• Michael McMahon


Updated: Nov 29

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 felt suicidal so I started praying a lot with short mantras even though a staff member said that the church would actually be opposed to my potential suicide. I think it's a bit of a balancing act where I'd never advise anyone to die of suicide but we can't persuade people out of suicide if they don't say they're suicidal. In order to coax suicidal people out of suicide we first have to acknowledge that suicidal ideation can be a symptom of severe mental illness. There's little point pretending an extremely depressed person is very sad but never suicidal even if it's only momentary. Thinking about suicide does not mean you're going to act on it. It will be hard to get mentally ill individuals to admit that they're suicidal if we try to shame the act of suicide. To shame suicide is to shame suicidal ideation even if it's to a lesser extent. In other words it'd be an immoral and embarrassing thought though not an immoral action. For me it wasn't a gradual build-up of pain or stress that lead to me getting overwhelmed. It was actually the opposite where it existed immediately as a reflexive thought when my anxiety began. I was caught off-guard and it shook me. From the get go the sheer intensity of the pain made me suspect that the anxiety would last for a very long time. Eventually I became more resistant to suicidal feelings by continuously procrastinating and always hoping that the anxiety would be gone the following day until it actually disappeared weeks later.

I benefited from 3 years of subsidised accommodation and also community activities like walking, bowling and soccer 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. They've also lots of mindfulness classes, group discussions and games sessions in psychiatric hospitals. 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.


Time for some downbeat music!

Nightcore Disturbia - DevonFarren


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. The hip flexors are like stabilisers that resist excess motion in one leg to elastically transfer energy to the next leg back and forth. Our spinal engine can work in reverse through the kinetic chain. That way we can transfer some of the weight of passive objects from our shoulders through the back and onto our hips when we're carrying a heavy object by our sides or on top of our back.

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. Fully rotated hips can increase stride length during a full exertion static lunge. Although flexible hips would then deflect elastic energy away from the opposite leg towards the shoulder during the backswing phase of lunge walking which would make “lunge running” terribly inefficient. 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. Doing an 11 minute run and a twelfth minute sprint might have been a bit too uneven. 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. I trained to failure in most running sessions where I should have taken a longer rest period afterwards. Furthermore my training was often unplanned where I overtrained at attempting too many physiologically contradictory disciplines like sprinting, middle-distance and long distance running along with various weightlifting exercises. I used to run every second day and do weights on the day in-between where switching the exercise probably didn't serve as enough of a rest. 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 often found that when I slightly altered my stride into a new posture to incorporate underused muscles that I could jog temporarily until those muscles fatigued which is quite common in shin splints. One time I even experimented with a "scream" run where I opened my mouth to breathe as fast as I could. I turned the corner past a petrol station where a load of boy racers were much amused by my expression! Rarely I might hold my breath as much as I can and temporarily hypo-ventilate in order to increase my jogging concentration. I missed the old running routine on the treadmill when the fatigue first began 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 after 5 years. 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 when the leg fatigue left. My legs had already become accustomed to a certain pace of movement. The initial ache and apparent weight in my shins used to make me walk an awful lot to relieve it but now I no longer have that same sensation to stop me accelerating. It has given way to a kind of inertia in my hips, knees and ankles that undermines my steady balance if I try to run continuously. Running requires a simultaneous and irregular movement pattern of all the joints with stable hips.

(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. My stride length was a bit smaller while my increased stride frequency made me think I should've been accelerating faster. A few times during the month I'd be out walking and suddenly I'd feel the energy to sprint all-out for a minute or two until I lose the momentum. It might make me walk slightly slower afterwards. If we walk up a hill at the same pace as level ground then we're actually walking faster in terms of absolute displacement and so our bodies will have some leeway to alter our pace. Walking down a hill is equivalent to walking on even ground and then abseiling vertically downwards at the end. Some weeks I'd have no jogging energy and I might occasionally dash a few quick steps on a walk to keep energised. Rarely I'd be caught out on my way back to the house from a looped walk when I'd feel an overwhelming fatigue in my legs to walk at a snails pace. After 20 minutes to half-hour my motivation would increase again and I'd be back walking at my normal pace. For tennis I used to be able to do a longer jog for each point but these days it's a bit reduced where I can intermittently shuffle a few fast steps to reach a ball but then I've to walk for the rest of the point to regain my energy to shuffle again on the following point.)

