When I turned 17 my father passed away. Unexpectedly from a heart attack in the stairs of our house, in front of my helpless mother. At the time, I was out with my friends to the local swimming pool. From there I heard 3 ambulances passing by who deafened almost all of us, a few minutes after this happened. I had a bad feeling when they made a public announcement at the swimming pool and called my name to go to Reception. They passed me the message: ” You must go home now because the Doctor asked you to’.
I couldn’t believe it was my name but the lady at the counter confirmed: it was well my name. My legs instantly melted as if they refused to walk me home and confront the gut feeling in my belly. I knew I had it bad. My friends carried me physically on my way home because my legs were out of order. Once arrived there, in front of the house, 3 ambulances and a mortuary car were parked right at the entry. As soon as I entered the house, I couldn’t see any familiar faces. They were over 20 people buzzing around, in my room, in the stairs, up and down, all over the 2 story house. I couldn’t eve see my mum anywhere and I was close to a heart attack.
‘Can anyone explain to me what’s going on?’ I scream my guts out.
A police man approached me and tells me to wait for the Doctor to have talk.
‘Are you Alexandra?’ he asks me.
“Yes, what happened?” I say in despair.
The Doctor says: ‘I’m afraid I have bad news for you. You father just passed away’
My world is crumbling. I tell the Doctor to try again, to try harder and bring him back to life: he can’t be gone! not now, not him, not like that!
“We tried everything, he’s gone”.
*cries, anger, confusion, incomprehension, denial*
I was close to my father and I needed him more than ever then. It was the most delicate, sensitive and fragile period of my life. That is adolescence. For almost anyone its a time filled with challenges, crisis, self-concerns and significant transitions. Parents play a key role in teens’ development and successful transition into adulthood, just like the social network, the romantic life, the school performance and career choices. It’s already ‘full on’ and very stressful. Grief is the last thing you want to have to deal with.
The consequences of loss
The following school-year I got kicked out of school because I was missing classes and I was unable to help the teacher and the principal understand what depression was as a result of father loss when you’re 17.
Truth is, they simply didn’t care to listen nor give me a second chance. They classified the matter as “lack of seriousness” and “unjustified absenteeism”, and they expelled me. They pushed me out of the system, undeserving to their eyes to further education. So I was left with no school options and no future either at 17.
I am surprised today I didn’t end up in substance abuse patterns or prison but I was close. Many young people slip through the cracks of the system and never make it back on track. The inflexible Swiss system, who typically has little tolerance to occasional weaknesses, pushes many to the edge. As a result Switzerland ranks the highest in youth suicide in the world.
I soon broke up with my boyfriend and my friends deserted my little by little, until I preferred isolation to their trivial presence. I felt they couldn’t really understand; I was better off in my room all day.
Back then, I contemplated suicide for 6 months and attempted suicide with a medication overdose. In hospital I convinced the psychiatric team that I didn’t really want to die, that there is nothing to be worried about. So we could be over with it, go home and spare my mother further worries and embarrassments.
Few months later, I started to feel better. I found taste again to life by having the courage to start over and live up to my father’s dreams for me.
I decided that dying was not worth it.
I saw that other people in the hospital had it much worse than me and I hadn’t said my last words down here. I decided to give LIFE a chance, instead of my judging the poor job it had done so far (childhood was also full of traumas).
In the next weeks, I moved to another school 30 Km away, in another city and set up altruistic goals. In that school they accepted me conditionally- based on my presence commitment and school engagement. I finished the school 2 years later with the highest marks of the class leaving the Principal speechless (he admitted he never expected me to pass or make it, leave alone ending top class – but others’ expectations has rarely been my concern ; the mindset changed my life – for the better).
As I held onto every chance, I got to make it right, I made meaning out of my experience and was ready to use it as a strength to help and understated others rather than as a disability stuck in a victim role. Its always a choice. We always have the choice.
Today, I get to work as psychotherapist and got into college when I was rejected from higher education for most of my youth (for financial and segregation schooling-system reasons when you are a migrant & belong to the minority classes). I get to use my experience today to relate to others’ stories, nurture hope and foster their inner light & great resilience.
And it works beautifully. I could have missed out on the most rewarding job, by rejecting my traumatic experiences, giving up on life and never writing my own story today – which is the key factor for helping others and be the example of how its all possible.
I never imagined back then that life could hold so many positive surprises and gifts along the path.
Everything is indeed impermanent. Every. Single. Thing.
So I’d like to briefly discuss some practical ways to approach suicidal thoughts, from both a spiritual and a secular perspective but larger a focus will be placed on the pragmatic and secular side of the problem. It may save a life or two.
Physical death: an appealing illusion
Death. An appealing solution to end of a unbearable life. The end of all problems. The end of a burden, of our pain, of our isolation, of our harsh inner voices. The end of suffering.
