BIPOLAR DISORDER – COPING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS – PART 1
This is a discussion from our Bipolar Days Blog Support Group. You may find these life saving strategies useful for yourself, a friend or loved one in crisis.
Thank you for your bravery in starting this discussion, especially one that it so challenging for all of us.
I find that having a purpose to my life helps me. Without it i dwell more on those type of thoughts. How can we enjoy life if we have no hope, no goals, no path to make our dreams a reality. For me It helps to have a purpose greater than ourself.
Next avoid alcohol when you feel like this and distract yourself by talking to someone, watch a funny movie etc. I find it important to tell myself that these are not my normal thoughts and that they will pass. I generally try to sleep them off.
You have to be really strong in your thinking. For instance when i have wanted to end my life by walking off a cliff late at night because i can’t take anymore. I tell myself in no uncertain terms that getting in my car and driving there with such thoughts would literally be suicide. There would be a strong chance that i wouldn’t be coming back. So I definitely avoid putting my self in that dangerous predicament.
I try to rationalize my thoughts. If you can’t sleep it off or distract yourself you absolutely must talk to someone, a friend who will listen no matter what, a help line. If you can, don’t be alone, find someone to sit with you and help you through these feelings.
Just two days ago, i had such thoughts, I had fallen out with a friend. He was in a bad place and took it out on me. This made me feel upset and angry, which i internalized. I got into a loop of self destructive thoughts. I got into my car and drove to the beach, however i had irrational thoughts / desire to crash my car into an embankment come into my thinking. As i was driving i acknowledge those thoughts for what they were, distorted thinking that was inappropriate and out of context given the situation.
So i pulled my vehicle over and took some deep breaths to focus my thoughts correctly and to getting back home safely to my dog (i live alone with my dog Tess). I then put on a film that i wanted to watch, to distract my thoughts. In the end i fell asleep and woke up with shaky thoughts and feeling low, as per usual in the mornings, however the extreme thoughts had gone.
There is no reset button. When your dead your dead. I can tell you to focus on those that love you and would be left behind, however that is just a piece of the whole solution. Usually it is not enough to break the cycle of thinking. You need to put strategies in place to help you through these times.
I often hear people say that people who commit suicide are selfish. They are talking out of their backside. The person that commits suicide is in such mental pain and anguish that they feel that they have no hope at all of things changing. In their distorted thinking, the only way to end their pain and suffering is to take their own life. At one point i used to try and knock myself out to stop such mental pain.
I’ve researched how to kill myself, took unnecessary risks that could have resulted in my death or serious injury, all because it is easy to believe that what you are doing is perfectly rational when it is anything but. Distinguishing between rational in irrational thoughts is vital.
I hate taking medication, however stopping it, quickly brings on such thoughts when stressed or feeling down. So to avoid suicide I take them. Along side of the other strategies that i mention here.
I cannot advise you. I can only say what works for me. It’s not perfect, but they are the strategies that keep me alive. I cannot stress enough, speak to your doctor about these feelings. They are the medical professionals. Only they are licensed to practice medicine. I hope my personal experiences are of value to you.
You have more strength than you know. Create and refine your coping strategy by research and by listening to other people experiences and adapting them to work for you. Do this as soon as you can. When looking for a solution, model what works effectively for others. Don’t keep repeating flawed strategies that don’t work for you. You are taking unnecessary risks with your life.
With a condition like Bipolar, you have to take action to help yourself and that starts by analyzing the triggers to these thoughts and then looking for ways to minimize or eliminate them.
These methods are part of my Bipolar disorder toolbox. One technique that i use is to challenge my thought as soon as i get them. The technique that i use can be found here.
If anyone else wants to talk about their coping strategies for our information, please do so. I’m sure it would help us all to know each others challenges with suicidal thinking and how we cope or not, whatever the case may be.
I hope you found my reply helpful and supportive from the perspective of one bipolar person to another.
