Reasons for Suicide: When Your Brain Lies to You
I hear from many people who are suicidal and these people give many reasons for suicide; but these reasons for suicide are typically lies from their brains called cognitive distortions. For example, one lie might be the idea that everyone is a selfish liar, or, put more simply, everyone is “bad” and the suicidal person cannot live in a world where everyone is bad. I think it’s really important to address this because, certainly, if you really did think everyone was selfish or everyone was a liar then being suicidal would be much more natural. But the fact Is, this (and other) reasons for suicide are false.
Top Reasons for Suicide I've Heard
There Is Too Much Suffering in the World
Part of thinking that everyone is bad is looking around and seeing so much suffering in the world. Clearly, if there are so many wars, murders, rapes and other atrocities then this “proves” that people are bad and some people are overwhelmed by this notion.
Everyone in My Life is a Selfish Liar
And then there are people who have had negative experiences with people in their lives and, so, feel that these negative experiences are the only ones that will ever happen. When your boy/girlfriend cheats, your best friend lies or you perceive people as selfish, it can be a very negative space to be in and can feel like a reason for suicide.
Reasons for Suicide Are Cognitive Distortions
But the fact of the matter is, viewing everyone as a selfish liar or viewing everyone as bad is something called a cognitive distortion. In other words, it’s a false thought, usually put there by an illness. I explain more below.
In other words, these are lies that your brain is telling you that makes you think they are reasons for suicide. They are not, however.
Why Aren’t These Reasons for Suicide?
It’s quite simple. These cognitive distortions are not reasons for suicide because they’re false and as thinking, intelligent beings, we can recognize them as such with our insight. It’s really easy to believe these brain lies when you’re really depressed and suicidal, I know, but we need to fight back against these thoughts and replace them with reasonable assertions.
- “Everyone is bad.” – While some people are a negative influence, many people are positive influences too. In fact, most people have both “good” and “bad” in them even if it seems like I’m only seeing the “bad” right now.
- “Everyone is a selfish liar.” – It’s true that some people are selfish and lie but not everyone is like this. Some people would, in fact, put others’ needs in front of their own. I know this because people like Mother Theresa exist.
- “There is too much suffering in the world.” – It’s true, any amount of suffering is “too much” but in addition to suffering there is great joy as well. There are simple things like looking at a sunset or bigger things like falling in love. There is much to celebrate if I choose to look around and see it.
And so on. We need to use our wise minds to combat the lies coming from our brains.
Because in the end, the concept of a “reasonable reason for suicide” is pretty much oxymoronic. There are few, if any, reasonable reasons for suicide, no matter how real and reasonable they feel to us when we’re suicidal.
So remember, don’t let brain lies become reasons for suicidality. You can fight against those lies and learn to live in hope instead of pain.
Image of finger over mouth provided by Cristian V.
Tracy, N. (2015, June 10). Reasons for Suicide: When Your Brain Lies to You, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2015/06/reasons-for-suicide-when-your-brain-lies-to-you
Author: Natasha Tracy
very useful reading!
I know of men and women who took their own lives. They were so depressed and out of it that they weren't truly aware of what they were doing. But to actually plan your own suicide is a sin against the Fifth Commandment. People who have MH issues need to and should seek professional help before it so out of hand that they literally lose it. There is help, but one has to accept the fact they do indeed need help. Someone who is bipolar and does not deal with it is I truly believe a threat to themselves and those they live with and or work with. Comparable to a bomb ready to go off. They are like Jekyl and Hyde. Finding the right psychiatrist and medication or combinations of meds can take time, but is worth it. So is psychiatric hospital therapy. Better a two week stay in a hospital than out on your own without the help and care of a professional staff. PhilHaven in Pennsylvania is wonderful as is Harrisburg's PPI.
I am so tired guys and guys. I don't have people to reach out to, and the one person I thought I had, doesn't seem to care. My distorted thoughts cannot seem to be relinquished! I thought my boyfriend had a clearer understanding of my condition. But he just tells me, I can control my thoughts feelings and emotions--just disregarded my feelings like they didn't matter.
