Having Suicidal Thoughts? This Article Could Save Your Life

Having Suicidal Thoughts - This Article Could Save Your Life

By Frances Masters

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Paul was a broken man. His eyes were shadowed and tired. He looked pale and gaunt like he hadn’t been eating properly.

‘I feel like ending it all.’ Paul spoke in an unnerving, detached voice. “What’s the point in going on? I simply don’t see a future worth living.”

“Paul” I said, “Can I ask you one question?”

He glanced up from the floor. “What?”

“Do you really want to be dead forever, or do you just want the pain to stop?”

When life was good…

Last year, Paul was flying high. As a top executive for a large PR company, he traveled the world, flew business class, stayed in the best hotels and was respected by his peers. Our work together then was largely coaching to maintain high energy levels, self esteem and confidence. We worked on goals and targets and he was very happy with his life.

Over Christmas, his wife began to complain of feeling tired and unwell. Her symptoms were indicators of a terminal illness and, sadly, within a few months, she died.

Paul was devastated. His life began to unravel. He couldn’t sleep, concentrate or function at work. He was given time off. His GP gave him antidepressants. He began to drink more heavily.

It seemed to Paul that his perfect life was unraveling. He had lost the thing most important to him in the whole world. He simply couldn’t imagine a life without his wife. He considered killing himself.

I recognized Paul was suffering from ‘emotional hijacking’. He was in a dangerous mindset. I would have to act quickly.

Disturbing stats

More young men die in the UK each day as a result of suicide than road accidents, HIV and assaults combined. Suicide is now the biggest killer of young men across the UK, a charity has warned.

The figures show a rising trend. In 2011, for instance, a total of 6,045 people took their own life – 4,552 of them were men with the highest rate in the male age bracket 30-44.

“The reasons for suicide are complex and often very individual,” said a spokesperson from the Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM.

On average there are now three young male suicides in Britain every single day.

If you feel suicidal like Paul, you need some crucial information about ‘emotional high jacking’ and even more urgently, you need an effective tool for switching it off.

To really understand, we need to look at how the human brain evolved.

Danger – Why suicide can seem the only option

Millions of years ago, at the dawn of our evolution, we had tiny reptilian brains which controlled out basic instincts to breath, eat and follow repetitive patterns that promoted our survival – a very basic brain.

As we evolved into mammals, we developed another layer of brain material, now known as the limbic system. From here emerged the emotions which became very important for our survival, love, hate, anger, fear.

These emotions were and still are necessary for our survival:

Love, so that we could form bonds and family groups and so that we would not abandon our offspring but would nurture and feed them and thus ensure the survival of the group in the next generation.

Hate and anger, so that we would have the ability to fight or kill if our own survival depended on it, or the survival of our family group.

Fear, so that we knew when to run!

These emotions are powerful, very black and white and need to be able to operate very quickly. If you are faced with a wild animal, or perhaps these days a bus running towards you, you will automatically and instantaneously jump out of the way – without thinking – there is no time to think in those situations.

Having Suicidal Thoughts - This Article Could Save Your Life

As the human species evolved again, it developed the higher cortex, or rational thinking brain. This is the part of the brain associated with our higher intelligence, the power of speech, logical thought, the problem solving part of the brain…..the part of the brain which gives us the ability to step back from a situation and see all the options, the areas of grey which are not available to the mammalian brain and its basic functions.

Most of the connections from the emotional brain to the neo cortex are on the right side and the connections to the rational brain are on the left.

And so we have a brain of two halves emotional on the right and rational, higher intelligence on the left and here is the key to why we often act in an irrational way.

Big emotions make us stupid!

The more emotional we become, the more stupid we become. For our survival, the emotional brain has the ability to hijack the rational brain. Think of the bus running towards you at high speed – no time to think.

So when we become caught up in our emotions, we actually become very stupid. We have lost the ability to step back and look at all the options and every thing is seen in black or white terms. Either everything is alright or everything is all wrong!

This is a clear explanation for depression, which is a huge emotion. It also explains anxiety and panic attacks where the fight or flight system becomes permanently switched on.

It also explains obsessions and compulsions like self harm, where the arousal and expectation produce adrenaline and other emotion-related hormones and chemicals, which feel as though they can only be dissipated by performing the ritual.

It also, sadly explains why people can come to the conclusion that they must end it all.

Remember that huge emotions produce black or white thinking? Either everything is alright or everything is all wrong. ‘I cannot continue to live like this……. so I must die.’ The higher intelligence, the part of the brain which says ‘hang on there may be other solutions if you sit down and think about this’ are switched off at that moment.

The old term ‘whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed’ turns out to be hugely accurate. It’s clear then, that we need to be able to turn off the this dangerous mindset and lower the extreme emotional arousal.

Breathing the danger away

My clients often comment “Breathing? I do it all the time! What’s so different about this technique?”

The answer is simple:

When we breathe in, we activate the sympathetic nervous system. Because of gravity, it is more of an effort to breathe in and so, when we breathe in, we tense.

When we breathe out, we engage the parasympathetic nervous system. We relax. We have a feeling of letting go.

Therefore, if we continue for 5 or 10 minutes to engage a breathing pattern of a longer out breath than in breath, we can’t help but relax. If we count while breathing, the effect is even stronger as the rational brain is engaged by the numbers.

We are elevating the neocortex, which automatically has the effect of lowering emotional arousal.

