. Who knows.

  11. #11
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about this RGA. I kinda know how you feel. I would pick my son up from school every day last years and I would have a 15 minute wait before they came out. My sons music teacher was also the hall monitor and I would talk with him every day of the week. Mr Johnson was a nice fellow, but he did appear to be gay. Not overly gay, but I could pick up on certain things he did like the way he would swing his arm when he walked. But I dismissed it because he was married with children, and they went to church every week, and he was the music director at church. The guy never seemed to be down in the dumps alway nice and polite. Well one day I went to pick my son up, but I never saw Mr. Johnson. I did not think any thing of it, but I did notice there was a buzz in the air and other teachers huddled around chatting. Well I asked the custodian what all the fuss was about and he told me Mr. Johnson jumped off the bridge into the Missouri river and killed him self. He also left a note in the car saying he could not take the double life any more....Mr. Johnson was down low....having sex with other men, while pretending to be a good straight family man. It was a shock to every one. They looked for the body for about a month before they found it down stream in some other town.
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  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    ..,
    Hong Kong can be a lonely place - you would not think it given the tight population but it's a compartmentalized society made worse via the isolation of all the portable devices. Head down and walking fast through shops and street - very little talking or human contact with all the people on the trains buried in a video game or facebook chats. I make good money here so I can afford to go out and do things and meet people but this fellow didn't make much money (clerks are grossly underpaid - I would have been paid $18-$23 an hour Cad for his job easy - he probably made the equivalent of $5 an hour.

    A low salary, not many prospects of getting a better job and possibly loneliness and after awhile it might have been wearing on him. Who knows.
    You make it sound like we can expect a lot more suicides, and not only in HK.

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    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Sorry to hear about this RGA. I kinda know how you feel. I would pick my son up from school every day last years and I would have a 15 minute wait before they came out. My sons music teacher was also the hall monitor and I would talk with him every day of the week. Mr Johnson was a nice fellow, but he did appear to be gay. Not overly gay, but I could pick up on certain things he did like the way he would swing his arm when he walked. But I dismissed it because he was married with children, and they went to church every week, and he was the music director at church. The guy never seemed to be down in the dumps alway nice and polite. Well one day I went to pick my son up, but I never saw Mr. Johnson. I did not think any thing of it, but I did notice there was a buzz in the air and other teachers huddled around chatting. Well I asked the custodian what all the fuss was about and he told me Mr. Johnson jumped off the bridge into the Missouri river and killed him self. He also left a note in the car saying he could not take the double life any more....Mr. Johnson was down low....having sex with other men, while pretending to be a good straight family man. It was a shock to every one. They looked for the body for about a month before they found it down stream in some other town.

    It is fatiguing to live two lives and live with the fear of being discovered. I am sad he made that choice but the good news is that story is less frequent than it used to be.
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