Help is available, if you or someone you know is considering suicide, we know reaching out is hard, but please do, trust me, and if the hotline sucks for you, reach out to me or a friend, we rather be inconvenienced than miss you. Call them at 988 or check out their website.

This is a hard post to write, but I feel is super important. Is no secret I’m a survivor, and during the years I have met many folks who didn’t make it. Some were very intentional about it, others not as much, but I think we all have something in common that most people seem to ignore, I hope this post can bring some light into our darkness and offer some actionable advice both for people affected and their friends.

Decided on a harsh title because it is the reality that we live in and hiding behind euphemisms and blaming individuals is getting tiring and is putting people at risk. I think the title should be self explanatory but I’ll try to expand a little and offer some actionable resources and advice to avoid being a doomster and remind you that there’s always an alternative, but we need to work together.

By the way this idea is not mine or new, recently Javier Padilla and Marta Carmona from the Asociación Madrileña de Salud Mental (AMSM - madrid’s association for mental health) have published a book called Malestamos where they explore this at lenght.

Not only we are exhausted, and close to our limits, we’re also being shamed for feeling that way
Marta Carmona

Over the past few months I had neglected a lot of other aspects of my life to dig down deeper and understand where those thoughts were coming from and hope to find a cure for myself. During that time I showed all the classic signs of folks in the road to suicide and was constantly surprised at the lack of support of my existing networks. People who I had called friends or considered to be a lifeline dissapear, it was very rare to find people willing to listen and understand and the few I found had been on similar situations personally or with friends. Is very disheartening to see your wealthy friends attacking you while other people in harder struggles take time out of their day or money out of their pocket to help you.

sources of addiction and suicidal ideation

Suicidal ideation is far more common than believed, unfortunately many people suffering from it have a real hard time expressing their feelings. Personally I think that the people spreading toxic posivity and trying to encourage people to feel better without addressing their conditions makes the problem much worse and pushes people to farther edges.

In The myth of normal Gabor Mate shares his experiences of over 4 decades of clinical experience. Society has a prevailing concept of normalcy that hurts people who have experienced trauma, the medical system is trying to hide the symptoms and over that process we have collectively become worse, more ill and alienated. That deep sense of loneliness creates a void that is really hard to fill and it pushes people towards addictions. Then our ill society tries to separate normal and good adictions from harmful ones, pushing some people to look into those in a hope to fill their void or get them closer to the sweet release of death.

Alcholics or people with substance abuse disorders and craving some human connection, most of them unaware even, frequent bars because that’s where they think they can find it, and with time the addiction can become so prevalent that they forget in the first place what caused it and they keep walking down that road towards the dark void, while friends and acquaintances ignore them or push them farther away with shame.

I have personally helped a few people out of addiction and helped people during active suicide attempts or preventing them from getting there, and the secret is so simple is almost annoying to write: Listen to them.

You might say, I’ve tried, but have you? Did you listen to them or did you assume? are you loving them or tolerating them? are you trying to push them to your version of life, or trying to undertstand what do they want? You don’t need to partake on their vices to be a supportive friend, but having someone over for beers and making sure they’re hydrating and being safe saves lifes.

If you’re struggling with addiction and the current tools that have been presented suck, consider learning more about harm reduction. Is a non-judgemental framework that allows you to bring the substance abuse under control and regain control of your life. I also really recommend everyone learns about it, is not only useful to support your friends, you can gain tools to help anyone when you’re out and about.

money and desperation

Life is hard in general, easier for a select few, but a constant struggle for most. Trying to keep up with work, global politics and constat looming threads caused by capitalism push people closer to an edge, is significantly worse for people trying to keep up with appereances.

Lack of money makes everything else so much worse, it starts with losing a job, an emergency expense, misscalculating some future income, a small decision and trying to cover up for it can lead people to bankruptcy, homelessness, suicide.

This is particular worse for women, undocumented people, queer people, and much worse for trans people. Not having adequate resources to deal with a small issue will create additional shame, anxiety and trauma that becomes much harder to resolve later.

