Why recovering from suicidal crises is hard

I didn’t know this week is Suicide Prevention week, but I found out when I read one of my favorite trauma treatment blogs: Dr. Kathleen Young, Treating Trauma in Tuscon.

In my experience, suicide attempts are traumatic experiences.  Suicidal ideation itself is traumatic.  The amount of distress that leads up to that point is one kind of trauma, but the ideation and planning and most certainly the attempt to carry it out is traumatic as well.  Helping another through a suicidal crisis can also be traumatic.

I know very intimately that the power behind those dark feelings is enormous sometimes.

Dr. Young wrote earlier this week something really poignant.

What do you think when you hear “You Cannot Be Replaced”? If you are depressed or if you are struggling with shame and self-blame following traumatic events you may have a hard time believing this. Your negative self-talk (or punitive dissociated parts) may tell you that you do not matter, that friends and family would be better off with out you. I want you to know that these negative beliefs are simply not true. They are lies born of pain and internalized from the abuse of others. You do matter, and nothing about suicide can make the world a better place.

And one line really speaks to me about negative self-talk:  They are lies born of pain and internalized from the abuse of others.

Having embarked on my own healing journey from childhood and relationship trauma, I believe this to be true, though in the downward spiral of shame and self-blame, I would not have believed it.

I sought to understand my own suicidal ideations.   What really happens when one gets to that point?

Tony Salvatore writes on his page about The Suicide Paradigm:

Suicide is the outcome of neurobiological and psychological breakdown. Becoming suicidal is a process that begins in severe stress and pain generated by a serious life crisis.

Stress and pain increase as the crisis, or the perception of it, worsens. As this happens, control and self-esteem deteriorate. Depression may be a cause or a side effect of the process.

Suicidality occurs when the stress induces psychological pain so unbearable that death is seen as the only relief. Prior to this point the individual is at risk of becoming suicidal. Beyond it the individual is at risk of completing suicide. Becoming suicidal is a crisis that causes traumatic stress.

Ingrained beliefs and values may cause an individual to be stigmatized by their own suicidality. This leads to shame and guilt. These cause alienation from self and withdrawal from others, which are also drivers.

Suicidality entails changes in brain chemistry and physiology. Suicidal individuals manifest various chemical imbalances. Most notable is depleted serotonin, a neurotransmitter that inhibits self-harm. This is a neurological threshold and those near or beyond it must be treated with medications.

There is no choice. Suicidal individuals are beset by suffering that is distracting and disabling. Suicidality is a state of total pain which limits options to enduring or ending utter agony.

I’ve never been medicated for suicidal ideation (mostly because I’ve been trying to handle the matter privately and I have a real problem with the side effects of pharmaceuticals), though currently now I’m self-treating with St. John’s Wort.  I am not advocating or denying the necessity of either, but I do know how pernicious the beast is, which is why I am choosing to use the herbal supplement for a while as I build my toolbox of resources.  Every time I do battle with the beast, I’m left with extreme fatigue that interferes.  The whole process takes a period of recovery.

Salvatore goes on to write that suicide is a misnomer.  What the suicidal person really wants is an end to the pain.  Penacide is a more accurate label for this process.  I think the distinction is critical.  I don’t want my body to die, and certainly my children would suffer tremendously if I was gone, but the pain becomes so much greater than the ability I have to overcome it at times.   Humans are natural problem-solvers.  If we are to grow in self-confidence, we need appropriately challenging problems to solve.  But too many problems or problems that are too challenging to handle alone overwhelms and reduces the sense of self-efficacy (the measure of the belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals).

When I was younger, I could handle life challenges, reasonably well, even coming from a very difficult childhood.  But I decided to quit my laboratory job and raise my daughters – a task my education didn’t prepare me for.

Then add onto that my husband’s life challenges (layoffs, depression, alcohol over-use), financial problems,  and my daughters’ life challenges (social and emotional), pretty soon I was overwhelmed and losing the ability to complete tasks and reach goals.  It soon became evident I could not do this alone.  Yet alone I was for a long while.

