Category Archives: Suicide

The Therapeutic Alliance: The Essential Ingredient for Psychotherapy

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umbrellas

 I am currently writing on the ‘therapeutic alliance’ – its relation to mindfulness, psychotherapy, understanding, and ‘being listened to…’   What follows is an interesting article that I came across that may interest some of you…

Excerpt:

Have you ever tried to change the way you do something? It could be anything — the way you hold your tennis racket, blow into a flute, meditate — you name it. If so, think about that experience. No matter how motivated you were to change, and no matter how much you knew that it would help your serve, musicality, or sense of inner peace, it can be difficult and scary to change even the smallest thing. In order to change, you have to give up your old way of doing something first and then try the new way. That means that for a while you’re in a free fall — you no longer have your old habit to rely on and you don’t yet have the new one.

The anxiety of trying to change something as complex and entrenched as how you relate to people close to you or manage stress takes the feeling to a whole new level. Yet, that’s just what you do when you enter psychotherapy. Just as you had to put yourself into the hand of your teachers and coaches, in therapy you need to gradually do just that with your therapist to help you through what can be a harrowing adventure. The foundation for therapy is called the therapeutic alliance (1, 2). When it’s there, you know that your therapist is there to help you, no matter how hard the going gets.

The therapeutic alliance might be the most important part of beginning a psychotherapy. In fact, many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of treatment outcome (3-5).

See entire article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-l-cabaniss-md/therapeutic-alliance_b_1554007.html

 

A mad world A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

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Unfortunate Events

When a psychiatrist meets people at a party and reveals what he or she does for a living, two responses are typical. People either say, ‘I’d better be careful what I say around you,’ and then clam up, or they say, ‘I could talk to you for hours,’ and then launch into a litany of complaints and diagnostic questions, usually about one or another family member, in-law, co-worker, or other acquaintance. It seems that people are quick to acknowledge the ubiquity of those who might benefit from a psychiatrist’s attention, while expressing a deep reluctance ever to seek it out themselves…

…While a continuous view of mental illness probably reflects underlying reality, it inevitably results in grey areas where ‘caseness’ (whether someone does or does not have a mental disorder) must be decided based on judgment calls made by experienced clinicians. In psychiatry, those calls usually depend on whether a patient’s complaints are associated with significant distress or impaired functioning. Unlike medical disorders where morbidity is often determined by physical limitations or the threat of impending death, the distress and disruption of social functioning associated with mental illness can be fairly subjective. Even those on the softer, less severe end of the mental illness spectrum can experience considerable suffering and impairment. For example, someone with mild depression might not be on the verge of suicide, but could really be struggling with work due to anxiety and poor concentration. Many people might experience sub-clinical conditions that fall short of the threshold for a mental disorder, but still might benefit from intervention.

See link for interesting article on psychiatry…and bits about the importance of psychotherapeutic intervention…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/have-psychiatrists-lost-perspective-on-mental-illness/

Bang Bang

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Arapahoe County High School

Arapahoe County High School

Karl Halverson Pierson. That’s the name of the 18-year old senior who opened fire yesterday in a high school in Centennial Colorado in Arapahoe County. Pierson reportedly was targeting his ex-debate team coach. However, he shot another student and then himself.

My intent is not to give anybody notoriety nor is my intent to add my voice to those who have so much to say about yet another shooting in locations that are supposed to serve the purpose of helping to build and develop our children into the adults they are to become.

My comments are most likely not going to be met with a lot of cheering and approval from my readers, so let me apologize in advance to any of my readers who may feel offended by anything I say. My intent is not to offend, just to observe and state what I believe based on what I observe.

I am going to try extra hard to pose questions to ponder rather than to make statements just to make sure it is not incorrectly interpreted that I am faulting anybody or making any accusations directed toward anybody.

Ironically, today is exactly one year that the horrific shooting in Newton Connecticut, killing 20 young children and six adults occurred in the Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Sandy Hook Elementary School

Sandy Hook Elementary School

20-year old Adam Lanza shot his way through the elementary school after killing his mother earlier that morning. Just recently, the findings on Lanza verified that he was somewhat obsessed with the 1999 Colubine school massacre in Littleton, Colorado in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed a teacher and 12 students before shooting themselves.

