Is a Thought Just a Thought? ***TW: SI/Suicide***


**Private Observe: Although I’ve been recognized with three completely different psychological well being situations, I often communicate largely of despair, as that’s the one I’ve essentially the most expertise with and have performed essentially the most private analysis on. However a lot of what I share (in any submit) can apply to different psychological well being diagnoses.**

Probably the most profound – and useful – issues I sometimes keep in mind studying from my DBT class is that ideas can not damage you.

Say what?

Properly, if you consider it, a thought is simply that – a thought. It’s not an motion or a dedication, it’s simply… a thought. They pop out and in of our heads always all through every day. Some we take note of, others (most) are extraneous and don’t serve us in any method.

However they certain will be scary. And paralyzing.


That in all probability relies on who you ask. I’ve heard and browse so many individuals say that “happiness is a selection”. Just yesterday, some jerk-off tweeted, fairly merely: “Melancholy is a selection.”

That basically pissed me off, and it offended me (and lots of others who responded).

I’ll inform ya what, I used to be extra well mannered to her than I actually needed to be, however I responded with one thing like, “Until you’ve been recognized with scientific despair and fought to outlive a mind that’s attempting to kill you day by day, STFU.”

I believe she acquired my message.

I perceive that constructive considering, discovering issues to be pleased about, and searching ahead to issues have some energy to affect my way of thinking, in fact. Just like ruminating on unfavorable issues and convincing myself that I’m hopeless can affect my way of thinking. I don’t assume it takes a genius to determine that out.


Psychological sicknesses are very advanced. It isn’t simply a matter of considering comfortable ideas and shifting on, feeling simply superb. This sort of factor may go for people who find themselves experiencing much less extreme temper adjustments – “regular” individuals who wouldn’t have psychological sicknesses. I’ve seen a lot of my buddies and acquaintances have the ability to do exactly this – choose themselves up and keep on.

Extra energy to them!

However for these of us who take care of psychological sicknesses and extreme instances of despair, nervousness, bipolar dysfunction, borderline character dysfunction, schizophrenia, schizoaffective dysfunction, PTSD, DID (Dissociative Identification Dysfunction, extra generally regarded as “a number of personalities”), and extra, it may be devastatingly futile to provide you with a constructive thought or two – and particularly to imagine them.

As soon as upon a time, I used to have the ability to really feel my despair approaching. I didn’t at all times acknowledge it for what it was, however my help system usually did. It was gradual, and there have been instances once I was in a position to derail it earlier than it grew to become too deeply rooted in my psyche.

As of late, although, it hits me like a ton of bricks. There may be usually a set off, so I will be looking out for the invasive ideas, the negativity, being extra exhausted than common, the lack of curiosity in the whole lot, and so on. and so on. and so on. However not at all times.

(By the best way, just about something will be a set off. Everybody’s expertise of psychological sickness and temper adjustments are completely different, and might even differ from each day or hour by hour. It doesn’t must be one thing devastating and even seemingly consequential.)


My present depressive episode (together with the accompanying nervousness dysfunction) has been a actual fucking nightmare. Sure, there was a set off, a moderately apparent (and public) one. The bizarre factor is that I felt alright the primary couple days and thought I’d be okay. I used to be even in a position to keep considerably constructive and contemplate my subsequent steps to maintain shifting ahead.

After which.

Then it occurred.

Seemingly out of nowhere, I used to be instantly and completely consumed by the whole lot that comes together with despair. Positive, I used to be extra weak to relapse than common, after leaving my tutoring place, getting dentures (which brought about appreciable ache at first and made it very laborious to eat), and having bronchitis for a month, together with the sleep points I’ve had since I used to be a youngster.

However I’ve a great help system, each skilled and private. I used to be attending all my appointments (like common), taking my meds (though I’ve been recognized to overlook a day right here and there, which may result in disagreeable withdrawal results, relying on the drug), taking *most* of the skilled recommendation I’ve been given, sharing my emotions with CeAnne, and so on. I assumed I used to be doing what I wanted to do.

But when there’s one factor I’ve realized over the past 34 years of affected by, surviving, and dwelling with Main Depressive Dysfunction (MDD), Generalized Anxiousness Dysfunction (GAD), and Borderline Character Dysfunction (BPD), it’s that they’re opportunistic.

So, in my extra weak state, my signs got here crashing into me, with neither my permission nor my invitation.

That’s the factor about psychological sicknesses. They actually have a thoughts and a life-cycle of their very own. They don’t want, need, or ask on your permission to assault. They don’t wait so that you can have time to take care of it. They only assault.

They will crawl out of the woodwork even in case you are doing the whole lot you should do and are feeling good – self-care, staying constructive, sharing your ideas and emotions, doing enjoyable issues, dwelling a wholesome life.

That could be essentially the most irritating a part of all of it: Their unpredictable nature.


I used to have a bumper sticker on my little Chevy Four-banger, Thor. It mentioned:

“Don’t imagine the whole lot you assume.”

That made a lot of sense to me once I purchased it a few years in the past, and it appears ever extra essential to recollect nowadays.

I imagine that ideas simply pop into your head. Some are good, some usually are not. Most are impartial.

In different phrases, I’ve no management over what ideas pop into my head.

Be at liberty to argue with me on this one, however I’m fairly certain about it. An instance: Why would I entertain ideas of, say, suicide if I might select to maintain them at bay? Or self-deprecation, or worthlessness, or hopelessness, or hate for myself, or consuming?

The reply is – I wouldn’t! Who needs to really feel like shit? Who would knowingly knock themselves down after which kick themselves within the head, repeatedly? I do know I wouldn’t. Would you?

(I actually hope you’re saying, “No!”)