This sounds much harder to tackle, society doesn’t have many avenues to help the people that needed the most, and it pushes people to fake it and over extend themselves too much. However the solution is quite simple too, help your friends.

Oh but i do, you say, and I say, no you haven’t. If your friends can’t afford brunch and they make up an excuse, go somewhere cheaper, bring some take out over. Let your friends crash your couch no questions asked. Offer your friends a job, show up to their performances, laugh at their shitty standup. Give them a loan. You have much more options available at your disposition that can save someone than you give yourself credit for.

Oh, but how do I help others when nobody helps me and I really need help? That’s definitely a harder question, if you really feel this way, it can be super hard to get out of that rut. Personally I have found that helping others even in my hardests times is worth it. It reminds me that we always have something to give and there’s always hope, a smile, an encouraging text, everything makes a difference. There’s a big risk here of neglecting yourself for others, this can also be very unhealthy, practice setting your boundaries and communicating your needs. It’s difficult and embarrasing, but just like any skill you can start small and get better over time.

We need to continue fighting for systemic change, but is going to be very difficult to revolt on an empty stomach, let’s continue practicing mutual aid as much as we can in the meantime.


Don’t wanna talk much about this, but don’t do it, watch this youtube video instead, read this post again and figure out something better.

Raves, burning man and community

I have several years of experience running communities and being a part of them, mostly known for my work with Techqueria, the largest community for latinx in tech. Wanted to bring special attention to some of the ways that community makes a big difference on people, and how community can be found in any place. I have a longer post about community on medium.

Techqueria masquerades as a professional network, a place where people can help each other thru their professional goals, and has a mission to increase the representation of latinx in the industry. Thru the work of the community there’s been events at several startups across all industries and all sizes, hundreds of people have found jobs, members have been able to find coworkers, spouses, friends, laughts and tears. None of this has been free of drama, or worked as well as I expected, there’s many learnings here, but while there’s an ongoing situation some of those comments have to wait.

Raves have been around for a while, is a very interesting subculture, some folks think of it as kids doing drugs and listening to techno and while is descriptive of some experiences is far from its essence. Kerry Needs does a great job talking about the benefits of raves for mental well being. In my particular experience, I was able to find a supportive community of people who love themselves and each other and volunteer a lot of their time to get better at it, we have many conversations about all aspects of live, and try to create events where everyone feels safe and able to express themselves and work their issues with our support at their own pace.

Burning man is an intentional community created thru a shared struggle. Is mostly known for the festival we organize in the desert once a year, but is so much more than that. We have groups and communities all over the world creating amazing things and supporting each other. I have volunteer and lead different projects across many departments and what keeps me hooked is the ability to develop myself surrounded by unconditional love and support. Burners have become my family figuratively and literally (my partner and her family are burners too). Thru our different events and initiatives I was able to understand and manage my substance abuse disorder, deepend my understanding of myself in several aspects, and now I’m being able to return that two fold by sharing my experience and attending events sober to provide physical and emotional safety to participants.

I recommend joining communities the most to the folks I know who are struggling, and to the people who are doing great and want to be helpful. The particular communities that I like don’t need to be the ones you chose, do try and spend some time in different ones, see what makes you happier and comfortable and what doesn’t. I discourage people from volunteering for for-profit companies and most non-profits, community projects can be run without any legal entity for the most part, and is better to create and participate in a group with no strong hiearchies where everyone feels supported and empowered. Alain de Botton has perhaps my favorite book about this: religion for atheists.


This was much longer than I anticipated, thank you for reading, and hope it can be helpful; I would like to encourage you to share this, or your thoughts in a similar fashion. Everything that we can do to destigmatize people is a win for everyone. In my case being able to find friends that love me the way I am and have the capacity to have difficult conversations has made a huge difference.

Help is available, if you or someone you know is considering suicide, we know reaching out is hard, but please do, trust me, and if the hotline sucks for you, reach out to me or a friend, we rather be inconvenienced than miss you. Call them at 988 or check out their website.

- David HaSheni