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  #51  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:35 PM
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None of this is surprising to me. But I can't say it's because I've been exposed to any first-hand experiences. In my immediate social circle, everyone between the ages of 25 and 64 seems to be bumping around like everything's OK.
A change in death rate is such a statistically small nudge that it's just not likely any one given individual would notice anything.
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  #52  
Old 12-02-2019, 01:55 PM
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I've had a few friends in their 60s who have opted out of medical care. One guy had liver cancer and declined all treatment. He lasted less than six months. Another friend never recieved an antemortem diagnosis. Frustrated, he decided he'd had enough diagnostic testing and stopped persuing a diagnosis. He died very slowly over the course of two or three years.
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Old 12-02-2019, 02:33 PM
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Anecdotally, I have noticed a lot more people dying and was commenting (only somewhat jokingly) to my husband that I'll have to start reading the obits soon.

I'm 44, so pretty solidly middle aged. I've lost several peers or had friends get diagnosed with cancer. I lost a good friend to breast cancer a couple of years ago as well as a co-worker last year, then another friend to throat cancer. Two friends of mine were recently diagnosed with breast cancer and one other diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and yet another friend diagnosed with uterine cancer. Also, we've seen an increase in the neighborhood, particularly in younger people, of deaths related to suicide and/or overdose. A couple of colleagues also lost kids or family members to suicide and drug overdoses just in the past couple of years.

Interesting (in a bad way) that most of the people I know with the exception of two who have died or been diagnosed with cancers have been women whereas most of the kids I'm aware of except one who have died of suicide or overdose have been men.
  #54  
Old 12-02-2019, 07:46 PM
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I think a lot of people desperately want to believe in some kind of just world hypothesis, because the idea that stuff happens randomly terrifies them, or at the very least, makes them profoundly uncomfortable.

I mean, it's easier for someone to rationalize that the homeless guy on the corner is there because of stuff he did (or didn't) do, instead of because of random chance and a lack of support system that caused him to end up where he is. Or that the rich guy is rich because he does everything right, and isn't that way because of luck and/or connections.

To segue into the OP; I think it would be useful to try and teach some basic cognitive behavioral therapy techniques in school somehow. At least the parts where you are aware of what you're thinking and can reflect on why, or whether it's even rational or reasonable. That sort of thing is HUGELY valuable to me when I get wound up or depressed, because it helps me put things in perspective instead of just careening up or down some particular mental pathway.

I agree that kids need to be taught techniques that promote resiliency.

But while I'm a big proponent of therapy, I think it has limitations. Like, if you're working ten-hour days at a low-paying soul-crushing job and come home every day to a stack of unpaid bills and needy kids, all the CBT in the world isn't going to help you stop being stressed out. CBT also isn't going to help you if your parents have taught you that only losers make minimum wage, only losers rent, only losers are unmarried and childless, only losers get divorced, only losers use food stamps and WIC, only losers get laid off in their 50s and can't find another job, only losers file for bankruptcy, only losers live with their parents well into adulthood, only losers send their kids to subpar schools and live in bad neighborhoods, and only losers complain about how shitty their lives are. I think the despair of the downwardly mobile often stems from all this "loser" talk they've been taught (directly or indirectly) from their upwardly mobile parents. It is kind of hard to convince yourself you aren't a loser if you are living the kind of life that you've been told is emblematic of losers.

I think more than CBT we need to be teaching everyone (kids and adults alike) how to be more compassionate. People hide their pain because they are afraid (often for good reason) of the judgment they will face if they reveal their lives are less than perfect. We aren't taught how to be compassionate listeners and how to validate someone's feelings (without necessarily agreeing with their beliefs). Maybe we all need to be equipped with these skills so that friends and family who are in need don't have to pay professionals to help them.

The other day I was talking to my mother about how people can be so traumatized that they lose their mind. She started to agree with me but then felt compelled to go there with the God-bothering. "If people really know and love Jesus, they won't lose their minds!!" Her telling me this lets me know I can't turn to her if I have a mental health crisis. Or any crisis, really. That kinda makes me sad.
  #55  
Old 12-02-2019, 10:11 PM
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CBT also isn't going to help you if your parents have taught you that only losers make minimum wage, only losers rent, only losers are unmarried and childless, only losers get divorced, only losers use food stamps and WIC, only losers get laid off in their 50s and can't find another job, only losers file for bankruptcy, only losers live with their parents well into adulthood, only losers send their kids to subpar schools and live in bad neighborhoods, and only losers complain about how shitty their lives are. I think the despair of the downwardly mobile often stems from all this "loser" talk they've been taught (directly or indirectly) from their upwardly mobile parents. It is kind of hard to convince yourself you aren't a loser if you are living the kind of life that you've been told is emblematic of losers.
I would think that is exactly the sort of thing therapy is supposed to help you with.

Yes, a lot of shit happens that is outside of your control. But people are not just randomly assigned tracks in life they can't deviate from.

One of the hardest things about job hunting IMHO is the lack of feedback. You have no idea if your search is effective, if you will ever find another job, or if you do will it be equivalent to your last. And as time drags on and bills pile up, those feelings of uncertainty can slowly grind away at you.


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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
The other day I was talking to my mother about how people can be so traumatized that they lose their mind. She started to agree with me but then felt compelled to go there with the God-bothering. "If people really know and love Jesus, they won't lose their minds!!" Her telling me this lets me know I can't turn to her if I have a mental health crisis. Or any crisis, really. That kinda makes me sad.
I suppose if belief in some higher power gives people the strength they need to get through tough times, there's no harm in it. But you still need to take action.

