Suicide as a Symptom

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As a teenager, I didn’t understand how ‘suicide or thoughts of suicide’ could be considered a symptom of depression. To me, those things were the result of depression; how it ended. If you had those thoughts then you were already doomed. I did not understand that the content of those thoughts is made up by a part of our body that does not know the content of our life. The most objective part of us is our subconscious. The subconscious can tell when we are struggling even when our conscious selves can’t. The subconscious decides when its time to fight or time to flee. The subconscious regulates the rise and fall of our breath, the beat of our heart, the digestion of our food. The subconscious knows everything going on in our body; even the stuff outside of our awareness. When we are struggling on an emotional level, our rational thought tells us to get over it, its not so bad. We know that being sad or angry is not life-threatening. The subconscious, however, doesn’t realize this. The subconscious can feel the pain and can not tell why its happening. It is constantly working to find a solution to ease the discomfort. When things get really bad and we ignore our feelings and needs, our subconscious is forced to address the issues head on. The brain knows that something is wrong but it doesn’t know WHAT is wrong. It can not make a well thought out plan of action without the help of the conscious self. If we don’t pay attention to what our body is trying to tell us, we might behave strangely. This is when we do things that we “wouldn’t normally do” things that seem drastic or uncharacteristic. The thought or the actual attempt to end one’s life is not always a way to end suffering, but rather an irrational attempt to escape that suffering. Sometimes people don’t realize that the things that are plaguing them can only be fixed by addressing those issues. They often feel like they shouldn’t dwell on them. By ‘not dwelling’ we push things aside and since our brain has rationally deemed our problems not worth our time, we don’t return to the thought. The thought then sits in your mind, unattended to. It lingers in the background, meanwhile your subconscious is trying to figure out why your heart rate is unusual and your sleeping patterns are all off. It searches for the reason but can not detect the context of your thoughts, but rather infers that you must be in a life-threatening situation since your body is acting so out of whack. When the subconscious fails to identify the issue, it begins to seek ways of escaping the physical condition that is causing you harm. The more deeply rooted the issues are, the more life-threatening they seem. If you can not attend to the problem and search for rationalized solutions, the subconscious will drive you to a point where the only way to escape the life-threatening suffering that you are experiencing (possibly without even being aware of it) is to literally end your life.

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