And I’ve learned something else that is little known about recovery from suicidal attempts and ideations: there is a reason why it’s hard to recover from being suicidal. David Conroy writes:

People who suffered suicidal conditions, particularly conditions that were chronic, recurrent, or included one or more attempts, may also be victims of PTSD. According to its definition, PTSD may result when a person suffers an event or situation that is outside the range of normal experience, exceeds the individuals perceived ability to meet its demands, and poses a serious threat to the loss of life.

Suicidal people meet the formal criteria for PTSD. Severe and prolonged suicidal pain is not something that most people suffer. People in suicidal crises feel that they are at the breaking point of what they can cope with. Since 30,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States, it is a condition that poses a serious threat to the loss of life.

Many of us are haunted by memories of acute crises, acts of self-injury, or extended periods of severe depression. Like citizens of a besieged city, we lived through periods of time in which we had a realistic and unrelenting fear that we would soon be dead. We suffer PTSD simply from having been suicidal, independently of whatever particular traumas may have contributed to our becoming suicidal, such as abuse during childhood or exposure to the violent death of someone else. Our suicide PTSD is also distinct from whatever traumatic events may happen as a result of being suicidal, such as involuntary hospitalization or job discrimination. Undoubtedly, most of us suffered many types of traumatic events in our lives, and these events and their consequences need to be addressed in recovery. But the suicidal crises themselves may be events that induce PTSD.

Penacide is triggered by overwhelming traumatic experiences…and the process itself becomes another trauma.

So, what helps?  I think the answer is different for everyone.  For me, a few years back I began the hard work of healing childhood and relationship trauma.  The journey has been very difficult at times.  I’ve compiled a list of resources I’ve used.


I’ve learned, for me, the act of living, I mean TRULY living, not just existing and going through the motions, is an act of courage.  Love itself is an act of bravery.   I wrote this to a friend of mine just the other day:

The way I lived…and loved…is what invited in pain…and loss.

And I don’t think I can so easily dismiss the fact that it is this openness to experience left wounds that are still, to this day, very tender.

I didn’t know how to live and love in ways that won’t end up inviting more pain.  So I spent time NOT living.  And holding back love.

I just got finished reading The Wild Within: Adventures in Nature and Animal Teachings, by Paul Rezendes.  It’s not just a book about Nature and animal tracking, but also a spiritual guide to track in the very elusive inner wilderness, where I’d come to that realization above.   Rezendes writes:

When people experience the kind of hurt and pain we have been talking about, they sometimes suppress and reject that pain and find it very hard to love again.  But if I want to fully and completely experience the joys of Paulette, if I want to embrace her fully, I can’t just embrace half of her.  If I want to experience all of life fully and completely, I can’t embrace half of life.  In order to love, I have to embrace the joy and the pain all at the same time.  Otherwise, I’m holding back something,  afraid I might be hurt, not letting myself go completely because I’m afraid that she might be taken away.

I’m still not there yet.  I’m still afraid to open my heart up again fully and risk pain.  But at least I’m aware of it, and I can set my intention to learn how to do so, and I know I have some strategies in place to use when I get scared.  I’m learning how to walk again after life brought me to my knees at times.

I hope this helps someone.  I truly do.

You are precious.

And you can not be replaced.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Complex-PTSD, depression, Healing Through the Arts, Personal growth, PTSD, Self-harm, Soul wounds, suicidal pain, Suicide, Suicide Prevention Week and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Why recovering from suicidal crises is hard

  1. Erik Andrulis says:

    ” Love itself is an act of bravery. ”

    Well, Casey, my love for every person is my love for any one person. And the reason I love Casey is because that’s who I am.

    “I’m still not there yet.”

    We’ll get there as One; of this much I know.

    Peace, Ik

    • Casey says:

      Hi, Erik.