We all know what they had and did in common when they died; but what about how they lived? That is the question that keeps going around in my head. What did these troubled boys have in common? What might we as adults look for, that can tell us how to possibly see the warning signs or potential warning signs and maybe prevent the next shooting from happening?

Age is clearly something the shooters had in common, ranging from the ages of 18 through 20. It makes one wonder if there isn’t a particular point and time in a young man’s life when he may be more prone to act out in violence like this? I know as a foster mom who ends up getting teenage boys, I am very aware that these ages seem to be the ones that keep reappearing.

Obsession with video games or other behaviors of violence is another common thread. We had a young man here in our home earlier this year. He was 15 years old and he was absolutely fascinated and obsessed with the details of the Boston Marathon shooting when it occurred. I couldn’t get on the phone and contact his caseworker fast enough, especially when he expressed intense anger over relatively small disturbances.

Anger issues are another warning sign. Many people get angry, but this type of anger is more of a ‘misplaced’ type of anger – where you can clearly see (even if the young man is not able to) that the degree of anger far outweighs the cause. Again, what I am suggesting here is that there be a very obvious imbalance between the amount of anger and the event that causes it.

In all the cases of the shootings listed above, there were previous outbursts of anger displayed – some disruptive behaviors and or some indication that the young man was living a troubled existence of some type even though they may not have looked like it to outsiders.

Yes, all cases report that the boys were ‘bullied’ or didn’t fit in however, that is so generic in today’s schools it is more than likely not a reliable common thread. However, if we look closer at the way the child processes the feelings brought on by being an outsider or by being bullied, we may be onto something.

Breakdown of the Family

Breakdown of the Family

In quite a few instances, families were split up by divorce or in cases where mom’s (almost always due to finances) had worked outside the home and the young man found other places to occupy himself; many times alone and isolated.

I remember talk about the break down of family and family values in the news years ago. Some people made jokes about it when politicians addressed it as a societal issue. However, here we are, watching children who don’t turn to their parents, parents who have too much else going on in their lives (sometimes, being purely overwhelmed with the need to survive and pay next month’s rent,) to connect with their children in a way where they can get to know what they are really thinking.

And the result? Well, who knows how many other names and victims will be added to this list next year?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

When Ignorance Begets Confidence

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“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.”  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I begin with this quote to convey the feelings evoked in a recent exchange with a neighbor, one in which surprise (and some horror) was felt during the course of the conversation.  Logic and ‘reasonableness’ had little place in the interchange. I had just been reading a short article that looked at particular German words that gave expression to complex emotional states. An excerpt is as follows: 

“Fremdschämen describes embarrassment which is experienced in response to someone else’s actions, but it is markedly different from simply being embarrassed for someone else….Fremdscham (the noun) describes the almost-horror you feel when you notice that somebody is oblivious to how embarrassing they truly are.” Further…”Fremdscham-inducing events…usually cause one to ask this question: “how on earth can these people be unaware of how stupid they are being right now?”.

I invite you to read this short article on the cognitive bias created in the Dunning Kruger effect – an effect that causes one to be unaware of their performance – and their incompetence.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolved-primate/201006/when-ignorance-begets-confidence-the-classic-dunning-kruger-effect?fb_action_ids=10202209567024712&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210202209567024712%22%3A483617186047%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210202209567024712%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

Abuse in the news

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Sexual abuse, assault, violence

2013-03-13 Clergy sex abuse settlements top $2.5 billion nationwide – There have been nearly 17,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse since 1950 and legal settlements for their suffering continue to climb. [sexual abuse, religion]
2013-03-12 Overturned Sexual Assault Case Spurs Bill to Limit Commanders’ Tribunal Powers – “A bill introduced in the House of Representatives would remove the power of military commanders to unilaterally overturn or lessen the decisions of judges or juries at courts martial under their review. The proposed legislation came as a direct response to the outrage of victim advocates and some lawmakers to the recent case of an Air Force lieutenant colonel granted clemency after a sexual assault conviction.” “According to statistics compiled by the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, 2,420 servicewomen reported they had been victims of sexual assault in 2011. The military estimates that number to represent a mere 13 percent of total abuse.” [military, sexual assault, women]
2013-03-11 Unholy Alliance (NY Times Editorial) – “Gender-based violence is an epidemic. A World Bank report estimated that more women between the ages of 15 and 44 were at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined. According to the United Nations and other sources, more than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime…” Yet, halfway into their two-week annual meeting, delegates to the UN Commission on the Status of Women fear they will not be able to agree on a final communiqué, just like last year. Conservative factions from the Vatican, Iran, and Russia are leading efforts to derail the effort yet again. [women, United Nations, domestic violence, sexual assault]
2013-03-06 Two of three women in Colorado prisons diagnosed with psychological disorders – “The number of Colorado female prisoners diagnosed with psychological disorders has risen sharply to more than twice the level of male prisoners. The women are almost without exception victims of severe sexual and physical abuse, experts say. They cycle through jail and prison, often because they don’t get adequate treatment or community support. ‘The trauma histories are extreme,’ said Theresa Stone, chief of mental health at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. ‘It’s hard to hear what these women have been through.'” [women, incarceration, sexual assault, domestic assault, trauma, treatment access]

