Middle-Age Suicide

Middle age is reportedly the happiest time of life for most Americans. So, why are middle-aged men at such high risk for suicide?

I belong to a group that has an unusually high rate of dying by suicide. No, I don’t belong to a cell of terrorists in training. I’m not a soldier or veteran with multiple deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m not a prison or jail inmate. And I’m not a doctor (physicians have easy access to drugs and understand their lethality). What high-risk group do I belong to? I am a middle-aged white man.

Men have long had higher rates of suicide than women, and whites in the United States are more likely to kill themselves than are African, Hispanic, or Asian Americans. But it’s only in recent years that the middle-aged have overtaken older people as the ones most likely to die by suicide.

In 2007 (the latest year for which statistics are available), people aged forty-five to fifty-four had the highest suicide rate of any age group: 17.7 per 100,000. (The national average was 11.5 per 100,000.) And the rate for fifty-five to sixty-four-year-olds showed the greatest increase from the previous year.

Researchers don’t yet know why midlifers are becoming more vulnerable to suicide, especially since studies have found that middle age is generally the happiest time of life for most Americans. As a forty-five-year-old white guy, I was curious to know what makes my demographic group so self-destructive. After talking with experts, here’s what I learned.

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“Women seek help—men die.” This quote from a 1990 medical journal article is an overgeneralization, of course. There are plenty of women who don’t seek help for their emotional distress. After all, women in the United States are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men. But “men tend to hold their own counsel,” says psychiatrist Yeates Conwell, co-director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester. “They often don’t build supportive networks that allow them to share their concerns with others.”

Men are also more likely to drink heavily when feeling distraught, and to reach for guns in order to kill themselves. Nearly sixty percent of suicides among males occur by firearms, while the most common method among women is overdose/poisoning. Guns tend to be more lethal than pills, and this helps explain why there are four male suicides for every female suicide. (Some ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness or substance use disorder.)

There’s even evidence that men are more likely than women to feel there is a stigma attached to a “failed” suicide attempt. So men may use more lethal methods to avoid being seen as unmanly—even as they’re planning their own death.

Changes in gender roles may also be affecting men, suggests Sally Spencer-Thomas, executive director of the Colorado-based Carson J Spencer Foundation, whose Working Minds program promotes suicide prevention in the workplace. As more women become family breadwinners and attain leadership positions once denied them, Spencer-Thomas says that “more men are asking themselves, ‘Am I a provider or not? Am I a leader or not?’ Their sense of purpose may become unclear.”

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Whites could use a little faith. Whites are more than twice as likely to die by suicide as blacks, although whites in general are better off economically. In fact, the suicide rate for white men aged forty-five to fifty-four (29.3 per 100,000) is 14 times greater than the rate for black women of the same age (2.1 per 100,000). Some researchers suggest that blacks may be less prone to suicide because they are more religious. They tend to outpace whites in the United States on measures such as frequency of church attendance and prayer, closeness to God, and self-ratings of spirituality. Being part of a church community can also be a powerful source of social support, another protective factor.

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Midlife can be a minefield. For many people, the peak earning years of midlife offer a sense of competence and mastery. But for others, the middle years may be times of disillusionment and regret about stalled careers and stale marriages. This time of life can also be filled with anxieties about mounting debt, while putting kids through school and caring for aging parents. Plus, men at midlife discover that their own bodies aren’t what they used to be. As natural medicine expert Andrew Weil, M.D., writes, “The man at fifty or sixty looks at his sagging muscles, thinning hairline, bigger belly, and uncooperative penis and wonders, ‘Whose body is this?’”

But these challenges aren’t new to midlife. What could account for the rising suicide rates? (Remember, the latest statistics are for 2007, before the economic meltdown of 2008 brought widespread job cuts and home foreclosures.) Dr. Conwell says that even before the recession, concerns about the stability of employment could have set the stage for other factors—such as substance misuse, more difficult access to health care, and less-stable social support—that can increase the risk of suicide.

Sally Spencer-Thomas also suspects that fraying social ties may play a role. She notes a 2006 study showing that Americans’ circle of confidants shrank by one-third in the previous two decades. And the number of people who said they have no one with whom to discuss important matters more than doubled in that time, to nearly twenty-five percent.

Thomas Joiner, a psychologist at Florida State University and author of Myths about Suicide (2010), speculates that the mainstreaming of gore may even be having an effect. When the people now in their mid-40s were in their teens (from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s), they were starting to get exposed to gory movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th. He believes that one of the most important factors that contributes to suicide is a “learned fearlessness” about physical pain, physical injury, and death. (Other factors, he says, include the idea that you are a burden on other people, and the feeling that you are hopelessly alienated from them.) As people develop an increasing tolerance to gore, perhaps they are more likely—when in extreme distress—to do themselves harm.

“I hope that I’m wrong about this,” says Joiner. “If it’s true, that’s ominous.” Children and teens today are exposed to far more graphic violence in movies and computer games than were their counterparts of thirty years ago.

Other theories about why midlife suicide rates are on the rise include easier access to guns and prescription drugs, and a potentially higher incidence of depression among baby boomers.

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Lowering risk. When I asked these experts for practical advice on what middle-aged white men can do to reduce their risk of suicide, they stressed that you should see your doctor if you suspect you’re suffering from depression or another mental health problem. While depression often includes feeling sad or losing interest in things that typically give you pleasure, it can also be expressed in other ways: sleep problems, frequent headaches or stomach pain, risk taking (such as reckless driving and casual sex), and anger. If you are suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The experts also advise all men to develop support networks, and to stay engaged with family and friends. “Do everything you can to resist the urge to isolate,” says Phillip Smith, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Rochester. Reaching out can feel uncomfortable, he admits. But sharing your worries can make you feel less alone, and other people may offer valuable perspectives on what you’re going through.

Dr. Conwell also encourages men to take good care of themselves. That means eating right, being physically active, managing your stress levels, getting enough sleep, and not drinking too much alcohol.

And don’t forget to look out for each other, says Spencer-Thomas. Notice if a family member, friend, or co-worker doesn’t seem himself, and ask him how he’s doing. Remind him that depression is a treatable medical condition, not a sign of weakness. If he’s talking about death and suicide, and you suspect that he might harm himself, offer to take him to the emergency room or call 911.

