Re: In Memoriam

1

Oh wow. I am so, so sorry to read this. Fuck depression.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 3:42 PM
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2

Oh shit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 3:47 PM
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3

Oh god. I didn't know.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 3:48 PM
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4

.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:01 PM
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5

That's awful news.

I occasionally think about all of the life-events that have happened to people and been commented upon here -- births, marriages, graduations, etc, and am glad that people share as much as they do in this little forum.

In this case I am saddened by the news, but am grateful that this was posted, thank you.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:03 PM
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6

Oh, no. I had wondered if anyone were in real world contact enough to know if he was all right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:07 PM
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7

Thank you for sharing. That is awful news.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:08 PM
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8

How unspeakably awful; I am so sorry for him and his family, and miss him. Rest in peace.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:08 PM
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9

Wow. Really sorry to hear this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:12 PM
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10

This is so self centered, but I wish he'd given us a chance to talk him out of it. I should have checked his blog more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:15 PM
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11

How awful.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:17 PM
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12

LB, you did try. I remember.

But that was my thought as well. I should have checked his blog more. We knew he was evaluating suicide.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:17 PM
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13

I didn't know he was evaluating suicide. I never read his blog. I've checked up a couple of times on people who comment here. (When you know the real name and they're an academic, it's easier to suss out whether the person's alive.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:20 PM
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No more killing yourselves, imaginary friends.

national hotlines:
1-800-784-2433
1-800-273-8255

state hotlines:
http://suicidehotlines.com/


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:20 PM
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15

Fucking A. I did talk to him a few times about this, and was concerned enough that I talked to some of you all off-blog about it. Didn't know what to do.

Well. Okay. Learned something. I am very sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:22 PM
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16

I keep wondering how people tied his blog to the real name, and I'm not sure that it's relevant at all.

And I'm thinking also of his plan for organzing information that would end human argument. It seems doubly sad now. It represented a view of how people should conduct their lives, e.g., politics, that was stripped of emotion and feeling. I don't know enough about pdf's situation, but so often depression isn't so much sadness as a terrible absence of feeling.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:24 PM
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17

international: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:25 PM
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18

Dammit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:26 PM
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19

I keep wondering how people tied his blog to the real name, and I'm not sure that it's relevant at all.

IIRC, he had his name right there on the blog. He didn't keep his identity a secret.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:27 PM
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I keep wondering how people tied his blog to the real name, and I'm not sure that it's relevant at all.

Doesn't seem like he really tried to anonymize it; someone reported an earlier posting of a suicide note of his to the police by whois-ing his domain.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:30 PM
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21

Pwned, and missing crucial info, at that. Oy.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:31 PM
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22

"I wish he'd given us a chance to talk him out of it."

The interventionist approach beyond talking is why I wouldn't signal any intent to kill myself.

If pdf23ds and others thought the same way, those laws mandating the reporting of "danger to self" are probably getting in the way of some people asking for help.

Anyway, it's sad he felt his life was bad enough and the problems permanent enough to take that solution.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:31 PM
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23

22: Very sad. I know you've thought through what you would find intolerable. I do think that there's a difference between emotional pain in someone young who is otherwise healthy and the situations of older, sick people. And I say this as someone who has thought about suicide or (at the very least) wanted to die more than once.

Don't worry: I have no plans to do this. Someone would drag me to the ED if I did.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:36 PM
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24

pdf23ds seemed to share your view, apparently stating in his earlier note "I passionately hate that all of the mental health people are obligated by law to commit me to an asylum if they think I'm about to kill myself. They can't be objective. You know, if they could talk to me without such stupid constraints, they might have prevented this very suicide".

I tend to agree. Every time I've ever talked with a mental health person, I put in a boilerplate "don't worry, not going to kill myself"; of course, it's always been true, but it walls off the entire topic into a ritualized space where the truth or falsity of the statement isn't even at issue. Bleh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:39 PM
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25

those laws mandating the reporting of "danger to self" are probably getting in the way of some people asking for help

He seems to have said this explicitly in his suicide note. I agree that it's true. But it's hard to know what else to do.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:39 PM
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26

That's terrible. He was very young; it must just be horrible for his family.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:40 PM
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27

24: I do think that once you have a longer-term relationship with someone, you can talk about it a bit more freely without the person reporting you...if they think you're very unlikely to do it. And if they think a hospital would make you feel worse and me untherapeutic.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:41 PM
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He was only 26. My mother stopped taking her meds and food at 90, and not a single person in the family objected to that decision. Yeah, there's a considerable difference.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:42 PM
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29

I'm uncomfortable with 24; the idea that it is possible to objectively evaluate the pros and cons of somebody young and healthy killing themselves seems flawed, obviously, and once you let go of that idea then you're left trying to figure out the best way to help people. Given that clinicians, are, on average, no better than chance at determining who is likely to commit suicide when released from care, it is probably the case that the strategy of hoping that people seek help (convincing people to seek help) and then going to maximum alert when they do probably does save more lives than any feasible alternative option.

The overwhelming majority of people (or, at least, young, reasonably healthy people) who make one or more serious suicide attempts and fail go on to report normal levels of happiness and satisfaction later in life.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:51 PM
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30

29.1 is a long and confusing sentence -- or maybe I'm upset -- but if it's to say that maximum alert is appropriate, I can't help but agree.

pdf was broadcasting his suicidal thoughts for quite a while, though I guess not to mental health professionals. I don't know what he was looking for, but I wish we'd been able to help him find it.

I'm not making a coherent argument about anything.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:59 PM
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29: I was 50 and busily imploding my entire life when I thought a shrink was going to report me and send some sheriff's deputies to the house. That would have ended up with a guaranteed minimum of one deputy dead, and me too.

I have no way of knowing how often that situation applies in general though. As it turned out, I got a new and much more talented shrink.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:59 PM
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32

This is heartbreaking. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 4:59 PM
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33

.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:05 PM
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34

Poor guy. Poor family.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:07 PM
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35

Very, very sad news.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:15 PM
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36

33: At 26, he was too fucking young and inexperienced to know if his life was going to be great or not.

I'm with you on not pressuring/forcing anyone to hang around but I have no problem with pointing out alternatives. The laws make the former the default.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:15 PM
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37

Oh, dammit.

Thank you for the post.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:17 PM
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38

That is very sad. Just today I was thinking "last year was so horrible, but this year has been better, and full of uprisings to boot!". But of course things are always awful for most people in the world.

I've been very pleased to be free of any serious suicidal thoughts for some time now, thanks to the Welbutrin and the psychologist and the new job. But I think I can say that I do know what people go through, despite never having made an attempt. It's excruciating. Wouldn't wish it on anyone but the 90th percentile and above of my enemies.

I feel very sorry for pdf23ds and his family and friends, including us.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:28 PM
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39

Well, damn. I feel for his family and friends.
His website seems to have been taken down, and I'm mad I never found my way to it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:33 PM
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40

I'm so sorry to hear this.

Natilo, your news is good. As you know, I'm one who worried about your depression and I'm glad to hear better news.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:47 PM
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41

He emailed me at one point, years ago, for the name of a therapist. I gave him the name of mine.

I know he worked really hard, for years, to try to get a handle on his depression. The tragedy is that he was so deeply depressed for so many years, and the pain for his family.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:51 PM
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42

I didn't realize Natilo's depression was so bad. Write, call, contact, babe, when it gets bad. Please.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:54 PM
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43

Unspeakably sad for the young man's family and friends.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 5:54 PM
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44

Horribly sad, but thank you for posting it. I will reiterate my previous request to folks here to learn about warning signs and what you might do to help if you see them.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:01 PM
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45

I'm a little concerned that his family and friends might not want to see this thread. For that reason I'm not really wanting to share stories about him, but he's, was, a good man.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:03 PM
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46

His dad shows up in one of the linked threads; I think they're well aware of his interests and types of conversations he might have had online, and that you're ok discussing stories.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:06 PM
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47

33:Sigh. No respect for elders.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:10 PM
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48

46: I was in the process of typing more or less this. His dad is really clear about it, I think.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:11 PM
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49

That's so sad. I was just talking with Smearcase yesterday about pdf23ds and his thing for lojban. The world could use more kind-hearted oddballs like him, not fewer.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:11 PM
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50

49: he was indeed never less than kind-hearted, even when I found myself vocally puzzled by his opinions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:15 PM
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51

Damn.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:16 PM
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52

Very sad to read this.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:18 PM
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53

40, 42: I didn't mean to threadjack to talk about my own depression. It really has been way, way better recently. The last 6 months were about as different from the preceding 8 or 10 months as any period in my life, so really, no cause for any extra concern with me.

It's weird, being 10 years older than pdf23ds, to think about how many changes and new things I've experienced in that time. As I've said many times before, I do respect people's freedom to end their own life, to an almost absolute degree, but that doesn't make it any less sad in this case to think about all the missed opportunities and fun and love and compassion. I've been working very hard recently on internalizing that it is not my responsibility or my desire to manage other people's emotions, and yet when I read about things like this, I wish I could do more to nurture people. Not that I don't do it when I can, but so many people are in so much pain, and it makes me very sad.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:24 PM
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54

Oh no. The nature of this place is that people disappear all the time and you just never know what becomes of them. Somehow, that it happened six months ago makes me even sadder.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:24 PM
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55

I had forgotten playing four-square with pdf until googling just now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:33 PM
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56

"...think about how many changes and new things I've experienced ... all the missed opportunities and fun and love and compassion."

That's my objection. Given modern medicine's ability to turn old age into a horrible prison, suicide is a reasonable countermeasure.

On the other end? At his age I was starting a family and a new career in a strange land. Not 100% fun but much, much more than not.

Enough. A toast to the permanently absent with the good scotch will have to suffice, there's nothing else to be done for them.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:38 PM
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57

I'll drink to that.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:39 PM
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58

Lesson one of hopefully many, more a reminder: slow down. Don't talk so much. Give other people time and space to think and talk. Listen.

In most other circumstances on this blog, this would be laughed out of the room, but we're mostly all grownups here.

I'm glad to hear you're good, Natilo.

To pdf.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:47 PM
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59

Oh, damn.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 6:51 PM
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60

Oh no. The nature of this place is that people disappear all the time and you just never know what becomes of them. Somehow, that it happened six months ago makes me even sadder.

