Mark Madoff’s Suicide Note

As a survivor of attempted suicide, I have been a writer and inspirational speaker on depression and suicide for several years.  Since both subjects continue to have stigma attached to them they don’t get the public attention they need. However, whenever there is a suicide by a public or media worthy person, it presents an opportunity.

Such is the case today with the suicide of convicted financier Bernard Madoff’s eldest son, Mark.

There will be broad conjecture on the “why” of it.  Some will suspect an unrevealed personal embarrassment, or will find perverse satisfaction in Mr. Madoff’s tragic loss and suffering, or, will conclude it’s the “sins of the father” visited upon the son.

I leave those judgmental meanderings to others.

For me, it’s about the two things depression and suicide are always about. The abandonment of trust in one’s ability to handle life’s challenges and the temporary misplacement of hope.

Depression is rooted in the fear that somehow “I am not good enough, capable enough or lovable enough” to live a joyful and productive life.  Its weapon of choice is fear… dense, sluggish energy that manifests as immobility.  A depressed person lacks motivation, initiative, passion and staying power.  They become weighted down by inertia.

When one is depressed, it often follows that feelings of hopelessness accompany feelings of inadequacy resulting in an irrational, but seemingly logical, conclusion that things will never change.  The thought of living an unchanging, inert life becomes unbearable.  Unable to stand the pain, ending one’s life seems a viable option and a “constructive” step to take.

What I share when I speak about depression and suicide is that the only constant in life is change.  For we humans, change is frequently challenging and often uncomfortable.  It’s not so much about learning to overcome feelings of inadequacy and inertia as it is about learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.   Then everyday can be seen for what it is: an endless opportunity to create, anew, the life we imagine.

There are two steps I am certain move depression in a positive direction and mitigate the likelihood that it will lead, unaddressed, to attempted suicide.

Giving: Feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness simply dissipate, or disappear, the moment we step outside ourselves and provide assistance to another in need.  When you’re depressed volunteer, or just reach out within your immediate environment, and provide some form of help or caring for a family member, friend, neighbor or even animal. The warmth that flows through your system in realizing you are needed and appreciated thaws the freeze of inertia.

Doing something you love:  Every cell in your body stores memory as well as the emotion attached to it.   So, when you’re depressed and force yourself to do something you love to do… cycling… planting… painting… walking in Nature… whatever… even though you may start out depressed, the sheer act of having your cells call up the emotion stored in them, along with the memory of that thing you love, causes a crack in the door to the place where the darkness of depression sulks. Once that crack occurs, the frequency of Light energy bound to that pleasant memory begins to enter the darkness.  The Light energy, seeping in, will elevate and brighten your outlook.  Literally.

Mark Madoff left a suicide note.  It may not be a literal note, on a physical piece of paper, but it’s no less instructive or important.  The note said: “I was lost in doubt and hopelessness. I thought I was not good enough. I didn’t see a way out. I could not bear the pain.”  I know that’s what his note said because anyone who has ever been depressed, attempted or committed suicide would leave the same note.

Treating a  suicide as “newsworthy” is to make a distinction without a difference.   All suicides are newsworthy as they represent the loss of the infinite potential each of us is born with to create a better world.  I hope we can shine a bright light on this topic and, by so doing, illuminate the way for all of those who may be temporarily lost in darkness.

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