Home » Suicide and the Pursuit of Happiness

Suicide and the Pursuit of Happiness

the pursuit of happiness

Lynne Rosen and John Littig were found dead in their apartment Monday.  They were the radio show hosts of a show called “The Pursuit of Happiness.”  They had committed suicide.

The couple was found in their Brooklyn apartment.  They were sitting on the couch, holding hands, with plastic bags over their heads and tubes attached to a canister of helium.  Each had left a suicide note.

Rosen was a psychotherapist, and Littig a motivational speaker.  They were beloved by their ‘self-help’ radio show.

Sources say that Rosen had “deep psychological problems.”  “Her note basically said she was sorry for doing this,” a police source said.

Littig wrote:  “We’re going to do this together,” and that “I can’t watch my wife suffer any more.”

Hasan Boztepe is the apartment manager where the couple lived.  He said neighbors smelled something coming from their residence Monday afternoon.  After knocking on the door several times, and receiving no response, he broke down the door and found them in their chosen position.

In the man’s note, Boztepe remembered the words: “I can’t take it anymore, my wife is in too much pain.”

“I was shocked. I am still in shock. I feel so bad for these people,” Boztepe said.

In addition to their radio show, the couple had a life coaching consulting company called “Why not Now?”  Their website described their service as “designed to help foster and encourage your inner strengths,” and “put you confidently on the path to designing the life you’ve always wanted to live.”

“You should try to do something that scares you every day,” Littig said on a show in February.

“People really need to try to implement that into their lives,” Rosen later added. “Even if it is small things and it feels scary; but it’s a small step and it moves you forward toward your real self.”

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  It is the seventh leading cause for males, and the 16th for females.  The largest age group of those who commit suicide is 35 to 55.  Rosen was 46, and Littig, 48.

A 2009 U.S. Army report indicates military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans, and more active-duty soldiers are dying from suicide than in combat in the Iraq War (2003-2011) and War in Afghanistan (2001–present).

Collecting data from suicide notes or other devices left by the victims, reveal there are multiple reasons for suicide.  Rates increase during times of high unemployment and periods of war.  Escalating depression related to social problems is higher in females.  Teenage suicides are often the result of bullying, and general social lack of acceptance.  The LGBT community has a higher risk than most.  Remaining “in the closet,” fearful of exposing their sexual preferences sometimes results in taking their own lives.

Assisted suicide for those in chronic, severe pain is outlawed in many states.  New attitudes have encouraged Oregon, Washington, and Vermont to change those laws and allow ‘Physician assisted death.’

The notes relay some understanding of why the hosts of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ committed suicide.  Their decisions were based on deeper inner struggles than can be understood by the words on pieces of paper.  Their life’s work was to help others with their daily struggle.  In the end, no one was there to help them.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express