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Why We Kill Ourselves

had managed to subvert my carnal brain by writing my own zip code instead of his.* Yet in that four- day interval preceding this unlikely twist of fate, I was in an altered state of consciousness, one that I now know to be paradigmatic of the suicidal mind. For example, everything— or, rather, everyone— seemed so incredibly distant. That’s not just a fig- ure of speech. It was as though I were seeing the world through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars. And I had a strange compulsion to busy myself in homework, which is something that I assure you was an

A Biography
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1 The Call to Oblivion 1 2 Unlike the Scorpion Girt by Fire 18 3 Betting Odds 48 4 Hacking the Suicidal Mind 86 5 The Things She Told Lorraine 116 6 To Log Off This Mortal Coil 145 7 What Doesn’t Die 175 8 Gray Matter 213 Acknowledgments 237 Resources 241 Notes 245 Index 265 contents

acts by, 42; self- referential emotions in, 38; stories of suicide in, 31– 36 anthropomorphism, 32– 34 antidepressants, use of, 58 anxiety: academic challenges and, 118– 19; experience of, 106– 7; identification of, 123; worry and, 106– 7 Aokigahara, Mount Fuji, Japan, 204n apathy, mood stabilization and, 133– 34 appearances: feelings of inadequacy and, 11– 12; trust in, 13 appetite drives, 56n– 57n Aquinas, Thomas, 192– 93 arboreal clambering hypothesis, 184– 85 artificial intelligence, identification of suicidal users, 170n Asher, Jay, 145– 47, 148– 49

resources United States Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1- 800- 273- 8255; https://suicidepreventionlifeline .org/) is a 24- hour, toll- free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (https://afsp.org/) is a nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. Crisis Text Line (https

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16 15 1 2 3 4 5 iSBN- 13: 978- 0- 226- 28056- 1 (cloth) iSBN- 13: 978- 0- 226- 28073- 8 (e- book) dOi: 10.7208/chicago/9780226280738.001.0001 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data Snyder, Terri L., 1956– author. The power to die : slavery and suicide in British North America / Terri L. Snyder. pages cm includes bibliographical references and index. iSBN 978-0-226-28056-1 (cloth : alk. paper)—iSBN 978-0-226-28073-8 (e-book) 1. Slaves—Suicidal behavior—North America. 2. Slavery—North America—History. 3. Suicide—United States—History. i. Title. e443.S

in this copse of dappled shadows, birds, and well- worn deer tracks, but this particular tree held out a single giant limb crooked as an elbow, a branch so deliberately poised that whenever I’d stroll past it while out with the dogs on our morning walks, it beckoned me. It was the perfect place, I thought, to hang myself. I’d had fleeting suicidal feelings since my late teenage years. But now I was being haunted day and night by what was, in fact, a not altogether displeasing image of my corpse spinning ever so slowly from a rope tied around this creaking

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-0-226-64565-0 (paper) isbn-10: 0-226-64560-6 (cloth) isbn-10: 0-226-64565-7 (paper) library of congress cataloging-in-publication data Pape, Robert Anthony, 1960– Cutting the fuse : the explosion of global suicide terrorism and how to stop it / Robert A. Pape, James K. Feldman. p. cm. “Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism.” Includes index. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-64560-5 (cloth: alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-64560-6 (cloth: alk. paper) 1. Suicide bombings. 2. Terrorists—Suicidal behavior—Middle East. 3. War on Terrorism, 2001–2009. 4. United States—History, Military—21st century. 5