I agree with this and much of what Biohazard has said. I'm raising a glass with sadness.



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:04 PM
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61

Somehow, that it happened six months ago makes me even sadder.

Yes, this.

Very sad.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:10 PM
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62

Damn. I didn't know the guy, but... still sad.

I hope it was the right decision for him. For some value of "right."


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:15 PM
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63

Terrible news. To pdf23ds and to his family.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:15 PM
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64

It is nice to see old names like Biohazard.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:24 PM
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65

55: pdf was so sweet.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:40 PM
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66

Just fuck depression. So, so sad that pdf never found the right drug or therapy or meditation to beat it. It is a miserable thing to live with when you can't find relief.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:50 PM
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67

Oh Christ, how awful.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 7:55 PM
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68

Goddammit.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 8:28 PM
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69

A damn shame.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 8:30 PM
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70


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 8:49 PM
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71

Sad, sad news.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 9:26 PM
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72

So that's what all the cryonics stuff was about last time I saw him on here. Jesus. What a shame.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 10:04 PM
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73

.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 10:43 PM
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74

how sad and horrible. I attempted suicide at 26 via overdose and failed. I am so goddamn happy and grateful I lived. so many good things have happened since then. I am really sorry he didn't make it through. I'm raising a glass of sparkling water. crying a bit in the taxi, the poor fucker. he had a kind heart. hate that it was six months ago.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-10-11 11:07 PM
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75

Ah shit.

I'm on the Natilo end of the spectrum re suicide - "And if one is already accepting of euthanasia for incurable physical suffering, it should not be that much of a leap to accept it for incurable psychological suffering as well" from the LW article sums up my feelings - but it's incredibly sad that he got to that point, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone's family. Will be thinking of them.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 12:05 AM
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76

Oh, man. This is awful news.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 12:10 AM
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77

Poor guy. His poor damn family.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 12:20 AM
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78

Damn. My sympathies for those who knew him better.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 1:45 AM
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79

That's awful. Fuck.

And I'm thinking also of his plan for organzing information that would end human argument.

Link?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 2:47 AM
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80

79: I don't remember the exact phrase, and I'm sure that I've mangled it. I don't have a link.

There are stronger treatments than antidepressants,e.g. ECT. There's also transcranial magnetic stimulation, but I don't know how well that works.

In the works, though not available outside of studies, is deep brain stimulation. It seems to work when other treatments have been exhausted. See this article from the New York Times. Treatments will get better, just not in time for pdf.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 4:04 AM
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79: Huh, that's weird. I was reading his blog last night and finding that it could have been written by me at various points in my life, were I a better writer and a bit clearer headed, and now I learn he had a master plan for organizing arguments? I have a master plan for organizing arguments. Several years ago during a period of heavy (for me) drug use I pestered poor Cosma about it via email. Why should physicists get all the cranks, I figured.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 4:35 AM
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82

It's bloody tragic re: pdf23ds.

re: 79/81

Having a master plan for resolving arguments is one of those philosophical equivalents of perpetual motion machines. People come up with them every now and again. This is pretty much at the core of the early to mid 20th century philosophy people are so keen to beat up on.

'If we can just purify our language, reduce it to simple bits grounded in $thing,* and make the logical structure explicit ... MAGIC!'

* e.g. sense-data, protocol sentences, 'impressions', observables, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 4:50 AM
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83

Very sad for poor pdf and his family.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:03 AM
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84

Very sad to hear this.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:06 AM
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85

82: No doubt, it's not a unique thought. Just wishing I'd gotten to know him a bit better.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:16 AM
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86

75: Thing is, psychological suffering is not incurable. There are cases that are stubborn, but it is never like having a body riddled with cancer, so that there is just no physical way to get it all out.

Like a lot of people here, I have personal experience with this that makes it a very touchy subject for me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:56 AM
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87

So sad.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:16 AM
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88

I have to agree with rob. my last friend who died like that...she could have lived through it. just like I might have died at 26, or 16. I gave it the old college try with like 300mg valium and a bottle of wine one day at 16, failed, had access to a gun the next day, and just didn't do it. 7-11 hot chocolate seemed soothing. people are mercurial. ah, but if you're just fixated and planning and suffering. as I get older I see it as more selfish, but if a young person were riddled with cancer I'd say, sure, go for it. I don't know. just a sad, terrible thing.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:37 AM
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89

Damn. What a shame.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:37 AM
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90

86.1: Indeed, and all the more reason to keep pushing for universal health care and mental health parity in health care coverage. (Not that I have any reason to think pdf23ds lacked adequate access to health care himself, but so many Americans do, and the consequences are not trivial.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:42 AM
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I'm really feeling sad about pdf. A few of us met him at the first Austin meet-up, years ago. I remember stringing him along by pretending not to understand Botticelli and getting him to pretend extensively to be broccoli, or something like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:44 AM
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I just don't think we can call something like this "selfish." I mean, I'm a long ways from willing to argue it is ever the "right" choice, but someone who is suffering from a depression severe enough to act on suicidal thoughts is not someone who really even has the capacity for selfishness.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:00 AM
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92: One can always rationalize away concerns for the impact of suicide on loved ones. "Sure, it will be difficult in the short term for them, but watching me continuously fail and stay miserable for the rest of my life won't be easy either."


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:28 AM
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93: Sure, I'm just saying that someone who is suicidally depressed does not in that moment have the mental capacity to rationally evaluate the impact of suicide on his or her loved ones. If someone who was suicidally depressed had the ability to control his or her rational and emotional thought processes, the person would not be suicidally depressed. I am balking at the sense that calling suicide "selfish" is a judgment of the person who commits suicide.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:40 AM
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95

I was agreeing with you.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:50 AM
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96

I really don't want to get into an argument about this on this thread. I know the psychological suffering might not be incurable, but the sufferer's perception of it might be that it is. And if someone honestly believed that their life was shit and never going to get any better - well, I might well cry and beg them to please stay, but really, it's their life, and I would have to accept (have accepted) that they can do what they want.

It's grim. I'm not touchy about it Rob, but I am crying. I wish no one had to go through such shit, but if that's what happens and that's their decision, I'm not going to condemn them or second guess it.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:12 AM
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96: I don't think anyone is condemning pdf, especially not rob. People are unwilling to accept that it's a reasonable/rational decision, but that's not the same as condemning pdf. It's more like saying that when one is in such emotional turmoil, rational thought is nearly impossible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:17 AM
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98

My sympathies to his family and community.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:20 AM
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99

I have no idea if this is a good idea -- would it be a good thing to do to get in touch with his family, just to tell them that there was another community where he was known and liked? I don't know if that would be intrusive and annoying, or if it might be a comfort. And the six-months later nature of it changes things too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:24 AM
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100

The six-months thing makes it seem like a bad idea. Can a message be left where they might happen upon it when looking for stuff about or by pdf23ds?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:28 AM
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101

Just a lurker, and I didn't know him personally, but add me to the list of those who will miss pdf23ds. Some of my most vivid memories of Unfogged involve threads he participated in.


Posted by: Stranded in Lubbock | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:39 AM
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102

oh man, I haven't read the thread or anything, but I just wanted to say out loud how sad this makes me right now.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:41 AM
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103

If I were his mother, I'd probably Google his pseud a lot. Oh, it makes me super sad.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 8:44 AM
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104

My experience is that one stops googling after 6 months or so. I would let them know.


Posted by: raster | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:02 AM
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95: Yeah, sorry, didn't mean to come off snippy.

97: I agree completely. It's really challenging for anyone who hasn't been there to imagine what everything looks like and feels like for someone who is suffering like that. Hell, hard to fully understand even if you have been there. Any of us who has been anywhere near someone suffering that much emotional pain naturally goes through the process of wondering "If only I, or someone else, had said, had done, had conceived of that one magical thing that could have fixed it..." If only we could have reasoned with him. If only we could have provided emotional support. If only we had suggested the right medication, or the right mode of therapy. If only.

There was a time during the divorce when such thoughts were very real and very immediate for me. I just consider myself so fortunate, so blessed, so grateful that all of the worst-case scenarios that could have been did not come to be.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:14 AM
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Re: Contacting his family
Slightly different situation, but one of the many people in my life who died recently was a friend/coworker from my college paper. I went to her funeral, but got weirded out by not knowing very many people, and it was just sad. So a few months later, I sent an email with my reminiscences to her mother, who was very, very glad to receive it. I think that, especially for those of you who were closer to him, that would not be a terrible idea.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:18 AM
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105.1: No need to apologize. I'm not very good with this whole "communicating clearly" thing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:30 AM
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I'm in the same boat as a lot of people here, having given some really serious consideration to taking the early exit option. Anyone who's reading this who might be thinking about it - it does get better. With appropriate treatment things do brighten up and start to feel worthwhile again. The first treatment option you try might not work - mine didn't, nor the second. I eventually found the right shrink and meds and have clawed my way from hanging by a thread to having a pretty decent life with real prospects for further improvement. You can too. Email pseudonym@gmail.com if you need someone to talk to. Sometimes strangers are easier than friends.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:43 AM
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Because I'm a moron, and I expect other people to be too, you don't mean that your email address is literally "pseudonym@gmail.com", do you? You meant "T*1*g*5h@gmail.com", without the googleproofing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:45 AM
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106: I think Natilo is right. The 6 months doesn't matter so much, especially since his parents seem to understand his internet presence. For many people who are grieving, a note that says I just heard and wanted to tell you why I liked him, about the kind of interactions we had, etc. would be welcome, even belatedly.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:48 AM
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""T*g*1*5h", no?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:49 AM
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I was googleproofing extra hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 9:53 AM
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109,111: Correct.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:03 AM
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Good. I was just thinking that there's someone out there who really did grab the gmail address "pseudonym@gmail.com", and it could be you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:06 AM
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Somewhere on the internet, pseudonym suddenly finds itself fielding emails from suicidal people.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:08 AM
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Fuck.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:14 AM
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Damn.

Friday was the eigth anniversary of my brother's suicide. He was 27 at the time. When he left, he prepared personalized notes saying good bye and trying to explain. He said he knew that he was loved, but he couldn't feel it in a way that made things feel any better. Reading through all his notes at the time, it was easy to get sucked into the believe that this was a rational decision on his part. When I read them again later, the irrationality and fixations were pretty glaring. Smart people can explain their choices in ways that seem to make sense, but really don't when you look at them with distance.

