Time to heal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by forlorn, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    @forlorn Statistically and historically, while your vote "matters" it likely won't make a "difference" and I needed to learn how those two didn't mean the same thing before I could stop pontificating my political views to others. I haven't had a real political debate in nearly 5 years and it feels great. When you let go of your hard and fast beliefs a little, you have room to hold onto more important things.

    If you're not seeing a therapist right now, I'd say to privately write about the trauma. Write about what happened, how it made you feel then, how you feel now, what should have happened to the younger you and what effect it did have on today's you. There are no rules. Blame people, swear, be irrational. Get it out on paper and then burn it. Watch that trauma go up in smoke and know you've let it go.

    And I know this is your journal, but I just wanted to mention that my second book is coming out tomorrow and I'll be doing a Reddit AMA at Noon EST if anybody wants to stop by.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    -Luke- likes this.
  2. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey forlorn,

    I found your recent posts really inspiring and helpful. It made me realize how for years I was trying to solve a problem without trying to understand how I ended up there in the first place. Digging deep can be a painful process and takes some courage. But in the end it's the difference between abstinence and recovery, right?

    Thank you and take care.
  3. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Hi @-Luke- thanks for checking in on me. You're exactly right, it pays to dig deep and try to understand why we do what we do. As you say, it's the difference between abstinence and recovery. Sounds pretty obvious but it only recently became clear to me through interactions with other people on this board. Turns out I have a whole lot of trauma to process. I'm not going to wallow in self misery for weeks on end but I am going to shine a light on some difficult things from my past in order to make sense of them and look at them from a fresh perspective. If we get to understand ourselves better we can work towards establishing healthier ways of coping instead of relying on dysfunctional self soothing.

    No worries, you're always welcome to write on my journal. I appreciate all the valuable advice you have given me.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  4. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    @forlorn If you need to wallow, wallow hard. When you let those repressed and suppressed memories out, you can't really worry about what that looks like to others. They'll never be gone, but if you can largely clear your subconscious of them, it's a huge step toward a quality life.
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I may be wrong here but I have a feeling when we do our best to stay with ourselves in the present (put in the good work, healthy habits, stay off the vices, etc.), basically when we connect with ourselves, the healing of the past starts happening naturally, at it's pace. Things start coming back to us. New perspectives. Memories, etc. So sometimes the most important thing can be to feed the good wolf in the present, accept where we are now, and stop feeding the "bad wolf" (or wild wolf, or unhealthy wolf), as best we can.

    Then again, sometimes we connect with ourselves in the midst of a rock bottom "aha moment" ...
  6. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 I think thousands of mental health professionals and people like myself in long-term sobriety would disagree with you about that being the most effective way to move forward, but if that's what's working for you, keep doing you.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Had a couple of days away from the board/recovery dealing with real life issues. Had all manner of problems to deal with at my property and it's taken up a lot of my time lately.

    For now I will continue to push ahead and delve into my past trauma, to try and make sense of it and come to terms with it. Here's what my therapist previously told me:

    "Where trauma experiences are pushed under the carpet ie not processed or dealt with in a meaningful way, they have a common habit of trying to break out. I once heard the metaphorical idea of a snake under a rug which just moves position when the lump is trodden down. In other words, the trauma doesn't go away by itself, it just keeps making its presence known in a wide variety of symptoms, all of which may lead to the need for self-medicating compulsive behaviours such as sex and porn addictions. Trauma experiences and memories of them are often thought of as being 'locked up' in the emotional part of the brain and therefore requiring unlocking, 'digesting' or processing."
    nuclpow likes this.
  8. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    That's a really good way of putting it. Hope things are getting back to normal. It's only when normal real life is upset that we realize how much we like normal real life.
  9. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I may be in my early 40's but emotionally I've still got a lot of growing up to do. I've always kind of known that about myself, I'm a decade or more behind others and I feel like less of an adult compared to them. Felt anxious yesterday but I avoided the temptation to escape. Emotional management will be a key part of my recovery strategy in the next few months.

