I currently belong to a variety of email listserves relating to suicide studies and prevention: American Association of Suicidology, Youth Suicide Prevention Project Oregon, National Institute of Mental Health, National Action Alliance, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, etc. One of these organizations recently invited me to participate in something called the “Suicide Prevention Stakeholder Survey”—the kind of study that asks you to rank things in order of importance, then rank the reasoning behind your rankings. A mind-numbing series of 1 – 10 scales.
This particular survey focused on a short list of aspirational research goals under consideration for the final national suicide prevention research agenda: affordable healthcare, effective treatment, stigma, counseling, access to lethal means, biological factors, etc. My rankings were a bit out-of-whack with the rest of the group (I ranked “eliminating stigma” first; it ultimately ranked ninth), which I expected. Despite my admirable research efforts I still mostly understand suicide from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old: a fine-tuned combination of curiosity, confusion, and disbelief.
I participate in these surveys mostly because I am fascinated with anyone and everyone whose worlds collide with suicide is some way. The second part of the survey is the “Discussion Round” during which panels separated by affiliation (for example: psychologist, advocate, survivor) are permitted to discuss the rankings via some chat-board format. This allows me to scrutinize other participant’s experiences and feedback. We are highly encouraged, of course, to remain anonymous in our postings, and comments are listed under one’s given identification. Mine is Survivor D24.
The other players seemed shy at first, so I started the round with a general question about people’s opinions on the ranking of stigma. I got a handful of thoughtful replies (not that I expected rash criticism, but imprudence is common to such a venue) followed by a couple of educated and obviously professional replies from a Survivor D22 concerning the dangers of stigma among the suicidal.
Of course, I am curious. Who is this Survivor D22?
Six days after my post SD22 started an expository thread loaded with psych-jargon about the newest research into the causes of suicide. Very informative and cutting edge, even spotted with a term I didn’t recognize: idiozimia, defined by SD22 as “the disconnect with self” and followed by an extensive quote about the condition from a very recent (2010) book about suicide prevention.
It’s not often I come across an unfamiliar term in suicidology, so I googled idiozimia and found it only within several publications by the same psychologist who wrote said book—sold as a “neuropsychological approach” to suicide and prevention. Idiozimia‘s credentials are ambiguous, though, especially considering the writer openly coined another term in the book’s introduction: aftoktognosis, a lovechild from the Greek words for “suicide” and “knowledge.” The writer describes this aftoktognosis as the exploration into everything suicide, a journey toward the unthinkable. I suppose if one considers aftoktognosis a condition, I am afflicted. I am curious and I could have spent my morning reading the whole thing on Google Books, but I ordered it from the library instead.
SD22 is either a huge fan of this psychologist’s work or particularly horrible at remaining anonymous. Perhaps I should quote some of my writing on the Stakeholder Survey Discussion Board. My estimation is that this would not go over well. On the spectrum of self-interest my writing is generously more introspective, but I may, at the least, possess slightly more tact than Survivor D22 in my survey etiquette.
In all fairness, I am probably the only person googling idiozimia and then aftoktognosis and then trying to come up with my own Greek hybrid of “suicide” and “obsession” and arriving at aftoktideolipsia.