      I thought a lot about you as I read some of the last pages of Rezendes’ book.

      “In that moment, I saw that the wildness was the whole universe. All things were manifesting in it. Wildness was the bear in the Adirondacks, the coyote and the doe in their dance of life and death. It was as if I had been asleep all my life and had been dreaming about being a gang leader and a yoga teacher in an ashram. I had woken up and realized that I was not just the gang leader, yoga teacher, thinker of the thought – I was the universe, every rock, tree, cloud, animal, and person on the planet. I was the moon and stars, intelligence, awareness, compassion, love, direct communication, the dance of leave and death and the web of life. A door had opened and the wild blew in.

      I was floored. The thinker of the thought was totally inept. This is what I, the self as the thinker of thought, had been avoiding. I avoided seeing my limitations. The self that thought had created incapable of awareness. But by practicing phony awareness, I had been able to maintain the illusion of achieving awareness. I saw that, ironically, my practice helped bolt shut the door to wildness, to awareness, to the master tracker, which is what all of us are in this conscious state”

      ” A few days after the walk in the woods when I had my enlightening experience a thought occurred to me. Doesn’t this moment of insight mean I’m enlightened? The next instant I burst into uncontrollable laughter, as if I’d just heard the funniest joke in my entire life….”

      I think this is why you have encountered difficulties with getting your theory accepted by more people. Knowing is beyond theory, beyond words, beyond thought. It’s like trying to describe a rainbow to a man who’d been blind since birth. Without the experience of color, there is no understanding of rainbow.


      I read your Sept. 11 post about Jeremy. I was going to post a comment and tell you that following the days of 9/11, I read the stories about what the passengers had done and said on the phone just before it went down. I’m pretty sure I read about Jeremy, even if I’d forgotten his name. I certainly didn’t know Jeremy like you knew Jeremy and I was so glad you got to know him…and I am glad you shared some details about his life. He was a wonderful friend. We all should have someone in our lives like Jeremy. And if I were to think about it, I guess I do.

      And you said this:

      “And I’m living as and loving for Jeremy, here.”

      And I was laying in my bed when I read that…and bawled, hard…like I hadn’t in a while.

      A dear friend of mine, who shared her world with me a little bit before she moved far away, had a suicide attempt last week. She’s recovering and is going to be okay, and though her body will mend, I know it will take a lot longer for her spirit to mend. I wrote this post, in part, because of her. I don’t know if she’ll come across it, and I’m not going to send it to her. I feel doing so would be terribly intrusive at this point. Maybe in time, when the wound isn’t so fresh.

      The world hurts, and I hurt with it. I don’t always know what to do with that pain.

      “We’ll get there as One; of this much I know. ”

      Thank you Erik. I appreciate you.

  2. ptero9 says:

    Hi Casey, I’m so glad you’re here and willing to share such deeply personal pain with us. I know I can’t take your pain away, or anyone elses, sometimes not even my own, but the world does need you. Years ago, when I was struggling so much with suicidal fantasies, my dear therapist told me over and over again, “It’s not your body that needs to die, but something else. The work is to find out what that is.” Big hugs to you!

    • Casey says:

      Debra –

      Thank you for your kindness. But I don’t want you to take away my pain. You probably know yourself that even if you could, it would not help you or I. We each need to come to terms and resolve our own pain. Any victory over our struggles is ours to own. And we build self-confidence when we can overcome challenges. I see this as no different.

      My husband had written me a comment privately and when he comes back from church, I’ll ask him to post it publicly (he said he would before and just hasn’t yet), but it’s absolutely related to your quote “It’s not your body that needs to die, but something else.” I believe that as well.

      I’m understanding my pain and anxiety more. It goes along very well with my latest post and what I’m reading in Eric Maisel’s Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive and the Creative. I would love to buy a whole bunch of those books and give them away for free.

