Reality, time, proportionality and perspective


Here is a letter which does the rounds now and again:)

Dear Mother and Dad:

It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing this, and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. YOU ARE NOT TO READ ANY FURTHER UNLESS YOU ARE SITTING DOWN. OKAY!

Well then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed now. I only get those sick headaches once a day. . . .

Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents, and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the love, devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. . . .

Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture. I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged. I do not have syphilis and there is no man in my life. However, I am getting a D in history and an F in science, and I wanted you to see those marks in the proper perspective.

Your Loving Daughter
(Anonymous, “A Daughter’s Letter Home”)

Timing, finding the right moment and being open to opportunities is essential. We all have times when we hit a bump in the road. Most recover from this but can inadvertently take some negativity with us, which affects our present and future.

Kairos – Memory, past imperfect in the present – roughly put, temporary memory relived in real time. Whether one is the individual recounting an event, or the one enquiring about it, the vocabulary used by those on two sides of the conversation is very important in understanding whether residual trauma is present. This can be prompted by questions, or shown by the one recollecting an event.

From years of professional experience in helping people, happy events are recounted in the past tense, but residual traumatic ones tend to be described in the present. ‘Then this happened … What happened next? Look at the inference. ‘Next’ is a constituent of the future for most of us. It is an implicit expectation of an event yet to occur, which when the ‘next’ thing is remembered can actually cue an expectation of the continuance of trauma, or resignation to it.

The speeding up of time as we age has been a preoccupation of mine for years. Noticing that for some individuals a significant sociocultural event is almost blotted out of their linear recollection of time. This is because the imprint of their significant reality and priorities is drastically different. Those affected this way who have not seemed to notice the world and it’s turning are not always in a constant state of fear, but can be plugged into it a lot more quickly from simple language triggers. There is no mastery in the incidental, but there is mastery in the shifting of incidental triggers leading to self limiting pseudo reality to positive, progressive involvement in the wider world. The first salve to the negative loop of reintroduced negative ‘reality’ from triggers is recognising the language, both externally and internally (mind speak). This may need some help from a professional.

Although not a clinician and not specialising in ptsd (too huge for most coaches), listening to your language and conversing with you on the basis of tweaking the conversation in the right way to get you a better understanding of your real position and prospects, so you can reach for your dreams, is part of my job. Anyone with ptsd must seek a clinicians assistance because of the seriousness of the the condition. However, if you are looking to move forward and simply finding yourself in a negative self speak loop, or have been trying really hard to achieve something and found it more difficult than expected, contact me by email.

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