Monday, December 29, 2008

More Evidence for Rational Suicide

A letter in the upcoming January 2009 issue of the journal Psychiatric Services (Psychiatr Serv 60:126, January 2009) reports on the relationship between suicide method and past health care contacts. The authors of the letter report that people who commit suicide by charcoal burning (a method of carbon monoxide poisoning gaining popularity in Hong Kong and Taiwan) are significantly less likely to have had mental health care (or hospital visits for any reason) than people who commit suicide by hanging or solid or liquid poisoning. That is, there is an identifiable population of people who commit suicide using relatively painless means that require preparation, and this population is less likely to be mentally or physically ill than people who commit suicide using other means. These results are in line with past studies, and "corroborate findings from Hong Kong that victims [sic] of charcoal-burning suicide were less likely to have pre-existing mental or physical illness," say the authors [emphasis mine; citations omitted].

The letter displays problematic logic in the interpretation of its findings. In relevant part, the authors say:
Our results support the point previously raised by researchers from Hong Kong that this new method may have attracted individuals who would otherwise not have considered suicide. Acute stress, particularly economic difficulty, rather than mental disorders may be the major precipitating factor of suicide in this suicide subgroup. Population-based prevention strategies to prevent charcoal-burning suicide that might be considered include efforts to destigmatize mental illness to enhance appropriate help-seeking behaviors, restrictions on access to charcoal (for example, by removing charcoal from open shelves and making it necessary for the customer to request it from a shop assistant), and guidance for the media on how to report on suicide events. [Emphasis mine; citations omitted.]

The authors' perspective is that the availability of the method is what is causing the suicide. But isn't it the individual's choosing to commit suicide that is the proximate cause of the suicide? Is the "cause" of suicide the man or the gun?

The authors assume that suicide should not be allowed and that it is right to prevent it. Why should this be? No reason for or defense of this position is given. People committing suicide using the charcoal burning method are not likely to be mentally ill! Why shouldn't they be allowed to choose to commit suicide in a relatively painless manner? Even forced life advocate Ezekiel Emanuel purportedly favors a "negative right" to suicide for rational people.

In addition, the authors' proposed solution to the problem of non-mentally ill people committing suicide is: destigmatize mental illness. Huh? My interpretation of the data is that charcoal burning suicides are likely to be rational suicides - not the product of mental illness. How will destigmatizing mental illness help anything here? The authors also, predictably, recommend coercive suicide prevention methods (using the laughable tactic of restricting the sale of charcoal - no picnic barbecue for you if you look sad!) and media censorship.

There is little evidence that "destigmatizing mental illness" will prevent suicides in these cases. And even if coercive suicide prevention does prevent some suicides, they will be the wrong suicides. Take away the right to charcoal burning (not to mention the right to barbiturates), and you force people to choose between committing suicide by violent or ineffective means, or remaining alive in misery. And that is wrong.

63 comments:

  1. Rational suicide is an interesting phrase - like 'military intelligence'.
    There's been recent debate on the mental nurse site about when it's ok to commit suicide.
    One thing that stood out in the discussion is the actual decision - is it an intrinsically derived one or an externally imposed one?
    This may sound odd - that anyone who 'takes their own life' is simply acting alone. Yet when you review the causation of suicide, outside of disease or terminal illness, it is often found that the inner turmoil of the person was created from things in which they had no control - isolation, marginalised, coercive psychiatry, life status changes - all social welfare issues.
    On this basis, coercively preventing suicide is like rubbing salt in the wound and twisting the knife.
    "We don't care enough to act to stop you feeling like killing yourself - but we will stop you killing yourself".

    Why rational suicide cannot extend to those with mental illness tho aswell is another and more contentious issue. Mental illness does not always cause a permanent incapacity of rational thought and in lucid times, some may prefer to be dead than continue to live the enforced isolated, marginalised, low social status lifestyle that coercive psychiatry, and the society it serves, insists that they do.

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    1. EXACTLY. Suicide is often a form of protest and resistance and this is why those who are suicidal are often labelled as being mentally ill. You find that often where suivide rates are the highest are populations where there is significant stress due to marginalization and or unacceptable life conditions. it is easier to medicate and brainwash than it is to be honest.

