Each year, over 800,000 people die from suicide and it is the 2nd leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds.
The LGBTQ community has a significantly increased risk and that’s why we’re dedicating an episode to having a candid conversation about suicide.
In this episode, we’ll answer questions such as:
- How have you been impacted by suicide?
- What are some of the stigmas around suicide?
- What is your advice to someone who is feeling suicidal?
- As a community, how can we best support someone who is suicidal?
If you are feeling suicidal please reach out for support:
- Trevor project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help/
- Crisis Services Canada: https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: https://suicideprevention.ca/
- Suicide and Language: https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/suicideandlanguage/
- USA national suicide prevention hotline: 1.800.273.8255
– Connect with us –
Welcome to the gay man at going deeper podcast, a podcast series by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about personal development, mental health, and sexuality. Your hosts are Michael DiIorio, Calan Breckon and myself, Matt Landsiedel collectively. We have over 40 years of experience in the personal development world. And if this is your first time listening to us, we want to welcome you.
We each have our own coaching practice, but in this podcast, we’re always giving away all of our best stuff. Today. We are talking about suicide. It’s going to be, I have your topic and we are all feeling the heavier vibes. So we’re, we’re looking forward to being able to dive into this and see what comes alive for,
for each of us and you as the listener. So the four questions we’re going to be talking about are how have you been impacted by suicide? What are some of the stigmas around suicide? What is your advice to someone who is feeling suicidal and as a community, how can we best support someone who is suicidal? So we will continue these discussions on the last Thursday of every month in the gay men’s brotherhood,
zoom hangout, where you will have a chance to share your own experiences on this topic. And that will be May 26th. We’ll be talking about suicide in the gay men’s brotherhood. So this podcast and YouTube channel is listener and viewer supported. If you are really enjoying what we are creating, you can support us by heading over to our Patreon page in the show notes,
and contribute to help support the show or subscribe to the early access option on apple podcast and gain early access to episodes. It helps us to continue making content for you and supporting our community. And we do thank you in advance. Also the gay men going deeper membership doors are open and inside. We have our new course building better relationships. You’ll get access to our course healing,
your shame and over 35 other coaching videos, as well as access to the membership only Facebook group. If you’ve been waiting to join in on more group zooms and go deeper with your personal development, come and join us. You can head over to gay men going deeper.com to register today. So before we jump into the episode, let’s read a review from one of our listeners.
So Gabe Zaza left a comment on the victimhood episode on YouTube, and he said such a deep topic presented in such a meaningful way. Thank you so much guys, for your work for taking time to help people who need it with all of these issues. We very much appreciate your comment. And Gabe is always commenting on our stuff. So we are very appreciative of your consistent comments.
Okay? So let’s dive in. I want to start out by talking a bit about some stats, because I’m sure everybody knows what suicide is, where we, where someone ends their life. And there are statistics that are really important to know when it comes to this because we fall as gay men. We fall into a high risk category, and I want to really M and a and show people where,
where this happened. So first we’ll start off by just sharing some global statistics about suicide. So globally 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That’s twice. The number from homicide suicide is one of the leading causes of death. In young people. 1.4% of global deaths in 2017 were from suicide. In some countries. This share is as high as 5%.
And I’m, I’m just jumping to conclusion here, but I’m going to assume that was 2017. We’ve been through a pandemic sense and lots of isolation, lots of loneliness. I’m going to suggest that those numbers are probably higher. Suicide rates are typically higher for older individuals. And which is interesting because of the above. I just read, wrote or read suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people,
right? But it’s actually, if you look at the way the scale goes, the older you get, the more highly likely suicide is. But because there is more the leading cause of death in young people, there’s a lot less things. Young people are dying from. So it is the leading cause for young people, but it’s not, as far as the global rate of people dying,
the older you become, the more at risk you are for suicide and globally. The suicide rate for men is twice as high as for women in many countries, this ratio is even higher. So we’ll switch over to some of more relational too. LGBTQ suicide is the second leading cause of death. Among young people aged 10 to 24 and lesbian gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer, and questioning youth are at significantly increased risk. LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. The Trevor project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth, 13 to 24, seriously considered suicide each year in the U S at least one attempt suicide every 45 seconds, who just gave me watching chills. That’s very,
very high. The Trevor’s project, 2021 national survey on LGBTQ youth and mental health found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender. And non-binary youth, the Trevor project, 2021 national survey found that LGBTQ youth of color reported higher rates of attempting suicide than their white peers in the post or in the past year among that nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth surveyed 12% of white youth attempted suicide compared to 31% of native and indigenous youth,
21% of black youth, 21% of multi-racial youth and 18% of Latin youth than 12% Asian Pacific Islander youth. That’s a lot, it’s a lot to digest. So I just really want to honor, like, you know, just that the intensity of the information I just shared, you know, looking at some of the causes like the Trevor project is, is leading in its more specifically in the U S that’s a US-based support system for people that are struggling with mental health and suicide.
And they’ve identified minority stress. The Mo the minority stress model, probably being the number one contributor to this and me, meaning that as a, as a minorities and determining how many minority status as you have, it released significantly increases your, your relationship to suicide. Looking at some of the things that people within the minority groups face rejection, lack of social support and lack of affirming spaces for who they are.
Discrimination. Conversion therapy was strongly linked to suicide as well, being in a therapeutic setting where people are trying to change you for who you are that can create a lot of inner conflict and, and lead to a lot of mental health issues, which is the next one, mental health issues. And then shame, loneliness and depression are three very common things that people experience when they’re experiencing suicidal ideation.
So when I was doing some of the research for this podcast, it was, I came up against an art. There was an article that I read on the center for suicide prevention, which is actually here in Calgary, and they do a lot of really great work in this space. And there were the, the article was about language. So using specific language when we’re talking about suicide and how certain language can contribute to the stigma.
And I think that’s a lot, a lot, a large part of this conversation that I want to have with you guys is around the stigma around mental health and suicide and how we need to start talking about this more. But the, the language that that tends to be used and favored in literature is actually not helpful. And it’s promoting more stigma. So we want to look at taking out the positive and negative connotations about when talking about suicide and use more neutral language.
