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Ghanaian drowns off Pattaya Beach

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The body of a 33 year old Ghanaian was washed-up on Pattaya Beach just before 10pm on Sunday Night following a search by Sea Rescue Units after he had disappeared earlier on Sunday afternoon. The...

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We have all felt 'The Blues' occasionally. That feeling that we get when everything seems as down as it possibly can get. But we don't all commit suicide. We learn to deal with our feelings, as indeed we must. That being said, sometimes things do get on top of us and ultimately become too much. To paraphrase Kipling:  If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you'll be a man my son!

Tchaikovsky was an incredible musician and one who inspired me greatly in my early classical training at the Royal School of Music in London back in the early seventies. He played all the great concert halls of the world, and was one of the first 'superstars'. His sudden death at the age of just 53 was believed to be as a result of cholera, but some historians have suggested that it was suicide.  Regardless, another musical genius was lost to depression. Someone said at that time that if Tchaikovsky had any talent for music, "Then at least somewhere or other he would have broken through the fetters of the Conservatory". This review was devastating to Tchaikovsky: "My vision grew dark, my head spun, and I ran out of the café like a madman.... All day I wandered aimlessly through the city, repeating, 'I'm sterile, insignificant, nothing will come out of me, I'm ungifted'". Another life lost to anguish and misery that we call depression.

Up until 50 years ago, suicide was a crime in the UK. And remarkably, people were prosecuted for attempting suicide. To say that the law is an ass, would be an insult to asses. For example, Lieutenant Walker from UK, was fined £25 for attempting suicide with a gun he found. Meanwhile, the Samaritans, a UK based organisation to help those severely depressed, was inaugarated in 1953 by Chad Varah, an Anglican vicar. His first job was to bury a 14-year-old girl. The girl had just had her first menstruation but, having no one to explain it to her, she believed that she was seriously ill and committed suicide.

I have known a lot of people who have committed suicide, one of my great friends, Screamin' Lord Sutch for one, with whom I worked with for many years. Moreover I have known some who have thought about it, but somehow managed to escape its clutches. This means that these people were at least 'not sure' that they were doing the correct thing. Somewhere deep down inside, they were unsure whether or not they really wanted to end their life. Often people feel that way in the deepest depths of despair. A lonely place where no one ventures except the victims themselves. This translates to the fact that even when they feel that they wanted to die, some part of them still wanted to live. So let's bear that in mind.

I myself have gone through all these varying emotions many, many times, and then I have also considered the fact that suicide is not a choice. It happens when pain exceeds the threshold resources for managing that pain. That's what it all boils down to. You are not a criminal, or nuts, or weak, or screwed up, just because you feel suicidal. It doesn't even mean that you really want to end your life, it only means that you have more pain than you can manage. If someone starts piling on weights you will eventually collapse. No matter how much you want to continue standing, you will collapse. Willpower has nothing to do it.

It is also of no help when someone says to you: "that's not a good enough reason to want to commit suicide". There are many kinds of pain and stresses that may make you want to commit suicide. Whether or not the pain is ‘manageable’ will be different from person to person. What might be manageable to one person, may not be manageable to another. The point at which the stress becomes unmanageable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. People differ greatly in their capacity to withstand varying stresses. When stress exceeds stress management resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right,

Many creative people have committed suicide. Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, all ended their lives. Comedians; Tony Hancock and Carry On actor Kenneth Williams both committed suicide. Musicians Cole Porter and Charles Mingus both suffered from depression, together with actor Jim Carey. And there are many others. The list is unfortunately endless. There is actually a link between artistically creative/musical people and mental illness. I don't feel too good myself! It is also very arguable that you have to be deranged to take up the life of a musician in the first place. With its constant ups and downs, one minute you are the dog's bollocks and the next you are the dog’s excrement.

Creative people often work alone, as, in fact, do I. When I begin to feel upset or depressed, I would not have as much support as would 'ordinary' business people. Let’s face it, an optimist is a person who thinks that this world is the best world possible. A pessimist is a person who knows that this is true....

We are human beings. All we have to do is to be. To do is to be, and to be is to do. Or, as Frank Sinatra would say, “do be do be do”. With depression, that’s not so easy. When depression hits you, everything looks black, literally. Everything is hopeless. It seems that there is no future, no way out of the darkness. Of course, this is just 'in the mind'. But it really IS in the mind, and there is no way to shake it off.

 As the great John Lennon said, "Happiness is just how you feel when you don't feel miserable".





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