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    2. I don't care whether suicide is "ok" or not. That will be the least of my thoughts when I'm ready to do it---"ready" meaning old, worn-out, in pain, and quite possibly terminally ill. The charcoal method, particularly when paired with drugs/alcohol, is a true blessing that will always be available to almost anyone.

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  2. Well said. This:

    coercively preventing suicide is like rubbing salt in the wound and twisting the knife.
    "We don't care enough to act to stop you feeling like killing yourself - but we will stop you killing yourself".


    is an excellent way of expressing what I consider to be the core of my project.

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  3. Why is suicide a bad thing? The only conclusion I can come up with is because death is a bad thing, and suicide ushers in death. Death is to be avoided at all costs, including using force to prevent a person in bringing about his own death.

    Then why is birth a good thing, seeing that every birth culminates in a guaranteed death?

    As far as the term 'rational suicide' is concerned, I seem to be missing the absurd quality in the phrase that some find there. Why is it more rational to be dragged kicking and screaming into the inevitable cessation of life, often enduring gross insults to mind and limb along the way, than to 'rationally' choose the time that seems best to you to end it all?

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    1. so nice to see i'm not the only logical person left in existence.

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    2. i concur none of authorietys business

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  4. Almost every definition of "rational" I can think of - from pursuing one's values, to maximizing one's hedonic pleasure - is wide enough to, on occasion, include suicide.

    Jim - when people are talking about others who've committed suicide, they say things like "how could she have done that to her family/friends/people who cared about her?" But nobody says "how could her mother/father have put her through that hell by bringing her into being?"

    But that's where the relevant blame should lie.

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  5. It seems that people consider happiness the default position of humankind. I see no evidence of this.

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  6. Yes - absent any mean-spiritedness, I think it is important for people to be encouraged to consider a sort of "null hypothesis" on human happiness - that perhaps not only is it not the default position, but it is also impossible to achieve. I think our social policy would be kinder if people genuinely considered this.

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    1. Very interesting point!

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  7. "No picnic barbecue for you if you look sad!" Lol hilarious!!

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  8. I like the term rational suicide. If you have been unhappy for many years despite trying various things to be happy. And realise that rationally you are pouring energy into a lost cause. The rational thing is to die.

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  9. I can see offing yourself if you're in chronic pain or illness, old, sick,
    broke, or alone, etc. I wouldn't fault anyone for that.
    Who wants to stick around for God's last kick in the ass??
    I don't care how many brownie points you get from St Peter at the
    Pearly Gates. Walk a mile in their shoes and keep your judgments
    to yourself.

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    1. Amen!! Ive tried to say this for years. Everyone always says dont do this to me, excuse me but im doing it to me. Im sick of being alone and in emotional pain.

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    2. Geez i would love to be alone. My life is hell now. I was never suicidal before i met my wife, now i cant wait to exit

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    3. do you have kids are you old the world pushes you to the side you will be alone good luck if you are young and rich you will make it bob

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    4. do you have kids are you old the world pushes you to the side you will be alone good luck if you are young and rich you will make it bob

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    5. old broke sick and alone !!!!! kids out of town try but have families of their own time getting close to go cant kick feeling

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    6. old broke sick and alone !!!!! kids out of town try but have families of their own time getting close to go cant kick feeling

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  10. I think its time to get it done. I have been wanting to since i was a child and I dont think its any concern of others.

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    1. Me too. Im so over trying to make everyone else happy.

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  11. A co-worker & good friend didn't show up for work a few weeks ago.
    No call, no show, no nothing.
    A couple of us went over to check on him.
    Found he'd hung himself from an I-beam in his living room.
    His 19 year old son died a year ago in a car crash.
    His wife left him after that.
    He wasn't the same after that.
    The grief was too much and he said 'fuck this' in a note he left behind.
    Bad karma be damned.
    I guess sometimes the universe just wants to drive you mad till you finish it.

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    1. yes, I can relate to this, just how I feel, like im being forced out.

      going soon xx

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  12. Im gona try tonight hope it works

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  13. Know how you feel. I have wanted to die for a year now. The charcoal method seems good. I tried pills but that did not work.