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A personal perspective. I am no stranger to depression, as it has affected me to varying degrees since my teens. It took me a long time to get help—first from psychotherapy, then medication, and now both. The idea of suicide once had a seductive pull on me, but it has lost its power.

Although suicide used to seem like a way out of my struggles, now I can see more options to get through them. I’ve also met several people who have lost loved ones to suicide, and now I firmly believe that any option is better than killing myself.

These survivors of suicide loss have been through a veritable hell of grief and guilt (“What could I have done to prevent this?”). If you ever get to the point that you think you’ll be doing others a favor by doing yourself in, you are wrong.

To me, the essence of suicidal thinking is a kind of tunnel vision in which self-annihilation seems like the only solution to emotional pain. Perhaps this is why I’ve found comfort in environments that provide a sense of spaciousness and openness. Sitting beneath the vaulted ceiling of my church, or walking though the woods and coming upon a sunlit clearing, seems to take me out of my head and my concerns.

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl describes a moment not long after he had been liberated from a Nazi concentration camp. He is walking through the countryside past flowering meadows. Larks rise to the sky and sing joyously. He stops, looks around, and then drops to his knees. Frankl, an Austrian Jew, repeats to himself a line from Psalm 118: “I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and He answered me in the freedom of space.”

I think it’s possible for anyone to experience this freedom of space, regardless of religious affiliation or spiritual beliefs. And I share Frankl’s sense of gratitude. I find myself released from many of the constraints that depression once placed on me and from the lure of suicidal thoughts, and I can see possibilities all around me.

—Dan Fields

Thanks to Elana Premack Sandler at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for help with statistics.

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Comments

  1. In short: I am convinced by the monetary naysayers concerning the marketplace. Has anyone found a glimmer of hope in this “downturn”?

  2. joe sciarretta says:

    Wow… I just stumbled across this after googling, “why is a successful man so depressed and isolated.”

    Yes, that’s me. I isolate myself because I like to be alone… I am a huge introvert, but most people wouldn’t know it. They probably look at me and wish they had my life.

    But here I am… alone… isolated… and wanting to die.

    What is wrong with me?

    I think through in minute detail how I could kill myself so no one would ever find me.

  3. Trish S says:

    Five years ago my husband [age 58] of 30 years took his own life. I didn’t see it coming; he was the laughing giant that everyone loved. I was more fortunate [?] than most suicide family/survivors; I had answers.
    It’s been a long journey through a very dark place. On that Sunday morning John stole from me; stole my marriage, stole away my best friend, stole our retirement life, stole my having someone by my side during the last quarter of my life.
    Now just as I am in a good place and very content with my life, my 55 yr. old nephew has committed suicide. He was a highly successful producer/editor of trailers in LA. He was handsome and charming.
    It has hit me harder than I would have expected. And it is so true! Women get help. Men die.
    Such a permanent solution of what was probably a temporary situation.

    • Your husband “stole” nothing from you..he denied you of YOUR expectation of, as you put it, “The last quarter of your life..”
      I notice there is not a word of WHY he committed suicide; only that he was always happy. This suggest to me the communication beween the two of you was not what you thought it was. He seemed happy, and you loved him, yet the direct opposite was true; he was so depressed he killed himself. This is common in cases of middle aged suicide when the victim(your husband , not you) is married; one party is in what they consider a great life, the other is in a hell that only death can relieve.
      The most important thing in preventing this sort of thing is communication, pure and simple.
      Very easy for me to talk about achieving, but very difficult in practice

  4. unknwnusr says:

    Im a 30 year old single male never married, no children, I own several cars & motorcycles, I own my home outright, in general I know I am successful in my life & amongst my peers/friends… I have no brothers or sisters, never had a father & my conception was due to rape, my mother is now 72 & all of my mothers side of the “family” lives elsewhere in the nation of which I know very little about any of them…

    Recently I started seeing a woman but for the most part she just wants me sexually & nothing more… She has a 3 year-old little girl & has many siblings & family/friends around…

    After reading several sites on suicide & why it affects men more unknowingly to others is based for/to me for several reasons many of which are NOT even mentioned…

    The Main reason I believe suicide affects men my age & slightly older males -or younger for that matter- is the lack of LOVE… Even just saying it to a friend can help take away the deepest & darkest thoughts of loneliness of/in my depression states…

    I say “states” because sadness/depression are in fact emotions that yes are self induced by the mind…

    Secondly I found that when I do feel like hanging my-self or slitting my wrists in the tub if I still had my gun I may not even be writing this; I TRY to console with God, I say try because when we “hear the inner voice” or spirt of the lord science calls us crazy; which by all means is a common trait for all humans its a very thin line between sane & insane…

    None the less you find yourself alone wanting to die because we feel “whats this life worth living alone or no one to live for…” I would have hung myself recently but I dont want to burden my mother with finding her only child hanging dead for the remainder of her life…

    but this is about why men do commit suicide even with success…

    I believe most all humans feel a state of unworthiness at some point in life; but because we are all individuals reasons vary case to case…

    For me its todays modern woman helping to drive men deeper into depression with such a rise in single mothers & reversed roles… Women today have no real or true need for a man other than to bear a child with & even then she has alternatives to conceive; where as men we do not… Sure men could adopt a child but men being men want their own off-spring with a woman they love…

    Many modern women my age group for the most part have children & dont want anymore or have been divorced & are not seeking to be “tied down” again…

    Which brings me to the current situation… Many men whom become successful on their own dont seek a woman who is not at least on the same page of desires in life to be together…

    But for me its simply the lack of “being loved by someone” both emotionally & physically and the lack of loved ones taking notice of the situation & being there for that person… For the most part even when a man is screaming out that he wants to die no ome takes him seriously & the normal response from most is tuffin up & face your problems like a man which only leads to him feeling more like pulling the trigger…