It hasn't helped that I haven't seen my therapist in a month due to his cancelling. Every distorted thought is validated and confirms my worthlessness. No one seems to understand the pain I am in. I wish I had the strength to end it all. I think about how it would hurt others that say they love me and care. But I am mostly a burden to everyone and it appears as if I offer nothing to no one. I don't even have my own independence for crying out loud. Anyway, something has got to give. Even my threatening of suicide gets no reaction. It is funny how people say they will be there, but appear to have no problem with you leaving this world. Maybe soon it will be my last cry! I want the courage and strength to end it all! I truly do! Can it really be selfish when you truly feel alone and you are more of a burden than joy to have around? Perhaps not!!
Suicidal thoughts are ever so tempting when you have been fighting this illness for a long time and it has robbed you of the chance of a normal life like having stable friendships/ relationships not being able to work and having to deal with the abuse and being treated like a second class citizen because of the stigma. I'm only 25 and I'm sorry if it seems like I am moaning but I do wish I was living life like my peers. I've been ill for a long time with these mood swings now it never seems to get any easier. I don't want to have to put up with being sick all my life.
I struggle with thoughts of suicide often....and am struggling with it very strongly today. But not in the typical sense of actually doing it myself. I have an ICD device (internal cardiovascular defibrillator). It is absolutely imperative to my survival to have this device. Without it I will die but it is also the very thing that is crippling me. I want to have my device turned off so that I can be at peace. I struggle with bi-polar (I believe....though have not been diagnosed....), severe anxiety and panic disorder which was precipitated by many zaps from my device when I was conscious and alert. I have suffered many cardiac episodes resulting in injury and almost drowned in my bathtub following a seizure. Life can be unbearable. I live in constant fear and it is crippling. The only reason I have not had it turned off is because I have 4 children who need their mom. But....in reality I feel I am also crippling them with my depression. It's a hard call.
On June 16 I was surprised to read on your other blog that TrueHope is threatening/bullying you with a lawsuit for voicing your opinion of their product. I just want to tell you I think that's absolutely ludicrous!
Please be strong and keep yourself safe. Don't let them get to you
Hold your head high and never forget all the good that you for others
I so understand. I really do. Other health problems, like constant pain also makes it hard to go on. Feeling useless and guilty also does. Just being exausted from fighting bipolar also makes it hard. Been fighting it 43 years and I am so so tired. My pet's and hubby keep me alive. But I still fight the lying thoughts all....the....time. am overeating to cope. :( glaucoma and diabetes as well as aspergers is kicking my butt too. I miss family I can't see or help. I feel I always should be apologizing for still existing. I have no friends. Can't keep any. My family is sick of me too. I have never ever felt I belonged anywhere for long. I keep going to protect my hubby and pets and hoping to see my grandbaby, daughter and son in law someday. That keeps me going.
Natasha and Renita,
Thank you so much for your response. For some reason I didn't think anyone would reply, and that's why I haven't check. Both your replies made me cry (in a good way) it always helps when you see you're not alone out there and there are other people who understand and have been in this exact spot. I mean I know there are people out there, but when you're in that frame of mind you really feel alone.
My birthday was this past Wednesday, and the moment I work up I started to cry. I am now 42 and alone. I sobbed while I got ready to go to work. I didn't want to bring my sadness to work, especially with a red puffy face, I managed to pull it together and focus on my breathing. The day I posted this comment I had looked at lots of sites to find help. Once I found this site, I knew it was the one, thank you Natasha. I did read on a site, maybe this one, to have someone or a couple of someones that can be your helper, I can't think of another word to use. Someone you trust that can contact you daily to touch base, see if you showered, got outside, things that will make you feel better. I love love how I feel after a shower, putting on fresh clean clothes, and crawling into bed later that have clean sheets. Yet I can't do it. It's so frustrating to know how good I could feel, but don't do it. I reached out to my Aunt back in April, she is a councilor and of course my Aunt. I knew she would understand and help. I opened up to her and it helped so much. After that, she would email and text me to touch base. I told her how much I appreciated her daily contact and how loved I felt. After a couple of weeks she stopped. Now I felt alone again and stupid for being vulnerable and I couldn't reach out, again, because it was so hard to do in the first place. Then she texted me a couple weeks later and asked how everything was. She assumed since I wasn't contacting her, I was fine and healed. I told her I had been really struggling and for the first time in a couple of years I cut myself. High enough on thigh so no one would see. I told her I was fine and I wouldn't do it again. That was 6 weeks ago, haven't cut since or heard from her. It's so hard to reach out and ask for help, and I honestly thought I now had someone on 'my side'. Long story short, I didn't know about the resources out there. Knowing about CBT group therapy and activity coach, gives me hope. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes I just can't see it.
