If you had to guess what month has the highest rates of suicide – would you guess the month of June? When I read that, I didn’t believe it – even me – someone that has attempted suicide 3x – and two of those times were in the month of June. The circumstances leading up to each attempt on the outside were different. But, the internal dialogue was the same – the inner critic had the stage and was telling me the same story – “it will never get better. YOU will never get better. Life isn’t worth living. You are unworthy” and on and on. On this day, the anniversary of my 1st suicide attempt 28 years ago, I can tell you this:
- Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situation
- You don’t have to believe every thought you have
- There is more to mental illness than the “biochemical imbalance” in the brain theory
- Help is available
- Healing is a commitment – you have to be ready, willing and open to change – on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
- There isn’t much you can control in life, but you can control the thoughts you think
Most of us are walking around at the mercy of our minds. A key step in my healing was learning how to manage my mind and emotions so that I wasn’t at their mercy. Through studying the teachings of Byron Katie, Nancy Levin, Debbie Ford, Christine Padesky, Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle, Jeff Foster, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfeld, Gabor Mate/Compassionate Inquiry, Brene Brown, Michael Singer and others – I now find myself relating to whatever arises in me from a place of radical acceptance and self-compassion. This has made all the difference. I am no longer at war with myself in my mind and I have settled into inner peace (most of the time 😉 )
In teaching my patients, I use this bus analogy: think of your brain as a bus and the driver of the bus is your heart/soul & your thoughts are the passengers. Remember that you are the driver of the bus and you need to be discerning about which passengers (ie thoughts) you let on the bus. Ask – is this thought helping or hurting me? Serving me or Sabatoging me? Is this the voice of the inner critic or the inner cheerleader? Is this the voice of love or fear? And if the thought is not helpful, then let’s not let that passenger on the bus. The question then becomes: How are you going to drive your busy down the highway of life? Sure, there will be potholes & bumpy patches along the way.
In the end, you will get to the destination, as long as you remember to enjoy your travels along the way. If you need help managing your mind/driving the bus, – this is my gift to you! Dr. Chris.nd
Excellent advice and analogy. Using this analogy will be very useful. The paternal
uncle of my eldest grandchildren suicided June 11, 2018. The loss of loved ones, no matter the cause is devastating!
Hi Jean – I am sorry for your loss- it really is devastating. Sending you healing thoughts, Dr. Chris.nd
What a wonderful article and so many great authors for me to explore.
Love this analogy. Thanks for the reminder Dr. Chris
Very interesting! My son attempted suicide last June & your blog was very helpful for me. I will pass it on to him. Thank you for your openness