Sunday, 23 July 2017

What's it all about...?

I've been asked a few times lately 'what's your book about?'

The best way I can explain it is right here, which includes the blurb which will be on the the back cover.
Please refrain from offering criticism at least until you've read the book.
I should also point out that I don't claim to be an expert in anything at all and if I were to subscribe to what society deems acceptable I am uneducated. I have no qualifications from my school days whatsoever, I failed everything. 

I've long believed that when it comes to suicide, too much emphasis is on the mind illness side of things and the encouraging of people to seek help from medical professionals who are more than happy to feed them meals of mind altering drugs, which I appreciate can work for many but when it becomes the 'first option' I believe we're on a slippery slope to chaos.
Especially so when we're talking about medicating children (the future)
I believe the number of suicides each year will increase or retain a similar level for the foreseeable future before a noticeable trend of decreasing numbers starts to occur, if the numbers ever decrease at all.
Until children can be taught different ways of coping with all the crap life will throw at them instead of being wrapped in cotton wool and ill equipped to cope emotionally with setbacks that should be easily overcome, nothing will change.
Forget about logarithms, Pythagoras theorem, religious studies and much more of the crap kids are forced to swallow. They can choose this stuff later if they want to. 
Teach them some emotional intelligence. 
Surely an emotionally stable, well balanced kid will be a much more successful adult than a medicated zombie who became that way because they couldn't concentrate on lessons that don't matter.

Adults also need to realise and appreciate what's actually important. It's not a game of rugby, a yacht race, a box of beer or a bag of dope. It's not how much alcohol a man can drink or who he can smash over in a fight that matters. 
What really matters are other human beings.
Everywhere I look I see broken families full of venom and hate for one another and people treading all over other people to get what they want. Human beings have become so selfish that society itself is a shambles and many people just can't cope with it any more and choose to exit.

There's far too much entitlement in the world. Politicians constantly lie to us because all they are really doing is what's best for themselves using our money. We are bombarded from every angle with global 'news' which is little more than stories about how much human beings hate other human beings.

Until human beings can be united, nothing will ever change.


Back cover blurb:

‘I believe we need to quit the approach in which we quietly come in through the frilly pink curtains and talk about suicide carefully so as not to cause upset or offend anyone.

‘I’m saying we should fire up the bulldozer, smash it through the wall and start yelling:

‘“Let’s talk about suicide and how much it sucks.”’

This book is the story of the tragic death by suicide of Paul Lynch’s brother Brett and the devastating effect it had on his family. It is also a powerful plea for us to face up to suicide as an issue and acknowledge that the way we’re dealing with it at the moment isn’t working.

‘If my story can prevent a person, or people, from leaving their family and friends to deal with the aftermath of their suicide and all that goes with it,’ says Paul Lynch,’ then I will consider that to be a success.’

‘Paul has a way of putting you in someone else’s shoes with his writing, very mind opening.’
Owen, Piopio

‘A no-holds-barred account of the true effects of suicide.” David, Tauranga

Friday, 21 July 2017

Such a waste of limitless talent...and a message

This morning I read the news of Chester Bennington from the band Linkin Park dying by suicide.
I've always liked their style, I really like songs that have a message in them, story songs if you like, and they did a few songs that I could really relate to.
I also loved the way they blended rock and rap, with Chester's powerful voice overlapping with Mike Shinoda's raps - I can't really explain that, it just worked for me. And millions of others.

So, when Wendy told me this morning that Chester had lost his battle with whatever demons he was fighting for some reason it actually hit me in the feels. That's not really like me.
I subsequently read every article I could find on the internet about it.
To sum it up, Wendy got it right.
"I just don't get it, it's such a fuckin' waste'
And of course, she is right.
It is a tragic waste of limitless talent.

What it does for me is really brings home the fact that suicide and everything that leads people to it doesn't discriminate.
Suicide doesn't care if you're successful and wealthy or if you're down and out destitute.
It doesn't care if you are gainfully employed and widely respected or living on the streets starving.
Suicide couldn't give a fuck if you're a hugely talented artist idolised by millions of adoring fans.