    Men can NOT make anyone love them I try to “love in abundance” but that is something we find is always rejected or not reciprocal… So we find ourselves alone in our mind reaching out in tears for something as small as a hug & an I love you phrase; even a return phone call would be nice… At times when I was in my early 20s sitting home on a Friday night alone I would randomly call/text everyone in my phone & most times no ome picked, responded, or called back; however I am the complete opposite… I have lost many best friends to fatalities 3 were suicides… My one buddy violated probation after doing 2&1/2 years in prison took his own life when the police came to get him; he knew he was facing 30 years this time his daughter was about 5 at the time, in retrospect I understood why he did it, he loved his daughter & wanted to be with her so much but the mother moved on foumd a new guy & was making it hard for him to see her plus 30 years is a long time to deal without the one he loves most one could say they are better off dead than alive… The second followed years after my friends father hung himself shortly after the recession hit; his daughters were in college his realty business took a huge hit & bills were piling up & his wife of 30 years began doing party drugs & dating in another state at their home set for retirement; he had a life insurance policy & I guess he felt that he had to do what need to be done to take care of his daughters & a wife who no longer seemed to desire him; so he did the deed daughters got education paid & home paid off & the wife was forced into being single now; this devistated me because he & I were close … My 3rd friend was from middle school & I didnt find out about his suicide until years after it happened… He attained a schoolarship went to college found a girl he loved & during a school breal she left him, I assume depression hit & the feeling of having no ome there he mustered up the balls to run towards an on coming train…

    Now I can relate… Its very simple cause & effect; Jerry springer once said “love is a selfish emotion” im not sure why its stuck with me but it wages true for the most part… We all want love because it coincides with happiness; without it we lack so much, companionship, will, desire, need, kin, as men we want to feel loved & needed too but with todays society & men for the most part holdimg onto the idea of to be a man is not to cry or care but to muscle up & take it like a man…

    Where I stand now is that ive taken interest in me more working oit daily bicycle or jogging yard work etc but that is just a momentary escape from my current reality…

    Im with a woman who doesnt love me, when her daughter says I love you to me I cry inside because shes not mine d I cant love her back unconditionally because its the mothers choice to be with me when she deems fit… Which is where I feel many of men especially self-sucessful men because we may desire more particular traits in a woman making the search for love & companionship harder… Im to a point now where id settle for a baby momma just so I have a reason to continue to live & love; its when we men loose knowing this that we slip away into depression & even with warning few even care drives us more to do it…

    For me the only exit I have is to be crazy & talk to myself with hope God doesnt let me down…
    they say there is someone for everyone; but when we feel there isnt these are the thoughts of a sane man sunk in loneliness…

    • I am so with you, man. Please contact me if you’d like to talk. I think we should talk.

      • unknwnusr says:

        Tom thank you for reaching out to me & being able to relate…
        Whatever you & want to speak of I would like to & choose to keep it here in the comments/forum…
        Because these issues affect tons upon tons of people worldwide; and my goal for myself is to remove the selfishness of my own thoughts & share openly as it helps me to somewhat vent & relate with others…

        Tom please feel free to share anything you feel relivent or your own story/experinces…

    • Great post and a lot of truth in there. Love is certainly the key but belief in yourself and in your own self worth is perhaps more important. Sometimes it is better to work on being the best that you can be, even if in a shitty place and often with the contentment obtained, love will follow. We don’t all deserve or indeed get love. We don’t even know sometimes that we are loved. The trick is to LIVE and life will give its own reward and maybe even true love. Keep on movin my friend….

  5. Sometimes one is just tired of going through the daily motions.
    If I wanted marriage and kids I could have had that. Would not have satisfied me.
    No issues with being lonely or any other emotional situations. Sort have always been immune to those.

    Just that getting up every day is not fun anymore. The drudgery of a crap job and being older means you are less likely to get hired elsewhere even if you get loans for additional education.

    I am thankful for my job but I was not thankful having to take a damned thirty percent pay cut. Better than being unemployed but hell of a change in lifestyle. And i work 12 hours a day so working elsewhere would be a real challenge.

    I have 20 more years of this crap to look forward too and old age. Why not take my own life? It is not like I am in University again with the nice mixture of people, my youth, my hustles, and all the spice of life.

    Just the same people atr the same job doing ghte same thing daily. And honestly, there is really no job i’d like to do that I have to do the same thing daily. Not lazy or anything but it just dulls the crap out of my brain.

    Add in the cancer returning and I’m seeking death rather than let them kill my body to try to treat me. Wasting all that time and money on therapy for nothing.

    This shit just is not worth it anymore. I am not sure it ever was but I listened to other people and hung around.

    • unknwnusr says:

      I get where your at..! The daily routine of life can become very redundant & some mornings we wake up & say “fucking shit another day of the same crap”…

      In my 30 years of life I have lost over a dozen friends many very close to me; at one point I had a job that I actually loved… Fixing classic & exotic cars for a small dealership… The pay was decent for me & the hours were normal & the work enviroment was very carefree & enjoyable; the bosses were so cool that if I had gone out on a Sunday night & got trashed or got some ass they understood & it was cool not that I made a habbit of calling out but this is how comfortable this job was for me…

      This is when my buddy shot himself when the cops came to get him in my previous posting; I took a couple days off from work & attended the service a couple nights before the service me & one of my best friends went on a day cruise, which was good for me in a way; he helped me put my suit in the trunk for my friend who shot himselfs service, I told my friend I hope you never see me wear this suit again because it will mean one of us is gone, and I told him I loved him…

      Little did I know that would be tje last time I would see him & tell him those words; 3 Weeks later on work in the Bahamas with another friend of mine they got in a car accident and my friend passed away my other friend survived they are best friends since the age of 10 so it was hard loosing one friend than 2; but his passing devistated me & again I had to ask time off from work twice in a month to go to funerals; my boss said dam your too young to be loosing so many close friends, he told me take as much time as I needed because I expressed to him how devistated I was, he even gave me tickets to a car show which I went to alone because I felt I went with my friend in spirt… But the conformation of daily routine ate at me, it drove me nuts same shit wake up go to work go home Friday comes bar hop till Sunday afternoon & back to work; I began to feel disconnected from my world of friends which at the time seemed to be all dying off… I quit my job & kept my friends mom company for several Weeks; we all used to live together I used to rent a room from her in the past plus we needed eachother in a way too at the time… April 13 I got a phone call my best friend called & I thought for sure he was going to tell me his mom passed away or something; but he didnt he told me my best friend of 22 years fell off of i95 & passed; at first I thought he jumped but where he fell several people had fallen from & died prior to him one even being a cop… None the less I was devistated even further…