So I’ll give you guys some examples. So a lot of times you hear that we hear the term commit suicide, right? And that was used for a very long time. And that has a, you know, a, a criminal overtone around referring to times when it was actually illegal to commit suicide. And it was a crime to commit suicide. So they moved the language to completing suicide,
and that has a positive connotation as if something was completed. So we want to look at, you know, things like committing suicide, successful suicide, failed suicide attempt, and completed suicide. This is very common language that’s been used in the literature around suicidal. And, and some of the people who are leading the research now are wanting the people to start replacing phrases such as completed or committed suicide with more neutral terms,
such as death by suicide died by suicide, suicide, just using the word suicide and a non-fatal suicide attempt. So I know that’s, but you know, it takes time, obviously for people to shift their language. Linguistics is something that happens over time and it takes, you know, a lot of consciousness to be able to be mindful of the language we’re using when talking about even something like this,
like a heavier topic. So we’ll just hold space for each other today that if we’d get it wrong, that’s okay. Our intentions are pure. And we, we mean, well, so yeah, I think those are kind of the main points I wanted to make. I’m just checking my notes here. Yeah. I will have a link to the article that I,
that I’m referring from in the show notes, and we’ll make sure that we have all the links to everything that I’m suggesting today in the show notes. So, so let’s, let’s jump into the first question. So how have you been impacted by suicide? Do I feel called to, I’m going to turn it to Callan. I just going to acknowledge that this is a really heavy and hard topic,
almost so much so that like I’m shutting down right now. Like, I can feel myself just like turning off. Cause I’m like, I don’t know how to engage with this without like getting too hyper emotional and all that. And I know when I meet those moments, my tendency is to kind of shut down the wall and just get very analytical. So I’m going to try not to do that,
but so the first question is how have you been affected or impacted by suicide? Well, I’ll start off with that just a few weeks ago. Matt and Michael are well aware of this, but I heard somebody who died by suicide from my building. And it really shook me. I was, I was, I was in the living room having lunch and it was like a normal day,
like anything. And they thought that there was some, like police out back and I’m on the third floor of my building and it’s normal. Cause we live in a living area where there’s a park and it’s quite a homeless population. And so there usually is like police that do come in and out, but there was a couple more than normal, like,
oh, that something must be going on. And then I’m like sitting and just watching like watch like a half hour show when I have my lunch. And then I go back to work and I hear this bang and I didn’t think anything of it. Cause it kinda sounded just like, like a wood plank. It felt like a wood plank. We have like our garbage bins and everything’s out back and it’s like,
again, the homeless population is like constantly in them. There’s a lot of garbage out there. You always see like beds and stuff like that. So like, it wasn’t an out of the normal, like out of the ordinary kind of a sound. And then when I got up to like put all my stuff away or there was like a lot more cop cars and I was like,
okay, that’s not normal. And so I go out onto the balcony to see what’s happening and I look over to my right. This is really man. I think this is affected me way more than I thought it did. And then there was this guy And It just like, I guess I went to shock And then I like, did I call them?
No, I can’t even remember what I did, but like I let my roommate know. I was like, don’t like, don’t go look like, don’t go find out what’s going on out there. Like there was a death by suicide outside. That’s what that sound was. And so just don’t, don’t go there. And then he was there like all day,
like all day long, Like there was just police all day and it was like, I would have thought that like it would have been quicker. Like, and then I’m not even making any sense anymore. And it just brought to the forefront of my mind of like The reality of it, of like this person who was like, literally just there. And like,
I could have seen him going up the elevator, I could have spoken to him and he was just there. And then like now he’s not. And it just, I think it scares me because there’s been times in my life where I thought about it and it’s not because I don’t enjoy life, but because I’ve dealt with a lot of medical things that have been really difficult for me And a lot of situational things that it’s just Like,
what did, Like, it would just be easier. Like, it’s just like, if this is going to be the constant struggle of life and like, that’s where I, like, I see those statistics and I understand them because I’m like, yeah, nobody wants to do this. Like nobody wants to struggle through this. And so, but then when that happened,
I was just like, oh, I could never do that. And it kind of just slapped me in the face with the reality of it. And I’m still unpacking a lot of it. So I’ve not like have not quite had time to really unpack it with my therapist yet. And I’ve also never like talked to anybody about this yet. So I think it’s a lot more prevalent in my life than I’ve ever admitted.
And I think that that’s where I’m going to stop for now because my brain is kind of, kind of shut down a little bit right now, Very vulnerable moment. And I want to acknowledge you For sharing that for something, especially that’s been very recent and yes, I remember when you, when he told us about that, Carolyn, but you shared so much more here today with not just us,
but with the entire audience. So I want to acknowledge you Matt as well for, for leading us through that intro, acknowledge the listener viewer for staying with us being courageous enough to say, yeah, this is something that I want to stand, listen to and listen for. I can only imagine it’s, there’s a lot of other things you can give your attention to.
And by joining us on this podcast, I want to acknowledge you as well. Okay. So the question, how have you been impacted by suicide? I had a hard time with this because I personally don’t know of anyone very close to me who has taken their life again, that I know of. Right. So I kind of struggled with this. And so I want to answer it in the only two ways that I,
that I can authentically, which is personally my own experience of suicidal ideation and sort of within the community, within the work that we do. So there’s two times in my life. It was really, I didn’t want to go back to this as I was thinking about this as like, I don’t want to go back to that moment. Why, you know,
there was a resistance in me to go back there, but I think it’s important because I think if I was back there, like if I was in that moment, then there’s someone in the moment right now, perhaps it’s this. So this is for you. There’s two times in my life that I can really think that it was a call it an option that I didn’t,
I didn’t actually attempt or anything, but it was something that was day by day, a consideration for me the first time was when I was a very well a kid, let’s say going through puberty as this whole gay monster within me was coming alive. And I wanted nothing more than to, to shut it down, to make it go away, to stop thinking about it,
praying that prayer to God, to make, make me somewhat someone else, somewhere else. And I felt a lack of control. So that comes back later. I kind of had this feeling of, and I’m sure a lot of people who are dealing with coming out can, can resonate with us for a hit this Chinese secret that you have to live with.
