Wanting to Kill Yourself, But Not Wanting to Kill Yourself

This is such a great topic and I've avoided it for too long. But a comment on an old post reminded me that you have to hear the other side of suicidal ideation. This is sanitized a bit. The bold font is mine.

I am a victim of a violent crime by a person in my family. Now I am planning on being a psychologist/counselor. I know that it will be difficult but I want to be there for those who have gone through this situation and I want to let them know that they don't have to let this ruin their lives. Depression is one out of many symptoms, I know, but is it normal to have the desire to kill yourself every time you remember your past? I have had trust issues because of this, so I sympathize with all the victims out there and only wish that I could bring forth justice in all their lives.

I'm not sure where, "Just shoot me," entered my particular vernacular. Some of us say this then put a cocked index finger to one ear, click, pretend to off ourselves, and everyone laughs.

Anyway, I've been saying it a lot when I hear about things in my personal life that leave me speechless, make me shake my head, as in, "What now? What next?" When I'm frustrated with people.

What's interesting about, "Just shoot me" is that the person who says it obviously doesn't mean it, is just signaling frustration with life's impossibilities. We can't control most of it, certainly not the behavior of other people. So we laugh it up, say, Shoot me.

I give up.

Which implies that someone else wins, but it's okay. We concede the victory with relief. Let it go.

I think this happens on a much deeper psychological level in trauma victims. If a person suffers a trauma, even secondary trauma (hears about someone's trauma and feels the pain), it can trigger suicidal wishes and fears.

Immediately after a trauma or during the trauma, the thought, I would be better off dead is seeded in some neuropathway. Then you get the emotion, the fear, the terror, or it's there first, doesn't matter. But the reasoning, the thought processing about the event becomes unconscious, and that happens rather quickly. All that remains for eternity is the conclusion, I want to die. Sort of stuck like a broken record. You can turn off the juice, but someone keeps turning it on when you least expect it.

And the fears remain, associated with the conclusion, better off dead. You never wanted to die, you never wanted to be raped, to use a common example, or sexually harassed, perhaps, but the thought and the fear originated at the same time, under heightened arousal, and became inextricably linked in the brain.

Our brains are simply out of control. You would think they would get a grip.

But no. Get a bad thought, link it with a negative event, and there's your negative thought, warmed over easy again and again with the thought of the event. And then, the evolved negative emotion, the depression that lingers beyond fear. Fear may have burnt itself out. Maybe not. Just shoot me.

If you grow up with someone who is suicidal you are literally fed this thought with every suicidal threat, wish. You could be a happy go lucky kid, someone with a fairly happy little neurotransmitter, and you listen to the gloym and doym and you think, Oh, for crying out loud. You don't get a corner on suicidal ideation, I have my own, damn it. And you do, not because you want it, because you breathed it.

Hard to be tough sometime, hard to have great boundaries, to know,in your heart,
This is not what I want, this is not who I am. This is merely something I thought once, under a great deal of stress.


It's something someone else wanted, under stress. But it has nothing to do with reality, not mine. I really don't want to die, I certainly haven't the guts to kill myself even if I did.
But here are these stupid thoughts, coming home anyway.

So I wrote her back, said something like this:
Not to answer you personally, but hypothetically people do have what I call "normal" suicidal desires and fears, and these mean absolutely nothing, meaning, people who have these desires and fears would never in a million years kill themselves. You might be one of these people, probably are. That said, for sure, you gotta get therapy to work it out and you really can work it out. Reading about it on the Internet probably won't cut it.
So you want to know, don't you, what happens in a therapy that works it out?

You go over the trauma, for there usually is one, even if it is imagined. Some people have amazing imaginations and they make themselves upset with their own creativity. Doesn't matter if it's real or imagined, most of the time it's real. You go over it again and again, line by line, verse by verse, and examine your responses, how they were normal fear generated thoughts under stress and how wanting to kill yourself rather than face others in the shame of it all felt like a normal solution.

Then with your therapist you do a cognitive behavioral therapy. You challenge the date on the inserted thought.
Wait a minute. The date on that thought is August something, 2004! It's now November, 2009! That thought has expired!
And you let it expire, die a natural death.

