• Michael McMahon


Updated: a day ago

Yes I support efforts to help people stay positive and hopeful. But it’s still the case that suicide is an acceptable response to pain. By far the main victim of suicide is the suicide victim themselves. They’ll inevitably be the ones who’ll have to grieve the most for the imminent loss of their own life, past experiences and memories of friends before their suicide. It’s not the business of other people to judge them. We don’t know what their final thoughts and feelings were like.

I agree that it’d always be better for their own good if they managed not to die. The conscious sensation of pain is never permanent no matter what the source of it is. However at the end of the day there are another 7 billion people alive on the planet so suicide cannot be claimed to be immoral. It’s logically possible for an action to be bad and hurtful in terms of oneself without being harmful or unethical towards other people.

Mental pain can cause uncertainty because without visible physical symptoms there’s no clear prognosis on when precisely the pain will dissipate. As you can see there’s two aspects to that statement. The lack of a physical source means that the pain is bound to heal eventually. But one has to have hope and trust that the pain isn’t long-term which might be difficult in a crisis situation.

Suicide by definition refers back to the self and is therefore intrinsically consensual. Arguments of vulnerable people being pressured to die by suicide are inconsistent: if a supposed friend encourages you to do something you don’t want to do then they obviously weren’t ever a friend to begin with. Euthanasia isn’t necessarily required for people who are physically capable of self-inflicting their own death and so that is a slightly separate debate.

I benefited from 3 years of subsidised accommodation and also community activities so I don’t want to come across as overly critical of the mental health service. They’re obviously doing a huge amount of good. I’m just of the view that if someone is intent on suicide, they shouldn’t be in some way restrained from personally doing so in a hospital setting or psychiatric ward. I don’t see a contradiction in saying that we can try to prevent and reduce suicide as much as possible without unrealistically attempting to stop all suicides. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/119037-suicide-prevention/

Time for some downbeat music!


The maintenance of walking stamina becomes an increasingly important function for the body as we get older. Running until you’re out of breath will eventually depend on quicker but shallower chest breathing rather than diaphragm belly breathing. Otherwise if the body were somehow capable of 100% efficient breathing while running, you’d actually be able to effortlessly sprint non-stop all day long. Our inability to do so is a reflection of why extended, challenging physical exertion is an intrinsic source of stress even though it feels rewarding and refreshing to try to overcome it. So I imagine the fact that our muscular sprinting ability declines with age inevitably means that our fast chest breathing also becomes less efficient. Thus these systems of subtle breathing patterns and body postures are inter-related and might be a contributing factor in chronic pain conditions.

There’s many small hip flexors and other involuntary muscles in the spinal engine that we aren’t always conscious of even though they play a big role in our movement. They’re like cruise control muscles! I’m not a biomechanics expert but notice the suboptimal location of the largest and smallest leg muscles: the glutes are powerful but very far away while the tibialis anterior is closest to the feet but it’s a weak and elastic muscle. So being overly dependent on these sorts of muscles will likely slow you down considerably. The way it can feel harder to simply stand still than it is to walk is a little reminder that to keep upright our bodies are always under the stress of time and ageing.

For instance if you didn’t move your legs as much and tried to use the hips more to passively swing your legs then you’ll have a decreased stride length seeing as the hips have a very limited forward range of motion and it’s largely rotation. When the heaviness in the calf muscles began I was never unstable but I became much more subtly attuned to my posture and arm swing than I was previously. I could often do an intermittent jog or short run but I could never prolong it to run consistently. Either the heaviness fatigued me or I’d begin to run inefficiently. If I increased my stride length my stride frequency would eventually decrease and vice versa. Eventually my running speed would be equivalent to a walking pace such that it was futile to maintain a running posture for long distances. For tennis I could still do a small jog to the ball and turn quickly for some agility.