      For me, between having an invalidating home environment (which was also abusive) and living in an anti-intellectual culture (for all of our knowledge here in the ‘first world’, most of it is used to distract us from thinking), I’ve been struggling, as all bright, sensitive, and creative individuals are.

      I’m glad I’m not alone. And while I would like for the pain to go away when I have it, there’s lies the greatest opportunity to grow.

      There is a challenge inherent in living the thinking/creative life. There is anxiety that comes with the increased capacity for thought and creativity. Would I give thinking and creating up just so I won’t feel pain? I don’t think so.

      I think it comes down to high potentialities, multiple interests, lack of time and focus, and amped up anxiety which is just a NATURAL experience for the bright and creative minds out there. I don’t have good anxiety management skills.

      But aside from “unlived potential”, there’s just the struggle of being sucked under by other people’s problems.

      I wrote this post because I was touched by my friend’s suicide attempt. I’d thought about suicide off and on since I was 13 and actually prepared for it twice. Once was a. I just pulled back at the 11th hour. No matter how bad life gets, I just can’t seem to follow through. For me, the will to survive has been stronger than the will to check out, though I admit, I had a hard time the last time.

      About a week after my husband’s last suicide gesture (last December), I fell into a surreal head space. When the girls were in school and my husband was at work, I sat with my (unloaded) handgun held up to my temple. I didn’t want to die. But I didn’t have the energy to keep coming back to these extremely dark places with my husband. I no longer had the capacity to rescue him from his depression. Or rescue anyone else from their self-created dramas.

      Most definitely, my role of care-taker to other adults had to die. I’d been care-taking most of my life. The only ones I have to take care of is my children, and only so much as to help them make good choices for themselves.

      Am I currently suicidal? No, I think the last time was December of last year. Now, I just have anxiety. But I’m finding out that is a normal byproduct of the thinking and creative life.

      Will I ever be suicidal again? I hope not. It is a trauma in itself that needs to be recovered from. I want to avoid re-traumatizing myself if at all possible. Suicidal fantasies just have to be taken off the table. In some backwards way, they were soothing – no matter how tough life got, there was always an escape hatch – but after the initial indulgence, it turns into an trauma that needs recovery from. And that’s one trauma I actually have control over.

      • ptero9 says:

        Agreed Casey, I think that creativity and sensitivity go hand in hand. The alternative to being sensitive is to lose or kill your soul, that capacity we have to feel intense joy, beauty, love, as you eluded to.
        I also agree that being exposed to suicide or growing up with adults who themselves never had the right tools or enough love given to them makes us vulnerable to suicide or at least struggles with emotional upheavals.
        Perhaps I would not still be alive if it hadn’t been for a couple of years with an amazing analyst who patiently helped me to gather enough pieces of myself together to enjoy a sense of stability previously unknown.
        The book you mention sounds like a good read.
        …and although reading and writing can’t entirely heal us, I believe they are a part of what does.

      • Casey says:


        I have to run to meet my sister for some coffee. But I’ll be back.

        Take care.

  3. julienmatei says:

    My God what you say here;

    “I’ve learned, for me, the act of living, I mean TRULY living, not just existing and going through the motions, is an act of courage. Love itself is an act of bravery. I wrote this to a friend of mine just the other day:

    “The way I lived…and loved…is what invited in pain…and loss.”

    Really, you put words to my experience here! Amazing…

    “And I don’t think I can so easily dismiss the fact that it is this openness to experience left wounds that are still, to this day, very tender.

    I didn’t know how to live and love in ways that won’t end up inviting more pain. So I spent time NOT living. And holding back love.”

    “I didn’t know how to live and love in ways that won’t end up inviting more pain”

    That´s the thing: me neither. I guess I am learning now…

  4. julienmatei says:

    Just one thought that, again, might appear totally unfounded:

    The Entity´s highest achievement and success is to make the host commit suicide. Then it feels that the battle is won. He has attained supremacy over the living. He then is the proclaimed master of the Dream.

