It appears that my biggest ‘setback’ in my life is that I care too much!
My first session with my Counsellor a couple of days ago concluded with this fact, and this apparently is where I have been going wrong. May be he has a point.
But at the end of the day if that is part of my individual make-up, and its part of who I am, a very element of my being and my existence how can I change that without becoming totally the opposite…..selfish and uncaring.
I am by nature a ‘born worrier’, I am very trusting in others, after all if I didn’t have trust in others I would constantly worry that they are either terrorists, bank robbers or murderers, and where would that get me, or anyone else come to that. There has to be that element of trust in others. But it seems I am far too trusting and far to caring for my own good as a result of this I get emotionally hurt, and hence I end up in a deeper depression. And I suppose to some extent that makes sense.
I have always been brought up with moral principles, in a generation where it has always gone hand in hand with simple good manners and being honest with others. So if these are all good attributes…….why therfor is it my ‘downfall’?
Four years ago I was ‘part witness’ to a fatal accident between a pedestrian, an elderly asian gentleman and a single-decker bus in Birmingham city centre. Although I did not witness the actual events leading up to the accident, or the accident itself, I saw the effects of the gentleman being tossed through the air a few feet and hitting his head against the curb. Seconds earlier I had heard the piercing scream of another passerby who did see the accident occur, that scream made me look up in the direction of the accident. Being only a few feet away, and being a trained first aider I had two options. Firstly to ignore what I had seen and walk away, and hope someone else would help the injured man, the easy option for most….’don’t get involved’. Or secondly I could go to him and help him as best as I could until professional help arrived. At that point in time a split second decision had to be made, and I never for one second stopped to consider the consequences for myself. I chose to do the latter, I dashed over to where the gentleman was and immediately assessed the injuries and decided what had to be done and what I could do within reason. I won’t go into any gory details, but to say the least, the impact of the gentleman’s head on the curb had caused very extensive head injuries. As a first aider I realised straight away the prognosis was not a good one, but that didn’t stop me wanting to try and help a complete stranger. In some way it was part automatic reaction to help, but deep down I know it was the fact this gentleman needed someones help and I just happened to be there at that point in time and I was in a position to give him that help. I did my utmost to take care for him until the paramedics arrived and tried to stabilise him, I did what I could even though I had sensed I was fighting a losing battle. Once help did arrive I gave my details to the police, and the air ambulance airlifted him to one of the local hospitals trauma units.
Later that evening the police phoned me and advised me they needed to get a statement from me, they also thanked me for my efforts, and the family of the gentleman wanted to pass on their thanks also for my ‘choosing’ to stay with him and help. But unfortunately the elderly gentleman had been pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, due to the severity of the head trauma sustained and resulting brain injuries.
It was in November of that year that I was requested by the police and courts to attend a Coroners Inquest, in order to establish the cause of death. Several months later I also had to attend the Court case of the bus driver. All of this dragged on for well over a year. For me it was over a year of stress, torment and playing over in my mind what happened that day, beating myself up thinking what more could I have done. Could I have done just one thing differently, that may have saved his life. But it had also occurred to me, what if I didn’t care, what if that day I chose to take the first option……ignore the situation and not get involved and simply walk away. Would I have had to have gone through over a year of hell, flashbacks and having to attend court and so on. I guess instead I would have had to live with myself with the guilt for the rest of my life knowing that I could have done something and chose not to, would that would have made me a totally selfish and uncaring person?
My Counsellor was able to find out a few more things about my depression. It appears my life is full of major ups and downs, rather than staying at a certain level with slight movement in either direction. My need apparently, like I would guess is what the majority need, is to feel contented with my life and to feel a complete sense of secureness, with a hint of lifes ‘little ups and downs’ thrown in to help keep the balance. Easier said than done. Wouldn’t that be a perfect world if that was the case?
My ‘current state of mind’ and my emotions have been likened to a sense of bereavement, a sense of loss, (this in addition to the number of actual bereavements I have endured over the past few years) The forthcoming loss of my job, the loss of friendships over many years and even shorter term. He hit the nail on the head when he spoke of a sense that we are ‘part of a family at work’. Within our company we are affectionately known as ‘ The DC family’. In a recent article published in the company magazine this fact was highlighted. But in short it is trying to come to terms with this loss, this sense of bereavement, that is causing these emotions, again he says it’s because I care so much about not just what is happening to me but to all my friends and colleagues. The fact that I was Union Rep for a number of years, again shows that I cared for others.
It appears that over the years the people and certain aspects of my life that have been responsible for giving me some confidence, contentment and a sense of security ”in the better times” of my life are also the same ones who are responsible for taking it away from me.
My job was supposedly secure, as secure as any job could be I guess, and the longer you are in any job the more secure you feel and become, but the past three years the changes that have occurred have also made me not just insecure about my future but also about me as an individual, thus affecting my confidence and self-esteem.
Being a sufferer of depression has ways of making you feel a sense of in-secureness at many levels. I have always tried my hardest to believe in what others try to tell me about myself……to have faith in yourself, your abilities and believe in yourself and have the confidence to do things. But when depression gives you a lack of self-confidence and you have low levels of self-esteem and you continually take more than your fair share of knocks from others, then that automatically lowers all these levels even more, then it does become increasingly difficult to accept yourself for who you could be, rather than who you already are.
One of the things I have been told to do in the past is to learn to try and push aside emotional pain, try to accept that things happen, but when like me you have a sensitive nature this is an extremely difficult thing to do. As I can’t change my nature, and that part of me that is my make up, as long as I am caring and trusting then its seems I am always going to be vulnerable and will continually get hurt on an emotional level. So it seems that I have to learn to move on from all the bitter disappointments, major upheavals and emotional pain and learn to not have so much faith in others, but more in myself only then will I be less vulnerable. Ummmm…nice idea!
So where does one find the right balance and where do I go from here I wonder!
In a perfect world, I would win the lottery, buy a cottage in the country close to the river, go fishing as and when I wanted to, breed rabbits, have a lovely big garden, do exactly what I want, when I want and have no outside contact or interaction with anyone else ever again……all this just so that I can avoid being vulnerable. That’s never going to happen, it’s not the answer for me…….and after all that would be completely selfish of me to do that……or would it?
The other option in the world we do live in, is to in some way continue to try my hardest at learning to accept all the disappointments, bereavements, knock backs, loss and emotional pain……and try to make myself become less vulnerable now and in the future. Can it be done I wonder?
So overall then it appears I am too caring, too trusting and therefor too vulnerable for my own good. It also seems that what I want most out of life is to be contented, feel totally secure, be able to continue to care for others without getting hurt myself, have friends with whom I can share my time and similar interests, never have any major worries, be healthy and remain healthy, and to know that there is someone, just one single person who genuinely understands me, not just understands what I have been through, but some one who cares for me for who I actually am as an individual. But surely though, isn’t that what everyone wants!!
I have to be totally honest and admit that I was very sceptical when I walked into my Counsellors room, after all what could he possibly tell me that I didn’t already know or suspect about myself. But after my first session it occurred to me that a lot of what he said made sense. So what next I wonder??