1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Daily Dose

Get the last 24hrs of new topics delivered to your inbox.

Click Here to Subscribe

I'm Stuck - Life Goals, Confidence

Discussion in 'General' started by hodge, Aug 18, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

    5,903
    12,775
    20,138
    I'm supposed to be journalling about examining what is different for me now versus 20-25 years ago, when I had goals and was driven to accomplish them. And I'm stuck. My primary goal in life these days is to try to learn to deal with my symptoms and feel better more often than worse. Nothing grander than that. I have ideas about things I might want to do at some point, but my heart isn't in anything like that right now. Right now it seems to be all I can do to work when I have to, take care of everyday business, and do small activities that help me feel better, like tending my indoor and outdoor plants, for example.

    My psychologist's premise is that I must have had bad days when I was younger too, so what is different now? And I can't figure this out except that I don't remember having these many bad days when I was younger, nor were they nearly as intense since ptsd surfaced. Still, she seems to think there's more to it. So, is it that I'm older (44)? That I don't have enough energy to know or even explore what I want to do next? It really feels to me like I can't do more than what I've already said above.

    Another part of this question is one of confidence and faith in myself. When I was younger, I had a lot of this. So psych's question on this aspect is, where did that go? What happened to erode that? The only answer I can come up with is that ptsd happened. It totally threw me for a loop and has undermined how I view everything I've done in life so far as well as how I view myself. I mean, if I can accomplish what I have accomplished just to end up here, what the heck? I know this is not rational, but I'm stuck here.

    Anyone else have similar issues, thoughts, advice?
     
  2. Register to participate in live chat, PTSD discussion and more.
  3. cactus_jack

    cactus_jack Well-Known Member

    916
    467
    10,583
    The difference is that you're older now. Age has it's draw backs. I can give knowledge and experience (always does), but how that knowledge and experienced is retained and used is different per person and age. I have been dealing with the same problems for over 20 years. I retained them as bad experiences, which they were and are, and utilize that and the knowledge gained far differently. My patience went in the garbage months ago. 20 years ago, I was very patient. But my temper was far worse. So it's a trade off.


    What have you retained and what have you learned? How do you utilize that?
     
  4. Damiea

    Damiea Well-Known Member

    You know even people without PTSD have some of these issues.. how the semi serious joke "mid life crises" came about! I might not be as old as you but next spring I hit 30 and even I can look back and say.. what did I acomplish? and it feels like what I still need to get done to settle my life for my kids "own a house" "save money for their collage" bla bla bla stuff.. it seems to be getting harder and that I have less time to do it in now. I guess I'm saying that it doesn't have to be just PTSD that causes some of normal life stress.. everyone has some stuff like feeling your goals in life are getting further away or fading away... or that the time you have spent hasn't amounted to much! I find sometimes I just have to stop looking at the big pictures and see the small stuff.. like how beautifull your plants are and not everyone can keep plants alive let me tell you! LOL
    anyways.. hope you find the answers you are looking for! and really don't feel bad if you havn't done anything "big" in your life.. not many do... and remember all the little things add up to become big things after awile!
     
  5. EmeraldRiver

    EmeraldRiver Member

    35
    5
    0
    Hmm...only thought that I have is why does it really matter what you were like 20 years ago? You can't go back, that's for sure. And I agree with you - all of those things you're talking about are due to the PTSD. Let's face it, if you didn't have PTSD you probably would have goals and confidence, so treat the PTSD first and you'll eventually get those things back. And I'm sorry, but I don't think it's an age issue at all, since I know plenty of 20 year olds with no goals at all, and plenty of 70 year olds that do have goals. I DON'T know many people with PTSD that have long term goals....because how can you concentrate on anything else until you've fixed yourself to a point that that becomes feasible?

    I've come very far (even if I do say so myself) in the last few years, but really, it's been by LETTING GO of who I was before all the crap happened. I will never be that person again. And that was darn hard to do, by the way; because I really liked who I was before PTSD.

    I also found that the more I babied myself the better I felt - which allowed me to start to examine some of the things I wasn't willing to before. I'm not saying to do nothing for the next few years, but there's nothing wrong with NOT having big goals for a little while.