I don't know if mandatory reporting more often helps people stuck in suicidal ideation or discourages them from seeking help. For health care providers, however, it seems like the only option that doesn't leave them having to choose between betraying a client's trust and being responsible for not preventing their deaths.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 11:40 AM
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I'm very sorry to hear this.

I've never been truly suicidal, but I have been very depressed to the point of negligent self-care, and I have to say, this is the only place on the internet where I am consistently comfortable being me and being 'anonymous' at the same time, which is helpful when I am depressed.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 11:44 AM
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Assuming my own parents are anything at all to go by, please do contact his parents. I can't tell you how much they have appreciated the notes they got, and 11 years later still occasionally get, from friends saying they're remembering my sister.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 11:47 AM
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this is the only place on the internet where I am consistently comfortable being me and being 'anonymous' at the same time,

I'm really glad to hear this. I feel similarly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 12:06 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear this news. I am RTFA for his comments today. I did not know him but enjoyed bantering with him on more than a couple of occasions.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 12:32 PM
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So sad.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 1:28 PM
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.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 4:11 PM
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Fuck, fuck, fuck. And no, suicide that is the result of depression is never 'rational'. You are not rational when depressed, your ability to perceive your options, how others view you, your future, etc. are very, very, distorted.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:04 PM
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ALso, pdf did have a point about the reporting requirements. I understand their logic, but they can be counterproductive IME. I only once reported current suicidal ideation to a mental health professional. It was my first contact with one, and led to an involuntary commitment hearing. I managed to get out free by arguing (honestly) that the act of seeking help had removed the imminent danger part. However, since that time, I have always been very careful to only discuss _past_ suicidal thoughts with shrinks, not current ones. As far as talking to friends goes, I don't think it's had an effect. It's not something I'd be comfortable inflicting on anyone who isn't really, really close. Partly cause saying you're actively suicidal is a huge burden on the person you're telling, partly fear of a rejection that could precipitate an attempt.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 5:32 PM
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.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:13 PM
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pdf did have a point about the reporting requirements. I understand their logic, but they can be counterproductive IME

I'm taking this much more seriously now. Chris was somewhat open about his suicidal ideation in an informal environment, in a way that suggested that he wasn't really afraid to talk about it, and being sequestered from doing so with anyone not a thousand miles away was not helpful.

I'd like to have some idea about what to do in future, other than try to keep talking and being a friend. Maybe not much more than that to be done. Maybe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:14 PM
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I wonder if narnia doesn't have mandatory reporting? it must not. I've told my shrink I was having obsessive thoughts about killing myself and my baby like 80 times a day and she never sent me into the psych ward till I asked her to. my husband had been afraid for this very reason for me to talk to a psychiatrist when I first suffered post-partum depression. but they don't really do that in the states, do they, take the baby away from you (to give you your husband/mom for the time being) and lock you up for observation? holy fuck that is a terrible idea. like if you say "I keep thinking about killing myself all the time and I can't stop" they lock you up overnight or something? I can't overstate what a bad idea I think this is, and I think suicidal people shouldn't commit suicide.

I didn't mean to cast aspersions on pdf23ds himself by saying it's selfish, I guess I've just lived long enough to see the rest of the family's point of view better, and having tried and survived I got to see things always did improve, if not consistently or permanently.

but togolosh's comment above seems to suggest the gov't has a hearing about whether to involuntarily commit you every damn time you say you want to kill yourself? they must quiz you about whether you have plans, but who doesn't have plans? it's like daydreaming about your tropical island, except the other way. everyone knows how to take yourself out for serious, maybe I survived near-death 'cries for help.' (LOL; subsequent sorry for using LOL).

I guess I'll read more of what pdf23ds said about it, but it sounds like a fucking horrible idea. I can imagine well-intentioned lawmakers listening to the family of a suicide victim: "he told his doc he was going to kill himself and she didn't do anything" but christ, no.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:14 PM
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sorry standpipe, I'll shut up now.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:16 PM
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I am aware of mandatory reporting laws with respect to child abuse, but not re suicidal ideation. My guess would be that situations like togolosh described have more to do with hypervigilant therapists, possibly also acting defensively (eg., in the sense of "if i put this guy through an involuntary commitment hearing, then I can't get sued for malpractice"). That may be my skewed lawyerly view of the world, though. I would hope seasoned counselors develop a better sense for distinguishing between "immediate risk to self or others" and "reaching out for help so not an immediate risk."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:24 PM
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like if you say "I keep thinking about killing myself all the time and I can't stop" they lock you up overnight or something?

In my experience the way it works is you tell them, they very, very, kindly say they're here to help and everything will be ok, and oh yeah, have you considered inpatient treatment? You consider, consider some more, discuss it, and eventually decide against it. They suggest you discuss your situation and treatment options with some other kindly shrinks who happen to work at a nearby hospital. WHich it turns out is because you need the initial shrink plus one of two other outside shrinks to involuntary commit you in NYS. And so horribly depressed you gets to go through a mini trial. I recommend bringing a friend, they will do everything they can to persuade you not let them be there, but they can't legally enforce that. To make sure you show up they have a burly ex NYPD detective shadow you everywhere you go. Detective gets very antsy when you insist you don't need company taking a dump.

Oh yeah, it's not for just one night...


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:27 PM
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Depressive Realism

One's reality can of course change in action, but "why?" can paralyze the intelligent while why not? creates a world of possibilities.

The world of why not? contains discomfiting and asocial possibilities.

I thank the stars my own love of life wasn't as carefully bounded by the "rational," careful cost/benefit analysis, as this thread would apparently demand.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:31 PM
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Oh yeah, it's not for just one night...
It's a lot easier to get in than out.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:33 PM
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Alvarez's reaction after waking up from an attempted barbiturate overdose: "My weakened body, my thin breath, the slightest flicker of emotion filled me with distaste. I wanted only to be left to myself. Then, as the months passed, I began gradually to stir into another style of life, less theoretical, less optimistic, less vulnerable. I was ready for an insentient middle age."

...Read the Savage God when it came out, at 22. The best review:"Full frontal solemnity."

I find this whispering careful frightened thread to be oppressively feminine. Socialized.

Why the fuck not? should not have let me survive into my dotage, but got me and Nietzsche thru many a night.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 6:57 PM
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Maybe I wasn't seriously suicidal or depressed, but I remember thinking in the second week of a run with stranger tweakers as I was putting the needle into my arm for the tenth time that day:

"Mom, don't take it personally."

I feel like Gilbert Gottfried

"Alright. All-fucking-okay. This mom, dad, 13 year old son and ten year old daughter walk into an agents office..."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:10 PM
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130: Showing me a form with the mandatory reporting law spelled out and having me sign that they had showed it to me was the first thing both shrinks did. The second, good one was apologetic, the first one not at all.

I nearly didn't try the second one 'cause of the first experience. This was in Alabama some twenty years ago, my guess is California now has even more traps ready.

I think it all has much less to do with helping people than it has to do with the zero risk mentality that's taken hold almost everywhere.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 7:44 PM
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I'd like to send a note to Chris's dad, who showed up in the comments of the second link, and whose name is given in the third link, and let him know that there's a community here who's really saddened to learn that Chris is gone.

Unfortunately I'm a technological idiot, or too impatient, and I can't figure out an email address. If someone locates one, could you send it to me at heebie dot geebie at gmail? Thanks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:08 PM
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This is very sad. His poor family.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 10:30 PM
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I don't even know what to say to this kind of thing. It's a hard thing for me to comprehend cases like this.

like if you say "I keep thinking about killing myself all the time and I can't stop" they lock you up overnight or something?

The procedure here is called "pink sheeting" and just having the thought usually isn't enough. The relevant code language in UT.

there is a substantial likelihood of serious harm to that person or others, pending proceedings for examination and certification under this part, the officer may take that person into protective custody.

When I'm on a potentially suicidal subject I'm looking for overt acts taken to further that goal rather than just someone thinking about it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-11-11 11:48 PM
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jesus my ass would have been locked up 20 times over by now. wtf. this is how my bro got taken to mt. E in dc, because he had a loaded gun in his briefcase. his soon to be ex-wife excused herself from the table and called the cops on him saying he was talking about killing himself. I think gswift would have taken him in too in that case.

he skated on the gun charges though, somehow, they confiscated the (sweet, expensive) gun and then seemed to just leave it alone. white privilege represent! I'm sorry to chime in again, I'm just horrified by the mandatory reporting rules pdf23ds was talking about. they seem well-intentioned but really counterproductive. though, I don't know, maybe little miss bitch saved his life. I don't know. I felt at the time like she was dropping a dime on him, but I hate her. she knew if he got a felony charge he couldn't pass the bar.

anyway, I don't think pdf23rds himself would object to a conversation around the topic, given that we've all made it clear we miss him and valued his contributions here.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 1:31 AM
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128: At least in MA, a psychiatrist or police officer or now a social worker can get you sectioned which means that youhave to go to a hospital for evaluation. After that they can commit you involuntarily on the say-so of the psychiatrist for like 72 hours. Frequently people see that they really need help and sign themselves in voluntarily. At that point it's up to the hospital staff to decide when the patient gets out. If a patient decides to leave anyway, they sign a 3 day notice and are free to go after 3 days. My experience with this is mostly with people with schizophrenia who decide to stop taking their meds, start getting veyr aggressive with women and making threats or want to bang their heads against the wall. Also people with little in the way of family supports who cease to be able to take care of their basic needs.

If it's thought that the person is truly incapable of living safely in the community (both because they're dangerous to others or their illness is so wildly out of control that they are a danger to others) they can be committed for longer, but that requires a hearing in front of a judge. The standard is much higher.

Mental health professionals don't generally want to hospitalize people. Just expressing suicidal ideation is not generally enough. A plan and the means to do it are what they look for.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 4:22 AM
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I don't have contact information for Chris's family, but I found a guy who worked with him on some kind of programming (he wrote an audio compressor, whatever exactly that is, that's well-thought of) who is in contact with them who doesn't want to give out an email address (very reasonably) but will pass a message along. I'll explain that Unfogged was another online community where people knew and liked him, and if anyone has something they'd like to say to his family about him, send it to me at lizardbreath at unfogged dot com and I'll forward it to them.