2012-12-03 Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault In The Military – Transcript of 30 minute interview. “An investigation into a dozen instructors at Lackland Air Force Base suggests systematic sexual abuse of trainees. Critics say this case is emblematic of a larger problem. The Department of Defense estimates that as many as 19,000 sexual assaults occurred within the military in 2011.” [sexual assault, military, women]

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

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Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

The following post was originally written and posted by Stephen Ames.

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

I am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

prison of painI’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Prison of Pain” by Franck Vervial
“Ice Eye” by Nicolo Paternoster

Talking about suicide

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We know it happens, but sometimes it seem unreal. Media shall not write about suicide since it might become a “suicide epidemic” especially if famous people or methods used, are described. Still, what also need to be focussed on, is the reality of it happening, and then how we can work to prevent further suicides.
 

Coming out

So, how do you “come out” about a suicide attempt or suicidal thinking? And should you? We’re talking about being open beyond your immediate circle of family and friends.

Here and here are guides that explore the broader question of disclosing about mental health issues. They include lists of thoughtful questions to ask yourself when making that decision. And here is a guide for attempt survivors who are thinking about sharing their stories in public.

Here are a few comments from people who’ve come out about their experience, from interviews on the blog Talking About Suicide:

“I just made the decision I was not going to hide who I was, not be ashamed of who I was, not be ashamed of what happened to me. I’m sure there were people who judged me along the way, but it’s their loss. I wish that I had had someone who could talk to me. … I do not have ‘suicide survivor,’ ‘trauma survivor’ or ‘person who was diagnosed with a severe mental illness’ tattooed across my forehead.” _ Cheryl Sharp

“My psychiatrist congratulates me on my speaking. He says, ‘I have all these letters after my name, but I don’t begin to understand mental illness like you do. And you have such a valuable part to play because you’ve been there.’” _ Tom Greensides

“I lost a lot of friends. Maybe 75 to 80 percent just wrote me off, just like that. At the time it kind of sucked, but I saw right through it, like, ‘You weren’t really my friend anyway.’ It was good to really clean that out of my life. … The people left are probably the healthiest.” _ Joseph Olszewski

“It must have been a hell of a conversation when we met. I knew she was the one. I just told her everything, my whole story in about two hours: ‘This is who I am, where I’ve been, where I am now, what I want to do with life. What do you think?’ She said, ‘Let’s meet again and get married.’ So we got married. We’ve been together eight years, almost. And she’s 100 percent supportive of me.” _ Craig Miller

Finally, one issue that’s rarely addressed in discussions about coming out is legal protection against discrimination _ a bit odd, considering that concerns about legal protection are so strong in the mental health world when it comes to helping people who might be suicidal.

We asked a couple of lawyers who are familiar with mental health issues for their thoughts on speaking openly:

Dan Lukasik, lawyer and founder, LawyersWithDepression.com: “I’ve thought about suicide many times, many times. It’s hard for people to understand depression, but it’s an even further leap to understand suicidal ideation.”

“It’s really driven by what kind of climate you work in. Some employers are more understanding, and some are not. … I tend to think, generally speaking, it’s a case-by-case analysis. … I don’t practice that area of law, wrongful termination, but my own personal experience, when I came out six years ago, was pretty rough, very hard. People thought I was crazy. I had a very successful law practice, ‘Why would you throw it away?’ A friend of mine, a judge, said, ‘You understand, your competitors will want to hurt you with this.’ My own experience was none of that came true, and a ton of positive things came out.”

