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My Soul Is Getting Lost

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  • #353186
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    “Is the Noble Eightfold Path the way to..?”- don’t remember the content of the book.

    “I read that the path within myself to help me end the suffering, therefore is it the key to happiness?”- define happiness: is it joy, is it contentment? Joy is temporary at best, it is a neural excitement, the brain/ body can’t tolerate it for too long. Contentment has calm in it, something we can endure, so it’s something to aim at.

    Regarding suffering, mental health and contentment: the more congruent your thoughts and beliefs are with reality, the less you suffer, the more mentally healthy and content you are.

    It is not possible for a person to be content alone because we are social animals, we are born to socialize. And it is not possible for a person to like himself/ herself when no one else does because we are each others’ mirrors, seeing ourselves in others. Again, as a social beings we are born that way. Thing is,  we should be selective as to what mirror we are looking at

    I will be away from the computer for about 12 hours. Post anytime and I will reply when I am back.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #353250
    Al
    Participant

    Dear Anita…

    I just wanted to start by sharing with you the beauty of this evening, I’m currently sitting at the table in my garden and I’m meditating on your answer. The air is so fresh and clean and it has a little summer breeze… it is the perfect temperature as well, and I just wanted to take a little bit of time to stay in this present moment and acknowledge it.

    Back to the topic of conversation, Contentment is definitely the word I was thinking of. And thank you for clarifying what happiness really represents.

    You said “the more congruent your thoughts and beliefs are with reality, the less you suffer, the more mentally healthy and content you are.” I really like this perspective and I can visualize it as the best way of living a life. But to go into detail, what is an example of congruent thought with reality? Let’s say for example my situation… I have a problem with staying in the present moment because most of the time I am worried about where to escape next, where to seek for the better next dimension, so what would be a congruent thought that I would have to start thinking of?

    I also just had a realization.

    There is something that I haven’t shared with you yet, a part of myself that has always defined me.

    It is something really private, and something that I just recently started to feel more comfortable in sharing, but that has always been buried underground in the deep caves of my mind… hidden. And I am proud of myself to have found the courage to share it, to bring it to the light..

    Since I was a little kid, I have always had issues with a speech disorder I have. Stuttering.

    I don’t remember the exact moment I started stuttering, but when I was a little kid I remember that it was a huge weight I always carried on my shoulders… I still do, but now it’s different.

    I remember being bullied by some students at school, but luckily I always had people around me who would protect me (from amazing teachers, parents and friends) But still some words penetrated my brain and took place in my memory.

    The biggest bully was myself though. Me against myself. I never liked this side of me at all, I mean, would you blame me? I wouldn’t say I had the worst case of stuttering, sometimes, on a good day you couldn’t even notice… but it is what happens inside of a person who stutters that is the real problem… the real frustration… that sense of “I can’t do it… I can’t say it” and also… that sense of… “let me find another way to say it”… “let me escape this sense of fear and humiliation”.

    That is why I’m saying realization… because… This feeling of “If I say this word I’m going to stutter so let me escape from that word and find a better and similar one” goes hand in hand with the “I was born in a small town that doesn’t represent me so I need to find another one”… don’t you think?

    Growing up you learn how to manage this disorder (unless it’s  associated with other disorders that could cause a more serious condition), you learn which words are easier for you to say… how to relax more, or to manage your anxiety. I have worked so much like a surgeon in order to meticulously find the best words to say in every situation… And I’d say I am pretty content of my achievements. Meditation and breath control are also an incredible help for a person with this disorder, since the control of your breath is a key point in order to not stutter. (and to speak better in general even for non stuttering people).

    But do you think that stuttering is also another key point, another little trauma, to add to this conversation? To escape and find better words to say to not stutter has always been more than a habit… but more like a way to survive a situation… but do you think that this sense of “escape” is really rooted in my mind more than I thought?

    Let me know what you think… And good morning, hope this day is an amazing one for you.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by Al.
    #353094
    Mike
    Participant

    Hello Al! Hope your doing well…I was just browsing through and stumbled on this topic. I am a 32 year old guy who has experienced (and still do) very similar things to what you are going through. I have been reading through each of these paragraphs and wanted to share some of my thoughts if you are open to them. I feel like some of the insights I have might be of some help…hopefully.

    First off, like Bob Marley says “every little thing is gonna be alright.” 🙂 I know sometimes things can get pretty dark inside and feel like the emptiness never ends. From what I am seeing when I read it seems to me like your mind may be resisting the moment, resisting what IS, living in past/future and the present moment is all that exists. The mind is a very powerful tool and you are the master but at this point in our human evolution the mind has become the master and has made us the slave. (This is starting to change)

    Like everything in the universe the mind needs energy to survive (AKA THOUGHTS/EMOTIONS) One thought, then another and another. Our minds think in terms of future/past and the more you try to understand your past by identifying with experiences you have already lived the more you are in prison to yourself.

