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Another way out

Suicidal ideation, i.e. thinking about ending one’s life, does not necessarily mean you want to kill yourself. Planning a “way out” of a dilemma is perfectly normal human behavior. When we have a serious life problem, the brilliant (sic) human prefrontal cortex comes up with scenarios for escape. It’s what it does. If a person can’t think of any way out, she becomes very agitated and experiences extreme physical and emotional discomfort, because to her logical brain’s way of thinking, she simply MUST have a thought plan. So voila! “I know, I’ll kill myself!” Don’t believe your brain. It’s a silly thought machine that wants to feel the comfort of a plan, any plan, no matter how irrational. Tell it you don’t always need a plan, except one: find caring counselor and have a comforting chat. Maybe she has another way out? Take a deep breath, sit down in the darkness and wait for the sun to rise.—MR

When all looks bleak, hope-building strategies offer a lifeline

Every one of us experiences painful thoughts and emotions in response to hardships over the course of our lives. A sense of hope that the pain will subside as circumstances improve helps to keep us afloat. But many people experience pain at such intense levels that it becomes what the clinical psychologist Edwin Shneidman referred to as psychache: ‘the hurt, anguish, soreness, aching, psychological pain in the psyche, the mind’. Shneidman proposed that suicide is driven by a desire to escape psychache when it feels unbearable. The sense of hope is often missing.

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December 22nd, 2021 | Permalink

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