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Author Topic: Other's Suffering and My Own  (Read 432 times)

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Offline Pink Cat

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Other's Suffering and My Own
« on: June 14, 2014, 03:57:41 AM »
I feel like I'm losing my mind. 

I feel so trapped.  I'm scared all the time and nothing really changes.  I feel so depressed, like nothing matters.  I'm always either angry, terrified, so down I just feel like laying on the floor and doing nothing, or almost barely happy and on the edge of one of those three things and it's all going to tumble down any second.  It does fall into chaos quite often too. 

I've been in a panic tonight because I feel so stuck and having nothing to fix it and nowhere to turn.  Nothing helps. 

In the past, at least I could think my way out of being afraid some times.  "My teeth hurt.  What if I've got a cavity?" "Cavities don't hurt once and then go away.  I'm alright." 

I'm so terrified of what goes on in the world.  I know I've basically said the same thing in another post, but I don't know what else to do but come here for help. 

I feel like the world is such a terrible place.  How can I be happy knowing so many people have suffered, do suffer even as I'm typing this, and will suffer in the future?  How can I feel safe if there is no safety?  I feel like if I'm all happy and cheery in my own little world while other people are in North Korean prison camps and things that I'm basically slamming the door on them.  I'm not trying to be all righteous, but I just can't snuggle up in my warm bed at night and feel at peace knowing that somewhere people are starving to death and being tortured, or that while I might be fine, somewhere out there someone's husband just got killed, or someone just got diagnosed with a terminal disease.  If I did feel happy and safe I'd feel like I was denying the nature of their existences or something; as if to say, "No, no, you're lives are actually just as decent as mine," or, "Your situations aren't real," or, "You've got it all wrong, you guys ARE happy and safe just like me."  As well as being absolutely TERRIFIED of my world becoming anything like those who suffer.  It's not like I think tomorrow, somehow, Nazi's are going to reappear and I'm going to somehow get put in a concentration camp with my boyfriend, or something.  But people suffer to such a sickening degree... there is no reason I should be safe from suffering either.  And if I go feeling safe and happy and content... I feel like I'm lying to myself about the reality of our existence and what WILL inevitably happen to me in one way or another.  I feel like if I pretend I'm safe, when I eventually am not it's going to hit me 100,000 times worse than if I was expecting it.  I don't have any idea if that's true; it's a feeling more than a belief I think. 

I know it's not possible to stand with every single person who is unhappy and not leave them alone in their suffering.  I'm only one person, but it is just sickening to think of all the people out there who aren't okay, who aren't safe, who are hurting... and then spend my day with a smile on my face.  The best way I can think to describe it is this: If my boyfriend was scared or worried about something, and I tried to help him -- looked things up on the internet, talked with him about it, tried to reason things out, comfort him, reassure him it was okay, stay up late with him so he's not alone -- but I went to sleep feeling content... I'd have shut the door in his face.  Locked his world out because I was too afraid to step into it with him.  Only viewed his reality through a window from a safe distance, and ignored it as if it was a story and not a world just as real as my own.  Even though I tried to help him, I would only be dropping aid from a safe place and refusing to get my hands dirty and hurt with him.  Furthermore, I would be denying the possibility of my world becoming like his: scary, painful, lonely, etc.  (My boyfriend is fine in reality by the way; this is just an example to help me explain.) 

I don't feel safe.  I'm so terrified of this world and all the things that can and will happen to me and the people I love.  All the terrible things happening to people I don't know as well make me sick.  I feel so trapped because I can't figure out how to function while thinking this way. 

I feel like I should mention my issues with the existence and goodness of a god, but... I don't know how much that has to do with it.  If there is a god then he is pretty much useless in regards to safety in this life.  I want there to be a god because I don't want to blink out when I die, and I don't want that to happen to my boyfriend or anyone else.  I'm not trying to make this into a "this is why there isn't a god" argument, but things like this have always terrified me and God has always been part of it.  "Will he help me?"  "Can I ask him to keep me safe, and will he do it?" Things like that.  If he is all powerful then he is basically the one hurting us because he lets it happen, or, if he isn't all powerful, there is no reason to hope in him keeping us safe either because he obviously can't.  Please... don't start fighting about religion and atheism or anything... That isn't what I'm trying to do.  I just want help and this is part of my problem.  And again, like I said in my other post that is sort of about this stuff, I don't belong to any religion and I see no reason for, say, the Bible, to be infallible or something.  If there is someone like God and he is good then religion, to me, seem's like a guess at what he (or whatever it is that is bigger than us and good) is like; some guesses seem better than others but they are all just guesses.  I really don't want to cause problems here; I know religion (or lack there of) is one of those things people get riled up over.  I'm just trying to explain not make stabs at anyone's culture and faith. 

