Why live in the past?

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Postby Morty » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:42 am

poohcarrot wrote: You can't swim if you've got bricks tied to you.


No flak coming from me Pooh ‘’ You can't swim if you've got bricks tied to you’’. The more I read your words the more they sink in and I’ve deliberately left that pun in!

Last year was the worst year I’ve known. Losing my partner was enough to make me think ‘’what’s the point in going on’’. The stroke only added to the feeling of complete despair. Towards the end of last year I was using several crutches.

The pair given to me by the hospital were very real devices to stop me falling over. I was lucky that several very good friends were there from day one and are still here today. I have a wonderful Sister and kids that do all they can to support me. My faith is still as strong as it ever was and if anything has become stronger because of what’s happened. Joining this forum has been another crutch that has been a huge support to me. I found a completely new set of internet friends some of whom in a very short time have become friends in the real world. The humour and inspiration I’ve got from the forum has changed what seemed hopeless days into the really good days.

This thread has really touched a nerve. The more I’ve read it the more I can understand there is a way forward. I will never allow myself to forget how much I still love my partner but I’m now beginning to think the stroke has been the kick up the bum I needed to get me back. The NHS and DWP have been such a nightmare that they’ve now turned into something I find extremely amusing and fighting them every day and every step of the way has become a hobby. Learning to live with the disabilities has been a challenge but I’m getting there. Learning to live on the absolute minimum income has left me thinking how I managed to spend the large salary I used to get through each month.

Being forced into voluntary work to stop myself from going crazy has given me a whole new set of friends. None of my church friends knew my partner and she never went to the church so a few hundred yards away is a whole new world where there are no memories of her and I can escape for as long as I want to. I could go on and on but the one sentence ‘’ You can't swim if you've got bricks tied to you’’ has really hit home this morning.

I’ve been one of the lucky ones because with help from friends I’ve been able to untie so many of the bricks I had tied to me. I will keep a close on this thread and I have no doubt I’ll write more in weeks to come but one thought has struck me this morning.

There have been days when I’ve sat and stared at the huge collection of painkillers and anti stroke medication I have in my bathroom cabinet and thought of the easy way out. Some of the contributors to this thread have voiced similar thoughts. The fact that we’ve all posted in this thread is proof that we’ve already come to terms with those thoughts and untied a few more bricks.

Sorry Pooh I can feel a new signature change coming on :lol: .
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:57 am

Morty wrote:Sorry Pooh I can feel a new signature change coming on :lol: .


Well if Dotsie can change her signature almost every other day, I don't see why you can't. :lol:
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:38 am

I've been giving this topic a good deal of thought and there's a few comments I'd like to make. :)

Firstly I'd say that most people do eventually move on with their lives once something tragic has happened to them. How long that takes or what route they take to move on is something else.

As you said in your first post, Doug - you experienced something terrible that nearly made you kill yourself, but you eventually sought help. Your wife was being abused and presumably she didn't immediately make the choice to make it stop, but eventually she did. Morty said that he went through absolute hell, but now, with support, he's moving on from that. That, I'd say is the typical reaction to most bad experiences of humans. Things drag us down and we try to live with them and then, eventually, we try to move on with our lives.

But those experiences don't just magically go away and we don't forget them. They shape the persons we become for better or worse. Pooh's comment that 'what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger' has a ring of truth to it, but I don't think it tells the full story. Our bad experiences can significantly weaken us without killing us. They can make us less confident and more suspicious and they can change our way of thinking and acting in situations - not always for the better.

I have no idea who Lindsy Lohan (who Doug mentioned in his second post) is, but taking to drink or drugs after a bad experience is not exactly untypical. A lot of people find that having their senses deadened through drink or drugs helps them to face things. Of course this is not a good solution as when the drink and drugs wear off, you still have the problem and you have also accumulated guilt though the drinking or drug taking and often ruined your relationships with friends and family. In the long term it doesn't solve anything - but it is a very common way that people try to deal with their problems.

But people do move on. They find life impossible to deal with, so they seek help, or they get out of an abusive situation, or they try to change their way of thinking and dealing with things that cause them pain.

Maybe some people do need a proverbial kick up the backside to change their way of thinking. I certainly did. A doctor I spoke to said to me 'if being married is making you so miserable, why are you still married?' It made me question the way I'd been living my life up to that point and it made me take a different direction in my life which has, thankfully, lead me to where I am now. In a way I can't explain it sort of opened my eyes to my situation.

It didn't cure my depression - I'm aware that that is incurable, but it did take away a huge cause of pressure that was making the depression much more difficult to cope with.

