Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself | Bering in Mind, Scientific American Blog Network

via Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself | Bering in Mind, Scientific American Blog Network.

Thought, I’d share this. I myself can certainly attest to steps 1 through 4 from experience, a little bit of step 5, too. The only thing holding me back then was a logical flaw to the whole ideation process: The author states the wish for permanent loss of consciousness as a permanent fix to experiencing pain as the ultimate goal for the suicidal individual. I must concur: That would have been my objective, too at the time. (and lo and behold, ideations of this keep recurring….)

Given some of the reading up I had done on the phenomenon of consciousness in general and our human consciousness in particular at that time I was at the highest risk of taking my life, theories had already abounded that make it sound fairly plausible that consciousness may indeed not be located in or be produced by the brain. I’m aware of how far out this sounds to the analytical, skeptical mind. However – and from mere logic – there is no counterproof available just yet, is there? (OK, you could always say, Schrödinger’s dead cat can’t talk. Well… ). For all intents and purposes, science believe that the physical death of the brain annihilates (individual) consciousness. Yet – we can’t prove it, can we? Since we can’t, there remains at least a theoretical chance that physical death is not the end of all consciousness – and hence possibly not the end of individual consciousness and with that, not the end of all pain, either. Which would be … far worse, because now you don’t have a body to facilitate altering that painful perception – no? (Please bear in mind that I try to stay away from any “spiritual” explanations at this point and try to explain this thought process from logic and whatever evidence we have – or don’t have, rather)

On the contrary, very recent findings in the field of research of consciousness seem to indicate that consciousness may indeed be a general property embedded in the very fabric of spacetime (Hameroff and Penrose have published a fairly conclusive theory indicating that the brain is more like a receiver of “all around [proto]consciousness”, which the individual tunes into from an – uhm, doh! – individual perspective.) Traditional schools see it as an emergent property that spontaneously springs into existence at a certain threshold of complexity of the organism and its available cognitive “infrastructure”. Yet, to this day, they fail to describe the mediating processes that enable this spontaneous “birth” of consciousness. They also fail to indicate what exact level of complexity of cognitive processes is required in order for consciousness to suddenly “appear” (which to me sounds dangerously close to saying “we just don’t know”, doesn’t it?). Instead, emergence itsself is being mentioned as an underlying self-organizing principle of evolution – thus remaining unexplained and not really understood.

Long story short: What if you had meant to kill your (aching) consciousness and then had to find you hadn’t? Gee, I don’t know about you, but I say: That would suck some (cosmic) ass! And that could go on for a looooong time. Wouldn’t that be a – very bad – kick to the head?

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14 thoughts on “Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself | Bering in Mind, Scientific American Blog Network

  1. I cannot fucking believe I didn’t say this in my original comment (where in hell was my emergent consciousness?):

    THIS IS A BRILLIANT ESSAY…a rare, unequivocal GIFT that I will return to again.

    Thank you.

    • Come on…you didn’t write this, for instance?:
      “Long story short: What if you had meant to kill your (aching) consciousness and then had to find you hadn’t? Gee, I don’t know about you, but I say: That would suck some (cosmic) ass! And that could go on for a looooong time. Wouldn’t that be a – very bad – kick to the head?”

      Because THAT sent shivers down my spine.

      As in: CLICK! Not so fast there Ruby girl. 🙂

      Whatever the case, author-wise, the stuff on this post AND the numbered list essay that you linked to—BOTH smacked me upside the head (okay, that’s AWFUL imagery, but not nearly as awful as the stuff that got dislodged from my melon). 🙂

      I checked off every single step. It scared me. So. Much. I realized that I seem to need to come right to the effing edge, and then for some damn reason, THAT closeness gives me a weird jolt of some brain cocktail, and I actually FEEL better after. But…

      The risk. The stupid tragic risk…

      I’m at the point where I kinda see, no, I clearly see what I need to do if I have any hope of acquiring some immunity from that fate. It’s a very WEIRD solution. Rather like intentionally adopting a consciousness that in this culture represents madness. It’s almost embarrassing to share. Yet I’ve sensed very strongly for some time now that it’s gonna have to be THAT radical, THAT extreme kind of shift which is my best chance to reduce suffering…”to travel through life a little lighter…”