    I don't think it's such a bad idea to just plan for the immediate future - i.e., managing your PTSD symptoms with more accuracy. You'll probably find one or two that you have a hard time beating...for me it's sleeping. But taking care of the other ones that you can reduce or get rid of will help make your life easier. Then you'll find it much easier to see a future with 'real' goals, because you'll have less to worry about. Just my two cents. :)
     
  6. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

    9,542
    8,709
    19,213
    I am not so sure where your post is going or where it has been....My 2 cents are like this....JMO

    PTSD......Strips us of who were were. Who we should have been. It has turned our world upside down, inside out, and put us on a merry-go-round that seems like it will never stop. Someone pull the plug.....

    We can never gain back what we have lost. The old saying....Don't cry over spilled milk.....In my opinion, we clean up the milk, the stain(trauma & PTSD) on the carpet will always be there to remind us, but eventually we can walk right over that stain, and not worry that the end of the world has come. We learn that our world is just a little different now, but we do adjust.

    We learn to adapt to the "new" person that has emerge, we are grateful to be alive.

    At this time in my life.....I don't have goals and dreams either. I am grateful for the things that I have in my life now. My health, my mental health, good friends, a job........I don't ask for much, I don't want for much. I lived my life under the rule of dysfunction.......I now have contentment, and peace......This is what my world is now, and I am damn grateful I have it.......


    Hodge, if you feel that your life is happy and contented. Tell your therapist what you want out of life, if he or she keeps pushing. Then maybe it's time for a change.........JMO


    Wen
     
  7. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

    5,903
    12,775
    20,138
    Cactus Jack, I think these are good questions:

    This may be what my psych is pushing for. They are hard questions for me, though. I'll have to think about this more.

    Damiea, yes, you're right, I think it is mid-life crisis, but I think it's complicated by ptsd.

    She Cat, your post made me realize I should have filled in more background on me. It was so difficult for me to articulate my problem that I neglected to do so.

    Since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to work on books. After college I got a job at a publishing company, and I worked there for nearly 20 years, my entire career. Then I was laid off this summer. The industry is such that I don't see a decent future in it for me, so I am also at a professional identity crisis. I have no idea what kind of job I want to do now. I'm living in a rural area without a lot of opportunities and I don't want to move because of family considerations as well as my own personal preference.

    Emerald River (beautiful name, by the way) and She Cat, I think you two have hit on where I'm at. I feel like a different person than who I was 20 years ago. I've been trying to figure out how to get that back, and that's where I'm stuck, too.

    One of my practical problems is, as my psych says, I have some self-exploring to do, in terms of figuring out my next job. I can't live on severance and unemployment forever. I don't know if I can handle a job and I don't have the energy yet to do the self-exploration.

    I'm sorry if I'm not being very articulate. This is really difficult for me. Thanks for all the comments, everyone.
     
  8. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

    3,807
    883
    4,653
    Hodge,

    I can't say much about the difference from 20 years ago.. I still had PTSD back then.

    However, I can comment on the lack of long term goals. I have one goal. It's to get well. That is as far as I can get. Half the time I can't even plan out my day never mind twenty years from now. I'd say this is quite normal for PTSD.

    Does your psychologist have any experience with PTSD? Has he/she read up on any of it? It really sounds like an unexperienced therapist to me to try and say that "it has to be something more." As those are classical PTSD symptoms. Hell they are right in the DSMV...

    Maybe you should be asking your therapist some questions? Find out what he/she knows and if they've bothered reading or learning about it!

    bec
     
  9. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

    9,542
    8,709
    19,213
    Hodge,

    I don't know if we ever can get that person back. We have been changed to our core. Altered, different, skewed... Everything about us has changed....The way we think, react, our outlook on life in general, our fears, our interactions with others and how they now respond to us.... Everything about us and our world has changed.

    Personally....Like I said, I am just happy to be alive, and grateful for what I have now.

    I do feel for you with the job thing. I understand your limits living in a small area......My only advice to you.....I know that books was your passion in life...Find a new one...No small feat I know....

    Mine is so well weird. I could have done anything I wanted in life. I chose to do what makes me happy, regardless of what others feel. I clean houses for other people and I get enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment when I look the place over after I am done. It pays the bills, keeps me fed, and I have some extra left over. Simply put...I enjoy my job!!! There are no hassles, I work for me, and I pick and chose my customers.

    Sorry that i can't offer more help. You will figure this out, we all do, it just takes some time.....

    Wen
     
  10. EmeraldRiver

    EmeraldRiver Member

    35
    5
    0
    Bec - that's what I thought when I read the original post, but was too chicken to say it.