Lots of people lose their battles with these ideas. They turn into despondent, disdain themselves, really feel like a trouble, and so on. Some lose their battles within the greatest method doable and die by suicide. Many, many people – together with myself – use alcohol and different medication to attempt to cope and keep away from their harmful and unfavorable ideas.

Others interact in what is named “self-harm” – chopping themselves, burning themselves, and utilizing different technique of inflicting bodily ache on themselves to ease the emotional ache they’re in.

I’ve by no means admitted this earlier than, however I’ve performed a few of that, too.

Hey, don’t choose. It’s a very advanced coping technique that could be very tough to clarify and perceive when you’ve by no means been there. (If you wish to educate your self on this matter or when you’ve got questions on it, learn this text from the Mayo Clinic. If you wish to throw the Bible at me or choose me, hold it to your self.)


After I was in DBT and truly training what I realized (the important thing, for certain), I struggled with this concept. I used to be like, “What do you imply they will’t damage you? After all, they will! My ideas/my mind try to kill me!”

It took some quantity of dialogue, examples, repetition, and willingness on my half to come back to the conclusion that perhaps Kim and Linda (the DBT facilitators) had been proper. I used to be in a position to see a thought as merely a string of phrases, no extra, no much less. I might watch them play by way of my head after which allow them to go away. I realized (briefly, anyway) to not connect to them and simply…allow them to go.

After which got here the extra logical a part of the equation, which I discovered simpler to comply with: It’s what you do with the thought, the way you reply to it, that determines our habits. Our behaviors and decisions (or lack thereof) are what may cause us ache – or not.

In impact, our ideas select us, however we select our reactions to them.

That is simpler to kind than to dwell, in fact. However there may be at all times a selection – often multiple. And generally, we’ve to decide on what looks like the lesser of two (or three) evils, however that’s okay, so long as we get by way of it with out hurting anybody – together with ourselves.


I’m not saying I’m any good at this. In reality, I’ve been ruminating on some very unfavorable ideas over the past couple days (and weeks) which are actually affecting me.

For me, I generally get so overwhelmed so rapidly with despair, nervousness, concern, guilt, anger, and/or disgrace, that I freeze. Right here, I’ve all these instruments and a nice help crew at my disposal, however throughout these instances, I simply can’t appear to entry them.

I merely don’t know what to do, which abilities or instruments to attempt to use, who to speak to, or what to do from one minute to the following. Most frequently, I sit on the sofa, take heed to my Spotify playlists by way of my earbuds, and stare. Or sleep. That’s a large factor proper now.

After all, that doesn’t assist something.

And, throughout these very tough instances, I are likely to take heed to my Mellow or Classical/Soothing playlists, which generally truly deliver me down much more.

Observe to self: Select your music rigorously, particularly when feeling weak.

I’m certain you’ve seen by now that I’m a type of individuals who over-thinks issues. Chances are you’ll be, too. As soon as in a whereas, I notice that Pondering doesn’t truly resolve issues – Motion does.

So, the choice of what to do in response to my ideas is of the utmost significance. After I’m to date down and I’ve so many choices (something greater than two!) that I can’t make any choices myself, which does occur, I don’t do something.

I simply completely freeze. So I attain out and ask somebody on my crew what, precisely, I ought to do.

Hey, it’s higher than freaking out, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?


The final three weeks or so have seen me in a very unhealthy place. I’ve been feeling a *little* higher for a few days now, however I’m nonetheless in peril.

At risk of attaching to these unfavorable, harmful ideas and giving them extra weight and a spotlight than they deserve.
At risk of consuming or utilizing to numb myself. Sure, I do know it’s solely momentary (and harmful, and probably harmful), however generally I simply need to escape (FYI: I haven’t had a drink in over a yr).
At risk of giving up on myself and listening to my depressed mind say issues like, “You don’t matter,” “Who offers a shit?”, and “I don’t know if I can undergo this once more.”
At risk of simply giving up.

However as soon as the heaviest of the despair lifted ever-so-slightly a few days in the past, I not really feel frozen and completely overwhelmed. I’ve been in a position to permit a few constructive ideas in, I’m penning this submit(!), and I’m participating in my day-to-day life simply a *little* extra.

My ideas are altering a bit – simply sufficient for me to dig my claws in and begin pulling myself out of the crevasse (with a lot of assist). I can see the tiniest gentle on the finish of the proverbial tunnel. I’m simply hoping it’s not a prepare. Whether it is, I’m in deep shit. If not, then I’ve a probability at surviving yet one more deep, darkish relapse into this terrible illness.

However I cannot – I can not – get cocky.

I must at all times be on guard, listening to my ideas, behaviors, and what my physique is telling me. My expertise with each psychological sickness and habit is that, simply while you assume “I’ve acquired it!”, issues collapse. You unfold your self too skinny, you cease doing the issues which have helped you are feeling higher, you pay much less consideration to your private pink flags.

You begin taking your higher psychological well being with no consideration.

There isn’t a “getting it” as soon as and dwelling fortunately ever after. Consciousness of self and vigilance are key. Self-care is essential. Asking for assist is essential. Letting that assist in is a good larger key.

You must “get it” time and again, day by day. It’s most undoubtedly not a “one and performed”. (However wouldn’t that be good??)

I’m truly actually pleased with myself for penning this submit. I’ve like 5 different posts began, however I put them on maintain, as I actually wanted to say all this proper now. I hope it helps somebody, anybody, on the market. I do know it’s helped me.

Thanks for studying.

Maintain it actual, everybody.

Please share the love!

In case you are fighting suicidal ideas, there may be assist out there.

Initially revealed on Melancholy Warrior

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