Thoughts of Murder and Suicide


Thoughts of Murder and Suicide


your avatar   Shane, 44-year-old man

I have been diagnosed as Bipolar for many years. I have been in and out of mental hospitals for suicide attempts, and have been taking Lamictal and Wellbutrin for a while. I am also undergoing counseling on a regular basis.

Lately I have been plagued with very disturbing sessions of thoughts that I can't get out of my head. I see myself killing people and myself. Sometimes I see myself hanging from the window in a noose, or killing people I hate, think I hate or who are perfectly innocent bystanders. It consumes me for several minutes if not hours. Sometimes, I don't sleep at night. I have been seeking medication to make the thoughts go away. Some sleep medicine will knock me out like Seroquel or Codeine, but I don't want to get hooked. I also don't want to ruin my career by going back into the hospital, but my psychologist isn't helping me. I am afraid to lose all that I have by telling people what I am going through. My wife sometimes knows because I tell her, but she doesn't fully comprehend how close I feel I am to losing it. I have been thinking of getting a gun.

How do I keep my life together and yet get help? I am not very trusting in this situation.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Shane,

It is terrible when an inner enemy wants to kill you and do violence to others. From your letter, I can see that you abhor violence, and definitely do not want to hurt people. The first helpful thing is that, in fact, you have got through 44 years of life without having given in to these terrible urges. This shows to me that, however you might judge yourself, you are a good person.

I once had a client who had an almost overwhelming urge to engage in sexual activities with any small child he encountered. He had vivid images and bodily feelings about the activities these urges wanted him to do. And yet, never once did he give in to them. No one except for him and his therapist ever knew that he was tortured in this way. He certainly never sexually abused a child, or even committed any acts of unkindness toward children. He happened to be a strong Christian, and I used his beliefs to his benefit. Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days and 40 nights. In the end, Jesus refused the temptation, and went forward with His mission. Was this easy? If it had been, it would have taken 5 seconds, not 40 days. The temptation must have been just as overwhelming for Jesus as the urge to kill is for you (and as sexual abuse was for this man). But He made the right choice. If it was OK for Jesus to face temptation and choose right, then it is OK for us ordinary, little mortals. Had Jesus not faced the temptation from Satan, perhaps He could not have done His job as Saviour. In the same way, we are ennobled, strengthened and improved by facing difficulties and trials.

So, perhaps, before you were born, you were given this hardship. You were given these awful urges, so that you could grow toward wisdom and kindness by resisting them. You don't need drugs. You don't need to feel bad about yourself. Simply accept the urges when they come -- and continue to do what you know within your heart to be proper - treating yourself and others with respect and kindness, REGARDLESS of the urges that may continue to torture you from time to time.


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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