Overwhelming optimism

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Cestmoi, May 15, 2007.

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  1. Cestmoi

    Cestmoi Well-Known Member

    I believe this is the appropriate section to post this. If not, feel free to move it wherever.

    It took me a while to figure out what exactly is bothering me in this forum. And it's the optimism lurking around every corner, that I cannot help but feel it's fake.

    No matter what you say, people will rush in to post hug smileys, tell you to hang in there, that it gets better. There's a sticky in the suicide section entitled, "It gets better, this is proof".

    Has it occurred to you that this attitude might be triggering to some? And I 'll be as bold to say, it's triggering for the people who are truly close to the edge. Who have no history of attempts, yet all it would take would a single determined one.

    The average fairy tale that we read about in a book or watch in a film, pretty much always has a happy ending. Our hero goes through hell and comes out victorious. Be it a love story, be it a quest of epic proportions.

    And if you ask me, that's where our environment drives us to depression. I know I do not speak just for myself; I have read posts of people talking about how everyone around them is happy and how that makes them feel alone and depressed. For me, and not just me, this is what drove me to seek forums such as this one. To see for myself that I am not alone. That other people are struggling, that not everyone except me has it their way. Yet, the optimistic attitude I have encountered did not help one bit, if anything it has deepened my depression. Trust me, seeing a person in a similar situation as me, then overcoming it and posting about it, depresses me to no end. I feel I 'm left behind. As if everyone is moving on or will move on at some point, except for me. My only defense against this has been to treat this optimism as hypocrisy.

    I understand the logic behind inspirational stories. To create a balance. Afterall, if we all agreed life has no meaning and there is no reason to endure the pain, we 'd just commit suicide.
    But I do think the real world out there balances out. When optimism and a cheery attitude prevails even in a place like this one, then there is truly no shelter for the depressed. Ultimately, the reason we do not overcome depression. We lie to each other that it gets better, and linger on, waiting for them to magically improve. Then, sooner or later it hits home again, nothing has got better.

    We may put some effort into doing some things, yet if we do not believe they will, it ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. So, we hide behind this optimism, we force ourselves to believe things will get better. Unfortunately, life is cruel. Life is harsh. And things don't necessarily get better.

    And that's what it boils down to. We see things as either black or white. Either we feel like there's no hope, or we push the thought of failing out of our minds, equating hope with certainty.
    In both cases, we fail to see things realistically.

    Fact is there is always hope. No matter how things are, there is always the possibility we get to experience happiness in the future.
    Yet, another fact, a cruel and harsh one, is that we might not. The possibility of failure, that we fail to come to terms with.

    A girl I loved may have dumped me, or I may never have been with a girl in my life (two common subjects people get suicidal over). Now, the thing is, I might not find a person in the future to connect to. If I do not commit suicide and I keep on living, there's the possibility I will. Hope, but no guarantee. And in the end that's life. That's all we get. A chance.
    I might have been depressed for several years and tomorrow I get hit by a car and perish on the street. So, things never got better for me. And I could have ended it all earlier. That's life.

    Ultimately, I believe it's all up to each individual to decide if this life is worth living. Being the atheist bastard that I am, life is for me a sum of experiences that I see no rational reason to end prematurely. Unless these experiences are extremely painful, in which case I see no rational reason to prolong them.

    But I would go as far as to say, that pain is subjective. There's hardly any situation that it's impossible to try to get out of (in extreme cases, I suppose I would be an advocate of euthanasia). We can almost always try. And, from a realistic viewpoint, that's life. We try and things might get better.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2007
  2. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    I sort of see where you're coming from, but its one thing to criticize and quite another to offer alternatives. And quite frankly your post is long on criticism and short on altenatives. Three questions that occurred to me:

    (1) What's not being posted that should be?
    (2) What's not allowed that you think should be?
    (3) How will will your suggested changes make people more comfortable to be here?

    The funny thing is, my own personal stance on suicide is far from pro-life. I self-censor when I come here to remain within the terms of service. But beyond that I've just never seen how even a cautious advocacy of suicide beyond in the abstract would be anything but triggering. (Assuming this is what you're advocating, apologies if I'm putting words in your mouth.)
  3. Cestmoi

    Cestmoi Well-Known Member

    This is no attack on the staff and what is allowed or not. This is about the community as a whole here.