      I dont think since that time I have been normal; its been over 4 years & since then I have lost many friends… But it changed my work ethic & desires in life forever… I left the journey of my life in gods hands almost up until now; during this time I remained unemployed & had a lawsuit pending pro se where I lived was being shut down & taken over by developers but I fought a good fight & won a nice size settlement & struggles to get a mortgage right when the bubble busted so getting a home loan was impossible but I kept faith & kept on I finally got a home cash purchase; so that long road of struggles is what gave me will & desire to keep on, during this period I met a girl we began dating for sometime well over a year we were together; it came a point when she started telling me I need a job so I could “do more with myself & her & in life” & I felt I have plenty so why need more..? But to make her happy so I thought & to get her to shutup about not working I got a job at home depot its the lowest ranking & paying job I have ever had in my life; I was always in a salry IT posistion or a Auto mechanic job both feilds very well compensated in; but both those industries took heavy cut backs when the recession hit, so home cheapo it was… This girl thought that by me having a job would make our relationship better & more financially expendable to do things with her; no mind you it was her desire for me to work & not my own, but I did it for her… So now I got this “normal job” which I stayed at for a year & only once did I get a weekend off of work by that time/weekend her & I had already broken up because now the reasoning was “you work so much we dont get time or weekends together anymore” she worked during the week & had weekends off where home cheapo was bleeeding me working 38 hours a week as a part time employee & the lowest pay of my life & the job created a massive dent in my relationship… But I reminded her its all part of cause & effect you want me to work now that I do it still wasnt enough…

      If you really & truely can have a woman to love, marry, & make a family with im betting you will find life is a better place to be than dead…

      Ill admit my line between sane & insane is thin these days as I previously posted… But hope & faith keep me wanting to know more… I think if we simply reach out to eachother as this forum allows for people to do is a start…

      Ive changed my routine to make it through each day one day at a time now I say try because I still deal with loneliness & unfufilled desires, & I acknowledge my depression…

      Im not anyone to tell anyone else what to choose to do in their lives but all I can sugget to you Dr m. Is that try & throw a monkey wretch into your lifecycle… Be it a walk to work or maybe get up extra early & take the bus or train to work instead of the normal “daily drive to work” maybe ride a bicycle there or hit up the gym at sometime through the day… Call out sick for a day or two & go for a walk in the park absorb some sunlight because that indoor lighting used to drive me crazy in the IT feild because often we were put in server rooms which are like freezing dungeons…

      Im just a normal guy too who feels just like everyone else whom continplates suicide… If cancer is causing your pain & depression I understand a good friend of mine passed away at 28 a few months ago of liver failure cancer, she didnt want to die but it was far too late for her to get a new liver plus she was a bartender & began heavier drinking after younger brother passed from the same liver cancer… I suggest seeking alyernative means to revitalizing yourself & surpressing or eliminating cancer all together…

      In many cases its mind over matter many people live decades without knowing they have cancer or dieses that should have long killed them it only when they find out their mind reacts to it or they like you said get sucked into a treatment system that pretty much microwaves their body so I get that in your case Dr m. I have a couple friends whom swear by getting “adjustments” of the atlas bone in their necks; research shows many people with various health issues especially cancer & HIV patients have pinched nerves or out of aligned atlases… My one friend who swears by it; her father is gay & has HIV hes older & scabes which nearly killed him the hospital & doctors gave him meds which made him worse & he was on his death bed in agony she went down made her father stop taking the meds gave him adjustments & made him smoke marijuana to gain an appetite that the meds surpressed… Today he is very mudj alive & active & his t-cell count is on a normal scale & HIV is so minimal in his sytem now that doctors cant believe it wouldnt know unless it wasnt in his medical record that hes an HIV carrier…

      With that said I highly recommend that if your state has medical marijuana to get a script for it to help with your cancer treatment opposed to pills & to try the adjustments; after all we are to a point where we feel theres nothing left but hopefully I have given someone out there a reason to try something new as I too try to hold on as well…

      Thanks for sharing Dr m.

      • unknwnusr ,
        I understand.
        Having lost most of my friends to death or incarceration it really takes a toll on one’s life. And those long term deep trust friendships are hard to come by.

        I was married once so I know the ropes of the lady wanting better finances and being upset that you work too much. Course she cheated with multiple gys as I found out and I had to fight in court for years just to spend a little time with my son. He died in a car accident last year along with my cousin and one of my best friends. And it just built up.

        Thanks for suggesting the alternatives. I have a nice little investment saved up so if I can find someting I enjoy that will keep food and shelter, that is all I need.

        Current plan is to end things by the end of this year. And I may try alternative therapy but the doc gives me about a year from now if I do not do chemo. Who knows.

        But every day I just want to sleep and not wake up anymore.
        Thank you for sharing your story my friend.

        • unknwnusr says:

          Dr. M
          Im happy to see you share more… The depth of loss of loved ones is beyond for many to understand & I will admit the loss of a child is the utmost painful feeling I am sure…
          I do not have kids, so it is hard for me to relate exactly; but as you know ive lost many of friends great & best ones & as you say the good ones are hard to find & trust in this lifetime… I have many of friends too whom have been incarcerated as well…
          Hence why my one friend shot himself he was on parole & didnt want to go back for 30 years…

          But none the less God has us here for some reason; even my own exsistance since before my birth was “against all odds” being a child of a rape victim is confusing & painful; so many people believe that cases like mine are OK to abort… But my mother choose otherwise…

          I am truely sorry for your losses of your family; I once died myself as a teenager in a car accident & had an out of body experience… Even after my survival & “seeing the light” my life as a wild teen running the streets did change much… But yet I am still here not dead nor in jail, again against all odds of our society of the 90s era…

          If we keep faith in God & I have to admit there is something beyond what we believe or consider reality with God in the afterlife; we just have to get there by gods time scale & not by our own hand…

