Robin Williams RIP-Suicide Is Not A Way Out

First off, if you are thinking of committing suicide, don’t.  Here’s the number to call if you find yourself unstable.  No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

I empathize with what you are going through.  I know that anything I write on this blog isn’t going to change how you might feel right now, but hopefully you’ll take a deep breath and a step back.  My life hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.  It’s been especially arduous over the last five years.  I have fought through a lot of demons and continue to fight them.  Some of my demons are self manufactured, and some I cannot control.  Sometimes people just screw you over.  I am not on the other side yet.

Fred Wilson wrote a post about being lucky.  It’s a good read. You can be lucky too.  Heck, if you were born a US citizen it was a stroke of luck.

Over the years, I have had several (more than 10) acquaintances take their lives.  Traders.  One did it last week.  I have written about this topic before here and here.   Most of the time, money is involved.  But I think that is a symptom, not a cause.  One made bad investments outside of trading.  One lost everything in a bad market move, his whole career.  One only lost $25,000.  A guy I traded with committed suicide soon after the Flash Crash.  But, that wasn’t the cause.  It was a trigger. Here is what his family said,

It’s taken a while, but I still find comfort in reading comments about John’s experiences outside of our family.  We are all doing well with the love of family and friends, and we miss John/Daddy/Zman everyday.  He was truly a special person and an honor to know, and I want to clarify that he did not commit suicide over any outside circumstances. He was simply depressed and had struggled with that for a long time.  Trading was an outlet for his emotional intensity, and when the floor went, he simply internalized all the energy and pain until it destroyed him.  Life is precious…learn from your mistakes…work hard to have joy and love in every day and know that you will reconnect with your loved ones on the other side.

Most of the time, it’s a pretty severe shock that causes someone to end their life. But, somewhere down deep there is internal pain.  Or, they are depressed.  Depression isn’t relegated to a bunch of broken down traders.  To his credit, Venture Capitalist Brad Feld has written extensively about confronting depression.  God bless him, and I appreciate him writing about it.

Depression is brutal.  It’s a silent assassin.  Winston Churchill used to call it his “black dog”.  By the way, objectifying your depression is a good idea.  Objectifying emotions can help you get over them.  Dr. Andrew Menaker teaches that.  James Altucher seems to write about depression every day.

If you think you are in a rough situation, you probably are.  Today, it seems like it will never end.  I remember talking with Walt Ehlers about it.  He had nightmares coming back from World War Two.  He saw some brutal action.  He used to help vets with PTSD.  It seems like pulling a trigger is so easy, and can make the pain go away.  But it can’t.  The people you leave behind will feel your pain.  Ending it isn’t fair to them.

One time, I had a horrible day trading.  I think I lost around $500k.  It was a total cluster you know what.  I actually traded pretty well to limit my loss. It could have been a lot worse.  I could have been stubborn.  I was totally down.  After the close, I walked down to the bar.  Not the best idea but I didn’t feel like going home.  I saw a couple of other traders that were positioned the same way as me, only bigger.  One of them said, “We are so lucky we have the opportunity to do this.  We could be clerks in an office or something.”

We are lucky.  Lucky to be alive and to be able to do almost anything we want.  Even if you’re busto, you can choose yourself and find a way out.  It won’t be easy, but there is a door and a way out.

Certain things can help.  I love yoga.  Exercise really helps.  Talking to people and being with people helps.

It’s pretty easy for someone to write “don’t do it”, when you are in a downward spiral and feel hopeless.  But, you have to find something to hold onto.  There is something somewhere inside yourself that you can grab and eventually, eventually, you will find light on the other side.

I found this on YouTube. Don’t know if it will help you or not.

Ironically, Robin Williams made a movie, “What Dreams May Come” that dealt with suicide.  I wish he would have listened to his character.  As Brian Lund said, celebrity deaths don’t usually affect me but for some reason this one hits close to home.  I don’t know why.