    I state openly: unless we plunge deep into what seems like a crazed allegory, we won´t find any vital solution to our suffering. Psychology – no matter how advanced – cannot not deal with such metaphysical facts.

    The “absurd” – or what seems to be nonsenscal – is the key to overarching comprehension.
    This is similar more to Magic than to what we call Knowledge.

    A new science: meta-psychology, or meta-existentialism is needed.

    • Casey says:

      Oh, I am not sure why I didn’t get back to you on this…suffice it to say I get kind of ditzy now and then and miss replying to some beautiful comments. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the chance to, here…

      The Entity´s highest achievement and success is to make the host commit suicide.

      I agree, wholeheartedly. And it will tell any lies to get us to believe it.

      “I state openly: unless we plunge deep into what seems like a crazed allegory, we won´t find any vital solution to our suffering. Psychology – no matter how advanced – cannot not deal with such metaphysical facts.”

      I think, for me, the act of creating artwork opens up a sacred place inside me. Here’s something that validates the claim that art and craft and creating can heal soul wounds:


      For me, making art shuts up the negative thoughts, and when it doesn’t I incorporate positive affirmations into my artwork to help counteract the negative thoughts.

      I have a blog about making art here:


      Thanks for sharing here, Julien.

    • Casey says:

      Oh, yeah, you might be interested in Eric Maisel’s Natural Psychology. It’s interesting stuff and kind of takes off on existantialism, but goes beyond it.


  5. scottguffey says:

    As a member of a family who has experienced suicide, I confess I have pondered suicidal tendencies, probably to an unhealthy degree at times. It is so very difficult to comprehend that the human brain is capable of processing emotional pain as justification for self-injury. As emotions are mostly subjective, it is difficult to scientifically or methodically designate why we are capable of taking our own lives (We have really only mapped a relatively small portion of the human brain, which overall is an organ of language generation, as ideas, thoughts, and emotions can primarily be defined using a shared language system, which expresses both objectivity and subjectivity).

    I appreciate this article’s tendency to objectify the ideation of suicide, especially the concept of penacide, the extension of PTSD to all potentially-capable individuals, and the idea that pain must be accepted, perhaps as an extension of experiencing joy and happiness. I especially appreciate the healthy confessions of the author with her experience of suicide, as therapeutic sharing and acceptance within a communal atmosphere are ultimately the best prevention. Even though love is ultimately a subjective human concept, it is what we crave as humans, and a lack of love is often the driving force for mental depression, of which many of us quietly suffer.

    It is essentially good to confirm three things from this article: 1) The author, through her writing, understands love, and through this analysis, has proven more than capable of loving herself. 2) The author has friends and family that affirm this self-love, which is needed. 3) The community, specifically from the comments, help by affirming a general love for human life (I have not met the author, but I can happily state that I have love for the author as a wonderful human being).

    As the author has suggested, it is the sharing of pain, or as noted, the RISK involved with sharing pain, that can be effective for helping those who might consider penacide as an end to mental or emotional pain. I know it is subjective, but perhaps it is necessary to analyze this as a subjective illness, in order to treat it, collectively and individually.

    • Casey says:


      I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I hadn’t gotten back to your lovely, thoughtful comment. About that time, we were awaiting results of my middle daughter’s sleep deprived EEG to help us explain the two seizures she’d had (and she was formerly selectively mute and had anxiety and sensory processing issues). I was going to give myself some time to digest your thoughts and come back to it. As it happened, Life took me in a different direction than I had intended. My youngest daughter, 9, had also underwent some neuropsych testing and her results came back with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, but also showing signs of above average intelligence (and presumably would score in the gifted range had she not had the mood and attention issues she has).

      My heart breaks for my children. I don’t always know how to help them…but by being “profoundly present” to their pain and troubles.

      I came back around to this because of Robin Williams suicide.

      I didn’t know him, but I loved him, you know? Ever since I first watched him when I was 8 years old, on Mork and Mindy. It was my favorite show back then. Dead Poet’s society had a big impact on me, as did Good Will Hunting.