In my own case I used to do a lot of running training when I was a teenager. Perhaps I didn’t warm up sufficiently or didn’t allow myself enough recovery time between sessions. I also did some intense middle-distance running in 12-minute sessions on a treadmill where it can sometimes be tempting to mentally overexert yourself. Music is great to pump you up during a workout but sometimes it might give you more energy and adrenaline than your body is physically able for. In 2015 just before I was 20 it became difficult to run fast. My lower legs were always heavy and ached sometimes in what resembled shin splints except that it has never fully went away since that time. Occasionally there’d be a friction rash between my upper legs as if my stride had narrowed too much and my legs were gliding past each other. My legs often felt slightly warm so I’d wear shorts a lot. I wouldn’t really feel out of breath when I ran simply because I couldn’t reach the speed to get to that point. I went to the doctor when it first began where I couldn’t run even though the doctor couldn’t discern any muscle tension. I didn’t think much about it at the time because the heaviness occurred for two months previously before temporarily disappearing for a few weeks so I suspected something similar would happen where it’d be gone in a few months.

It was frustrating as I’d still full mobility in my legs, joints and muscles but I was never able to really accelerate. I just had this slow walking stamina. I missed the jogging routine but after a long period of time I began to appreciate the slow treks. I think the accumulative effect of a slightly reduced stride length and width in your walking stride can gradually cause a slowdown of momentum over a long period of time. So even a minor change could cause problems for the body as it has to be able to always function efficiently with whatever the adverse effect is for many years to come and not just the short-term. The heavy sensation in my lower legs eventually disappeared about 6 months ago. I thought I would regain my speed once the aching feeling had left my calf muscles. But I’d become so used to moving my hips and overall posture at this slower speed such that I’m still actually moving no faster than I was 6 months ago. My legs had already become accustomed to a certain pace of movement.

(That video was taken in April 2020 when the shin fatigue had finally went away. To me it consciously felt like I was running as fast as I was when I was a teenager but as you can see I was physically significantly slowed down. I think our movement can be so complex that if you’ve paid too much attention to it then it’s like analysis paralysis and you can’t accelerate.)

An indirect way to approach the problem might be through mental focus and mood. Exercise can have mental effects like a “runner’s high” of adrenaline. Conversely walking at an extremely slow pace is often used as a form of mindfulness. So in some instances perhaps chronic pain is working backwards to achieve a certain frame of mind in the context of mental illness. The resting state of sleep is associated with variations in muscle tone and irregular breathing. Breathing problems are occasionally reported in instances of sleep paralysis. Perhaps the sense of pain in that particular example is to prevent disorientation and to ensure the mind has the ability to concentrate to a degree that’s enough to prevent the threat of psychosis. Breathing has both voluntary and involuntary components so an alteration in that ratio where we direct more of our attention on breathing might cause distress. Subconscious pain that’s perceived physically might gradually give you mental resilience and coping skills to deal with future stress and worry by making it pale in comparison.

I also had a few weeks of a peculiar sort of anxiety when I was 21. I became hyperfocused on my breathing where it would sometimes feel that I was breathing too fast or too slow. There could occasionally be cycles of feeling too hot or a sore type of sensation around my chest. The way the source of the pain changed every few hours gave me extra motivation to withstand it. There was never any break from it as whenever the breathlessness stopped I just felt pure anxiety and fear for when the next round would begin.

It was fierce painful but of course the psychiatric staff couldn’t physically detect any problem at all; “the machine doesn’t lie”! I was in hospital voluntarily at first but after a second opinion and a court tribunal I was made an involuntary patient. They were saying that if I was able to physically talk about it then I must be breathing perfectly fine. Catch-22! (Perhaps if I’d went to a private psychiatric ward! More one on one?!) I suppose initially I said I couldn’t breathe when it’d have been more accurate to say it was highly stressful and exhausting to breathe.

Evidence was cited of me walking around town without shoes or socks at 5am in the morning. I told them I was just experimenting with the barefoot running trend but they didn’t understand! There was eyewitness testimony of me spending too long looking into a mirror as if I was seeing things. That was actually me thinking about the mirror experiment in the antirealism thread! There were other reports where I was acting suspiciously around my phone as if I might have been paranoid. I had hid my phone just as a nurse was walking by. What really happened was that I was giving out to some relatives and I simply didn’t want the nurse to overhear! The art therapist reported that my drawings gave an impression of anarchy and inner uncertainty. To be honest I was really never good at art! A nurse asked me about my hobbies and I told her I liked the tennis. She was happy but reminded me if I wanted to be a professional that it might be counted as a delusion! Yet another accusation was that I recklessly discharged an airgun in my room back home. Unfortunately I don’t have any comeback to that one! I was messing around aiming it at a wall and just didn’t know it was loaded. I was a bit frustrated sometimes but I tried to act pleasant even though they perceived it as if I was smiling to myself!

