Tag Archives: memories

The sound of goodbye: Last scene


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The last scene

If you ask people: What do you regret most? The things you did or the things you didn`t do, they answer, with longing, the things they  didn`t do. When looking back, the things you didn`t say or do, linger on. The silence can speaks so loud and haunt you in the quiet night. Luckily, many have tought me this valuable lesson, and today I can`t thank them enough. When the bridge bridge collapsed under my feet, they stood there as I rebuilt it, stone by stone. I didn`t always realize it since fog hid their beautiful faces, but I always recognized them in the end. They saved me enough to see and take an outstretched hand when I needed it.

Some didn`t have pillars of safety to stand on when they built their lives. So what about them? What about those who couldn`t let their tears flow when they wanted? How can I ever compare my experiences to that? The lack of scaffolding must feel like swimming without seeing land. “True”, you might say, but this can bring out incredible strength in people. “True”, I`d answer with a sad voice. “But it still drains their energy for such a long time”. “And what about those who lose their lives in the effort? How many had to let go right before they reached the shore?

I have no answers, but I do have my ability to ask since they didn`t take that away from me. My gift is to give back what I got to show my appreciation and gratitude. I`ll promise to give as much as I got with the warmth of this truth energizing me forever.

Who knows? One day one of them might feel as touched as me when I stretch out my hand and they take it. What if they one day get the chance to think like I do? In an integrative blender my thoughts and feelings have intermingled until this simple truth came out: If this isn`t nice, then I don`t know what is.


Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Year

Sugababes – Sound Of Goodbye

High suicide rates

Psychology Today


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The sound of living like a psychological millionaire




The art of living as a psycholgical millionaire: To use your energy in a way that gives you a result you need.

A person with the possibility of becoming a psychological millionaire does just this. For this to happen, certain principles must be satisfied. Efficient mental energy has four caracteristic features. Its:

– Adaptive

– Goal-oriented

– Successful


– Devoid of waste

Examples of non-efficient living:

Certain diagnostic groups can have enough mental energy, but low mental efficiency. This can for example be clients with AD/HD or Borderline personality disorder. They might do a lot of things, like walking around in a room restlessly or having an emotional outburst. Their problem is using the energy in a good way: They can`t regulate it in a way that makes it able to live a good life. Some groups have too low energy to be efficient, like with depressed or fatigued clients.

When working with dissociation, parts have different levels of mental energy and efficiency. EP`s can actually be the most energetic parts in the system, but have very low efficiency, since they repeat behoviors in a dysfunctional way. It is possible to have a dissociative disorder like DID and borderline PF at the same time. In this case most parts will have borderline features, that is: High levels of mental energy but low efficiency.

Energy and efficiency in trauma

“Looking in a cupboard that is empty, will not work no matter how good the torch is”. Nijenhuis, 2013

Trauma can also be understood by using the concept of energy and efficiency. Trauma can be either too much or too little energy or efficiency. For example, an EP can feel stuck, with high levels of energy, but low levels of efficiency. The EP can`t “get out of it”. There is no symbolization of the event, since it “feels like” the trauma is still going on. The part or the EP is “stuck” in what was. To connect the then with the now, it`s necessary to reach the reach the higher level of language, and that is easier when an empathic therapist helps the EP. Empathy is necessary to tune in to the EP`s experience. If the EP is afraid, the voice of the therapist must be soothing and calm. The therapist must tune in so that the EP is seen and validated. When the therapist tries to understand the EP, the ANP of the patient might learn that it`s possible to collaborate and help EP`s.

Example of working with an EP with enough mental energy

Imagine a claustrophobic EP (picture 1). The EP has trouble breathing because her throat feels constricted. The therapist might observe this, and tune in to this with a low, empathic voice “It looks like you have trouble breathing ?” The therapist observes that the EP tries to nod. The therapist continues: “I see you tried to nod, but it looks like its hard to move?”. The therapist explores the EP`s experience, thereby respecting and validating her.

The therapist can also ask the EP to try to broaden her field of consciousness, by asking if they can try to breathe slower or by asking of if the EP could look at something around her that is comforting. He can also try to tell the EP that she is safe, that boundaries will be respected, or say that everything will be okay. Moreover, the therapits can make it clear that the EP decides what happens next, and that everything will be predictable and safe. The therapist watches the EP and helps her, where she is, there and then.

Working with a non-verbal EP

If the EP is young and can`t talk, one has to communicate non-verbally. For example, if the EP is in “freeze-mode”, the therapist can ask questions about the inner experiences of the EP: “Can you find a place in yourself where you have some ability to move?” If the EP moves the ANP`s finger just a tiny bit, the therapist might say: “Is it possible to move your finger a little bit more?” Gradually, the EP is exposed to new experiences that will be healing in time.