I feel like I'm rambling. 

I'm so scared.  I hope some of that makes sense; I'm really tired and I don't know if it does. 

I'm terrified of what this is going to do to me.  I haven't been able to get better, and I don't know how long this is going to have to keep going on.  I feel so empty, and I feel like everything is pointless.  I want to get better for my boyfriend and me.  What if it gets worse?  What if it stays the same and doesn't go away?  What's going to happen to me?  I feel like I'm going insane; like I'm falling and I'm never going to land. 

Thank you, and best of luck with your own troubles,
Pink Cat
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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself... and spiders.

Offline Cuchculan

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 05:21:33 AM »
Suffering will always happen in this world. If you were alive or not. That suffering has nothing at all got to do with you. Some of it is still going on. Most of it is history. As much as we would all like to be able to make it all stop, we must accept that there is nothing we can do about it at all. I am from Ireland. We have suffered in the past too. Fighting still goes on in Northern Ireland. You learn to shut yourself off from it. You can't make it your problem. Or else your mind will never rest. What difference do you think a person like yourself, with no power at all, could make to all this suffering? I know I can't stop the fighting in Northern Ireland. Some things are out of our hands. Horrible as they are to see. As for God? Most of the troubles in history and modern times are religious based. That doesn't mean people have to stop believing in their faith. Again I look here in Ireland. Most of our worst problems were caused by the Catholic church. Just last week a story broke of a mass grave with 800 bodies in it. Put their by nuns. Part of a place that used to take in single mothers. But they experimented with the children. The true faith of the Irish people is been tested yet again. So much suffering. But little we can do about it. That is just a fact. A person with anxiety has to try and think about themselves. That may sound so cold. But you are number one. Only when you can handle your own issues and not get all stressed out, can you maybe look at the issues other people are having. For now I would say to worry about your own problems. Close your eyes to the suffering of others. Hard as that may seem. Try and improve your own situation. Don't take on the suffering of others. You can't handle it right now.
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Online tinam7

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 08:47:49 AM »
Am at the point of not wanting to watch any news. I suppose much of it was always ghastly, but now it is paraded in front of us as never before. We see so much and are totally powerless. The children put me into despair.

Learned from CBT that we can suffer from an "Omnipotence Error." We feel responsible for the horrific ills. A terrible, terrible burden. Have to fight it all the time. We can do for the people around us, maybe even help some here. That is all we can do.
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Offline Pink Cat

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2014, 03:33:04 PM »
I don't know if I feel responsible for any of the terrible things that happen... I know I can't fix everyone's suffering but... I can't be happy knowing other people are suffering, and knowing other people suffer to such a disgusting degree terrifies me because it could happen to me and the people I love just as easily as it has happened to other people. 

I feel like I'm living in a plastic fake world if I'm happy, like my safety and happiness are lies.  Other people aren't safe so I'm not safe either even if I feel safe for a moment or something.  Knowing I'm powerless to stop any of it makes me want to throw up. 

I don't think I completely understand what's bothering me, so I'm sorry if it doesn't make sense or is confusing.  I've been getting slowly worse over the past year with all this stuff and some other sort of related things that I didn't mention here.  I just want it to go away.....

Thanks for the replies. 
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The only thing we have to fear is fear itself... and spiders.

Offline bodhi

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 06:15:40 PM »
I used to have all the same fears until I started doing the below exercises.

Then I realized that the facts are that due to the law of averages, its a highly likely probability that me, my family, and most people I know, will live a relatively healthy, safe, long life like 90% or people in the world, despite all the crazy stuff that goes on.

Turn off the news and get the facts! Don't trust your mind, trust the facts! : ) The fact is that overall the world is very safe place to live, most people are just living their daily life and in the big picture quality and length of life for people keeps improving. The middle class world-wide is actually growing faster than anytime in history. More people are getting fed than ever.