      I want to talk more about this stuff.

      Daulton Dickey wrote this on Facebook:

      “Here’s a thought about Robin Williams and his suicide:

      People who say suicide is an act of cowardice or an act of weakness lack empathy. People who say that suicide is neither an escape nor a solution lack an understanding of the darker sensations experienced by human beings.

      Suicide was the spring that released the tension coiled around the Thing devouring him.

      Suicide isn’t a solution, it isn’t an escape—it’s more like a painkiller.

      People who don’t suffer from suicidal depression can’t understand how thoroughly it devours you.

      Hollowness and emptiness, grayness and death, ashes and isolation; nothing feels real yet everything feels hyper-real; everything is bleak and bad, destined only to get worse: these thoughts, these feelings, these emotions consume you until they become you. They soak through every fiber of your being.

      Every minute of everyday is a struggle to put off that overwhelming sensation to end it all, and to function. Every action that keeps you functioning is an act of resistance. Every action that keeps you functioning is a skirmish meant to overcome the urge to kill yourself.

      A person suffering through this wages the battle on a second-by-second basis. But it takes its toll, and it wears some people out, and they become too exhausted; they can’t resist the overwhelming urge any longer.

      We shouldn’t view suicide as cowardly—or ignoble. We should, instead, view it as the tragic culmination of years—sometimes decades—of a seemingly endless battle, the final bugle call screeching over the remains of an internal battlefield.

      We shouldn’t pity or condemn him for how he ended his life. Instead, we should praise him for how long he managed to successfully wage his battle.”

      The thing is, I get that. I’ve written posts on here when I could barely drag myself out of bed long enough to do so. Sometimes I’ve written posts while tears were streaming down my face (like now, as I’m writing to you). And it’s interesting that he uses the word “battle” because that is exactly what it feels like, to me.

      I’ve decided there are those who are compassionate to this experience, and those who are not. And the ones that surprise me the MOST are the ones who have battled with depression and are NOT compassionate about what their brethren are going through. It blows my mind.

      Scott, I have love for you, too. I’m sorry it took so long to come back round to your comment, but I was profoundly touched by it at the time. Your kindness and thoughtfulness were so overwhelming to me at the time that I was rendered a little speechless. The time or two I attempted an early response, all my words felt inadequate. How could I really express my gratitude?

      By the way, how was your internet break? I hope you found something beautiful to plug into (like Nature!!!) for a while.

      • scottguffey says:

        First, Casey, there’s absolutely no need to apologize for taking some time to respond. I can appreciate the need to take time before responding (I often need a bit of time myself), but certainly considering your circumstances. I understand your love, concern, and attention for your daughters, and I wish the best for all your children. Your profound presence seems to be the best parenting model, as I’d readily admit that it’s the most difficult improvisational act for any of us to perform…and nobody except our children can confirm whether it’s a worthy performance. I often feel like I’m hanging on by the seat of my pants, even in the calmest periods of being a father. I often come back to Steve Martin’s character in the Ron Howard movie Parenthood. It’s colloquial, but poignant.

        As for Robin Williams’ death, I admit that my head is still spinning about it, and it’s difficult to process the public reaction to his suicide. On the one hand, I’m pleased to see some genuine conversation and recognition of the reality of mental depression and suicidal thoughts. However, I find myself shaking my head at some of the claims that I find to be misrepresentations (as you say, some have suffered depression, yet show no empathy for others who succumb to it…it is indeed puzzling). I had a friend who felt suicide is a selfish act and wanted to stigmatize it as such. I cautioned him about how it might be unfair to term it selfish, since it is more a reaction of the act by another than an authentic understanding of the person’s mental depression. He remained stubborn, and I just didn’t want to go further down that road, where I know it’s somewhat risky for my own psyche to go.