          There is 2 men whom you may or may not have heard of; one is Deepak Chopra he has several YouTube videos one in particular I found wonderful; no mind you deepak is a scientist but yet acknowledges that not even science can explain our inner soul, our soul is the actual energy that drives this machine we call a body… In this video -I will ppst the link next- he speacks of the transformation of energy… One example he uses is the burning of wood… Here we have wood, it is now dead & dry it used to be once very much alive but is it not still alive..? So we burn it, now it is the catalyst of fire..! But fire is nothing unless it has a fuel or energy to burn being the wood so now again this wood is very much alive again it has created an even bigger energy now… But I know you say -as I did too- oh but now that the wood has burnt its life as wood is done; NOT SO..! Depak firther explains the science cycle of burning wood; burning wood creates smoke again another form of therpines/fuel/energy this smoke then rises into the sky & helps to for the cycle of cumulus clouds which again is a massive form of energy these could then create rain whidj again is a fuel or energy that then shower upon us & nature giving life once again to us in the form of water & to its borthers & sisters of nature to continue to live… The bottm line of Deepaks message is; “ENERGY NEVER DIES”… This I do believe… And being that no human can explain our soul its my best guess in all of gods greatness & wisdom & the biomechanic intricacies that we too never die; at least not our soul…

          if one believes in angels; as I do being near death in so many instances… I believe your son, your cousin, & your best friend are all part of gods team of angels if not for you or me or someone else in this forum who needs an angel right now for me they are..! As tragic as so many things in this world are there is beauty here too… And they are all part of it…

          Sometimes we fail to “stop and smell the roeses” listen to the bees buzz & bird chirp… Modern day society has mentally disconnected us from what gods reality really should be… Sure we need work, & fund, & a roof over our heads; but time we can not buy… Take your shoes off walk in the soft grass at the park clear your mind, cry, dont ask God anything confess to him; something will come of it even if the sign is a bird crapping on your head…

          Ive gone slightly astray here but the second man I would like everyone to watch his name is Leanord Jacobs; the video is 2 parts on YouTube & it is calle “true awakening”… He speaks of the “now”… I cant really explain it as well as he does but every time I watch the video it gives me that sense of being alive again right NOW..! it will help you remove your mind from the crap doctors & the world my tell you will happen in a year from now because the truth is none of the past or future is even real anymore or yet; only RIGHT NOW is REAL everything else is a facade…

          I believe you & I have much to learn & much to show the world even our response here among eachother may help someone else & that there is purpose; hence why I have bookmarked this page & come back regularly to post my progress…

          Yesterday a girl I know from middle school called me; when we were kids her brother commited suicide… She is still bothered by it… Her baby father has basically internationally kidnapped her 3 boys & her filing for divorce is almost impossible as he is in Panama w/ the kids; I never knew this but she told me she was raped as a young girl by a relative & in bad drunken nights as a teen… I stayed slinet on the topic till later that night because I wanted to let her vent… But I finally told her that I could relate to her rape situation as I am a by product of such act & that dealing with that too as an adult is part of my depression today… not that she completely understands the extent of the mental scaring knowing this has on a child as it has for me I think she found a place to relate too…

          All in all we are not even totally alone… Im not a sports fan but its nice to high five a stranger when the home team scores a point… Sometimes I wish everyone in the world owned & wore a t-shirt that says “free hugs here” this world might be a better loving place…

          And dr m. Please do seek alternative solutions for your cancer; I hate doctors & hospitals & all that its just a drug companies dealer business if you ask me… Yoga is another great means of relaxation & self reflection… I almost forgot the dalai lama XIV has a website with video talks on them I highly recommend going there too… And always remember “God is my Judge” so whatever you find in the alternative medicine arena to work for you is great be it medcinal marijuana, acupuncture, meditation, herbs, etc. God still loves us all & even if we pass away against all of our own efforts to survive & against all odds of the doctors bullshit diagnosis “energy never dies”… Try camping for a weekend w/ a few good books… Being active keeps the other micro organisms that oir body is made up of alive too…

    • d'artagnan says:

      DR.M

      I agree with you.
      No type of emotional involvement is going to do anything for me.
      I do not want to get older and I have not figured out how to get extremely wealthy.
      This daily grind just to be old and broke is pointless.
      I am choosing death as well and will be dead by the end of this week.
      Wishing you a quick and peaceful end DR.M

      • unknwnusr says:

        Ok I get it you dont believe in God & im cool with that… But what is the real reason for you not to want to live anymore..?
        I admit to mine, Dr. M has shared his… But whats your reason..?
        If what you believe in is “only reality” and “logic” cool im with you…
        Im a human being a grand composure of intricate biomechanical micro organisms as are you..! These are all logically real..! And very much alive..!
        I had a point in life too & sometimes still do where we devalue or question or exsistance or place in the universe… The universe is much a real place too is it not..?
        And here you are..!
        We all have an “ego”… How often do you turn that voice/ego off..?
        Maybe its time to tell your ego to shut up & absorb some of the beauty of this reality only, you so logically believe in…
        No one here reading this know whom you really are in this virtual world that man has created but yet you are willing to overlook what other men & women are saying..? These are NOT words from any God; these are words & realities of other human beings just like you…
        Whats common amoung us all here is our dealings with “living on” for another day…
        As I previously said in my reply to Dr. M “the past & future are a facade” so why give up on the “NOW”..?
        I am almost certain if you set you ego aside & reveal your true story someone human whom is not God & just as much real as you are can & will relate..!

        • unknwnusr says:

          This is the link to the Deepak Chopra video I spoke of; its called the mystries of conciseness…

          http://m.youtube.com/index?client=ms-android-google&tab=w1&gl=US&rdm=m5zadq6w7#/watch?v=FEF7T-Yy3kQ

          And this is the link for the Lenord Jacobs Video True awakening… Its 2 parts this is part 1 link…

          http://m.youtube.com/index?client=ms-android-google&tab=w1&gl=US&rdm=m5zadq6w7#/watch?v=Ce0sISw_qBY

        • D’artagnan will not be able to reply.
          Thing is he sounded like this guy I worked with who quit a few weeks ago.
          So the first message he sent I rung the guy up on the phone and it was him. He explained it all to me. Since he was the only one outside of family who knows about my cancer returning…
          We were not best friends but I am open minded so he was willing to talk to me about himself.
          Funny thing is he’s not the type of guy one would expect to make that choice.

          Charming, attractive, good with the ladies, financially stable. brainy but in a relaxed sort of way. Always smiling and trying to cheer people up. Always involved in charity and similar things. Always lending a hand.

          He told me that he just did not enjoy adulthood. He said it was too mundane and repetitive for his tastes. He said that if he could have invented something and become wealthy enough to just travel he would visit a different country every month.

