Negative voices – suicide

Last night I caught the programme about Jodi Ann Bickley.  She is running a project called a million lovely letters.  Essentially Jodi asked people to ask her for a letter and she then wrote to them.  Personal letters of comfort, encouragement and support.  I was frankly blown away by the programme, they met two people she’d really helped at very low points in their lives.  That would have been a heartening story alone but Jodi also was incredibly open and honest about her own depression and talked about the internal critic that she has with her all the time telling her “she isn’t worthy”, “isn’t good enough” etc.

This year two high profile music performers have committed suicide, Chris Cornell and recently Chester Bennington.  Both had sold squillions of records, sold squillions of concert tickets but… their lives, they thought had no meaning any more.

Do you have those negative voices?  I’ll admit I do.  The volume and intensity of their attacks rise and fall from time to time.  I can’t say how mine rates to others but I’ve never sought medication for it. I have talked about it in therapy however and with others who I trust to share my inner stuff with.  I dismiss some of it as “just normal imposter syndrome” as I’ve always thought I’m unworthy of whatever praise or employment position I hold, I only got it through luck or dumbness on the part of the hiring manager in my view. Sometimes they do worry me when the intensity goes up.  For me I’ve normally given myself a stern talking to and been able to refocus so that if they are there the intensity seems to decrease.  However I realise that I’m possibly lucky in being able to have this internal dialogue and able to quieten or at least for them to cease being the figure and drop more into the ground – if you like a Gestalt description of what I think is going on for me.

For a long time they can be relatively silent and only on the periphery of my consciousness in the ground.  Other times they can be quiet loud, front and centre in the figure.  Like Jodi they tell me that I’m not as worthy as others and that I’m a fraud.  They try to stoke my anxieties by telling me it’ll all come crashing down soon when finally the emperor’s clothes I’ve concealed myself in (esp professionally) are ripped from my shoulders.

I don’t know how common these sorts of thoughts and voices are but in listening to Jodi last night, reflecting that in the UK the biggest killer of men under 45 is suicide and that 76% of suicides are men I decided to at least put this out here.  If you’re male and reading this and can hear or have heard those voices you are not alone.  Reach out and seek help.   phone 116 123



About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Negative voices – suicide

  1. ainsobriety says:

    I had those thoughts my entire life. I assumed everyone had an ongoing critical, sharp and fearful voice in their head. And it believe that voice helped me be successful and liked. But it also pushed me towards self harm and suicidal thoughts.

    In the year before I quit drinking to joined a program that used self compassion. ha. I had zero self compassion. But it opened the door to the idea other people do…

    Sobriety followed, which is about as self compassionate as you can get. And then my therapist and I worked on unconditional self acceptance. Which, for me, is the root of everything and the secret to contentment. Being ok with how things are, right now. Part of that was trying medication. The deep black hole of depression was too steep. I could not see any hope. It was the springboard I needed to do the work.

    Adding in deep yoga training and study together with all the rest resulted in a shift. The sun came out from behind the clouds. Hope returned.
    I started looking at the critical voice as my inner child needing attention. I offered gentleness and love. It was hard, as my inclination was to do more, focus harder,but it worked.

    The mean voice is gone. My mantra of stillness and peace has come to fruition. I know contentment.

    Of course, it comes back. I am still human…but I know that stillness and peace is possible. So I practice yoga and I breath deeply and I take care of myself. And it returns.

    The second yoga sutra is yoga is the stilling of the chitter chatter of the mind. It has worked for me.

    Sorry for the long post. In the end I just wanted to say I know that inner critic. It is part of me. But it responds well to love.


  2. I used to have those voices too. I have always been very hard on myself, and when I was teaching I often felt like a fraud.
    Sobriety has made these voices much quieter, and as Anne said, learning self-acceptance and self-compassion has helped me so much.
    Now, I can get theses thoughts sometimes when I go on social media, and compare myself to what I see there.
    I have been off of FB and Instagram now for a few days, and feel ever so much stronger.
    Love really helps me, too!

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Graham. Men don’t talk about what’s going on inside their minds very easily and I think it’s good to know that you’re not alone and that there is a way to deal with these feelings other than intoxication.
    I remember that voice too, she was mean and super bitchy, telling me what a fuck up I was, and also a failure. Like Anne, I started using love to fight her, and after a while it got easier to tune her out. Sometimes I just kick her in the face. Haha!!

  4. Paul S says:

    Sorry to get to this late, Graham. I love that you are talking about this. I too have those kind of voices. They aren’t 100% gone, but they are there. I try to dismiss them as often as I can.
    Just yesterday someone mentioned that she had thoughts of suicide, but not in the way of wanting to do it. It was more of an idealized notion. I knew exactly what she meant, as I have those, but I know nothing would come from it – it was more about fantasising escape. No cares or worries. I don’t want to die – I sometimes just need to escape. But that’s a momentary feeling, and then it passes.

    But I think what you talk about and how oppressive it can be for others…it’s a tough thing. I have been there once or twice only, and I truly did feel and understand wanting to end it all, but I can’t imagine living with that day in and day out. I am so saddened when someone, famous or not, takes their own lives.

    Thank you for this, Graham.

  5. Liz Hinds says:

    Brave and very true words. When the voices start to shout it’s difficult not to listen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s