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    1. My husband succeeded with the charcoal method 15 months ago. I want to do the same thing, but not sure how to do it. Anyone know?

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    2. Burn charcoal in a small, poorly ventilated area. (e.g. a car)
      Seal it up so that people around you don't have side effects of the poisonous gas.

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    3. maybe od on sleeping pills 2 charcoal grills tiny room airtight maybe have a gun go to sleep

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    4. maybe od on sleeping pills 2 charcoal grills tiny room airtight maybe have a gun go to sleep

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  14. I think about it eveyday, and i am an upbeat person, i feel i was sent to the wrong planet and the source just made a mistake. I just wanto go back home

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    1. Omg, thats how I feel. Im gonna try tomorrow wish me luck.

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  15. very true, you can‘t judge if you haven‘t walked in another person‘s shoes. I tried pills years ago and was locked up involuntarily when i woke up so i cannot afford to wake up if i try again. Coals do sound promising.

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  16. Society is strangely dogmatic about this issue, suicide is considered an activity that by all means should be stopped.

    But why? If they want to die at this moment why can't they, unless you plan of keeping everyone alive forever, there appears to me no reason why someone can't at least beat the maker to the punchline. People seem to think that they KNOW that things will get better, I always feel marginally bad when someone has mentioned they want to commit suicide, because I can't in good faith lie to them and say they shouldn't and babble on about a hopeful future that will probably in all likelihood never happen, so instead I just let them say it then at appropriate time I change the subject.

    Someone mentioned social welfare, which is probably the reason why I would opt-out, outside of relative shitness of work struggles if you have very little social life outside of work you tend to just drift, unless I was genuinely important in the future of humanity (be honest very very very small percentage of the population are that important) there is no dis-benefit to humanity with an individual choosing the shortcut to the grave.

    Also (sorry for lengthy post I'm just babbling now) I wonder how many people who have had thoughts of suicide actually ended up having a life they enjoyed overall, as a percentage and how many in hindsight still think they should have killed themself. That would be an interesting study

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    1. We have free will, and therefore if one chooses suicide it is both a personal and a rational decision. And no one else's business. To breathe carbon monoxide as a way to end it all is a function of human free will, and, as such, is inherently rational and not evil. Just be happy and be certain to breathe very deeply.

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    2. Indeed that would be a good study. I have been contemplating suicide for quite some time now. I have three children ages ranging from 12, 3.5, and 15 months. They are the ONLY reason I haven't yet. That being said I feel as if my existence only hurts people including them. I am a low wage earner with very little chance of that not being the case. I have been labeled a psycho, and over emotional, because I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and people see me struggle but they don't understand or try to. I am constantly told "you are always angry" and "you look so mad all the time" honestly 99% of the time when someone thinks I am angry I am not. I am usually scared to death or very sad, and the mistaken label sticks.
      I do feel like my children will be sad but I feel that with time they will be ok and probably better off being that I am not a strong provider and have "issues".
      Sorry for the lengthy post, here is my point.
      I feel as if I have given the thought of suicide very real merit in the past and have not done it for the sake of my kids. Now after extended time the answer is no. I do not have the life I hoped I would after giving up on suicide and it doesn't appear to be getting any better anytime soon. At least for me anyhow. I have tried my hardest and am painfully ashamed of myself for feeling this way.
      Charcoal seems to be the rational way for me.

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    3. I agree with all of these posts. I have stuck around for everyone else only to watch things get worse for myself. I am so tired. I need a way out of this emotional torment and I think the briquette way is for me.

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    4. At 50 years now, nothing is better. I tried in my early 30s only to be revived and the same people who revived me have done nothing to make things better. Why bother reviving if the person is simply going back to the exact same situation. The very least the revivers can do is to facilitate a new life for the suicidal person so that there is a reason for keeping them here. If they're not prepared to do that, for as long as required, then they have no right to play God with anyone. Now it's much worse and I would have been no worse off if I'd gone 20 years ago. Nothing has improved in that time and it never will. That's the reality.