The anxiety just seemed to be out of the blue and it appeared very disproportionate to any other stressful thoughts I might of had at the time. To me the pain seemed systematic and external while the staff were saying it was the other way round and I was just too anxious. I felt the anxiety was more an unconscious result of the painful breathing. In retrospect it felt like no matter how briefly I could have calmed down I still would of had trouble and panic symptoms for many weeks. I was actually in hospital for several days a few weeks beforehand after feeling worried and generally anxious. I was discharged and then later asked to come back in to checkup on how I was doing. Although my experience and sensations during the second visit were entirely different and much more intense and longer than the first visit as I spontaneously felt it hard to catch my breath as I walked down the corridor.

It seemed to last from morning till night. Thankfully I managed to get a few hours sleep each night but it always restarted as soon as I woke up. I tried to pass the time by strolling around the corridor and garden or else sitting and lying down. After it ended my memory of it just slowly faded away as if it was all meaningless. I thought in retrospect that somehow the initial inconvenience of shin splints and the way that heavy sensation eventually disappeared was indirectly connected to the episode of anxiety I had when I was 21. An extreme analogy would be if you were out of breath and trying to run for just one more minute, then forgetting about the previous minute straight afterwards means you can possibly keep running forever one more minute at a time! That is to say continuously ignoring previous physical stress can prolong your focus and stamina. So our mental energy and motivation can affect our physical energy.

It looks like a silly march but while I was in my room I decided to do some exaggerated vertical hip stretches and elastic horizontal hip movements in order to emphasise the loose and indirect nature of our spinal engine:

To see how convenient our arm swing is we can check how awkward it’d be to walk with both arms swinging forward and back together or else having the same arm move ipsilaterally with the leg. It’s easier for us to do tiny galloping walk one foot in front of the other than a bipedal galloping jog!

Some all out, existential music(!):


I admit that I try to be an unceasing perfectionist. Except I’ve often failed to achieve any perfection. So I’m not sure if that makes me a perfect failure or a failed perfectionist! At least I’ll be self-critically humble about not being a true perfectionist! I remember watching a documentary about all of the different types of ants. I can only paraphrase it but the ants were descended from some type of wasp thing. Apparently these type of wasp flies were the most populous species on Earth for a small part of its geological history. So maybe we need spiders or the world would still be ruled by flies! They’re an enemy of an enemy. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/121605-arachnophobia%C2%A0%C2%A0/

That’s one of the biggest ones I’ve caught. I put my tennis racket beside it to add some perspective to it; as if I was investigating a crime scene!

I’ve had a one or two of these fly into my room in the middle of the night. I’d be chasing it all over the place to capture it in a glass. I’d be jumping on and off my bed if it was on the ceiling. It must of sounded like a war-zone and everyone else would awaken. I was often left bemused when someone else would just walk in, catch it in their hands and release it outside.

They’re certainly not creepy. But maybe our pets find us creepy as they probably view humans as a superior species with ambivalent intentions. The labrador’s name is Toby. It wasn’t me that named him so I always assumed it was just a dog’s name. So you can imagine how awkward I felt when people started introducing themselves to me as Toby!

I remember watching this movie and was thinking to myself that I know so many people who’ve had a pet killed by a car. Whatever I do I won’t get them this movie as a Christmas present!

Somehow I can’t see that sport taking off in Ireland: we’d have to choose between buying a car or a bird! Unless maybe we could train it as a sort of “security bird” to chase after trespassers😀.

They’re sly creatures who have a penchant for killing mice and ruining leather couches. Threatening but not creepy!

I always have to mentally prepare before eating shrimps and squid when they’re served uncut. I like pictures of crabs and octopuses so I try to think of them when I eat these fish. If you in any way think about their grasshopper appearance then I’m afraid you’ve already lost and will be unable to continue!

Random act of kindness: I pushed a beetle stuck on the footpath the right side up!