You challenge your shame, you say,
And I did nothing to deserve this! Why should I kill myself over something that happened to me?
As my daughter is fond of saying, Most of the time things happen to us. And she's right. We can take responsibility, sure, and we should, and we should rectify whatever we can, make whatever amends are necessary, do whatever we can to right life, but owning things to the degree that they make us sick? Forget that.

Be charitable, pass them along.



TechnoBabe said…
Maybe it was because my everyday life as a young child were dismal, but the major traumatic events did not go to self destruction. My way of surviving was in anger.
Jack said…
Good post. I know several people who committed suicide. It used to be that I had no understanding of how they could do it.

Now I see things differently. A little life experience goes a long way. Doesn't mean that I condone it, but it is easier for me to understand how someone might feel like death would be easier.

A few years ago I remember reading about a rav at a different shul who decided death was easier.

I remember wondering if he and so many others would choose a different route if they had more information about what happens after we die.

I don't mean to be tongue in cheek, but what would you do if you found out that afterwards wasn't any better. Maybe it would be incentive to work on things here.

Well, I suppose there is no way to change that now.
JJ said…
Thanks for this post. I am in a similar situation... I find that having been in spots before where I did want to die and had that path mapped out for myself, that now it is fairly easy to trigger the "I want to die" thought. Whereas it took a lot to get me there the first couple times around--now the thought is triggered at relatively insignificant downs. When it does come up it's a bit hard to know what to do with it. It is encouraging to know this is not just me!!!

Love the idea about being able to say to a thought--even my own thought--that that thought is not me, not what I want, not who I am "merely something I thought once, under a great deal of stress."

Hmmm... think I need to write that thought out for myself.

Teresa said…
I agree that particularly with suicidal ideation using CBT and identifying our thoughts as just that and seperate from the core that is ourselves can be very helpful to take away the weight of "owning" suicidality. As a trauma therapist I have seen many people fall into their own dark holes of suicidal ideation and come out through therapeutic techniques and support systems.

I appreciate your writing on the subject as it is a vital topic to discuss and often avoided due to the delicate nature of it and the fear by many that speaking it somehow exacerbates the issue. In truth the silence around suicidal ideation is as detrimental as anything--being able to vocalize is one step forward to leaving the thought behind and coming out of the mindset.

Thanks again and always great to read your blog. A therapeutic resource indeed.

All my best,
Teresa at http://myembodiment.wordpress.com
Hannah said…
A little off topic, but what is your opinion of coming from a rough background or a trauma or two and then wanting to be a therapist?

Does such a history mean that this person (ahum, myself, ahum) would be a better therapist because of the experiences, better able to empathize and understand?

Or, is there a point of too much trauma in one's history that renders a therapist ineffective to be helpful for others. Is embracing a career surrounded by mental illness a good idea for a person with a proclivity toward it?

Any comment from anyone on these questions is appreciated, Thanks.
Te em said…
Ambivalence is the re-gift that keeps on giving...

Wilderness Therapy can also be a great intervention for teenagers dealing with these types of thoughts and behaviors.

Odyssey Wilderness Programs is one of these programs...odysseynw.com.

Thanks for the post!
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for addressing this issue. This particular subject has been on my mind quite frequently, and I am so happy when people step forward and aren't afraid to shed some light on what is a very touchy and "taboo" subject for most.

You specified that trauma is frequently a precursor to suicidal ideations, but what if there is no trauma - real or imagined? What if, for whatever reason, you are being held captive by these thoughts, yet cannot center on why they are there? What if you are just so tired of the curve balls that are being thrown your way, that the thoughts just seem as natural as the white noise in the background?

But most importantly, what if you've already been through all the CBT in the world, seem multiple therapists, tried various medications, and still, still there are no answers. Then how do you fight those thoughts? then what?
Wonderingsoul said…
I'm not sure what my trauma was... or whether the experiences I had would even constitute trauma... I just don't know.
Half the time I'm terrified that somehow, no pain exists and it's all just a figment of my imagination.. as though nothing is real(though you say that mostly, even imagined things are 'real'). I don't know.
What I do know is that the wish I have, the desire for suicide, isn't really because I want to finish with life, it's because I just want to get rid of whatever it is that lives in me.
It's not a death wish, it's a peace wish...
Thanks for your post.
It's always an interesting place to be, your blog.
Anonymous said…
Thank you!
Desert Dweller
therapydoc said…
Just to clarify, a person doesn't need to have a trauma to have suicidal thoughts, not at all. And all suicidal thoughts have to be taken seriously.

