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Suicide - Is It All in Your Mind?

by Christopher Paul Jones(more info)

listed in depression, originally published in issue 252 - February 2019

 

In this article, Harley Street therapist Christopher Paul Jones talks about Suicide and asks the questions, ‘is it all in your mind?’.

Suicide - is it all in your mind? I want to talk about suicide, and discuss the role that the subconscious mind has to play in things. I believe that the main approach to suicidal feelings is to encourage the person to talk about things. However, sometimes, talking leads them nowhere, because there isn’t necessarily any logical reason as to why they are feeling how they are feeling.

 

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This can often lead to feeling like there is no way out…  hence feeling suicidal.

If there was more public knowledge made about the role that the mind has to play in how we process feelings, and how more modern day therapies that involve change work (such as my Integrated Change System), could change memories and feelings, then a new approach could be taken when dealing with suicidal patients.

I also want to address the role that medication, particularly antidepressants has to play in things. It is becoming more common for medication to bring on suicidal feelings, and again, with greater awareness of this, a person may know which kind of help they need to seek before drawing a line under things.

 

Where does feeling suicidal come from? Is it because of feelings,
or linked to medication? There can be instances linked to both
so step one is to work out WHY somebody is feeling unbalanced.

 

It’s really important first of all, to understand whether or not the feelings are based around something that has happened (or of course a whole catalogue of things that have happened) or are due to a side effect of medication.

Today, it is not unheard of, for certain kinds of medication (usually in the antidepressant family) to cause suicidal thoughts and feelings as a side effect of taking that medication.

Therefore, if you, or someone you know (or perhaps your patient if you are the professional) has been feeling suicidal and you can relate that to the period of taking a new medication for example then your first step should be going to speak to your Doctor and discussing changing medication.

It can be so easy for someone to believe that the suicidal feelings are a sign that their depression is getting worse and not better - they take their medication and see that as a light at the end of the tunnel, but if things then worsen, rather than realize that it could be down to their medication, they assume that “well if the medication is not working, what hope is there?”. Suicidal thoughts may then come about when the person feels that there is no hope for them.

The crucial thing to understand about suicide, is that often, it can be a moment that passes, the feelings (or bouts) can be cyclical - sometimes the person can ride through it but on another occasion may act upon it. We can never know if and when this moment may come, so it is crucial that somebody who feels suicidal is made more aware of the interventions available and have access to them 24-7

 

Can the feelings be related to an event or series of events?

 

If so, then it is possible to work on the feelings. If you can pinpoint where the feelings come from you can speak to a therapist who can then reframe the memories and the feelings associated with them.

This means that you can then never feel quite the same way about whatever it was that was affecting you.

This really can be very powerful, particularly for someone who has been burdened by a life event for years, possibly even decades. The best part about such therapies is that results can happen very quickly, which allows the person to bypass the need to ‘talk about things’ - and it is the very thought about ‘talking over things’ that can leave someone feeling suicidal as the more they talk about something, the worse their feelings become and they grow and develop.

 

Are the feelings based around logic? How can we encourage
people to ‘talk’ about feeling suicidal if they themselves do
not understand how they feel?

 

Often, someone who is feeling suicidal may be embarrassed to talk to a professional (or anybody else for that matter), because they feel like what they are feeling is completely illogical. It can be this sense of ‘making no sense’ that can leave a person feeling like suicide is their only option.

Why? Well because we have it ingrained in us that if we go to speak to a counsellor or another professional that we will need to ‘talk’ about things - and that if we can reach out to somebody else and just talk about things, then things can maybe get better.

However, somebody who is suicidal may often sit and go over their thoughts and feelings and realize that they are nothing that would really make sense to anybody else… perhaps they don’t even really make sense to themselves. Therefore, how can anybody help them?

It is this sense of hopelessness and ‘not being fixable’ that can lead someone from feeling depressed to feeling full on suicidal. They feel like they have reached the end of the tunnel, like there's no point of return for them.

However, if more knowledge was made public about the role that the subconscious mind can play in such feelings - and that sometimes, we may not even know why we feel this way and that is perfectly acceptable, then people may be less reluctant to come forwards for treatment.

A trained therapist can work on a deep core level  and change how a person feels about a time, a place, a memory, an event, a relationship…. And the person can access this place in their mind without even having to talk to the therapist and the details. This can be really empowering as it again bypasses this idea that a suicidal person needs to ‘reach out and talk about things’ and allows them to change their mindset in a private and personal way, with results occurring quickly.

But what if a person feeling suicidal does not have access to see a therapist right away? What can be done?

Well, I feel that if more awareness was made about how feeling that way does not have to be logical  and it’s okay to not make sense of it, but a therapist can change how you think and feel, then people who feel suicidal may feel a sense of hope if they understand that they do not need to talk about things and there is a course of action that they can take to change things.

 

Of course, when a great deal of suicides happen because somebody reacts to their feelings on the spur of the moment, this can mean that there is a ‘crisis point’ and it’s about catching those people at the right time.  I’d encourage mental health charities and professionals who work in this field, to hand out leaflets with techniques that somebody can do, to change their mind state in that moment, rather than simply suggest that they call somebody to talk about things.

One technique could be something as simple as to close your eyes, imagine that you are in a room, and on the wall is a dial. Turn that dial all the way down to a number that feels calm to you. Notice how your whole physiology changes … if somebody can just change their mental and physical state very quickly then it could make all of the difference as to whether or not they ACT on their suicidal impulse.

This is simply about biding time, so that they can then contact the right people in order to work on things. But if this biding time saves a person's life then it can be really dramatic in effect.

 

So, suicide - is it all really in the mind?

 

I do believe that more often than not, suicidal feelings can be related to medication (mind state), or life events, and that both of these things are something that can be worked on.

I have had clients who have come to see me who are feeling completely hopeless and lost… who have tried to talk about things, and have only found themselves going deeper down the rabbit hole. More often than not they are looking ‘out there’, for the answers to things, and they are looking out there for the solution.

When actually, the solution often exists deep within themselves and can require very little talking. By using therapeutic methods such as Hypnosis, NLP, and implementing change work whilst under a state of hypnosis, a person's mindset can be shifted in such a fundamental way that they then go about their daily living with a new set of feelings.

I do think that this needs to be explored further, and that those who are feeling suicidal are made more aware of the fact that how they feel does not have to be based around logic, or make full sense to them, and that sometimes, talking is not the solution to things.

It is human nature to want to be able to work things out, rationalize things - fix things. And if the conscious mind feels unable to do that, a person can be left feeling hopeless. However, sometimes, it is the subconscious mind that holds the key to emotional and mental freedom and if more of us were made aware of this then perhaps those feeling suicidal would not reach the decision that there was no hope for them, quite so quickly.

Something to think about.

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About Christopher Paul Jones

Christopher Paul Jones Certified Trainer NLP, Master Practitioner NLP, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), aka The Breakthrough Expert, is a therapist based in Harley Street who specialises in helping people let go of their fears, anxieties and even their phobias; from a fear of public speaking to anxieties around work, Christopher has helped 100s of people ‘let go’ and get their lives back. He even cured his own morbid fear flying, to the extent he was able to take a sightseeing flight through the Pyrenees – strapped to the OUTSIDE of a helicopter! For contact and more information please visit http://christopherpauljones.net
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