Thank you so much Natasha and Renita, you have no idea how much you have helped. I will for sure look into the link Natasha attached and the infos Renita mentioned. I will now check this site regularly now that i know people care, understand and comment / reply. Thanks !!!!! Sally xoxo
This is so surreal. Your life is a mirror image of mine over the last couple years. All I can say is that it does get better eventually if you are willing to work with a good doctor and be open to other forms of counselling tailored to your specific needs. It may not be easy (what in the world really is anyway) but there are people willing to help if you don't give up... Please be gentle with yourself. I can't guarantee it will change over night but it does get better over time. I'm still a work in progress but I'm much happier now than I could have ever imagined while at my worst. When things began to slowly improve for me (I had to push myself) I started attending a CBT group therapy program through the Canadian Mental Health Assn, I got a a free activity coach through a local university to help with exercise (something I've always hated) to help with weight loss and mood and I also got a vocational counsellor who sat with me for 2 1/2 hour to help put a résumé together and search for a job. I know all that might sound a little overwhelming right now but hang in there you don't need to do everything all at once. There truly is hope even though you might not see it right now. I wish I could reach in and give you a big hug and tell you that your life matters because it truly does. You can do it I have faith in you. I'll keep you in my prayers
I've been the most depressed I've ever been, even with my meds. I've had the toughest 14 months of my life. I go days without showering, and brushing my teeth. I order take out. I can't see my counter tops from the dirty dishes. The past 4 weeks have been the worst of my life. I've been very suicidal, but not for the reasons posted here. It's about me and why bother. I'm 41, single, always been single but not by choice, lost my job after 22 years, I have put on so much weight nothing fits me, it's summer and too hot to wear sweat pants, I seriously don't have anyone to hang out with -- for Christmas my brother gave me a movie pass which includes admission for 2 plus popcorn and pop, 6 months later I still have because I have no one to go with, I also got a gift card for a nice steak house and again no one to go with--I watch Netflix all day, sleep all night, repeat. I have been constantly trying to figure out how to end it all. The pain, the extreme heart wrenching loneliness that makes me wonder how someone could actually survive this excruciating pain. Watching people get married, have families, plan a future. When I think about my future all I see is a whiteness of nothing. I live alone so I need to ensure my body is found sooner than later, which will be difficult because the only people who call me are my family and it would take them at least a week to even begin to worry. I've been going through all the scenarios of how to do it, the quickest way. [moderated] Trust me when I say, this is what I think about. [moderated] I don't know why I am sharing this. I went on the Internet to figure out why it's so hard for me to shower due to my depression. Turns out it's a fairly common trait for people who suffer with depression. I stumbled across this site and this blog. I guess everyone has their own reasons for (contemplating) suicide. For me it's always been because I have nothing to live for. No reason to get up. No reason to go on. Okay maybe one reason, my cat, but I know she will be taken care of by a family member. I did a pros and cons life, pros won. I digress. Since I have my own reasons for why I want to die, I never thought about other people's reasons. I don't judge. I guess at the end of the day it doesn't truly matter what the reason is
I'm truly sorry things are this hard for you right now. What I can tell you is that I've been there. I've been exactly where you are and I know there is an other side to things. There is a "through" and suicide isn't it. There have been many wonderful things I would have missed out on had I successfully had died by suicide a few years back. I'm thankful I didn't.
Please reach out. See our resources and hotlines page here: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referr…
- Natasha Tracy
I do like this post....although I believe the key word is "typically". When it is said that people who commit suicide are doing so because their brains are "typically" telling them lies, I agree. However, that leaves room for the argument that atypically, the things that our brains tell us are actually true, even if we may put a negative spin n it when depressed. I am unable to take medications for my treatment resistant depression, have been hospitalized a dozen times, tried TMS which failed,a not a candidate for ECT. I visited shaman, had acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition changes, exercise, etc. I also have many physical illnesses that make living difficult. I am only in my late 30s, and consider myself very rational. Therapists usually end up 'firing' me, saying, I am sorry there is nothing more we know to do. I keep an open mind, but in my case, I prefer quality over quantity. There are no more treatments for me. I get angry when people say, there is always hope. Perhaps yes. But the suffering it takes to wait around for that hope does not outweigh the pain. One can be rational and want to take their life. Many countries and states have las for assisted suicide for physical illness, and some countries for "intolerable and uncurable mental anguish." I don't advocate suicide, I am just saying that sometimes the brain is accurate, and those with mental illness should be able to die with dignity.