Energetically speaking, the burden of that energy does not disappear with the physical death. It continues. Until released, transmuted, solved & healed.
What is suicide?
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It is a desperate act to end the suffering and free oneself. It is often a long time planned act, re-attempted (with varying levels of determination), at a time when Hope has completely vanished from one’s mind, reality and motivation to bounce back in the fight.
Suicidal thoughts are commonly accompanied by a depressive episode or a history of depression with Anxiety Disorder/s co-morbidity and other clinical complications.
The biggest risk factors for suicide are:
• Isolation (social, cultural, family, spiritual) & sense of alienation from other
• Perception of lack of support
• Mental Health History
• Ongoing sleep difficulties / little sleep
• Unstable relationships
• No connection to or awareness of the a spiritual dimension / no spirituality
• Drugs or alcohol abuse
• Unwillingness to use available source of support (professional or personal)
If you are contemplating suicide, or know someone who suffers from depression, here are some powerful and practical approaches to take with yourself or with them:
There is no Death (spiritually and energetically speaking)
Physical Death is easier than Ego’s death. Ego persists energetically ever after. When the Ego has become highly threatened, it commands physical suicide. Mission aborted. He’s out of there. So you must be too. But, hang on, are YOU? Are You really?! You are not your Ego. To understand this more in depth, please refer to the first chapter of my book “ Who am I?” (in ‘Freedom Paths. Unlock the doors to True Self, Emotional Healing, Lasting Relationships, and Universal Love“).
The best way to kill the Ego is to stay alive and kick the Ego out.
Situations, people and circumstances don’t kill us. The Ego does. Self-acceptance, patience, humility and gratitude work against it very well.
Death is an illusion of an End. There is no death and there is no End.
You will continue to exist energetically ever after physical death. You may reincarnate to solve the unresolved problems or you may wander in across different realms until your spirit finds Peace.
Nothing disappears, everything transforms and remains connected. And there is no past, no present and no future as, as we discussed in my article on Synchronicity “There are no coincidences“.
You Are Significant
You are here because the Universe wanted you and are just as important as anybody else. Although not aware of it yet, upcoming (surely better) times will teach you this beautifully, stay assured. Faith is key here. Everything that happens to you now, the challenges you are currently facing, are leading you straight to your purpose if you take it as a lesson not as a punishment.
You never lose or fail, you either learn or succeed.
With time all this will make perfect sense. You will thank yourself for giving Life time, another chance and yourself self-love and self-care. You will find in this harsh times a rare opportunity: to give true meaning to your live and free yourself from illusion to reach permanent happiness.
Read my article on : “How breaking down can save you” to understand this.
Thoughts tell you lies and paint you a distorted reality
You are not your thoughts. Your mind is Ego’s house. Your Ego (False self) lives there all the time, bullies you all the time and feeds on fear. Thoughts are not Reality they are just thoughts, i.e. mental noise. Never believe your thoughts, most thoughts are lies as truth lives in your Body and speaks only through a quiet mind.
Why thoughts are not real and should not be acted upon?
The simple reason is because your uncontrolled automatic thoughts result from a biased mind. Humans’ thoughts result from a virtual representation of the world and of yourself, based on social, family and cultural expectations and experiences. Automatic thoughts feed on fear continuously and take over your mind.
Your reality is not someone else’s reality. Everyone projects on each other their own reality (based on their internalized representations of the world) and ultimately, everyone misses out not only on the actual reality but also on truly meeting each other as long as we ( humans ) live in our own minds. The mind is the collective insanity of human beings. It’s the common illness that unites us in our tragic human condition and separates us at the same time. Relationships are hard, trusting others is hard, life is hard because we live in our minds. Because our reality clashes with what is in our mind and its unrealistic expectations.
Realize this fundamental thing: people love us or hate us and this has nothing to do with us. People simply project their own reality or their own dream on us. We typically and (unintentionally) activate in them a dream they had once in their internal world or remind them of traits present but denied and rejected in themselves. This is called projection. The stronger our reaction to someone is, the more we are projecting. Everything that unfolds ever after they meet us is not so much dependent upon what we do or say than it is on their own mental processes and ongoing internal representations.
In conclusion, you are the sky and thoughts are the weather. Unless you are meditating right now, thoughts are not reading reality they repeat your conditioned Ego’s ‘dream’ or ‘fears’.
Choose Love and Reality: do more of what you love and makes you feel good
Thoughts are like the ripples of a lake, they come and go you don’t have to surf each wave. You don’t have to serve them tea, nor respond to them by taking action. A voice ignored eventually vanishes. Your Ego likes to ramble, but you don’t like to listen, right? Great! Stand up and leave it ramble there, you have better things to do!
