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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Struggling with the past

Topic: Struggling with the past

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. gucia6
    gucia6 avatar
    84 posts
    15 July 2020

    Recently I have been going through a bit of a crisis, not the first one of this sort, and probably not the last one. Just this time it hit me really hard.

    The reasons that triggered it seem pretty absurd, but it brought lots of bad memories and ugly emotions from my quite dark past, and I mean some 20-25 years ago. I guess back then I could have had pretty bad depression, that was never diagnosed and treated, that eventually dispersed through many neutral and good events that followed, but also the fact, that in the most desperate times I simply closed myself in and didn't care about anything going on inside and outside. I avoided situations that were reminding me of the painful times or literally run away when things started giving me this uncomfortable feeling.

    I thought that I came in terms with the events from the past, but now I realised I was just sitting comfortably in my bubble of indifference. Now that I have things and people that I really care about, I fear loosing it because of my over-reaction and I feel overwhelmed by these negative emotions. I don't know how to cope with them and I am torn with what I should do.

    On one hand I just don't want to think about it on the other hand I am tired of holding it all inside and would really want to pour it all out, just have someone to listen. But I don't know if this is the way to go. I have kind of feeling that I should let it go, but I don't know how.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Lillipilli80
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    Lillipilli80 avatar
    25 posts
    15 July 2020

    Hi gucia6,

    Thanks for posting today and reaching out in what sounds like a pretty unsettling time for you. The struggle to work through past pain or to just let it go wouldn't be an easy choice. It sounds like you are thinking to pour it all out and feel that pain and darkness again might help you release it, although I'm sure it would be difficult. As far as letting it go... do you find that 'should' voice is helpful to you?

    What kind of things have worked for you in the past when you felt overwhelming negative emotions? Its great that you have things and people in your life who you care about and care about you. Hold onto those. Do you have things that bring you joy just for you?

    It would be great to understand a bit more about the pain you are carrying from your past and currently experiencing if you feel like sharing more here. If not, please know this is a non-judgemental space for you to be you.

    Wishing you a good day.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. gucia6
    gucia6 avatar
    84 posts
    15 July 2020 in reply to Lillipilli80

    To be honest I would like to just be in peace with it. My reasonable mind tells me that it is long time ago, long gone, and cannot be changed anyway. Just this feeling of being hurt and bitterness towards my old ghosts bothers me.

    I was brought up around the rule 'you've made your bed, now lie in it'. Fair enough, if I do something wrong, I need to deal with the consequences. When I got sick, I was told that it is my fault that I did not get dressed warm enough, when I had eczema outbreak my mum always was angry at me, that I don't control the scratching, when I was scolded by strangers and went blank and teary she pretended she doesn't know me. Those little bits caused I never went to look for shelter or advice to her, for which I was blamed as teenager, that I am cold and ungrateful for all she did for me. By the time I started having problems with my boyfriend (he started coming home smelling of alcohol, physical and sexual abuse started occurring), she told me I should just deal with it and never really asked what the issues were, and I never told her thinking that it was my own fault anyway. After all it was me who chose him, and I just had to accept the fate, because no-one would want a 'bitten apple' anyway. My dad did not help at all. He just silently avoided the trouble while watching TV or reading newspaper. And whenever my mum was in tears after our fights, he only was coming to me saying I should make a peace with her and apologize. And whenever I told her she said something hurtful to me, she always denied, saying I am imagining things, so I stopped even trying to push myself to communicate with her and fix things between us.

    School wasn't help either. I was bullied, a group of girls I thought were friends, pushed me away from the group and just watched the 'show'.

    How I dealt with it? I just closed up, I wanted to disappear. I played piano for myself, spent my days on studying, listened to music. I did not care a thing about what was happening and just let the days pass until I was old and independent enough to just leave. I started feeling the weight of it when I finally began opening up, but then being socially awkward, retreating again whenever feeling left out.

    Now I am surrounded by amazing people, and I care about them, but again the socializing difficulties caused again being a bit left out, and something broke inside me. I am fearing the loneliness. I hate this fear and the bitterness towards everything that lead to it so long ago.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Lillipilli80
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    Lillipilli80 avatar
    25 posts
    16 July 2020 in reply to gucia6

    Hi gucia6,

    Thanks for writing back and sharing a bit more about your history. Its understandable you want to be done with the past, moving on and forgetting it would be fantastic but to be honest its part of your history and that cant be denied. It may continue to pop up from time to time but I think you can take some peace from knowing that you are in a loving space now with others. I find it useful to just acknowledge when those old ghosts pop up using mindfulness techniques like thinking, 'Oh there you are again (pain), hello. You are a useful lesson for how I have learned I don't want to live again' something like that.