    A few weeks ago I started jogging, initially just for 5 minutes per day. I built it up to 10 minutes and now I'm doing 15 minutes a day. I know it's not a lot but I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. I find it's a really good time to focus on a specific thing - or to still the mind from racing thoughts. And of course it has the secondary benefit of increasing fitness. In just the space of 3 weeks I've noticed that I'm getting slimmer. I don't have a flat stomach yet but I'm not far off.

    After journaling, I've got a bunch of household tasks to do that I've been putting off. I'm going to get through them and make this a productive day.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
    Thelongwayhome27 and Joshua Shea like this.
  10. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you have trauma, I hope you can get over it (process it, handle it, heal from it) soon. Do you think the trauma is what's keeping you back approximately ten years in your maturity? I have trauma too, but I don't know if it's the same as yours. I think it doesn't help me be more mature.

    In the mean time, be kind to yourself and try to recover slowly.
  11. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    Maturity is one of those things that is really in the eye of the beholder. Trauma can hold you back from developing certain tools and skills that are inherent with what we consider adult behavior, but that doesn't always have to be the case.
    nuclpow and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  12. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I don't necessarily think trauma has resulted in my immaturity - at least not directly. Even as a kid I was more naive than others. It's more a case that I numbed my emotions throughout my 20's and 30's in a haze of drugs and porn. I rarely use drugs nowadays but have continued to use porn and alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings. As a result of all this I've never learned how to deal with stuff like fear, rejection, anxiety, trauma, low moods etc in a healthy adult way.

    I've always kind of drifted through life without any real ambition. Other people who did my exact same degree course at university went on to achieve great things. After university, I used to regularly discuss business ideas and opportunities with a close friend when we were out drinking. We'd spend hours chatting about innovative ways of how we would make money in the future. My ideas were just that, all pie in the sky while his ideas actually materialised and he now runs his own business which is hugely successful.

    Thanks, I am working on this. Quite often I'll get down on myself and disgusted when I reflect on my past behaviours. While jogging yesterday these thoughts came to mind but I tried a different approach. For the rest of my time running on that treadmill I focused on trying to forgive myself.

    My wife shares a lot of stories about her work colleagues and it's starting to grate on me. On a daily basis she shares dreary details about what certain staff members said or did and I sit there pretending to be interested. I don't mind the odd story about people in her office but it's getting tiresome. I feel bad saying this and I know it sounds harsh but I needed to get it off my chest. Better I moan about it here than hurt her feelings. And when I think about it, at least I should be grateful that I have someone to communicate with, even if the subject matter doesn't interest me in the slightest.
  13. nuclpow

    nuclpow Well-Known Member

    Okay, thanks for giving me that information. Maturity and trauma are things I'm working on, too. Good list of things we need to learn how to deal with.
    forlorn likes this.
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    My thought patterns are so obsessive. I cannot stop thinking about this election happening in a couple of days. I feel very strongly about a progressive political party who are standing up against the elite but deep down I know they're not going to win. Need to remember what @Joshua Shea told me, "statistically and historically, while your vote "matters" it likely won't make a "difference".

    Currently reading a book about fear, written by a guy who used to be in the British special forces. In one chapter he talks the rise of 'victim mentality' - how people have ways of making victimhood work for them, they look at reality and choose only to see the dangers. He says everyone has some fact they can point to which 'proves' that life is more difficult for them, e.g. they may have had an abusive father, they may have been poor, have been bullied, always felt they were ugly, drunk too much, been depressed, etc. I can recognise some of what he's saying in myself.