      I’ve been attracted to it for quite awhile now, but I had to reach a level of despair and agony that was powerful enough and terrifying enough to help me see that I am worth it—I mean, for me, taking that leap is worth it. It’s not as if there is no turning back, or anything so irreversible, and it’s appealing to me because it’s framed as an “invitation” only, just an invitation to “entertain the possibility” that I AM NOT THAT “Self” which I imagine.

      As you can guess, it is a non-dualist approach, vaguely along the Eckart Tolle perspective, but also with some distinctive differences which seem to “fit” my take on the big picture. Plus, there is nothing to “get out of” (i.e. no “SELF” or “EGO” to let go of) because the invitation makes it clear (TO “MY” MIND, anyway): I’ve never actually BEEN a “self” as most folks commonly, and rationally, imagine. I’ve known that forever (well, “known” as in it comes and goes and comes back again) because I’m a writer. Part of the reason I removed close to 380 blog posts (if I recall the # correctly) was based on feeling exposed, to myself, LOL, whenever I read back through the whole collection. There was stark (well, to me, disturbing) and undeniable evidence that whoever I imagine as MYSELF is merely a thread in rope, so to speak. There are styles, and topics, and “voices” so varied and so diversely in opposition, even, and I refuse to accept that what I see when I read through all of it is a PATHOLOGY. Some of it is truly beautiful and innovative and mysterious. I couldn’t reproduce it again if someone guaranteed to fork over a few cool million. 🙂 And that’s really okay with me now. It’s okay that I see my assumptions have long been distorted (from fear.)

      Well. I’ll just step back now and hope you won’t think EEEWWW, WHAT a WEIRDO. But hey, that’s siorta silly talk…because I don’t really believe you are that kinda guy. I don’t really think you are judgmental, like that. Otherwise I wouldn’t keep pouring out my guts all over your attractive awesome blog. ❤

      • “Rather like intentionally adopting a consciousness that in this culture represents madness.” – there you go! Seriously. I’ve been at that junction a while ago and seem to have made a similar decision, albeit realizing that when I fully step into the real self, OTHER SUFFERING will occur. I don’t mean to discourage you or devalue your most brilliant thought process and self-analysis – which speaks volumes of your intuition and your bright mind, both being completely INTACT, if it were for me -, I’m just saying that expressing the real you might be met with NEW challenges the likes of which probably only few of us see or saw coming and which isn’t exactly something I see discussed a whole lot in your typical therapy scenario. But alas – forward we must push, don’t we? I am 100% convinced NOW that pushing forward and expressing that derided, “pathological” self – which in reality is nothing else but a very HURT self, so since when is expressing feelings of hurt a “pathological” phenomenon and expressing grief, fear, sadness “symptoms”? – is the only way. All of us coming from a similar background of abuse in one or the other way, shape and form have already mustered and displayed TONS MORE courage than most other people will ever have to find over the course of their lives. We’ve come this far! Why not put our bets on one chip and go the little remaining extra quartermile, so to speak?

        Press on, brave one! ❤

  2. P.S. As far as Tolle: I’m familiar with the rough gist of his teachings. There may not be an ego or self to let go of, but there is something else, you are invited to shed and let go of: A vast set of (false) beliefs about that real self underneath, the – buckle your seat belt: UNHARMED – Ruby, who was never meant to go through what she went through. When I gave myself permission to let those long repressed feelings come forward and express themselves – in a safe, as in: private setting -, in that process of connecting with that REAL me, that person, who got hurt in ways that his – or her – little mind balked to process, when I allowed myself to REALLY FEEL THE PAIN, two – or more – things happened: Finally, I arrived at the CORE of me, which hid beneath all these assumed roles, all of which I diligently studied, practiced, exercised and – displayed to the unassuming “public” out there. But the main point – and I’d like to see it as a positive one – was this insight: I CAN STILL HAVE REAL FEELINGS! They weren’t able to destroy that, you see? Once you can feel grief for and compassion with yourself, with the hurt self, a long forgotten, seemingly “buried” door opens, connecting you with the genuine parts of you, all of which you were forced to shut down and lock away, which you had to remove from eyesight so they wouldn’t be trampled on and savaged by individuals, who chose the very poor “solution” of processing their own pain by hurting a dependent, then largely helpless other individual. There could be a chapter on THIS aspect, but we’re not going there. The main point I’m trying to make is: All is not lost. There might remain sore spots and some scar tissue, but: Those sore spots won’t have to remain blown up to a proportion where they seem to solely define you, you see?