    It sounds like a very difficult and I might even say cold upbringing (sorry if thats too strong or not correct). The old ways where talking about your emotions and the truth about sticky situations were not high on the list of priorities. I'm sorry that it was so hard for you growing up, not feeling heard and being shown that we hide our feelings and deal with it on your own, probably similar to a lot of people. How does one learn to cope particularly with teenage relationships if not by guidance and example from our caregivers?

    It sounds like you found your escape in music and closing off. Does music still help you? You write beautifully and insightfully and you are clearly a resilient person who has been through a difficult journey, perhaps writing may be another way to move through your ghosts.

    Now it sounds like you are in a good space with people who care for you but you also feel the social difficulties and being left out. Feeling loved and like something broke at the same time, thats beautiful and human, however it's not easy so I hope you feel you can continue to share here how you coping on this forum.

    I hope you have a good day and find something to do that brings you some joy.

  5. gucia6
    gucia6 avatar
    84 posts
    16 July 2020 in reply to Lillipilli80

    Hi Lillipilli80,

    yes, the music still helps, whether it is to relax, recharge, or take thoughts away.

    An I feel also pretty lucky to have optimism 'hard wired' in me. I take every hard time or crisis as opportunity to change. Of course during the crisis all looks black and bad, but when I regain the reasonable part of mind I look for solutions or look what good impact it actually had on my life.

    Thank you for all the help :)

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Lillipilli80
    Student Mentor
    • Masters of Psychology student on placement
    Lillipilli80 avatar
    25 posts
    30 July 2020

    Hi Gucia6,

    Sorry its been awhile since I've logged back in. I've been wondering how things have been going for you?

    I'm glad to hear music still helps you to relax, recharge and reassess. Its 1 tool in your toolkit to help you through the hard times. Your loved ones and optimism are other tools for you.

    It's natural to feel down during a crisis, thats human and it's not easy to see past that in the moment but it's admirable that you see crisis as an opportunity to change, or grow. Perhaps the most growth only happens when we are confronted with the hardest times in our lives.

    If you feel like sharing more about your journey here please reach out.

    Big Hugs.

    LP

    1 person found this helpful
  7. gucia6
    gucia6 avatar
    84 posts
    3 August 2020 in reply to Lillipilli80

    Hi Lillipilli,

    Thank you for your words.

    The journey, as expected, is a bit bumpy. I have days, that I feel great, but sometimes even very little stress is able to kick me off balance, and I drop in dark thoughts. It takes me a while to 'ground' and put myself together to be able to think reasonably and look for solutions. But it worries me (and annoys) and also exhausts, those mood swings, loose of focus and problems with memory. I talked to my GP about some of this last week, and this week we will do a MH assessment, to see what exactly we are dealing with (anxiety, depression, trauma, or something else?) and what treatment path should I look for.

    And as much as currently the past does not seem to be such a big issue, after all, it happened already, I cannot change anything, it just makes me very sad. And I know now is completely different, different places, different people. And when I cannot really change overnight the way I think, or erase or improve my reactions to certain situations, I guess understanding the reasons behind some of it was a key to get better, at least for me.

    I think one good thing what happened is that I realised, I have to stop comparing myself to others. I might never be as good/strong/successful as they are, but I found that I actually want to do things just because I like it, not to prove anything to anyone, or because there is a goal to achieve. And I feel I am actually pretty good at what I can do. So I let myself to slow down a bit, though I know that there is this very thin line, that could lead to the state of "I don't care about anything", which I am not willing to cross. So e.g. even if I don't feel like going to my training, I still go, sit and observe, just to be there and feel somehow connected. And this 'passive' presence is also a way of learning, so it is not completely pointless.

    But there is also a scary bit. I realised, that what keeps me going are my husband and kids. If they were to suddenly disappear, right now I don't think I would have enough strength or will to even bother. I know it is heavy and worrisome, but I also know that I need to learn some kind of emotional independence and find something for myself. And I want to. I know this will take time and will be quite a challenge, but I also thought of a temporary back up, that if anything were to happen, I need to have a pet (dog or cat, or both), because I know that my sense of responsibility would not let me leave it behind.

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