I don’t know what to do anymore

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thomas999

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
48
Location
sterling heights, michigan, usa
Unlike everyone it seems, I’m 17 with a mechanical heart valve, I had it replaced last year and I experienced no symptoms beforehand but whatever.
The tick has ruined my life,
I didn't read through the entire thread, but I'm not sure what is actually the cause of your Outlook? Is it strictly the noise, or is it that the noise stirs up bad memories? Maybe the noise promotes a lack of confidence in the longevity of the valve? I had a St Jude valve put in when I was 32 years old, and now I am 67 years old. I have never really enjoyed the noise of my valve and it has changed my life and outlook. A lot of comments are made in this thread to make you feel better, but for me, comments from others don't help much. It's like telling a sad person to smile and look on the brighter side of life, instead of actually giving them something to smile about or assisting them in improving their life. Oftentimes talk is cheap, and real friends will help lift you out of the hole you may be in. I do empathize with you, because the sound bothers me, and has for 35 years, but it's just something I have to deal with. Life is not fair, and sometimes we just have to suck it up and endure the best we can.
 

chebag

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2021
Messages
13
I've spent hundreds of hours working phones for the suicide hotline, @pellicle. I hope you'll read this post with care, as I've tried to craft it carefully.

There have been times when I wanted to tell callers to toughen up, to stop whining, or more generously, to be courageous. I have become exasperated with repeat callers' whining and inability to help themselves. What I have learned is that what I am feeling is a reflection of that person's own disgust with themselves. Depression is rage turned inward, as a famous therapist from television once said.

What a lot of people don't get when they tell a depressed person to "lighten up" and "get tougher" (which I know is a reductive version of what you're saying) is that of course it's occurred to the depressive that they ought to have a better attitude. They know they ought to have more strength - they wish they were braver too!

By telling someone to toughen up, you're only increasing their shame. You're reminding them of shame they already feel: shame which they are reluctant to share because they are so afraid of it. I'd also guarantee you're telling them a version of what they've heard before: from friends, family, and other cultural baggage. Your response, which is change your attitude, is something they've heard 1000 times before.

Contrary to popular opinion, what they haven't gotten much if, for the most part, is unconditional empathy. You might think that in the 21st century everyone has gotten endless validation and constant love and been encouraged to feel whatever they want to feel, and while that's true in some cases and can breed a sort of narcissism, in most cases people respond as you have. With either disdain, contempt, sanctimony, or passing empathy that is then smothered in advice. What the depressive needs is validation, genuine concern, and encouragement to come up with a solution for themselves! You would be astonished how quickly a person can come around to a more hopeful perspective if you just allow them the space to air out their frustration and let them know that you are there to help them solve their own problems. It is possible to offer someone validation and support to better themselves without resorting to coddling or tough love.

All I'm trying to say is there's gentler ways of making the point you wanted to make, and that to someone who is struggling with feelings of hopelessness, your post would likely come off as condescending and hostile. I don't say that lightly, or to insult you. I'm deeply ambivalent about how to best help other people in crisis, to be honest. At the end of the day, I believe it's up to each individual to decide how they will view life. If someone decides it isn't worth it to go on living, that breaks my heart, but I respect that choice.

But I can tell you one thing for certain: if you want someone who is depressed to keep talking to you, the best way to do that at first is to listen and validate their feelings, even if you don't agree with them. If on the other hand, you want them to disappear and never talk to you again, the best way to do *that* is to tell them how crummy their attitude is, or to give them advice they've almost certainly heard some form of before.

I hope you understand I'm coming at this from a place of the utmost respect, and as someone who cares deeply about this work. I hope you can read this in the spirit with which it's intended: with love and with trust of a generous reading of my intentions.
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
10,423
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hi @chebag

I understand your point of view and am comfortable that you spoke out. I take on board your criticism and your perspective and would like to say the following in response.

I think that its important to recognise that I'm not a professional counsellor and while people may be stressed this is not a suicide prevention site. So lets put my own perspective of things in here.

Something about me is that I've been somewhat a student of psychology myself for my entire life. I grew up with my heart condition and I've spoken of that before. If you look back through my posts you'll find the same message written out many times, imagine if you wrote with care what you've specifically written to answer questions, again, and again and again here. Then were systematically (yes I mean that) attacked for your views by tribalism and entrenched views?

Indeed one of the specific people I block here set about attacking me as being anti warfarin while I lay in hospital (he was informed of that but chose not to back off) having my second debridement operation on an infection post surgery which all (surgeon, infection specialist and me) were concerned would kill me, as it happened that surgery marked the turning point and I got better not worse. I was also still in recovery from this issue. The dates are all in the URL of the blog so you can see the relative time.

I'm not insensitive and have written much about that (from a male perspective) on my blog and I can say I'm no stanger in the wake of that to considering all possible solutions.

I've had my share of difficulties (and surgeries) and yet I'm managed to pull through all of that and become a reasonably balanced and well though out person. I've also had many friends who have suffered depression and have reported dreadful experiences with modern psychologists (who I call hand wringers) and their ways.

I don't know if you are male of female (in spirit or biology) and know that men (like me) have different ways to solve problems. Sometimes this way is better, sometimes its not.

Lastly I've received many more positive feedbacks on my approach and so all I can say is that "different strokes suit different folks". I engage and genuinely offer help (good practical actual help) to many here.