I'll send along anything I've got by tomorrow morning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 4:35 AM
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I would hope seasoned counselors develop a better sense for distinguishing between "immediate risk to self or others" and "reaching out for help so not an immediate risk."

I would say they do, but nobody wants to get sued, so people err very much on the side of caution and at their most flexible, simply ask if there's a plan. Of course a lot of people, probably suicidal people in particular, know this routine, so if they're telling the counselor because they need to ventilate affect on the topic, as the lingo of the biz puts it, they can try just staying shy of that tripwire. If they're actually thinking about it, I guess telling a counselor means they either don't know that they're likely to be hospitalized or they're ambivalent and, with some degree of unconscious motivation, undermining their plan.

My old supervisor would balk at the last and its implication that there's a real wish to die. At trainings for new lawyers and social workers she stresses that suicidal people don't want to die; they just want to stop hurting. I don't entirely agree, and I also don't get people indignantly saying that it's selfish for suicidal people to kill themselves. It's equally selfish to assume that your optimism about a person's future mental health is reason enough for them to potentially be very unhappy for a very long time so you can still have them around. This is obviously not me saying: oh, just let them go, but the need to blame someone for hurting us when they were in such pain they couldn't keep going, I don't like it much.

(Various grains of salt: though I've had times when I thought "if I had an off switch..." I've never truly been suicidal. Also I didn't know pdf even a little, so I wasn't sure whether to enter the conversation, but it seemed to have broadened.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:00 AM
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I also don't get people indignantly saying that it's selfish for suicidal people to kill themselves.

Yeah, don't you? Swell. Do you really need to go there? The bulk of people who have had a close friend or family member (or more than one, or many more than one) die of suicide, and witnessed its ripple effects on the people the suicide knew, most certainly get it. And meaning no disrespect to or judgment of pdf, I would hardly be surprised to find that many of his IRL friends and family get it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:19 AM
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I'm not indignantly saying it's selfish, just that people will miss you more than you are capable of appreciating at the time. you really aren't yourself when you are seriously contemplating suicide. you're like a zombie you.

my brother and sister and I used to try and ward this problem off with MAD: if one of us offed ourselves, the other two would go too. just the thought of leaving them alone wasn't awful enough; killing them as well seemed more deterring. I worried when my brother was suicidal after I had had children that he wouldn't take me seriously enough. I would have to be very miserable to inflict that kind of pain on my children. it's not impossible, though.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:20 AM
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why is everything about me? I should shut the fuck up.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:22 AM
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Giving examples that are personal to you isn't making everything about you.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:31 AM
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And "indignant" I guess referred to stuff on one of the linked threads mostly.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:34 AM
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144: It's perfectly likely I'd get it, too, if someone close to me committed suicide. I don't think I'd necessarily be right. If it's valid to be critical of the motivations of suicidal people, it's valid to do the same for the survivors, I think.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:48 AM
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(Further to 144, Smearcase: I see what you're talking about now on the LW thread. Unfortunate in a way, but also quite surprising to me that the poster was surprised. Sorry for snapping at you, however.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:50 AM
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my bro got taken to mt. E in dc, because he had a loaded gun in his briefcase. his soon to be ex-wife excused herself from the table and called the cops on him saying he was talking about killing himself. I think gswift would have taken him in too in that case.

Depending on what he and the ex told the cops that might have been as much to save her as him.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:00 AM
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If it's valid to be critical of the motivations of suicidal people, it's valid to do the same for the survivors, I think.

And vicey-versa in endlessly circlewise fashion. Except that one side of that debate having already checked out to leave the other half to deal rather breaks the circle (or rather the large ellipse) of that relationship.

It's of course perfectly valid to remind people that most of us have suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives, that most of us are still here as much by happenstance as by dint of our plucky courage and sticktoitiveness, there but for the grace of Bob, log in your own eye before the mote in your fellow's and so on. But those are all ways of coping with the anger. Telling people they just ought not to have the anger -- or guilt, or dread, or what have you -- may be technically "valid" but is in practice every bit as useless as telling the suicidal to just suck it up and that each day is a new day.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:03 AM
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149: It's perfectly likely I'd get it, too, if someone close to me committed suicide. I don't think I'd necessarily be right.

Just that perhaps in contexts like this one, it's a good idea as a matter of the social basics to keep in mind that what's a subject of academic speculation for you is probably not one for many of the people you're talking to.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:08 AM
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This is so sad. And it's awful to think what he must have been going through.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:09 AM
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In Va, we call it Green Warranting. When you are a threat to yourself or others. You usually stay for 72 hours by which time you've learned to say that you will not hurt yourself or others. Or you've been forced to start retaking your Haldol long enough to get out.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:40 AM
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As far as the shrinks go, people, suicide is fucking illegal. It's a felony to deprive the state of its productive social unit. There are other pertinent laws, like vagrancy.

Maybe you have to get into the system to fully realize the degree to which your family, but mostly the state owns you, your mind and body. How come I wasn't informed of the hearing? What, this Filipino shrink diagnoses me in 15 minutes and fills me full of stelazine?
Stay cool, Bob, you show anger and you will never get out. I was attached to this system for five years, and damn, my chances of being a Senator were ruined.

PS:Remember I watch 2-5 Japanese movies a week. I don't want to overstate this, but on an semi-conscious pop level, and other more rarified levels, there remains strong traces of an attitude in Japan that suicide is a social duty. And with a whole string of Japanese artists, including Nobellers, an admirable aesthetic choice. I can't remember anyone saying that Ryƫnosuke Akutagawa or Soseki were fucking wrong.

I think they tend to blame "the world" more than the individual over there. The world sucks, and that is why Osamu Dazai was dead.

Wait, that doesn't quite fit with the social duty stuff. Individual/social responsibility is important in Japan. And they obviously find the world very beautiful. I need another hundred movies, and that book about Soseki and General Nogi.

Maborosi remains my favorite Koreeda movie.
Near the end, this beloved 80-yr-old peasant woman goes out crab-fishing in a typhoon. She gets back, and laughs at everybody for getting so excited.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:48 AM
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153: I often find taking a step back and thinking about my unexamined assumptions is a worthwhile first step before trying to instruct a stranger on the internet on the social basics; I realize tempers get heated about this kind of thing, but this strikes me as a highly appropriate thread for people to double-check the respectfulness of their own behavior towards others, as opposed to double-checking the respectfulness of others' behavior towards others.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:54 AM
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When I was feeling really suicidal last year, I didn't make it a big thing here because I figured that you all would be really upset by it, and probably feel unable to do anything, and that seemed wrong. At several points though, I was seriously (about as seriously as the suicidal thoughts at least) contemplating checking myself in somewhere. It seemed like a reasonable option in terms of being able to let go of some of the anxiety about my emotional health. I think it was almost certainly the right decision not to do so, however, as it would have complicated so many other things for a long time. Also, as with my long-time resistance to taking anti-depressants, the experiences of those of my friends who were sent to mental wards in HS has had a permanent deterrent effect on me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:08 AM
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alameida,

they must quiz you about whether you have plans, but who doesn't have plans? it's like daydreaming about your tropical island, except the other way.

Most people don't have plans. Even most depressed people don't have plans. In fact, basic ideation is a sign that things have gotten badly wrong. I know that people who live with severe depression often describe these thoughts as a comfort, but that's a sign that they've gotten used to living with that deep degree of wrongness. Having a plan means that you are walking the edge. These people are living one bad cycle away from actively killing themselves.

It does suck that treatment facillities in the US, while but most account a good sight better than they used to was, can still be horrible prisons, where one's ability to navigate depends on the kindness or gullibility of the staff/administration. At the same time, I'm not sure what the better option is. Letting people whose disease convinces them that nothing can help them decide that nothing will help them?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:23 AM
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As for the mandatory reporting thing, IANAL of course but I'm pretty sure it's not "if you say you have thought about killing yourself, you get locked up". I think it's more like "if, in the opinion of the therapist, you're likely to try to kill yourself, you get locked up". I know I have mentioned to a therapist or two that I had had such thoughts in the past, but we weren't talking about imminent things, and as far as I know there was never even any suggestion of me being committed. The reporting requirement them a universal, solid standard to follow, but still allows them to basically use their brains about what would be best for the patient. (Or maybe good therapists just take the "requirement" with a grain of salt, but that seems less likely to me.)

As for the "selfish" thing, I think people are reading too much into it. The idea that committing suicide is selfish because it hurts other is not original to this thread, and to me Di seemed to be making an almost academic point that the term is kind of inappropriate because suicidal people at the point of suicide almost literally don't have a normal sense of self. But selfishness is bad and accusing people of bad things sounds like blaming them, but then accusing people of accusing people also sounds like blaming the second people, and so on. Like Sifu said, take a step back.

And as for pdf23ds, I'm sorry. It's sad. This is the second time in the past month that I've been late to say anything, let alone anything about what I'm thinking or feeling, about something like this. I should probably work on that...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:23 AM
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"by most accounts"


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:24 AM
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At the same time, I'm not sure what the better option is. Letting people whose disease convinces them that nothing can help them decide that nothing will help them?

Outpatient treatment. It's not a question of inpatient or nothing. I do agree that making plans, or at least plans with short term timelines is a sign that you're in danger. Vague plans not so much. And even with the short term plans, the odds are you won't go through with them, either you'll get help or your rational side will take over in time.

However, mandatory reporting makes it less likely that you will seek help. And that's a problem that the supporters of mandatory reporting seem to waive away, i.e. it's not just a violation of freedom and autonomy, it's also a factor that increases the risk of a real suicide attempt by discouraging people from seeking help when they need it the most.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:46 AM
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yes, I would be much less likely to tell the truth if I thought they were going to forcibly put me in the fucking loony bin. I agree there's a problem sending them merrily on their way to the golden gate bridge, but seriously, that's a bad idea.

most depressed people don't have plans? oddly comforting continuous ideation is a sign things have gone badly wrong? fucking a I am crazy, apparently.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:13 AM
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151: granted. I think she was worried she might get shot too.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:14 AM
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The then-boyfriend of a good friend of mine/Rob/Molly's ended up the cover story on a local alt-weekly due to mandatory reporting and involuntary commitment. I wasn't particularly sympathetic because his ideation involved not only shooting himself, but also his ex-girlfriend. (Also? He was an asshole, so they could have sent him to a gulag and I would have shrugged.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:18 AM
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Oh, but one of the shrinks quoted in the article said something like, "Just saying 'I'm going to shoot myself' shouldn't be enough. The therapist should be asking questions like, 'Have you ever fired a gun?'" and that seemed sensible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:21 AM
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159, 163: most depressed people don't have plans? oddly comforting continuous ideation is a sign things have gone badly wrong?