          He said that his means did not provide him with enough variety that he preferred and he saw no point in continuing. That he was comfortable choosing his demise.

          He said if anyone responded to his answer that I was to say what I just said.

          His last day was today as far as he told me. I know many are going to nay say me for not calling the authorities but I was in a mental hospital after one of my previous attempts years ago and I would not do that to anyone.

          We went out for lunch and a movie with a group from work and then he shook my hand, hugged me and told me that all was done.

          Last I saw he was walking towards his car whistling a tune.

          His strength has inspired me. I’ll probably move up my date as well.

          R. I know you will not see this but you were an exceptional human.

          • unknwnusr says:

            Dr. M. Hes is not like you & you are not like him…

            All too often we become absorbed by the facade of what society has deemed “real”… It seems to me d’art became self absorbed in setting an unrealistic “expectation” on wealth by a certain point in time…

            Please please please watch the previously post lenord Jacobs videos I posted…
            Lenord speaks of exactly these types of “expectations” in life & how it can & will drive you insane when they never come…

            From what you know of him & as you said you wouldnt think he would be or feel this way; but his ego & expectations over ruled his logic of “simply living in the now” & enjoying these present moments…

            Dr. M you have an entirely seperate reasoning; which I can understand you have a physical pain & what doctors are saying is cancer… There is a commercial ive seen here in my state for the center of cancer & the woman in there said she went to one doctor & they told her she had some much time to live & then she went to this center for cancer & the doctor told her “I do not see an experation label on you” this is a wonderful analogy..!

            And I am going to reutter it directly to you Dr. M.

            Dr. M, I DO NOT SEE AN EXPERATION LABEL ON YOU..!

            we can help eachother here… I believe you have much will power & in the least an open mind to trying new things… I know you say you have a date set; but opposed to moving the date up sooner because your Co-worker has -mimd you it seems he was caught in the facade of keeping up with the jones- how about you push the date back further into the futute at least until you have tried some of the natural remedies I previously suggested… If atlas adjustments & smoking pot can take an HIV patient from his deathbed back to living a normal & almost nonHIV status; I believe God can & will do the same for you…

            And I understand there is more underlying in your reasons here… But as of NOW cancer is your main cause & main loss of will… If we can help you in moving forward towards getting better in the cancer arena then later we will figure out the rest…

            Again please please please watch the Jacobs videos they are about 20 minutes total & I promise you; it will change your mindset somewhat on life…

  6. ncnative says:
  7. ncnative says:

    Life is short….eternity is long. I too have felt like many of you, but in the end I would rather let God decide when it is my time to go. True, a meaningless life is not worth living, but life is only meaningless outside of a relationship with God.

    Why not surrender your own way?

    ‘ The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came befoe Him and into His ears,,,,,

    He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters…..’

    Psalm 18 4-6, 16

    • d'artagnan says:

      If your god and philosophies work for you then so be it.
      As an atheist and a rational I know that life has no intrinsic meaning.
      Which means there is no real reason for me to hold on to it ipast a certain point.
      I just wish they had legal suicide clinics here so we could just go, sign some papers and go to sleep instead of having to jump off a bridge or shoot ourselves.

      • ncnative says:

        ‘The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’

        You cannot know that God isn’t, but you can know that He is. Look at Jesus.

        • d'artagnan says:

          There is no solid proof either way.
          And I’ve never met or seen Jesus so for all I know him and other historical figures could be either totally nonexistent or changed from who they really were to make people think a certain way.

          Sorry if I cannot let some being who cannot even give measurable proof they exist control over my life. Especially when that supposed being lets people go through suffering for its own sadistic purposes.

  8. Unfortunately not all men have had a great life. Thanks to a Aspergers I have had troubles making friends my entire life and am considered different. For a lot of men, turning 40 is a great time in life but for us single men who never got married it is pure hell! We constantly wish there was someone who loved us, we wish we could have been a dad, we wish for a lot of things that other men take for granted. You finally realize that you wasted your time looking for love and you will be lonely for the rest of your life! I never thought I would be alone for the rest of my life and now know my life is pretty much over and when I thought of killing myself in high school and decided “things can only get better”, I was fooling myself. Nothing got better and now I realize that way back in high school I should have ended my life as I had found the solution to my problems way back then! Unfortunately not all men are loved by women and for us that have the misfortune of not being loved by women, we prefer death over living the rest of our lives alone! Basically I am dead as I see it! I can’t have an enjoyable life or enjoy my time with someone special in my life. If I look at it, my life never was worth living and after reaching 40 and still single, I think suicide is the only solution to my hellhole life. In my 20s and 30s there was still hope that I can find love in my life something that is very important to me but at 40 it is time to realize that I was stupid to even think a woman would be interested in me and how I wasted all my time looking for a women that doesn’t exist. As I mentioned, most men have had a great life and 40 is a positive milestone. Some of us had horrible lives and tried to make our lives worth living only to fail and new we realize suicide is the only solution that will put a final end to our pain!

  9. consider those who have NEVER had anything their entire life, no friends no girl no kids no love no hope nothing, i put up with being treated like garbage four looooong years of high school constantly being told how much of a worthless failure i am every day for eternity, their is NO HOPE when the only people you ever loved are in heaven, my parents loved and understood me, but who is there now to talk to, there is NO HELP for those who live in poverty , who can talk to a expert when they have no insurance and NO ONE will give you the time of day, no one cars about helping another human being god forbid, todays stinking world is so obsessed with money, no one cares anymore, is it any wonder other people choose to end their horrible lives on this godforsaken planet

    • Amen brother.
      People do not understand that for some of us, our entire lives have been one loss after another.
      And even through our best efforts we still achieve little or nothing because of how things work.
      And being a man you are not allowed to talk about your dissatisfaction as much as women do.
      So why is it when you decide enough is enough then people want to come in and try to convince you not to?

      Especially when they are not going to help you find a better job, help you get an education without drowning in loans, help you if you have a home forclosure because your job lays you off for no reason, help you with medical bills because of cancer or something that you have no control over.

      Or even if you are homeless and ask for a sandwich you cannot even get that.