To think that suicide can't touch you is being extremely naive.
Nobody has immunity, this game of life isn't some fucked up reality show where everyone gets to go home to their cosy houses after pretending to be stranded on a desert island for the sole purpose of entertaining others, life is real and for many it's a constant struggle.
Despite the outward appearances people portray, nobody really knows what other people are battling every day of their lives. Unless, of course, people share these battles with others and in the process form armies to defeat the internal enemies.

The suicide deaths of peoples heroes can be a constant reminder to us all that life isn't a walk in the park for many.
Even those who seemingly 'have it all' can be struggling with the same internal enemies that 'ordinary' people battle every single day.

Look around you, wherever you are.
That homeless guy in the shop doorway, the flash looking guy in the designer suit, the lady who appears to believe her shit doesn't stink, the fella with all the tattoos wearing a gang patch, the kid riding a skateboard, the guy at the bar who's drunk as fuck and falling all over the place, the girl who is crying, the flash movie star, the rock star, the people you live with.
Your family.
All of these people could be fighting internal battles you know nothing about.

So, don't be blind to it.
Suicide can affect you at any moment of any day.
If you are fighting an internal war, share it with someone you trust.
Sharing could save a life.
Perhaps even your own.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Something about stones and glass houses.....

I realise that it's an election year but fuck me days, this is the strangest build up to an election I can remember!
Of course, being an election year, a little mud slinging is to be expected, but thanks to the rapid rise in the use of social media as a soap box, everyone and anyone can have their say on whatever subject they wish.
Yes, I include myself in that statement, I make no secret of the fact that I fucking love social media!
It's also true that a few years ago, a lot of what I posted was negative and pretty much just me whinging about this and that.
I'd like to think that these days I've turned that completely around, because people can change.

From the angle I'm seeing everything these days, it appears to me that as a people, we've turned into a country of judgmental fools.
A political party leader has come out and admitted that they committed fraud against WINZ (or whatever it was called 25 years ago when it happened) and now the posse is being hastily assembled and the lynch mob (no pun intended) is about to ride out.
Should this person be held accountable?
Perhaps, but turning this into a public stoning will only achieve one thing. It will take the entire emphasis of everybody's campaign away from the real issues this country needs to address.
It's almost smelling like a planned media release although I can't think what the motivation for it would be.

A few weeks ago, some pretty sticky, smelly mud was slung by an individual about the deputy leader of a political party and thousands of people climbed on board the hate train and howled for blood. I have no clue as to the validity of any of the claims made but I do know this. I actually don't care!
I am however, fairly certain that if indeed some of the claims were true, they would surely have surfaced long before now....wouldn't they?
Does it mean they're not able to do the job they've been elected to do?
News Flash: That's the reason we have elections.

I've made plenty of mistakes and I've been involved in some pretty sketchy shit during my life and I've been held to account for some of it.
But that was me a long time ago and many of the people who know me now didn't know that guy.
Now, I dedicate much of my time to trying to do good, project a bit of positivity in a fucked up world and try to help others to focus on the good things.

The point is, we need to stop climbing on board the judgment express.
Stop passing judgement on and condemning people you don't know for things you know nothing about.
People in the public eye are easy targets and some of them don't help themselves with their actions, but that's sort of the point.
They're human beings, just like you and I and they have made and will continue to make mistakes.

Every single human has a past, a present and a future.
Why waste your present attacking someone else' past?
Use you present to determine your future.

So, pick up that stone if you want to.
But, before you throw it, take a good look in the mirror.
Is the person you see there clean enough to throw it?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Breaking up with a mistress.

Today has been one of quiet reflection.
The weather here in Oxford has been a little chilly, but beautifully calm and clear blue sky. I suspect we're in for a decent frost in the morning.

As I quietly work toward the release of my book Suicide; Aftermath and beyond in early September and my web site being set to go live mid August, I'm constantly swimming around inside my own head exploring my thoughts and wondering what we can do as human beings and as New Zealanders to address not only the high rates of suicide in New Zealand, but the high rates of other things too.
New Zealanders and I guess human beings in general, are no strangers to passionate love affairs with everything that's bad for them.
It's almost like human beings are equipped with a self destruct mechanism as standard, and to over-ride it takes a conscious decision by the individual.
It's long been the Kiwi way to drink copious amounts of alcohol and, to choose not to indulge places you quite some distance outside what the majority deem to be 'normal'.
Domestic and sexual violence has always been relatively common, although until the last decade or so, it's been a topic that's largely left behind the closed doors where it's occurring.
Driving drunk was once accepted as relatively normal.
Alcohol abuse can and does contribute directly toward many suicides.
The film Once were warriors thrust many of these issues into the spotlight back in 1994.