If the frozen EP is able to move, either by actually walking around in the room, the EP learns what it couldn`t when abuse happened. When the therapist is able to intone and be there for the EP`s, magic can happen. I`ve experiences this myself, and every time it feels so meaningful. To see a afraid little EP starting to feel stronger, feels like I`ve been able to lift a heavy weight together with them. Therapy is heavy work. The EP must shred the cloak of repression that weigh down on them, and that cost a lot of mental energy. This means that the client must have enough mental energy available.

If he is tired, starved, physicially unfit or doesn`t do anything inspiring that gives joy or energy, it might be best to wait until more energy is available. Trauma-therapy is hard work, and cost both physical and mental energy. Going into trauma-material before the client has filled up her batteries, is not recommended.

















Female veterans


Honor Betrayed

This is the second in a two-part series.

Part I: Attacked at 19 by an Air Force Trainer, and Speaking Out

Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home
Returning servicewomen are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between friends’ sofas and shelters.

OVERCOMING PAIN Tiffany Jackson, pictured in her uniform, was raped, which set her on a trajectory of drugs and homelessness. More Photos »

Two years later, she had descended into anger and alcohol and left her job. She started hanging out with people who were using cocaine and became an addict herself, huddling against the wind on Skid Row here.

“You feel helpless to stop it,” she said of the cascade of events in which she went from having her own apartment to sleeping in seedy hotels and then, for a year, in the streets, where she joined the growing ranks of homeless female veterans.

Even as the Pentagon lifts the ban on women in combat roles, returning servicewomen are facing a battlefield of a different kind: they are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, an often-invisible group bouncing between sofa and air mattress, overnighting in public storage lockers, living in cars and learning to park inconspicuously on the outskirts of shopping centers to avoid the violence of the streets.

While male returnees become homeless largely because of substance abuse and mental illness, experts say that female veterans face those problems and more, including the search for family housing and an even harder time finding well-paying jobs. But a common pathway to homelessness for women, researchers and psychologists said, is military sexual trauma, or M.S.T., from assaults or harassment during their service, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sexual trauma set Ms. Jackson on her path. At first she thought she could put “the incident” behind her: that cool August evening outside Suwon Air Base in South Korea when, she said, a serviceman grabbed her by the throat in the ladies’ room of a bar and savagely raped her on the urine-soaked floor. But during the seven years she drifted in and out of homelessness, she found she could not forget.

Of 141,000 veterans nationwide who spent at least one night in a shelter in 2011, nearly 10 percent were women, according to the latest figures available from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, up from 7.5 percent in 2009. In part it is a reflection of the changing nature of the American military, where women now constitute 14 percent of active-duty forces and 18 percent of the Army National Guard and the Reserves.

But female veterans also face a complex “web of vulnerability,” said Dr. Donna L. Washington, a professor of medicine at U.C.L.A. and a physician at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs medical center, who has studied the ways the women become homeless, including poverty and military sexual trauma.

Female veterans are far more likely to be single parents than men. Yet more than 60 percent of transitional housing programs receiving grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs did not accept children, or restricted their age and number, according to a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.

The lack of jobs for female veterans also contributes to homelessness. Jennifer Cortez, 26, who excelled as an Army sergeant, training and mentoring other soldiers, has had difficulty finding work since leaving active duty in 2011. She wakes up on an air mattress on her mother’s living room floor, beneath the 12 medals she garnered in eight years, including two tours in Iraq. Job listings at minimum wage leave her feeling bewildered. “You think, wow, really?” she said. “I served my country. So sweeping the floor is kind of hard.”

Not wanting to burden her family, she has lived briefly in her car, the only personal space she has.

Some homeless veterans marshal boot-camp survival skills, like Nancy Mitchell, of Missouri, 53, an Army veteran who spent years, off and on, living in a tent.

“That’s how we done it in basic,” she said.

Double Betrayal of Assault

Of more than two dozen female veterans interviewed by The New York Times,  16 said that they had been sexually assaulted in the service, and another said that she had been stalked. A study by Dr. Washington and colleagues found that 53 percent of homeless female veterans had experienced military sexual trauma, and that many women entered the military to escape family conflict and abuse.

