Shifting Suicidal Thoughts Through Chronic Pain & Illness

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by: Jamie Rautenberg

I’ve been hearing a lot of news lately of beautiful souls choosing to end their lives due to Lyme & its co-infections, usually after years of fighting so hard to survive in their bodies.

The sad truth is that this is an all too common painful reality when illness is misunderstood by those we love & the world at large.

I do not blame or judge anyone for feeling the despair disease often produces. Those feelings & urges to end it are beyond valid.

No matter what anyone says, we’ve all been there at some point, to some extent.

I’ve been there.

And I continue to learn from these moments every day.

When I’m feeling that despair, it’s usually a good indication that I’ve switched out of allowance and back into “fight mode”. Fight mode is basically a state of resistance to the reality of our experiences, whatever they may be. This resistance uses up a lot of energy, of which there is precious little when recovering our health at these late stages of disease.

By the time those energy reserves are depleted, we’re already drowning in the quicksand feeling powerless to save ourselves. This is where all possibility disappears from view and there seems to be just one choice left: to end the suffering any way we can.

But, there are other choices.

We can question the thoughts that blind our view.

We can give up the fight.

For me, giving up the fight did not mean ending my life, it meant I had to begin again with the understanding that these moments will occur and I need a plan to move through them.

I had to begin from a place where my body & this disease were not the enemy. It was what I told myself about it that was hell.

I’m someone who knows firsthand what it means to live with inflammation in the brain and how this affects cognition & emotion. So I, too, am not always running on a full tank (yet).

But, somehow, I’m still here.

I coach myself or find support immediately during the dark moments.

There’s obviously something greater at play here when so many of us continue on despite the heavy burdens we carry.

We can move through the despair in our minds when we connect with the power of our hearts. See The Institute of Heart Math for proof.

The heart allows what the brain questions.

It’s all a matter of training ourselves to question the brain vs. the heart.

Logic might lead one to give up when it is completely understandable and even rational.

If we learn to question the thought and turn it around before we take action, that’s when we overcome it’s power. That’s when we hear the heart.

In order to make the heart connection during stressful moments, it can be helpful to watch out for some of the following signs that we may be slipping into fight mode:

-Repetitive negative thoughts like: “I’m alone in this.” , “No one understands.”, “I can’t do this anymore.”, “I want it to be over.”, “What’s the point?”, “I hate my life.”

-Increased heart rate & difficulty breathing

-Aggressive behavior

-Rapid speech

-Tightening in the body

-Extreme mood swings

I realize that a lot of these symptoms overlap with many physical conditions. But, the truth is, we all want to move through discomfort, so here are some options to get started with training the mind though it:

Ask questions. Stressful thoughts are no match for Byron Katie, so I often refer people to The Work each time we experience the troubling thoughts that cycle on and on. She has a brilliantly simple line of questioning that will reframe the mind almost instantly.

Just Breathe. When it comes to calming the body, we must concentrate on slowing our breath. It relaxes the tension in the body and is vital to cool us down when we are boiling over. When we are in a state of panic and/or anger, we’re not getting as much oxygen to our brains and are not able to think as clearly. Deep breaths combined with a powerful mantra can reset panic and anger before any impulses are acted upon.

Move Your Body. If possible, get outside. Physically changing the space we are in during a rage can positively alter our energy. Moving gets us out of our heads and into our bodies to connect with ourselves at a deeper level. Personally, most of the inspiration & energy I receive comes from my meditation practice, which includes walking & grounding myself in nature as much as possible.

Talk it out. Once we explain our pain vs. projecting it, we take away a lot of its power. No matter what, there is always someone to talk to. Calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will connect you with a trained counselor 24/7. Once we realize we aren’t alone and that there is support out there, the energy inside us shifts.

Obtain ongoing support. Whether this means joining a support group, reaching out to friends/family or seeking counseling, it is imperative for your health to connect with others. Carefully cultivating relationships that provide compassion & support may just be the most important part of the recovery. We are biologically wired to depend on the kindness of strangers, so don’t ever feel bad about doing it!

I’d love to hear your suggestions. What do you do to recover from fight mode? Please share your tips with us in the comments below, you may just turn someone’s day around.


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  1. Harriet Rautenberg  August 13, 2014

    Well written . You are on your path to helping many people.

    • admin  August 24, 2014

      Thank you!


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