I was wondering about that. I've never been depressed in the sense of having any particular difficulty functioning -- getting out of bed in the morning, showing up at school/work, basic self-care sorts of stuff has always been fine. But in gloomy moods, I've certainly got to the point of suicidal ideation, including thinking about methods, although never getting to the point of a specific plan that I can recall.

I don't ever mention this to people in real life, because I know that admitting you're having suicidal thoughts triggers much more concern than I ever thought was appropriate or necessary. But I think I'm roughly accurate about my general level of not-all-that-unbalanced-ness, and I wouldn't be surprised if some suicidal thoughts were not all that uncommon among people who aren't that badly off, they're just well-concealed because they're so taboo.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:23 AM
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(I don't have any real opinion about whether mandatory reporting laws do more harm than good -- I just don't know how it works out in practice. But I'm pretty sure the attitude around them drives a lot of people to keep very quiet about any suicidal thoughts.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:24 AM
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163: Then I'm crazy too. I've figured out how and under what circumstances, and now I don't have to think about that part at all. I do think it's muchly a matter of luck though. If I hadn't made some promises to the DE that last week in Cedars I might very well have decided to follow her.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:35 AM
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Huh, the time I attempted suicide just after turning 18 and during my post-rape total mental breakdown (a time when I was the one to call 911 after I realized my then-5-year-old brother would have found my body) was after I'd been telling my counselor that for days' I'd been so obsessed with thoughts of killing myself and ending the depression that I was constantly hearing voices telling me to just take all my pills to shut them up. So my eventual response was to take all my pills away, at which point I took all my brother's pills and ended up in cardiac ICU because too much Ritalin is a very bad thing. And then I got hospitalized (without, I think, any consideration of whether I wanted to be there or not) and eventually put on medicines that worked but keep me from remembering that time or much of the next year.

Prior to that, I'd been so depressed at 16 that I told the counselor I had then that I just couldn't take it anymore, wasn't going to kill myself but just couldn't keep going either. I ended up voluntarily committed to the adolescent psych unit for that Christmas break and it was the best thing I'd ever felt when the doors locked behind me as I walked in and I knew that all the pressure in the world was lifted off me. I highly recommend doing inpatient if you can find (and somehow afford) a good place and you're doing it on your own terms. That was so much better for me than just seeing the stupid counselor once a week forever more would have been.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:37 AM
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Outpatient treatment

Yes, and I know quite a few people for whom this worked much better than in-patient would have. These were people who were at the ideation stage rather than the plan making stage, however, and not frightened that if they weren't locked up they would hurt themselves/others. Especially for kids, I think we move to hospitalize far too quickly.

At the same time, by "gotten badly wrong" I didn't mean "in need of immediate hospitalization." I meant "in need of treatment/unlikely to just 'shake it off.'"


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:42 AM
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171 crossed with Thorn, but I'm really glad hers is there.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:45 AM
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Is there any topic Bob doesn't think Japanese movies made him an expert on?

I mean, I expect to brief the client about NarniaTel's spectrum requirements for 2015 based on HSPA-DC spectral efficiency of 8.4Bps/Hz/Node-B and Cisco's forecast mobile data traffic growth for APAC, and then Bob walks in and tells me I'm wrong because of this beloved 80 year old peasant woman who goes out crab-fishing in Maborosi.

You've got to admit it's a methodology some might take issue with. I thought he might knock it off after he tried to derive conclusions about the fundamental nature of Scottish working-class life and Ttam blew up, but no...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:50 AM
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170: I want to be clear that my 158 was not arguing against inpatient treatment, when it is warranted. Quite the contrary. Even recognizing all the ways that commitment, voluntary and involuntary, has been abused in the past* (and, sometimes, the present), I still think there are plenty of situations where it is the best option, or at least the least bad one.

*I think I've mentioned that my great-grandmother was involuntarily committed by my no-goodnik great-grandfather, possibly just for being kinda uppity (although she may have been legitimately bi-polar as well -- it was hard to tell later).


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:51 AM
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172 & 174: I'm just one little anecdote, but I think it's worth putting out there that being in the hospital doesn't have to be bad. It's not always clear when or how it's going to be useful, but it seemed worth noting that it can be. People tend to rule it out because in so many situations it has been awful, I know.

I definitely agree that kids are over-institutionalized, especially poor kids. I've seen it so much in foster care stuff (blah blah, me talking about my life) and one boy we looked seriously at adopting had attachment problems that I'm sure came in part from the foster family that rejected him on the day he arrived at age 2 for having sibling rivalry issues with his baby sibling and then had him institutionalized for several months because they couldn't find an emergency foster placement to get him out of the house that night and then no one wanted to take in a 2-year-old from a mental hospital and so the workers couldn't find a new placement for him. Fucking grown-ups.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:04 AM
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157: but this strikes me as a highly appropriate thread for people to double-check the respectfulness of their own behavior towards others,

Dude, you seriously have no fucking idea how restrained 153 was. Let it go.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:06 AM
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Re. 145, what got me on the meds was the thought that if I were going to off myself, I would have to off L. too, because maternal suicide would be too cruel. Though I am not recommending this to you, A., as a solution to the "would I do that to my kids" question.

Re. the actual post, I am very sorry to hear it.


Posted by: tedra | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:12 AM
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173:"Universe in a grain of sand", dude. Long complicated argument about whether economic cycles in Chile, or beaks of birds in the Galapagos, or one's own personal experience and history, are applicable or useful for anything but themselves...isn't it?

A lot of "science" has an affinity to sympathetic magic, with "like" reflecting "like" (also studied whether financial markets are "reflective" or not), so maybe Scottish workers need to be studied next to Welsh workers, because West Virginia miners are so totally different...ahhh, whatever.

Japan was chosen somewhat arbitrarily, to both increase and decrease independent variables, or provide a different set of independent variables, and to...never mind.

Won't mention the 15,000 pages of non-fiction, like whole books on gendered language and corporate structuring I have read in the last year...yet I know nothing of Japan. Honestly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:36 AM
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And frankly, our shite American culture has made us forget how good and useful art can be.

It could have been France or Hong Kong.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:40 AM
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A lot of states have outpatient commitment. Advocates generally frown on this saying that you can make choices on your own or else you belong in a hospital.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 10:26 AM
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The only circumstances under which, according to my clinic's policies, anyone would be hospitalized is if they say something like "I have a plan and the means and I refuse to sign a no self harm contract because I don't think I can keep myself from killing myself before our next meeting." It's not like someone would be hospitalized at the drop of a hat. They'd have to be expressing serious current intent. Also, I work in an inpatient psychiatric facility right now and it seems pretty nice. In fact, many patients express the desire to stay rather than deal with the stresses of their real lives.

Also, I'll echo alameida's and LB's skepticism about the supposed extremity of suicidal ideation. It's a common symptom of depression. Also, a lot of things count as suicidal ideation for diagnostic purposes. When I realized "I deserve to die" counted, I was like, oops, it's not terribly infrequent that I think that.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 12:47 PM
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181: Our few remaining State hospitals (at least the one in the city) are kind of depressing, and the medical care is definitely substandard. They don't allow smoking anymore (and some of the regular hospitals don't, though the for-profit chain does). In the intermediate care beds, they let them go outside. Since there aren't smoking breaks at some hospitals, you get no fresh air.

Huh, about the self-harm contracts. A couple of social workers told me that those aren't used very much anymore, because they don't really absolve a provider of liability if something were to happen.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 2:16 PM
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I don't think we're using them to try to absolve us of liability. I think it's just supposed to be a written tool to try to work through a plan for how people will respond to suicidal impulses as they arise -- call supportive person X, that kind of a thing. Maybe we're just adopting the name of a document that was once used for a different purpose.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 2:27 PM
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This is very sad. I'm not here often enough that we ever interracted, I don't think -- but I certainly read him, and had no idea he was so young, poor guy.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 3:27 PM
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They don't allow smoking anymore

So a smoker in acute care has no opportunity whatsoever to smoke? That seems counterproductive, especially for mental health treatment.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 4:01 PM
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Not allowing smoking for suicidal patients with schizophrenia seems extremely misguided.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:07 PM
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Not allowing smoking for suicidal patients with schizophrenia seems extremely misguided.

Seriously. Smoking calms people way down. Unless someone's a total asshole I let them have one before they go off in the ambulance, we go to jail, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:12 PM
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187: there's more to it than that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:16 PM
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I hadn't read that before, that's interesting as hell. Maybe I'll keep a pack of cigs in the car like emergency medication for certain calls.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:19 PM
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I've been semi-voluntarily committed to a quasi-hospital before (I went voluntarily to the not-quite-a-hospital with the understanding that if I didn't, I'd be forcibly committed in a real hospital; there were doctors and nurses and hourly bedchecks and no sharps, but otherwise more like a halfway house) and we were allowed to have lots of cigarettes, but no coffee or alcohol.

No coffee SUCKED.


Posted by: V. Untidily | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:22 PM
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181: Also, I'll echo alameida's and LB's skepticism about the supposed extremity of suicidal ideation. It's a common symptom of depression. Also, a lot of things count as suicidal ideation for diagnostic purposes.

It is a common accompaniment to depression, but I'm otherwise a little uncomfortable with this, since it can approach a sort of 'Oh, we've all [those of us who experience depression] done that'.

