Slow suicide is still suicide

by Joel Levin 

To lose a friend or loved one through suicide is traumatic for all who are involved. A few years ago a close friend of mine committed suicide and the ripples are still felt today. From time to time you review past conversations with the person, wondering what signs might have been missed and if more could have been done.

There is rightly much effort placed on understanding and preventing suicide, but what is unclear to me is why these efforts focus on only one form of suicide.

It would seem that most of suicide prevention focusses on the ‘acute’ cases; the cases where someone makes a choice, on some level, to end their life in an abrupt way.

Calling it a choice is not intending to minimise the anguish some people feel in the lead-up to that choice; in fact, contemplating the level of anguish one must be feeling to reach that point, helps me understand the choice all the more.

But there is still another form of suicide that goes under the radar. What is this other form?

Lifestyle diseases.

Lifestyle diseases come from the choices people make about what they eat, drink, how they move and even how they think about life. These choices put stress on the body and lead to diseases like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, to name but a few.

These diseases are not uncommon in society; in fact, according to the World Health Organisation, lifestyle diseases are now the leading cause of death globally[1].

Consider the magnitude of that fact for a moment. To achieve this result means that people around the world are making a repeated choice to live in a certain way that is so detrimental to their health that it is now the leading cause of death GLOBALLY.

This makes the leading cause of death globally completely preventable.

That means that there is a chronic form of suicide where people around the world are slowly dying from the choices they are making each day.

So the only difference between ‘acute’ or ‘chronic’ forms of suicide is the timescale. Both come from choices made by the individual. While it is important to note that there can be a range of external factors and pressures that people face on both fronts, the facts are staggering nonetheless.

Looking at lifestyle diseases in this way suggests that there are many more people dying from their own hand (choice) than are thriving from their choices. This is a big claim to make but if we are interested in the anguish of those that attempt or commit ‘acute’ suicide, then it might serve to also start a conversation about the anguish that might be behind the levels of ‘chronic’ suicide that could now be considered a global pandemic.

Could it be that at a fundamental level, regardless of race, creed, colour or religion, we are missing something far more fundamental? While we might be missing certain behaviours, the term ‘missing’ more accurately refers to something we miss. The reality is that we must be carrying a level of sorrow or loss that is so strong that either ‘acute’ or ‘chronic’ suicide becomes an option.

In the case of ‘chronic’ suicide, not only is it an option, it is considered a normal. In fact it is heralded as the lifestyle all should aspire to. So we actually encourage each other to kill ourselves, yet at no point do we ask – “what drives that behaviour?”

Look at the ‘Before and After’ pages on the Universal Medicine website and you will see people making different choices. They are not better people, nor special people, but they have been brave enough to explore what it was they were missing, which turned out to be a deeper connection to themselves.




Read more:

  1. A healthy lifestyle and breast cancer prevention 
  2. What is living medicine? 
  3. Your body is a living experiment
  4. When exam stress becomes a matter of life and death 

1,326 thoughts on “Slow suicide is still suicide

  1. A great point to ponder on Joel in asking what drives the behaviour that so many make choices that brings disease, abuse and a disregarding way of living that allow lifestyle diseases to become acceptable and the norm.

  2. You put it all so simply Joel! And you are so absolutely right about it all. It’s staring us in the face and we are choosing to look the other way. A painful life is what we’d rather choose. It’s sad.

  3. Great point Joel which probably applies to many other areas of life for example without any disrespect to people who have had to take out an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) to stop an abusive person approaching them, oftentimes our bodies could do with an AVO to stop the abuse we pile on them. It really comes down to how you define things. If you apply the energetic definition that anything less than love is abusive and harmful – well we are certainly in a bad way as a species.

  4. There is a fact no one can deny: every day we see behaviours that are signs that people choose to kill themselves ‘softly’ day after day. These people may get offended if someone suggests that this is slow suicide and argue that they are not suicides (the typical argument is everyone dies one day or another for one or another reason, so they are not different). But this is exactly what they are and this is exactly what they do.

  5. This blog should be out there because it is definitely consciousness breaking. Lifestyle diseases are simply choosing a slow suicide. If I hadn’t changed my lifestyle choices 10 years ago I would now either be dead or in a dementia home, probably in a padded cell! But I did choose to change everything about my lifestyle and the end result is that I am healthier than at any time since I was a teenager. Calling lifestyle diseases a slow or chronic suicide is great because it’s a wake up opportunity.

  6. It is pretty dire when you look at the lack of common sense, and what seems to be the inability to make healthy choices when it comes to our own health, or even performing our own little experiments of what works and what does not for us as individuals. I can see why the author of this piece has described the current state of our health as slow suicide.

  7. A great wakeup call that is asking us to take responsibility to a new level – wherever we are at now- we can choose to be more naturally alive through our choices or, however slightly, deaden ourselves to the world and the truth of who we are and slowly support our own demise. The choice is ours in every moment.

