Is Society Following A Suicidal Path?

3801Suicide is defined as, “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind.” When we hear this term, we associate it with a person that believes all options have been exhausted leaving only one remaining path left to follow. The method chosen to end one’s life is usually quick. Spouses, children, extended family members and friends are often left trying to understand why such an act was carried out. They often wonder if there was something more they could have done to prevent this tragic outcome.

This is the same thought that goes through my mind every day.Β  What have I missed? Why is my message not clear? What else can I offer to get people to understand and prevent the massive “suicidal genocide” that’s taking place throughout the world? It doesn’t discriminate. All races, ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes participate. It is so prevalent, it has become a normal standard to die by.

couch-potato-400x267“The act of taking one’s own life voluntarily” by neglecting the essential components needed to survive and thrive meets the criteria for defining suicide. The definition is NOT BASED ON A TIME FRAME. It is based on willingly, knowingly and voluntarily committing an act that ends one’s life prematurely.

Based on this new understanding of the definition of suicide, are we not guilty of committing this unfortunate act by willfully avoiding activities necessary for healthy function while simultaneously starving the body of necessary nutrition and poisoning it by intentionally ingesting toxic and carcinogenic substances? Are we not “taking our own lives voluntarily” even if this is not our conscious intention?

overeatWe must begin viewing our lives from a new mindset. Our current lifestyles have placed our lives on the final path; the same path that traditional victims of suicide follow. Our only difference is time frame. Rather than ending a life quickly with as little pain as possible, we have chosen to kill ourselves more slowly inflicting disease and degenerative damage that gradually robs us of quality living. This is the most dangerous form of suicide because we are blinded to its existence. Our need to satiate our desires outweighs our rational thinking. If we don’t correct this course by accepting this truth, the final path will lead to a suicidal outcome (by definition.)

I care more about people and their well being than many care about themselves. I don’t have the right to tell people how to live their lives, but I do have the right to open people’s minds to the truth and show them a reality they may face if they follow their current path. For over 20 years I’ve heard people respond to my recommendations with the phrase, “I know, I know.” Many of these people were patients that have died since. It is not enough to “know.” I have seen enough death as a result of poor lifestyle choices for a lifetime. I hope this message resonates deep within your heart and mind to provide courage and strength to change course, NOW, before it is too late. “Knowing” you need to change is not enough.

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27 comments

  1. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    I always worry about my choice to be an accountant. On average, I sit at a desk roughly 12-14 hours a day plus my commute. My intentions to eat healthy and exercise go out the window between January and May because of tax season which is a busy and stressful time where I am working with strict deadlines. I am hoping that my new plan to prepare meals in advance pays off, however, I don’t take a lunch or any breaks (no time) and find I move very little. I am up by 4am so I can commute and find I often get on the treadmill between midnight and 1am when I finally return home. This isn’t a complaint because I know many are worse off schedule wise, but I feel as though I am going to have a short life on some days. Just last night I found myself in the ER because of complete numbness and tingling all over my body, they did find some very small white lesions on a cat scan (could be normal) and are urging me to visit a neurologist. I guess the point I am trying to make is that Americans in general carry a lot of stress, and I can only relay my own personal opinion based on my own personal experience , but I believe most of the bad lifestyle choices people make in life are driven by stress. I do know that many may be uneducated when it comes to making the right decisions, but I personally feel that the vast majority are making the wrong choices to cope with stress. Most people know they should be choosing the apple and not the Twinkie.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your sentiments are well written. Stress is a big factor in people’s busy lives. That being said, we must also face the reality of denial. Knowing an unhealthy lifestyle is dangerous usually does not provide enough incentive to change our patterns of behavior. We don’t truly believe the dangers will occur to us. You have a very long day filled with important responsibilities and recognize the need to improve your lifestyle pattern, yet only succeed for up to 6 months out of the year. You blame it on tax season, but this is more likely a belief than a reality. If you suffered a heart attack and were told that cardiac rehab would be required 3 days a week in order to live and were told that you could continue to work during this year long rehab process, the time and commitment would likely be made.
      We say we value our lives; our actions say otherwise. I think you are an amazing person without ever having met you. Your writing speaks volumes about your kindness and concern for others. I hope you realize how much better off this world is with all your contributions and begin denying yourself the right to make excuses that negatively impact your quality of health and life. It’s a difficult task I place in front of you. As you look into a mirror, does your reflection show a willingness to discard false beliefs in favor of a new healthful reality?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love/hate the graphic of the girl eating her way through a mound of carbs. What drew my attention with the picture is the crazy straw she is drinking out of–because we all know how FUN it is to being morbidly obese, right? Ugh!

    I heard a commercial for a major fast food retailer the other day that asked questions about everyday things in life, with the answer always being to consume one of their menu items. What?! Yep! Food fixes all problems in life, right?