I mean to say. If you knew that you didn't really mean it, really, then you weren't like pdf, or any of the people here who have considered checking themselves in some place, or have been checked in and were thankful for it. Saying "I've been depressed too, and it's sure awful and sucks" seems glib.

pdf said flatly a year beforehand that he was seriously considering suicide sometime down the road. I don't want to talk about pdf any more though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:39 PM
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why no coffee?

and re the cigarettes, there was basically a revolt by Poland's inpatient treatment community at the proposal to ban cigarettes in mental hospitals.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 5:57 PM
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The point, parsimon, which I think ought to have been fairly clear from context, is there's no reason to think that the fact of thinking of suicide, or even having a theoretical plan, necessarily makes you extreme. Since many people actually find thinking of themselves as really extremely crazy a distressing thought in and of itself, having the fact of thoughts about suicide accurately semi-normalized makes many people who have them feel better. In fact, having thoughts about suicide semi-normalized probably makes them more likely to talk about them to people who can help. It is possible to both treat a problem seriously and address it without overstating the extremity of someone's position on the tail of a bell curve. Obviously depression is a serious problem that needs addressing, and so is planning a suicide, but the burden of the "extreme even among people with severe depression" label would cause many people further distress. It would seem unfortunate to let stand on the thread an assertion that seemed mostly false in connotation.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:09 PM
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People with schizophrenia get hospitalized even when they're not suicidal.

It is tough on staff who have to inhale the second hand smoke. They also feel that if they don't have smoking breaks, you reduce the risk of elopement. Unfortunately that means you don't get to go outside. Mc/Le/an used to let people out. Our state facility, the Shattuck lets people go out for fresh air only unless they've got a pass to go off the grounds.

Re: 188. I don't think it's just the nicotine. There's some evidence that people with schizophrenia inhale more deeply and nicotine gum and patches aren't as relaxing without the breathing.

I saw a UCLA grand rounds on smoking which said that at least in certain mice or rats, they did not find nicotine addictive unless it was combined with ethyl something.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:10 PM
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why no coffee?

well, it was no caffeine of any sort, but I only cared about the coffee.

The goal was to limit the amount of agitation in an already-agitated population, I assume.


Posted by: V. Untidily | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:14 PM
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Here's the grand rounds presentation. (Scroll down to October 19.)

195: I had a client with PTSD, major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder who would use coffee to calm herself down and to help with migraines. Her Dad died when she was very young, and some of her fondest memories involve drinking coffee with him,so I think she finds the it soothing through the association.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:23 PM
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193: In fact, having thoughts about suicide semi-normalized probably makes them more likely to talk about them to people who can help.

True. Those people then need to help.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:30 PM
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Thanks for the link, Sifu. I have a close relative who has been schizophrenic for 60 years and would smoke without ceasing if they let her.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:33 PM
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197: And do you have any reason to think that those people don't, as a general rule, help as best they can.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:37 PM
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?


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:39 PM
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173 is my new favoritest comment ever. the no smoking on the psych ward thing is TERRIBLE and has made people unwilling to go TO FUCKING REHAB who were otherwise willing. gswift: I'd absolutely recommend you have a pack of marlboros and a pack of newports in your cruiser at all times and just give the dude a chance to smoke one cigarette before making him get in the car; I bet compliance will increase a thousandfold from that point on. also it's just respectful and thoughtful. you can let him choose so the black guy doesn't think your making racist assumptions about how he wants a newport. which he does.

also, thorn, I'm sorry to hear that, that's a really shitty thing to happen to anyone and I know I'm just one of a legion of people who are really, really glad you lived through that day, and the other ones too. I appreciate your willingness to post personal things on this forum; it's not always even the greatest idea, to be perfectly honest with you, ask tia. but what the fuck, to the brave belong the fair, and all.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:42 PM
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you can let him choose so the black guy doesn't think your making racist assumptions about how he wants a newport. which he does.

Haha! 'Cuz black people, am I right?

The hell?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:46 PM
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199: I didn't, Di. That's what I meant.

I wouldn't mind if we all got off our high horses. With respect to pdf.

I get that you all are talking about the psychiatric community's protocols, but this is really kind of personal in an in memoriam thread.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:46 PM
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202 should have had a close italics in there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:48 PM
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202: Bull Connor broke your tags.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:48 PM
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204 is racist.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:49 PM
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A little late, but I guess we all were. Very sad.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 6:57 PM
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207 to 204.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:01 PM
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I get that you all are talking about the psychiatric
community's protocols

To some extent, perhaps. Mostly, I think people are talking about their personal experiences with depression and suicidal ideation and treatment and hospitalization.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:02 PM
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Tia,

but the burden of the "extreme even among people with severe depression" label would cause many people further distress.

I don't know who you mean to be quoting there, but if it's me I hope you'll look again and see that I said something a bit different.

One of the problems with depression is that, for some people, it can come on without your noticing it until it's pretty advanced. When do a string of bad days turn into a new cycle? My friend M only agreed to an out patient program after her psychiatrist pointed out to her that not being able to get out of bed/spending the whole day sleeping was in fact a pretty serious thing.

I don't want people dealing with severe depression to feel margianlized and "crazy" (which would mean what, fully delusional?), but I do hope that they know that plans for killing oneself are not thoughts that everyone has, but instead something to take very seriously. If you've been seeking and receiving treatment for severe depression, then concrete suicidal ideation is one of the recurrent symptoms of a disease you have to live with all your life. They should be a warning sign that the disease is worse again, and you need to talk to someone or adjust your meds or do whatever might help. If people have those thoughts but don't realize just how depressed they are, then, really, without calling them a freak I want them to understand that this is not normal. It's not a cold that will go away on its own. It's malaria, and you need to get it treated before it kills you.

OK, that was over wrought, but I hope you see where I'm coming from.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:15 PM
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VA hospitals have nice smoking areas, but I don't know how restricted access is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:16 PM
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210: It didn't seem overwrought to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:29 PM
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Jimmy, when I was truly, suicidally depressed, one of the hardest parts of seeking help was the added panic of "Oh my God, if I admit that I can't function and that I'm thinking about ending it, they'll take Rory away from me." Somewhere there's got to be a balance between, "Whatevs, no biggie" and "Egads! Unspeakable!" Meh, I can't articulate it. Just, figuring out how to talk seriously without stigmatizing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:43 PM
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I did look back at what you wrote before I wrote my comment, JP. Perhaps I was responding to how alameida responded to what you said, but I may have been mistaken about the connotation.

I think "basic ideation is a sign that things have gone badly wrong" is part of what I reacted to. Of course depression is already something going badly wrong, but thoughts have different meanings for people in different contexts, even within the larger context of depression. If someone told me they had a concrete plan on the order of "If things ever got really bad I know how I'd kill myself and I have reason to think I could pull it off," or that they found that comforting, I wouldn't assume that had a particular meaning for them like "it's getting worse," without asking a lot more questions. If someone is really the kind of person to not notice how much worse they're feeling -- certainly possible -- then yes, they should use that as a warning sign. On the other hand, it's also possible to integrate some serious "wrongness" into a mostly functional life. (Or, in some cases, to accept that you're dealing with some intractable wrongness that isn't going to let you be functional at the level you'd like, and to look for relative wellness within the range you have.)


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 7:49 PM
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I am not a professional and feel kind of stupid about commenting when so many people are professionals and/or have deeper experiences of this, but I'm really surprised at the idea that ideation is extreme. I'm 99% sure that I've never been truly suicidal, even when I was really depressed. But I have, somewhat abstractly, gone through the complete mental planning process for killing myself--sometimes when I'm not even depressed at all. It's just an act of imagination, akin to reading a novel or thinking about writing one. If I were to kill myself, how would I do it? If I were to murder so and so, how would I do it? If I were to run away, how would I do it? If I were to try to some heroin, how would I do it? I were to eat some meat, how would I do it? These are all things I have no intention of doing. Doesn't everybody think like that sometimes? It's just a kind of mental exercise.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 8:41 PM
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And part of what I was responding to was alameida statement

"the gov't has a hearing about whether to involuntarily commit you every damn time you say you want to kill yourself? they must quiz you about whether you have plans, but who doesn't have plans? it's like daydreaming about your tropical island, except the other way. everyone knows how to take yourself out for serious"

I suppose how much this seems like blithe dismissal (or understandable if dangerously inaccurate normalization) depends on what sort of parameters she was attaching to "everyone."

I have mild to moderate depression. I'm much happier and more functional being medicated and having engaged in talk therapy, but I know that don't really understand what it's like to live on the deep end. I've never had a suicidal thought in my life (unless one opens the definitions so wide as to be meaningless). One of the things that kept me from seeking help for a long time, however, was knowing that what I was dealing with was really nothing on the grand scale of awfulnes, so what business did I have, etc. Lots of things get in the way of people getting help. Di, I'm sorry that the fear of Rory being taken away made it harder for you to get help. At the same time, I know from other discussion that you know there are circumstances in which someone's child really should be taken away while they get well. That doesn't make such a decision easy or simple, but getting help, admitting that you need help is hard, period.

Having lost multiple people makes this a touchy subject for me, as I know it does for quite a few of us. In a personal relationship with someone, yes, of course I'll ask all the follow up questions, but a) you have to ask them because that kind of statement can not just be left lying there, and b) I wouldn't assume that they knew what they were talking about (see severely depressed people and lack of self-awareness). Yes it's possible to integrate some serious wrongness into a mostly or intermittantly functional life, but that life is, I say again, a knife's edge. It's exhausting for the people walking it and for the people who love them. I know that I can't save people and I try not to be too hyper vigilant, but, man, let's not pretend that these aren't red flags to be responded to, rather than just idle conversation.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:06 PM
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Ile, so far as I understand, suicidal ideation requires some degree of intent, so abstract rumination wouldn't fit.

Going to bed. Please, everyone take care of themselves and one another.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:25 PM
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I suspect the commentariat at unfogged is already a little bit askew of the predominant, socio-cultural norms. The percentage of commenters here who have, at some time or place, in some way or another, thought about suicide is no doubt well above the national average.

That said, the successful implementation of a suicide plan on the part of a young person who was otherwise (say, physically) healthy, and who should have been able to look forward to many, many more years of life, is by definition a tragic realization of an "extreme."

The bar for intervention should be very high indeed. But nobody should feel like a colonial oppressor or what have you, for wanting to stop someone (someone who is in mental distress, and not thinking straight) from making a fatal, irrevocable error.

You only get one death. But up until the point where you shuffle off this mortal coil, your future is open-ended, and you have (infinity minus mortality) chances.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 9:53 PM
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215

... But I have, somewhat abstractly, gone through the complete mental planning process for killing myself--sometimes when I'm not even depressed at all. It's just an act of imagination, akin to reading a novel or thinking about writing one. If I were to kill myself, how would I do it? If I were to murder so and so, how would I do it? If I were to run away, how would I do it? If I were to try to some heroin, how would I do it? I were to eat some meat, how would I do it? These are all things I have no intention of doing. Doesn't everybody think like that sometimes? It's just a kind of mental exercise.