I'll get to the rest of these comments in a bit.
Stacie said…
I just read your clarification. I suffer from depression and OCD. No past trauma except the birth of second child which served up a healthy dose of PPD and PP OCD (damn that's a lot of letters!). Now I have trouble on and off and when things are bad i do have these thoughts, and sometimes I am scared. As I live with this illness, I have learned to tell myself to hush! This too shall pass and I won't feel like this forever. It's hard but I tell myself that my neurotransmitters aren't doing their job. I am in essence an extremely logical person and I do think this helps me out with depression. My heart goes out to those whose depression comes from trauma. There is more to fix there than just brain chemistry. There's a heart to mend as well.
therapydoc said…
T-G, as we say, TechnoBabe.

Jack, thanks. I love that thought, it might be worse on the other side!

Theresa, thanks for reading, JJ thanks for writing, ditto all you ANONS.

Right, STACIE, thanks.

Wonderingsoul, that's not healthy, what you're describing, the desire for suicide. I can't remember if you're seeing a therapist or not, but if not, for sure you should.

That said, everyone's searching for peace, the 12-Steppers call it "serenity." I'm always recommending their groups because they do recommend healthy ways to get it. There are other ways, meditating, mindfulness, etc.

That said, you know peace, serenity, it's fleeting, and as Frank Sinatra always used to sing, "That's life. I can't deny it. I thought of quitting babe, but my heart won't buy it."

Hannah, too much to answer here, but a great topic. I'll get to it.

Will check you out, Te em.
Dartanion said…
I lost my mother in February of this year and my life has not been the same since. I have purchased a pistol and held it, loaded, to my head many times for the first few months after her passing. I have since gotten rid of the gun and have set goals for myself to satisfy my mother's last wishes and now that her last wishes are coming to a close I am concerned I won't be strong enough to go on. My mother was left alone to take care of my brother and I when we were young and she sacrificed so very much for us. She had somewhat of a drug addiction that would ultimately take her life at the age of 52. We were/are more than mother and son...we were/are best friends almost relying on the other to get by our daily routines. She was 20 when she gave birth to me and was always over protective and caring as I grew up we always remained close and the day she died...a part of me stopped living as well. I now fight through each day trying to look on the brighter side of things. My wife and children are wonderful and this leaves me torn on what to do. By taking my life I would be reunited with my mother but I would also put my children through the same pain I feel...
therapydoc said…
DARTANION, you're new in comments, so I have to preface by saying that I'm not able to give you in particular any advice, and generally don't even respond hypothetically, just let people talk to the world over here.

But I can tell you that I've seen this case, almost exactly as you describe, and it is draining, life-sucking, more than sad, it's depressing, paralyzing, and goes on and on. I've seen people who literally can't stop crying, on or off of medication, who spend a year or so doing this, crying, unstable. I've recommended hospitalization, but it is what it is, a broken heart, and has to heal, and this takes what seems to be forever. But it's not.

I myself have felt helpless with grief work, at times, because I know how much of the patient's consciousness has attached to the person who passed on.

That said, the brain is an amazingly plastic organ. It does change, and with it the attention to things it loves and misses, drugs, mothers.

We mothers have a very, very strong impact upon our children, and the incredible irony in a situation like this one is that in death we can literally zap our children in the heads power kick, just because we're larger than life. Can be.

That said, we're just people. And the people we care most about are our children, the ones who grieve us when we're gone, among others, parents, spouses. But we want people, the healthy among us, especially our children, to be better than us, to be more productive, to make a greater impact upon humanity, the world. We want our kids to grow to be good parents, partners, to be there for their own children, their own peops, to be role models on how to live life, how to be.

Perhaps the worst thing a person can do, if you want to talk about making a splash, is suicide, give his or her children permission, essentially, to murder, to take life.

In my world that's a big, big crime, affects many generations, as opposed to owning a world view that essentially proclaims,

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We take what we get and accept (eventually) and we ask, How can we learn from this, what great lesson in life could there possibly be from this person's death, this person I love so much? Love being present tense.