I tried to hit that stubborn fly away at least 5 times. I know they’re unfeeling but I do think some flies have a wry sense of amusement.

At least this guy found my jokes funny.

(pdf on blog page)


(Unfortunately I happen to be an expert on the topic! I always admired her sarcastic sense of humour. She asked me if I could help her find a boyfriend. I agreed because I thought she was just being coy and playful. But I was to later find out that she was serious!)


The trouble with certain mental illnesses is that the stress blinds us from seeing the full spectrum and everything appears all-or-nothing: the world either has meaning or it doesn’t, the world is real or it’s a fake illusion. Ordinarily we can appreciate that there’s shades of meaninful and meaningless aspects of our lives while remaining confident that the scales tip in favour of the meaningful side. We can usually understand there’s non-real components of our existence like colours and death without becoming preoccupied by these matters. Mental illness are painful because they can force the issue. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/119204-solipsism/

I’m just guessing but a possible challenge with empathy is to keep understanding that other people are dissimilar to you while at the same time being able to read their emotions by comparing them to and through yourself. We only experience our own emotions and that’s all we’ve got when we try to relate to others on an intuitive and personal level. In order to completely and emotionally understand others we first have to be emotionally self-aware of ourselves. To fully appreciate kindness and gratefulness we need to be ever cognisant that there’s an opposite emotion of anger and meanness. Even without an empathy deficit we’d always struggle to fully understand the mindset of evil unless we’re evil ourselves. We’d have to be infinite to truly understand every single persons cognitive makeup! What would your emotional state have to be if instead it were you that had said it in their exact manner? I suppose it’s somewhat of a balancing act. If they’re too separate and different from you then they’re simply incomprehensible and mysterious and can only be interpreted on a distant and rational level. Although if it becomes too easy to emotionally relate to them then one might misjudge them to form an inaccurate preconceived image without appreciating their changeability and unfamiliarity. It’s further complicated in the way that our personality doesn’t just exist in the present moment but is affected by each of our unique history which is largely unkowable unless they inform you of some of it. I notice we can learn a lot from people who have might have social traits that are the opposite of our own. There’s also the extent of people who we can empathise with. For example we can build up a mental picture of long-time friends and acquaintances. Or we can go a step further and try a bit to spiritually conceptualise the multitudes of strangers walking past us on the street. Maybe a cure for solipsism is to find ways to transcend yourself like fiction and music!


The moderator didn’t understand what I was saying. I was commenting on the slavery theory in athletics and not slavery itself. So if I sounded a little dismissive it was solely of the slavery gene theory and obviously not the harshness of slavery. From what I can gather, survival of the fittest in evolutionary terms is more about adapting to the environment. It doesn’t literally mean the stronger the better. For example, being physically weaker and therefore being able to live off less food means that your more efficient and better “adapted” to working with a limited food supply. Being the strongest bodybuilder yet needing to eat 8,000 calories a day means that you wouldn’t survive the likes of slavery. So it doesn’t follow that only the physically strongest survived slavery. There’s a limit to what our bodies can adapt to.

Even if I was wrong on which causes which the fitter you are the better your temperature regulation. Radiation in this context is a synonym for heat and not uranium! It’d take a brave athlete to dope with nuclear fusion! And even if I were wrong on everything, I fail to see how it’s in any way racist to say people might look fit when fitness is very much appreciated in today’s society! For instance, being taller and muscular means that you can physically lift heavier weights than a thinner person. Nothing controversial there! But obviously it doesn’t make it psychologically less demanding to lift heavier weights for that bigger person. Of course the sole exception is the Schwarzenegger terminator robot! Anyway it’s simply that they wouldn’t be physically at risk if they attempted to exert themselves. That is to say the larger person still needs to endure much more psychological pain than a thin person when both of them are at their respective 1 rep max. Although a stronger person could reach a weaker person’s maximum with less effort but they can then go beyond that. Their physicality can make them capable of reaching more psychological pain for that discipline. There’d be negative feedback for a less muscular person where they’d be physically unable to endure an equivalent amount of psychological intensity solely in terms of lifting weights.


(My comment is towards the end of the first page in the above “du vide” thread.)




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