Department

Psychology

Program

Social, Personality and Developmental Psychology

Year

Phd 1

Supervisor Name

Paul F. Tremblay

Supervisor Email

ptembla@uwo.ca

Abstract Text

It is difficult to study the final thoughts of people who die by suicide. To compensate for this gap in knowledge, this study explored the life stories found in the suicide notes of well-known creative individuals. A 6-phase thematic analysis was used to explore the phenomenon of final thoughts. This study presents the narrative trends across entries, which consisted primarily of the artists communicating their suffering and expressing their coping strategies. The artists circled back to the same themes of suffering, mainly the negative view of themselves, the striving to be better, and the paradox of choice. This cycle of suffering gave rise to feelings of being trapped in existence, in which death was perceived to be the only escape. The act of leaving behind a note represents the artists’ last attempt to connect to life. This yearning for connection is discussed as the final barrier to suicide.

Study completed

Dietary Restrictions

Vegetarian

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Cycle of suffering: Exploring the final thoughts of creative minds who died by suicide

It is difficult to study the final thoughts of people who die by suicide. To compensate for this gap in knowledge, this study explored the life stories found in the suicide notes of well-known creative individuals. A 6-phase thematic analysis was used to explore the phenomenon of final thoughts. This study presents the narrative trends across entries, which consisted primarily of the artists communicating their suffering and expressing their coping strategies. The artists circled back to the same themes of suffering, mainly the negative view of themselves, the striving to be better, and the paradox of choice. This cycle of suffering gave rise to feelings of being trapped in existence, in which death was perceived to be the only escape. The act of leaving behind a note represents the artists’ last attempt to connect to life. This yearning for connection is discussed as the final barrier to suicide.