when you just feel completely and utterly LOST...

Dee Ell

I wasn't sure what kind of response my original post would get, nor was I expecting anything in particular - it was written, as I said previously, out of a longstanding sense of desperation and hopelessness, not a temporary one. (and as I said: "why I decided to take up tarot and join AT (and why I'm posting this, asking for help) - because I'd like to use tarot for self-exploration and understanding and inner growth..." among many other things).

I've deleted it now because, well, I wasn't sure about posting it in the first place, given the extremely personal nature of it, and now, well, if it's so far out of people's sphere of understanding that empathy isn't possible, I think it will just do more harm than good. At least that's how I feel right now.

I posted this in the Spirituality section because after outlining my religious and spiritual history briefly (which was what my family history was included for), I admitted to subsequently feeling faith-less and hope-less. So if others here have some insight into moving out of this very long, very painful, very dark night of the soul, I would greatly appreciate a post or a pm.

And if anyone has had personal experience with PTSD (more specifically, chronic and/or complex PTSD - 30 years of it in my case) I would appreciate a pm with any personal insight or help you might have with my struggle.

Mahalo to those who have sent their kind words and thoughts my way...
 

Disa

Hi, Dee.

I wish I had the magic answer to ease your pain and make life happy for you. But, as I'm quite sure you know due to your own journey- it takes a lot of work to get where you want to go. I was an atheist most of my life, A Christian for about 5 minutes(ok I'll give it 5 days just to be fair), and now just a spiritual person living in the universe and being grateful for each day.

I won't go into everything here, but I have also felt the feeling that everything was a constant struggle, that nothing would ever improve, that life was just meant to be full of pain and suffering...and then, I realized that wasn't the case. I began studying metaphysics, spirituality, embracing my "psychic" abilities and learning everything I can. Once I changed my attitude into one of finding the good things in life each day instead of waiting for the next bad one to happen, things started changing... Then I learned forgiveness, of others- and eventually of myself. That was HUGE for me. I'm still studying metaphysics and I think I will continue to do so for the rest of my days. The blending of Science and spirituality is what's doing it for me- I haven't had depression one time since I began this journey.

I actually have taken courses at the University of Metaphysical Sciences for the past few years and I have to say it has been the most healing thing I could have ever done for myself. I took the courses thinking I would just be filling in the gaps of my knowledge, learning to help others, maybe giving me some credibility as a "spiritual advisor" while reading cards, but what really happened was I healed myself in places I didn't even know needed healing. My thoughts have been transformed to some degree, my outlook completely changed, my coping skills in life have grown substantially.

If you are interested in discussing any of this further, feel free to pm me. It may not be anything that's on your radar at the moment, but I just thought I would throw it out there...Just in case.

Best of luck to you on your journey. As difficult as it is, there really is hope. :heart:
 

Rhapsodin

It's difficult to know where or how to start, and that isn't helped by the amount of "self-help" out there on the web that is plain dross. On the one hand, anything that makes someone feel better has to be good; on the other, you don't want to proceed down a path, develop faith in what it claims it can offer, then find it doesn't work.

May I suggest an initial step of developing optimism. This may be difficult but some positive affirmations to a mirror every time you pass one, like the famous one that things are getting better all the time. Avoid one that demands an instant result. These things take time and patience. Then decide that you'll find something good about every day, even if it's as simple as nothing bad happened today (at first); but maybe if the sun has been shining and warm; you saw someone acting charitably.

Then you could start with meditation - a subject in its own right and there'll be suggestions on the net. It's one of those subjects where you'll soon find whether a technique works or not. It might be possible to do some simple yoga work to build up your body sense in spiritual terms.

These first steps cost nothing and will help you to undo all that baggage you've been carrying from the past. You already made the first step, sizing your situation up. And you may feel utterly lost but you are resilient enough to talk about it.

My hopes for your emergence from all this.
:)
 

Dee Ell

Mahalo Disa and Rhapsodin - I have pm'd Disa because there were more personal things I thought might help clarify (and I so appreciate your time and concern in corresponding - both of you).

I'd like to address some of Rhapsodin's points here however because I think it might be useful for other people...

I recently read a fantastic book by Dr Guy Winch called "Emotional First Aid - Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries" (He is of the astute opinion that we are educated to treat physical injuries properly - whether by simply cleaning and bandaging them or by knowing when you need to go to a doctor for a more serious injury, yet we even treat our teeth better than our emotional/mental health (indeed, even the phrase "mental health" is stigmatized)).