    He suggests that hard work, grit, determination, brutal honesty, self accountability are the hard way around and the route to success a person can take pride in. He goes on to say "Holding yourself accountable and accepting the consequences of your actions is not easy. But you know what is easy? Blaming everyone else for your problems". I'm going to bear all this mind while I continue working through my trauma. I'll allow myself to feel self pity but I'll try to remember that I cannot stay in that mindset. In the next chapter of the book he's going to discuss how do deal with negative events without slipping into victim mode, it's through a process of acknowledging, processing and moving on. I look forward to reading more about it.
  15. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    I've certainly struggled with blame as I work through my therapy. Furthermore, I can see that even if my mother were to apologize to me that I wouldn't believe her. Therefore, this is something I have to work on because it is MY perception. That's all logical and I can state it here. Emotionally, is a different story. It's very difficult to find that balance. Time is part of the equation, but maybe accepting that I'll never fully be free of the trauma is also key?
  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I like what that British SF has to say about victim hood and taking responsibility. It's hard to find that elusive line between realizing many events in the past were out of our control (especially in childhood and teen-hood) and therefore not our fault and yet not going too far in a victim hood mentality to the point it becomes our sole way of seing our life. I really feel like there is something to the concept of taking self responsibility from a certain point, and gradually learning how we do have some control. And then build on that.

    It's cool you have started jogging. I think it's one of the habits I implemented that has been helping me the most. I also did a similar technique as you, I didn't go for super long runs. I started with like 10 mins daily and I gradually built up to 15 to 25 mins run. I just logged it on a paper every day and that way I can see the progression. I think jogging is one of the best tools I have in order to calm down excessive tension or urges. Swimming is also really good ; less convenient since we need a pool access but a little less taxing on the body I think (knees).
  17. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    This is the typical macho horseshit that comes out of emotionally repressed men who never were hugged as a kid. I bet you a copy of my new book that he's unhealthily bottled up every negative emotion he's ever had and is scared to death if he starts to talk about them, he'll completely unravel, so he postures as this tough guy when he's probably 7 years old emotionally inside.
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    What a few days it has been. A less than amicable email exchange with my former employer, the huge loss suffered by my preferred political party and a disagreement with a close family member which resulted in him launching an unexpected verbal attack against me. It got very personal but I'm slightly comforted by the fact other family members (who witnessed it) have come to my defence as they think he acted inappropriately. These things have left me a little shocked, slightly bruised but generally I'm not too upset about any of it. I'm in a neutral mode at the moment - my emotions feel fairly stable. In a way it feels like a new beginning.

    Yeah it's great. It releases endorphins and I have actually started looking forward to a daily run. I sometimes try to visualise a cloud or a bubble about 1 metre in front of me and I imagine that to be my mind. I then observe any thoughts as they float into it, although I did struggle with the mental focusing aspect today.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  19. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you weathered the last few days just fine. Conflicts with family and co-workers can be very anxiety-provoking. Glad that you are exercising, as that is the one thing I can count on to help relieve that anxiety. Even if you aren't always as focused during your run as you'd like. Keep up the nice streak, too! 20 days is great!
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    It has been an unsettling few days, the conflict with a family member possibly changes the dynamic between us forever. But things are changing and I'm committed to responding to life's challenges in balanced and appropriate ways.

    Thanks, I've previously reached 80 days then crashed but in truth that was more an abstinence based approach. This current reboot feels more honest. For the first time ever I've started addressing the underlying issues of my addiction though I recognise there's still a lot of work to do. Some thoughts from the past are starting to resurface. Yesterday I reflected on some slightly creepy fetishistic behaviour that I engaged in over 20 years ago. I'm still carrying that shame around. I also thought about some times I've stolen things. As a teenager I went through a phase of stealing sweets from a shop and then as an adult, as recently as two years ago I took something that didn't belong to me - it wasn't valuable, but it doesn't sit right with me from an ethical standpoint. I guess I am trying to forgive myself for things that I've done in the past, the petty thefts, the sexual misdemeanours, the inability to form an intimate relationship with my wife.
  21. Joshua Shea

    Joshua Shea Well-Known Member

    Wait...you mean just not masturbating doesn't fix your past on its own??? More impressive than your streak is your willingness to figure out how you got to where you are today in the first place. I don't know you outside of here, but I know what it takes to start and continue with that process, and am proud of anybody who earnestly takes it on. I'm proud of you. I hope you're proud of yourself.

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