For those hoping to better their lives, being sexually assaulted while serving their country is “a double betrayal of trust,” said Lori S. Katz, director of the Women’s Health Clinic at the V.A. Long Beach Healthcare System and co-founder of Renew, an innovative treatment program for female veterans with M.S.T. Reverberations from such experiences often set off a downward spiral for women into alcohol and substance abuse, depression and domestic violence, she added.

“It just pulls the skin off you,” said Patricia Goodman-Allen, a therapist in North Carolina and former Army Reserve officer who said she once retreated to a mobile home deep in the woods after such an assault.

Ms. Jackson won full disability compensation for post-traumatic stress as a disabling aftermath of her sexual trauma, although she was at first denied military benefits.



The Night I Gave Up My Life


The Night I Gave Up On Life

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I don’t quite know why I am sharing this extremely personal story with you now, except that there is a little voice pushing me to let it out, and I am acting on that.

This story might be upsetting for some and it might make others feel angry and for that I apologise.

I want to tell you about the night I gave up on life.

It was back in 1990, my life looked as if it was going well, I had a lot of friends, I had a decent job, I had travelled a bit, I had good looks, I had money in my pocket, the works.  The thing is I wasn’t all that happy and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was unhappy inside.  I used to fantasize about ending my life, it was actually a real comfort to know that I had the choice of living or dying.

I used to plan how I was going to end my life so as it would look like an accident to lessen the pain on my family, my favourite fantasy was jumping off a tall building.

One night, I was working in a bar and I was walking the 2 mile walk home late at about 1am.  The rain could be heard thundering down onto the pavements.  I was walking slowly in the rain as I liked the feel of rain against my skin.  I noticed in the distance a dog, and it was limping quite heavily.  When the dog got closer, I noticed the dog had only 3 legs as it ran past me.  For no reason, I started crying uncontrollably as I felt so sorry for this dog.  I couldn’t get the dog out of my mind the next day, and wondered why I was so upset by it.  I realised I felt like the dog: alone, soaked, not fully functional and nowhere to go.

A few nights later I decided that the jacket of life no longer fitted me and I was taking the jacket off for good.  I said goodnight to my mum and dad, I called my sisters earlier on to tell them I loved them.  I took 26 strong sleeping tablets up to my bedroom after telling my dad not to wake me up in the morning for work as I had a days holiday.  I sat in bed with the tablets, a glass of milk and cried as I took each tablet.  I cried for my mum, and at how heartbroken she would be, I cried for my dad as I had only told him I loved him once in my life.  I cried for my sisters as I would miss them terribly and knew they would miss me.  I took all 26 tablets and put my head on my pillow to die.  I am crying as I write this just now.

I can’t quite remember when I woke up, I was in hospital and two of my friends were there with my mum and dad and sisters.  I had been unconscious, I honestly don’t know how long as I have never spoken of this to my family since.  The morning after I had taken the tablets my dad was up for work as normal.  He didn’t wake me up as I had told him not to, however he heard a bang when he got up at around 5am.  Apparently I had fallen out of bed.  That fall , and my dad hearing it, saved my life, I believe.

When I woke up in the hospital there was a lot of crying, a lot of questions and a lot of explaining.  The hospital psychiatrist came round and asked if I needed help.  I told her I knew why I had done it and I was going to rectify the issues in my life.  I felt ashamed, guilty, upset and angry at myself at having to put my family through something as awful as this just because I didn’t have the balls to sort out some of my problems.

I didn’t feel I fitted into life, with the friends I had, the job, just everything.  What did I do? I started over.  I dropped my friends as I realised they were drinking buddies and not friends, I changed my job, I upgraded my skills, I got my finances sorted out and moved to another city.  I have never looked back since and I have been on a quest ever since to find myself and share the knowledge I have with others.

Lessons From That Night

Nothing and I mean nothing is so bad that you have to take your own life.  There are always options and if the worst comes to the worst, drop everything and start again.  If you are in this situation just now, please believe me when  I say it will get better and there are people who can help.

I’ve learned to tell others how much I love them and how much I appreciate them.

I’ve learned to look for the signs that others might need help.

I mentioned earlier the jacket did not fit, what I realised when I awoke in the hospital was that the jacket can be altered to fit me and I didn’t have to fit the jacket.

I have learned so much more over the years since that night and my long standing depression was lifted in one decision – I will change my life to suit me.

Filed Under: Psychology Tagged With: 
About Steven Aitchison
I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.
If you want to learn more about my products you can check out Steven Aitchison’s Productsor check out my books and Kindle books on Amazon

(some) Comments. I have taken away many on this repost, all comments can be found at the original page

    • That really sums up what suicide really is to other people and I think it is a true statement.