  10. pills are NOT the answer for one people in poverty CANNOT AFFORD THEM and the warning labels on the pills SAY THE PILLS WILL CAUSE YOU TO COMMIT SUICIDE , no who the hell is going to risk taking those damned pills if they are going to prompt you to do the very thing you are trying to avoid

    • You’re absolutely right that some pills can in a lot of causes make depression worse. In addition these pills can also cause severe weight gain, increase your chances of having diabetes later in live, and many other side effects. Unfortunately, medical professionals will prescribe these pills and discount your concerns until you tell them you gained 50 lbs of weight or have even more severe depression. Given the possible side effects (I’ve had one that caused a 50 lb weight gain and another that caused dizziness) it simply isn’t worth the risk of taking these pills for a depression unless it is a serious depression. Taking these “happy pills” just because of being sad over being lonely probably won’t help you and you most likely will even have one of the undesirable side effects from these pills.

  11. My beloved brother commited suicide July 25, 2012. Not a sign that I could see, until of course, I looked back in the most sorrowful, broken time of my life and saw a couple of things I missed. Might not seem like much to some, but i knew him well soooo… He called me the night before and we talked about soem things that were going on and before we hung up, he told me he loved me, he had also told me that about a week prior on the phone. Way out of character. I KNEW he loved me. I told him I loved him, but he just wasnt one to say it. He didnt do the “typical” suicide rituals so many do. Sudden Death. He was a functional alcoholic, but had some health problems and I know this contributed to his suicide. My brothers work (he was a maste carpenter) defined him. It was who HE was. I have never, ever known more pain in my 52 years, including losing my mom and dad. It almost destroyed me. I can just now begin to think I may live. Shalom.

  12. Men are under attack.. and for good reason. We are not needed. Science will quickly discover means of igniting the egg-fertilization process, and men will no longer be necessary.

    Women have proven the ability to be as ruthless and self-protective as necessary. There is no inherent difference in the pysche that can’t be overcome by evolutionary processes in the human brain. Men aren’t needed to defend women as they can kill others as effectively as men can.

    I am a middle-aged man who has been coming to terms with his redundancy for many years. The only thing that has prevented my self-reaping is my daughter’s dependence; I do believe she’ll be traumatized by my departure. But it’s her generic fear of death, rather than her dependence on me, that keeps me from self-harm… for the moment.

    Life is for those who have been genetically selected, and raised, to be happy. There is a random element of genetic disposition that has resulted in those who don’t find joy in life. For various reasons – duty, religion, promises – we continue. But the minute those promises are fulfilled, we are ready to depart. I myself will depart when my family can bear it.

    I really don’t understand those who take others down as they go. This is my problem, and mine alone. I don’t have the authority, hatred, or anything else to inflict pain on others. But I want control over my own destiny, and I will take it when I can.

  13. I have considered suicide a few times and even at this moment I don’t know if I will die of natural causes or by suicide. The reason why is just one thing and nothing hard to understand. I am a caring and giving guy who has always loved women and hoped they were capable of the same—I have never met a woman capable of love. I have learned that 100% of them only “love” large bank accounts, superficial things like that or how well you can impress celebrities, the size of your package, …. but woman don’t have human feelings any more than rattlesnakes do and rattlesnakes are more likely to be considerate. I spent 62 years lying to myself about this but may as well tell the truth about women now that I am about at the end of my life.

    • ScreamPhoenix says:

      I’m curious to know where you live.. I’m asking because I live in south Florida, a VERY party/money-hungry/looks-driven type of place. I am a beautiful 30-year-old woman with a lot of intelligence and drive, but also super compassionate, and I’ve NEVER dated a guy for “money, celebrities, sex” etc (which it seems most people down here do). Friends have even told me I am “dating down”- I don’t care what they say, I care about the man’s heart and personality, nothing more..So kind women do exist. It just depends where you are looking, and honestly, what it is about you that is attracted to asshole women. Examine your patterns and attractions, get in counseling, and go from there. You can do it.

  14. d'artagnan says:

    Life is a funny little random kick in the genitals is it not.
    They cut my salary so much I had to pretty much accept the layoff.
    The money is almost gone.
    And I do not give a darn.
    The messed up thing is all of a sudden a lady friend of mine of 17 years confesses her love for me and my nieces and nephews sort of want to connect more with me now because my brother died and I was around most of the tykes while they were growing up.

    If I were a cold hearted schmuck I could just go on and blow my brains out with no regrets.
    Instead I’m here sleepless with my heart fighting my head for supremacy.

    I’m thinking my head is going to win and death will be claiming me soon.
    No income, losing home and car, what is the point?
    Too late to find a job and death is better than being homeless.

  15. Jackson says:

    I’m 52 years old. I’m a white man with a high school education. In 2009 my 401k worth plummeted (I lost more than $10,000). I panicked and closed the account before it went to ZERO. Of course, by doing so I lost 1/3 of what was left to taxes and fees. Anyway, my body is beginning to fail (bad back, high blood pressure, etc.). I’m a driver and only make $17.00 per hour which is peanuts in today’s inflated economy. My wife doesn’t work due to medical reasons so I barely make it from check to check. Under our current political and economic circumstances and with the looming threat of Obamacare I only see things getting worse … not better. Therefore, I totally empathize with men who see suicide as the only way “out.” I must admit that the thought has crossed my mind a few times since 2009. That’s when I lost hope and most of my change.

    I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to improve my economic situation. I try to come up with new inventions or figure out how I could get into business for myself but it takes money to make money so I always end up staring off into space surrounded by this sense of impending doom. I end up praying that God will inspire me in some way but He’s chosen to keep His distance. So much for the power of prayer.

  16. I find this discussion fairly farcical. Men, although thank god women are able have the same opportunities that men do these days (for the most part, although there is significant room for improvement), are highly vulnerable to mid-life layoffs. That, given our deep-felt responsibility as providers for our spouses and families, leads to despair when we cannot do that. And (not to engage in idiotic partisan politics), the fact that government policies (i.e. especially business-hostile decisions like Obama has done) directly lead to layoffs, is a contributor to male suicide.

    But of course we will continue our “puzzlement” at the suicide rates among males, wring our hands in despair, and continue along the same policies that led to this situation in the first place….