Anyway, I bring this up because he specifically mentions *Positive Affirmations* in it and shows that they only (and ironically) work for people who don't need them! And not only that, but people with low self-esteem are actually doing MORE DAMAGE to themselves by using positive affirmations (this is based on research, not just opinion).

How could this be possible? Because most positive affirmations are things that the person with low self-esteem *wants* to believe/be true, but at their deepest, unconscious core level don't believe is true (which is part of why they have low self-esteem). And therefore the gap between what they're trying to reinforce (even something like "things are getting better all the time," which to use myself as an example, is not true on a quantitative level) and what the reality of their situation and self-perceptions are, create even more distress, self-doubt, etc, etc...

That's not to say that progress isn't possible, but only affirmations of something one *already has some kernel of belief about themselves will actually work to help bolster their self-esteem.

I'm sharing this because it's not only very important information, but it's also a widely held mis-perception that has been causing so much harm over the years of the "self help" movement.

That said, I'm not denying that simple acts of gratitude can help, nor that trying to develop a sense of optimism won't help either. It's just that optimism and PTSD don't seem to jive very well in my experience. I earnestly try, but when you have nightmares and/or night terrors almost every night of your life, not only do you become chronically physically exhausted (which also affects your mental well-being), but emotionally exhausted as well.

I have done yoga and different types of meditation as well (the second religion I mentioned following was a meditation-based religion), but they didn't help.

As for this:

You already made the first step, sizing your situation up. And you may feel utterly lost but you are resilient enough to talk about it.

Well, I sized up my situation a very long time ago and have been trying to move forward/out of it for many years. But at this point, it's not resilience that's allowing me to talk about it. If I'm brutally honest, it's desperation.
 

Disa

And it is desperation I felt in your first post, Dee. I hope that others who have more experience with PTSD will come forward and give words of wisdom. One never knows where the "key" to unlock the issues will be found. Something someone says may just be that key.

What you have said about positive affirmations makes sense to me. They don't seem to help until the underlying causes have been addressed. I don't see how they can repair the underlying cause, alone. I rarely us affirmations, but the ones I do use pertain to things I've already worked through and the affirmation is just a reminder to put me back into the space of already knowing I've done the work.

I've also been reading a book as a reference for the paper I'm working on called, "Why people don't heal and how they can" by Caroline Myss. It may be something to look into? There is an entire section on "Woundology" which I found helpful. It may not apply to you specifically, but still informative.

You may feel you are acting out of desperation, but I still see it as a positive step in moving in the right direction to set you on the right course. Keep searching, you will find what you need-I'm sure of it. The very fact that you are open to suggestions and seeking them out is a sign of resilience to me, too :)
 

zannamarie

I have tried so many different types of treatment/healing: prayer, spiritual healing, shamanic healing, counseling, psychology, psychiatry, cognitive behavioural therapy, medication, etc, etc... and nothing seems to make any difference.
I think for any of those to work you really must have an idea of where you'd like to be. The entire gist of your post seems to be about what went wrong in your life. Rehashing the past just reinforces those ideas/actions/etc in your psyche and makes them stronger. To want something different in one's life means one has to focus in a different direction.


I'm obviously still trying to move forward in life...
What does that mean? Everyone moves through life differently because we have different goals. What is it you are moving forward to? The only thing I could pick up from your post is you are trying to move forward to believe in something. I honestly don't know what that means. What something are you trying to believe in?

You seemed to give quite a bit of detail in a prior post why affirmations are fundamental flawed. Actually your original post seems to indicate they are very valid. You believe that no matter what you try, it will not work. Every time you type those words and tell someone about that you reaffirm that belief. Therefore you appear to be living proof that affirmations do work.

For the more positive affirmations to work (when you don't believe them to start with) one must change the tiller on the boat slowly and consistently for one's course in life to change. Affirming something that you think is a fantasy is the same as changing the tiller 180 degrees within seconds--not likely to get you where you want to go.

On a related note, I just took that "belief-o-matic" test on Belief.net to see where I stand at this point in my life and I was 100% Secular Humanist. I'm not sure how to find a sense of faith in that though (I am extremely empathetic (in fact, often debilitatingly so) and want to help people, but I am at the same time heartbroken and often disgusted by humanity).

I mention faith again because that is what I have observed keeps people going: faith in their god(s), family, sports team, country, what-have-you. Even if it is unfounded. And most of the time it just looks like delusion to me, but it's obviously a delusion that keeps people happy! And happiness is something I have not experienced very often in my lifetime.
So you are looking for faith in yourself? You are looking for happiness?