Practising this simple breathing technique establishes the ability to relax whenever you choose so that you can take back control from emotional hijacking.

This simple breathing technique has been used again and again with astonishing results. Its effectiveness is not disputed. However, like any technique, it improves with practise.

I generally suggest 5 minutes first thing in the morning to get the day off to a calm start, 5 minutes last thing at night to enjoy deeper and more restful sleep, and 5 or 10 minutes during the day or whenever emotional levels start to rise.

Try it for yourself. There are no nasty side effects, no contra-indications and, at the point of writing nobody has found a way to tax us for the air we breathe… so it’s free !

Previous article by Frances:

About the author:

Francis Masters2 150x150 How to Be Happy Alone 6 Tips to Use TodayFrances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience.

In 2009 she co-founded the charity Reclaim Life and trained volunteer coaches in a unique model which integrated for the first time powerful psychotherapeutic skills with holistic life coaching tools that assist people to reformat their lives for success. The extended training program is accredited by the National College of Further Education.

At The Fusion Model, Frances writes about how to live your best life, by combining mental, bodily and spiritual wellness.

You can follow her work at TheFusionModel.com, Twitter.com/fusioncoachuk or Facebook.com/TheFusionModel

 


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  • SaRo

    Didn’t need to read the article but could say the majority of these people are strangled by the spiritual desert they are in. They weren’t able to stomach the brand name freedom provided by the most maniacal, repulsive, inhuman behavior that has begot our whimsical existence of today. Which is still raping, murdering and pillaging in only the most virgin of realms around the globe.

  • Cynthia Kipp

    The above article seems to make light of mental illness. My sister and I have mental illnesses and I doubt breathing exercises could help her psychosis or positive thinking could kick me out of my depression. These illnesses have to do with neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain, might very well be hereditary.

    • tan

      Actually, those very things you listed can actually drastically help with the assistance of medications. Having grown up in a family with weird stuff (various degrees of mental illness, including myself), I can safely say it wont hurt to attempt to think positive, or using breathing exercises.

    • katie

      that may well be the case that it doesnt work for you, but from personal experience when i am on the edge and im going to cut if just a small part of my brain can kick in to start the breathing, and singing a song as opposed to numbers, my brain will kick numbers out quickly and ill get on with job, i can calm myself and start seeing that things can get better and that my mind is clouded.
      shes simply saying to medidtate and that should be the first reatment for anyone with stress, anxiety and depression.

    • Amanda Matlock

      I have mental illness also, I think the article is referring to those who don’t have mental illness but are rather depressed from a recent traumatic experience like loosing a spouse. Mental illness is hard to cure and everyone is different. However I think it’s still a good technique to try, especially if you suffer from mental illness such as PTSD. The counting can help keep you in the here and now.

  • EB

    I agree with Cynthia. Imagine life if you’ve felt like this for your WHOLE LIFE. 37 years and every single day I fight this DISEASE. I’ve been on meds for over 20 years but since I have severe treatment resistant depression and PTSD I have to change up my meds every couple of years. You can’t just “fix” this. Would you tell someone who has cancer to just do A, B, and C and it’ll all go away? Didn’t think so. Please educate yourself on REAL depression before you write an article telling everyone who doesn’t have to deal with this that it can be changed so easily. This article is part of the problem with our society; MENTAL ILLNESS is NOT a choice!!!!!!

    • D’Glester Hardunkichud

      Well said.

  • Sammi

    HI EB,

    I hear you. I for a fact know that PTSD is not easy that’s for sure.

    Pease look into Pyroluria or Pyrolles Disorder.

    The tests and Treatment in this area is the one thing in all my years that has assisted me the most. It is treating underlying mind and health issues.

    Go to a bio-medical doctor or naturopath and invest in these specific tests.

    HONESTLY A LIFE SAVER FOR ME!

    Within a month I was feeling much better and stronger then I could ever remember.

    Over or under methylation / some people actually produce far to much serotonin and being prescribed Antidepressants and some supplements like 5HTP could only make them a lot worse.

    Please check it out… I am not affiliated with this sites in any way its just merely for direction and research purposes..

    http://www.vitalityandwellness.com.au/pyroluria

    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/the-critical-role-of-nutrients-in-severe-mental-symptoms/

    Peace and blessings!

  • Sally Soucie

    Every human diffren thinking is there more pressure human need more hope if this is sad it really depression.too breathing is what we do but if we not eating right or being care for reaching out we will not cope right to reach out is there hope in us that society put more pressure on.people mKe u wonder too hope it stop hurting what inside but please don.t hurt yaself there people that truly do care ….it important to give hope help thoes who suffering in silent please know one by one there human to relate to support group don.t give up please…..must win in ya life .

  • Mad Pierrot

    The way society is setup doesn’t even seem to enter the argument. In our dog-eat-dog competitive lives slaving for currency which is devaluating very quickly now is more than enough food for thought. That no matter how you try and survive in a system which does not care two hoots about ‘humans’ – you’ll come out second best. But if you compete you can be rich and happy. That is society’s message to all who care to participate. More than enough reason for giving up.

  • Aditya Waghmare

    Yes, breath is a very powerful tool for controllong emotions. I urge all to learn more about Sudarshan Kriya Yoga. It works on the principle that as emotions changes breaths, thus manipulation of breath will also change the emotion.

    You can read its effect in detail here: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/05/20/the-vegus-nerve-and-the-healing-promise-of-the-sudarshan-kriya/