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Bruce Springsteen’s Metaphor for Suicidal Ideation is for Anyone Who Feels Emotionally Trapped

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

There are many reasons why someone may feel suicidal or die by suicide. For some, suicide may seem like the only way to find relief from overwhelming emotional pain. It isn’t so much about dying but about finding peace. To illustrate this, Bruce Springsteen had a couple of metaphors for feeling trapped by intense emotions.

“I once got into some sort of box where I couldn’t figure my way out and where the feelings were so overwhelmingly uncomfortable,” Springsteen told Esquire after being asked if he ever contemplated suicide.

Springsteen, 69, said he didn’t know if he could live with how he was feeling, recounting his second “breakdown” in his early 60s. Springsteen told Esquire these thoughts were during his “agitated depression,” which is characterized by restlessness and is sometimes referred to as “mixed mania.” Though mixed mania occurs in people with bipolar disorder, it can occur in people with major depressive disorder.

“This was the ‘agitated depression’ I talk about in the book [‘Born to Run’], where feelings became so overwhelmingly uncomfortable that I simply couldn’t find a twelve-by-twelve piece of the floor to stand on, where I could feel a sense of peace on,” Springsteen said.

Feeling as though you’re trapped in a box or can’t find even ground to stand on may be relatable if you’ve ever felt overcome with emotion or depression. Even when you try to look for something to help you feel more stable, your search may not always be successful, leaving you feeling more hopeless. Springsteen said he thinks he felt “just enough despair myself to — pain gets too great, confusion gets too great, and that’s your out.”

“I had no inner peace whatsoever,” Springsteen told the magazine. “And I said, ‘Gee, I really don’t know. I don’t know how long I could . . .’ It was a manic state, and it was just so profoundly emotionally and spiritually and physically uncomfortable that the only thing I’ve ever said was ‘Gee, I don’t know, man.”

Like Springsteen, Lady Gaga has also described suicidal ideation in an attempt to convey what it’s like to live with it. Gaga called suicidal thoughts a “spell.” She explained “we have to have empathy. Be kind and help each other break the spell and live and thrive.”

If you find yourself stuck in a box or under a spell, know there are others who feel like they’re isolated and overwhelmed with emotions, too. The thing is, we’re not alone, no matter how much our minds tell us that we are. Finding ways to manage overwhelming emotions or depression that just doesn’t want to lift is incredibly hard, but when something clicks — and it will — you’ll get that relief and peace you need. You just have to stick around for it.

Image via Creative Commons/rockcatering

Originally published: November 27, 2018
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