“I think maybe how people choose to come out is also important . Is it going to be a positive story or a negative story? Having read lots of blogs, I think it’s important how the coming out is done. Does it have a positive narrative or very, you know, troubling narrative, I guess. Mine came out as kind of a constructive thing. I wanted to help other people. I’m not a poster child with complete recovery, I’m still struggling, but I’m moving in the right direction. For someone who survives a suicide attempt and is trying to do something constructive, I think it’s a very positive direction.”

“I think if there’s no real reason to tell the employer, if work hasn’t been affected, maybe there’s no reason to tell the employer.”

“Many, many, many people can relate to depression. … Maybe the way to go is to come out with depression. And that’s exactly what I did.”

Lewis Bossing, senior staff attorney, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law: “Some people who may be concerned about discrimination based on knowledge of a suicide attempt may be people who are protected from disability-based discrimination under ADA and other laws.”

“Discrimination about suicide is similar to discrimination on the basis of disability. When you discriminate on that basis, it’s because an employer or a school clings to a stereotype about whether that person is likely to hurt themselves again or hurt someone else, which might affect whether they can do the job or stay in school.”

“I think schools often seem to be concerned about liability from some lawsuit later from family members or someone else at school who may have been affected, where they may have known about someone’s history and not done something. Those episodes are usually few and far between.”

“It’s a matter of going in and figuring out … what kinds of supports a person may need in being successful in school or work. … If it’s a job, a person might need to take a little time off during the day for counseling. Or they may have certain needs for flextime based on medication they’re taking. In many cases, these are reasonable workplace accommodations. In schools, it may be whether they need to take some time off and be permitted to come back after completing a course of treatment, or just taking time away and finishing the program at a later time.”

“Depending on where someone is, if it’s a workplace, the EEOC or the equivalent state agency, all those agencies accept disability discrimination complaints. … If it’s a matter of schools, each state may have statewide education agencies that process disability discrimination complaints. Also, there’s access to the federal department of civil rights, which has handled a lot of these complaints.”

“I do think disclosure is where we’re going as a society, it’s easier than it ever has been, but I’m not sure we’re there yet.”

“If readers are looking for legal assistance, there are offices in every state that have attorneys who specialize in disability law. The Protection and Advocacy Network. …  I will say the Bazelon Center is the only center for mental health law I’m aware of.”

“It’s worth thinking about how and when to disclose, in what form, what context, and how long that information is likely to trail behind you as you go through life. It might not be that every disclosure is a forever disclosure, but some might be.”

 
 

The Night I Gave Up My Life

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The Night I Gave Up On Life

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I don’t quite know why I am sharing this extremely personal story with you now, except that there is a little voice pushing me to let it out, and I am acting on that.

This story might be upsetting for some and it might make others feel angry and for that I apologise.

I want to tell you about the night I gave up on life.

It was back in 1990, my life looked as if it was going well, I had a lot of friends, I had a decent job, I had travelled a bit, I had good looks, I had money in my pocket, the works.  The thing is I wasn’t all that happy and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was unhappy inside.  I used to fantasize about ending my life, it was actually a real comfort to know that I had the choice of living or dying.

I used to plan how I was going to end my life so as it would look like an accident to lessen the pain on my family, my favourite fantasy was jumping off a tall building.

One night, I was working in a bar and I was walking the 2 mile walk home late at about 1am.  The rain could be heard thundering down onto the pavements.  I was walking slowly in the rain as I liked the feel of rain against my skin.  I noticed in the distance a dog, and it was limping quite heavily.  When the dog got closer, I noticed the dog had only 3 legs as it ran past me.  For no reason, I started crying uncontrollably as I felt so sorry for this dog.  I couldn’t get the dog out of my mind the next day, and wondered why I was so upset by it.  I realised I felt like the dog: alone, soaked, not fully functional and nowhere to go.

A few nights later I decided that the jacket of life no longer fitted me and I was taking the jacket off for good.  I said goodnight to my mum and dad, I called my sisters earlier on to tell them I loved them.  I took 26 strong sleeping tablets up to my bedroom after telling my dad not to wake me up in the morning for work as I had a days holiday.  I sat in bed with the tablets, a glass of milk and cried as I took each tablet.  I cried for my mum, and at how heartbroken she would be, I cried for my dad as I had only told him I loved him once in my life.  I cried for my sisters as I would miss them terribly and knew they would miss me.  I took all 26 tablets and put my head on my pillow to die.  I am crying as I write this just now.