And eventually you get answers and can move on with time, even if you never stop loving, never stop crying when the moment strikes, as it will.

That's the kind of stuff we talk about in therapy. I haven't checked your profile, forgive me, no time lately, but if you haven't got a therapist, please, please, you gotta' get one.

Good luck, therapydoc
essiewb said…
I've been away and it's good to hear your clear voice again. So tell me, how do medications fit into this? If one is consistently "good" on antidepressants and predictably becomes suicidal off them, are the meds just suppressing the exercise of that bond between trauma and "just shoot me"?
Mary LA said…
We can internalize such despondent messages from a suicidal parent. When I went into therapy I learned to just keep gently reminding myself "That was then, this is now". Over the years the new message sinks in.

Thanks for raising such a loaded topic in such a helpful way TD!
Ella said…
I think that being forced to read Dante in 9th grade likely kept me from suicide when I was depressed in 12th grade.
Hannah said…
Thanks therapydoc, LOVE your blog.
Thanks for writing about this. I've always defended people who commit suicide because I understand how they feel and its been crossing my mind on and off since I was a kid. I've lost two close friends to it, one when I was a teen, one a year ago 10/30. Both told me they were going to do it and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The pain from the first loss is what kept me from doing it myself all these years.
It's not a weakness, its more a despair that life is just too painful and there is no way out.
Isle Dance said…
This is a much, much needed discussion. (((Thank you)))
porcini66 said…
And, not only do things happen TO us, they just HAPPEN! I have to remind myself over and over, time and again, that things don't always happen BECAUSE of me or TO me. I'm just not that important in the long run.

Sometimes things/events/happenings just ARE. Just as serenity/peace/quiet of the mind just IS. Whether we choose to tap into it is just that - a choice. Most of us, in my opinion, get so caught up in the day to day nonsense that we forget the common miracle of just being.

As for how the past wires our brains...no question. And the rewiring takes time, energy and oh, so much patience. Each new circuit has to be tested and retested I think. It glimmers, it sputters, it catches or it flares out in a shower of sparks. I never trust an electrician - got burned early - so it takes me FOREVER to get a room rewired. But slowly, as lights flicker on one by one in former shadows, I am learning that I was afraid of a boogeyman that didn't really exist, except in my own mind. I created the fear. I nurtured it. I embedded it deep into the fabric of my soul.

It is so much easier to strip it out when the lights are on, no?

Thanks for posting. Gonna go yell at my kids to turn out the lights when they leave the room! :)
Lisa said…
Oh, this post was so needed. The "S" word is so hard to discuss. But discuss it we must. I've lost a friend to it, as well as to clients. It's taken as much for me, "the survivor" to process it, as it must have for those who contemplated and succeeded in their personal demise. I've come to the conclusion that, it's irrational to want to harm oneself, and irrationality simply took over. Suicide is an irrational thought that sounds like the only rational option. Perception IS reality, in fact...at least for them.It's the only thing that makes sense at the time, in that brain with all it's trickery.
I often ask clients "How old do you feel right now?" when they are contemplating suicide. Rarely do they give me an age past 12 or 13. Because even though the THOUGHT comes from their adult selves, the EMOTION that is driving the thought is often primitive and YOUNG...When they give into their emotional selves seems to be the most dangerous....Of course, since I'm not them, it's all just an educated guess!
Ella said…
I read about this in Wired magazine today. The only suicides I know of were not about personal autonomy but about personal pain. This service makes me uncomfortable, seems like validation of the action.