  8. If lifestyle disease are almost all preventable, then the choices and behaviours that are made preceding the habit to smoke, drink alcohol, over consume foods high in sugar, salt and overly processed certainly seem to fit the category of a slow suicide – an interesting and alarming way of describing actually what is going on..

  9. What an eye-opener this is… that there is ‘a chronic form of suicide where people around the world are slowly dying from the choices they are making each day.’ It is this resigning to a slow death while actually being alive that is a deep pain for mankind, for we know this is not how we are meant to live.

  10. I see all around me people ‘committing slow suicide’ and sadly they consider that how they are living is normal and that someone like me who is choosing to eat and drink in a way that supports my body and my well-being is the abnormal one. It is hard to stand by and watch what they are doing to themselves, but it is important to respect the fact that this way of living is their choice; the only one that can save them from this “slow suicide”, is them.

  11. With social media and ongoing bullying it seems suicide rates, especially in teenagers have gone up. Only a few weeks ago in England another young girl committed suicide from being bullied. Someone told her to go and hang herself after a constant barrage of bullying and so she did. Her family had no idea the bullying was happening to her. And of course this is not just with young people or from bullying and I agree with you if we loved, cared more and were truly aware of what is going on within our communities and societies maybe this could be prevented. I also think it’s really important, although may be seen as a bit challenging for some, what you share with regards to how we live can in fact be a slow form of suicide .. this is so true.

  12. It is indeed a sobering fact to realise that we are making lifestyle chooses that diminish our quality of life to such an extent that we, as a society have become unwell to the point that it is seen as normal these days. The sad part is there are so many health conditions which people put up with that could so easily be cured if we looked at how we live and how we interact with the world.

  13. Joel another great blog bringing us back to the importance of our own choices and how those choices are either supporting us, or slowly killing us, it is through our responsibility that we will change the reflection for others to know how to lovingly support themselves and choose a different way to live.

  14. I remember very vividly the feeling when I heard of a person suiciding in my home town when I was younger. It wasn’t normal then and stood out to everyone as the person was only young. You could see we all didn’t understand and in a way it took us all by surprise, “out of the blue” as we say. Yet as the article is saying how can something so so extreme come out of the blue, we could say the person is good at hiding it, we didn’t really know them or they were functioning really well I thought and with respect the list goes on. What are we missing? For me I have found when I am blind to something like this it usually means I am hiding something or not wanting to see a behaviour in myself that is then causing me to ‘not see’. Perhaps this is what this article is offering us, if we continue to deal with our blind spots or our choices and every day reflect on things that went well and appreciate how they got there and equally reflect on things that went not so well and how they played out and write it all down. Doing this without a judgement on ourselves then each day you could open yourself up to see more and more. Then each week you could look over your notes and see if there is a pattern, if a choice that didn’t support you or others was there consistently but just looked different. A way to keep building a detail view of the world, of your world that then opens the same up for everyone.

  15. The fact that we only look at one suicide (the abrupt ending of a life) and disregard the constant killing we choose through our lifestyle choices, is clear indication of the deep lack of appreciation of life and its beauty.

  16. You make a very great point here Joel which can be expanded into all areas of life. Not only do we make unhealthy choices for ourselves but we inflict them on and can infect others. If you bring everything back to its essence anything other than living a truly loving life is harmful.

  17. ‘That means that there is a chronic form of suicide where people around the world are slowly dying from the choices they are making each day’. This is such a new look at what ‘suicide’ actually is. We have been living, as a race, in a way that is untenable.Time to re-look at what life is all about and how we can live lovingly.

  18. Joel your words ‘So we actually encourage each other to kill ourselves, yet at no point do we ask – “what drives that behaviour?” This is a great question, because all those behaviours are seen as ‘normal’ yet they carry consequences that although we know, we choose to turn a blind eye to, and would rather suffer those consequences of illness and disease than to stop and change the way we live.

  19. ‘Looking at lifestyle diseases in this way suggests that there are many more people dying from their own hand (choice) than are thriving from their choices’. Ouch Joel, as we open our eyes to the reality of the escalating rates of disease and illness around us today in relation with the responsibility we have to care of ourselves, this is a very sobering fact for us all to consider both individually and collectively.

  20. We can look at the acute cases and rightly say that when a person does commit suicide there is a huge impact on those left behind in the loss of that person suddenly not being there. But as you mentioned Joel and as I’ve experienced we only hurt ourselves when we have lost our connection to ourselves, in the void we make harming choices. To what extent are we being harmed in a world full of chronic suicide choices? To what extent do we harm when we are not ourselves? as there is still the void of that person what we live and interact with even if they are not completely gone as the acute case brings.

  21. Slowly dying from the choices we make; insightful, confronting and thought provoking Joel. As you have pointed out, exploring a deeper connection to ourselves is the key to preventing this slow form of suicide.