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  17. Been so sad for many years.Drank my health away and sobered up and got my health back multiple times. I am a smart guy. Decently handsome 27 year old who doesnt have much fight left. Rationally planning out my death this way makes the most sense. I am beyond depression... I am despondent and disconnected. Lonely. No gf or kids could fix that I.don't think.... I may plan to do the charcoal method in the winter. Probably around December.

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  18. Why prolong the agony of it all

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  19. Every time i hear this arguement i remember a system of a down somg lyric "the buttom line is money, no one gives a f***". We can devide the views into 2 camps of forced life. 1 being the drug and hospice/care/hospita industry, which the quote sums up their intention pretty well and the other group(2) religion.

    The first is pretty self explanitory. The drug and care industry is pro life because they can make money selling drugs and baby sitting people who on left to the natural time would have died of natural causes (old age or desease) which ties into the second group. If you are old and being forced to stay alive with drugs and machines, are you not oposing Gods will? He set up certain rules, and when your time comes, let it come.

    So the first one is easy to explain, if these drug and care industries "care" so much about people and helping people live longer, why is all of this not free? If they didnt make money, they could care less and it would be left to the people that really care, family.

    Second and biggest objection is faith based. Its seen as sin, selfish, or an act against Gods will for your life. Thats a hypocritical view from religious people though, because no sin is unforgivable and suicide isnt more of a sin then any sin. If all sin is forgiven then even suicide is forgiven. There is only 1 unforgivable sin, and thats the denial of faith in Jesus, and thats self explanitory, to be forgiven you have to ask and believe in Jesus, if you dont, ofcourse obviously you will die in sin.

    Is it a tregedy, yes, but society and the system drives people to suicide. Newsflash, we live in an unfair world and the pie is only so big. The system is for many to lose so a few win, everyone cant be rich, to gain a lot, many have to lose. If someone becomes wealthy its because many have handed over their hard earned money for example a product or a service. So its an acumulation, people go to school to help them figure out ways they can get more from others. If 1 million people give you $10 well you made it.

    So what happens to people that lose everything or cant make it because someone else is reaping the benefits of their labor? They get tired, they dont want to play the game and decide to check out. Ofcourse the "pro" life businessmen dont like this, they are losing a good little grinding peasant.

    Most however wont kill them selves because they are anchored, at one point life was brighter and things were going ok so ypu get married. Now you are trapped, now you have a family that depends on you. Marriage and family is a way to pacify the society and control the poppulation. As people will worry about endangering their family, they are less to revolt, fight a corrupt government and business and the grinding continues. I think many suicidal peopld realize this and stay single so that when they decide they are not going to make it they can check out with no bagage and no dependents.

    Its way more complicated and can go very deep, and its like the system tries to brain wash you into slaving your life away. They are so pro life but they spend so much on bombs to blow life up. More like they want to keep you alive so they have oeasants to flip burgers and give birth to more soldiers. Just some of my thoughts, and if you dont want to play their game, you are selfish.

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    1. I so happen to agree. People are encouraged to remain alive. Mostly this "moralistic" view basically supports the good of the economy. The economy rules a lot of popular beliefs and values. People don't realise this ofcourse. This includes the pressure to get married and have family. Create little tax payers.

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    2. I agree. Its the fear of the unknown on the other side is the only thing that is holding me back...

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    3. Were you afraid of being born? Nope, you don't even remember coming out of the womb. Death should be viewed as birth in reverse. The closing of the curtains of the grand illusory play entitled LIFE. Your EGO is what makes you fear death because doing so preserves the body which gives it stimulation, a never ending cycle of stimulation seeking until you die.

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  20. nice to see sombody is paying attention couldnt have said it better myself thanks

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  21. nice to see sombody is paying attention couldnt have said it better myself thanks

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  22. Great post, and some great comments on here as well.

    I've always considered society to force the obligation of life on you. If it wasn't an enforced obligation, society wouldn't demonise suicide in the way it does.

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  23. Great posts kids. Charcoal methods sounds good.I am so tired, sick, lonely, hopeless, & my mental health providers really could care less about me.They lie to me, & practice coercive psychiatry. I have no friends or family, I am the perfect candidate for suicide.