    My post does answer the questions you pose. It's best summed in this short phrase - here, hope is equated with certainty. We say a person who sees no hope has lost perspective, no? I fail to see why this is not the case with an overwhelmingly optimistic attitude. I fail to see people actually benefiting from this in the long-term.
  4. ~Nobody~

    ~Nobody~ Well-Known Member

    I think I can see where you're coming from, but I don't really know how what you are talking about could be implemented here.

    This is "A support forum for people in crisis". Hugs, positive messages, and (heaven forbid) optimism are all part of being supportive.

    I love it here.
  5. ybt

    ybt Guest

    the reasons for living do tend to outnumber the reasons for killing yourself, but that doesn't mean sf has to be as dogmatic as it is, i agree. posts are actually deleted or hidden for encouraging suicide.
  6. reborn1961

    reborn1961 Guest

    Different people find different approaches helpful. You have to choose what works for you. If reading certain type of post trigger you then do not read them. Its like the TV, if you don't want to see or hear it, then turn the channel. That is not meant to sound mean in anyway. I have issues on this site sometimes and I simply do not participate or post on threads that I feel trigger me. Hope you come to like SF. Take care.
  7. ~Nobody~

    ~Nobody~ Well-Known Member

    There are loads of sites and forums out there and they all have different approaches. If the approach of this site doesn't work for you then I'm sure you can find other places that suit you :smile:.
  8. Syd

    Syd Guest

    I just tell people the truth as I see it. Life is about accepting pain along with pleasure. Many people spread optimism simply in an effort to direct a victim's focus to the good aspects of life, since victims of depression are usually only looking at the negatives. I agree with you that many here seem idealistically positive, it's all about how one chooses to communicate the concepts that makes the difference.

    For example, telling a stranger "life will get better" really does seem inappropriate, as tbh no one can predict the future, much less the outcome of some stranger's life. There's nothing wrong with saying "life may improve" but would be helpful to offer stories of how we overcame our own personal struggles to perhaps provide some insight or new perspectives.

    It's important to recognize that no two people are the same. Each person is responsible for his or her own life, it's ultimately up to each of us whether we'll survive or not. I can admit that not everyone is capable of handling the stresses of life because each human is unique and each life is unique. It's not my right to judge anyone. Suicide is always an option, just as life is. Death and life are objectively equal from my perspective.

    I'm here to discuss these matters rationally with people, and to respect their rights and decisions. As an empathetic human, of course I want people to enjoy life, but I also acknowledge that life is a struggle and a challenge, and it will always be painful. Another thing to remember is that our words have very little impact on people who are absolutely suicidal. If someone is in enough pain, they will opt for suicide no matter what anyone says, rationality goes completely out the window. Everyone voicing concerns on this forum wants to live, otherwise they wouldn't be here. It's appropriate to acknowledge that they are quite rational in that context and they deserve rationality and objectivity in return.
  9. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    I didn't say it was, or at any rate I didn't mean it that way. To my mind criticism of board policies isn't the same as an attack on the staff. If I was unclear there, hopefully this straightens that out.

    I think I did get that much from your post. What I still don't understand is what changes you think should be made. It sounds like you'd like to make some, or am I wrong about that?
  10. Panther

    Panther Well-Known Member

    so what then, you would rather people make posts that tell them they're never going to get better and that they're better off dead? Not that that would be allowed, obviously.

    I'll be the first to admit that I don't know how people can be so supportive of others here when they themselves are in a crisis. I know when I was in my crisis last year and first came on here that I could never have supported people like that myself. Maybe helping others subconsciously helps that person aswell, I really don't know. And even if the optimism is 'fake' from the point of view that the people portraying that optimism feel like dying + can't see a way out, the fact that they obviously want to help that person to me means it is not really fake. I think you should look at the intentions of people and that they do love others on here. I know that some people have said that this forum is and has been a lifeline.

    You mention that 'this attitude might be triggering to some' - I don't know if this is true but this is certainly the first time I remember someone saying that. Also I have seen posts where people have appreciated others being nice to them.

    Guess you're entitled to your views mind, as long as you don't upset anyone.
  11. Jackson

    Jackson Guest

    I think there's enough reality in this place to suit everyone. Optimism, pessimism, cynicism, pragmatism, idealism, whatever -- seen it all here.
  12. ybt

    ybt Guest

    " you would rather people make posts that tell them they're never going to get better and that they're better off dead?"

    no. there's a medium between the two extremes. i am merely suggesting suicide as a viable option, with the consequences that come with it, chances of failing, and it's totally up to them

    as for triggering, no, i do not think it's really 'triggering'. triggering involves recalling a past event. however, for me and possibly a few others the cheeriness and hugs involved just because they can't say anything else or else the post be modified or else removed entirely is a drain when seen every single day
  13. Cestmoi

    Cestmoi Well-Known Member

    Just to be clear, no, I wouldn't make any changes here. Like it has been said, it's a choice to come here.

