My Mind Is Killing Me (A guide to cope)

My Mind Is Killing Me (A guide to cope)

This blog post will explore the feeling of “my mind is killing me.” It will help you gain a better knowledge of the various stages of suicide, understand suicide, and means to cope with such thoughts. 

My Mind Is Killing Me Quotes

There may be quotes that you may resonate with when you surf the internet. Here are some examples.

“I need a break from my thoughts.”

“How do you run from what is inside your head?”

“Dear mind, please stop thinking so much at night when I am trying to sleep.”

“How do you kill the demon in your head without killing yourself?”

“My mind scares me sometimes.”

“You are a victim of your mind.”

“My mind is killing my soul.”

Although you may relate to these quotes, there are ways out of it. Despite being debilitating, depression is a manageable disorder. People may believe quotes like, “Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.” Suicide is not an inevitable part of depression. It is a symptom of depression that can be managed.

Stages of Suicide

Let us explore the stages of suicide and how you are likely to develop suicidal thoughts and ideations. The Biodyne Model categorizes suicide into three stages, namely:   

  • Ideation
  • Planning
  • Auto-pilot  

Stage 1: Ideation

In this stage, people may think of suicide, but the fear of killing themselves is more than its appeal. Hence, they may think about it, listen to depressive music, or even express it through creative outlets. There is no planning at this stage. Some individuals are involuntarily institutionalized for conveying their ideations. The recommended course of action is seeking help from a mental health professional. 

Stage 2: Planning

This stage involves some amount of solidification of the ideations. People may start planning and their depression could be getting worse. They might stop conveying your distress and profound sadness. It is a stage that denotes immediate treatment and appropriate psychological support. This stage typically does not last for too long as they may feel pressured to make a decision and tend to do so alone.  

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Stage 3: Auto-pilot

This stage occurs when an individual chooses to kill themselves. As soon as they decide to, they go into a sort of “auto-pilot” mode. At this stage, individuals are at imminent harm, i.e., are at an increased and immediate risk of engaging in self-harm behaviors, or as in this case, killing themselves. 

Such individuals may come across as the most normal they have been in a while. They may feel the depression starts to lift as they no longer are pressured to decide as they have made a choice. Professionals and close ones find it challenging to discern this mode as they believe the depressed individual to have gotten better when it is the exact opposite. 

People in this stage are likely to kill themselves within the next two days upon deciding. Be wary of individuals who have been seeking treatment for their depression in vain only to show improvement in symptoms suddenly. Rather than feeling relieved, be more alert. It is imperative to gather help and resources when such overnight progress is noticed. 

Understanding Suicide

In her book, How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me, Susan Rose Blauner beautifully outlines how she understood suicide and the basis of it.

  • Life over Death
  • The Ugly Truth
  • Permanence
  • Brain Activity
  • Response to Depression

Life over Death

Most people who want to kill themselves do not want to die. They only wish to relieve themselves of the severe emotional pain they are experiencing. Although they favor life over death, it is the overwhelming sense of hopelessness that pervades their mind to the point of resorting to suicide. 

However, remember that suicide is not a solution when you are depressed or battling a mental health condition. 

The Ugly Truth

It is common for people with suicidal ideations, and even other sources like media, to romanticize suicide. However, what is less known is a failed suicide attempt and its psychological and physiological consequences. Some such ramifications include extended periods of hospitalization, humiliation, embarrassment, physical disabilities, and even organ injury.     

Permanence

Feelings are ever-changing regardless of your desire for them to change. Most suicides occur impulsively based on a fleeting thought or feeling. Such a finding indicates that suicide is an irrevocable solution to a transient issue. People can learn to live longer if they equip themselves with adaptive coping strategies. 

Brain Activity

Our emotions and thoughts are the products of electrochemical activity in our brains. Although biological and environmental factors play a role in developing depression and other mental health disorders, remember that suicidal thoughts are merely transient brain activity. 

Response to Depression

Blauner notes that you can make your brain stop having suicidal thoughts. Suicidal ideations are typical reactions to depression and other psychological conditions. As soon as you recognize this, it is easier to learn more adaptive ways of coping.    

How to Cope

You can try out the following suggestions to cope with the feeling “my mind is killing me.”

  • Professional help
  • Journaling
  • Support system
  • Say no
  • Take care of your physical health
  • Engage in fundamental tasks
  • Self-compassion
  • Meditation
  • Help others
  • Reduce alcohol 

Seek help

Seeking help is the most important thing you can do when you feel like your mind is killing you. Here is a list of crisis hotlines to help you when you have suicidal ideations:

Additionally, consulting a mental health practitioner is an excellent option. Ensure you find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and can establish a strong emotional rapport. Understand their therapeutic approach and what their expertise is to decide if it will help with your concerns. 