And I remember thinking if this is the way it’s going to be at, rather than out in the middle, you know, and again, I was maybe 12, 13, 14, I don’t know, around, around that age. So I didn’t have resources. I didn’t have language, very important point about language and my options. I felt like my options were to like this 13 year old kid,
live a life, a little lie and be miserable or tilt the truth and be miserable. So my options were misery and misery. So why, why else would, would that not seem like an option? Eventually I managed to make it through. I came out and luckily I had a supportive people, friends and family for the most part there. So the second time I felt this way was not when I was a kid,
but when I was an adult, let’s say it was late twenties. And again, it was that feeling of having no way out. And it was the same thing, not, not the same circumstance, not because I was gay or coming out, but I just had that same feeling of if this is the way it’s going to be, I don’t want to be here.
That was it. Like, there was no way out. I can’t get over this. I can’t get around this. So I just don’t want to be here. And it felt like I was trapped. Both instances for me were created out of a feeling of being trapped and having no way out. And again, I never came close to actually do anything.
In the second instance, I ended up going to therapy and that was sort of my way out. That was the one thing. That’s the one little step I took that led to the next and led to the next to the next. And it’s been a long journey since then. So that’s how it’s affected me personally, in terms of suicidal ideation. The second thing is within the community,
Matt at the beginning told us a lot of fascinating yet tragic stats about how suicide impacts LGBTQ plus community. I think I found similar stats match that lesbian, lesbian, gay, and BI. This isn’t even including trans youth are five times more likely to consider suicide and seven times more likely to attempt it. And this comes from I think the suicide prevention resource center.
So that’s the stat that I got. So it, it’s a very real part of this culture. I am a proud gay man, and I don’t want to ignore the fact that this is part of our culture as much as we might not want it to be. It is so part of what we do here in the podcast and the game men’s brotherhood.
Part of what I do in my own coaching is helping to reduce these stigmas, helping to have conversations like the one we’re having right now today, candid conversations and creating opportunities for community. So it does impact me and the way that, you know, just like having a family member who maybe you don’t love, but is there, you’re going to have to deal with them as part of your family.
This is part of what it means to be gay. I think. And it’s just something that, you know, I have to remember day to day that not everyone is at that same level and we’re all having our struggles. And some people, a lot of people clearly don’t have the same support, resources, tools, coping mechanisms, you know, all the things.
And I think that we need to show up and that’s a bit of a call to action from the person. And again, speaking to what we do here. So yeah, I feel, I feel complete with without one. Yeah. Thank you guys. I want to honor both of your, your vulnerability and willingness to, you know, Callen for you to push through the avoidance.
I get it. I totally get it. So just to witness you in your vulnerability was really a gift. It was beautiful. So I want to honor the same energy that Kalyn had. I’m feeling like I don’t want to go there. There’s a lot of wounding in this spot for me. And I’m like, how much do I really want to unpack?
Because I’m afraid that that I’m going to open old flood gates, that I’m not sure what’s behind those, those flood gates. So I just want to honor that, but so I’ve been impacted by the suicide in a very, very deep way, both personally and professionally. So I’ll start with, I’ll start with personally, I I’ve had four people in my life who were really close to me who Did die by suicide and they were all very out of nowhere.
I did not see it coming at all. There was no signs. There was no cry for help. There was nothing. And it was, it was very hard, very hard for me to digest. Most of them happened when I was younger, like in my teens and then the two of them. And then the last two happened when I was in my late twenties.
And then one just happened a really close friend of mine ended her life. That was just a year and a half ago. And they all kind of hit me in really different ways. I think some of them, I was really closed off. And then I went through the grieving process a lot later when my heart started to kind of feel the, you know,
the realness of what had happened. And then the most recent one was very hard for me because I was very openhearted and I just felt it quite deeply professionally. You know, I, I worked as an addictions counselor for 10 years, right. And it’s very, very common for people to be in the pit of their addiction and to end their life.
So I saw a lot of things professionally. I experienced that a lot. I I’ve taken five different trainings, like it’s called a cyst. And it’s, it’s basically where you learn skills on how to intervene if people are suicidal and how to support them. So, and then, you know, I’ll, I’ll talk a bit about some of my personal experiences with it for me,
because this is something that I’ve struggled with too. I would say when I was about 18, maybe I had a crack addiction and at the very peak of when it was at its worst, I was stealing from my family. I was using weekly. And, and I remember very specifically one night after basically not sleeping for two days and like being on like a hardcore binge,
I had stolen a whole bunch of money from my dad and I was just really lost. This was right before I came out. I was repressing my sexuality in such a big way and hiding from who I was. And it was just filling me up with so depression. And I remember after this binge just kind of laying in my bed and just feeling like I didn’t want to live anymore.
And I was really alone. Nobody knew I was gay. I held this secret. Well, basically since I was pretty much five, the very first thought or feeling I had about being gay, hopping around five. And I carried that for 13 years. And that, that is very, very heavy, a heavy burden to carry on our shoulders. And I know we all experienced that.
Right. And I want to really honor how heavy of a burden that is. I think a lot of us just tough it out and we’re like, yeah, we did. It would it, but it’s heavy. It’s very heavy to carry something so deep about who we are and have to hide that from the world. Right. And for me, that led to having suicidal ideation and,
and I’ve always been connected to some sort of like power or some sort of source energy greater than myself. So I’ve never actually had a plan. I’ve never put a plan in place to, to end my life because I just knew that my purpose and the meaning of my life, it was so much greater. I knew I’m on this planet to do something,
to help people, to help people through this. And so that was one of them. And then recently I had a very, very challenging time. I went through a really intense awakening period. And I’ve known you guys since this period, when this period happened, I was going through and I was living in Vancouver and just a lot of deep, deep conditioning being taken out of me.
And I was very depressed. I was insomniac. I wasn’t sleeping. I was in a relationship that was challenging. Every aspect of who I was. And I had a neck injury that was creating a significant amount of pain for me. And I, again, I remember being in Vancouver and having those thoughts repeatedly coming up, like, is this how I want to live?