Nainja said…
Thank you for this blog! It gave me the last reason that I needed to actually look for a new therapist now that I moved country and city. Suicidal thoughts aren’t as concrete anymore as they were a year ago (i.e. I am not actually planning anything anymore) but they are still on the surface and come up to say hello on a daily basis. It is not so much the wish to die as the wish not to live, not fully to accept and befriend life as it is and fully engage in it. That sounds like a lot of work and commitment.
Wonderingsoul said…
Thank you for your response.
Yes. I know it aint healthy... not at all but, in all honesty, it's there anyway and there doesn't seem to be a thing I can do to stop that desire.
I was shocked reading your words 'desire for suicide' because I would nver put it in such a way... but I suppose that is what it amounts to. I would say though, that the desire for suicide is more of a secondary desire, the primary motivation being the desperate desire to find 'serenity' or peace. The problem, I suppose, is that I can't imagine getting that through any other means.
I've heard of 12 step programmes but ultimately, you still have to stay alive... Right now, that's not so attractive.
I'm not saying I'm going to go and top myself... I don't think I could bring myself to inflict that pain on loved ones who have already suffered too much. Ultimately, suicide is a selfish act. That's not to say that I believe people should be 'judged' for it... I know the church deems it a sin (or has done in the past) but I am unsure... Although selfish, there are times in some people's lives where suffering overrules any potential for condemnation... I think.

Thanks for clarifying about trauma and suicide.

Yes, I have a T... 5 or so months now. I'm not convinced that it isn't making things a whole lot worse in some ways... Talking about things just seems to be self indulgent and quite sickening.

I'm rambling here and I apologise!
It is a tricky topic and I'm glad you have opened it up a little.

With respect,

Cham said…
great post td, something very raw about it. i remember feeling similar feelings after reading your last suicide post
lynette said…
i wanted to respond to dartanion... i lost my father over four years ago, and i so understand your pain and hurt. the first year i was in such grief i could not function at all -- after several months, antidepressants made it possible for me to grieve in a more healing way.

i have spent the past few years working to understand how my father's death has changed "things" -- what i want from my life, what i wish was different, what i wish to stay the same. my father's death triggered a long painful journey into my dysfunctional marriage, and at the same time, one of my children developed a chronic medical condition that was devastating to her.

i miss my father every day -- but having had a father who was my best friend was a blessing for which i will always be grateful. i have integrated some of who he was into my life more so now. and the loss of my dad has made me understand how truly important i am to my children (even though i am a mom :)). i only wish i could say that my husband will fill the same shoes for our kids. and i hope that i live long enough for my kids to come full circle and love and honor me, good and bad, when it is my time to go.

hang in there -- you were blessed to have your wonderful mother. your family needs you. don't hesitate to seek as much help as you need. your family needs you.

and you may not think it or see it now, but your mother is with you every day.

with compassion and understanding,
Anonymous said…
Thank you, TherapyDoc. I will reread this post. It is helpful to me.

Ms. Finch said…
The suicide taboo has religious roots. Suicide was one of the worst sins. Why? Well, life was hell back in the day: disease, hunger, war. Babies died, there was a lot of violence. You were lucky to live to 40. And what kept you going was the promise of a wonderful afterlife. And the church folk talked up heaven so much that it sounded really good compared to the struggle of everyday life. So suicide surely became a sin so people wouldn't off themselves to escape the awfulness of their lives. And so it is today.

But just what is so bad about it? People should be able to decide for themselves that they've had enough. If you've lost everything-- if you have no money or meaningful relationships, if you can't forget the trauma you've endured, if you aren't recovering from illness or pain you've worked through for years--why aren't you allowed to give up? Suicide makes sense for some people in some circumstances.

I'm fortunate to have a family, so I don't think it's right for me. But having an escape plan could be comforting to some. I had a friend who committed suicide at age 18. It was so painful and devastating. But it was his decision to make, and he must have been hurting really badly to jump from a bridge. I cannot hold it against him. He did what was right for him.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Hi, TherapyDoc -

For me, I often want to end my life because I am frustrated with working so hard, day in and day out, and not "getting anywhere". And, I'm not enjoying the process. What's the point? I mean, I'm not contributing to the world, I'm just consuming, just burning up fossil fuels.

(Okay, that's the thought process I embrace on days I'm feeling extra dramatic, but it is an underlying theme that is with me in a more subtle form most days.)

A year or two ago, my desire to die came from a place of despondency and numbness.

However, I have been working very hard to deal with some life history, so I am feeling better, more protective, more joyful as time goes on – but I still deal with the desire to die on a daily basis.

My desire current to die is coming from a place of anger. I think the shift is occurring because I'm starting to heal – and starting to really feel overwhelming emotions for the first time. I'm assuming my ongoing relationship with a desire to die will fade in time.