    In the world the mind resides everything is extremely complex. Life in the present moment can be very simple….Try this- start practicing by sitting with whatever is going on inside of you… just sit with it… be with it…without judgement as if you are viewing the screen of a movie theatre from the back row. Your mind is the screen and you are the one watching. I know this can be hard and extremely painful but your true answers of what you seek lie within the silence. If you have not read the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle I highly recommend it. It helped me make sense of some things when I was going through some very dark, and painful times.

    I am sending you some peaceful vibes as I type and know your soul will find what it needs in order to evolve. I hope this is somewhat helpful. Have a good day…ttys…

    Mike

     

    #353346
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    I enjoyed your description, sitting in your garden, enjoying a little summer breeze.

    “what is an example of congruent thought with reality?” A common example: many adult children believe that their unloving parents were loving people who did their best. The price for believing this is that the adult child keeps blaming himself for.. causing supposedly loving people to not love him personally, that is, believing that he is unlovable, not that his parents are unloving.

    “This feeling of ‘If I say this word I’m going to stutter so let me escape from that word.. ‘ goes hand in hand with the ‘I was born in a small town that doesn’t represent me so I need to find another one’.. don’t you think?”- yes, but fear and the flight reaction is so very common in our lives on a regular daily basis: fear goes up—> we want to escape. So it’s not unique to your small town experience and your stuttering, it is the daily reality of all of us humans and other animals.

    “Growing up you learn.. how to relax more, or to manage your anxiety.. Meditation and breath control are also an incredible help for a person with this disorder”- this is your answer to what you brought up earlier in your recent post: “I have a problem with staying in the present moment.. so what would be congruent thought that I would have to start thinking of?”: think of relaxing, meditating, breath. (It is congruent with reality that staying in the present moment requires a calm mind and body).

    “do you think that stuttering is also another key point, another little trauma..?”- yes, it’s a trauma, it caused you anxiety and distress, to add to other anxiety and distress.

    Do you have any memory of how young you were when you started stuttering and what events in your life preceded the stuttering?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #353504
    Al
    Participant

    Dear Mike and Dear Anita:

    Thank you for your responses, they are really appreciated.

    I have read and registered in my mind everything you have said and I am going to meditate on it… Today is my birthday and I am going to spend it offline and doing other things to distract me 🙂 but I am going to come back here tomorrow to continue our conversation. Also I’d like to reiterate my gratitude for you, you gave me an amazing gift that I won’t forget… a new perspective. And help. Thank you. Talk to you very soon!

    Hope you have an amazing day.

    #353584
    anita
    Participant

    H A P P Y     B I R T H D A Y     A L   ! ! !

    anita

    #353926
    Al
    Participant

    Thank you Anita!!

    I had a great day. I received some beautiful balloons from my family, a few gifts from friends, had a very nice walk on the beach (with face mask and gloves) and I had some tasty tacos for dinner. It was better than what I expected!

    Back to our conversation, I have confusing memories regarding when I started stuttering. I was little, around the age of 4 or 5, and  I don’t remember much about it but one day I had an accident in our garden when I was that age. I got stung by a huge type of black bee that is common in Italy where I grew up, and my family had to rush me to the hospital immediately. I remember that they had to take out all the venom from behind my ear (where the bee had stung me) and it had to be done quickly and without anesthesia. My mom always said that that was a huge shock for me, and she remembers that I started stuttering from that moment… but I don’t remember anything about it, I have a foggy memory of a scene in the hospital, but nothing really vivid at all.

    So I don’t know if that was the cause… or maybe part of it… maybe it caused me to have severe anxiety at that age, when a young kid starts to articulate words and to speak better, and therefore this anxiety feeling started attacking my fear of speaking in public. But I’m not really sure about it… What do you think?

    Regarding the time before that moment… I wouldn’t know what to say… I was very little and I have mixed memories, I can’t visualize what age I was in these memories, if prior or after the bee accident. I remember being a happy kid though, even from pictures and videos you could tell that I was (and still am) very loved from my family.

    Hope you had an amazing day today and that this evening will bring even better vibrations.

     

    #353934
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    Glad you had a good birthday, I had a good day, thank you, the weather this morning was wonderful here (two states north of you) and the walk in the woods, the green and flowers and singing of birds, beautiful.

    “I have confusing memories regarding when I started stuttering. 4 or 5.. don’t remember much”- our memories of early childhood are amazingly poor and unreliable. We can remember events separated by years as if they happened in one night, and then we are told in adulthood that certain things happened a certain way, and we believe that they did, but not necessarily so.