Like, this is not ending I’m in chronic pain. I’m, I’m suffering emotionally. Like life doesn’t feel enjoyable right now. When is this going to end? And it went on for a year and I was like, it almost felt like I dissociated because I’m like, it was just so much pain. And I remember one day I was, when I,
when the neck injury really exacerbated and it got so bad to the point where I was in bed for like five days straight, I could barely even eat. And I remember that thought coming up, like I just, should I do it? You know what I mean? And luckily I didn’t act on it because you know, now look at where my life is at and look at,
you know, like there’s a lot of beautiful things coming from me. I can feel it. And I’m also in a lot of beautiful things right now while still being able to honor the fact that human suffering is, is inevitable. And even in my, even in times of in, when I have so much joy in my life, there’s still elements of suffering if I want focus on those things.
Right. So I just really want to emphasize that the dualism of the human experience will always give us both. And that’s why it’s important to talk and connect with people and share about the madness of the mind that we’re all experiencing. So yeah, I’ll leave it there. I feel complete in that share. So Thank you. So Sharing that, I see a lot of my struggle in that specific story that you just shared of like being in pain constantly and like all these like,
cause that’s where I’ve been for the past three, seven years, I’ve been trying to fix it for the past three years, but for the past, like six, seven years, that’s, that’s where my life has been. It’s just constant pain all the time. And it’s like, like STIs association so much. Cause it’s just like, is this my forever now?
So yeah, I got very emotional when you were sharing that. Cause it’s like, I see a hundred percent of what you’re going through. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for that empathy Callen. I want to just also mention too that it’s like, you know, I feel like I’m still integrating a lot of the work that I did there, but for me looking back in retrospect,
I think it was, it was the universe’s way of submitting me into surrender because I’ve been so controlling and I’ve been so premeditated my whole life out of trauma and fear and shame and this, this deep surrender process that the universe basically submitted me into, I did not choose it. Okay. Which is what caused me even more suffering was that it was how to let go.
And it’s so painful. I just want to honor that for anybody that’s moving through a spiritual process, the letting go is the hardest part. The ego hates it, the ego amps up and it creates conflict. And then you have this inner tug of war between your soul and your ego. And it’s very, very challenging and it’s hard to navigate. And for me,
I needed significant amounts of chronic pain in order to submit. And, and along with all the other challenges that came up. So I want to honor that too. I’m not sure if that’s your story Callen, but I know obviously we’re very similar creatures, so you might resonate with some of that, but all right. I feel like the hardest part is over Started things off strong here this week.
All right. So what are some of the stigmas around suicide? And for this question, let’s start with Michael. Well, I think we covered a few of them already, right? Like even in the beginning, all three of us didn’t want to have this conversation with, we felt uncomfortable. I think that is very common. So I think one of the stigmas is we avoid it,
which makes us feel potentially shame, discomfort, going places. We don’t want to go. Like we all, we all said that. And so, yeah, I think that’s one of the issues and we know that stigmas exist in the realm of the unspoken, which is exactly where shame likes to work and they go hand in hand. So I think this is a great question.
And there’s a lot of stigmas that we can speak about. I think the first thing I thought of is just the general avoidance, right? Like, you know, it’s an, it makes us uncomfortable. And, and I think a lot of people don’t have the language don’t have the skills don’t want to say anything wrong. It’s just, it’s just an awkward topic that we don’t want to talk about.
So that is, I think one of the big ones when it comes specifically to suicide, I think one of the stigmas is that it’s not as common as we think it is. And again, that’s why I love those stats. It is common and it does not just affect people who are, you know, who you can see it, or there may be visibly depressed or something.
The truth is we have no idea and it can affect anybody regardless of what their life looks like on the outside, regardless of their personality, regardless of what you might think. Great example is Robin Williams. I think, I think it was 2014 when, when he passed away and it, like, I think it shook the world is like, wow,
okay. If this man who we all have come to love is, you know, passionate and quirky and funny and has a, you know, happy attitude, if he can do it, then really is possible for anyone. I think another one that comes to mind is, and this is very unhelpful is, is that it’s like a attention seeking kind of behavior or a need for attention versus perhaps an actual call for help.
Like help me versus I would look at me, right. That’s different. So I think that there is a lot of unhelpful stigma around that. I think people do need help. And sometimes if that’s the way, the only way that they see fit to do it, then that’s what it is. Like, then don’t look at it as a call for attention to look at it as a call for help and support.
So I think those are the ones that come to mind also for people who, who have survived suicide loss. I think, you know that in that context, there’s probably a, I’ve seen cases where there is a lot of self blame and I’m thinking of one person in particular in my life where there has been a lot of that self blame, like as a survivor,
what could I have done? You know, what, how did I contribute to this? And worse is, you know, are other people thinking that of me, right? So there’s the self-blame that we give ourselves. And then there’s this perception that other people are blaming me as well. And that just creates guilt and shame. So I think again,
very heavy topics, guilt and shame. They, they go hand in hand with us. But yeah, I think this is a great question and I’m happy that we’re talking about it because if anything, if, if this podcast is any one thing at all, I hope that it reduces the stigma. Even just 1%. No. What to say? Yeah.
I don’t even know where to start with. My brain is all over the place today. So stigma is really hard because if somebody who’s been on the other side of it, If I had done anything, no, I, it would’ve been, it would be one of those shocking ones. Like I could say that confident in my life, like nobody would see that come and it would have been because of my not speaking my truth about it,
my not having conversations, my not being brave enough because this shit is scary as fuck. And that scares me the most is that it’s like, I couldn’t talk about it. And then the stigmas of people being like, well, the attention seeking, it’s like, it’s, it’s the, it’s the opposite. That’s why we don’t talk about it. Cause if we wanted the attention,
we would, it would, it, the mentality about just pisses me off and you don’t know what somebody else is going through in their life. Like you don’t know the silent pain people are struggling through and the way the world is set up, the systems that we have in place, it doesn’t surprise me that it affects people of color more often because the generational racism and stereotyping and stigmas that we have there,
of course they’re going to have higher rates because they there’s just shit, tons of buckets there. And so, Oh, there’s so much around here that just pisses me off. But if people could just, and I think this comes down to like an empathy deficit in our, in our world and a compassion deficit in our world of like, when somebody talks about it or brings it up or,
you know, people slough it off as being like attention seeking. Like we need to be more empathetic. We need to be able to see other people’s stories. And even though we’re not living them, even though we’re not walking them, we need to believe that, you know, it’s like when people say something, you need to believe them. And I feel like we’ve just become so cynical because of the way the media is and the way that the world’s evolved and grown,
like people are just so fucking cynical now that nobody believes the fucking thing anymore. And I think we really need to do the work to bring that back into focus where it’s just like, no, when people say things, you need to believe them, you know, innocent until proven guilty and my brains going in so many different ways right now, just because there’s so many things why like somebody wire’s shooting off because I don’t think cause there’s yeah.