        There’s also an article going around the internet, written by a Matt Walsh, in which the title is “Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice.” I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a good article, but I cannot get past the offense and ire that the title instills in me.

        As for Daulton Dickey’s Facebook post, I agree that this text is much more accurate. Depression can be consuming, and it is a desire to end pain. It might be emotional pain. It might be psychological pain. It might even be manufactured pain. But it is a desire to end pain. I wish there was a reliable cure for these thoughts. For me, relating to another person is ultimately the best way to combat my own depression…it’s not a cure because I can always return to a depressed state, but having people willing to talk helps (and I thank you for now being one of those people). With Robin Williams, I suspect he was lonely. This may seem to be contrary considering how well-known and liked he was, but I do believe he felt alone these past few months.

        I see that you have written about Robin Williams, and I will read the article soon. As for my internet break, I did indeed plug into nature!! I’ve decided to limit my computer use and news consumption a bit (writing less frequently…avoiding Facebook…skipping the news some nights). I think it might be good for me.

        I thank you for your response, your friendship, and your expressive correspondence. I understand your gratitude, and I extend my own to you.

        • Casey says:

          Oh, I still have yet to finish processing all that I’ve taken in about Robin Williams – his life and his death – in order to express anything adequately about him. That one is still coming. I just reblogged a post of Monica’s because I don’t yet know what I want to say. I frequently refer to Monica’s Beyond Meds blog for the fact she’s got a wealth of information about alternative healing solutions (she herself suffered a lot of iotrogenic damage from the psychiatric meds that were supposed to have helped her so she found ways to wean herself off and heal in more natural ways).

          I’ve taken in a lot in the past few days about his life, and his death. I’m glad for the dialogue, even though it’s so aggravating when people judge what they clearly have know empathetic understanding of.

          I read the Matt Walsh article. I suggest your instincts are spot on. I didn’t find anything worth salvaging out of it. I didn’t even repost it on Facebook. I’m open to a LOT of viewpoints, when they leave the judgments out of it. But that wasn’t one of them.

          I’ll be back soon (really!) to finish my thoughts…it’s bedtime over here for my two younger daughters…

        • Casey says:

          Scott, I was wondering…Have you read any of D.H. Lawrence’s works? The one I’m thinking of right now is Lady Chatterley’s Lover – but only because it’s the one I’ve read. I’m planning to get to most of his works, in time. In between substitute teaching, child-rearing, and figuring out if I’m going to get a separation or not, and how to go about that.

          [They teach you a lot of things in school…but NOTHING about how to get along with another human being.]

          By the way, yes, I suck. I didn’t get back to you on this. Real life has been pulling me away from my blogs. It’s been good to get out in the real world, but I really miss writing and communicating here.

          I see that you are on Facebook. I wonder if you’d mind if I friended you there. I don’t go by Casey on FB. I go by a character’s name from A Stranger in a Strange Land.

          • scottguffey says:

            No problem…on all fronts! I’ve been neglecting my blog and Facebook also (out of necessity because I’m back to work…and out of sanity as I’ve found engaging with many of the current events to be mentally draining).

            Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the only Lawrence work I’ve read, but the book has frequently found its way into my studies and lectures, as the censorship of the book, whose primary theme involves female agency of romance and sexuality, is so very telling of our male-dominated society…even in 2014!

            I don’t think you suck…I admit my responses will most likely not immediately be published. I hope things are going well for you, or at least as smoothly as they can. (…and Facebook is okay!)

          • Casey says:

            Glad you understand. The topic was emotional and RW’s death was difficult. You know how it is, I think. I wanted to throw my hat in the ring, but I was really not able to get it out there as poetically as I wanted to at the time.

            I am with you on the mental drain of engaging with current events. I don’t watch TV for that reason. I don’t read the paper. I switched to gmail because I didn’t like having the yahoo news feed in my face. Maybe it’s burying my head in the sand, but I can’t take in much of that stuff anymore.