    The commercial took me back to the day when I finally recognized I had a problem with compulsive overeating. I had left one of my sons social security numbers off our tax form, and was being notified that my refund would be delayed by weeks because of the mistake. The called from IRS was not able (read: willing) to make the change with the number on the phone and process the refund that day. Frustrated, I left that call and went straight to the frig to get a big bowl of ice cream. At that moment, I “got” what I had not seen before–I was looking for food to fix life problems.

    Food does not fix life problems. Food feeds bodies and fuels activity. Period. If it is enjoyable, great, but food choices definitely need to be managed. When they are not, death comes sooner, rather than later. This is a sad reality not all yet understand. Great post. Thank you, again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing that personal story. I’ll bet many readers will be able to relate to using food to “feed” frustration. People need to share these stories to realize the severity of this epidemic. It takes different stimuli to reach the “light bulb” deep within our brains, but awareness seems to be a necessary starting point for change to occur. I look forward to the day when this message no longer applies to people’s lives. I will gladly conclude my blog site with the message, THE END!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder how many people walk out of their doctor’s appointment shaking their heads, then forgetting the message minutes later. Too many of us finally get the message when we are faced with smething more serious. Your analogy wiith suicide was well done. I hope your message is getting through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if they forget or simply dismiss the message. The reality of the dangers we create by living unhealthy lifestyles are not viewed as real threats to life. “I could eat better,” “I should drink more water,” “I can’t remember the last time I exercised,” are typical phrases people repeat all the time. Does it change there attitude in most cases? No. They are cavalier and continue this destructive behavior right to the point of a “formal diagnosis.” What is preventing people from accepting the reality of their fate? It is not a matter of IF, but rather WHEN their lives will be devastated. How many examples of destroyed lives must they witness to motivate a change in attitude and behavior? How many spouses and children need to lose a family member to “see the light?” PEOPLE NEED TO START LISTENING AND ACTING

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree 100%. I just spoke to a friend who lost his father. The man was told to stop drinking and he continued. Died on New Years Eve. I know parent’s need to take responsibility but can more be done to educate children in schools? Perhaprs, we change the thinking of the next generation.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m certain the school systems have budgetary and time restraints limiting their ability to educate students in this area, but when conditions reach epidemic proportions, schools need to take some responsibility and make room in their curriculum to provide MEANINGFUL health education for their students. This, however, needs to be a supportive role. The family, along with assistance from health professionals need to the major players. Without family participation and support, nothing changes. This was the motivation for an earlier posting that provided a plan of action (one that MANY families would resist) that could be a starting point to turn this epidemic around. I know that parents do not want to be told how to raise their children, but a line must be drawn when the child’s welfare is in danger. I know my suggestion is just a STARTING POINT and will likely need significant modifications, but until someone else steps forward with a better ACTION PLAN, why not give it a try! (Here is the link to the original posting: https://allabouthealthychoices.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/facing-an-obese-nation/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, I remember that one Doc. I am making the necessary changes. Water has become a greater part of my intake. Walking has taken a larger role as well. I am searching for the right balance. I am listening. my friend

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sorry, the link didn’t work the first time. I fixed it on the previous comment. It was about the Obese Nation.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Yeah, I know. Doc, you are reaching this follower. I hear you loud and clear. Now all we need is to get others onboard.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. At first glance, the comparison might seem extreme, but this is exactly what we are doing! I love that you included the definition of suicide. We think of it in terms of a sudden act. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Using the actual definition and showing the comparison added validity to this message. Until people actually realize they are killing themselves by dismissing the reality of lifestyle and the affects it has on their quality and duration, the “sheep” (people) will continue to follow each other right off the cliff to their peril. What will it take to help them see the truth and change their current course?

      Like

  5. Understanding the cause of stress behind over-eating is essential to those who use food as a release. Some GP’s work so adamantly on a patient’s diet and not so much on the underlying cause of those who try to fill up what is empty. Great post Jonathan, your information brings up important discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. We need to better understand why people turn to these empty foods for release. There are other productive things people can turn to and we need to discover the root issues as well as release substitutes that enhance rather than destroy life. We need to better educate physicians who often feel more comfortable working with tangible lab values and algorithms to address dis-ease. More nebulous issues (like emotional distress) is rarely addressed at the root level. Medicating symptoms is the more common approach. This will never provide long term solutions to enhance quality living.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes exactly and I think that is because of the time limitations that Doctors are under and the “get them in and out approach.” Of course it works both ways, and most people don’t want to work or face the issues that created their obesity in the first place. As we know, making changes takes time, patience and commitment. One step at time. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. powerful post too!!! kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kat.

      Like

  7. I think people eat because they are hungry, emotional, or seeking pleasure. For a long time, I didn’t only eat when I was hungry and I also didn’t make choices that were nutritious. My doctor always says to get pleasure from the people I spend time and the activities I engage in, not from food. He tells me food is fuel and is not meant to make us happy.