Leave that mental space and invest into something worthwhile and helpful for you. Like doing someone you Love. Do more of that until you excel in it, if you don’t excel already. Distract your attention, grab a book, listen to your favorite music, remember and list the things you used to pray for once and have them now (all of them, be fair!), go for a run (physical activity balances your brain activity and is a great outlet), tell yourself continuously this mantra: ‘ I love myself’. Even is it sounds weird to you, doesn’t matter. It will soon feel very true. Tell it 1000 times until your body relaxes and you fall asleep. The brain doesn’t make a difference between virtual and real words. Even if you don’t believe it, saying it creates same positive effects in your brain. Those are miracle and super powerful words.
You become what you think, you attract what you feel & you create what you image.
Sleep as long as you need it! Good Sleep is extremely important to see things more objectively.
Challenge your thoughts and feel much better
By challenging your thoughts in the following way, you realize how inaccurate and unhelpful they are.
Step 1: Determine the Situation: what actual event or thoughts led to this current emotions. Write it down
Step 2: Current Automatic Thoughts. List them (I’m a failure, I can’t do anything right, I can’t continue like that, I will never make it, etc)
Step 3: What emotions these thoughts are causing me: list the emotions (not the thoughts). Rate how much % (e.g. Sadness 80%)
Step 4. Review these thoughts by answering in writing the following questions:
- What’s the objective evidence for this view/conclusion/perspective?
- What counter- evidence is there for a different point of view? (what contradicts my statements? list all type of successes and positive events that happened in your life)
- How did I get into the habit of thinking this way? (Take into account personal history and also evaluate wider social and cultural influences)
- What other explanations could there be? (for example “the person didn’t read the message, or they had their own personal problems and reacted in this way”, etc)
- How realistic are my expectations and beliefs?
- Is it helpful for me to see things this way? (Feeding a negative self-image will it allow ME to grow or stay stuck in self-sabotaging?)
- What would be a more positive way to see this? There are 360 angles in any situation. Don’t stay stuck in 1 angle view. How else can I look at the situation so I can make it HELPFUL to ME?
- What would I say to a friend if they were thinking this?
- Are there other people likely to live / feel this? (the answer is ALWAYS YES!) Ask yourself : “how can I get in touch with this community?” and get in touch. (Online forums, questions, testimonials, etc. There are plenty if you look around a bit).
Using all of these questions you can re-evaluate your thought and replace it with a more balanced, helpful belief.
Step 5. Return to Step 3 and RE-RATE the intensity of the emotion now, after this evaluation. If you challenged the thought successfully you should feel no more negative emotion or very little.
Expand on reasons to LIVE
Just write everything that you don’t really want to give up on, people or things that have made you feel real good, dreams and wishes untested, unexplored, solutions / paths never tried, loved ones and positive life experiences that you’d like to live again.
Depression is a horse that wears blinders. It has its vision restricted. Don’t use only one vision channel, take off the blinders and turn the problem to see all facets. Everything has goods and bads in it. Every single thing. Nothing can be all back and nothing is never all white. This mix of black and white, yin and yang we find it in every single situation. Depression choses only one side. Which is far from the reality.
What’s the white for you in here? What can you be grateful for and what don’t you fully recognize in this siltation as being learning/growth points? There is always something to feel grateful for. Always.
Break the problem into smaller solvable units
Depressive feelings leading to suicidal thoughts are very overwhelming. All problems looks incredibly big and daunting that is can feel impossible to deal with such amplitude.
However these overwhelming problems can be dealt with individually and realistically by creating small practical steps of solving the Big Picture. What’s one first step you can take in this? What is the second? Allow momentum to get you on a progress line, instead of fear freezing you on the spot. The first step is always the hardest. After this, it flows.
Talk to a professional
In your respective country, call the emergency line that is there to assist with mental health emergencies 24/7. You will not regret you did it. It becomes so much easier once this very first (but huge) step is done. Research shows that over 90% of patients that engaged in help-providing services (counselling, psychologists, etc), recovered from their illness.
In conclusion, depression is a serious but common and treatable condition that ranges widely in severity. Everyone will experience it at least once in their life.
Most of people recover from it and are grateful to have sought help and/or helped themselves in a first place, until ‘the weather changed’ and better times came about to embrace fully life again. For people who are severely depressed, suicide is a real threat. It is estimated that each year, over 30,000 people in the U.S. take their own lives, although the true number could be higher as some suicides go unrecognized because they’re classified as accidents, drug overdoses, or shootings. Among people whose depression remains untreated, up to 15% are likely to kill themselves. Seeking help, talking it out, or journaling regularly (this often equals to speaking to someone and is highly therapeutic in itself) can help you shift perspective and unload the grief so overwhelming on the moment.
Isolation, burnouts and lack of self-care are the true killers and its important to recognize the signs of exhaustion and repetitive negative thinking early on, to avoid the irreparable.
Seek help EARLY.
May you be well & safe.