There are more sinesters motivations. If you have a mental ilness like deep depression, you might thing that this horrible physical and psycological pains will go if you go away from this world. Only the people who have been there could understand. It’s a chemical desorder in the brain so strong
After a long period of depression i tried to comment suicide on Thursday this week. I didn't know why i couldn't success. I only wish to die. The world was just a pain I have been committed to a psychological ward in my home town. For over 2 weeks. But i didn't get better. It got worse and worse. Til i decided to see if i could feel pain. I burned my self still i didn't feel anything. Tried to hang my self the rope broke. I felt even worse. I could not kill me. I went back cried and after a day or two today i woke up at the sun is shining. My head doesn't hurt an my thoughts are more clear. Don't love my life but I will try to give me a other change. Stay strong and carry on.
There is far more common, and much more basic, reason why the mentally ill commit suicide:
It's because they want the nightmare in their head to stop.
I speak from experience. I suffer from Type I bipolar affective disorder, and I have been experiencing severe, recurring suicidal ideation for the last 15 years.
I have never attempted it, because I know that if I do, I will succeed. And even at my worst, in my darkest moments, I can't bring myself to do that to the ones I love.
But I also know that one day I will. Because the day will come when my medication fails, and I am too weary, in too much pain, to keep going.
And that is difficult knowledge to live with.
I have bipolar disorder type 2 , in the past I have attempted suicide on several times. My main reason is not listed. That is ,that my family would be better off without me. My anxiety and depression was so bad that I was constantly pacing and looking out of the window. I was looking for the police, expecting them to come and tell me that a member of my family had died. When anyone was out of the house I panicked the whole time, and would have to contact me if they might be late, they had to think of their actions on my anxiety. So I thought if I was dead, they could do anything without having to worry about me. I thought my family would be upset for a week or two and then live their lives without worrying about me.
I haven't been suicidal for a while now. When I am there is a part of me that is rational and realizes my brain is lying to me but a bigger part of me doesn't care. I am usually at my wit's end, fighting hardcore depression for days, weeks. I don't get much support from my family unless I tell them, "I have the gun to my head," and physically actually do. I figure if they don't care enough during the hard times, I'll show them I was serious and really did need them and they will be sorry then. It's warped thinking but enticing and alluring also. I always say suicide is seductive and fighting the seduction is harder and harder each time.
Research in the UK and in the US seems consistent in identifying the principal factors that contribute to someone committing suicide. According to the American Association of Suiciology, major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide. The risk of suicide in people with major depression is about 20 times that of the general population. About two thirds of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. That's a very high percentage.
The risk of someone suffering from an untreated major depressive disorder trying to commit suicide is around 1 in 5 (20%). However, the suicide risk among treated patients is around 1 in 1,000 (0.1%). That would point to treatment for depression substantially reducing the risk of suicide, so maybe there is hope for feeling better. See Help me.
Research studies2,3,4 would point to the following being major factors triggering people to attempt to kill themselves. Note that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have the top two risk factors:
Depression (especially if exhibiting extreme hopelessness, lack of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable, heightened anxiety and/or panic attacks) and other mental disorders
An alcohol or substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders)
Relationship difficulties (either with an existing partner, or due to divorce, being widowed or a relationship break-up)
Prior suicide attempt (one study5 indicated that anyone who has previously attempted suicide is 100 times more likely to make a successful attempt compared to the suicide rate of the general population)
Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
Family history of suicide, or exposure to the suicidal behaviour of family members, peers, or media figures
Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse (especially for young people)
Firearms in the home, the method used in more than half of US suicides
Being in prison
Issues with studies (a major problem for those at university/college)
However, suicide and suicidal behaviour are not normal responses to the factors mentioned above; many people have these risk factors, but are not suicidal. Research also shows that the risk for suicide is associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Decreased levels of serotonin have been found in people with depression, impulsive disorders, a history of suicide attempts, and in the brains of suicide victims.