How Our Beliefs About Ourselves Can Contribute to Suicidal Thoughts
With the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the fact that suicides are increasing at an alarming rate came rushing back into America’s collective conscious… again. So, once again we get to ask ourselves, why is this happening and what can be done about it? My training as a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner provides me with a unique perspective when it comes to all kinds of behaviors, even suicide and I’d like to share some of them with you today.
It’s generally agreed that suicide is not normally a desire to end one’s life so much as it’s an attempt to end some form of pain that’s become unbearable. This can be either physical pain or emotional pain.
When it comes to excruciating, debilitating physical pain, the kind where all traditional pain management treatments fail, especially in end-of-life situations, a case can certainly be made for physician-assisted suicides but that’s a discussion for another day. According to all sources, neither of these celebrity suicides nor most of the other suicides in the US are due to this kind of physical pain.
The suicides that trouble most of us are the ones where someone chooses to end their life because of some form of unbearable emotional pain. For suffers of emotional pain, suicide is not the answer. Effective treatment is. It’s often said that suicide doesn’t end the sufferer’s pain, it simply transfers it only amplified to loved ones.
While some emotional pain is the result of significant chemical imbalances in a person causing deep depression that can only be treated with the appropriate medication administered by a qualified psychiatrist, much emotional pain is the result of a wide variety of emotional trauma, often occurring years before and even in childhood.
Scientific studies have shown that people who were raised in an environment that contained a high number of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) were as much as 5000 times more likely to attempt suicide than someone raised with no ACE and that people who experienced the trauma of childhood sexual abuse alone were 7 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation as an adult.
All human beings have both physical and emotional needs. Physically, we all need clean air, food, water and shelter. These are basic givens. Take any one of those away and we’d all be in big trouble very quickly.
We also have emotional needs that are just as powerful but not quite as obvious. We all need to feel we belong, that we are somehow connected, we need to feel that we have value and that our lives have meaning and purpose, we need to feel like we are accomplishing something worthwhile. When we feel these needs are not being met, that resulting pain can often become unbearable.
A significant contributor to feeling like these basic emotional needs aren’t being met result from negative beliefs about the self. These beliefs are formulated in a person’s early development and once germinated, the unconscious mind will manipulate and distort our perception of how well these needs are being met in order to validate the belief.
Negative beliefs such as “I’m not good/smart/worthy enough” can stay with us all the way into adulthood, even despite, intellectually, the fact that we are aware of accomplishments or life experiences that prove otherwise.
Likewise, the shame and guilt that comes from being the victim of childhood sexual abuse can also linger well into adulthood despite years of traditional therapy. Most often, anxiety and stress accompany these negative beliefs and it’s not uncommon for people with low self esteem, the result of childhood trauma, to also find themselves in repeat dysfunctional relationships.
If you are having suicidal thoughts the most important thing to do is to reach out for help right now. There are lots of resources wanting to help you. If no one is nearby, call 911 or call 800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, they’ll get you the help you need.
On the other hand, if you’re not getting your emotional needs met and have some recurring negative thoughts or beliefs that are getting in the way of enjoying your life to the fullest or accomplishing your goals, I’ve got some good news for you. These beliefs about the self, the ones most often the cause of low self-esteem and lack of confidence are neither fixed nor permanent and can be changed or let go of with amazing results. Hypnotherapy and NLP can be quite effective in helping you identify and then let go of those beliefs allowing you to begin to experience life in a whole new way… a way that could surprise and delight you.
If you have some self limiting negative beliefs about yourself and want to learn more about letting them go quickly and comfortably, you can read more by clicking here, or by calling for a free phone consultation. If you want to get started enjoying your life more with higher self-esteem and self-confidence, you can schedule a session here.