Journaling

Although it may feel arduous at first, it comes more naturally with practice and provides massive relief. Journaling acts as an excellent outlet for venting your thoughts and feelings. You do not have to follow any framework. Write, draw, paint, or do whatever makes you feel better or brings some relief to you.

Whenever possible, try to describe your feelings in detail and identify triggers that lead to such emotions. Next to your descriptions, try writing a more rational and objective way of framing your thoughts and emotions. Doing this enables you to dissociate yourself from the issue instead of identifying yourself with such beliefs and ideas. 

Support system

Having a support system established can do wonders. Although you may want to withdraw socially, make minor attempts to reach out to people. Being around supportive and empowering people can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health. Ensure you surround yourself with people who are compassionate and understanding. 

Say no

Learn to say no when you feel like somebody adds to your existing list of responsibilities, which already seems like a burden. Keep in mind that you can help people optimally only when you take care of yourself. 

Take care of your physical health

A healthy diet excludes trans and saturated fats, processed foods, sugars. It includes complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein, which is crucial in maintaining your physical and mental health. Exercising regularly, or at least taking a walk outdoors, is essential for overall wellbeing. 

Engage in fundamental tasks

Slowly and gradually try to engage in necessary tasks, like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, eating three meals a day, and taking your medications. Eventually, attempt to engage in other essential tasks like taking classes, attending a short course, or even going to a local concert.

Self-compassion

Start being compassionate toward yourself. Engage in activities that bring you peace and tranquility. Remember that you are trying your best, and that is enough. Learn not to be hard on yourself when you cannot do most of the things other people seem to be doing rather effortlessly. 

Meditation

Meditation can be of tremendous help. It may be slightly challenging initially, but if you channel your dedication and effort, it can become more comfortable, and you will begin seeing improvements. There are applications available online to guide you through the process. 

Help others

Performing kind gestures and helping others can bring a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. You can volunteer at a local non-profit organization, a rehabilitation center, a soup kitchen, in animal shelters if you like being around furry companions, or even help your elderly neighbor. 

Reduce alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant and is likely to worsen your depression, although it may feel like it helps you go to bed. It leads to sleep disturbances, which result in a lack of energy or fatigue the next day, disallowing you to function adequately.

Alcohol also makes you feel less inhibited, which can increase impulsivity. When you are suicidal, such impulsivity can make you act on your ideations. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid alcohol when you are depressed. 

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Conclusion

This blog post explored the feeling, “my mind is killing me” in great detail. We detailed the stages of suicide, understood suicide in its entirety, and outlined ways to cope. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): My Mind Is Killing Me

How do you know someone is having a nervous breakdown?

Several signs indicate someone is having a nervous breakdown, including:

  • Depressive symptoms like a sense of emptiness and hopelessness, depressed mood, and even suicidal ideations;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Excessive shifts in mood;
  • Sleep disturbances, like insomnia;
  • Anxiety indicated by hypertension, sweaty hands, digestive issues, trembling, dizziness, muscle tension; 
  • Paranoia; and
  • Panic attacks

Is it okay to think about death?

Yes, it is okay to think about death now and then as it is an inevitable part of life. However, thinking about death frequently or too often is a sign of mental illness. It can be challenging to deal with the emotions that come with such thoughts.

Can you ever lose your mind?

No, you can never lose your mind. However, mental health disorders are common and can be challenging, making you feel like you are losing control of your mind. These mental disorders could include anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to name a few. 

Can stress cause mental illness?

Yes, stress can cause mental illness. Chronic stress, mainly, can increase the likelihood of developing mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Stress can make you irritable and angry. It can also impair your decision-making and concentration abilities. 

What do you feel when you have psychosis?

Before psychosis develops, there is depression, anxiety, and a sense of feeling “different,” like you have racing or slow thoughts. Psychosis involves two types of symptoms, positive and negative. 

Positive symptoms include the more actives ones, wherein they add something like hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, and retarded or hasty movements. Negative symptoms involve deducing something, like a lack of emotions, minimal conversing, and a lack of motivation. 

Is overreacting a symptom of any disorder?

One of the symptoms of bipolar disorder is overreacting. A person with bipolar disorder may have anger outbursts or react with depressive symptoms upon receiving unkind words, which could hurt anybody. 

What is the fear of death called?

The fear of death or its process is known as thanatophobia. It is common and understandable for people to fear death as they grow older or lose someone they know. However, it can turn into something more severe in some individuals. 

References

Cholbi, M. J. (2003). Review of “How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me.” PERMIACARE. Retrieved from https://www.pbmhmr.com/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=1787&cn=9.

Cummings, N. A. & Cummings, J. L. (2012). Refocused psychotherapy as the first line intervention in behavioral health. New York, NY: Routledge.   

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Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.