Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts or Low Feelings

A couple of big names were in the news this past week. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide days apart. People are talking about it. I began wondering about the other 850+ non-famous people who’ve committed suicide this week alone. I’d like to know their names. I’d like to remember them, too.

The CDC says that the suicide rate in the US has increased more than 25% since 1999. 1999 was my darkest year. Suicide had become a viable option for me. In February of 2000, I went to the brink and ended up in the ER, then intensive care. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless. I know what it’s like to believe that there is no way out of the despair. I know what it’s like to be consumed by shame and fear. If only I had known that the desperate thoughts and feelings would pass. If only I had known that I was resilient and whole despite how it all seemed. If only Kate, Anthony, and countless other people had known.

This is why I do the work I do. I want people to know. I want them to know that desperate thoughts and feelings pass. I want them to know that they are not those thoughts and feelings. I want them to know their own wellbeing and resilience.

You see, no matter how it may seem at this very moment, you are whole. You have innate wellbeing and resiliency. It may be that no one has ever told you. It may be that you’ve been told all your life that you are broken. It may be that you’ve come to believe it. I believed it. That belief was devastating. No matter how it looks to you at this moment, you are not broken; you only believe that you are. That belief is causing you tremendous suffering. Your essence cannot be broken. If you listen deeply, you may feel the truth of this, if only for a nanosecond. It’s no less true if you can’t.

Listen, it’s OK if you don’t believe it. I’ll believe it for you until you can. I believe it with all my heart. I believe in you. I see your light. I see your wholeness. If you can’t, it’s OK. It makes it no less true. You’ve only forgotten. You could remember at any moment. These desperate thoughts and feelings will pass. They will. That’s what thoughts and feelings do. They are not you. They are not permanent.

When we are in the throes of the devasting thoughts and emotions, they feel utterly and overwhelmingly real. They are supposed to feel real, that’s how this human system works. I get it. I understand. I’ve been there. All the way down. Sometimes it’s at the very bottom that we get a taste of who we really are, of our divinity. Over the Rhine has a line in their song, Nobody Number One, that I love: “I’m so far down, I’m beginning to breathe”. That’s what happened to me. I went all the way down and it was there that I found I could breathe. It was there that I touched my essence.

Sydney Banks, a philosopher and writer, said: “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” I believe it. I was so afraid of feeling down. I was so afraid of feeling shame. I was so afraid of feeling alone. I was so afraid of feeling afraid. I did not know that I could have touched it all more lightly. I did not know that I could have taken them less seriously and personally. I did not know that they were not me. I did not know that they would pass. Despite not knowing, they passed anyway but I kept them alive for much longer than necessary and I suffered greatly as a result. Now I know that thoughts, feelings, and circumstances pass. Now I know that I don’t have to take them so very personally and seriously. Now I know that I can find my way through. This is possible for you, too. It is.

If you are feeling suicidal:

  1. Reach out for support. I’d be happy to have a conversation with you or you could call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255
  2.  Remind yourself, whether or not you can feel it, that you are whole. You are resilient. You are made of star-stuff. You are divinity. If you can't remind yourself, find someone who can.
  3. Remember that thoughts and feelings want to move through you. That’s what they do. They are not permanent. They are not you. Imagine watching them pass without attaching to them. They cannot hurt you. You could think of them as a dream that you will wake up from or a fantastically immersive movie that will end.
  4. Instead of adding to the desperate thoughts and feelings with more thought and analysis, you could bring your attention back into the present moment. Feel your body in your chair. Feel how that chair supports you. Notice your breath, the inhale, the exhale. You are created for this present moment, not a future or past moment. Bring your attention back to this very moment. 
  5. You could notice that even in the midst of the despair, a puppy, an unexpected smile from a stranger, the wind caressing your skin can still make you smile at times. That could be a reminder to you that thoughts and feelings come and go. Notice it or you may miss it.
  6. Remind yourself that countless people have found their way through. You can, too. I could never have imagined 20 years ago how good life could be for me and how much like a distant and fading dream those desperate years feel to me now. Don’t give up. You are resilient. There is a way through this.
  7. Reach out for support. Yes, some things need to be said twice. Humans are relational beings. If no one around you is supportive then call the hotline or contact me. There are those who want to help.

As you wake up to who you truly are, you will find your way. Get support from someone who knows you have innate well-being and who will point you back to your essence, to your own light. That's where you will find your resilience, clarity, and peace. There is hope. There is hope.

This song brings tears to my eyes because I can breathe again and I wasn't sure that was going to be possible 20 years ago. There is hope.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. You can find the comment box below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.

Relax Your Grip

When we are grasping, clutching, or clinging, whether to an idea, person, situation, political stance, or belief, we may find that our focus becomes very small, limited, and rigid. In this state, we may not be able to see clearly in order to find our way. Instead we may become frustrated and ineffectual.

In college, I spent many days rock climbing and rappelling. I loved it! We were out on the cliffs at least once a week. I remember doing some crazy stunts like hooking into the rope backwards and going down the cliff headfirst. We had no fear most of the time.

