Everyone NEEDS To Hear This!

TRANSCRIPT:

Given the two recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton which, based on current information, were carried out by a right-wing extremist and a left-wing extremist respectively, I felt inspired to produce this video. The topic of discussion has a connection, of sorts, to what I feel is an underlying problem plaguing society. And, hopefully you’ll understand what I mean by the end. So, do hear me out.

As I stated in a video back in early 2018, despite the right to keep and bear arms in the United States having been in existence since 1791, we’ve only seen a significant rise in mass shootings since the 1980’s. And they’re getting more and more common, literally spiking in recent years.

Meanwhile, mental illness has been on a similar rise, ALSO since the 1980’s. In fact, there were approx. 67% more disability payouts for mental disorders in 2013 than there were in 1981.

So, I theorize that mental health could very well be at least one contributing factor to the rise in mass shootings. But, do take note that I used the word “theorize”, because the mass shooting and mental health statistics might not be connected at all. It could just be a coincidence.

Nonetheless, I do think our country needs to do more to help folks with mental problems. And they certainly shouldn’t be able to get a hold of deadly weapons! As that’s just a recipe for disaster.

And this leads me to another troubling statistic related to mental health.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide, with around 1,400,000 suicide attempts. Men, specifically, were 3.54 times more likely to commit suicide than women, and white males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017. That means approx. 32,865 white males, specifically, killed themselves in 2017 alone.

And according to the American Psychological Association, suicide rates had increased by a staggering 30% between 2000 and 2016!

And if you refer back to the chart I had previously shared, within that same time frame, the occurrence of mass shootings had increased by approx. 153%!

It is all quite harrowing, in my opinion.

Now, I want to start by saying that I am no expert. Nor am I claiming to be a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or that I possess any formal background in those fields of study. I am also not claiming or trying to imply that I have some definitive answer or answers to the problems plaguing our society, especially the men in our society. This is just my take on the situation, looking at the available data.

And while I’d assume that the rise in suicides is multicausal, I do believe, from my own life experiences and observations, that one factor could very well be a lack of true purpose and meaning in peoples’ lives today. A sense of directionlessness… an existential crisis.

As Dr. Clay Routledge, a behavioral scientist, wrote in 2018 in an opinion piece for the New York Times, “as a behavioral scientist who studies basic psychological needs, including the need for meaning, I am convinced that our nation’s suicide crisis is in part a crisis of meaninglessness.”

Enter the topic of this particular video.

Mass shootings, mental health, and suicide were just a preface. And, I want to stress again that I am by no means suggesting that I have the answer to these crises. However, a paper published in the journal Psychological Science suggests a very specific benefit from having purpose in life. And this benefit could oppose suicide, at the very least, by its very nature.

Maybe it might even help with other mental issues, on some level.

So, let’s have a look.

The study was based on participant data drawn from a national longitudinal study of health and well-being called MIDUS for short, with a final sample size of 6,163 U.S. adults, aged between 20 and 75 years, all of whom met the criteria for this study. 52% of the participants were female, and 91% were Caucasian. Participants were controlled for factors such as age, sex, race, education, work status, psychosocial variables, as well as how they responded to statements from the “psychological well-being scale” created by American psychologists, doctors Carol Ryff and Corey Keyes.

Those statements included: “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them”, or “I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future”.

Participant data was tracked over a 14 year period, by the end of which 569 of the participants had died, some having died as young as 28 years of age.

What the researchers found was that, of the participants who had died, they had reported noticeably less direction in their lives compared to the participants who had survived. Furthermore, having purpose in life appeared to offer protection against dying at a younger age. The researchers also found that variables such as being male and being retired significantly raised one’s mortality risk. Whereas, possessing a higher level of education reduced one’s likelihood of death. That being said, having purpose in life played a greater positive role than higher education by about 3.5%.

Now, this paper is not without limitations, for example: it featured a primarily Caucasian participant pool, and it didn’t appear to control for poor habits, such as smoking, nor deadly diseases such as CVD or cancer. Though, I could be wrong, I just couldn’t find any lifestyle or disease data in the paper.

Also, the findings are correlative, which as you all know, does not imply causation. But, I still feel that the findings are worth considering, as do the authors, even if more comprehensive, future research is very much welcomed.

I also want to note that, as with lifestyle and disease factors, there was no mention of suicide in the paper, so the researchers must’ve been examining mortality in general. Not with specific cause.

But, even with these limitations, I felt this study was interesting enough to share. And I want to offer you all this encouragement:

To seek out meaning and purpose in your lives. To find your passions; things that motivate you to wake up and live another day. Things that make your life feel less hollow, and bring you joy and fulfillment.

And I speak from life experience in this regard.

As I’ve mentioned before, at least in past Q&As, I was once incredibly depressed. Most notably during my teen years through my very early 20’s.

You see, I had suffered a great trauma in my early childhood. A very horrific, year-long nightmare that I don’t particularly want to talk about right now, but had left me seriously scarred… and I don’t mean physically-scarred.

I’ve been rock bottom before, and I’ve been suicidal. Long, LONG ago. But, I turned that around on my own. Without the aid of drugs, such as SSRIs.

This is not to say that I wasn’t medicated in my teens, because I most certainly was. I spent years, for example, on an antidepressant called Amitriptyline. Which constantly required blood work, since it was known for having harmful effects on cholesterol levels as well as being toxic for my liver.

Ironically, to prevent me from wanting to hurt myself or die, I was prescribed a drug that could, in and of itself, cause me serious harm.

But, once I hit adulthood, and I gained legal consent over my medical treatments, I got myself off the poison quick-like! And, no, my parents were not happy with my decision, but they could no longer do anything about it, legally-speaking. It was my choice to make, not theirs.

Devoting myself to things that gave my life purpose and meaning, I feel, was a KEY factor in successfully overcoming my struggles.

Music being one major example; listening to, playing, and writing music. In fact, I’ve been deeply in love with music since I was a young child. And while I’ve learned to play different instruments over the years, the guitar is the most dear to me.

Even to this day, I am still constantly seeking ways to improve upon and enrich my life. For instance, when I was 27, I discovered a passion for weight training and nutrition, two of the main ingredients for this channel. Two things that have led me to be here, speaking to you now.

And more recently, I feel that finding faith and exploring Christianity through Catholicism has also enriched my life.

I am aware that finding faith has alienated some of you from me and my channel, but that is a consequence that I gladly accept for my own well-being. At the end of the day, you cannot please everyone, and nor should you try.

Moreover, if it really bothers someone that I wish to pursue Christianity, something that doesn’t affect them in any way, then that’s their problem. Not mine.

Going by my channel’s demographics, since 26.9% of my lifetime viewers have been or are around the age that I was when I was at my lowest point, I feel that, maybe, I have some wisdom to impart that may save or improve one or more of your lives.

That being said, depression can affect anyone at any age. So, even my older viewers, perhaps those older than myself, might even benefit from my experience in this regard.

And if you are going through some sort of shit right now, understand that it can get better, but you need to take action. You need to actively bring light into your life. Waiting for good things to fall into your lap is never a solution. You need to be proactive.

Just my two cents.

Anyhow, leave your thoughts and comments below.

 

REFERENCES

Mass shootings in the US are on the rise. What makes American men so dangerous?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-mental-health-declining-in-the-u-s/#

Suicide Statistics

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/01/numbers

http://ergo-log.com/a-life-with-a-purpose-lasts-longer.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224996/

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