I can’t quite remember when I woke up, I was in hospital and two of my friends were there with my mum and dad and sisters.  I had been unconscious, I honestly don’t know how long as I have never spoken of this to my family since.  The morning after I had taken the tablets my dad was up for work as normal.  He didn’t wake me up as I had told him not to, however he heard a bang when he got up at around 5am.  Apparently I had fallen out of bed.  That fall , and my dad hearing it, saved my life, I believe.

When I woke up in the hospital there was a lot of crying, a lot of questions and a lot of explaining.  The hospital psychiatrist came round and asked if I needed help.  I told her I knew why I had done it and I was going to rectify the issues in my life.  I felt ashamed, guilty, upset and angry at myself at having to put my family through something as awful as this just because I didn’t have the balls to sort out some of my problems.

I didn’t feel I fitted into life, with the friends I had, the job, just everything.  What did I do? I started over.  I dropped my friends as I realised they were drinking buddies and not friends, I changed my job, I upgraded my skills, I got my finances sorted out and moved to another city.  I have never looked back since and I have been on a quest ever since to find myself and share the knowledge I have with others.

Lessons From That Night

Nothing and I mean nothing is so bad that you have to take your own life.  There are always options and if the worst comes to the worst, drop everything and start again.  If you are in this situation just now, please believe me when  I say it will get better and there are people who can help.

I’ve learned to tell others how much I love them and how much I appreciate them.

I’ve learned to look for the signs that others might need help.

I mentioned earlier the jacket did not fit, what I realised when I awoke in the hospital was that the jacket can be altered to fit me and I didn’t have to fit the jacket.

I have learned so much more over the years since that night and my long standing depression was lifted in one decision – I will change my life to suit me.

Filed Under: Psychology Tagged With: 
About Steven Aitchison
I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.
If you want to learn more about my products you can check out Steven Aitchison’s Productsor check out my books and Kindle books on Amazon

(some) Comments. I have taken away many on this repost, all comments can be found at the original page

    • That really sums up what suicide really is to other people and I think it is a true statement.

      I am really touched with all the personal stories and also the support, I was expecting a lot of people to really condemn this.

      Thanks you for your comment Mary.

  1. Trudie says:

    What courage it takes to tell your personal story…and what an inspiration you are to others! So glad you found your way and that you Changed Your Thoughts and changed your life!!! Best to ya!

  2. WOW! its a wonderful story and i am very much inspired with your post. And i am impressed with the word “drop everything and start again”, which is a good moral in any ones life. I was also impressed comparing life with the jacket. And i appreciate for your courage and a right decision taken in life.

  3. Short comment: Thank you :-)

    Long comment: I had those thoughts too but never been that close to actually do it, like you were. Sometimes I think it’s an act of cowardice not to “pull the trigger” like you did. I don’t really know if there are only parts of us that needs that “killing” in order for something better to grow, but I’m glad you took this out in the light. Because it’s in our lives more often than we want to accept. We all have this kind of thoughts, but very few have the guts to admit it. Suicide, by its perceived emptiness and lack of consciousness, may look like a viable solution for many of us. We don’t have problems anymore, we don’t have consciousness, we’re nothing. Black out. But, despite its apparent comfort as an ultimate solution for all our problems, I always suspected this isn’t exactly like this. And you confirmed it to me, in a way you’ll never know ;-) So, thank you |:-)
    .-= Dragos Roua´s last blog ..The 6 Stages Of A Failure =-.

  4. I don’t know you, besides what your name is (I’m a rather new reader), but I just want to say that I admire your courage to share a story like this with the world – and despite not knowing you, I’m really glad that you’re still around.
    .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Google Street View – More Funny Pictures =-.

  5. Mario says:

    Wow. It’s my first time here and you definitely left me shocked :O!

    I like what you say about dropping everything and starting again. I’m very happy with my life but I always take big risks. Best case: I’m the king of the world. Worst case: damned, but can start again. Knowing that, and knowing we have the means to stand up and get back in track is the most powerful thing there is :) !

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Mario, welcome to CYT :)

      It might sound a little simplistic ‘just start over’ but it is, like you said, powerful to know we have the choice to start over.

      Thanks for dropping in Mario

  6. Matt Butson says:

    This was an incredibly moving post. I don’t ever comment on blogs, but when I do it means something to me. Keep making life work to your standards!

