Distorted Thinking

A Google Alert for a post from My Journey Through Bipolar came to my inbox. I read it and feel that it expresses many of the thoughts that I’ve had and still have today. Here are the snippets that really spoke to me:

My thinking has been so terribly distorted lately.  I can hear it but
it is like I am watching it on TV and I can’t make the actors say
different lines.  “You just don’t understand me so I am not going to
talk to you anymore.”  “I am worthless and just taking up too much
space.  I would rather die then to put you all through this agony
anymore.”  “I have no friends.  No one loves me.  I am unlovable.  I
hate myself.  I HATE ME!!!”


And it all makes so much sense to me.  I really believe it.  I really
do feel like there is no reason to go on.  That I should just die.
That I am a waste of space.


And like the viewer watching TV I can see how ridiculous this story
is.  Of course she is loved.  Look at the supporting cast.  She doesn’t
actually want to die.  Look at her children worshiping her at her feet,
begging her to come play with them and give them kisses.  Who wouldn’t
want to stick around to foster that?  And a waste of space?  She
created this space.  She cooks and cleans in this space.  She bore her
children in this space.  She makes love to her incredible husband in
this space.  She isn’t a waste of space.  The space would be empty
without her.


And does she really hate herself?  I believe she hates the one that she
thinks she is.  That distorted her.  But if she saw herself as a
separate person she would love her.  She would see that other self and
think, what a great person.  She has it all.  The husband, house, kids,
cats, beauty, security, love all around.  A deep faith, a rich
community, arts and a strong soul of a warrior.  She would want to be
just like that other person.


I want to be just like I am.  I just want to be happy while I am being me.

Read the entire post here.

Suicide: Understanding and Intervening – Part IV, Helping A Suicidal Person

Helping a suicidal person is a touchy subject.  Black’s booklet is addressed to people who want to help a person who is suicidal.  Black’s provides some tips to help a suicidal person:

  1. “Acknowledge the reality of [the person’s] pain.”
  2. “Help him see the connection between his pain and his felt need.” Get them to say, “Life without ___ [fill in the blank]___ will be unbearable because ___[fill in the blank]___.
  3. “Challenge constricted options and irrational thoughts.”
  4. “Explore [the person’s] perceptions of hopelessness.” How hopeless is the person feeling? Can the situation be rectified or is it hopeless?
  5. “Help the person to separate pain and need.”

Assessing risk
Black’s following guideline is a good way to assess whether a person is considering suicide:

1. Presenting problem – Assessment begins by evaluating the problem that triggered the downward spiral.  This is difficult to do if the person can’t identify any triggers.

2. Background information – Analyze the person’s life and personality to gain a better understanding of how and why he is driven to a point where he considers taking his own life.  A good warning sign: If someone says, "I can’t deal" repeatedly. "I can’t deal" really means, "I don’t have the appropriate coping skills to handle my situation."

3. Substance abuse – While a person who abuses drugs or alcohol may not be suicidal, the likelihood that a depressed person who abuses drugs or alcohol is.

4. Resources – Encourage the (potentially) suicidal individual to seek out a support network: family, friends, church, therapists, or social groups.  If a person feels needed, he is more likely to realize that his death will have a significant impact.  Perhaps he’ll think twice before making an attempt.

5. Suicidal thinking and intent

A.     "Evaluate the person’s felt experience." Use a mood scale from 1-10 to gauge how good or bad a person is feeling. (Feel free to use mine on the right.)
B.     "Determine how often the person has suicidal thoughts and how intense or compelling they are."  Frequent "passing" thoughts are no longer passing thoughts.
C.     Dry run. A person contemplating suicide might have “tried out” the way he plans on killing himself.

“Has she ever taken a few pills to see what it feels like, tied things around her neck, driven at high speed, or practiced with an unloaded gun? Dry runs help the person to resolve any ambivalence she might feel about suicide.”

If a person admits to attempting a “dry run,” the person likely is in extreme danger of following through.

6. Noble End – A person who is at the point of beautifying suicide as a glorious end to his life is completely disillusioned and should be seen as a high risk.  Watch out for talk of "No one needs me anymore" or "Everyone would be better off without me."

An addendum: A person who says "I hate myself" may be a suicidal risk, but not always.  An admission of self-hatred provides evidence that he may want to eliminate the hatred in some way.