So - I'd say that most people do eventually move on - unless they can't and commit suicide. My initial problem with this thread was that I thought it tended to generalise. People are all different, they are in different circumstances and with different experiences. Just because one person finds it relatively easy to move on, doesn't automatically mean that everyone will. Some people have better support than others. Some have no support at all. So saying 'I got through this, so everyone else should', just simply doesn't work. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:28 pm

poohcarrot wrote:(I'm bound to get into trouble for this comment. I always do!)

I think what X Date The Rat is trying to say is;

"What does not kill us, SHOULD make us strong."

Which I agree with 100%.
......................
But you have to cope by whatever means it takes. That's life! Bad things will always happen. It's up to the individual to turn them into bricks for character building, because if they don't, they'll be weighted down forever. It's Darwinian. Sink or swim. You can't swim if you've got bricks tied to you.

(sits back and waits for the flak.)

Oh dear - you are having a rotten time at the moment aren't you pooh? :lol:

I agree with what you've said there as a generalisation as well. The part I highlighted however, ties in with what Tony's just said -

Tonyblack wrote:Firstly I'd say that most people do eventually move on with their lives once something tragic has happened to them. How long that takes or what route they take to move on is something else.

There are any number of coping methods that people can use to fend off the after effect of some terrible trauma whether that's years of someone chipping away at your self-esteem in a way that's very slight, almost unnoticeable of the surface, but cumulatively is extremely damaging even though there's not a scrap of physical abuse involved (stealth bullying if you like).

This can be as bad, or even worse than, a soldier in Afghanistan who was only a few paces behind his best friend, who happened to step on a land mine. Every person's trauma limit is very subjective and the soldier who survived, may on the surface, carry on for weeks or months, supported by other friends and appear to get over such an awful experience. The army takes care of it's own very well and comradeship counts for a lot - but more months or years down the line, one more drink with the lads turns into too many late night sessions, turns into having a bottle of something in the glove compartment of your civvy street car, and always carrying a packet of mints because people are starting to notice you're never quite sober. And the nightmares get worse and worse, so you drink a little more and a little more, until you're not 'coping' anymore and you're in a terrible mess.

And maybe one day there's a point where you can see no other way out but death and think about how to do that quickly. You don't think about other people, because you think you've lost everyone and nobody cares whether or not you're around. Some people can't stop thinking that way and they 'cope' in the only way left to them. Others, the lucky ones who are too scared to jump, or get a gun, or buy enough analgesics to actually kill them, without damaging their internal organs for life if they can't keep the pills down - they fall to pieces and admit they're in deep trouble and hopefully a way is found to help them get back to a life that can be 'managed' and self-stabilised, using therapy, or medication, or whatever it takes to even out the pain, whatever it is, so it can be tolerated.

Coping is not recovering, it's functioning on the least line of resistance for a lot of people, because they don't think or recognise that anything's wrong with them. You're supposed to feel awful when your best mate or partner dies and then you 'get over it'. I can 'cope' with a hell of a lot, but that doesn't mean I'm dealing with anything or moving on at all. When I finally admitted I had an 'affliction' (a chronic clinical depressive condition - in the UK clinical depression isn't seen as a disease because you can 'recover') rather than just 'been through a terrible time', I suddenly realised that there was a cycle or pattern of depression going all the way back to my early teens at least, but maybe even back to the age of 6 when I first began to have trouble with sleeping patterns because I was petrified of maths tests that we had every Friday :oops:

I got better at maths - tick that one off, and I did well at school but every so often I'd not sleep at all for one reason or another and there was a recognisable pattern of anxiety that by the time was I was 14 resulted in my first true psychotic episode when I thought I was surrounded by 'empty people' (like realistic AI robots) at school, but also my mum as well. I was terrified and didn't tell anyone about that until I was over 40 when I had the same kind of thing but with places - where I was completely bewildered as to where I was, in my own kitchen, in a house I'd lived in for 20 years. When it happened to me in the car on the way to work, I really paniced and that's when I went on anti-depressants. Those weren't major 'events' though bad things had happened stemming from when I miscarried the only child I ever conceived, probably because I was drinking far too much at that time in my life. The marriage suffered from then on because 'I got over it' very quickly indeed. I didn't grieve except for some crying for 2 days, and when I did, I was told not to be sad, that I was young and could have another baby. So I cried inside instead, although I didn't recognise it as such, and just had another lager or gin and tonic when I felt sad, so I didn't think about it too much. But July 17th would come around every year and I'd wonder what my daughter would have been doing if I hadn't 'killed' her long before she could have been born on that date.