If you want to help suffering people then just do what you can each day to give your time and money within your means, that is all you can do. Yes there are allot of starving, homeless and troubled people. But most people in the world are just fine. Everything is actually quite ok in the big picture : )

What I am talking about are FACTS. Look these things up in Wikipedia: world mortality rate, world crime rate, world life expectancy, etc. You will be shocked. For instance do you know that for every 10,000 people in the world only 8.5 people die each year? So that means this year 99.9% of all people will be living : ) Do you know that only .30% of the world population on average die in wars each year and .98% from violence? That means that this world is 98.7% peaceful! These were truly life changing facts and realizations for me, and can be for you too.

Most of all I recommend doing TEA Forms http://www.dailystrength.org/groups/anxiety-and-positive-thinking-and-choices/news/view/1478155 from the book http://www.tao3.com/index.html which continue to help me. Many people on this forum say TEA Forms actually cured them.

Also "Calculating the Probability of Danger" which made me realize the for all my worst fears I realistically have a 99% chance of being just fine. Check out page 6: http://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/Managing_Obsessions.pdf

Also, be sure to read the success stories part of this forum: http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/board,81.0.html
 
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Offline Hopeful77

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2014, 09:50:22 PM »
Hi Pink Cat.  I understand what you are saying.  I think you did a great job explaining it.  I struggle with the same thoughts sometimes.  I think how can I be happy when there is so much suffering in the world?  I think about all the terrible things people do to each other and feel physically sick.  I even have a hard time being happy if my husband is down.  Lately When I have these kind of thoughts I try to change them to remind myself that while there is a lot of suffering in the world, there is also a lot of joy.  People are falling in love. Women who thought they couldn't get pregnant have babies.  Sick people are being cured.  Some people dedicate their lives to helping others.  I can turn my first question around and say how can I be miserable when so much good stuff is happening?  I guess the truth is that the world always has been a place of both suffering and joy and we need to accept both and not focus on just the joy or the suffering.  We should help others where we can, but realize we can't fix everything.  As for your question about God, I can understand your questions.  I know religion can be a sticky topic, but I'll tell you what I think is true (not that I have all the answers).  I am a Christian, but have struggled for years with trusting God.  I don't believe that he promised to keep us safe.  Actually I think suffering is inevitable in this life.  My problem was how can I trust God if He doesn't promise to keep me safe.  After much struggling over the years, all I can say is that I believe he has promised that while we will suffer, we won't be alone, that He will be with us and give us the strength to get through.  I am learning that this is enough for me though I still struggle sometimes.  I hope you can find some peace with this issue. 



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Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Offline Pink Cat

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 02:34:45 PM »
Thank you all for taking the time to respond to me.  I'll look into those things you linked Bodhi, thank you for that; it's a lot of stuff and my brain is tired right now.  lol  I'll definitely spend some time looking at all those though.  And thank you Hopeful77 for sharing, it's nice knowing it's not just me thinking all this stuff.  I guess "How can I be miserable when so much good stuff is happening?" is something I should think about and ask myself, it only makes sense that I should be able to flip the question around I suppose. 

I don't get a ton of chances to spend time on my laptop and read and stuff, but I wanted to say thanks and that I'm thinking about everything you guys said. 
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Offline Pink Cat

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 05:01:29 PM »
I feel like there are so many things that have a low chance of happening that eventually one of them or a couple of them will happen.  They happen to other people so they can happen to me and/or the people I love.  A friend of my boyfriend's dad just dropped dead of a heart attack a year or so ago and left his wife, daughter, and special needs son behind to scrape by, and the girls boyfriend at the time stole 3000 dollars while all this was going on to spend on crack before they found out he was that kind of guy.  My grandmother died when my dad was 9 in a car accident.  A friend of mine was abused sexually and violently when she was 11 and had to spend her youth hiding in libraries for the night 'till she got arrested for something and they got her help.  She gets like 3 hours of sleep every night because of nightmares, and shes in her 20's now and it hasn't gone away.  None of them lived in some really bad part of the world or something, they all lived here in America except for my grandmother lived in Turkey which wasn't like Somalia or something.  Even if they did live in really dangerous places, it still bothers me. 

Kids in some places are taken as babies and maimed to make them beggers for the rest of their lives so that they will bring in money for the people did it to them.  People in North Korean prison camps have children who are born into those places and spend their entire lives hungry and tortured.  Kid's get caught into the sex trade and spend their whole lives like that, and then their kids become part of it too.  Even if bad things aren't very likely to happen to me, though something eventually will unless I and the people I love are really lucky, it's too late for everyone else... the slaves in the South before the American Civil War and people of African decent even after the war was over, the Holocaust, and so many other things that have already happened... 

