General Foreshortened future



I am a supporter and I would love to hear if anybody has managed to address the feeling of a foreshortened future with some success? My sufferer describes this feeling as like they are "old and waiting to die" (they are not old 🙂) and are about to take this to therapy. Their therapist is clear about the cause and that it isn't a unusual trauma response.


Speaking as a sufferer…

During my good years, I would often write

‘We’ve got time’ & ‘We will do this, again’ on each hand… just because, even being virtually asymptomatic, the idea that I had to do everything NOW perfectly… was pervasive.

During my bad years? 2pm today, is as “real” as scheduling something for 4 million years from now, on the third Tuesday of the month, at precisely 104 am. Seriously think about that a moment, because I know it’s easy to blow off. If EVERY appointment, etc. came attached with a totally fictious date. When you next go in to work, is not tomorrow, by 300,047 years from now. Um. Dude? That’s not real. I’ll be looooong dead by then. My grandkids and their grandkids will be long dead. Forget about doctors appointments, summer plans, etc. because if tomorrow is as bizarrely f*cked up as a few hundred thousand years, can you even imagine a few million?

It’s like the timeline just… BREAKS.

Right now? Is real.

And, unfortunately, tends to create everything/always/never. Like if I’m irked now? I’ve “always” been irked, or if I’m unhappy now, I’ve ‘never’ been happy.

It. Is. Total. Bullshit.

It’s survival mode… that erases everything in the past, and everything in the future, and brings into ✨ brilliant ✨ sparkling focus… right now. And that’s it.

It is a phenomenally useful survival mechanism.

But it breaks real life. Because it’s not supposed to be “on” except for in tiny little segments. Like any other aspect of fight-or-flight. Useful in the moment, but lethal long term. Stress responses are NOT supposed to exist outside of the moment. But PTSD is a broken stress response. We relive shit. We’re stuck in a moment from 20 years ago. It’s like trying to fold laundry whilst your house in on fire, or you’re being raped. You DONT fold laundry in either of those circumstances. You fight for your life. >.< But reliving isn’t remembering. It’s reliving. Which makes everything “wrong”.


Speaking as a supporter, now…

I have a reeeeeeally difficult time dealing with people who don’t realize that’s what is going on, and can’t check themselves.

People I’m in romantic relationships with, if they’re not at the point of realizing they’ve got 2 competing timelines trying to take up the same space? I break up with. My KID, on the other hand, I’ve got little choice but to see him through.

It’s, full stop, brutal.

The only traction “we” have ever been able to get, it when it is NOT me attempting to anchor him back to reality, and NOT ME jerking his leash, or kicking knowledge… but a 3rd party. Me? I’m “safe”. So I’m a target. Someone he can vent all over, and direct his rage, and 10,000 not super healthy things. I’m moderately okay with that. Not really, but I understand what’s going on, so I suck it up. It reeeeeally takes someone else to see him through this, and other hard parts, so WE can just be US.


I can say for myself, it is an offshoot of my catastrophizing every situation I encounter. After wondering if enough situations will turn out badly you start to wonder why more haven't and start feeling like it must be time for one to take a bad turn.
my biggest thing (of many) is motor vehichle accidents. I spent 10 yr responding to them in an area where we had few "urban type' accidents, but lots of "rural type" accidents, car vs. farm truck at high-speed lots of times but not many car vs. car running a red light because there weren't any red lights in my district.
I have seen the end results and loaded lots of my patients on helicopters, and every time I go out on the road I see myself on a stretcher or worse at the end of the trip. After doing that enough times, i start to feel like I am cheating death at some point.
Anyway, if I see death and injury as a near-constant possibility, I will start to think that i am only lucky to have made it this far, and continue on feeling like it is looming, just passing me by like a shark checking on it's prey, 2, 3, 7 times then wham! dead.
Make sense?



I think a lot of it relates to time distortion caused by executive dysfunction issues. I know I experience this a lot. Time is very elastic and doesn't seem to pass like it does when symptoms are very low.

I posted this somewhere else on here but Stress>Cognition, Stress<Cognition. Stress ramps up fight or flight. When stress is high your brain is throwing out all the things not related to immediate survival and along with that - it interprets thoughts on that same level, now - immediate. So your sense of time and next week or next month get warped because all your senses are focused so tightly on the immediate, there is no future......

A lot of this comes with rumination as well so learning ways to break out of that cycle and think about or do things to stop that hamster wheel from spinning are very helpful to me.


the feeling of timelessness is common amongst us, but difficult to state clearly. This thread just got bumped and I have had more thoughts since two months ago.
I work in the same place i have been working for years. I recently had a long medical leave, but when I went back there it was, with the same projects waiting, the same age old tools, the same everything just as I had left it.
And by noon, the same memory of the day I responded to an accident on the way in and after when i was at work i saw my chief and a sargeant from the county being escorted by my boss. I figured there would be questions about the accident, even though i hadnt thought it was any more than a bad wreck with fatalities it might have been more, i was pretty busy and there might have been things going on I missed. When I walked over they were surprised to see me there, told me to relax, it didnt concern me, then they went and told one of my coworkers her son had died at the scene.
So, i spent a few days feeling like that had just happened and i was deep in grief and sympathy.
I got more of that when i was driving to and from work. The same roads, the same memories of near misses, the same memories of bad wrecks I had come up on after the fact or even witnessed, the same places i had responded to during my off hours, some like the one involving my coworkers son i had been paged to while i was on my way to work or going home.
I dont think about those experiences except in general most days, but it can and often does get brought to a focus and i remember the day and the feelings of anger and frustration of the days after and the grief of losing victims after doing our best with what we had, all of it, brought into focus again like it was just waiting there for me to go through the intersection or see the bad pass or come up on a car parked where the wreck had been sitting whenn i rolled up.
and then i got to live life in two places at once for a while, dealing with unsolvable past problems and trying to be present for the job at hand, six octaves less shrill than the high pitch of the helicopter blades, of a lot less importance than it was to keep checking for capillary refill when the tourniquette was relaxed, waaay less important than maintaining the airway and holding the c spine traction long after the ambulance should have been there.
It isnt about thinking I am back on scene and seeing it all like i an there when i am not and its twenty years ago again, it is about feeling the tension and high levels of responsibility to be doing the right things and wondering if i had when it failed and trying to solve a problem involving making a mundane on the job bump in the road go away in the here and now.
Like trying to tie your shoes with a loose rattlesnake in the room, your attention is elsewhere.