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    1. Well, I'm just like that...no family, lonely,living on anti depressants and benzodiazepines.
      Also being ripped off by taxes plus taxes.Hopeless and helpless.
      Aggravating allergies et al. People couldn't careless about me.
      Still I find it ridiculous the charcoal method. I'm looking for some pleasant suicide methods.
      The book suicide mode d'employe is censured all over the world.
      Until then I'll carry on wrestling with Jesus,G*d,and the saints!

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  24. Welp. This could be the exit for me. However, I need to figure out how to make it look like an accident.

    I have felt suicidal waves for a couple of decades, ever since I was a teen. And what has stopped me is the realization that seeking my own liberation would bring an enormous deal of pain to those who love me. Tragic mishaps seem to be more acceptable, and I most definitively don't want my loved ones to bear any burden of guilt.

    But I'm just tired. Whatever spark that kept me going through some of the worst times, and which helped me achieve so much, seems to be dimming away. And I can't seem to be able to rekindle it. Similarly, the intuition, that guided me through so many challenges, this time seems to have led me astray to a insurmountable dead end the past few years. And I'm just left without hope.

    I love all of you so very very much, even if this species is particularly hard to love. And I wish I could comfort and solve the problems that are bringing a lot of you so much pain. But I'm just tired, exhausted, and I can't seem to find the energy to go on anymore.

    Safe travels...

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  25. So why does this method seem to fail sometimes? Anyone care to comment? I want to do it in a car. I have read a few times that this can fail. Why?

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  26. The reasons may vary but above all it seems to be rather unpleasant. Nothing can be good enough if it inflicts pain sickness discomfort despair repent lament et al. Actually human physiology is resilient to the extent of resuming the functionality of the psiche mechanism. At this point one should ponder of methods on being self-indulgent regarding pleasure and through a very individualistic experience living life.

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  27. I'd like to do this with someone so it is less scary.

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    1. To do what with someone​?
      The only possible thing is living life with someone.

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    2. I understand. I think that same thing too sometimes - but how would you know who also might be feeling the same way and desire a swift exit ?

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  28. My life has turned into a nightmare. There is nothing left other than depression and isolation from a cruel world and elimination from a mother and father who never should have had me. I thought i found the woman i was meant to be with and she never disclosed she had HIV. I have spent the last 4 years more depressed and alone than i ever realized possible. Ive lost everything I ever worked for and have found myself in suicidal ideation for over a year now. There is no purpose or point at all anymore and I understand by reading these posts that at least im not alone - but yet in my reality i am more alone than I have ever been in my entire life. There is no recovering from where im at. People say seek help - my shrink bill is over $3500 right now and it just seems like im more of a burden to myself and the world around me. I can only wish and dream things were different but the reality is its not and more than likely is only going to get worse. Im tired inside and out. No desire to do anything or even try and convince myself in time things will get better. My reality shows proof that it is only going to get worse. Can charcoal smolder safely in a car without it igniting ? Can you use a larger cooking pot rather than a grill ?

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  29. dried up old obsolete christian freemasons think all life is sacred so they think they are protecting you from yourself. your eternal soul. they believe in the secret and napoleon hill. so... if someone's raped, they attracted it? oh no, they'll try to explain things.

    you can't force people to live. nobody asked to come into existence. if you've tried a lifetime of things and have never enjoyed life or living... why live?

    it's not mental illness to rationally conclude this. i don't ask why someone would want to die. i honestly cannot understand why anyone, would want to live. when nothing ever works out and we never get what we want.

    i've done the work. all of it. it never made me want to live. i've never enjoyed life or living.

    at times, in phases, i think ok, life is good, but for every victory every joy, you know there's coming another equal or greater heartache and defeat and you don't have to go looking for it, it just comes.

    if my life changes tomorrow, i'll be surprised, but in four decades of people insisting "it gets better!" it really never has.

    1. nothing makes any sense
    2. nothing ever works out
    3. i never get what i want
    4. there's nobody for me
    5. i see nothing to live for
    6. i'd probably be better off, dead.

    that's all the truth i know. it's accurate.

    the charcoal option is nice to have as a backup.

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