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. Anaerobic sprinting is more about muscle strength which doesn't rely on faster breathing as much as slower aerobic running. Even though we breathe faster when we sprint we're still hypo-ventilating relative to the amount of oxygen needed to idealistically sprint effortlessly. 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. There are many indirect muscle synergists and accessory inspiratory muscles that help the breathing mechanism in the back for instance or the abdominals. Intense running is very healthy and invigorating and it can make you feel focused afterwards but it's temporarily mentally fatiguing which might be distracting or disorienting if you'd certain mental illnesses. Physical fatigue can eventually cause anxiety.

I also had a few weeks of a peculiar sort of anxiety in 2016 when I was 21. I became hyper-focused on my breathing where it would sometimes feel that I was breathing too fast or too slow. I don't know how to describe it; it was like my nostrils felt constricted when I nose-breathed and my throat felt tight when I switched to mouth-breathing. 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 felt like I was running on a treadmill with the stop button broken where there was also a wall of knives inconveniently left behind me and pointing towards me should I fall. When it first started it was so severe and bewildering that I actually thought I was getting a heart attack and asked to go on a ventilator.

It was fierce painful but of course the psychiatric staff couldn’t physically detect any problem at all; “the machine doesn’t lie”! If you're ever stuck for describing pain then just say you're in unspeakable pain! A few hours later I came to realise that it wasn't a typical heart or breathing problem by the mere fact I was still alive. I didn't know what was going on and I suspected the tired breathing was out of some kind of recovery process. I was almost begging for my previous problems to come back just to get rid of the breathlessness. I was in hospital voluntarily at first but after a second opinion and a court tribunal I was made an involuntary patient. When I told a fellow patient that I was made an involuntarily patient he looked bemused and joked, "you mean to tell me you've just been here voluntarily up to this point?"! The nurses 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 tutorials?!) 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. It was like expending my lifetime’s worth of breathing pain! I'd the shin splints for approximately a year before the breathlessness began. When the breathlessness began I didn't think it was inherently connected to the shin splints because the shin splints seemed far easier and milder in comparison. But these type of low-level aches can have a spiral effect in the long-term where it gets progressively more tiring due to a lack of rest. So now I think the breathlessness may have been a passive and unconscious reaction to the prolonged shin splints.

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! I found the unusualness of ringing for a takeaway pizza to the psychiatric ward a bit fun. 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 spent so long trying to ignore the previous day's pain in order to focus only on the present pain that when it finished I passively lost my memory of it over many months. I thought the pain would traumatise me forever and instead the memory just became increasingly distant and hazy. I couldn't recreate the intensity of the breathlessness which would have reminded me of the mindset I had during that period.

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. Thankfully I made a full recovery but it was such an ordeal that it caused a lot of demotivation and confusion in the months afterwards that disrupted my ambitions and long-term planning. I thought that as soon as the breathlessness ended the shin splints would go away simultaneously. That didn't occur and so I felt it'd only be a matter of time for the shin splints to disappear. I waited around a long time but it gradually dawned on me the tiredness in the legs were there for the long haul.

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 gallivanting postures!

Some all out, existential music(!):

We’ve to keep on the move because our hearts will explode when it beats too slowly:

The shamanic pose!


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😀. I was a spectator at a handball tournament in Qatar when I was allowed hold a cool bird in my arm.

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! She was very rebellious and 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! She was quite fond of practical jokes. She called me on the phone and said she wanted to kiss if I came to her house the following day. But lo and behold she'd a sudden change of mind when I arrived and she no longer felt comfortable. Imagining about going on a date doesn’t count as a hallucination! I went to see her for coffee once where she was explaining how she had a brain injury but that she recovered and it's not visible that she had it. I misspoke when I agreed with her that it wasn't noticeable and she just looked normal. But then she picked it up wrong and felt that I was saying she wasn't normal. I've to be more careful with my words! She told me about some unusual ex-boyfriends like a guy who had become gay by the end of their relationship and then there was another who descended into drugs so maybe I inadvertently avoided being the next altered ex-boyfriend on the list! At first I thought she was playing hard to get only that the time became longer and longer! She initially seemed interested but once she got to know me she appeared to change her mind! Eventually we could only meet up if it was with other people! She asked me to write a Valentine's Day card only as friends! I got the impression any potential romance was over when she might have ditched me once or twice at nightclubs but I couldn't resist and met up with her on other days just in case she ever changed her mind!)


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. It might be easier to passively withstand involuntary pain than actively defeating voluntary pain. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/119204-solipsism/

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. Heat resilience is not only important for cardio but also to prevent dangerous heat illnesses and sun stroke. 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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