Discombobulated today. Sorry, everybody I’ve used to got it together a little bit more, but today, obviously this is hitting a lot of chords for me, but just the stigma around I used to have, and it, it, I used to have it, like I used to have this stigma of like, oh, they just weren’t strong enough or oh,
that, so selfish of that person and now having gone through the pandemic and the things that I’ve experienced through the pandemic, I’m on the other side of that being like, if I had only, no, I would’ve just treated things or people so differently. And I have such a, I have such a more empathetic and compassionate thought process on it now.
And I think that it’s really important that you do your own individual work to try and get there that even if you don’t understand it, to try and just be empathetic about it. Not as sympathetic, not old for you over that sucks to be you, but like, okay, I’m here. I’m listening. What do I need to know? And so other stigmas is,
you know, be willing to learn. Don’t be so closed off. You know, I don’t even know if that answered that, but I need to, I need somebody else to talk. Now I actually appreciate the side of you callin. Yeah. Because I’ve never, I’ve, I’m always so like, oh, I’m good to go. I’m like,
I’m so a mess right now. Like yeah, Yeah, yeah. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s all the things. So I know the audience will eat it up. Yeah. Like a lot of mine are similar to what you guys shared. I think, you know, I’m thinking back on all the, the deaths I experienced to suicide and how their families and friends reacted and it was all about sweeping it under the rug.
Don’t tell anybody that this is what happened. Don’t it in the obituary. We don’t want that stain to be on our family. Right. That sort of energy is what we, what we send messages to people. And then that’s how it’s being reinforced. And I think there’s this element of, you know, like, I’m trying to think, like,
why would somebody want to be like that? Why would somebody want to hide this? And I think there, you know, I wrote down a few things and I think the first one is that people, a lot of people see it as selfish. You know? Like how could you do that? How could you leave your kids? How could you leave your family and to deal with all of this grief?
Right. That’s one of the things that I think is, is loaded with stigma. There is the criminality. If you look at our past in history, it was illegal to, to end your life. So I think that there is an element of like that this is criminal. It’s like, you shouldn’t be doing this and, or moral, right.
You look at religion and it being a sin and these sorts of things that people apply the wrongness to it. And again, it’s, it’s reinforces more shame. I think people seeing it as the easy way out, right? Like you said, Kalin, I think, you know, for somebody who is struggling with, with, with suicidal ideation, there’s this element of like,
something’s wrong with me? Why do I keep suffering? Why is this happening to me? And I think, you know, if you look at the mantra of shame, that is what shame says, there’s something wrong with me, right? So I really think the correlation between shame and and suicide is so strong and looking at how we can start to reframe that,
reframe that stigma, that there’s nothing wrong with you, for having depression, for having loneliness, for having these things that incite people to want to, to, to be, to, to, yeah. To, to die by suicide. I think so bringing voice to that I think is really important that people who are struggling, there’s nothing wrong with you.
You’re sick, right? And there’s a mental instability or mental illness that is underpinning it. And I think we look at physical health the way we treat physical health as we take it and we isolate it. Right. And we treat it, we treat the symptoms. That’s how our medical model works, at least in Western the Western world. But yet we try and treat mental health the same way,
but you can’t do that. Right. You have to treat mental health holistically. You have to look at the community. You have to look at the re resiliency factors. You have to look at so many things. Right. And I think that we’ve, we’ve taken something that requires, like you said, Callan, empathy and compassion and these things, and we’ve taken the medical model and we’ve slapped it onto it.
And that doesn’t work. There’s no empathy. There’s no connection. There’s no none of that. Right. And I think that’s part of the stigma is no, one’s willing to talk about it. And no, one’s willing to look at suicide as a symptom of a much deeper problem, which is disconnection. Right. You look at our culture and we are riddled with disconnection.
Disconnection is everywhere. And it’s getting worse in my opinion, with technology and all of these things, it’s like, we’re all just so Connected to self. And you know, you look at the millennial generation and it’s like self obsession and entitlement. And some of these things, I think these are playing into, into The problem, in my opinion. So Yeah,
I’ll stop there. Cause I think I’m bleeding into the next question. So I’ll, so the next question is what is your advice to someone who is feeling suicidal and let’s go to Callen. Hm well therapy. And I know that that a lot of people can’t afford it because it is expensive. I’m going to recognize that it’s, it’s, it’s an expensive thing.
It, especially if you’re not covered, but there are programs like the Trevor project and other organizations out there that you can find that you can tune into, that you could watch like a YouTube video about listen to a podcast about it. Doesn’t have to be a sit and talk to somebody at first. It can be, I’m going to just let myself acknowledge this.
You know, it doesn’t have to be the big, you know, talking and kind of doing all that. It can be just like acknowledging it in early first and then listening to something or watching something and then like going that way. And then there’s lots of community programs where, you know, it’s supplemented, you don’t have to pay for it. So there are options out there it’s nowhere near what it should be.
Even in a Canadian medical system like ours, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s still not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. But I think that, you know, governments took a lot of money away from mental health and that kind of a thing. And now the world’s kind of coming around to it being like, oh shit, we took all that money away.
And now we can see the negative effects of it big time. And so now I think there’s going to be a new wave of switching all that, which, you know, we’ve been kind of seeing my advice Is talk about it. Don’t just let it simmer under the surface. Cause you’ll, you know, explode like I did today, I’ve guessed or worse.
We don’t, that’s why we’re doing this episode. We don’t want it to get there. So find anybody that is that compassionate, empathetic person that truly empathetic person. And it’s going to be scary to just say something saying something’s better than saying nothing. Yeah. That’s all I can say. And, and knowing that just because you’re here, you are worthy and I know that that’s a roll your eyes,
but like the fact that you are here means that you’re worthy of getting that help. You’re worthy of talking to somebody you’re worthy of, you know, all of that kind of stuff, as difficult as it can be. So that would be my kind of like advice for that. What about you, Michael? Yeah. I echo all of that. I think that’s great advice I want to highlight and underline it.