    “I got stung by a huge type of black bee.. behind my ear… maybe it caused me to have severe anxiety”- I am sure it hurt and you were scared, but it is not likely that this one event caused you severe anxiety leading to long-term stuttering, not if you had a parent’s empathy and support right after that happened, during the medical treatment and after.

    Did you have other symptoms of anxiety such as tics or disturbed sleeping, headaches, anything like that, as a child?

    anita

     

    #353936
    Al
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    Wow that sounds beautiful… I love forests. Are there any waterfalls around there? I find the sound of waterfalls so calming and beautiful, especially for meditation.

    I am trying to think about it, but I don’t recall having any tic, disturbed sleeping, or headaches. I remember when I was very little, I never wanted to leave my house to go to kindergarten (in Italy we go there from the age of 4 to the age of 6), and I remember crying a lot because I didn’t want to go… I didn’t like my kindergarten teachers either (or maybe I was convincing myself I didn’t like them because I didn’t want to stay), and I remember wanting my mom to wait outside the whole time, because I didn’t want to feel by myself.

    The first day of elementary school I also didn’t want to go, I was scared and I remember crying there as well… but that time I had to stay, and there was no mom outside the door. Now I have amazing memories of my elementary school years… my teachers were amazing (like mothers) and my classmates were also very good people, and we all have amazing memories about each other. My only not so good memories about it was the stuttering part… because of course sometimes some students would make fun of me… but my teachers were always ready to defend me and say the right thing… I remember vividly one time when the teacher stood up for me after a student was laughing about what I just said and how I stuttered. It was beautiful.

    These are some of the things I remember.

    #353938
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    I read only the beginning of your recent post: yes there are waterfalls on my daily walk (3.5 miles/ about 5.5 km). I love the sound of waterfalls and birds.. and silence too. I will read the rest of your post and anything you may want to add to it when I return the computer in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #353940
    Al
    Participant

    That sounds wonderful.

    Sounds good, have a nice evening and talk to you later.

    #353982
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    I wrote to you earlier that it is not likely that one event caused you severe anxiety and years long stuttering. What is way more likely to have caused you severe anxiety that led to your stuttering is the multiple events of having been separated from your mother, day after day, week after week, month after month.

    “I never wanted to leave my house to go to kindergarten (in Italy we go there from the age of 4 to the age of 6), and I remember crying a lot because I didn’t want to go.. I didn’t like my kindergarten teachers either… I didn’t want to stay.. and I remember wanting my mom to wait outside the whole time because I didn’t want to feel by myself. The first day of elementary school I also didn’t want to go, I was scared and I remember crying there as well.. but that time I had to stay, and there was no mom outside the door”.

    At the age of 4 through 6 and longer, you were shocked every day when you were dropped in kindergarten/elementary school, being separated from your mother. Sometime within that period of time, at the age of 4 or 5, less than a year after the first day separation from your mother, you started stuttering. It took daily anxiety of a few months (less than a year) to cause your stuttering.

    “My mom always said that (being stung by a bee at the age of 4 or 5) was a huge shock for me, and she remembers that I started stuttering from that moment”- interesting how she missed your huge shock at being left in kindergarten, crying a whole lot every day. And it is interesting that because she pointed at the bee incident as the cause of your stuttering, you believed it to be so, not thinking of the daily separation from your mother as the cause.

    When parents, often mothers, leave their young children in day care or kindergarten and the child cries a lot, they think (and they are told) that it’s normal, that all children cry, that the child will get over it, that it will be okay. And children do survive separation anxiety, but with a cost. In your case, the cost was stuttering and the extra anxiety caused by the stuttering and being made fun of for stuttering through the years, leading you to socially isolate, a way of adjusting to a ridiculing/ hostile world outside (“I remember spending many, many days in my room all day and until late at night, in front of the computer”).

    How did it feel for that young child that you were, being left behind in kindergarten? Probably the same as how you felt recently (the italicized): “Staying at home is also leaving this dark feeling of time passing before my eyes, and I feel like for some weird reason my mind thinks life is over“-

    -When a young mammal like a fawn finds himself alone, without his mother, it panics, it feels like life is just about to be over any moment. Because in nature, without his mother, he will not be fed or protected from predators and the cold at night. It is the same for a human child, the fear is instinctive, the feeling that death is about to happen is instinctive. (The child does not consider relatives taking care of him or social services). He sees his mother gone=> he feels death is about to happen.

    More about how it probably felt back then: “something inside just broke.. been without any energy.. feel like something is just swallowing me alive and slowly.. Too many thoughts.. feeling of the clock ticking”-

    When a child is trapped away from his mother, with no rescue and no escape, time is a torture. It feels like time is not moving. Time becomes a trap in itself. Every minute feels like eternity- a powerful experience that awakens in you whenever you experience sameness for too long, trapped in time that will not move on.

