the consistent finding of the role of the destructive inner voice in suicide. This voice drives suicidal tendencies, deceptively convincing people that it is better to end their lives than to find an alternate solution to their suffering
For many, understanding there is an innate voice that wishes for death and destruction can help to separate, and thereby distance, one from these thoughts. Distance from the thoughts helps one disown them and take away their power. You are not your thoughts. Once these thoughts are recognized, they can be challenged, minimized, and disregarded. Healthier thoughts can be put in their place.
This observation is actually much older than these psychologists realize. First, Richard Sibbes in “The Soul’s Conflict With Itself”, writing of depression, explains:
Whence we may further observe, that we are prone to cast down ourselves, we are accessory to our own trouble, and weave the web of our own sorrow, and hamper ourselves in the cords of our own twining. God neither loves nor wills that we should be too much cast down. We see our Saviour Christ, how careful he was that his disciples should not be troubled, and therefore he labours to prevent that trouble which might arise by his suffering and departure from them, by a heavenly sermon; ‘Let not your hearts be troubled,’ &c., John 14:1. He was troubled himself that we should not be troubled. The ground, therefore, of our disquiet is chiefly from ourselves, though Satan will have a hand in it. We see many, like sullen birds in a cage, beat themselves to death. This casting down of ourselves is not from humility, but from pride; we must have our will, or God shall not have a good look from us, but as pettish and peevish children, we hang our heads in our bosom, because our wills are crossed.
And as for speaking to ourselves about such things, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, taking his cue from Sibbes, formulates the answer thus:
The main art in the manner of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, you have to preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul, “Why art thou cast down?” — what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: “Hope thou in God” — instead of muttering in this depressed unhappy way. And you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, “General Consideration”