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Psychotic Ponderings

I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm living in an alternative reality where the truth is relative and there are no absolutes; only feelings matter. Everyone is experiencing elevated anxiety and depression and it's being expressed in anger, threats, destruction, and violence. But I have good news...

You don't have to act on your feelings.

Our offices are inundated with requests to address suicidal and Homicidal thoughts. People are reporting "weird" nightmares, evil thoughts, and they are afraid of acting on any of this. When our minds become overwhelmed by challenges we can't find solutions to we can experience dark and "evil" thoughts that we did not previously have. This is actually normal.

REALLY? Yes. We all have thoughts of, "What if..." and if we let our imagination go uncontrolled, we will see ourselves driving off cliffs, stopping on train tracks, or walking into the depths of the ocean to never return to the shore. It's these thoughts that made Steven King a famous writer and Edgar Allen Poe a famous poet. Millions of dollars are generated with scary movies, costumes, and "fright" nights. It's what makes Halloween so "fun." Life and Death go hand in hand because death is a normal part of living. So why would we think to contemplate our own demise as psychotic and something to fear? The true danger only lies in the place where we become controlled by those thoughts and contemplate taking action on them.

When I work with clients who report these thoughts I show them that it's an effort to avoid pain, shame, and rejection. Often even embarrassment can bring on feelings of wanting to kill ourselves. Have you ever said, "I was so embarrassed I wanted to die." Death is the final escape from difficulty. Unfortunately, it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Suicide is an internal response to an external trigger. There are three types of battles we face: Battles from Within us (internal), Between us (relational), and Outside us (environmental). When you identify what battle you are facing (and it could be a combination) you can see why you want to escape. When the battles overwhelm your ability to reason logically, emotions are the only thing left. Uncontrolled emotions cause us to react instead of respond to the battle. We can lash out at others and cause them harm, and we can lash inward and cause ourselves harm.

Feelings are not facts. They do not require us to act upon them to validate them. You can have feelings, you can express those feelings logically with a therapist, and you can learn how to control those feelings by challenging them with facts and truth. This is the pathway to understanding ourselves a little better and maybe will allow us to understand others as well.


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