            I use Facebook a little bit more – to keep in contact with people through their chat and to post positive affirmation memes. I subscribe to some writers and artists groups as well Brain Pickings for the articles about books =). I subscribe to an Edgar Allen Poe page – sometimes there’s some neat things about him. I also sometimes post favorite quotes from literature I like so I don’t have to write a full blog post about them.

            Can I just say I’m very delighted to know you know Lady Chatterley? That’s one of the novels I find that resonates with me.

            A friend of mine posted on facebook a meme about Literature class.

            This one:

            And a few people chimed in about it on his timeline:

            Person one said this:
            “In 9th grade we read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. My English teacher said Dickens meant Madame Defarge’s knitting to represent the upheaval and intertwining of the poor vs the rich. I always argued that maybe Dickens just thought Madame Defarge liked to knit. My thought process on this was not well received by my teacher!!”

            Person two said this:

            “I always hated that! “Why did the author use the color blue here? What was he trying to say?” Me – “Uh, he liked the color blue?”

            Person three said this:

            “This is probably the greatest thing I hated about Honors English.
            Teacher: “What is the author trying to say?”
            Me: “Please buy and enjoy my book”.

            *sigh* – This is sad to me. I bet you run into some of this as an English teacher, too, but hopefully not.

            I loved my literature classes BECAUSE of the analysis of character, themes, motifs and symbols. This thrilled me.

            I grew up and away from literature to study science (I was decent in my English and literature classes but I had an aptitude for science, too), but after I quit my career to be became a stay at home mom, I needed the stimulation. So I took to reading and writing and analyzing and synthesizing.

            I’ve read critical essays about literature and poetry for fun these days. I write my own thoughts to books and passages I read here on the blog. Kind of my own bibliotherapy.

            Okay, so here’s the thing. I LOVE LCL. But less so for the theme of female agency and romance and sexuality – though admittedly, those scenes were really erotic – and more so because I while I love intellectual activity, at the same time, I also don’t want to exclude the rest of me – the body and the senses.

            I’m fairly independently minded – and I’ve been told more and more I think like man more than a woman, and in my experience, I never really felt dominated by men, but on equal footing. And yes, I knew about the lawsuit. Also, on a related note, I watched the movie Howl – about the obscenity trial for Ginsberg’s controversial poem. Have you ever seen it? Neat stuff.

            I wrote this blog post that touched on Lady Chatterley’s Lover.


            I picked up a book of critical essays about D.H. Lawrence from the library. Also a book of critical essays about Shakespeare on Time and Conscience (which my friend, Grant, borrowed – he’s the director of Crown Point play Hamlet that you reviewed a while back).

            Anyway…so…for fun and stimulation and to stave off some measure of existential angst, I read critical essays and write lately about what I’m reading. I shared this bit about as a comment on that FB meme:

            “I am most recently enthralled with the layers of meaning I didn’t get after the first reading of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. To my mind, the novel is a commentary about the dehumanizing effects of post industrial society. The book was written in 1930, but the ideas in it are still relevant today. We are becoming less and less human, in some ways, thanks to all the computers and technology. It’s part of the reason why we have so much depression and anxiety. Anyway…aside from that, which is what I’d gleaned the first time around, i’m digging into a second layer – the influence of the Greek myth Persephone and other symbolism – about being regenerative, not stagnating and dying while still alive; this, to me, is beautiful. i’ve been only around people who were dying – metaphorically anyway – dying with the music still in them, you know?”

            So…hopefully, I’ll come up with a cogent post, exploring those layers of meaning and applying that to things I’m learning in my journey.

            Anyway, long story short, I just enjoy talking with you, and thought maybe I could follow you on Facebook.

            Or alternately, how do you feel about having an email pen pal? I don’t know if that would be feasible, given your schedule. I substitute teach now (k-12) and but only part time for now.

            Too bad you don’t teach at PUC. I’d ask if I could visit one of your classes to watch you lecture. I think that would be fun. =)

Would you like to share your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

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