I remember the first time I climbed a particularly exposed cliff wall. The cliff looked out over the valley and the Tennessee River. It wasn’t a difficult climb but it felt harder and trickier because it was quite exposed. I felt like I was hanging out there and I was scared. My reaction was to cling to the wall—pressing my body into the rock. The problem was that in grasping and clinging, I could no longer see nor negotiate my next move. I was stuck there.

I was stuck until I relaxed my grip and stopped clinging. I was stuck until I pushed out from the rock a bit so that I could survey my situation more broadly. I was stuck until I realized that the expansiveness was glorious and beautiful, and nothing to be afraid of. At that point, I could see my next handhold. I was able to move beyond the limited perspective of fear and see that there was a way to safely navigate the climb after all.

There was nothing to fear. I was safely tied to the rope. The climb was actually easy. All I had to do was push out enough to see what was before me and make the move that was immediately available to me.

Life is no different. When we stop clinging to stressful thoughts, beliefs, or perspectives, our mind returns to its natural state of clarity. We remember that we are tied safely to the rope of life and we are able to find our next handhold. 

I welcome your questions or comments below.

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By the way, I offer Free Well-Being Resources for anyone who subscribes to my weekly newsletter. You will receive inspirational tools to support you in returning to a place of clarity and wellbeing in your day to day life plus framable (high resolution) images and quotes that I have created just for my subscribers to inspire you. It's my way of saying thank you for your time and attention. These tools, quotes, and images are completely free of charge and can be accessed instantly when you sign up for the newsletter.

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Contact Carla to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's total commitment is to help her clients wake up and live the life they've been dreaming of. 

Outside In or Inside Out? It Matters.

Click on images to enlarge


Last night, I dreamed about Oprah. She was doing some kind of performance with gorgeous white horses who had long flowing manes. It was a beautiful and perfect performance.

Sweet Sandy Sue

When she came in, she walked over to a vending machine where I was standing. I told her what a wonderful performance it was! She said, really? Are you sure? She was doubtful, insecure, tentative. I said, yes, of course! It was superb!

Tobe. My sister's horse!

You see, even Oprah has doubts about herself. Welcome to the human experience. The problem is not that we have those thoughts but that we take them so very seriously and personally. We buy into them and, by doing so, we keep them alive. You could call this contaminated thinking.


Thinking, coupled with consciousness, creates our life experience. We are only ever dealing with our state of mind in the moment. That's how the system works. How it's meant to work.


It's what gives us our rich experience of life. It's a beautiful, creative system but most of us have a misunderstanding about how it works. This misunderstanding can cause all manner of discomfort and even suffering.

Sweet Caroline

We've grown up in a culture that has taught us to view life from the outside-in. That's the misunderstanding. We believe that what happens to us out there is what causes us to feel and experience. So, we read the books, attend the seminars, and visit our therapist, minister, or expert in order to learn the techniques and gather the tools to manage and combat our circumstances, deal with the people in our lives, and minimize our stressful feelings because what else can we do?

Rush, Sandy Sue, Shine

It's a constant game of managing all that is happening to us. No wonder we are tired! The techniques and tools can be helpful and sitting across from someone who really sees us and stays with us in a place of love can be wonderfully helpful, but somehow, we find that nice feeling and those techniques difficult to sustain and, before you know it, we're barely able to keep our heads above water again.


Once we understand that we experience life from the inside-out, we are able to find our clarity and well-being again. We are no longer at the mercy of what happens out there. We understand that our thinking about what's going on out there is the source of our feelings and experience. This understanding can be confronting in a way because it goes against everything we've ever believed, but when we take a moment to really examine it, we see how much more freedom and choice could be available to us if it were true.


Contaminated thinking, that is, stressful thinking that we buy into and feed, like Oprah did in the dream, is what causes our discomfort. When we turn our attention away from the contaminated thinking, we make space for new thought and clarity to arise. Thought is always arising. That's what thought does. We don't get to choose which thoughts we have but we do get to choose which thoughts we feed.


This is good news because we don't have to fight our thoughts, or change our thoughts. We don't have to take our thoughts so seriously and personally. Boy, has that been a game changer for me. We can choose which to let move through and which to create our lives with. If we feed them, they will grow and we will feel and experience them. That’s the way of it.


Practical example: Last week, I had a Facebook exchange with someone whom I love. We walk in very different worlds now and we disagree with one another on many issues. Hot bed issues, like politics and religion. I try very hard not to engage in Facebook exchanges like that because I know they are useless. On this day, and it’s not the only time, I got caught up in a thought that was passing through. How can these people think like this? I’ve got to convince them otherwise! Really, the thought was just passing through, but I brought it to a full stop and I fed it. Man, did I feed it. Let me tell you, it didn’t feel good. Not for a moment did it feel good. And taking action on that contaminated thought did absolutely no one any good. It did not deepen our love. It did not deepen our connection or understanding. It probably did deepen the divide. And I felt awful (and self-righteous, superior, and justified, dammit!, but not good).

