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How do I get this horrific image out of my head?

(14 Posts)
shadowmoon Thu 30-Jun-11 20:34:00

Background: I feel stuff deeply, I over empathise. I am not squeamish per se, but if an image I have seen/read/heard about gets in my head, it literally haunts me for weeks .

So a teacher died in terrible circumstances at my child's school. He was long-term depressed and apparently set fire to himself on the school grounds (ot of hours). sad

We were very upset, naturally; (the teacher was exceptional, he helped my child enormously through a diffuclt period, and was very spportive to me too.) There is other stuff too which makes it even more tragically sad.

That was a month ago. recently a 'friend' told me some details about the death which has devastated me, just when I was getting over the intial shock. I mean, the original circumstances were bad enough, ths has tipped me over the edge.

I can't stop crying now, the image she has described to me is totally in my head. It pops in uninvited. I feel totally haunted.

I can't talk to anyone as I don't want them to have this information going round their head too.

I tried to talk to my husband but he stopped me, anticipating it was info he didn't want to know.

I am not normally neurotic, I am very well balanced but this has so upset me.

What can i do to rid myself of this image?

shadowmoon Thu 30-Jun-11 20:41:43

btw, I am a namechanger for obvious reasons.

PonceyMcPonce Thu 30-Jun-11 20:45:46

I think for me, I might spend a pre-determined time, say 30 minutes writing down my feelings about it, and almost dwelling on it, then refuse to give it headspace for the rest of the day, purposelydoing something distracting. Then tomorrow allow myself to do this for say 25 minutes.

My rationale being that I cannot UN-know this information, I need to process it, but not allow it to take over my head.

What a horrible thing to deal with. Poor man.

Hope you get some peace soon

madmouse Thu 30-Jun-11 20:57:21

It is not very well known but it is actually possible to be traumatised by hearing how someone you cared for died in such terrible circumstances. It can actually cause PTSD. Now if this all happened only a months ago it is far too early to talk about that - you are still dealing with the shock.

Go gentle on yourself, talk about it over and over as much as you need to with someone you can trust and if it does not start getting better in another 3/4 weeks go see your doctor.

shadowmoon Thu 30-Jun-11 20:59:24

''I cannot UN-know this information, I need to process it, but not allow it to take over my head.''

god, that is it in a nutshell.
it is easier said than done though. I find myself thinking about ''what is for tea'' and then THE THING pops in...
I could throttle this woman for telling me this stuff.

Could I tell it on here and then ask for it to be deleted, do you think?

madmouse Thu 30-Jun-11 22:29:44

you can - you are also welcome to PM me and I will read and delete or jsut delete

whatever helps

I'm just coming out of PTSD so i know what its like

natsyloo Thu 30-Jun-11 22:47:19

That sounds like an incredibly upsetting situation - I feel for you as I too am a super sensitive person and can't even watch graphic fictional things on TV without having bad dreams or have the image stay with me.

As other posters have said, it sounds like a shocking experience and one that needs to be processed. I have some knowledge of intrusive thoughts having just recovered from a fairly nasty bout of PND and from what I've read, it's the reaction the thought provokes that adds additional significance and creates a horror/shock response which becomes emotionally loaded. This is then intensified and repeats more, the more you add significance to the thought like a self-perpetuating cycle.

I was advised to allow a thought to pass through, acknowledge it but try and 'observe it' from a distance so as to detach and not feel so emotionally affected by it. This naturally causes the thoughts to be less intense and to have such a 'hold'.

This may be different to PTSD and is only my interpretation however. I hope you feel better soon.

thingamajig Thu 30-Jun-11 22:52:36

You could try like using some CBT to help you consider what you are thinking and how it is affecting you, there is a good site gym http://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome

NorkyButNice Thu 30-Jun-11 23:14:35

I wouldn't put it on here, purely because his friends or family may come across it, and find details they don't want to see.

Feel very sorry that you are in this situation - I frequently have periods where I'm convinced that DS1 is going to die in a horrible accident and find myself replaying scenes in my head. Awful.

shadowmoon Fri 01-Jul-11 08:36:53

the trouble is, this is real, this happened. And the fact that it happened to a real human being - almost regardless of the fact that i know and liked the guy - is too much to bear.
I know about cbt, and I know about how to banish irrational unwanted thoughts, but this flashes into my head like a flashcard in the middle of stuff, like having a shower today, or eating a meal.
it is a one-off situation, not the sort of thing I could see a gp for or a counsellor.

KeepingUpWithTheCojones Fri 01-Jul-11 08:54:41

by 'one off situation' do you mean that you don't have any mental health issues and so don't think you should see a counsellor or your gp? Because I reallly think it would help, if you could afford it, talking this through with a counsellor. Trauma and bereavement counsellors exist for these kind of uber-shitty 'one-off situations'.

My Dsis underwent something similar with a close friend of hers and she found talking it through with someone outside her social circle really helped. She was able to acknowledge her feelings and talk through some of the more unpleasant aspects of it which she really couldn't do with people she knew as they all knew the deceased iyswim. It helped her come to terms with it - the surreal 'this is real' feeling you mentioned above. She only went about four times - it doesn't have to be a longterm commitment.

I'm sorry you've gone through this.

shadowmoon Fri 01-Jul-11 09:13:29

I have been looking for some sort of helpline I could ring, just to get it off my chest, but they all seem to be for relatives etc.
There is no trauma counselling in this area. (I know this as i work in an field which (ironically) sign posts people to support.
Does anyone know of a national one? Been googling but...

helpmenow Fri 01-Jul-11 09:50:59

I read recently that playing repetitive games that require concentration helps in the immediate aftermath of a trauma as it stops the brain laying down those memories. If anyone else knows of the research and can link to it I would be very grateful.

I certainly find myself playing Tetris or Bubblepop when stressed- although those memories are in your mind, keeping busy with something that occupies your mind, ie sudoku or knitting rather than hoovering or driving is a practical thing you could do now.

helpmenow Fri 01-Jul-11 09:54:18

A quick Google found this cure

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