  22. ‘according to the World Health Organisation, lifestyle diseases are now the leading cause of death globally[1].’ It is time to look at what life is truly about and why we choose to resist the love we all are by choosing the destructive behaviours that lead to lifestyle diseases and the misery we are currently in.

  23. The exposure of ‘chronic suicide’ is desperately needed to halt the prevailing pattern of illness, disease and the generally dysfunctional society.

  24. We all die. No question about it. And we die when we die. Yet, not everyone dies when they could have died. Many people make choices that have an impact on the body which shortens their lives. In those cases, death is also a suicide. It has to be seen as such. Labelling it this way may help those that are embarked onto the suicidal path to put a true name to what are they doing.

  25. The facts you share Joel on lifestyle disease truly highlight how separated we have chosen to be from our true quality that we accept a way of living that is so far from our true and innate way of being.

  26. Thank you Joel for naming something that must be named by what it is. Slow suicide is still suicide, yes. And must be named because life is another very different thing compared with what many people are ‘living’. Life naturally takes care of itself. Living in a way that harms us therefore, is not living at all.

  27. Having been there, done that with most of my life, the self-slow suicide, it is so easy to observe others on the same path. I know from experience that words are useless but, by being a living example, is a whole new kettle of fish!

    1. Yes words don’t do it. I have tried them and people do not want or like having their choices to self harm questioned so reflecting a different way is the only way. It is also very easy to be imposing with words and for them to be taken as judgemental.

  28. A powerful and profound expose Joel. How true is it that our lifestyle choices are slowing killing us? We only need to take one honest look at the health and well-being of our society to see that we are not only choosing to deform ourselves but we are slowly killing ourselves, to the point that we are no longer being alerted to this fact, accepting this as normal and worse, teaching our children to do the same. We have allowed ourselves to live disconnected from the truth, from knowing love, as such disempowered, and instead led by a corrupted sense of normality that champions glamourizing lovelessness as our ‘greatest’ achievement in life, regardless of the cost. The cost being our lives, the quality of life we are born to live, and the exploring the full potential of what we are here to live together.

  29. It is shocking to learn that ” lifestyle diseases are now the leading cause of death globally”. Thus, slow chronic suicide is an apt description for our choices – for the alcohol, the food, the drugs, the sedentary lifestyles, the general disconnection from and disregard of the body.

  30. I used to look at smokers and wonder how can you do that to your lungs, to your body, whilst never asking myself the same question about how could I choose to damage my liver, my brain and my body daily with alcohol. It is amazing how we can choose to be so blind to the harm we do to ourselves.

  31. So simply put Joel ‘…they have been brave enough to explore what it was they were missing, which turned out to be a deeper connection to themselves.’ We have so much to pay attention to, the slow suicide you speak of is clearly an epidemic and it makes no sense why we would choose that avenue out of here.

  32. ‘The reality is that we must be carrying a level of sorrow or loss that is so strong that either ‘acute’ or ‘chronic’ suicide becomes an option.’ When we are willing to admit and feel the truth of what you present here Joel, we become aware of that which is living inside us and that we actually have a choice to heal the patterns that cause our ill behaviour.

  33. It’s totally absurd that we continue with behaviours that we know are not supporting our optimal health, as if we could get away with anything and everything and “it won’t happen to me ” attitude. The before and after pictures and blogs on the Universal Medicine Website are indeed very inspiring. I myself have come a long way and find this blog of yours Joel a great reminder for me to choose wisely on a daily basis.

  34. It is terrifying to consider that what is the norm is in fact a global death wish with people choosing this way of life from a tension or anguish and as a result becoming a potential statistic which is completely avoidable. The responsibility to connect and reflect another way is paramount so that people know there is a choice aside from the norm where true enjoyment and true health is a possibility.

  35. Such a staggering statistic that we in actual fact are choosing our own deaths by our lifestyle choices. The Universal Medicine before and afters are incredible and I may not be up on the page like many others may not be, but I certainly have made many different choices that have turned my life around from existing in life to being fully committed and loving every minute. Even those minutes when I am learning what doesn’t feel right in the body and I get to make another choice.

  36. What comes across strongly when reading this blog again is the level of giving up within humanity. It seems as though we have backed ourselves into a corner and have nowhere else to go, because all of our choices are coming home to roost as they say. There will come a point when no amount of distraction will be able to quell the disturbance we feel in our bodies.

  37. ‘What drives that behaviour’ such a fundamental question and one for all to consider as we survey ourselves as a humanity today with higher suicide rates and rampant lifestyle diseases as mentioned here. And yet we easily buy into our accepted life which is in fact ‘killing us slowly’ in most cases … and yet those comforts we strive to maintain at all costs do not work … we’re left with that ‘dis-ease’ in us as we feel the fact that in fact we miss us, and without that no external comfort no matter what it’s value will assuage us, and our lifestyle diseases reflect this.

  38. ‘That means that there is a chronic form of suicide where people around the world are slowly dying from the choices they are making each day.’ It is surprising that many people don’t associate that the daily choices they make can lead to an early death.

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