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Reply #28: It fits both, to a surprising degree. [View All]

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Cuban_Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-22-04 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #25
28. It fits both, to a surprising degree.
Edited on Wed Dec-22-04 09:48 AM by Cuban_Liberal
During both my paramedic training and my Police Training Institute sessions dealing with psychiatric problems and intervention, the lecturers both noted that this was a fairly common occurence, and one of the reasons that survivor's often seem surprised by the suicide, e.g., "He's been pretty down lately, but he seemed to be feeling better/coming out of it the last few days."

I handled a suicide of a man who had been SEVERLY depressed for almost a week, so badly that his wife stayed awake 24/7 watching over him; one evening his medications seemed to be kicking in and he was subectively and objectively much less depressed and told his wife that she should lie down and get some rest, and assured her that he would be OK in the interim. She lay down for a one-hour nap, setting the alarm clock to wake herself up. While she was asleep, he covered her with an afghan, quietly went into the garage, ran a garden hose from the tailpipe through the back window of the car and started the engine. He died from CO poisoning.

I think part of what makes suicides so.... 'weird' to those of us who examine them is that the act itself goes against our own instinct for survival, i.e., on some level we see it as an illogical act ("he had so much to live for"... "he didn't have to kill himself, I would have helped him get through this"... "didn't he know how much we all loved him?" , etc.). Bearing that in mind, we often cast about for 'other' reasons to explain what we feel/believe to be the consumately irrational act--- trying to seek proof that it was an accident, or a murder--- simply because acceptance that it IS a suicide is too hard to handle, temporarily.

I can't speak for every jurisdiction, but every place I've ever worked, a suicide is always approached as though it were a homicide: crime scene processes the scene of the death in conjunction with the detectives, evidence is collected and sent to the crime lab for analysis, the coroner causes a forensic autopsy to be performed, detectives and uniformed officers talk to family, friends and other witnesses who do or even MAY have information that could be useful, treating psychiatrists/psychologists/social workers are contacted, etc., and in a FEW instances that were unclear, a 'psychiatric autopsy' was done.


PS-- I hope this helps explain 'where I'm coming from', and lets you know that I'm not some garden-variety skeptic or naysayer.
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