So, when my mind wanders off down these sorts of paths, I try to relate what I see along the way to my own life and ultimately come up with ideas that might benefit others.
I've made no secret of the fact that my whole life I have lived with social anxiety issues which until a few years ago I had no idea were even a thing. When my wife Wendy and I discovered my younger brother after he had made the decision to end his own life, the inside of my head was effectively turned to mush.
I functioned perfectly well when it came to keeping up appearances, largely helped along by the copious amounts of alcohol I was consuming, but on the inside, I was a fucking shambles.
I go into that a bit more in my book, but I won't here.

In a nutshell, alcohol was always the lubricant I used to allow me to fit into social situations.
I used it to enable sleep, to celebrate, to commiserate.
But it also came with with side effects.

So, where am I heading with this?
I now look at my body and my entire being as a machine.
In order to function efficiently, the machine requires the correct fuel.
I knew that the machine wasn't functioning properly for more reasons than I care to count and I will go into them in other blog posts, but let's start here.

Firstly, alcohol was fucking up the machine in the sense that when it was flooded with alcohol it let people down, it did poor work, it was constantly sluggish, lethargic and just generally not fit for purpose.
But, none of that was enough to stop me abusing the machine.
When Wendy told me one night that I was frightening her when I was in the grips of an alcohol fueled meltdown, I knew that something need to change.
It didn't change instantly, but eventually, I realised that for a number of reasons, the mistress that was alcohol and I had to go our separate ways.
And on 13th the December 2015, we did. I told mistress alcohol she couldn't be a part of my life any more and kicked her out.
I still see her around a lot with other people, but I feel nothing for her any more.

It appears to me that until a person reaches a point where they really, truly know that they need to change a part of themselves, it won't ever happen.
Then, even more difficult than that, the person needs to want to change it.

Do I miss my old mistress?
Sometimes, yes I do. I miss the social aspect of being with her because frankly, when in a group of people I'm completely fucking useless at any interaction.
Anxiety is a mistress I can keep at bay but I don't think I'll ever be completely rid of her.

But, I can live with that because truth be told, I prefer solitude anyway.
Unfortunately, I'm one of the few.

I have no issue with alcohol or anyone who like a few drinks.
I'm not some crazy ass former drinker who hates anyone having a few drinks, I'm quite the opposite.
What I find sad though, is that what I just wrote here could be said of thousands of other people.

I guess I'm fortunate that I was able to see through the bullshit and the lies unfaithful mistress was telling me.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Going backwards to go forward

 As usual, the following is only my opinion.

Why is it that in New Zealand and indeed all over the world, more and more people being encouraged to seek help and get treatment for depression?
While I don't question the existence of mind illnesses like depression, I do question the ease with which they seem to be diagnosed.
I appreciate and understand that many people do indeed suffer with debilitating illnesses of the mind and they absolutely need help possibly in the form of a combination of medication and therapy.
I also appreciate and understand that for many it may be something that they need help and support with for their entire lives which means that effectively, they must learn to live with it.
Sadly, many can't live with it ultimately take their own lives.
There is no doubt that systems and services are so overwhelmed with 'patients' that they are unable to cope and failings are occurring.
I do, however wonder if the systems and services are overloaded with 'patients' who don't need to be there.
I'm referring to all those who are encouraged to seek help for a 'condition' they may not even have.
Someone who's experiencing a bad time in their life isn't necessarily experiencing depression.
Someone who's going through the breakdown of a relationship isn't necessarily experiencing depression.
Temporary sadness is not depression.

Effectively, in my untrained but observant opinion, people - particularly young people - are being encouraged and coached into seeking help for anything and everything to do with growing and maturing and it's being turned into mental illness. And medicated.
Children on anti depressant medication and other powerful drugs.
To my mind, drugging children who are probably experiencing the beginning of puberty can never be a good thing. A child who is in the process of changing from a child to an adult is experiencing changes not only physically, but mentally as well and trying to alter their mindset with drugs can only cause issues further along the road.
This can be said of both illegal and prescription drugs.