With respect to suicide no. I find the idea of dying completely unappealing so I don't fantasize about killing myself or even much about dying heroically. I do have antisocial fantasies (rape murder etc.) in the abstract no real intention of doing sense but not suicide.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 10:58 PM
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I do have antisocial fantasies (rape murder etc.) in the abstract no real intention of doing sense but not suicide.

I'm laughing too hard to do anything with this other than suggest it as the new mouseover.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-12-11 11:34 PM
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219:Exposing the great "Hell is other people"/"Hell is me" divide.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 2:50 AM
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I only fantasize about raping Hitler.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 2:51 AM
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201: To bring in my 'working for the devil' expertise, the 'pack of Marlboros and a pack of Newports' is excellent advice. Tobacco industry market research shows that while people are really attached to whatever brand it is they smoke, in blind tests (among major brands -- possibly there are luxury brands this doesn't hold for) pretty much all smokers either strongly prefer Marlboros or Newports; no other brand even shows up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 4:03 AM
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Al, I'm fairly deliberate about what history I share where. This is something my employer and my social workers are already aware of and so I'm not worried about real-world backlash and know I would just have to deal with anything online as it happens. I haven't had to deal with more than brief, mild deprression in five years and that wasn't bad in the scheme of things. I think the benefits to my being "out" outweight any risks.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:12 AM
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Huh. I would have thought Camels would have at least shown.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:12 AM
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This is "something a tobacco exec told me", so I don't have a reference, but apparently it's surprising. People are really attached to their brands, and believe they can identify them and prefer them, but on a blind test, it's Marlboro or Newport.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:35 AM
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I guarantee you I can identify (and prefer) a camel over a marlboro or a newport. I've tried a lot of different brands, and most of them pretty much taste like marlboros to me (except newports obviously). There are distinctions, but they're subtle. But camels have a very distinct taste.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:47 AM
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Unless I'm misunderstanding--are you saying " in blind tests ... pretty much all smokers either strongly prefer Marlboros or Newports" as in strongly prefer one over the other, if given a blind test between cigarette A (Marlboro) or B (Newport)? That I would totally buy.

But that would be stupid research, so that's probably not what you're saying.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:48 AM
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Here's the closest thing I'm finding:

One of every two smokers is not able to distinguish in blind (masked) tests between similar cigarettes ...for most smokers and the decisive group of new, younger smokers, the consumer's choice is dictated more by psychological, image factors than by relatively minor differences in smoking characteristics.

Citation: "British American Tobacco. The vanishing media. 1978. Bates range 500062147/2159." Whatever that means.

Relatively minor differences? Yeah, I could see that. If the study just showed that most people who smoked non-menthol cigarettes couldn't distinguish them from marlboros (or even preferred marlboros) and most people who smoked menthol cigarettes were the same with Newports, I'd buy that.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 5:58 AM
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But camels have a very distinct taste.

Acontextualized, that sentence is so much better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:04 AM
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227: Huh. Back in my Marlboro-smoking days, Camels were always my second choice because they tasted so similar. And Merits were the low-tar Marlboro.

I am so old that there was a smoking area in my high school.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:09 AM
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And anyway regardless, turning back to the practical advice, it's not like gswift would be giving people cigarettes in a blind taste test. So, to the extent that people actually prefer certain other brands even for psychological reasons, they're still not going to be getting what they want. So it's sort of an irrelevant point. Not that it isn't excellent advice overall: they'll be thankful just to have a cigarette. When a smoker badly needs a smoke, they tend not to be very choosy, IME.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:09 AM
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231 is interesting; people are different, I guess. I tried to switch from Camels to other brands several times, because I didn't like Camel's advertising, but I never liked the taste of any others as much, so I kept going back.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:12 AM
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Goddammit, now I really want a cigarette.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:15 AM
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I used to smoke American Spirit because I enjoyed pretending that poorly hidden mega-corporation ownership and absurdly vacuous allusions to "nature" somehow made smoking safer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:15 AM
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Yeah, I tried American Spirit for a while, because they sold them at the health food store, and I thought that meant something. But I ran into the 233 problem.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:17 AM
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Dude, you're making me want a cigarette and I've never smoked. Smoking (especially cigars) smells fucking delicious. It would totally be the death of me if I ever tried it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:17 AM
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I definitely prefer Marlboro over the other brands I've tried, with Camels in second place. Neither were brands I started off with. It's interesting because it seems like everyone I know who smokes basically smokes Marlboro Lights these days, rather than indigenous brands like Benson's or Kensitas Club.*

* which were my teenage ciggie of choice for 'roach material' reasons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_%28cigarette%29

Amused to discover the 'roach material' thing is in the wiki article.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:22 AM
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My problem with American Spirits was that even the Lights were so heavy that I couldn't walk and smoke at the same time without getting dizzy. The expensive cigarettes I've had that were excellent were Nat Sherman Classics. Mmm, delicious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:22 AM
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237: I've picked up a minor cigar habit recently, which is threatening to become a major cigar habit. I tell myself it's much healthier and have tried not to bother my pretty little head with any evidence to the contrary. I figure smoking one thing a week has to be less bad for me than smoking 30 things a day, even if that one thing is bigger. As long as I keep myself limited to once a week or so, I feel like it's a reasonable vice. But I have definitely started picking up cravings (so far resisted) to light up more often. The fact that my wife can't stand them and basically forces me to go through a ritual cleansing after smoking one helps limit overall quantity.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:24 AM
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I am so old that there was a smoking area in my high school.

Yeah, me too. But Durham was still a tobacco town then and a significant chunk of the students had parents who either farmed it or worked for Liggett-Myers. I do miss downtown smelling like curing tobacco in the fall. Just doesn't seem like autumn is complete without it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:27 AM
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I am such a pretentious twat that I smoked Gauloises forever. In high school/college it was Camel, however.

239: The old Nat Sherman store on Fifth Ave. was something to see.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:28 AM
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I do miss downtown smelling like curing tobacco in the fall.

I worked in one of those warehouses after it was converted to office space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:29 AM
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I was giving someone I work with shit for smoking Basic cigarettes yesterday. Someone needs to go full Repo Man generic with "Cigaretttes".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:46 AM
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What I was told was that there are people who prefer Marlboros, and people who prefer Newports, and hardly anyone who prefers any other brand of cigarette.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:50 AM
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The whole concept of "Menthol" is just incomprehensible to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:54 AM
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Are you sure the tobacco exec wasn't just inaccurately summarizing the results of a study that he hadn't even read and that had probably been inaccurately summarized for him by some underling?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:55 AM
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Smoking (especially cigars) smells fucking delicious.
This sentence is incomprehensible.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 6:57 AM
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247: Maybe you didn't smoke long enough to kill enough taste buds that you couldn't tell the difference between Marlboros and Camels?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:00 AM
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The whole concept of "Menthol" is just incomprehensible to me.

During a recent spell of backsliding, I ended up with a pack of Camel Crushes, which I think of as convertible cigarettes. Smoking an entire menthol cigarette is gross, but I have to say that it's pretty nice to get a puff or two of menthol at the end of a smoke as a sort of palette cleanser. It's like a cancerous Andes Mint!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:02 AM
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I like cigars and pipe smoking, but when I'm drunk, I just smoke good old OPB's.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:06 AM
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Oh, wow, those look good.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:08 AM
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For a while I was really into bumming the banana flavor American Spirits off people when I was drunk, but then I sort of forgot about it. I've never been very good at smoking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:08 AM
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252 to 250.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:08 AM
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banana flavor American Spirits

Is this a Donovan referrence?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:14 AM
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Figure 3 here & below (2005) might hold the key to the exec's comment. Broken down by demographic, only Marlboro and Newport have a dominant position within a group. Nothing else is close.

Cigarette Brands Percentage
White
Marlboro 45.0
Camel 8.9
Newport 5.1
Basic 5.0
Doral 3.3
Winston 3.3
Black
Newport 49.5
Kool 11.4
Marlboro 7.1
Salem 5.8
Doral 3.2
Hispanic
Marlboro 57.2
Newport 13.5
Camel 5.9
Virginia Slims 2.5
Benson & Hedges 2.3


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:14 AM
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They also had age and region breakdowns but not gender.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:16 AM
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Handrolled smokes lack saltpeter and are much much smoother. Also, you can control moisture content. The pharmacies here now carry Drum, but there's a scandinavian brand in a brown pack that has a bunch of different blends which is nicer still. Gauloises are incredibly strong but I think marinated with dead rats for that je ne sais quoi.

Menthol is stereotypically an African-American cigarette style; look which neighborhoods have posters for Kool and Newport. Newports are reputed to have the strongest menthol/smoke dose.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:16 AM
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256: There do seem to be some Camel smokers who are pretty fanatical about though.

Living in the neighborhood I do, if I had $5 for every time I've heard someone say "pack of Newport 100's in a box", I'd be Mike Ciresi.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:21 AM
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In my smoking days I smoked American Spirits, Dunhills and Davidoffs because I was a pretentious fuck liked the taste. Towards the end I was smoking Winstons, which claimed to be additive free, but were really just cheaper and who was I fooling?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:21 AM
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"about their brand, though"

I'm pretty sure I've seen people trying to bum ONLY Camels on the street downtown. You don't see that much with other brands.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:22 AM
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tedra: I was planning to take both my kids with me off the 19th floor balcony on the same rationale. my rule was that I had to prove my seriousness to myself first by cutting off my left hand with my meat cleaver. this was meant to be a deterrent as well, naturally, but what if I didn't stick to the rule?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:24 AM
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259.1: Less than 10%? Fuck 'em.

</channeling my inner tobacco exec>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:24 AM
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In poor neighborhoods, the Double Diamond Cigarillos are where it's at. They're supposed to be disgusting, tiny little rolled up cigars, the size of a cigarette. They're not technically cigarettes, so they aren't taxed the same and only cost $2.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:25 AM
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Camels are for kids.

I forgot, there is one kind of cigarette I can occasionally remember to smoke: cloves! I do like a clove now and than.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:26 AM
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And so the suicide thread morphs into the smoking thread.