GIVEN YOUR CURRENT THINKING PLEASE SPEAK TO A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AS A MATTER OF URGENCY, SO THEY CAN GIVE YOU PROFESSIONAL HELP AND ADVICE.
BIPOLAR DISORDER – COPING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS – PART 2
Further to my last post on suicidal thinking.
As you know, Bipolar Disorder is a condition that creates mood swings and distorted thinking. If you are sensitive like me then anything negative directed towards me has the potential to start a negative feedback loop and suicidal thinking.The thoughts get distorted and I think everything is my fault. When no one was actually in the wrong, as it was just how I felt at that time. No one is perfect. Everyone has their flaws and their opinions that are based on their experiences. Sometimes they are right and other times they are wrong.
It is up to the individual to evaluate the information by pausing to reflect on what has been said and give the appropriate response. All I know is, that behaviour breeds behaviour. How you treat others reflects how they treat you. If you immediately disagree with someone and get angry, the other person will usually do the same. If you ask the question… why am I feeling this way? Is their statement correct? Am i I over reacting based on my own thinking? Is what I am thinking and feeling an appropriate response? Only by questioning further can we get enough information to evaluate our thoughts and feelings further and make a considered appropriate response.
Many things can cause good or bad feelings. How we react is usually based on our life experiences and how we dealt with them. If that life lesson was learned with faulty logic that will be the response to a similar situation. As we move through life we need to revaluate and reframe our thinking and beliefs to match a more questioning mind. For example: Why do I feel this way? Was I over reacting? Try saying to yourself…That’s interesting, let me think about that before I pass judgement on the situation.
Sometimes reactions to people and events trigger anchors to past negative experience. Just as certain situations can trigger an anchor to a happy memory. Any of the senses can do this. We also tend to mind read. In that we think we know what another is thinking and feeling. If someone doesn’t call you, you may think that they are angry at something that you have said, when in reality they may be busy and have not got round to calling you yet. Mind reading in this context can easily start these negative feedback loops. Mind reading and a lack of communication is the cause of many arguments and negative thinking.
As human beings we are primarily driven from pain towards pleasure, so pleasurable feelings make us feel good about ourselves. So it naturally follows that when things don’t go right for us; when we lose our job, break up with a partner etc we feel negative emotions unless it was what we wanted to happen. Often we do not challenge our thinking in such situations….Was it a lack of communication that led to things happening that way or had you grown apart? Was it actually time to move on to a new job or relationship as your needs and values were no longer compatible.
Often when things happen out of our control or take us by surprise, we think our world has fallen apart when reframing it into a new exciting opportunity to take your life into a better direction changes a negative mindset completely.I like the story of the Buddha and the angry man. While walking along a path a man kept being abusive to the Buddha. The Buddhas disciple questioned how he could stay so calm. The Buddha replied. ” I chose not to accept those particular gifts.” You too can choose how you react to internal and external thoughts and feelings by questioning your thinking… Ask yourself…is it appropriate for the situation? What can I do or do or change that will have a positive impact on how I feel both now and in the future?
If you are dwelling on particular thoughts, there is usually a feedback loop within you, where a thought, feeling or action triggers the process. Learning to identify those triggers and reframing how you react to them from a balanced perspective, one that is the correct response for the situation is the key to emotional freedom. I found cognitive analytical therapy useful as it teaches you to recognise feedback loops and specific repetitive negative thinking as stories that you think about from time to time and nothing more. Just acknowledge them and put them to one side and get on with your day.
I hope you found this second part useful too. Unfortunately most medical professionals are not trained in what I have spoken about. Some of my best advice to date, was to get out side in the sunshine more. Helpful but lacking in any substance. Like I have said before. Your interpretation of your world are unique to you. You have to update your software; your thinking to a more questioning mind set. Is what you are being told or thinking based on facts? Learn to question and re-evaluate your thinking.
Professional Clinical Hypnotherapist (Now retired, due to the onset of PTSD and Bipolar)