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Interview with Leon James

Esquire magazine  Julie Vadnal  December 12, 2007

Some people have reported that they sometimes get the urge to driver their car into a telephone pole or oncoming traffic. Ws this serious? Should they be worried about it? What is the cause of it?

Many people report such a thought and they are scared of it. These types of thoughts may occur in other situations as well and are related psychologically. For instance people walking up to the edge of a steep cliff or a balcony in a tall building or a bridge. They report being scared of the thought they suddenly have of throwing themselves off. Some people don't like to touch or hold a big knife because it gives them the thought of plunging it into their chest or abdomen. Some people feel the urge of running out in front of speeding cars. Sometimes you see this behavior in children who are being bad playing in the streets. I think all these situations are related.

There are five types of explanations we can give for these types of behaviors.

1) Rage, helplessness, frustration, violence. The only solution left.

2) Revenge, getting back at or getting even with others who will be disturbed by the violent death.

3) The feeling of power to destroy, to hurt, inflict damage. At least one area of sure power.

4) Momentary insanity, death wish, giving up the struggle of life. Put an end to all.

5) Risk taking. Courting uncertainty. Adrenalin rush. Feeling life.


If you get one of these urges while driving immediately start making funny animal noises for ten seconds. Really get into it -- dog, bear, lion, pussy cat. This will stop the urge or thought.

If this occurs once in a while or rarely there is no cause for worry, in my opinion. In most cases it is not really an urge to kill yourself, but only a thought which is immediately stoppable.

If it occurs frequently or regularly you need psychological counseling.

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