To experience these emotions strongly is to be human. Many times, these emotions prompt you to act in ways that are safe and appropriate. Other times, even if the emotion makes sense, the immediate action urge that follows does not support your best interests in the long term; plus, when the feelings are intense, it's even harder to act differently from your urge. Unfortunately, if your urge is to attack, withdraw, or abandon your plans, then acting consistent with that urge may lead to some negative consequences and, as such, may very well feed the LN or HN emotion so that it gets even more intense. This makes resuming the plan you had for yourself before you got triggered feel nearly impossible. Putting it all together, the biggest problem with triggers that send you into intense LN or HN states is that the automatic action urge that results often leads you to behave in a way that keeps you stuck there, rather than slowly making your way over to LP or HP. All of this just means that it might take extra practice to break the link between the urge and choosing an effective behavior when your emotion is intense. Just as I tailored suggestions in Principle 2 for larks and owls, here I provide individually targeted suggestions for two very different types of emotional responders: those who feel like their emotions hijack their mind and bodies (emotional under-control), and those who suppress their emotions or shut down before their emotions can hijack them (emotional over-control). Read through the overviews of both the emotional under-control style and the emotional over-control style, and see which one best describes your typical responses. Then go on to the sections that offer corresponding suggestions and take note of any that you anticipate will be helpful when you are triggered. Imagine using that strategy in the heat of intense emotion. Then, copy the strategy down or download it from the publisher's website. Keep it in an accessible place so you remember to try the ideas out when you are triggered intensely. In an emotionally under-controlled moment, you become overwhelmed and tend to think you "just can't handle it" when your emotions are strong. It might feel unbearable. You may not be thinking clearly and may be jumping at the chance to distract yourself from the feelings because the sense of urgency is palpable. In these moments, you might find yourself doing any of these things. Consider long-term maintenance. If relapse occurs, it may be prudent to consider remaining in treatment this next time around longer than your first intervention. Remember, depression is not a one-size-fits-all illness.

You need to create a unique regiment just for you. If recurrence is operating, it may be wise to continue pursuing treatment indefinitely. Personally, my depression, its recurrences, and my professional experiences with mental illness helped me make the decision to remain on antidepressant medication for the rest of my life. It can be devastating, though, to view the big picture of depression, so professionally, I encourage children and adults whose depressions return to make decisions about treatment in small steps. If you look at your progress through small windows, it makes the landscape easier to navigate. "Suicide" is the intentional act of killing oneself. "Right-to-die," "euthanasia," and "assisted suicide" fall into this definition, but the matters of terminal illness and death-with-dignity are not the focal point here. Suicide by untreated or unresolved mental illness is the great concern I want to highlight in this chapter. Worldwide, most deaths by suicide occur as a result of mental illness, with mood disorders being a principal factor. Though suicide is the most preventable kind of death, more than three thousand children and adults die by suicide each day--more than all the deaths caused by accidents, wars, and homicides, around the world, combined. To look at this another way, worldwide, over one million deaths by suicide occur each year. Of the one million who die by suicide, there are 10-20 percent more who are treated for nonfatal suicidal injuries in hospital emergency rooms, doctor offices, and public clinics. If we add to the mix the individuals who have a nonfatal suicide attempt but receive no treatment at all--whether they choose not to seek treatment, have no coverage for care, or keep the suicide attempt a secret--the percentage of suicide attempts may be even higher. Research shows that males have a higher death-by-suicide rate than do females.1 The reason for this is that, generally speaking, men and boys choose more immediate and lethal means to complete suicide than do girls and women. Suicide is an aggressive act that requires a violent impulse. Males are more aggressive and impulsive (due to their gender-specific neurobiology) than are females, so their suicide methods include firearms, hanging, and stabbing more often than do females'. Suicide methods for females fall into the categories of overdosing, cutting, or slashing, which don't always have a direct fatal effect. This trend explains why females attempt suicide more often than their male counterparts, as their first attempt may not have been lethal enough to cause death. Suicide is a significant risk for anyone with a mental illness, but is exponentially higher for people with depression. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children aged nine to fourteen; the third leading cause of death for adolescents aged fifteen to twenty-four, and the second leading cause of death in adults aged twenty-five to thirty-four.3 One of the most debilitating effects of death by suicide is the loss that family and friends experience.4 For some, it takes time to make sense of a death by suicide.