    Five days ago I asked you: “I wonder about a version of you before the one you mentioned: earlier in life, as a child, when all you needed was to be safe, before you longed for freedom?”

    You answered: “I never really thought about the version of myself prior to the one I’m so attached to.. Before falling in love with freedom”.

    I can see now that this early version was a scared child, being trapped away from his mother for hours at a time, day after day, desperately needing to be with his mother. No doubt your anxiety was visible and audible, but all the adults ignored it, so there was no help, no rescue for you and no  way to escape.

    “I can feel it.. The constant desire to escape a situation.. an eternal run for some kind of Utopia”- for a young child his mother is Utopia.

    I will stop here. I will next look into some information in Wikipedia and post you quotes from there.

    anita

     

    #353986
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    Wikipedia: “Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is an anxiety disorder in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home and/ or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (e.g., a parent.. According to the American Psychiatric Association, separation anxiety disorder is an excessive display of fear and distress when faced with situations of separation. The anxiety that is expressed is categorized as being atypical of the expected developmental level and age… The duration of this problem must persist for at least four weeks.. to be diagnosed as SAD in children…

    A child with SAD may protest profusely upon arrival at school.. have a hard time saying goodbye to their parents.. tightly clinging to the parent.. They might scream and cry but in a way that makes it seem as though they are in pain. The child might scream and cry for an extended period of time after his or her parents are gone.. and refuse to interact with other children or teachers, rejecting their attention”.

    www. anxiety. org/ parent-child-separation-trauma-ptsd-and-recovery-in-children: “children are, evolutionary speaking, hardwired to respond to separation from their parents as though it were a matt4er of life or death. In fact, the visible pain and fear that children experience during periods of separation are only part of the story. What remains unseen by the naked eye are the drastic spikes in stress hormones that take place within children’s bodies following separation from their parents, essentially preparing them to fight or flight from this perceived danger.

    While children typically recover quickly from the emotional and physiological sequela of brief episodes of separation, extended separation can exhaust children’s bodies and brains”.

    * My comment: much of the economy in the western world is based on having as many people (men and women, fathers and mothers) as possible generating and spending as much money as possible. Daycare centers,, preschools and kindergartens make a stronger economy possible. Many children pay a high price for a stronger economy, experiencing overwhelming anxiety at being separated daily from their parent before they are ready for it.

    What you will see in lots of the writings by mental health professionals, as well as hearing from daycare/ kindergarten professionals and employees, neighbors, family members,  parents.. almost everyone, is that they downplay the severe and physically damaging distress caused to children when being separated from their parents for a daily eternity, every day, for months and longer when they are not ready for such separation.

    For the child separated, his subjective experience during the day shifts from incredible dread to disassociation to exhaustion, back to dread and so forth, and that dynamic results in physical damage (visible or invisible, detected or not) of many kinds.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #354050
    Al
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    Wow thank you for all the information. This is a lot to process but I’m doing my best… It makes sense and now I am just going over that time of my life in my head in a more focused way.

    Maybe that is also why my elementary school years were way better… because I felt like my teachers were literally “new moms” and therefore I felt in a similar and safe place at school (plus my school was literally walking distance from my house).

    My relationship with my mom has always been very “full”. She really loves me a lot and she has always protected me since I was a child… sometimes maybe too much… leaving me this sense of anxiety as soon as I would have to go outside and walk through the door.. and this connects to the SAD.

    Understanding all of this is and going over that time of my life now was unexpected, and I don’t quite know what to say… What do you think I should do now that we have gathered this new information?

    Hope you’re having a great day Anita!

     

    #354054
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Al:

    “my elementary years were way better”- one reason those were better years was that you were no longer in the same place and with the same people where you suffered two years of separation anxiety. A different place/ different people=> different experience.

    (similar to leaving to Australia at 19: different place/ different people=> different experience).

    “my mom.. she has always protected me since I was a child”- you will have to accept that she didn’t protect you from that childhood separation anxiety and the damage it caused you.

    “Understanding all of this .. What do you think I should do now that we have gathered this new information”- an emotional learning journey, that which you expressed an interest in, is about going beyond gathering information. It is about processing it emotionally. It takes time. It is different from processing information strictly intellectually, as is done in academics.

    For example, you are probably very invested in seeing your mother as most loving, and I am not saying she was not most loving of you, but.. how do you process your most loving mother not helping you for two years, seeing you suffer and letting it be- I imagine this topic, right here in this paragraph is extremely difficult to process for you, as it is for any child/ adult child. Questioning or examining a parent’s love is a major reason why many quit their emotional learning journeys.

    anita

     

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