If I look carefully at my desire to die, I find that it is actually a desire to not have ever existed. By existing, I have a responsibility to choose among: taking proactive steps to live, taking proactive steps to die, or living apathetically. My anger is at having the responsibility to choose – at knowing there are consequences to my choice that affect myself and others that I love dearly. I don't want that responsibility.

I would rather have never existed than to have this responsibility – I don't want to live but I can't kill myself with a clear conscience because of the pain it would cause others. I feel trapped in a no-win situation.

I'm still looking for a way to make it a winning situation.

So, there it is – my musings for the day. Thank you for tackling this topic!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)
April_optimist said…
Interesting. From the time I was a child, my reaction was to make lists of "why not." In other words, the instant I started to feel remotely suicidal, I'd start going over my list of why not and my plans for (ultimately) getting out. I never let suicide be an option.
therapydoc said…
JJ, glad you tossed the map.

TERESA, I like your blog, too. Just great.
Te em, wilderness sounds fantastic. Best of luck with the program.

ANON about the what ifs and the thoughts, my feeling is that sometimes life shifts in unpredictable ways, and we haven’t any way of knowing how or where or why. The problem with suicide is that it is a permanent solution to what is quite possibly a temporary, if seemingly chronic situation. So I go with answering the thoughts in just that way, Shut it up, you’re not the boss of me now.

WONDERING SOUL, that peace wish thing is as old as time, you’re in good company. Can you imagine an encounter group with every suicidal person in the world sharing this wish for peace? Seems to me it would be a peaceful thing. Glad you’re seeing somebody, and yes, a recovery group would be great.

ESSIEWB, meds fit in nicely for people with depression. The thoughts aren’t suppressed so much as illogical when you feel better.

MARY LA, for sure we “catch” suicidal thinking. You can stay away from negative people, but parents can and do have their influence, which is why it’s important to be ourselves, not our parents.

ELLA, that’s amazing. I’ll have to read it, get away from the junk I read, like Garrison Keilor ( Love Me? Anybody read this?)

BARBARA, gotta’ wonder, doncha’ ever, if those episodes of depression, with more aggressive treatment, might have averted the suicides? It’s never up to one person to avert these things. We’re talking an entire fire department, here. Not a weakness, surely despair, 100%. But despair, kissing cousin to despondence, can be treated. And that line, Nothing you can do, might be true, for sure there was nothing you personally could do, but still, well, read that other post on suicide somewhere on this blog. Just my opinion. It takes a village. But we generally don’t live on an island, except for IsleDance, of course.

ISLE DANCE, thanks!

PORCINI, you can yell, but they don’t get how old the wiring actually is.

LISA, great thinking here. We’re going to go over more of this on another post.

ELLA, thanks. I’ll have to get to that site, can’t do it right now.

NAINJA and MARIE, You can look at it as responsibility and work (life), that’s one way of looking at it, but I know people who surely don’t accept and befriend life, truly don’t fully engage either, but have a decent time anyway. Sure it can be a lot of work and commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. The way I see it, nobody’s telling anybody to work or to commit or to accept, and we all have TV. Finding something to do with the day is a good idea, that’s what rehab is all about. Meaning is nice, too, but maybe even over-rated. If we end up in a job that just gets us by, that’s fine. If we can try to do something, even volunteering to do something, there’s going to be some meaning, and we’re going to get through the day, keep the globe spinning, just doing that, breathing in, breathing out.

LYNNETTE, thanks so much for sharing that.

MS FINCH, I don’t think anybody holds anything against anybody here, but surely you’re right, a life that ends in suicide is often judged, sometimes harshly, and sometimes positively. My real concern is when it’s considered a good option (as it appears to be). Nobody said, when we were slapped on the backside or nursing at mama’s breast, that it would be easy. But is it ours to take away? That’s really the question, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, is much more a question of philosophy. Whose life is it anyway? IS it ours? Is it really MY life? If my life is about me, if I think it’s only about me, then frankly, I had better do something about that. We all affect others, and we can affect them deeply. Suicide affects others deeply. And not in a good way, I’m afraid. That’s why, when we take histories in my profession, we ask, “Any suicides in the family?” with a great deal of sensitivity.