For others, healing moves very, very slowly. Many surviving friends and family members have described a similar theme of long-standing, unshakable grief. It's as if the unspeakable sadness that darkened the life of the person who died by suicide lives on within those who loved them. The emotional consequences of death by suicide are so powerful that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) holds an annual global awareness day to help survivors of suicide continue in their healing. The National Survivors of Suicide Day was created in 1999 by U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who lost his father to suicide. Every year in November, the AFSP sponsors national and global events to provide for the survivor community to come together for support, healing, information, and empowerment. The kind of mood disorder you experience slightly varies your risk for suicide. Data shows that 15 percent of individuals with unipolar depression attempt suicide, whereas 20 percent with bipolar attempt suicide.6 As mentioned in chapter 2, bipolar disorders possess as lightly greater level of pathological risk than do unipolar disorders in this regard.7 Many think the bipolar experience is one in which mania, hypomania, or mixed states predominate the quality of life, but the fact is that, on average, people with bipolar disorders spend 50 percent of the time in a depressive episode and only 11 percent in a manic or hypomanic state.8 Children and adults with bipolar disorders tend to experience agitation, irritability, and drivenness more so than do those with unipolar depression. These high-octane symptoms, sometimes called behavioral activation symptoms, can spur on the acting out of suicidal thoughts. With regard to unipolar disorders, lethargy, fatigue, and vegetative despair make it hard to put suicidal thoughts into action. However, risk for suicide increases for those with unipolar disorders as the descent into a depressive episode happens or as emergence from one occurs. If you recall my narrative, I was descending into the depths of a deep depressive episode when I attempted suicide. I had not yet succumbed to the deeply immobilizing symptoms of depression. My mind and body were active enough to set off my suicidal thoughts, which put me at great risk. Whether a couple stays together or not may come down to a simple equation. Famed relationship psychologist John Gottman found through reviewing two decades of observational research that marriages that last maintain a ratio of positive-to-negative interactions of about five to one. The researcher found a mean positivity ratio of 5.1 to 1 for "speech acts" and 4.7 to 1 for "observed emotions." Those who exhibit closer to a one-to-one ratio of positive to negative are likely to "cascade to divorce," according to the researcher. In 1992, Gottman and a pair of mathematicians recruited 700 newly married couples, videotaping fifteen-minute conversations between the two and counted the number of positive and negative interactions. They were able to predict whether the couples would still be together a decade later with 94 percent accuracy.

Track your interactions with your partner over the course of a day. How frequently are you complimenting or expressing affection? How often are you criticizing or expressing frustration? If the ratio of positive-to-negative expressions is less than five to one, work to move that needle. Whatever your policy on one-night stands, if you're looking to build a long-term relationship, odds are better if you don't rush into things. Relationship researchers have noted for years that couples who cohabit before engagement and marriage are more likely to divorce--in part because they are more likely to shift into marriage more through inertia than an active choice. But it turns out that hopping into bed immediately does not bode well for a relationship, either. Cornell University researcher Sharon Sassler conducted a study of almost 600 married and cohabiting couples, surveying them about their relationship quality, sexual satisfaction, and communication. Controlling for variables such as age, income, and number of children, the researchers found that those who had sex within a month of starting to date (more than one third of respondents) reported lower relationship satisfaction. For the women surveyed, the longer they waited for sex, the better their perception of their current relationship. If you see longer-term potential in the person you just started dating, hold off on sex--at least for a few weeks. Communication is key to successful relationships, but often communication takes the form of discussing what you're going to eat for dinner or figuring out who has to walk the dog. Drawing on her longitudinal study of 373 couples over decades, psychologist Terri Orbuch found that 98 percent of happy couples agreed that they "intimately know and understand" their partner. Additionally, a majority of happy spouses said they "often" revealed intimate things to their spouses, while just 19 percent of unhappy couples did the same. To that end, she recommends that couples practice the Ten-Minute Rule, in which every day the couple discusses for ten minutes any topic except household responsibilities, work, or kids. From Orbuch's findings, the daily habit of chatting about nonwork subjects opens the door to personal topics that will help you better know your spouse in a more intimate way. The biggest reason we're not accepting personal responsibility, our inner-child is running rampant, and we're lacking in self-control and self-discipline is because we're too weak to accept any devastating blows to our fragile ego. We're afraid our over-inflated sense of "self", our ego, will crumble and we'll lose our identity, the thing that makes us "who we are", because we're overly-concerned with having an "identity" and sense of self. We have this wonderful image of ourselves in our mind, an image we created of who we THINK we are, and it will all fall to pieces if we admit we're not actually THAT great and we've been erroring in our ways. It means we'll have to pick up the pieces and start from scratch and, for most of us, that's just too scary and too much work.

We don't have the desire, willpower, and motivation to do such a thing. It's too far out of our comfort zone and it'll make us look vulnerable and weak. Our ego says, "You're already this cool and awesome person, you already have a reputation, and let's not mess that up. Let's keep pretending we are who everyone thinks we are and who we present ourselves to be to the world on social media." Your ego is destroying your life, your potential, and the possibilities of having the life you really want. Your ego is that scared little bitch inside of you that is overly concerned with what everyone thinks about you and whether or not they're impressed by your life and personality. Stop making your ego so important. Stop worshipping yourself. Stop designing your life and actions around your ego and self-image. If you don't get rid of it, you will live the rest of your life waking up and thinking, "Why do I keep having these same problems in my life and why won't anything ever go my way?" The ego says it's cool to talk about all of the amazing things we want to do with our life and be the person we want to become but it also warns against actually putting ourselves out there and risking the embarrassment and failure that possibly comes with "change" and doing something different. Henry Ford, a man of action, said it best, "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." Most of us are all talk, but no action. Talk is cheaper and words are more worthless than they've ever been because social media now gives us the opportunity to "talk" and run our mouth as much as we want, about whatever we want, and whenever we want and we always have an audience! We get the attention our ego craves and wants more of! You can get on social media, tag yourself at the gym, talk about "it's time for a change in my life", talk about how "hard" you've been working on yourself, get a bunch of "likes" and "comments", and that makes you THINK you're actually doing something positive. You're actually tricking yourself into thinking you're making some kind of progress! Talking about what you're doing or going to do isn't the same as taking action and the time you're using to talk about it could be spent actually doing the thing you're talking about doing! Right now, as I write this, no one knows I'm writing this book. No one in my family, none of my friends, etc. No one. You know why? Because it's better to talk about what you've DONE than what you're going to do.