  7. desmond says:

    very inspiring keep up your good work

  8. Lauren says:

    Steven,

    I am so glad I came upon your story. I honor your courage to share it. I really feel it is through sharing who we really are – which includes our most vulnerable moments – that we can benefit one another.

    It is easy to share the joys and what looks “pretty”. It takes courage to share our darkest moments. And yet isn’t that where our strengths often emerge from? Clearly, you decided to make it a defining moment and made life changes.

    We do make the DECISION to live. Sometimes when I work with people who are severely depressed I remind them that depression is like a dark hole that you never feel you will emerge from, but you can – and do!

    Did you by any chance read Beautiful Boy (the father of a meth addict). The author was afraid to publicly own what was happening in his own family. He finally wrote an article for the prominent paper he worked for. The outpouring – and appreciation that he would address what so many people were suffering through silently – was like an avalanche. He then had the courage to write the book.

    Eckhart Tolle also talks about his being on the edge of suicide when he had an awakening.

    Your story gives me the courage and inspiration to be more real in sharing my own life experiences. They have helped evolve the totality of who I am today!

    Thank you so much,
    Lauren

    • Hi Lauren. Thank you for your words.

      I haven’t come across ‘Beautiful Boy.’ I have read that Eckhart Tolle was on the verge of suicide and that he came through it with an epiphany like experience.

      I haven’t read your blog before but have bookmarked it for future reading.

  9. Takes alot of courage to share that with everyone…

    Thank you for sharing your lessons.

    -Rishi

  10. mary says:

    Thanks to your dad for hearing the bang on the floor because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to share yourself and your story to help others. We are all grateful.

    • Hi Mary, The good thing that has came out of this is that I tell me family every time I speak to them that I love them, more so my mum and two sisters but I have told my dad on many occasions as well :)

  11. Hi Steven.

    You are real strong now. Who would point out something like this? Very few people would even think to. It’s easy to look at it from our view as a potent article, but it is completely different to choose to write it and then write it. It makes us stronger just to read it.

    One aspect we see is CYT, and CYT would not be here without one individual. We see CYT as a strong presence, and have to remember the strong individual behind it.

    I have told folks “Steven Aitchison from Change Your Thoughts said [X] and [Y]” sometimes. I say it in a way that leads folks to assume that I see you as a powerhouse.

    Many people have thoughts similar to the ones you had, and some acted as you had, but so few will mention it at a later time.

    “the jacket can be altered to fit me and I didn’t have to fit the jacket”

    You lose nothing when you mention something important like this, but some of us will see this and then still keep our important things hidden. Maybe it is needed that we get that feeling that we can’t help but point them out.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Team Up With A Partner To Make Progress =-.

    • Armen, I can’t begin to tell you how much I have appreciated your support and writing over the last few months. I really appreciate your kind words. You are right in that I am strong, always have been, I just didn’t realise it at times, just like so many others as well.

  12. Jink says:

    Dear Steve, you are a delight and I am so glad you are here. Your writing on your blog- and now you- are important to me (way down in Australia) . Thanks heaps for sticking around and for your bravery in posting this!

  13. Gareth says:

    Steven,

    Thats an intensely personal story and it can’t have been easy for you to share it. I am obviously glad that you survived the experience and that you have turned your life around so profoundly since then.

    I was gratified that you had the strength and self-awareness to write this line:

    “I felt ashamed, guilty, upset and angry at myself at having to put my family through something as awful as this just because I didn’t have the balls to sort out some of my problems.”

    This struck a chord with me as a friend of mine took his own life about ten years ago and the effect it had on his family and friends was absolutely devastating. It really is harder on those left behind. I remember someone telling me about how sad and angry he felt about how he had missed out on everything that had happened since the suicide. All the births, marriages, good times etc that he could have been a part of…

    You are right that there is help available and that that your circumstances, no matter how grim they appear right now, will change. No-one should be choosing this way out – no matter how bad it seems, we don’t want to lose you.

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing your story of how there is always a way back – even from a situation as dark as the one you were in.

    Gareth

    • HI Gareth. I will always regret doing what I did because of the pain it caused to my family so I know where you’re coming from with regards to your friend.

      Thanks for commenting Gareth and sharing a part of your own story.

  14. Shaznaym says:

    Steven, Thank you for sharing your story. It is truely incredible that you eventually realised what your issues were.

