First thing first.
Whether you are thinking about suicide or think you are having suicidal thoughts, TALK TO SOMEONE!!! Anyone! Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, Brother, Sister, Cousin, 2nd Cousin, Friend, Stranger, Boss, Employee, The guy at McDonald’s taking your order, LITERALLY ANYONE! (maybe not “The Cure” fans, but mostly anyone else)
Surround yourself in as many people as you can. People care. If you ask them, they will give you a million reasons why not to take your own life. Not only will they make it physically difficult for you to kill yourself by just being there but they drown out the self destructive thoughts with their chatter. That second part sounds a bit harsh, I know, but hear me out. If you are thinking about suicide on a conscious level, then talking about anything else, anything, keeps your mind occupied, if you are talking about suicide with some one else then most likely you are working out some stuff. Thumbs up on both accounts. If you are having “Suicidal thoughts”…. you will crave the chatter. Anything that quiets the voice in your head that tells you that you are not worth anyone’s time is a good thing.
Second thing second. I am not a doctor, although I played Dr. Jekyll in the 5th grade (maybe not the best example of a doctor but perhaps the best example of my medical background). I have not formally studied psychology beyond high school and what I am saying may not be medically factual. In fact if any of this is not medically accurate, please, I encourage you to educate me in the comments section. These are only the truths I have learned through my own personal introspection. These are the tools and techniques that I made up to help me out-smart my crazy. If any of this helps someone deal with their issues, awesome, but this is by no means a treatment. I’m not sure how long this can work for me without getting professional help, let alone you the reader. So if at anytime you are not sure if anything I have to say means anything to you or not, refer to “First thing first”
So in my head there are two voices. The main, thinking voice. The one that….well thinks most of your thoughts before you say them. This is akin to Freud’s ego, I’ve never liked that term so I prefer to just think of it as “The Real Me”. The other voice, the second voice, is more of a sounding board most of time. It says “Yeah, that is a good idea” when I have a good idea and “Hmmm….maybe we should call a real electrician/ plumber/ possum catcher” when I have a bad idea . To which The Real Me says (in both situations) “I agree, high five!” This is Freud’s id. I call it “The Blackness”.
Let me explain. When I am in the middle of a bad depressive cycle that 2nd voice gets very loud and abusive. Like a really drunk Ralph Kramden (for kids, Ralph was a sitcom character whose catch phrases were all threats of physical violence towards his wife “Right in the kisser, Bang Zoom to the moon Alice!”). “No one loves you! There is no love here for you! Pain is all you get because that is all you deserve. No one likes hanging out with you, they just put up with you, Can’t you see that! Can’t you see any of that!” These are the words of The Blackness. As you can see it doesn’t pull many punches. It finds what weaknesses you have and claws, hammers and picks it’s way into that weakness until it’s a hole then moves on to your next weakness, showing no mercy.
When the Blackness first started to speak up, it was hard to distinguish it from The Real Me voice. This is the one of the most dangerous points in time for folks with depression, when you think these “outside”thoughts are reasonable, when you are not able to distinguish the black from the white. I can not stress this enough, if you find yourself in this situation talk to someone. Trying to tackle this by yourself is stupid. I was stupid for trying it. Yes, I survived, but many don’t. It is the third leading cause of death for teens behind unintentional accidents and murder LINK And in our military, suicide now kills more soldiers than war LINK ….or if you think USA Today is “fake news” (cough bullshit cough fuck you Trump cough), let’s just agree it’s too fucking many LINK
Through meditation, both traditional and what I call “active meditation” (which boils down to personal introspection. Removing myself from the emotion and examining my thoughts, actions and even emotions themselves from a logical point of view) I decided the thoughts were not my own. They were part of the illness/injury, the crazy, and I had to figure out a way to fend them off.
I started practicing meditative visualization. The Real Me is like a white ball of silly putty, kinda like that glob guy from Herculoids. The crazy thoughts are like a black tar that would push outward from the base of my skull.
Every time the blackness yells at me (You’re lazy!) it grows a little bit (You are a burden to every one around you!) squeezing “The Real Me’s” white putty ball towards my forehead (You deserve the misery you live with!) till it’s about the size of a golf ball. And every time the blackness grows (Your parents are disappointed in you!) it yells louder (Your friends and family not only don’t respect you, they don’t even like you!) and louder (Love is for good people and YOU ARE NOT GOOD, YOU ARE AN ABOMINATION!) and it becomes more vicious the larger it gets (JUST GET IT OVER WITH ALL READY! THIS IS AS HAPPY AS YOU WILL EVER BE, SO WHY NOT JUST EXIT NOW!).