I always think about the joke about the drowning man who waves off two boats and a helicopter because "Jesus will provide". He dies and is all like "WTF Jesus? You didn't provide shit!" Of course Jesus is all "WTF yourself! I sent two boats and a helicopter for you!"
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:20 PM
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Simply put, there's a pretty close correlation between which party is in power and the death rate; people in red states and Republican-dominated regions tend to die sooner.

Under the Republicans the economy is worse, social services are worse, there is more widespread hatred and despair leading to more drug abuse; so of course the mortality rate increases.
  #57  
Old 12-02-2019, 10:27 PM
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"Americans are dying at alarming rates".


Paul Krugman had an interesting piece in the NYT today with respect to the OP.

America's Red State Death Trip (paywalled or use up a free view)

Quote:
I looked at states that voted for Donald Trump versus states that voted for Clinton in 2016, and calculated average life expectancy weighted by their 2016 population. In 1990, today’s red and blue states had almost the same life expectancy. Since then, however, life expectancy in Clinton states has risen more or less in line with other advanced countries, compared with almost no gain in Trump country. At this point, blue-state residents can expect to live more than four years longer than their red-state counterparts. (emphasis added)
So, as Krugman notes in the article, not only do red states have lower GDP and lower mean household income than in blue states, their citizens are less healthy and dying earlier.

Must be the health benefits of moral relativism and militant secularism.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:44 PM
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I have seen alot of people in my circle dying off lately Im 49

I am kinda infamous among my friends for having 5 dead ex significant others. All well after we were together.

ex-gf age 32 stroke/CVA
ex-wife 55 pancreatic cancer (aka the doper "Cyn")
ex-gf age 54 combination of severe alcoholism and diabetes
ex-gf age 44 ovarian cancer
ex-gf age 46 sepsis from massive skin infection.

3 of those were in the last 5 years.

My old drum and bugle corps has had a rough run too. Around 10 of the people I marched with in my late teens early 20s are no longer with us.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:46 PM
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I would think that is exactly the sort of thing therapy is supposed to help you with.
Let's say you're a 10-year-old. You and your 30 classmates have 30-minutes of CBT playtime with Ms. Social Worker every Tuesday and Friday.

You spend hours every day of the week with your parents.

Ms. Social Worker may give you useful strategies that will help you resist bullies and not fall to pieces when you fail a spelling test.

But is she going to tell you to ignore your parents when they tell you that only lazy people are poor? Or that success is guaranteed as long as you work hard enough? Or that you're a nobody unless you get into an Ivy League school?

Is the school going to let Ms. Social Worker teach her students that poor people simply have more bad luck than rich people? Is the school going to have a problem when she explains to the kids that their self-worth is not reflected in how many relationships they have and in how many dollars they have in their bank account? Or will the school shut that noise down because that message is too political and commie-pinko?

Quote:
Yes, a lot of shit happens that is outside of your control. But people are not just randomly assigned tracks in life they can't deviate from.
You seem to think therapists are life coaches who are fonts of practical advice. Lots of therapists refrain from giving advice. Lots of patients don't want advice. They just want a listening ear and the sense of validation that comes from speaking into a listening ear. Most therapists just try to help a person cope with their circumstances. They don't try to help them get out of the circumstances.

My therapist used to give me googobs of advice. A lot of it was horrible advice that I ignored because it was exactly what you'd expect from a sheltered well-to-do gray-haired white woman who has never lived alone. But she was good with the CBT mind tricks, so that's why I kept seeing her.
  #60  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:27 AM
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On the other hand I knew 15 - 20 people well in college (we moved together into different parts of our dorm) and only one is gone. I graduated 46 years ago. It's true that we all have had above average incomes, which helps.

We are all aging (duh) and as that happens the cohort older than us are going to die at increased rates and the death rate for our cohort is going to increase also. So I can see why it seems that more people are dying - they are.
  #61  
Old 12-03-2019, 06:51 AM
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So I guess I'm wondering how close to home does this news article hit for you? Have you witnessed an uptick of dead young people in your community? Do you feel like you will likely be another statistic?
Not much. my cohorts (friends, family, colleagues) and I are pretty well-insulated from the mayhem that seems to inflict a lot of people. My job is low-stress and high income, and the people I work with are in similar straits. We live in affluent, low-crime suburbs; if there's any drug activity going on in my area, I'm utterly unaware of it (though the news does occasionally bring reports of crime/drug activity in other parts of town). For the most part, I and my colleagues and friends and family all seem to be basically healthy, and we all enjoy good health care.

I do have a friend who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma, but his treatment is going well. I wouldn't consider his case to be representative of any sort of statistical uptick.
  #62  
Old Yesterday, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
Paul Krugman had an interesting piece in the NYT today with respect to the OP.

America's Red State Death Trip (paywalled or use up a free view)

So, as Krugman notes in the article, not only do red states have lower GDP and lower mean household income than in blue states, their citizens are less healthy and dying earlier.

Must be the health benefits of moral relativism and militant secularism.
A very illuminating article, thank you very much.
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  #63  
Old Yesterday, 03:26 PM
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My job is low-stress and high income, and the people I work with are in similar straits.
May I ask what it is you do for a living? I know many people who make a high income but none are in what I would ever call a low stress work environment.
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