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Member Name: assethound
Date: 08/05/01, updated on 08/05/01 (61 review reads)
Advantages: Each problem becomes a challenge
Like most people, I have tended to react to instead of act upon problems.
Fortunately, this is now firmly in the past.
My life experiences so far have taught me a lot about problem solving and strategies for coping.
First of all a little background:
I was bullied at school.
I lacked confidence - very probably as a result of the bullying.
When I had a problem, my usual reaction was to fight against it - even if this meant fighting against myself.
When I was almost twenty, I was - and here is the difficulty - raped by a stranger.
Why difficulty? Well it is hard to deal with an event of that magnitude in your life - the mental equivalent of being hit by an express train - but not being able to tell people because being hit by an express train is taboo, and anyway - what were you doing there on the tracks?
How did I feel?
Abused, scared, confused - questioning my sanity - maybe I reacted like this because I was crazy anyway.
I told a lot of people close to me because I wanted them to know why I was acting strangely - who wants to lose friends at a time when you need them most?
I also railed against the unfairness of it all. Why should my life be so hard - because of the actions of someone I didn't even know.
I was suicidal, depressed, putting on layers and layers of personality to disguise the reality of myself crumbling away. My mind felt like someone had opened up the top of my head and switched on a Kenwood mixer in there.
Worst of all I didn't even know myself.
I spent a total of nine years screaming inside every minute of every day before I got better - but I did get better.
I found a way of dealing with it that fitted me.
I saw a councillor at Rape Crisis who was and still is to me the most wonderful person I have ever met.
After nearly a year of crying and talking and laughing I
had the strength to leave counselling and strike out on my own.
Positive thinking is the key for me to my recovery from nearly a decade of horror.
I found that when I was depressed there was a pattern.
I would have a setback, I would feel responsible for the setback, I would see nothing but negativity in my life.
Funnily enough I am and have always been a closet Pollyanna.
I didn't commit suicide - although I was close many times - because I felt that if it was really so terrible it could only improve, although most of the time it didn't.
I kept my job although I was screaming inside for most of my working day, because if I lost my job I would have nothing at all.
Finally I realised that I could lift myself out slowly by being positive about the little things - and I also stopped railing against the things that had gone wrong, and concentrated more on the things that were going right.
I let Pollyanna out of the closet for good and now when I have a setback I get blue for a little while but I also see it as a challenge.
Positive thinking is so simple a concept, but can be very hard to master.
Essentially I think positive thinking is about being accepting - accept the situation you are in instead of kicking against it - thinking your way round it is a lot easier if you are not trying to kick the door in with panic.
Easier said than done I know, but I managed to do it - it took a long time of course, because it means changing the way you think about things.
My counsellor told me that the pain would never go away, but that I would be able to deal with it.
At the time this filled me with despair - what was the point if no-one was going to take away the pain?
Now I feel a lot of sadness for the person I was then, and a huge amount of empathy for people in that situation or any other where they have been abused and controlled by another pe
But it isn't the biggest part of me anymore.
I don't think about it every day, and when I do, it is with sadness not with anguish.
I also feel very strong and above all very positive.
Coming out the other side I see with fresh eyes. I really am lucky to be alive.
I also feel that there are two very broad categories of people:
People who assume that they can do whatever they want to do,
and people who assume that they will fail at everything they try.
Now these people may well both fail at a task, but the positive types will learn from their failure and perhaps try again, or apply their experience to other situations, and the negative people will feel more of a failure than they did before.
My feelings are that most people are a mixture of these two types, and that I am now nearer to the positive pole, when before I was close to the negative end of the concept.
What this means to me is that I tend to attempt everything I want to do - often with qualified success, but chalk it up to experience and try again.
At the moment I have Tuberculosis of the breast, and face another few months of treatment before I am better.
My thoughts on this situation are that:
it could be a lot worse
it is curable
the pace of life is necessarily slower, which is no bad thing these days
visiting the breast clinic every week for several weeks made me truly grateful that TB was all I had - if you only have TB in there they are relieved!
a comedy illness at least gives me another few anecdotes for my collection - wee the colour of Tizer, getting my knockers out more times than Anna Nicole Smith, and for considerably less money... the list goes on.
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