I studied Martial Arts when I was younger, getting my black belt at 16, so when cornered my first instinct is to fight back, and that’s what I do. I mentally take a fighting stance. Now the white blob has a mental Warrior Ryan on the inside of it. He yells to intimidate his enemy (FUCK YOU! YOU DON’T GET TO TELL ME WHAT TO THINK ASSHOLE!), it works! The blackness shrinks back for a moment and then I strike with a front kick (or side kick, just depends on how the blackness flinches).
When I strike, I key-up (key-up is what the laymen thinks of as the karate “Hi ya!”) , both mentally and physically with all the force I have, my muscles all tighten at once and I grunt. In Martial Arts the purpose of the key-up is two-fold. One, to quickly empty your lungs of any air in case of a counter attack to the solar-plexus. Getting hit in the solar plexus while you have air in your lungs is what leads to “getting the wind knocked out of you”, which, as you can imagine, is not good in a fight. This is most likely the origin of the “Hi-ya” fallacy, because when you exhale all at once it kinda sounds like “Hite” with a soft to non existent “T” and often times is mistaken for a grunt. The second reason for the key-up is to focus your energy, both the inner mental/emotional/spiritual (whatever it is you call it) and your physical energy by tightening all of your muscles for just and instant as you deliver the strike. Why am I spending so much time explaining the “key-up”? Because the key-up is the key to the mental strike. It’s the key-up that breaks through the inky blackness causing it to shrink back.**
Just like it, I am merciless. As soon as I see it’s afraid of me I push forward with a quick combination ending in another key-up. (GOD DAMN MOTHER FUCKING BITCH, I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!…..from this point on most of the “internal verbal conversation” is just a bunch more posturing potty mouth nonsense, so I’ll let you imagine from here on out). Once the white is about equal with the black, the fight turns into working on a heavy bag. I beat and pummel the blackness with punch after punch till my knuckles are bloody (mental knuckles). Each punch beats the blackness smaller and smaller, causing it to retreat back to the base of my skull. If you’ve ever worked on a heavy bag, you know how tiring it is ,– same thing mentally. At this point mental fortitude is the key factor in winning the fight. Just keep punching and punching and punching. When the black is small enough I strangle it and stuff it back into its box. Not a literal box, that would be crazy; it’s more like a large mole at the base of my skull (a perfectly sane idea, right?).
So that’s how I learned to fight back my definition of “suicidal thought,” but I have also “Thought about suicide.”. In fact, my suicide note that I wrote in high school started out as a conscience thinking about suicide. Thinking about how sorry my girlfriend would feel for hurting me, and how maybe the world would see this tragic story of love and learn to care about one another and other such romantic nonsense. Anytime you find yourself thinking about suicide as a sort of “revenge”, that’s “thinking about suicide”. Thinking about suicide is just as dangerous but it can be beat with logic.
Luckily (?) I had this experience before the real “suicidal thoughts” came. That’s why I was able to rationally decide after seeing the effect it had on my father that it was something I could never do. That no matter how heavy the weight is I am going to bear it for my friends and family. “Never give up” has become my motto. But seriously, talk to someone.
**Here’s a link to a short video of one of my heroes, Bruce Lee, explaining both the “make your mind like water” philosophy but also demonstrating the power of the key-up with the power of his one-inch and six-inch punches…..and you might want to stick around for the “nunchaku ping-pong” because it demonstrates his mental acuity and it kicks ass: LINK
*Here’s my problem with Freud. He had good ideas but was very shitting at naming things. In case you don’t remember Freud neither did i so I wikipidiaed it and here’s my basic understanding. The Ego which is the conscience mind. The Id is the devil on your shoulder and primal instincts. The Super Ego is the angel on your shoulder, the part that suggests you not steal candy from babies and then makes you feel bad if you do. Why the fuck didn’t he just call the “devil” Ego, the “Angel” the Super Ego and the “you” the Id, like I.D. It just makes more fucking sense! And quite frankly I don’t believe that the Super Ego on the Ego are two separate things. Fuck you Freud! if anyone can help me make sense of this please do. However, in his defense,
“Cocaine….it’s a hell of a drug!” ~D. Chappelle