    (Though I would point out, this is the first google result on "suicide forum")

    Why does it have to be one extreme approach or the other?

    People say that. But can you really say whether that's truly the case? Whether that person was ready to pull the trigger and you kept him from doing so? Or was it just a cry for help (said already, people would not come here if they were really determined to kill themselves).
    In which case, encouranging them to hang on doesn't serve much of a purpose. The problems causing depression are left untreated because in most cases a serious discussion, that takes into account the possibility of failure, never takes place. (Yes, there are such posts but overall, optimism prevails).

    As to whether optimism triggers, well, you wouldn't really know, would you? Do not tell me you don't see people making a post, then disappearing forever. And how would you know if a person checked out this site as guest and was driven away? If a person's triggered for real, you won't hear from them again.
  14. Jackson

    Jackson Guest

    You're totally missing the point. Even if you can't know that a declaration of suicidal intention is genuine, you have to always act like it is. Honestly, how many tragedies have occured because someone wasn't taken seriously?
  15. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    Should we not be prepared for the worst? Pessimism seems to be the answer.
  16. Jackson

    Jackson Guest

    Yeah, always be prepared at least.
  17. Panther

    Panther Well-Known Member

    Who knows, I guess if you see a post by someone saying that this was their lifeline then I would have thought it was true at least partially but if you're not sure then you can only speak to the person concerned.
    My own view is that people care for each other a lot on here even though they haven't even met, and for someone to kill themselves would be really hurtful. Which is maybe why people are told to hang on.
    With regards to a serious discussion, I guess there is a potential danger to this and with this being a pro-life site people need to be careful what they say.
    There could well be a danger of optimism triggering. But then negatively could trigger aswell. To be honest I think it would be impossible to provide an environment like this where no-one is ever going to get triggered, because people can get triggered by all sorts.

  18. Syd

    Syd Guest

    Fuck it... I should say it, but it wouldn't do any good. Nevermind.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  19. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    When some one is being fake about supporting you I think it only makes things worse. It makes you feel as thought they really dont care, and do it as a chore.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2007
  20. Bostonensis

    Bostonensis Guest

    This forum to me is again a reflection of what the majority of society out there represents. Polarized ideas prevails as the control is vested on the mods not by the people. Again is very challenging becoz of my selfish convictions. The mods has the control what is righteous or not depending on their beliefs system.And the presence of coercive force is definitely palpable in many aspects." If you don't like it here tough shit get out ".Or this thread have to be closed becoz it is offensive. For me this is again a process of polarizing the mindset of these individuals. The thread in the soap box about Jesus is an example. If this is a support for people in crisis & that is the mission statement means , for me isn't support must means as a continous process of respect acdg to someone else's wishes, whether that wish does not parallel with ours. The deprivation of this wishes is I consider is out of the context of a support system. In most of these threads are a polarization of ideas & advocating silence of the minds as Cestmoi suggest,correct me if I am wrong please. I do shall say that to support is neither of the opposite direction but to give the Chance to explore or not explore or the stautus quo, or the interface between like a seesaw. Maybe we need to see it in a different angle or from within out ,bottom up ,up to bottom not confined between the two choices stated above. Maybe we should just say .I am listening here....or just say silence & listening. To contain our mind from not acting saying positive or negatives that can cross the boundless freedom of free thinking is a form of a violation of my dignity. Why ? I have beliefs / or no beliefs that needed to be nurtured or destroyed. It is in my frrewill to distinguish which direction I should go. That's the inclusions of any or nothingness within my mind that I have to decide to. I can read,not read or just a shrug posts that I might or I might not & so on & so forth should be up to the individual. This is the explanation of my beleifs in the form of the seesaw. Or the interface in between. It was proven that support in " passivity did not work for decades, isn't it time to look or do nothing at it to accept it is as it is or give us chances to exploration of other methods beyond the confinement of the opposing views above?

    My conclusion : Yes in absolute certainty there is an atmosphere of polarizing this environment that exist & defy. Conscious or unconscious or rather deliberate or not or in between ,it is here.

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