In a previous post, I described personal experiences of suicidal episodes. At the time of the post – a few months after the episodes – it seemed to me that these suicidal episodes had come to their natural conclusion. In general, my assumption was that the episodes – like major depressive episodes – were the result of what could be described as “a dam of emotions” bursting. Once the emotions were released, I reasoned that the suicidal episodes would come to their own natural conclusion.
Having been a couple years following the first major suicidal episode, I found that this has not been the case. The suicidal episodes don’t in fact go away “on their own”. Ever since this first major episode, I’ve been susceptible to other episodes.
What I’ve learned from this is that a major suicidal episode is a bit like opening Pandora ’s Box. Once it’s open, the risk of a subsequent episode is always present. Unless, that is, rather drastic action is taken.
In my own experience, suicidal episodes generally occur when I get caught up in how certain decisions I’ve made have dug myself in to a “virtual hole” in life that I can’t seem to get out of. This feeling of fear and hopelessness time and again leads to suicidal thoughts and suicidal episodes. But I’ve also discovered that by truly understanding how I got into this hole, I can reverse the process to get out of it.
Digging Oneself Out
Initially, suicide seemed to be the cause of a continual repression of negative emotions. But I feel that this is only part of the story. The hopelessness that leads to suicide appears to be the result of habitual patterns of negative thinking. As written about elsewhere, there is a certain type of pleasure that people get from negative thoughts (otherwise we wouldn’t persist in thinking them).
The key points are that negative thoughts and an indirect cause of suicide, and negative thoughts are habitual. As such, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to stop negative thinking. It is not something that can be done in a day, a week, or even a couple months. It is a gradual process that will most likely take several months and possibly years.
And before one can even begin the process of breaking the habit of negative thoughts, one must become consciously aware of his or her thinking. Usually, we aren’t even aware of all the thoughts in our heads because so much of it is habitual. So step one is to be continuously aware of one’s thoughts, which in itself is a habit that takes effort and time to develop.
Leaving the “Dark Side”
For those of us that have habitual negative thoughts, thinking positive thoughts can at first seem awkward and even unpleasant. This might be a surprise…until you try it. For me, I was so used to thinking negatively that to start thinking thoughts about how life would turn out OK just didn’t “work for me”. I didn’t get the sadistic pleasure out of such thoughts. If things turned out alright, there was nobody to feel sorry for me. And I couldn’t feel better than others if I didn’t imagine going through a life full of struggles and hardship.
In short, switching to positive thoughts isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Nor is it without its dangers. One of the biggest dangers of positive thinking is the idea that negative emotions are bad and must be avoided at all costs. But nothing could be further from the truth.
One of the adventures in learning positive thinking is to understand that we must approach all possibilities in life with acceptance and love. Once again, you can go overboard here. There must be a balance between acceptances of the bad without the underlying feelings of becoming a martyr. In the end, positivity is not about how you think about something (as thoughts can easily be used to mask your emotions). Instead, positivity is about how you feel about something.
Think about how you feel when you hug a small child. That is the kind of vibe you are trying to cultivate for every life experience you encounter. The trick to doing so is to being now. In each moment, you decide how to meet the moment. You can meet it with positivity, negativity, or indifference. The best thing about meeting each moment with positivity is that life will respond to you based on the vibration you send out. So if you can learn to greet more and more daily occurrences with a positive vibe, life will match these vibes with more positive life situations. And if we are to look at the bigger picture: the more you are able to meet life with positivity, the less there is a possibility about falling back into another suicidal episode.
Another major point is that you can and will fail often as you learn to cultivate positive vibes. It is important therefore to never worry about failure, or how many times you “slide backwards”. Every time this occurs, simply shake yourself off and start over again. You will start over many, many times. And even if a day or week goes by, it doesn’t matter. You simply start once again and eventually you will lift yourself up to a new level in life that will feel different, refreshing, and full of possibilities.