Yesterday, my boyfriend was talking about what we might do in the future: where we might live; where his family might live; how nice this, that, and the other thing would be if we could do that...  I was happy for two second's thinking about it all with him until all this rushes back into my head and all I could think of to say was, "If we even make it that long.  You or I might just drop dead and have no future together at all."  How do I know he or I won't end up like his friend who's father died out of nowhere of a heart attack.  I don't know.  For all I know he's dead right now and I just haven't gotten word of it yet.  Or, tomorrow I could get hit by a truck and be paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of my life.  There could be war next week, next month, or next year and maybe he'd get drafted and die or get captured or who knows what.  (I know people are already fighting and it counts as war; I don't mean to get all political.  I guess I'm thinking of huge, WWII like, war.)  I know those are all unlikely... but there are a lot of unlikely things and we keep rolling the dice over and over and over just by existing... eventually something is going to happen.  I feel like there's no such thing as safety.  Even if there is safety for me and my boyfriend and the people I love, for some people, there isn't.  No matter how safe I am in my world, someone's world isn't safe.  Somebody will be born into a North Korean prison camp, somebody will be stolen as a baby and made a begger, etc. 

How I'll ever be able to function like this, I don't know.  How am I supposed to be happy about something when it could never come to pass like all the wonderful things my boyfriend was talking about doing in the future; how can I be happy knowing there's no reason our lives won't blow up in our faces just like so many other people's have and will.  I feel terrible trying to forget or ignore how other people live, telling myself their suffering isn't mine, how can I just ignore all the bad things that happen?  I feel like I'd be wronging all the people who suffered by pretending it didn't matter, and I can't ignore the fact that it might all happen to me and my loved ones. 

All this is so depressing... I feel like there's no reason to do anything if there's all a chance it's just going to come crashing down.  How can I allow myself to be really happy if it's just going to get ripped away from me.  It's really hard to be happy about things like my boyfriend getting home and talking to him... I feel like how can I really relax and be happy about this, what if everything we have is just gone tomorrow 'cause something happens to him? 

I still feel like I don't entirely understand all the things that are bothering me and like I can't explain it right because I don't understand it myself. 

I'm scared all the time and it's so exhausting... the moment I'm conscious in the morning I'm scared or sad or angry about all this...  when I get thing's I'm looking forward to, like my boyfriend getting home from work, it's not as great as I hoped because of all the interference by this stuff...  I can't go to bed until I'm really tired otherwise I lay in bed thinking about all this and crying and freaking out...  me being like this upsets my boyfriend because he can't do very much to help, though he found this website for me which I like, and when I get really frustrated I start snapping at him and being rude and mean and cold... and I'm like that a lot I think.  I don't know how things can ever be okay and how I can ever just be happy or content or just not constantly scared and sad and angry... but... hopefully there's something...  I've been thinking about what Hopeful77 said about asking myself, "How can I be miserable when so much good stuff is happening?"  I think maybe it helps a little... it logically has to make sense if I think the similar question of "how can I be happy when there is so much suffering" makes sense too.  I'm still not sure what to do with myself though.  I'm still scared and all that. 

Thank you guys again for responding and offering things that might help, I really appreciate it. 
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 05:24:07 PM »
Why spend all this time worrying about something that may never happen?  While things are going good in your life, be happy!  Although tragic things can happen in life, most of the time they happen far and few between, and when they do happen a person does what they can to get through it.  Having a positive attitude can help immensely in getting through those rough times.  I have been through a few bad times in my life, and the sky did not come crashing down, on the contrary---life carried on as usual.  What goes up, comes down, and visa-versa.  Things happen, but it's not the end of the world----you can always find a silver lining if you look hard enough----and there are lessons to learn through adversity, experience to gain, character to build, etc.  A saying I once heard says it all, "Why cry, when it is so much better to laugh?"

Take care :)
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Online tinam7

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Re: Other's Suffering and My Own
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2014, 08:29:17 AM »
It seems insane that there are such vast contrasts in this world. So I understand all that weighs so heavily on you. See children in refugee camps and disintegrate. But there is nothing, nothing we can do about it.

What you can do is be consistently loving and appreciative of your boyfriend. Work on yourself, perhaps with a therapist to enable you to be at peace with yourself and do the best you can for others with whom you have contact. Be loving of yourself and of others. Maybe find some suitable, meaningful volunteer work.
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