    I too, went through something similar. I was not happy with life or the life that I had although I had everything too.

    What was getting me down was that I was in a relationship I was not happy in, plus I had found out I was pregnant. I was unhappy because I had no close friends (Due to my relationship) and was increasingly sad. I took pills, but not enough to do me or my baby damage. It was more a cry for help.

    After that, I realised I needed to change my life. After my son was born, I ended my relationship with his dad and started going to church. This was exactly what I needed at that time and it has changed me forever. I made the right friends and had a hectic social life which I loved. It also helped me to find me. What I liked and disliked, how I wanted my life to be, not what everyone else wanted my life to be. I had the time to do a lot of soul searching.

    Everyone is now amazed at my strength and courage now , but I guess in life, we have to go through these rough times to get the strengh to overcome them.

    Thank you again for sharing. I hope it helps many people out there who are going through trials and need a wake-up call. Ending your life is never the best way.

    • Hi Shaznaym, thank you so much for sharing your own story and I am sure it will help others in a similar situation. A lot of people find church a comfort in times like this and I am glad you found something.

      I think the rough times make us stronger, although we may not see that at the time.

  15. Wow Steven, I’m so glad you’re still here. And how lucky we are that you changed your life or I wouldn’t be commenting here today.

    I’m sure you’ll touch everyone who reads this in one way or another.

    I was 17 and pregnant when I married and by the time I was 22 I was mom to 4 girls. I thought of ending it when the twins turned one. I was so exhausted I lost weight and had dark circles under my eyes. I would cry myself to sleep at night. My husband couldn’t help me because he had 2 jobs.

    I had a plan but never followed through with it.

    Like you I changed every area of my life and my husband joined me in the process. Today the girls are all in their 30′s and we’ve been married 38 years.

    I’m glad I’m here too!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Bold Solutions For A New World =-.

    • Tess, thank you so much for your kind words.

      You also have been an inspiration and managed to turn it around and I am so glad you didn’t follow through either, or this conversation would not be happening. Thank you for sharing that.

      Isn’t it amazing the stories that come out!

  16. Hi Steven,
    Thank you so much for your amazing openness about what happened to you. You have taken such a challenging situation, and by some stroke of grace, you were able to turn it around to not only heal your own life, but help others as well.

    Stories like this bring people together. We resonate, we meet in the similarities, we reach out to support each other, we learn from one another. Social networking doesn’t even begin to capture it. This is true, heartfelt connection, where we meet in love.

    I so appreciate you, your courage and bravery. It’s inspiring to all of us.

    Much love to you,
    Gail

    • Thank you Gail. You’re right about social networking not even coming close to capture this and meeting everyone on a different level. Thank you for your support, I always appreciate it.

  17. Steven, wow, this a powerful post. I imagine it must have taken a LOT of courage to share this, but I’m so glad you did. It’s incredibly personal stories like this one that reach out touch people and really change lives. Thank you for sharing this.
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..how to stay positive in the face of rejection =-.

    • Hi Dani, Thanks for that. I honestly am still trying to figure out why I wrote this and posted it, I am trusting that gut instinct.

      • I know why. :-)
        .-= Gail from GrowMap´s last blog ..WHO CAN YOU BENEFIT BY SHARING GROWMAP? =-.

      • LEBELLY SAYS:

        These posts are from 2010, but I just came upon this blog. Sounds like you were young and had everything going for you. Try being a middle aged woman, no kids, no career, and someone who had a promising life in 1990 and beyond. The last four years I have lost everything and everyone. YOu can bet, I have given up it seems. I need to talk to a professional because I really don’t care anymore and have prayed for cancer or some other illness where I don’t have to do it myself directly. I could just refuse treatment. I wasted my life, I blew it, and like they say…you only get one chance.