You are worthy, period. No negotiation on that. I, I want to answer this kind of as if I’m speaking to myself from, you know, in the beginning I talked about those two times. I, that I felt, I felt the suicidal ideation and I’m thinking back, I think I’m really happy with did this. Cause it kinda forced me to look back.
And I, like I said, I didn’t really want to, but there were the commonalities and I, and you guys both mentioned them as well. The thought there’s no way out is a very heavy debilitating belief to have, sorry. I’m not just going to say thought. I believe that to be true. Both times, there is no way out,
you know, you guys talked about chronic pain for me. It wasn’t chronic pain, but either way, it’s some, some semblance of the thought or belief. There’s no way out that compelled me. Then the other one was, this is going to be the rest of my life. This is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life.
Again, debilitating, hopeless. The other one was being alone, isolated alone. Didn’t have people, sorry, I shouldn’t say it enough people. I did. I did not have the courage at the moment to speak to two or maybe I didn’t even have a language. I’m not sure what it was, but I just didn’t. I felt alone. I was not actually alone.
I felt alone in the moment. I believe to be alone. Looking back, I could see that I wasn’t actually alone. Even if you’re your person is, and this is really important. And that metric earlier is not is, is a deeper knowing within you, right? That, that counts don’t don’t discount that it doesn’t have to be a physical person in your life.
It could just be a deeper knowing within you something within you, a little whisper. That sounds like no, that’s not the right way to go, honey. And then the other one was no one can help I’m on this, on my own. And nobody can help me. So to that end, my advice would be this won’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever.
Let’s be honest. You are not alone. I feel like you’re alone, but you’re not alone. There is a way out. Absolutely. There are pathways and alternatives and there are people out there who are willing, capable, willing, and capable of helping you here now and today. So we are going to put a lot of these organizations to our project is when we’ve all mentioned,
but there’s so many more than that. That’s a great one, but there are many, many more as well, you know, they can help as well as other people in your life. Maybe that you might not consider are there for you, but maybe they are. So at the end of the day, I guess it’s just, it’s hope is real.
I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about the warm fuzzy kind of hope that we all know, and we all know and love. That sounds nice hopefulness it’s it’s more of a, this real sense that there is a way out and you can’t find it. That’s the kind of hope I’m talking about. It’s the ugly hope. But even if it’s just a sliver or a glimmer of it,
that’s that seed. If I said, have find the truth of, of what I just said there for you. You, Yeah, those are good suggestions guys. So This whole notion around attention seeking it really stood out to me in this one. And I think, I think about people, like, let’s say, for example, people reaching out to us,
right? We’re trained in this stuff. We understand this. We understand emotional dialogue and we’re comfortable with it, right? But nine times out of 10, when somebody is reaching out and attention seeking, which in my, in my opinion, it’s just connection seeking. We might be reaching out to people in a way that is off-putting and scary for other people to be able to be with.
Right. And if somebody is feeling suicidal and they want to reach out, I, the best bet is to reach out from that place of connection and request what you need. Right? Because we see this sometimes in the brotherhood where people come in and they, they dump a lot of stuff and they, they make, they’ve made statements from people about wanting to end their life and,
and this and that. And a lot of people don’t know how to receive that. They don’t know how to support because it’s so uncomfortable for them. So we need to break the stigma for sure. That’s part of it. So people are more comfortable to talk about it, but I do think there’s this element of the person who’s struggling. They need to request what it is that they need.
So maybe, maybe they need connection. Maybe they need somebody to listen to them, whatever that might be. So if you have your faculties with you and you’re able to request that, definitely request that. The other thing is, is this, this vicious cycle of isolation. And I know this all too well because the lone Wolf in me, it didn’t reach out and it just stayed suffering.
And I didn’t, my belief, my core belief was that no one will understand me and that my issues are too complex, right? Because in my upbringing, that’s what I experienced. I had complex issues and I tried to bring them to my mum and dad and I didn’t feel supported. So this is a really core wound for me. So I have this belief that no matter who I tell,
they’re just not going to get it. So I might as well just keep it in. Right. And that’s leads to more and more depression, more and more suffering. So again, reaching out for professional support can be really helpful there. If, because these people are literally trained to be able to understand the complexities of who you are. And I,
I think that’s important. We live in a culture that is adverse to suffering pain, and we are instantly gratified to for pleasure, right? So the tolerance for suffering I’m seeing is getting smaller and smaller and smaller and suffering is part of life. It is part, it is one of the most powerful teachers and transmitters of, of consciousness, right? Our suffering is what usually teaches us.
Our suffering is what we use as a vehicle to shed what no longer serves us. So I really think that there’s this element of embracing suffering. And I know that’s might sound really hard for somebody who’s struggling with suicidal ideation to just embrace that. But it’s, it’s amazing what happens when we move towards our suffering and with curiosity rather than judgment. And we judge all the suffering we’re going through.
I think the curiosity is enough to allow us to understand why we might be suffering and looking for the meaning in our suffering. And I think for me, that’s been the biggest game changer in learning how to suffer is applying meaning to it. What is this trying to teach me? And, and that’s been really, really powerful for me. And I think through that,
turning towards my suffering is where I also learned how to feel my emotions. And what I noticed with people that are struggling with suicidal ideation is there’s such a strong intensity of emotion that they just can’t control it. And they feel the only way out is to just end it. But what I want to say is for people who struggle with avoidance in their life,
avoidance of emotion, whether that’s repression association, these types of trauma responses, when you first start plugging yourself back online, your emotions will flood you. They will come fast and furious and they will feel really intense. Right? And I want to just say that that passes that period. I call it the space in between it passes and you always will come to the other side and you will learn how to be better at feeling your emotions.
So I just, and that’s my journey. That’s my journey. That’s why I’m sharing that because I was adverse to suffering. I pushed it away. I pushed my emotions away for most of my life. And I, and now I’m relearning how to do all this in it, like learning how to be with my emotions has been such a game changer.
