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The Suicidal Urge

IMPORTANT NOTE: In this post, I share my deeply personal experience with the suicidal urge—what it taught me, how it saved me, and why I now see it as the beautiful messenger it is. If this concept feels controversial to you, or triggers strong emotion, this article may not be for you. The decision to read it is yours, so please take care of yourself if you decide to engage. If you notice any overwhelming feelings, STOP and get the support you need. If you're currently in crisis or feeling suicidal, call your local crisis or suicide hotline immediately.


I was fourteen years old the first time I felt the suicidal urge.

It came on like a flash flood, like dark water engulfing me.

This wasn’t normal teenage angst.

It was an overwhelming rush of emotional pain that pulled me down and held me under.

Had it been water, I would have fought to save myself. I would have thrashed my way to the surface so I could breathe the sweet breath of life.

But it wasn’t.

It was pain of the highest order. An unyielding garrison that's been misunderstood for centuries.

I know now, that my psyche was ringing the loudest bell it had access to—that it was using the language of my body in a heroic attempt to save me.

LISTEN TO ME! Something's wrong and it must be corrected!

Because something was wrong.

I’d been witnessing the breaking of children for years and was suffocating in

my sense of powerlessness.

My inability to communicate this injustice was so painful, so intolerable, I was coming undone.

By 14, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

That’s the thing about the suicidal urge. It shows up when things have veered so far off course you're in danger of losing yourself.

Karla McLaren, author of The Language of Emotions says it best.

"The suicidal urge appears when the difference between who you are in your deepest self and who you've become in the world is so extreme it can no longer be tolerated." Karla McLaren

She calls it the darkness before the dawn, and it’s a powerful ally, if you understand it.

At 14, I didn’t.

Back then, suicidal thoughts were seen as evidence of an inferior mind. If you admitted to having them, you were seen as weak—unable to deal with the harsh realities of life.

And if you were a teenager? Then you were an attention-seeker, a problem, a source of embarrassment.

So, I didn't talk about it. How could I, when the people I needed to talk to were also the source of the pain?

Drugs and alcohol were a comforting option, but that kind of coping comes at a cost.

Hold your hand to a hot stove, then shut down your ability to feel, and you'll understand what I mean.

The numbing interfered with my inner guidance, leaving me open to the wrong kind of friendships, hurting me further.

Suicide, then, seemed like a kindness. I sat in my bedroom with a razor blade, trying to face its reality.

Would I really be able to cut into my own skin and sever a vein?

I didn't think so.

The "easy way out" I'd heard others speak of with so much judgement turned out to be anything but.

I decided to condition myself by making superficial cuts—and that's when my mother walked into my room and saw me.

Her shock brought me back to the moment.

"It's not what you think," I said, dropping the razor and jumping up.

"I'm okay. I'm okay. I just wanted to see what it felt like."

She stood frozen at the door.

Please don't tell anyone," I begged.

And she didn't.

Suicide was a form of psychological leprosy. Something you were sent to a psych ward for.

Her silence was a form of protection.

I wish now I had pleaded with her to tell someone. I wish I'd urged her to call for help. Not just for me, but for herself, and the rest of the family.

The truth was, my younger brothers were being damaged in ways I couldn't fully understand and I could feel the wrongness of it at a very deep level.

I know now that the verbal shaming and authoritative parenting style in our home was dysfunctional and would have devastating consequences, continuing a cycle of generational pain.

I'd do anything to go back to that moment and teach my mother all I've learned about child development, trauma, and the healing power of emotions, so we could change the course of our lives—but I can't.

Instead, I'm writing to you.

It may not be possible to change the past, but I can certainly help change someones future.

Perhaps together we can shine a light onto this dark topic so others will learn to LISTEN to the suicidal urge instead of acting on it.

So, here's what I want you to know about me when I was 14.

I wasn't possessed by demons. I wasn't unstable. I wasn't mentally ill.

My suicidal feelings were a natural, healthy response to the high levels of stress and disfunction in our home.

Painful emotions are almost always notes from your highest intelligence.

If you're feeling trapped, abused, unloved, left out, disregarded, discriminated against, hated, or silenced—your inner guidance is telling you to LEAVE the toxic environment (or belief system) you're in.

But that's just the first step, my love. The next step is to get help!

Leaving isn't enough. I left home when I was 16, but I took all the dysfunction with me.

I needed an EDUCATION. I had to learn how to untangle myself from my harmful, childhood conditioning and how to question the thoughts that caused me to hate and abuse myself.

The healing work must be done!

Silencing the pain, or ignoring the pain, or stuffing the pain, only makes things worse.

Trust me. Unresolved childhood wounds will continue to call in relationships and life situations that will amplify your suffering in an attempt to expose any issues that need your attention.

It took me years to fully understand this. When I finally did, I made a commitment to develop myself in the areas I was lacking.

I needed SKILLS in order to have a healthy relationship with myself and others.

I had to learn about boundaries and how to regulate my emotions so I could receive the messages within them.

Emotions, after all, are your inner wisdoms method of communication. If you're engaged with them, they'll talk to you in a manageable way.

• a pinch

• an off-ness

• a sense of something that isn't right

It's only when you ignore these nudges that your emotions ramp up with greater and greater intensity.


And if the suicidal urge presents itself, get help.

Instead of acting on painful thoughts or emotions, stop and ask yourself how you've been hurting your soul.

Ask yourself what ceremonial death is necessary so something healthier can begin.

Empower yourself to create a life that's truly worth living.

Then thank the suicidal urge for being the agent of healing it is.

Sending you so much love,

P.S. Please know I'm not dismissing or minimizing depression or suicidal tendencies. Depression is nothing to fuck around with. It can be life-threatening. But there's more to it than just "mental illness". Karla McLaren calls it an ingenious stagnation and asks us to examine it deeper. The truth is, our depression is stopping us for a reason! It's signalling an imbalance, an internal battle that needs healing. If you feel an inner prompting to investigate this further with me, CLICK HERE to book a free 30 minute consultation.

P.S.S. My mother loved me. In truth, she loved all her children. She cooked and cleaned and scrubbed and sacrificed and did all the things good mothers are supposed to do. But none of that changed the fact that she suffered from her own childhood traumas, and couldn't truly meet our emotional and developmental needs.

She gave birth to her first baby at the age of 16, then was pushed into a marriage that hurt her further. After her divorce, she married my father who hadn't recovered from his own childhood trauma and was ill-equipped to fully love or parent children.

Neither of my them had the opportunity to learn about healthy families, healthy relationships, healthy boundaries or the emotional skills that marriage and parenthood require.

Since they hadn't healed their own inner wounds, how could they possibly help us? They couldn't. And I want you to know that I understand this and have nothing but compassion for them both.

Looking back, I can see how Life took care of me when I left home as a teenager and guided me to all the experiences and teachers I needed in order to be who I am today.

John Bradshaw was one of those teachers, and these two books were integral to my own healing work.

Should you be looking for a way to reclaim your own inner child, I highly recommend both.

P.S.S.S. To be clear: I am not against medication or clinical care. The suicidal urge in a healthy mind is quite different from someone who is affected by addiction and psychological conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Even so, the suicidal urge is still an emergency message from the essential self and is often an indicator that something is off with ones thinking, or with an aspect of society that must be addressed in order for balance to be restored.


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