APRIL, even better, not even an option, if you have why nots.
SWP said…
I'd like to to a brief email interview w/ you for


about how blogging affects your practice (and vice versa).

please let me know if you're interested: wheretheclientis [at] gmail.

Wendy said…
It took me a little while and some thinking to be able to post something here on the subject of suicide. A subject that has so overwhelmed my life. I lost a son to suicide. I have been suicidal all my life due to early childhood abuse. But I'm still here. Through the wonderful help of my therapist, I can now say that the suidical thoughts and idealations are 90% gone. GONE! Yea, they pop up once and awhile, but I know how to deal with them.
Suicide is an answer to absolutely nothing. The pain you carry becomes magnified 1000Xs on the lives of your family, friends, and even those you read about your death in the paper - or the kids in school... Why not find help, peace and happiness? It's all there for us all. Happiness now is not what I would have described it 10 years ago, I had such a pretty picture in my head, that was basically unattainable. But what ever it is now, it is happiness - peace. It really isn't about being one's own to take or not take - no one need go there. There is an answer, a solution to every problem on earth, we can learn to accept and take another course. We can find love and heath, or peace if we want, and we can almost do it without trying - if we will just let someone in to help!
Visit Caleb's website. He was a young man who thought no one loved him, or that what he had done was unforgiveable, and that he was ugly, unloveable... Read a few of the messages left for him... He was, beyond any doubt very, very wrong... He was deeply loved, liked, he was worth the world to those of us who love him still.
linrob63 said…
but the thought and the fear originated at the same time, under heightened arousal, and became inextricably linked in the brain

Can you say more about this sometime? How it works...what happens in the brain? Heightened arousal? That is exactly what it is like -- all the senses are heightened...what happens when that happens for an extended period of time?
linrob63 said…
but the thought and the fear originated at the same time, under heightened arousal, and became inextricably linked in the brain

Can you say more about this sometime? How it works...what happens in the brain? Heightened arousal? That is exactly what it is like -- all the senses are heightened...what happens when that happens for an extended period of time?
blogbehave said…
"that thought has expired" .. Now, I really, really like that. I'm gonna use it. And hopefully remember to credit you : )
therapydoc said…
LinRob, wish I knew. I think that it's the snapshot picture thing, when something is very vivid there are more pixels stimulated. So if you see someone bleeding, you see the blood, red, the blood coming out, you see the drops, you feel the pain, you feel the anxiety, the panic. I remember cutting myself (good one) with a knife right before a holiday, had to run to an ER, and I remember everything about it, my position at the sink, wrapping my hand with a paper towel, FD seeing the wound and saying, "We have to go in," the ER doc, a young guy, the anesthetic, everything, mainly because there was so much TO remember, it was so vivid. So yes, heightened arousal and more imprinting in the neurological pathways, more to remember, probably tons of serotonin zipping around.

But it's also that we can't just file traumatic stuff away because it doesn't make sense. It's not accepted, so it's still floating around, aroused.

Is this making any sense?
Anonymous said…
This one clicked. That's one of the things I like about CBT - if you say it right, it clicks. Pretty neat that way.
linrob63 said…

Thank you for a vivid explanation.

And the not filing it away because it doesn't make sense?

That makes sense.


I have invested significant blocks of time into trying to understand...trying to make sense out of my experience.

Finally...the very generous, caring and patient therapist I visit told me as long as the most important thing is understanding it, I will not likely heal...because really -- there is no understanding some things.

Thanks for taking the time.

Very touching and thought provoking piece of writing. I have fortunately not had much personal experience with suicides, but I can certainly relate to the experience of having suicidal thoughts. It is not pleasant, but it does pass with time, and life can get brighter if you choose to see it in that light.
Shattered said…
I grew up with a suicidal mother... my sister and I both did. It is amazing what reactions become hardwired in our brains while we are being raised. I attempted when I was 13 only because I had learned it from my mother; suicide was a constant threat from her. It got my attention so I decided to try it myself because I thought it would get her attention. It didn't.

My sister ended up killing herself 4 years ago and 4 days after she did, my mother finally succeeded in doing the same. It became a fleeting idea in my mind but I somehow knew better.

I think I will always have the ideations but I do believe that I have learned to manage them because of the destruction my sister and mother left behind.

Interesting post...