Being suicidal vs having a part that is suicidal

JGirl

Confident
My T told me that she doesn't think that I am suicidal, but that I have a protective part that sees suicide as a way to protect me from pain.

She told me ( this is what I understood from what she said anyway) that people who are suicidal are depressed and that it is a more of a constant feeling that can keep getting worst. ( I really wish I could record and replay our sessions. Im not sure if I'm getting this right). I think that main point was that it is continuous over a period of time, rather than sudden.

This part I am more clear about from our conversation.

She said that when the thought "I want to kill myself" loops through my head, that this is a protective part and not me actually wanting to kill myself. This happens some days as I am driving to work, or if I think about something I feel I said or did wrong. When I recognize it, I tell myself to stop. I was thinking that maybe this looping thought was some kind of OCD.

I also have times that I am triggered or overwhelmed and I suddenly want to kill myself. It feels like it comes out of nowhere. This usually comes with a feeling of "this is never going to end" and then my mind starts thinking through how I can do it. When I recognize the "never going to end" feeling, I usually reach out for my supports. I find this really scary because it hits so hard and so fast. I am worried that one day I will go through with it. Again, this is not me but part of me that is trying to protect me from pain. What my T says makes sense to me. I generally don't feel like I am suicidal. I really like some aspects of my life and I have lots of plans for the future.

I am wondering what others experience. Does this make sense? Can you relate?
 

Sideways

Moderator
Yep. Totally makes sense (even without adding 'parts' into the mix).

When we're in pain? Our brain tries to problem solve how to stop the pain.
When we're distressed? Our brain tries to problem solve how to ease the distress.

When we're in immense pain, and immense distress (and our stress cup is over-flowing)? The brain continues on its usual path of "how do I solve this"?

Only problem is that at the moment, we have a mental illness (ptsd), and our brain's ability to problem solve is compromised. Like "how do I make work less stressful? Quit my job!!" Oof! That wasn't such a hot idea, because bring broke sucks. Thanks for trying to help Brain, but no, that wasn't a great solution.

When your distress levels spike? Brain is going looking for a way to ease that distress. Only, with ptsd on board, your Brain's ability to problem solve is off. Brain is offering suicide (permanent solution) as a possible solution to easing your distress (temporary issue).

I use Thought Diffusion when this happens (which is part of ACT). Took a lot of practice, but it's crazy helpful. "Thanks for trying to help, Brain, but nope, suicide is not the coping skill I need right now!"
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I agree with the “suicidal” part concept. My ideation can run really strong, but every so often, I’ll have a part of me that tries to create a plan—like a date. That is when I have to jump in and look for my rational self. The adult part that is in charge, because I don’t want suicide. I have people that I love and that love me. I don’t agree with the suicide part or suicide in general. This is why it can be so shocking and scary when those thoughts pop into my head.
 

JGirl

Confident
Only problem is that at the moment, we have a mental illness (ptsd), and our brain's ability to problem solve is compromised. Like "how do I make work less stressful? Quit my job!!" Oof! That wasn't such a hot idea, because bring broke sucks. Thanks for trying to help Brain, but no, that wasn't a great solution.
This so resonates! I decided to sell my house (the one I was never going to sell because it was my retirement income) because of flashbacks- so made a deal with the tenant to get out in 15 days. And I am about to (in the next) hour or so sign a deal that gets me less money to take it off my hands as is. I don't want to have to go back there any more than I have to.

Basically, the brain wants the quickest way to make the hurting stop without thinking through the consequences.

I am going to look into thought diffusion. I think it will be a great help. Thank you for sharing.
 

Sideways

Moderator
the brain wants the quickest way to make the hurting stop without thinking through the consequences.
Exactly. And, to be fair, it has a pretty hard task, yeah? It's not exactly easy to make this pain stop.

For me, it helps seeing it that way. Because it makes having the thoughts substantially less distressing a lot of the time.
 

Friday

Moderator
Yep. Totally makes sense (even without adding 'parts' into the mix).
The whole post, is aces @JGirl. Exactly what I’d have said. My brain is trying to be helpful, but it has this rather extremist view of the world.

I mostly use an ADHD trick of “Can’t control the 1st thought, CAN control the 2nd.” which is very similar to the ACT method of thought diffusion. I just describe it as arguing with myself, or talking sense to myself 😉
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
When we're in immense pain, and immense distress (and our stress cup is over-flowing)? The brain continues on its usual path of "how do I solve this"?
I think this is true for me, and many men. If you are accustomed to needing to be the one to find your own soultions, and the motivation is great, it seems logical.

ETA, I think this is similar to what Gabor Mate calls The Stupid Friend, with addictions. The 'stupid friend' that means well, but their advice is not good.
 

Vickster

New Here
I'm pretty new here, and am thrilled to find a place to talk about this stuff.

I now understand better how to explain to others how having the thought "I want to be dead" doesn't necessarily mean a person is in danger of killing themself. Thinking about death, talking about death is healthy and helpful, I think, and might even help prevent suicides.

I really appreciate the share from everyone. And i'll be looking up "thought diffusion" in a couple minutes. 🙂
 
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