And the more and more I do it, the more and more, the better I get at it. So, and then my last thing is, Michael said it already, just in different words, this, this too shall pass, remind yourself of that mantra because everything always passes. Right? And you don’t want to make rash decisions because if I would’ve made a rash decision,
when I did look at all that I would’ve missed out on, right. I would’ve missed out on all the beautiful connections that I’m having now. And so everything always gets better if you just give it time and you work the work, you do the work, right. So that’s what I wanted to share. All right. Last question. So the three of us know all too well,
the power of community, and we had to learn it the hard way, but now we’re, we’re indulging in community and we’re allowing community to transform us. And I’m curious for you guys, what would be your advice to people, you know, as a community, how can we best support somebody who is suicidal? Let’s go with Calen. Well, I mean,
this is running off the assumption that, you know, because lot of the times she would OD you. You’re just not going to know, especially if they’re the ones who comes as shockers, like the Robin Williams of the world. If you don’t know, you can’t do anything. And with that comes that kind of like the survivor’s guilt or the, I should’ve known,
I should’ve done something better if they haven’t told you, you shouldn’t know shit. So get that out of your head. If they want you to know you will, if they don’t want you to do what no, you won’t. But as a community, the best thing we can do is just be here and be compassionate and start fucking caring and not,
I’m really going to shit talk the gay community right now. We can be such fucking assholes and so cold and so bitchy. And so cunty, because we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all gone through that shit. And I’m sick and tired of it, which is why we have the gay men’s brotherhood in the game and going deeper podcasts because we need to start talking about it because the only way we’re going to move through it and get over it and stop that kind of like childish behavior is if we actually talk about it.
And so when you know about a community, when you know, somebody can use a community like that point them in that direction, you know, stop being embarrassed about the fact that you like to work on yourself, stop being embarrassed about the fact that like you get support by other people, stop being embarrassed about the fact that you go to therapy and you don’t tell anybody,
cause you don’t want to be ashamed of it. The other people need to fucking know so that we can normalize it so that we can start getting better together collectively, you know, it’s great that we’re doing it by ourselves, but we also need to share that with other people so that it’s normalized. So people know, oh, if they’re doing, I can go through it too.
So that’s one thing and start supporting the community initiatives and the things that we want to see, you know, volunteer, donate clothes, the simple little things, just letting people know, you know, we have inside the gay men’s brotherhood Facebook group, we have inside of our guides. There’s two PDFs of like, we have American and Canadian kind of outreach programs,
just having that information available. Because at the end of the day, we can only support somebody as much as they want to be supported. So if you’re listening to this and that’s you, we can only support you to the degree that you want to be supported. You know? So it’s kind of up to you and that sounds maybe a bit harsh,
but like, it’s your life, it’s your fucking job. Like it’s nobody else’s job to come along and do it all for you. So, and, and that doesn’t take a lot. It literally can just be one word, like just one glimpse, like one little help, but it needs to make the, the, but that help these to go to the right person,
you know, which means going to the Trevor project and reaching out to their helpline. People who are trained, not just a random person and then be like, oh, see, nobody helps me. No, because they’re not equipped to help you. It needs to be people who are in those situations who are ready to help you and, and open and capable of helping you.
So when you do reach out, make sure you’re reaching out in the right direction, because if you are met with that resistance, it’s because you’re reaching out in the wrong direction. So yeah, how’s the community. That’s what, you know, I got a little bit, a little bit brutal there, but like grow up, grow up, man do the work go to therapy?
Tell your friends, you go to therapy, tell your friends they need to get therapy and not in a caddy county counterweight, but like a, Hey, we’ve had a couple hard conversations and I think it would be really healthy. And I think it would be really great for you to just maybe check out their therapy. You know, and I did that episode with Jake Myers who runs,
you know, LGBTQ therapy space and it’s specifically targeted and directed to LGBTQ people and it’s ran by LGBTQ people. So it’s like, it’s out there. That’s, that’s my, that’s my 2 cents. And I want to echo it and underline it again because I really think he said, yes, check, check, check, check, check. What’s the question.
The question is as a community, how can we best support someone who is suicidal? Okay. Yeah. Everything Callen said. I think education is really important. That’s something that we could all do ourselves. If we think about it, misunderstanding leads to ignorance. Ignorance turns into fear and then from fear creates a hole. Cause that’s where the stigma, the shame and all of our unhealthy unhelpful actions come from.
So even today, right? Like I, I said, I don’t know a lot about this topics, but what did I do? I’m like, okay, let’s, let’s take some time to Google. What’s going on here. I learned a lot just like about an hour that I did that. So, you know, educate yourself on this topic on,
on mental health in general, you know, realize that something that I’ve only become aware of in the last five, 10 years is, is the degree to which barriers exist for marginalized people. That is such, that was such a game changer for me. And just knowing that that exists, like, yes, you can do something about it, but just even understanding that barriers exist for a lot of people out there can help you educating yourself around,
you know, warning signs. I wrote a great article on the tripper project about potential warning sides. Sometimes you can’t see it. Sometimes people do kind of want to give you a hint and they will. So educate yourself on that. Another thing is educating yourself around mental health, mental wellness. In general, if you’re listening to this podcast, that’s a great start.
Normalizing these conversations, the conversation we’re having today, like Matt Callen. And I all admitted that this was going to be hard for us. So if it’s hard for us and you know, we deal with pretty tough topics on a day-to-day basis, it’s going to be hard for a lot of you guys. That’s okay. Let it be hard. The more you get accustomed to it,
the easier it will be not about the easier, but it’ll be easier for you to, to go into those spaces. And then the other thing is not with education, but in terms of being part of a community. So again, I’m thinking of, of the community we have within the game. It’s brotherhood on Facebook is more of that. More of that.
If you don’t like our community fine go. And another one build your own. Find one that works for you. We’re not necessarily saying it has to be this one, but you know, the great thing about this information age we live in is that it is easier to find resources and find information, use that to your advantage, right? Like I said,
I just Googled today and I couldn’t believe the amount of resources that were there. So, you know, we need more of those spaces and that’s not to say that they’re saturated. There’s certainly not. We need more of it. And this can help us remove stigmas, having these conversations, even if they’re messy and ugly and awkward and weird. And you say the wrong thing because they were,
and they are, yes, yes. This is probably not our most eloquent podcast out there, but you know what? I think it’s very, very helpful and meaningful. So yeah. You know, when it comes to creating that environment, do so and let it be messy. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We, we learn in we healing community.