    Hodge - sorry, but I don't think you're going to get your old self back. But, perhaps if you could write down what you used to be that you feel you aren't anymore you could work on gaining more of the traits that you liked about yourself. Faith and confidence in yourself will come back with time, and with pushing yourself gently to do the things you used to do, until it becomes 'normal' again. And actually, once you start listing things you'll find that the absolute core of you has not changed too much. You're still probably honest (most of the time :) ), try to be good to your friends and family, try to work hard when given a task, are still caring for plants and maybe a pet or children...sorry, don't know much of your background....

    This is going to sound corny - but my best thinking (and healing) always came after I volunteered somewhere. My choice was a nursing home - because who's going to attack you there?! Not only that, but the folks there gave me some good advice on jobs that I might be suited for, because my job in the military didn't easily translate to the 'real' world. And best of all, someone still needed me, so I really enjoyed my time there. Maybe you could think about doing something like that for a half hour, and see if it improves your overall state of mind.

    If books are your passion, have you thought about writing a book, or editing? Newspaper/advice column? You could work for a bigger city and just fax in your work. Or, there's working at a library. I'm not sure what your other interests are, but if you like plants there's tons of work in landscaping, but you may have to travel during the day.

    I understand not wanting to tackle the huge life changes of a new career, but if you could imagine your 20 year old self being told she couldn't be in publishing....then what would she have done instead?
     
  11. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

    5,903
    12,775
    20,138
    Thanks so much for all the thoughtful comments, everyone.

    Bec, this is what confuses me. I mean, she's talked about ptsd as if she knows what she's talking about. My appt. is in a little while a
     
  12. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

    5,903
    12,775
    20,138
    Sorry for the abrupt cutoff there. I was just starting to write when I got disconnected. Then when I finished my post, the system wouldn't let me edit. Anyway...

    Bec, this is what confuses me. I mean, she's talked about ptsd as if she knows what she's talking about. My appt. is in a little while and I'm going to ask her about this.

    I just don't understand and I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Also upset over other things as well. I spent most of last night crying - upset because I had to deal with my mother and my editor (who triggers me like my mother) today, missing my friend who died this summer, frustrated that I have ptsd and I feel like I'm in totally new territory facing these life changes without my old self-confidence, vision, and motivation. Yes, I can see part of my core self is still here, but it feels like my sense of it gets a bit murky sometimes with all the anxiety, dissociating, depression, etc. that comes and goes.

    Your ideas are great, Emerald River, but just to fill you in a little more on my background, I've gotten to the point where books really aren't my passion anymore, because the industry's bottom line these days means I can't work to the standards that I feel comfortable with anymore. They turn out substandard work because it still sells (somewhat, anyway). So, I do need to find something else. Volunteering is something I really want to do, and, in retrospect, it has always helped me feel better about myself when I help others (but not at a nursing home - my mother-in-law is in one and I spend a lot of time up there as it is! :)

    Sorry, I feel I'm rambling. I'm hoping to be in a better place after my appt. today, and I'll try to write more later.

    Thanks again.
     
  13. hodge

    hodge I'm a VIP Premium Member

    5,903
    12,775
    20,138
    Well, it was an interesting appt. with my psychologist today, as well as grueling, as usual. I think there's a new kleenex box every time I come in :)

    When I told her what I said in my first post here, that I never used to have these many bad days, they weren't nearly as intense, and the difference from 20 years ago is that now I have all these symptoms that screw me up so often, she sort of went, aha, okay. She agreed with many of you guys who said I'm not the same person, and I need to focus on healing first, then I will hopefully have more reserves to come up with a new plan for myself. I didn't tell her you all said that; she said it herself. I don't know why she didn't say that last week. Maybe she wanted to see if I could figure it out on my own? Anyway, I still have a good gut feeling about her now (although, Bec, I totally know you meant the best, and I did put on my skeptical hat till our appt. today :)).

    So, we talked about the added work pressure and all the other pressures, which she said were really a lot, and I became more firm in my feeling to cut back on the contracting work I'd agreed to verbally with the company I used to be employed by. I still haven't received the written contract, so I feel fine about backing out of most of the work, especially since I learned today they are not going to budge a bit on the deadlines. So, heck with it. I am so tired of trying to figure out how to do a halfass job in half the time it takes to do a good job. I'm sick of it. They have been paying me for what I've done so far, so I'm not worried about that. It's just sad to accept that I can't do this for the sake of my health. But I do accept it. I have to. My health is more important than a few thousand dollars at this point, especially if trying to do that halfass work lands me in the hospital, which would totally cost more than what I'd earn!

    Thanks again, everyone, for your feedback. It's really helped.
     
    nie likes this.
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Show Sidebar