Nothing that odd, or even awful, but I wasn't getting over a lot of things that happened to me, even though I seemed quite happy and 'controlled' to everyone who knew me. Far too frighteningly controlled to the point of complete denial. This is why 'wallowing' isn't necessarily a bad thing - sometimes you need to wallow good and proper and examine your grief, acknowledge it and get it out of your system and then you can really move on. :)

Thank you Exp. Date, the rat for changing the title of this thread :D I would have still posted in here, even if you hadn't, because this forum has the happy knack of being very supportive and non-judgmental, and so subjects like this are handled rationally and helpfully. I'm grateful that we can find understanding from a range of people who have handled terrible experiences any way they could, and can talk about it and maybe help others, people who're in the middle of something similar and, by simply talking things over a little, they can then take some comfort away with them. I would say to people who've gone through something too awful to wallow for while, if that's all that's open to them, but please don't do it alone - tell someone your pain and trust them to help you, even if it's only crying with you. Empathy is a wonderfully nourishing gift because it means someone, somewhere understands you at least a little bit and so you find true friends in strange places - like on this forum :wink:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:31 pm

Well said, Jan! :D
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Postby Exp. Date, the rat » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:41 pm

Wow, I didn't know that this was such a hot topic.

I do appreciate everyone's view and opinions. AS has been stated that the members of this forum are very nice people and do respect everyone else and help when and if we can.

The problem I have is adults that seem to use their experiences to gain attention by saying that "so and so"experience happened to me when I was just a child and they string it along for attention.

Yes, I did get help and I did over come it and that is my point. It was difficult for me to say, I have a problem that is affecting me and I was strong enough to get help and move on from it. With today's ease of information in so many aspects people should be able to get help easier and quicker.

I know that some people don't think that they have a problem and feel all alone, and heavens know I did. It is a difficult situation to get out of, but once you do and you realized that it happened do keep living in that memory.

"Oh, I was abused/ beaten/ cheated on/ taken advantage of... etc, so I need to dwell on it so people will pay attention to me and feel bad for me... wha... wha... wha..." That is what gets me. You know what I mean?

I don't mean to sound like a b*st*rd. I have my own problems in life and I don't need you loading what happened to you years ago to on me now. So it happened, remember not to do it again or get into that situation again and move on.

Once again this is not for the veterans of wars or people from major disasters, but the more domestic situations that people can get help for what seems so easliy in this modern age.

Okay, let the bashing begin! :lol:
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:12 pm

Exp date the Rat wrote:Once again this is not for the veterans of wars or people from major disasters, but the more domestic situations that people can get help for what seems so easliy in this modern age.


I think this is the only bit of your post I strongly disagree with - I really don't think you can say that one type of mental trauma is big or significant and another small it is such a subjective area and very dependent on age/other experience/what else is going on/brain chemistry etc

Plus there are plenty of cultures (by which I mean professions/workplaces/families) which make seeking help a very difficult decision because there is a great ethos of being able to cope with anything

Hope you don't feel to bashed by that :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:23 pm

Dealing with it and moving on, never to mention it again will work, of course it will. For some people. For others that'll only work for a while or not at all.

Most people who are in real pain on the domestic type of trauma especially won't keep going on about it, simply because it's too horrible to them for them to want to examine and yak it to every acquaintance they meet - that's also a way of coping that's very intrusive, not to mention downright ill-mannered.

Tony and I are British remember - we're experts at sweeping stuff under the carpet and ignoring it! :lol: Telling ourselves we're coping, that we're making too much of what's happening and that other people get through it so we can do it too. Don't make a fuss - it only makes things worse, a classic motto post WW2 and the baby boom years and it's wrong, wrong, wrong in some instances. :x

That's why some people suffer terrible abuse silently and never seek help It's a kind of shame as well. Being too proud to admit you have a problem and so you ignore it as best you can and won't mention it to anyone at all for years and years. Is that moving on? Getting over it? No it's not. I have an American friend (not on this forum or likely to be) who when she was a very little kid was used as a punchbag and worse, physically and emotionally, who took it because she was too scared to speak out until she was 14. That ended when she picked up a knife and almost used it on her father when he was beating her mother up. And still she didn't get help, although her mother took her and her sister out of that house to safety immediately after that fight. Neither of them could talk about it afterwards and so she 'got on with it' with that gnawing away at her for nearly 30 years until she ended up having to have EMDR which is mostly used for PTSD.

