7.28.2006

Unnecessary speculation

I think it's pure speculation to suggest, as this New York Sun article does, that Sarah Adelman committed suicide because of pressure to wed. I don't find this kind of speculation useful at all, and it bothers me deeply. Unless you know the person well, it's wrong to speculate,.

Furthermore, it strikes me as inappropriate to suggest that the reaction to a suicide should be to alleviate or just discuss the over-discussed "singles crisis." (Maybe it's not over-discussed. Discussing it certainly does nothing for me.)

Marriage is a great thing, and I wouldn't be surprised if married people committed suicide at a lower rate than single people (since I think that their health is better in almost all respects than single people, unless they're unhappily married, in which case it tends to be worse). (Even if that's true, you would have to control for age and possibly other things to assume causality. Young people and old people commit suicide more than middle-aged people, and young people and old people are probably also more likely to be single or widowed.) I also wouldn't be surprised if most people who committed suicide were lonely, since depression and loneliness go hand-in-hand. Depression makes you feel really, really lonely, even if you have friends.

That doesn't mean that the reaction to this should be "let's make it more socially acceptable to be single." It should be "let's take care of our neighbors and friends, and reach out to people we interact with, whether we know them or not" or "let's raise awareness about depression in our community and make sure people know how to get the help they need." I'm not saying that people aren't doing that in this case, because I think they are, but bringing the "singles crisis" or the ridiculous shidduch dating scene into it just pisses me off. (Can you tell?)

Sorry for all the rambling. This just bothers me and I wanted to post my off-the-cuff thoughts before Shabbat. Thanks for listening.

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