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How can you forget something traumatic?

(75 Posts)
Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 19:17:13

Name-changed for this, not sure if it is in the right place either but couldn't think of where it should go.

Something happened to me a while ago that I have never told anyone about. It has had a dramatic effect on my mental health, I'm on maximum dosage of an anti-depressant but I still have flashbacks and panic attacks regularly and I really just want to kill myself.

GP/Crisis have said they can't help because I won't tell them what exactly it is that was traumatic, but I just can't say the words.

Is there anyway to forget something traumatic without having to tell someone/talk about it? I'm feeling like it will control me forever and there is only one way out.

bookishandblondish Mon 21-Dec-15 19:38:33

To be honest, it's not that you will forget - more than it won't impact in the same way. Forgetting isn't a good way to handle it - forgetting as the memory dims and it no longer has the power to hurt is different.

In terms of handling it, a therapist should be able to work with you to the point where you are able to tell them - it won't happen instantly. Are you able to write it down or draw an image?
Try asking for therapy with someone experienced in PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder).

originalmavis Mon 21-Dec-15 19:43:29

Don't forget but extinguish the negative emotion associated with it.

EMDR is good for post traumatic stress. The army used to use it (I assume they still do). It's been a while since I practised bit results are positive.

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 19:53:36

I've had some EMDR and I could visualise the events either side, but when it came to the actual event I had a really bad panic attack and the psychologist said he couldn't help if I couldn't get any further.

I just want it to go away, I know that is naive thinking but I can't ever tell anyone what happened so I just need it to stop being in my head all of the time. It's like I'm re-experiencing it every day and I can't cope.

Rosenwyn1985 Mon 21-Dec-15 22:16:01

I find this really strange that they can't help. I'm currently being treated for combined post natal depression and trauma (a sub group of ptsd). And whilst I'm able to talk about it, it is hard. I had a panic attack in therapy today so we've started working on techniques to make me feel safe. Then hopefully I'll be more able to talk and we can move on. Keep pushing for help. Forgetting won't work even if you manage it. I had blocked out a lot of stuff for 15 years and thanks to a further traumatic experience I'm now going through it all again. This time I'm determined not to make the mistake and I'm pushing for all the help I can get. I truly understand how hard it is to talk about trauma. I've been with my husband 10 years, we've got two kids, I'd trust him with my life, but there are still times I tell him something new about my past as it's been so hard to say out loud. All I can say is push your doctor.

originalmavis Mon 21-Dec-15 22:19:38

It can take time. Everyone's different and some therapists are more skilled than others, plus there's trust and rapport, and if the client is actually ready to take the steps.

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 22:31:08

I'm not having any therapy anymore, Crisis said if I can't talk about it there is no point and discharged me back to GP. I know it is all my fault but I just feel so alone with it. I can't think or feel about anything else, it consumes my life to the point of my not wanting the life. I don't think I'm making sense, sorry.

DragonsCanHop Mon 21-Dec-15 22:35:42

Have you tried writing it down or recording yourself alone talking about it? If you are having to go through it everyday it may be worth putting yourself through that just the once to help move things forward.

DragonsCanHop Mon 21-Dec-15 22:36:56

X post. Please don't feel it is your fault, these things knock us all in different ways. How long have you been dealing with this?

Kennington Mon 21-Dec-15 22:42:52

I am unable to forget an awful event too. I. Cannot offer help as I haven't spoken to anyone but beta blockers for anxiety take the edge off when thigs get bad.

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 22:44:04

It's been 3 years since it happened, but I sort of squashed it down. Then earlier this year I was under a lot of stress and the flashbacks started and since then it has just got worse. I took an overdose and that got the crisis team involved for a short-time but they discharged me back to the GP when I wouldn't say exactly what happened.

originalmavis Mon 21-Dec-15 22:49:39

Do you work - some employers offer free or subsidised therapy/or have private healthcare?