That hasn't worked universally and her marriage failed anyway, but now she can at least talk about what happened to her a little, but very, very, selectively and that's how she's slowly 'getting over it' now with people she trusts and knows will understand. I know some details but not the really bad stuff because she still can't say them to me anyway. That's the other side of the coin of moving on - no matter how strong you are, some things stay with you and some people will 'yack' and attention seek and others will say nothing and let the poison slowly sink down and seem OK until they can't deal with it that way anymore.

However trivial the problem if it flipped you out and made your life too hard to bear there's no 'right' way back - there's only the right way for you.
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Postby theoldlibrarian » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:13 pm

Some people simply like the past regardless of the good or the bad. I however don't live in the past because I spend far too much time in another world where time exists just no one really cares about it.
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Postby chris.ph » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:22 pm

as it happens pooh an average person can swim with 20lbs of bricks tied to them :!: it was on the telly last night :)

a friend of mine was ashore in desert storm when a scud landed just outside his tent but didnt go off he was absolutely fine, another mate was doing upper deck patrol during d s when there was a gas alarm, he was wearing full nbcd kit and would have been fine but his head went and had to be treated for ptsd and never went back to sea. as pooh said ish different people cope in different ways and some dont cope at all.
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Postby chris.ph » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:25 pm

just remembered a weird one , when i was out in bosnia we were about 2miles off the coast watching the artillery fire . there was about 4 of us watching this ,having a beer and a fag after having just finished work, we should have been scared but we just sat there watching it as if it happened everyday. i stilll find that a strange experience
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:37 pm

The mind is a marvellous place and can do really strange things Chris :) I think there's a cut off with most people who have to be somewhere dangerous, and those in the forces have to deal with things differently, simply to get through a 'normal' day. So some things you'll filter out like watching artillery that's not coming your way, so isn't going to hurt you. Fiddling while Rome burns etc. :roll: Your mind protects and de-sensitises you to some extent...

I have a good friend in the forces whose much younger brother was killed in Afghanistan 18 months ago. They're an army family. My friend is the eldest of 4 children of whom only he and a sister are left. He's just turned 50 and has 2 sons of 17 and 13. He's volunteered to go to Afghanistan in August. I had to explain to him why his mother is really upset about this and he still doesn't see why. I can't really understand myself what his motives are for doing this, but he truly wants to go there. He's been on active service before in places like Bosnia and survived and so it's not as though he doesn't know the dangers, but he's a career soldier and NCO and its his choice. I just hope he'll come back in one piece and am trying not to nag him for making what I see as a suicidal decision he didn't have to make and cause such upset in his family. :(
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:52 pm

The thing about Minds, is that everybody has one. How much we choose to use it, is up to the individual. Unfortunately, there is not a way, to selectively remove, or alter the icky parts. The term "icky" being a HUGE umbrella of nastiness.

Sometimes, what makes us stronger, is quite painful in the duration. Healing, at times, is occasionally worse than what made you what you are. My mother has chosen an odd life and a very uncomfortable way of locking all the badness away and living in Delusionland. You all know the type of person I am speaking about. They are jolly little campers, busily mucking about in other's lives, blissfully ignoring the Giant Gaping Hole in themselves. They aren't crazy, why shucks no, they are just fine, it is Everyone else who is having problems.

When the beginning of getting better started happening to me, I was one screwed up puppy. Sometimes, the first step IS wallowing. Then come the choices. So, do I stay HERE!!! or do I figure out how the hell to keep breathing??? Getting over things depends on the severity of said "Issue" the support or lack thereof, at the time. How the community around us copes.... or doesn't.

Physical therapy is a lot of the same stuff in comparison. I did not wind up in the shape I am today overnight. There are no easy solutions ever. Small crap, that happens over time, that we "deal with" by walkng differently, or leaning... leads to improper posture. When you start to get better, you realize all the other little things that built up inside for soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long.

Rather than ... Wallow, I see it as swimming through it, upwards to (I pray) my sanity. What happened to me, over a large period of my life, happened. Nothing can change that. All I can do is change the colour of my perspective.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:18 pm

Once upon a time there were two people, a man and a woman. Both of them suffered from clinical depression, took medication and hated the idea of being in a room full of people. They both loved a particular author and they knew there was a convention coming featuring this author. They both knew that they would love to go to this convention, but were afraid to go.

The woman, throwing caution to the wind, had the bottle to kick herself up the bum and went. She had a brilliant time and it did her the world of good, because what ever happened in the future, she'd always remember the time at the convention and it would always bring a smile to her face. :lol:

The man, although he really wanted to go and even had an offer of free accomodation, didn't go. :( Whether or not he ever regretted not going, who knows? Maybe he did or maybe he didn't. We'll never know.

The end.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:58 pm

Nicely put Pooh. Fantastic Analogy. <3
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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