    • COLIN SAYS:

      I’ve heard alot of people say it will get better, which I guess it could…Kind of if I greatly lowered my standards. I can relate to your experience to a degree. But I still don’t feel all too optomisstic about life. I was leading a rough life at first but not too bad. I had met this girl and started I turning my life into what I thought was better direction. I went and spent time with her in europe. She’s canadaian I’m american. This was the first and last time I saw her. From my life was cluttered with the death of a grandmother. Followed by people making plans for my life when I already had plans of my own. I forced into a deep depression of family breathing down my neck on a daily basis. I barely got to see friends to at least have someone to talk to to gain a level mind with. I tried talking to the girl only to discover she was having difficulties and I was also being really irrational and depressed when I’d talk to her. So she eventually said she just felt horrible and that our relationship was unhealthy. Everything was just cluttered under a series of misconceptions. I had no one to talk to to gain any sort of sanity to straighten things out. While in the mean time had a terrible boss that despite me working my ass off for the bitch she gave the newly hired people more hours than me and always talked down to me. My fathers marriage was falling apart at the same time I was always always always talking to family or him about depressing things. I watched all the things I had worked very hard for fall apart at the same time relationships, friends, work, etc. And now here I am unemployed everything I had set my mind and heart to is dead and gone. More deaths of people I was close to occured. I have lost all faith in anything what so ever. I do not will not cannot and shall not ever believe there is a fucking god. I have been pushed to my edge and my limit for a whole year now and I simply just don’t care anymore. Maybe it will get better but I know its definately never going to be or is anything I ever wanted it to be. Its just a piece of shit life and a petty meaningless existence that I live for some reason that I don’t know right now. I am very quite nearly to the point of saying fuck it all I don’t care where it goes.

      • RE: COLIN SAYS:

        Hi Colin! Sorry to hear that you are going through many obstacles in life. I hope you’re doing much better. This recession seems to be getting the best of people. I can’t imagine what it would be like in other parts of the world, especially third-world countries. If it’s any consolation, at least here in the U.S. – we have many more opportunities than other people from poorer countries. While we may experience temporary setbacks in life, these poorer people must deal with no running water, no food, no health insurance and no job as daily occurrences. It may seem like your life is not going as well as you intend it to be but remember at least opportunities exist here for us to make things better.

    • CIRCULAR SAYS:

      I use to think this stuff made sense. But now that I’m 50, and in the last 4 years I lost my job making 80k yearly, both my parents died and it has been impossible for me to get back into my original field of work. It appears my 20 years of experience isn’t as good as a college students. I guess what I’m saying is sometimes it best to end it all.

      • DAN SAYS:

        I feel the same way! I’m tired of fighting everyday. I have just given up! I need some peace!

        • KELLY SAYS:

          Dan please don’t give up my sister took her own life 9 sept and its now the living hell for me and the rest off my close family I agree life is shit constant fight but please nothing is worth the pain it causes I now live every day wishing and aching for my sister .she was 34 and my niece who is 12 considers doing the same as I said I know it’s hard but please get help join a group

      • THE REAL BEV SAYS:

        I couldn’t agree more. What you have to bear in mind is that it is much harder to carry out that you would imagine. I have been close to death twice but it wasn’t meant to be. The worst thing about failed suicide is that it becomes no longer an option. Then you REALLY have no way out. I have promised my daughter I would never try again. I regard my promise as shackles chaining me to more and more years of worry, regret, sadness, loss and increasing poverty. You would never know this to look at me. I’m attractive, popular (specially when their computers go wrong), passionate about my political causes – adopted to compensate for the big hole in my life and the fact that I know I’ve had all the best bits and that, yes, maybe things could be improved. But I really don’t care enough to improve them. Just get it over with already.

  18. Richard Grant says:

    Dear Steven,
    You are “Spot On” about all that you speak of. I too had the same life changing experience as you. I have spent the last 5 years reading and studying every book I can get on “Positive Thinking”, Physics, NLP, How the Brain Works, just about anything on human behavior available. So, at this point in my life I am currently writing a book on “The Science Of Thinking”, by “Unlocking the Mysteries of Our Brainwaves and How that Effects Our Relationships.” I have seen many, many web sites discussing The various Powers of the Universe, and I must say I believe, truly believe you are on the “RIGHT TRACK”. It is very obvious that you have done much research in presenting your thoughts and ideas and I commend you. I intend to follow you as closely as I can by sharing our thoughts, feelings and ideas. Thank you for sharing your LOVE with us all. I embrace your Grace and I am grateful for your GIFT!

    Richard Grant

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  1. […] Go Of Your Past We’ve all done something stupid, had bad experiences and things that we wish would never have […]

  2. […] “The night I gave up on life” at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your […]

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  6. […] Steven Aitchinson has a driving force in the shape of one fateful night, which he eloquently described in The Night I Gave Up On Life. […]

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  8. […] The Night I Gave Up On Life by Steven Aitchison at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life […]

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