Peyton & Meeko

Here’s the thing, once I fed the thought, it grew exponentially and seemed to take on a life of its own. That’s how powerful thought is! My friend’s beliefs, ideas, and comments did not cause my feelings but what I thought about what she believes had everything to do with how I felt. How can I be certain? Because there are many times that the same situation is at hand and I feel neutral or maybe even love. It can’t be her. It can’t be the situation or I would react the same way every time. It has to be my thoughts about the situation. Once I understand this, I am free to allow the stressful thought to pass without having to act on it. I’m free to wait for a new thought to arise, a new insight to occur, that will allow me to respond from a place of love if a response is needed at all.

Meeko and Ashley

This is how thought works. This is how our experiences are created. No two people experience the same situation, circumstance, or person the same way because we are living from the inside-out. We are only ever living in the feeling of thought in the moment.


Don't believe me, really examine it. See if it’s true in your life. Notice when someone cuts you off in traffic one day and you rage and when it happens another day and you are perfectly calm. There are a million examples like this. Just notice. Notice the stories you tell yourself about the circumstance on this particular day. Notice how these stories themselves are the source of your feelings, not what’s happening out there. Just notice. Once you see, once you understand, it will be like understanding and aligning yourself with gravity and not falling down as much anymore. You will flow with life a little more easily as you understand how this human system works. Life is experienced unfailingly from the inside-out and a fresh thought is always on the horizon.

I would be delighted to hear what you think in a comment below.

By the way, I offer Free Well-Being Resources for anyone who subscribes to my weekly inspirational newsletter. You will receive inspirational tools to support you in returning to a place of clarity and wellbeing in your day to day life plus framable (high resolution) images and quotes that I have created just for my subscribers to inspire you. It's my way of saying thank you for your time and attention. These tools, quotes, and images are completely free of charge and can be accessed instantly when you sign up for the newsletter.

Snakes! and the Power of Thought


I walk the Hammock almost every day. The Hammock is a 100-acre forest in the heart of Dunedin, FL. I feel perfectly at home there. I see roseate spoonbills, owls, hawks, egrets, herons, turtles, lizards, and the occasional snake, among other critters. I absolutely love walking the trails.


Today, Pedro and I wandered into the Hammock and something fast and small bit my leg scaring the bejeezus out of me! Snake! I looked down only to find that I had stepped on a small stick. I shook my head and then my whole body, releasing the surge of adrenaline and cortisol that filled me. Fifteen minutes later, it happened again! Snake! Of course, it, too, was nothing more than a stick. I shook my head once again and laughed at how ridiculous I was being.


I walk these trails every day, never afraid, even if sticks do pop up and hit me from time to time. What was different today? I had snakes on the mind because Pam and I had been talking about them the day before. I thought the stick was a snake. Even though it barely felt like much of anything, I almost jumped out of my skin! That, my friend, is the power of thought. I was experiencing my thinking in the moment, nothing more.

Additionally, I had a business meeting with a colleague today. The conversation didn't go as I had imagined. I hung up and began to feel a tad sorry for myself. That's when I got up and went into the woods, only to be bitten by two snakes! Of course, I've already established that there were no snakes. No snake bites and no snakes in the conversation. I realized that I thought the conversation was a snake, just as I thought the stick was a snake. I started to make up what was going to happen in the future as a result of the conversation. I decided it wasn't going to go well after all. I decided the call was bad news, yet, there was no bad news. Just different news than I had expected.

Once I realized that I was buying into these thoughts that were welling up in my mind, I began to relax, allowing them to move through me. I reminded myself that the future is an incomplete equation. I can't possibly know how the situation will unfold. When I started to believe that I did know and then the conversation didn't go as I imagined, I freaked out a bit, fearful that things wouldn't turn out well. Truth is, I have no idea how it will turn out and I had no idea before the conversation either. All of it was made up! I believed the thoughts to be real and that's why I felt I had been bitten by a snake. There was no snake. Only thought in the moment.


Can you relate? How many times have you seen a snake, whether in the woods or in a person or situation only to find that it was a stick? How many times have you made up an imagined future only to find that the future turns out completely differently? Probably more than you can count. And how much stress have you experienced as a result?

When we get caught up in an imagined future and in our exponential thinking, insight eludes us and we can become stressed, angry, disappointed, or fearful. When we recognize thought for what it is, we relax a bit and can begin to bring ourselves back to the present moment, allowing the thoughts to move through and opening to the insights we need to handle right now. We have all we need to deal with this moment. Even if it is a real snake.

night heron.jpg

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.

By the way, I offer Free Well-Being Resources for anyone who subscribes to my weekly inspirational newsletter. You will receive inspirational tools to support you in returning to a place of clarity and wellbeing in your day to day life plus framable (high resolution) images and quotes that I have created just for my subscribers to inspire you. It's my way of saying thank you for your time and attention. These tools, quotes, and images are completely free of charge and can be accessed instantly when you sign up for the newsletter.