Thoughts of death, suicide, and fear


Thoughts of death, suicide, and fear


your avatar   Patrick McNally

I think I am going insane. When I am alone I begin thinking about murder, death, suicide, and loneliness. I don't want to be this way but sometimes I can't help it. When I am around my friends and my family I don't have these thoughts, but when I'm by myself, or with someone I despise I will sometimes begin to shake.

I have made a scrapbook with cut-outs inside reading "DEATH, FEAR, RAGE, MURDER, ASYLUM, CHAOS, ALONE, etc. and it seems to help. Whenever I feel like I want to kill myself or others, I just flip through the scrapbook and I feel a little better.

Help me.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Patrick,

I hope this answer gets to you in time. I came across your question almost by accident, and have thought about your problem for over a day.

Patrick, YOU NEED HELP URGENTLY. And, believe it or not, HELP IS POSSIBLE.

That's right, you can be helped. You do not have to cope with this situation alone.

First, you are not a monster, or an evil person. It's impossible for me to work out the cause of your problem without talking with you, but chances are, you have a sickness.

Some kinds of sickness affect your liver, or your kidneys, or your heart. The sickness you may be suffering from affects some chemicals your brain makes. These chemicals have to form a balance. If you have too much of one, or two little, your thinking can be affected in ways just like what you describe: terrible thoughts that won't let you alone.

There is no shame in being sick. You don't need to feel guilty about the thoughts of murder that have been haunting you. In fact, I think you are wonderful. It is clear from your message that you have been fighting this monster. You have done your best to get away from the thoughts, and that you have not obeyed them. You have not hurt anyone, and you have not killed yourself. I think you can be proud of yourself, because resisting such strong, repetitive thought is very hard.

Go to your doctor. Tell him/her about your problem. It may help to take along a copy of your question and my answer. Ask the doctor to refer you to a specialist.

These people will need to do some tests to work out what the problem is. If I am right and your illness involves an imbalance in brain chemicals, then they will be able to help you with some medications.

Once these medications work, that's when you'll benefit from counseling. Don't rely on the medications alone, but get help to work through the feelings of low self worth, or even self-hate that this problem always gives people.

Good luck,

Bob Rich

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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