  17. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effot to generate a really good article… butt what can I say… I put things
    off a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

  18. Thanks for the honesty shown here! My husband killed himself (gunshot) near the beginning of this year and I’ve been craving honesty on this subject. My husband of 14 years never drank or smoked, worked hard and earned well for myself and our 2 children. He did suffer from depression but I never knew how much. I accept he had to go as I accept that many of us could kill ourselves at varying junctions in life. I just try to trust in God. He knows, he has reasons, everything would be perfect if we could see the whole picture. I choose to live for my kids and for God. Other than that, I’m no stronger than anyone who kills themselves and I don’t hold it against them.

  19. I just stumbled on this site and WOW! All of you, you are saying you are worth nothing and that is simply not true. The ability to write so well of your pain, that is something. I do believe in
    God and if God made us, he wants us to live to our fullest potential.I think with men they would interpret this to mean a hi paying and successful job that is recession proof.
    You are not what you do for a living. That is only a result of how fully you have been able to live. Depression, by the very nature of the actual changes it makes in chemistry, MAKES YOU BELIEVE THAT ALL IS HOPELESS, THERE IS NO WAY OUT, NO ONE CARES-you are being fooled by your own body.
    Get help for the depression and then address the areas in your life that need it.Be grateful every day even if your family and friends do not come thru-help someone else with their problems-get out and meet others in whatever way you want to, exercise every day.
    I hope you do these things as it will make it better. Is it going to make you George Clooney or rich? No. It will make you proud to be who you are, it will help you really accept how things are for you so you can then move on and make it better. We all have a purpose here, we are all valued and loved. No, not by all the media, or the very wealthy(Who have cheated us) but that is not real. It’s TV. Thos are people that do not know you. The people who come into your life when you reach out for help are REAL. The neighbor you start to give a little wave to and nod, the store clerk you thank for being so efficient. It is when we come out of ourselves that we can build lives that are truly meaningful.
    This is a tried and true method of regaining your sense of self, i hope you give it a try.

  20. So a little change in perspective and a little talking is going to help.
    Bean, I am not saying it does not work for people like you.
    But some of us are calling foul.
    We are tired of dealing with and accepting things.
    We are not teenagers and basically we have tried to do things your way.
    And we keep getting dust kicked in our faces.

    The young lady that just posted that she is completely alone? You think she has not tried to connect? But nobody is there for her truly.

    Some of refuse to follow the delusion any longer. So we can be someone’s financial support, or mistreated employee, or cheated upon spouse, or legally castrated father, or lonely brother, or sister (Female 40).

    We are just tired. And no change is going to change our situations.

  21. It is the disease of depression. Your minds’ chemicals are messing with you. If you tried antidepressants for a good while-say, 3 months and you still feel as you do, of course you have free will.
    I don’t think you will, I hope you are brave enough and not to far gone to give it a try.

  22. I disagree. There are some people who are actually depressed.
    My question to you is why is someone automatically labeled mentally ill because they are tired of living for whatever reason?
    From a rational standpoint life has no meaning except that which people attach to it. And survival instinct is only to preserve the species. Since humanity is in no danger of extinction my birth nor my life is actually necessary.

    So I should replace my supposedly “messed up” brain chemicals with pharmaceutical drugs that are akin to a subtle for of mind control to cling to a life that is essentially pointless in the grand scheme of things.

    Which has always struck me as interesting because if people use drugs or alcohol to stave off certain”depressive” feelings that is frowned upon and illegal(drugs). Regardless of the side effects of many of those antidepressants one of which is actually promoting thoughts of suicide in the person taking them.

    As far as living for other people, that idea does not hold water fully either. In my experience and observation of a few other individuals who always put others first in many cases one gets betrayed or bitten on the hand for extending kindness.

    Bean, I am not trying to change your mind and the minds of others like you on how you view and perceive life.
    But it is totally unfair that the system wants to try everything possible to stop a rational person from ending their life if they are not satisfied. As if a drug addled existence subject to the judgement of psychologists is actually something everyone wants.

    This is supposed to be a free country. And since I am not harming anyone with my suicide, I should be allowed to die in peace. And if one mentions grieving relatives and friends it would be no different than if I died in a plane crash or car accident.

  23. Some of us have tried therapy and every anti-depressent you can think of only to continue to feel pain. In my personal opinion, no anti-depressant is going to make someone who is feeling severe lonliness feel better. Everyone wants to have a social connection and someone to enjoy their life with. If they lack this and cannot change things, there is nothing that can help them “feel happy”. Believe me, I have tried all anti-depressants that exist and have been in therapy for years because of my lonliness and inability to find happiness in my life.

  24. Suicide is man’s way of telling God, ‘You can’t fire me – I quit.’
    Bill Maher
    I once read another similar quote but cannot find it now. It went something like this;
    Suicide is deciding to resign rather than waiting to be fired (sacked or terminated) by God.
    Personally, I’m divorced, alone, lonely, depressed, middle aged, redundant, jobless, homeless and broke to name just a few.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Good Men Project, why are so many middle-aged white men committing […]

  2. […] • Suicide in Middle Age:  An essay by Dan Fields, former editor in chief of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self-Healing newsletter. The Good Men Magazine, August 15, 2010 […]

  3. […] You can read the full article here. […]

  4. […] newsletter, recently sent me a link to his piece for a cool new online publication called “The Good Men Project Magazine.” I was especially intrigued by his exploration of midlife suicide and why the rate is highest among […]

  5. […] newsletter, recently sent me a link to his piece for a cool new online publication called “The Good Men Project Magazine.” I was especially intrigued by his exploration of midlife suicide and why the rate is highest among […]

  6. […] newsletter, recently sent me a link to his piece for a cool new online publication called “The Good Men Project Magazine.” I was especially intrigued by his exploration of midlife suicide and why the rate is highest among […]

  7. Sources…

    […]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[…]…

  8. […] a 2010 article on middle-aged suicide at the Good Men Project, Dan Fields interviewed experts about the causes of this troubling rise in […]

  9. […] Why are middle-aged suicides on rise? Quick | Video | Detailed Question submitted by Thomas Palin (location unknown). Thanks […]

  10. […] Visit the Good Men Project for further reading on this study on American men, and here for UK males. The pattern is comparable, and reflects other nations similarly. […]

  11. […] newsletter, recently sent me a link to his piece for a cool new online publication called “The Good Men Project Magazine.” I was especially intrigued by his exploration of midlife suicide and why the rate is highest among […]

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