So what I'm saying is that there is room for interpretation, there is need for recognition of who we all are, there is need to understand that this is not a wholistic healing center and there is need to understand and be aware of the flaws and short comings of others.

I'm here to help and to learn.
 

chebag

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2021
Messages
13
Thanks for responding, @pellicle. I really appreciate it. I certainly understand that you're not a counselor, and what you've been through is much more extreme than what others have experienced. You've blogged openly about your struggles and what you've written about your attitude was honestly and sincerely of great help to me in the wake of my own surgery. It reflected the very approach I was trying to adopt: one where I try every day to accept my own uncertain fate and move forward with gratitude for the life I do have - that I believe I'm lucky to have. We all live with uncertainty, but if we're to have any chance of living with joy, we must go through that uncertainty: we cannot avoid it. You have a depth of knowledge of the history and current status of valve replacement that is invaluable to people on this website. To me!

The very fact that this is not a suicide awareness website is exactly why I am offering my expertise. All I am trying to say is that when someone comes on to a website with an anonymous handle and says "I don't know what to do anymore": that is a cry for help. That is someone whose frustration or depression - while it might be frustrating or even childish to you - should be respected and treated with care before you offer your advice. You may imagine you know what that person is going through, you may even imagine what you have been through is ten times worse, but the first rule of the work I do is that whatever you think you know about a person's situation, there is almost always more that they are withholding. People will not tell you everything that is going on until they are  sure they can trust you. When we assume we have answers, we foreclose the opportunity to get to know those who are desperate because we prove ourselves in their eyes to be untrustworthy.

I have no doubt in my mind you have the best of intentions, and again: I am so so grateful to you. You're already doing so much for so many people on this website. I'm just asking you consider what I'm saying for a while and see if there might be something more to learn here. As I've said before, I lay no claims to having any absolute knowledge on these subjects - just that I know what can get someone who is thinking very dark thoughts away from, or stop them from approaching, a ledge.

All and sincerest love.
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
10,423
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
The very fact that this is not a suicide awareness website is exactly why I am offering my expertise
and that's excellent and I hope its helpful to some.

However its exactly because this is a community and we all have different strengths and different preferred pitches in our arguments as well as who we do best in working with that perhaps diversity is strength.

Your post seemed to me to actually be a criticism of my approach (which I took in an academic manner), and I replied (indeed am replying now) in that vein. You have your way I have mine.

With respect to my blog, the audience for my blog is specific with each post and varies somewhat. In the main the purpose of my communication is to have an open discourse with myself and I write from the perspective of writing to a friend (generalised). In this way I communicate the unspoken premise and attempt as best as possible to not make my assumptions hidden. I also write in a general way to my friends who I know keep an eye on me and my progress (my Australian ones when I'm ensconced in Finland and my Finnish ones when I'm back in Australia). As you can no doubt tell I write a lot about Grief; which of course has many angles. I am not writing in the Kubler Ross self perspective of not actually having lost anything (for she had not died when she wrote) I'm writing from the perspective of having been the survivor and lost not just a friend but my life as we were building it.

Its my view that Kubler-Ross has more relevance to VR than it does to grief situations here because her position was facing terminal illness. In the main however nobody here is facing a terminal illness (except aging) and some (no doubt based on their utter ignorance of their own health and biology) flick into an anxious hysteria of denial and barganing.

Its fully not something I can understand (if you consider my history) having been at this since 5 (so since the earliest formation of conscious mind) and have had to adapt to it and comprehend it as I grew and matured. I am sure that if you time line it and contemplate that its pretty clear, so I won't go into depth there.



Essentially you have your beliefs and I have mine. Both are couched in genuine care both are from different directions. I don't consider what I do to be evil and indeed some men need a good kick up the arse to avoid wallowing in self pity.

Life is tough and if you actually want to survive and thrive you (third person infinitive, not you yourself) need to see what needs to be done and do it.

I'm not sure if you've read my posts (or even the ones above) and if you see my perspective, but I think I've done a reasonable job of clarifying it.

Best Wishes

PS: I am ultimately a student of Jung (and perhaps Nietzsche, both of whom are mostly misunderstood for varioius reasons) and so I have come to see the world of psychology (mainly) through that lens. Perhaps this was already apparent. None the less, in the interest of removing assumptions there it is.
 
Last edited:

Lucker

Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2022
Messages
23
Location
Russia
There have been times when I wanted to tell callers to toughen up, to stop whining, or more generously, to be courageous. I have become exasperated with repeat callers' whining and inability to help themselves. What I have learned is that what I am feeling is a reflection of that person's own disgust with themselves. Depression is rage turned inward, as a famous therapist from television once said.

What a lot of people don't get when they tell a depressed person to "lighten up" and "get tougher" (which I know is a reductive version of what you're saying) is that of course it's occurred to the depressive that they ought to have a better attitude. They know they ought to have more strength - they wish they were braver too!

By telling someone to toughen up, you're only increasing their shame. You're reminding them of shame they already feel: shame which they are reluctant to share because they are so afraid of it. I'd also guarantee you're telling them a version of what they've heard before: from friends, family, and other cultural baggage. Your response, which is change your attitude, is something they've heard 1000 times before.
This is precisely what I felt.
Having time with my friends and extended family, telling them my fears and feeling sympathy, even silent, has lowered the level of my terror a lot. Noone told me to man up, that I left for myself to do.
 
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