TotalConfucius Mon 21-Dec-15 22:53:52

Could you write it down and hand it over, or even post it?
That first sentence is the hardest, it really is.
I had treatment for PTSD 20 years ago, 14 months after the event that caused it.
Once it was out, the best therapy for me was that hour a week when my therapist and I approached the events from a different angle. She would begin by asking one single question 'so, Total, how did you feel at the moment when...?' And then it flowed. The next week she would begin by asking me about a different aspect. For many months we went over the same old same old each time from a different starting point. Gradually it stopped dominating the other 6 days a week. Or sometimes Something would occur to me, or I'd have a thought and decide to just store it until my session. That's when I knew I was learning to cope. From someone who was returning to the scene of the event and just sitting, hoping but fearing that someone connected with it would walk past, to my being the one who suggested we finished the therapy. I also used medication under supervision and that is a useful tool, be advised by the professionals on it.
I don't think you can actually forget it. But you can get to a stage where you can put it all into a little box and just get it out occasionally. 20 years on, I have a little wobble once a year. The rest of the year it is part of the patchwork of my life and I have so many patches. I could make a quilt!

ottothedog Mon 21-Dec-15 22:56:37

Try the gp again for counselling for ptsd.
You could also try asking for mindfulness counselling but as a 1:1 with a therapist
I never had counselling and it did eventually get better. Now it is 'in a box' in my head that i choose not to open

originalmavis Mon 21-Dec-15 22:56:53

If you wrote put a time limit on it - give yourself say 20 mins a day to immerse yourself them put the pen down and close the book. Put it aside until your next writing session and don't think about it.

originalmavis Mon 21-Dec-15 22:59:19

Hang on - just read the bit about not being able to tell them.

I used to sometimes do 'content free' therapy when someone couldn't tell me what had happened or just didn't know the root cause to pain, habit or anxiety.

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 23:09:08

The mental health team won't even put me on the waiting list for any kind of therapy because I can't tell them what happened beyond the fact that something did happen.

Thanks for all of your insights, it is as I thought and there is really no hope unless I say what happened, and that can never happen.

DragonsCanHop Mon 21-Dec-15 23:17:04

But it can happen.

You need to take one leap and the. It is there for you to be helped.

I'll say it again, try writing it down or recording yourself during a flash back.

Just once is all it takes to bring you forward.

You can do it flowers

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 23:23:51

No, I can never say it, trust me there will be awful consequences if I do.

It is okay, it is what it is. Just sometimes wish that it didn't have to be, need to stop being so stupid and sort myself out.

DragonsCanHop Mon 21-Dec-15 23:26:35

You are not stupid.

Can you talk about the awful consequences if you do say it just once?

Prettyinblue Mon 21-Dec-15 23:30:28

I had something awful happened I'ld blocked most of it out and thought I would never talk about it. I had a panic attack every day for months.once I didn't even leave the house for about three months. I thought there was no point as this event took over my life.

But then I saw a programme about pats and on it somebody recommended writing it down as a 'story' and burning it. Then writing it down and ripping it up. Then writing it down and chucking it away and then saying it in my head and then saying it out loud to no one. And repeating all of these things. Until eventually it became something I had the words to say to a friend. Since then it lost its control over me, and though it still upsets me it is something I control as I have words to explain it and minimise it, If that makes sense. I wish you all the luck in the world. You don't have to do anything, but it probably won't make it worse if you do. X

Prettyinblue Mon 21-Dec-15 23:31:08

Pats = PTSD

Wantingtoforget Mon 21-Dec-15 23:44:21

Promises were made about what would happen if I ever told anyone. I would say threats but I know they were real.

I think I've gone too far here, tbh. I need to just forget about it.

bookishandblondish Mon 21-Dec-15 23:50:48

Will someone die if you tell someone else?

Will someone get hurt if you tell someone else?

Will you die if you tell someone else?

Will you get hurt if you tell someone else?

Could you tell a Samaritan - someone who you need never see or talk to again?

And if you have the energy, I'd complain to the mental health trust - to be discharged simply because you won't tell them because you can't seems wrong. It may be worth trying a voluntary counselling service and working on managing the stress and working towards it.

DragonsCanHop Mon 21-Dec-15 23:51:16

It's not a promise it is a threat.

My only advice would be to try a new approach and trust those that are offering to help you.

Relying on what you have been told not to say isn't really working for you. Is it? Maybe give a new direction a one off chance and see if that helps (it really will, I promise)

Feel free to PM

I need to go to bed now but I really hope you take that one off leap because it really will make things better than they are now x

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