One has to define one's goal if one is ever going to reach it. If you don't think you have a goal (you say you are lost) then pull some cards on it. Get help here on the forum if the cards don't seem to give you a clear answer.

PSTD has really come into the spotlight in recent years and I think there's a lot more help available than in the past, however, from your post I don't get the sense you trust others so giving counseling another try may well not help.
 

Dee Ell

You seemed to give quite a bit of detail in a prior post why affirmations are fundamental flawed. Actually your original post seems to indicate they are very valid. You believe that no matter what you try, it will not work. Every time you type those words and tell someone about that you reaffirm that belief. Therefore you appear to be living proof that affirmations do work.

I was actually trying to help refine the concept of "affirmations" which has been muddied by "positive affirmations" in the self help community -- I didn't say affirmations don't work, I said you have to already believe what you are affirming for them to work (and not do extra damage).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee Ell View Post
"I'm obviously still trying to move forward in life..."

What does that mean? Everyone moves through life differently because we have different goals. What is it you are moving forward to? The only thing I could pick up from your post is you are trying to move forward to believe in something. I honestly don't know what that means. What something are you trying to believe in?

To be perfectly blunt, my statement about "still trying to move forward in life" meant that I'm still alive. That I haven't tried offing myself. And that I have been trying (for a very long time) to find a way to do more than just struggle to survive.

I have tried to figure out "what it is I am moving forward to" for many years and have failed to do so in any lasting and meaningful way. Thus the "completely and utterly LOST" part of my title.

I posted this in the Spirituality section because after outlining my religious and spiritual history briefly (which was what my family history was included for), I also admitted to subsequently feeling faith-less and hope-less. So how could I possibly answer "What something [am I] trying to believe in?"?

I know the surety I felt in my first religion when I was younger, so I understand how you could say "I honestly don't know what that means" ...and I hope that you never have to experience what it is I am talking about.

But I'm guessing others here may have and perhaps they have some insight into moving out of this very long, very painful, very dark night of the soul. And if not, thank you all for taking the time to write anyway.
 

Dee Ell

By the way - I feel I should clarify, lest anyone take my statement on a purely practical level that: "I have been trying (for a very long time) to find a way to do more than just struggle to survive" is also meant on an existential, not just a practical level. I can tell by zannamarie's very brief bio that what I am writing about is a completely alien concept.

Why some people are deeply troubled by the point (or perhaps pointlessness) of existence, while others are happy just to experience it (and indeed, are eager to experience it for as long as they can) has baffled me just as much as most of my statements seem to have baffled zannamarie.
 

ravynangel

deleted :)
 

Milfoil

I hear you Dee Ell.

This unknown, yet knowing there surely could/should/may be something but not knowing how to move toward it or what to aim for, how to define it or experience it . . . .

Yes, I know that well. Like you, I started out in a mainstream religion, fell away because something wasn't right and the puzzle pieces didn't fit so for decades there was nothing.

I didn't so much find something but rather it found me and my beliefs really won't make much difference here because it's your belief and life-path that matters right now. However, one lesson that I continue to learn is about over thinking things. Sometimes we strain and strive so hard for the answers that we miss the messages all around us.

As a start, there are a few things that you could ponder and consider. I offer them with the benefit of hind-sight but it's different for everyone.

a) Relax. I know, sounds overly easy but seriously, give yourself permission to relax and just be. It's deceptively simple and takes a bit of practice but allowing yourself to be here and now with no strings, no reasons and no agenda forms a liberating foundation.

b) Record your dreams, no matter how seemingly frivolous, fragmented, banal or scary. Learning to interpret your own dreams is a BIG step and one of the ways in which we are connected to all things (inc ourselves!).

c) The surety of religion with pre prescribed rules and forms is appropriate for many people but when you start to expand your spirituality there is a great chasm to leap and it sounds like this is where you are. Like the fool card in the tarot, this 'leap of faith' is scary and yet exhilarating at the same time. It means letting go (see point a). ;)

d) It is incredibly difficult to walk a solo path and eventually, you will probably find yourself in harmony with others who believe and feel as you do but initially, this dark night is a necessary step. It ensures a blank sheet on which to draw new plans and cuts the wheat from the chaff. In that dark place, you have to face yourself. Who you find there is the foundation stone upon which everything else is built. I know it feels awful but it is also a significant invitation to develop spiritually which not everyone receives so go easy on yourself.

Enough to be going on with, relax, be aware of everything and just allow yourself to be.

xxx