Some argue that smokers must be stopped because they are, almost by definition, not making an informed choice and fail to take into account the damage they do to the people around them. Others will say this view lacks empathy for those who choose cigarettes.

And still others will say that the only thing worse than commenting while your baby is crying in a crib is commenting and smoking.

Wait, where was I going with this?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:29 AM
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They're supposed to be disgusting, tiny little rolled up cigars, the size of a cigarette.L

They probably weren't supposed to be disgusting. Probably just cheaper if nobody worried too much about not making them disgusting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:29 AM
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256: right, I know that, but brand market shares can hardly be charactized as "surprising" internal marketing research, and of course don't have anything to do with blind taste tests.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:29 AM
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Only one cigarette brand* makes the Brand Z top 100, and that is Marlboro, but all the way up at #8.

*At least as far as I know the brands, there are some Chinese and other brands I do not recognize.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:32 AM
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I do like a clove now and than.

It's the black market for you, my friend.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:36 AM
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2868: Ah, I was only skimming and did not see the critical part of "blind test". I suspect your 247 might be close to the truth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:37 AM
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pretentious? I smoked english ovals, insofar as I smoked cigarettes. this now is kind of embarrassing...I don't know really, to say in the context of the thread, but my crazy mercenary friend was actually very thoughtful and helpful to me the last night; we were sitting in his mostly finished house, which he is very happy with, while his daughter played with her new friend from down the block. I was telling him about stuff, and really how I have started to feel like I don't give a shit. at all. just fuck everything. it was the thing with my stepdad but also something else, bad. I don't know what. the part of my brain that wants to kill me is uncoiling and blinking its black diamond eyes and thinking up ideas.

it was an interesting conversation in that I told him I was afraid of him lately, and he said that was rational, because he was a dangerous person and did think a lot about hurting the people he loves, but he doesn't ever do it. he just channels that aggression onto people he doesn't love, about whom he doesn't care enough about to fantasize to hurt. but that he was definitely unstable, and his cage had been rattled. he caught my finger in the sliding door pretty bad and afterward commented that he only hurt me because he loved me, which was black humor in a way but also not humor.

he asked me if I was worried about drinking and I said fuck no, I'm worried about drugs. fuck a bunch of bourbon. and he told me to call my psychiatrist immediately, because I'm just "off." and tell her how much valium I'm taking (more than she thinks, not the most in the world) and how I'm feeling. after I talked to her her office called to say they have a cancellation at 1 tomorrow, which is psychiatrist speak for "we think you're losing it." so yeah, then they'll adjust my meds and then I'll stop feeling like this? no. I'll have to feel like this and they can't do anything about it? NO.

I think they should just go back to giving me lots of klonopin. I switched to valium partly because I have muscle cramps it helps with, but partly because my brother said that klonopin always made him feel like a zombie, and I thought his point had some merit. he's cool and everything, maybe the cool kids don't take klonopin anymore.

but I took a klonopin today and I felt great. like a robot. I love it. I want more robot and less feelings. it's funny because my whole family learned to sing the marina and the diamonds song "I am not a robot," the lyrics to which are relevant. I guess I'm willing to accept less feelings overall if the really bad feelings can't come? that sounds sad. I have this whole square area around my heart I would like to hack out and throw away,maybe be tony stark or some shit? that sounds sad too. anyway, not going to kill myself, so, you know.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:38 AM
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270: you would think that, but no indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:38 AM
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So they can sell them as long as they call them cigarillos instead of cigarettes?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:44 AM
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Apparently, yup. They may have changed the composition of the wrapper slightly (they don't draw quite as well).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:44 AM
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alameida,

Please take care of yourself and be as honest as you can with your psychiatrist when you go in. And don't do drugs.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 7:58 AM
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271: I don't understand why this has created so much confusion and pushback. Give nonmenthol smokers a blind taste test, and they prefer Marlboro. For menthol, it's Newport. This is clear, natural, obvious and - given the inherent superiority of Marlboro and Newport - entirely understandable.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:03 AM
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277: The pushback makes perfect sense, given that my source is gossip, and no one's finding anything published that's exactly what I said. But your take on it is exactly what the exec said to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:06 AM
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Smoking (especially cigars) smells fucking delicious.

No, "especially pipes". Pipe tobacco smells great.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:11 AM
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234
Goddammit, now I really want a cigarette.

Heh. Same here. And, hmmm, my girlfriend is about to go away for a week. I could buy a pack tomorrow, have a few just for old times' sake... and having another round of worrying about addiction and be all furtive about it in case she can smell it on our things and throw half the pack away unsmoked and/or hide it when she gets back and so on.

Well, I won't rule it out entirely for another few days, but a bit of nostalgia probably isn't worth the trouble.

272: Sorry. Good luck. If you get advice in the session tomorrow, take it.

And you know, the feeling like a robot thing doesn't sound half bad. If it means less intense feelings overall, well, personally, my good times have rarely been all that intense, they've just been sitting around a table eating or playing games with friends, or in a shop with a book, or at my desk doing whatever I do online and then I lean back and notice "you know, I've got it pretty good." The intense emotions are when I've feared for my job or my cousin's life or the failure of a relationship, or just plain sat around hating myself, and I wouldn't mind that kind of thing being less intense. And hey, Tony Stark is really cool, right?

I mean, sorry if I'm rubbing it in or coming across wrong in some way I haven't even thought of, I think we've established that I'm not good at this kind of thing, all I'm trying to say is that getting help sounds like a good idea.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:11 AM
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in case she can smell it on our things

This isn't an 'in case'. I actually like the smell of cigarettes, in most contexts, but especially now that most places are smoke-free, you can smell that for days on anyone who's been close to a cigarette.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:13 AM
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267: What I meant Moby is that I am told that they're not very good by my clients who smoke them. I don't have first hand knowledge. Obviously this was not the intention of the manufacturer.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:14 AM
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And, yow, alameida, whatever the shrink says, you should probably do. One thing about treatment that flattens your affect -- if it keeps you from hurting yourself (either directly or indirectly) now, you can back off it later, when you're in a better place. Treatment like that is temporary and reversible. (I don't think this is any different from what you were saying, but I think you're absolutely right to be treating yourself like an emergency now.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:16 AM
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278: well, and also the fact that there is a lot of published research that sort of circles around similar points, and could easily be mischaracterized in a game of research-results telephone.

But, I mean, if we put some color around "most", I might not even think your claim was that weird. Marlboro already has about 45% of the non-menthol market. If you're telling me that 55% of non-menthol smokers actually prefer Marlboros, then okay. Or, who knows, maybe it's 75%. And the same thing w/r/t menthol cigarettes and Newports. But your original comments made it sound more like 95%. Which, if that's true, I guess is suprising, but my only claim in response is that I'm positive I'm in the 5%.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:16 AM
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re: 281.last

I don't know if that necessarily applies quite that strongly. I have a friend who is very anti-smoking and moans incessantly about the smell of smoke. She was more than a bit surprised to find I smoked as she'd never smelt it. Presumably because I don't smoke daily. I'd think a shower, and washed clothes would basically hide any/all traces.

Assuming you weren't smoking in the house. In which case, yeah. Definitely caught.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:20 AM
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Cigarettes that aren't on fire smell very nice. The smoke, not so much.

This isn't an 'in case'. I actually like the smell of cigarettes, in most contexts, but especially now that most places are smoke-free, you can smell that for days on anyone who's been close to a cigarette.

Maybe you can smell it. I never notice.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:22 AM
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it's not like gswift would be giving people cigarettes in a blind taste test.

Could be interesting. He could record the results by class of offender: drunk & disorderly prefer Camels, car thieves go for Virginia Slims & etc.

In poor neighborhoods, the Double Diamond Cigarillos are where it's at.

At my local bodega those are hugely popular.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:23 AM
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274: Yeah, sometimes they call them little cigars. The paper is brown and the texture looks different. You can get a carton online for around $11.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:23 AM
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282: I was more or less joking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:25 AM
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I'd think a shower, and washed clothes would basically hide any/all traces.

And clean the inside of your nose with a small bottle brush or a neti pot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:27 AM
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Why are you all giving Cyrus tips on how to hide his smoking. If he just lives in fear, maybe he won't smoke.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:29 AM
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Don't let Bostoniangirl hold your smokes for you, Cyrus. I'm not sure she's trustworthy on this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:31 AM
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Maybe you can smell it. I never notice.

I do notice smells more than most people, which might be it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:32 AM
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284: I'm positive I'm in the 5%.

I'm thinking this -> many things.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:38 AM
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291: The same reason we encourage heebie to ignore HP while he cries and cries. We are very bad people.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:48 AM
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281, 285: Oh, I wouldn't do it in the apartment. Only outside, and I guess I might even segregate the clothes I wore at the time from the rest of the dirty laundry, but if it would take even more work than that then I'll either not smoke or just put up with the disapproval.

I don't plan to hide this from her particularly - definitely wouldn't lie about it, probably would tell her on my own before she even leaves - but she has a better sense of smell than me and has made it clear she doesn't like smoking, so if I do smoke, being discreet about it just seems polite.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 8:48 AM
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264: Also, if I had $5 for every time I have been stuck behind someone in line at the convenience store, who is going through the entire list of Phillies flavors, and then, OF COURSE, settling on grape, I would smoke Gauloises all the time and then buy some new lungs when the old ones wore out.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 9:28 AM
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I was a fan of Parliaments when I smoked. I guess it was the funky soul/procedural liberal branding, or that space between the tip and the filter. Still have a "just in case" pack in the house. Gauloises are truly vile, when I was in French speaking parts of the world I smoked Marlboro Lights like the real Frenchmen.

Just a thought, maybe we could have a separate smoking thread? It would be nice to leave this particular one as a memorial. Just my sensibility, not trying to impose it on others, but I do miss the guy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 11:18 AM
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Gauloises are truly vile, when I was in French speaking parts of the world I smoked Marlboro Lights like the real Frenchmen.

Ahaha. Well, when I was in French-speaking parts of the world, I smoked Dunhill Lights like a lady.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 11:23 AM
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I think I might still have a half a pack of American Spirits from six months ago. I should look. I bet if I lit one of those it would go up like a torch.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-13-11 4:39 PM
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