    I hope, any of the above makes any remote sense to you. And lordee-lawd: I should have issued a trigger warning first…

  3. Thank you. No warning needed. Your words are the truth. I pray I can hold on to this moment. Gonna take this feeling of gratitude (omg, being seen and heard…you know what i’m saying, i know you do) and the tiny little image of your beautiful avatar showing me “Yes. There are ‘good people’ still alive.”

    Somehow I found one, while i was stumbling around in the pitch dark—somehow it happened, there you were…on the other side of the planet. 😉 There MUST be others. I gotta trust. You ARE real. I didn’t conjure you in a fantasy. THAT has never happened before. ((((hugs))))

    • There ARE others – many more, if we finetune – reminder to self! 😉 – our focus on those. Hugs right back atcha and may you find many more real people, who are willing to see YOU and LISTEN to YOU and want YOU around with them. Besides: *blush* and thanks! (for the “real” – I think, I like that… 😉 )

  4. Hey mystery-dude-with-no-name: 🙂
    I read your words (yep, YOUR WORDS for sure this time, hehe) over and over. And over. I did something, then, that I cannot recall the last time when I felt like that, if ever.

    It almost feels scary to say. Oh. Well. I’m kinda in that groove. so…I cried. Not the kind of horrible howling I’ve been doing almost non stop since February. Nope. I cried “happy tears.” Wonderful big drops of NICENESS on my face, even with a smile. While crying.

    Well. The feeling didn’t go away. It stayed, just at a mellow level that wasn’t even…like…ON me…rather, gliding all around and through me. (Ok. Also maybe a teensy bit primed with loopy from the insomnia.)

    Nah. It wasn’t the insomnia. It was your gift. I’m still in the same situation as every day before this, folded onto my couch with the computer in my lap. Etc. And yet I’m not. It’s like you were not a continent away. You were….everywhere.

    Oh. Geez. It’s starting to sound…? But that’s not it. It was just a peaceful feeling. All day. I half-layed there with my keyboard, the same as ever, right? But I felt so P.R.E.S.E.N.T.

    Exhausted still, like always. But HERE.

    I just had so much fun, too! I laughed my ass off over my own writing, and it was relaxed, like letting my fingers do the walking so I could be feeling the feelings and laughing or grinning as I watched the sentences and paragraphs show up in front of me. And I didn’t care that I was being “rude” or whatever, THAT;’S just the “me” living in that…those bunch of moments flowing together. I doesn’t ever need to be “in stone”—whoever I am—that’s what makes it so great. I’m not stone. If I go by feelings, I’m fluid. Dynamic. LOL. I like not having to think that I need to KNOW what consciousness is gonna feel like for me later on, tomorrow….

    Wow. I’ll stop there. BTW, I was’t stoned. LOL. 🙂

    • I feel honored, if my little blurb should have brought about these moments for you! Isn’t it wonderful to discover that we didn’t irreversibly petrify over long periods of times, when we needed to wall ourselves off from the outside world? That genuine self, that marvelling child gaping at the world with open eyes – is still alive! Hurt, yes, bruised, scarred in certain places – all of it. But NOT DEAD!!! 🙂 And if the feeling should momentarily get lost, not to worry: Now you know that it is still there – and won’t ever leave you! (not entirely, anyway)

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