Rather than telling everyone it's OK to ask for help - which of course it is if it's really needed - perhaps it's time to look at the reasons why people, particularly young people, feel that they need help in the first place.
Address the bullying in schools. Address the arguably outdated education system. Teach kids from a young age that throughout their lives they won't always win. They won't always succeed and that's OK.
Teach them that in order to achieve anything, they need to put in the effort. Nothing is going to magically appear in front of them without some hard work.
Teach them that the likelihood of that first boyfriend/girlfriend ever lasting forever is almost zero, and that's OK.
Teach them that it's OK to be different than everyone else.
Teach them that it's OK for other people to be different than them.
Teach them that it's OK to have different interests than other people and to accept that other people have different interests than them. 
Teach them to be gracious in victory and in defeat.

Teach them to be decent human beings.
If this can be achieved, maybe the suicide numbers will reduce some time in the future.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Out of tragedy

When my younger brother Brett chose to exit this world on 1 September 2013, it's fair to say that my world and the world of those around me ceased to exist in a form that we could understand.
Personally, it sent me into a tailspin that at times I wondered if I had the necessary skills to recover from.
It appeared to me that while the people around me seemed to be moving on seemingly unaffected, what I was missing was the fact that they were also grieving, just not the same way as I was. It took me a long time to understand that people grieve in different ways and there's nothing wrong with that.
The different ways in which people were dealing with the loss of a genuine good bugger to suicide caused a fair bit of conflict and created rifts between family and friends, some of which haven't been 100% repairable.

Suicide loss is unlike any other loss I've ever experienced.
It's different because for many, there simply are no answers to the multitude of questions. Why? What did we miss? What could we have done? What should we have done?
Sadly, these questions can be unanswered forever and it's important that for their own sanity, survivors of loss to suicide  are able to at some point reach a level of acceptance of that fact. It doesn't mean we should stop asking the questions, because if we can provide answers to questions of ourselves, it can only help us to grow and therefore assist us in providing a little bit more to someone else who may be considering suicide.

It took me around eight months after my brother killed himself to reach a point where I was able to focus on anything. I'd been sailing along on auto pilot, experiencing bouts of anxiety and panic attacks which I was fixing with alcohol. When we were offered the opportunity to relocate our business from Wellington to Christchurch, it wasn't a difficult decision for my wife Wendy and I. We were ready for something different. We decided to give it six months or so to see of it would work or not. The first few months were difficult, as during the week I was in Christchurch while Wendy was at home in Levin. I was flying home in the weekends. As difficult as it was, we soon realised that our future was in Christchurch, so we set about making plans to relocate permanently.
In April 2016 we sold our home in Levin and moved to Oxford, North Canterbury to a small rural property.

The eighteen months commuting between islands gave me a lot of time alone to get to know myself properly. I spent a lot of time looking at myself and I found that there was a lot of stuff behind my eyes and between my ears that I didn't like very much. What I saw was a guy who wanted to fit in. I saw a guy who wouldn't stand up for himself and would avoid confrontation. I saw a guy who would pretend to be interested in something because that's what is acceptable.
Effectively, what I saw was a sheep and I didn't like it.
I believed that there was something in me that could help other people and I made a conscious decision to develop myself personally.
I didn't need a life coach or a counselor, I made my own decision to be the person I wanted to be, not the person society said was 'acceptable'.

New Zealand is country of people who pride themselves on success. Whether it be in sport, business, innovation, ingenuity or almost anything else, we are a country of world leaders and world beaters.
But, we are also world leaders in something we really don't want to lead the world at.
Yes, New Zealand is among the world leaders in the number of people who end their own lives each year.
This clearly means that we are doing something very wrong and we need to change that.
It also means that there are thousands of people living in the aftermath of suicide and more people joining the ranks every day.

 If I'm completely honest, New Zealand is a nation of people who seem to see more value in things that don't really matter, rather than the well being of the people around them.

It's time to shake the foundations.
Come with me.......

The revised version of my book is in the editing process now and I hope to release it early September.
My new web site is under construction and I hope for it to go live mid August.
There is much work to be done.