    So many social activities are based on eating and it is definitely a challenge to do the right thing for your body when the wrong thing tastes so good! It is a daily struggle for me, but like you said, I don’t want to end up dying early or suffering because of my own poor choices. For the first time in a long time, I can truly say that I am doing my best and putting my health before my taste buds.

    PS: a lot of that is because of you. THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I truly believe you are mentally prepared to follow a healthier path. Unfortunately the path feels more like a bosu ball than a cement road making each step a difficult balancing act. Patience and practice makes this lifestyle much easier and pleasurable over time.

    Food doesn’t have to be so black and white. Although I agree that food is information the body utilizes, there are no steadfast rules stating enjoyment must be avoided at all costs. I believe that enjoyment (when possible) makes the experience better. The difference is, food should not be the MAIN thing we turn to in life to make us happy. There are many other experiences in life that can bring joy without harmful side effects. Finding and accepting these experiences mitigates the need to turn to unhealthy foods and other unhealthy practices to satiate harmful emotions.

    I appreciate your courage and your honesty and feel humbled in sharing this experience with you.

    Like

  9. Great post as ever Doc.
    There is to my mind one fundamental issue in nearly ALL cases of obesity.
    Something is missing form your life.
    Whether it be a multitude of issues or simply just one such as low self esteem, poor self image, lack of affection or bad emotional management, the list goes on.
    There can be an element of self harming with food for sure and before anyone can even consider losing their obese weight, they need to resolve the issue of what is taking them to such poor eating choices.
    I had my surgery and although I worked on it for a year prior to surgery, there are still some residual issues linked to food. I had not realised until late last year that I was an emotional eater. I have stopped drinking alcohol which as we know is a common release for many of us and so when stressed or in emotional pain, I turn to something else that gave me comfort many years.
    Food.
    But I can no longer do this because I am post bariatric surgery and for one it will undo all of the good work I have put into myself and two I simply cannot manage the portions I imagine I would require to numb any pain.
    Obesity is a complex issue and as such even though I have lost weight, I am now about to start a course of therapy to try to understand why I am still heading towards old habits in order to deal with situations.
    Not sure if all of the above was relevant but it’s kind of the way I feel and can understand how people get to where they are…..

    Like

    1. All the above is extremely relevant. It goes to show the complexity of Obesity and explains the UNIQUE battles each person faces when combating this issue. I believe those suffering obesity might be better off accepting this condition as an addiction. The reason I believe this is because it creates a finite understanding that losing weight is not synonymous with lifetime controlled eating habits. Addictions are lifetime afflictions that are sources of emotional distractions that temporarily seem to offer reduced pain. Ultimately, they exacerbate health problems and emotional issues and compound the efforts required to bring a person back to stability.

      Your comments provide insight for many people who currently feel exactly what you have gone through and continue to deal with. It also shows that health (whether obese or healthy weight) requires ongoing work FOREVER.

        This should not be viewed negatively. Most things in life that are worthwhile require great effort. I view our health and well being as a “project” worth working hard to maximize.

        You will get through this challenging moment. Notice, I didn’t say time, I said moment. This is because in the larger scheme of life and all the days of success you have in front of you, this will appear as a small blip on your life’s radar screen. Grab on to the things in life that offer POSITIVE thoughts and actions and focus on these to help overcome temporary obstacles. You are NOT ALONE!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. Thanks Doc.
        I never fail to be totally blown away by your thoughts.
        I honestly do feel like this and I honestly do think it is a blip but the problem will be with me for my entire life and I must learn to accept that and deal with it.
        I shall get as much help as I can from the counsellor over the coming weeks plus I met an amazing lady yesterday whilst filming and she just seemed to have the answers so I may see if I can get in to see her at some point in the future.
        The future is bright. The future is Camerons.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    In case you didn’t catch it, thought I would share this link to an article I found on Fox News that may interest you. chttp://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/01/08/183-year-old-giant-tortoise-gets-new-lease-life-thanks-to-healthier-diet.html?intcmp=hplnws

    Like

    1. I watch so little TV, however, somehow I did see this. Thank you so much for thinking about me and sharing this link. I really do appreciate it… I think I may use this in a future posting.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Very thought- provoking post, Jonathan. Perfect images as well. There is always so much more underlying the physical state of obesity. I always approach clients suffering from this with a psych assessment. The actual physical state they’re in is always just a symptom, which of course leads to greater risks.

    Can always feel the passion in your beliefs here – wish you strength to keep persevering. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a very kind comment. I agree strongly with you regarding that the physical manifestation is merely a symptom of an underlying problem that often goes undetected through treatment and other recommendations. The mind is a crucial place to investigate to understand the truth behind this devastating condition. I am not surprised you know this based on your obvious compassion and caring for patients.
      Proud to have you as a colleague reaching out to those in great need.
      Stay healthy, stay happy!

      Liked by 1 person

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