So go out there, everything Callen said, you know, interacting with people, find role models out there who can help you. People who maybe have been in your shoes one way or another and, and have lived to tell the tale, learn from them as well and increase your exposure to this stuff. It’s uncomfortable. Like, like I was saying,
even as I was Googling, but as I increased my exposure, it educated me in my own way. All right, I’m going to leave it there. Thanks guys. Lots of good stuff there. And they overlap for sure on mine. So I’ll try and take a different spin on some of them. Okay. So normalize the struggle of being human,
you know, we live in a generational era where everybody’s putting their best foot forward on Instagram and Facebook and showing the world how wonderful their life is. And the power of vulnerability is huge in this, in supporting people in the community, right? When, when somebody is really struggling and you notice that they’re struggling, sometimes it’s, it’s the most beautiful thing we can,
we can say to one of the, as I understand your pain, I understand what you’re going through and maybe share a little bit of a story of a time in your, your life when you struggled. Right? So I’m going to assume that somebody who’s struggling, if they’re listening to this, they probably feel better by hearing our stories that we’ve been there.
And we were, we were constantly still going through suffering, right? Human suffering. It will never end. It will never end. Right? So the more we normalize it and we share it with each other, that that power of that vulnerability can be the difference maker. In my opinion, the other aspect is educating yourself. Like Michael said, like I’ve done five different workshops.
They were, I had to do them obviously for work, but I learned so much from these workshops and for people that want to know it’s called a cyst and it’s applied suicide intervention skills training through the suicide for Sue or the center for suicide prevention. And basically what they do is they go through how to support somebody who is struggling. And I it’s,
there’s a lot of stuff there it’s a two day workshop, but I’ll just give you a couple of the things that I got out of that workshop. So the first thing you want to do whenever somebody brings this forward is you want to assess the severity of their, their claim. If they’re saying that they’re suicidal. So you want to ask them if they have a plan,
do you have a plan in place, right? And if they say yes, then you want to probably notify authorities and you want to, you know, make sure that this, this is being taken very seriously. And for somebody who the next thing is, is to basically once you find out what’s going on with them, you know, in always leading with curiosity,
you can’t go wrong with curiosity. You don’t need to be trained a trained professional to listen. And to be curious about somebody’s life, because oftentimes when somebody is struggling with suicidal ideation, as they’re feeling unheard, unseen, disconnected, lonely, shameful, fearful, and these are the things that just simply being there and listening can be so therapeutic for somebody.
So, and then, you know, throughout the course of connecting with them, asking them questions about their relationships, about what brings them meaning and joy in their life, and starting to kind of really, you know, you call it motivational interviewing in, in, from a therapeutic context. But really it’s just getting somebody to see something through a lens that maybe they’re not in the moment,
because they’re really struggling. Right. So pointing out, you know, what, what brings you, meaning what brings you joy? Do you have children? Do you have a wife? Do you have kids like all these sorts of things, just really kind of asking people what’s going on can be really, really powerful. I make a habit of regularly checking in with my friends and people that I care about because,
you know, I just think that this world’s intense and I’m a deep feeler, and I know what it’s like to suffer and struggle. So it’s like when somebody just reaches out and says, Hey, I haven’t heard from you for a while. Like everything good. How are you doing? It’s it’s, it’s just feels good when somebody checks in with you.
Right. So, you know, to Callan’s point, I think we all need to be checking in more with empathy and compassion and, and, and an ear. Right. And maybe take the hat off of being so self involved and let’s, you know, move towards community and let’s move towards prioritizing some, sometimes other people over ourselves. And you know,
there’s a time and a place for that, obviously. So, Yeah. And if something feels off, it usually is off. Right. We all have intuition. So if something feels off, don’t be afraid to inquire and ask somebody, how are you doing? You know, I noticed that you felt off today in today’s meeting, is everything okay?
Like just take a little bit of time to check in with each other. It’s very powerful. It can go a long way. All right. Yeah. Heaviness, heaviness, happiness. I’m still feeling the heaviness, but I’m curious. Is there anything that you guys want to say before we start to land this plane here, Share this episode specifically, if it makes you uncomfortable,
if this episode made you uncomfortable to listen, to share it on your Facebook, share it on Twitter, share it on your Instagram, share with all your friends, because if it makes you uncomfortable, it makes other people uncomfortable. And that’s where the work needs to be done. So don’t hide it in the shadows, bringing it forward. Yeah. I love that Callan.
Amen. You feel complete Michael? Yes. Yes. Okay. All right. All right. So if you are feeling suicidal or, you know, somebody who is, these are the three resources that I pulled, there is a zillion resources though, but we will make sure we have these attached in the show notes, but the Trevor project.org is one and that’s for the American audience will encompass that you can,
if you’re in Canada or elsewhere in the world, you can text from anywhere and they’ll be still resources there. And for our Canadian audience, crisis service crisis services, canada.ca and suicide prevention.ca are the two resources that I found a ton of really great information on. So those are there free. There’ll be in the show notes, like I said, and again,
we want to just, I want, well, first of all, I want to thank you too for sharing and moving through the heaviness with me because, you know, part of me was dreading this morning, but now I feel like something shifted for me. There was obviously a block around this stuff to want to talk about it. And I just,
yeah, I feel really proud of all three of us for choosing discomfort and moving towards it. We expanded our edge and it feels good. So, and I want to thank the listener viewer for coming with us on this journey and moving through the emotions that this might’ve brought up for you. And if there’s stuff there for, for you to kind of sit with,
I encourage you to sit with it or reach out to somebody that can sit with you in that discomfort as well. So yeah, we would love for you to join us in our private Facebook group. Gaiman’s brotherhood, where we are building community that is supportive of the exact things that we’re talking about. And if you’re watching on YouTube, please subscribe and hit the bell icon.
We do release these episodes every week, every Thursday and leave us comments because we love when you guys leave us comments and you can see that we also use them in our review testimonials. And if you’re listening on your favorite platform for podcasts, again, you can leave us a rating if it, if it allows you to do so and subscribe to our channel so much love to you all and take care.