      I am really touched with all the personal stories and also the support, I was expecting a lot of people to really condemn this.

      Thanks you for your comment Mary.

  1. Trudie says:

    What courage it takes to tell your personal story…and what an inspiration you are to others! So glad you found your way and that you Changed Your Thoughts and changed your life!!! Best to ya!

  2. WOW! its a wonderful story and i am very much inspired with your post. And i am impressed with the word “drop everything and start again”, which is a good moral in any ones life. I was also impressed comparing life with the jacket. And i appreciate for your courage and a right decision taken in life.

  3. Short comment: Thank you :-)

    Long comment: I had those thoughts too but never been that close to actually do it, like you were. Sometimes I think it’s an act of cowardice not to “pull the trigger” like you did. I don’t really know if there are only parts of us that needs that “killing” in order for something better to grow, but I’m glad you took this out in the light. Because it’s in our lives more often than we want to accept. We all have this kind of thoughts, but very few have the guts to admit it. Suicide, by its perceived emptiness and lack of consciousness, may look like a viable solution for many of us. We don’t have problems anymore, we don’t have consciousness, we’re nothing. Black out. But, despite its apparent comfort as an ultimate solution for all our problems, I always suspected this isn’t exactly like this. And you confirmed it to me, in a way you’ll never know ;-) So, thank you |:-)
    .-= Dragos Roua´s last blog ..The 6 Stages Of A Failure =-.

  4. I don’t know you, besides what your name is (I’m a rather new reader), but I just want to say that I admire your courage to share a story like this with the world – and despite not knowing you, I’m really glad that you’re still around.
    .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Google Street View – More Funny Pictures =-.

  5. Mario says:

    Wow. It’s my first time here and you definitely left me shocked :O!

    I like what you say about dropping everything and starting again. I’m very happy with my life but I always take big risks. Best case: I’m the king of the world. Worst case: damned, but can start again. Knowing that, and knowing we have the means to stand up and get back in track is the most powerful thing there is :) !

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hi Mario, welcome to CYT :)

      It might sound a little simplistic ‘just start over’ but it is, like you said, powerful to know we have the choice to start over.

      Thanks for dropping in Mario

  6. Matt Butson says:

    This was an incredibly moving post. I don’t ever comment on blogs, but when I do it means something to me. Keep making life work to your standards!

  7. desmond says:

    very inspiring keep up your good work

  8. Lauren says:


    I am so glad I came upon your story. I honor your courage to share it. I really feel it is through sharing who we really are – which includes our most vulnerable moments – that we can benefit one another.

    It is easy to share the joys and what looks “pretty”. It takes courage to share our darkest moments. And yet isn’t that where our strengths often emerge from? Clearly, you decided to make it a defining moment and made life changes.

    We do make the DECISION to live. Sometimes when I work with people who are severely depressed I remind them that depression is like a dark hole that you never feel you will emerge from, but you can – and do!

    Did you by any chance read Beautiful Boy (the father of a meth addict). The author was afraid to publicly own what was happening in his own family. He finally wrote an article for the prominent paper he worked for. The outpouring – and appreciation that he would address what so many people were suffering through silently – was like an avalanche. He then had the courage to write the book.

    Eckhart Tolle also talks about his being on the edge of suicide when he had an awakening.

    Your story gives me the courage and inspiration to be more real in sharing my own life experiences. They have helped evolve the totality of who I am today!

    Thank you so much,

    • Hi Lauren. Thank you for your words.

      I haven’t come across ‘Beautiful Boy.’ I have read that Eckhart Tolle was on the verge of suicide and that he came through it with an epiphany like experience.

      I haven’t read your blog before but have bookmarked it for future reading.

  9. Takes alot of courage to share that with everyone…

    Thank you for sharing your lessons.


  10. mary says:

    Thanks to your dad for hearing the bang on the floor because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to share yourself and your story to help others. We are all grateful.

    • Hi Mary, The good thing that has came out of this is that I tell me family every time I speak to them that I love them, more so my mum and two sisters but I have told my dad on many occasions as well :)

  11. Hi Steven.

    You are real strong now. Who would point out something like this? Very few people would even think to. It’s easy to look at it from our view as a potent article, but it is completely different to choose to write it and then write it. It makes us stronger just to read it.

    One aspect we see is CYT, and CYT would not be here without one individual. We see CYT as a strong presence, and have to remember the strong individual behind it.

    I have told folks “Steven Aitchison from Change Your Thoughts said [X] and [Y]” sometimes. I say it in a way that leads folks to assume that I see you as a powerhouse.

    Many people have thoughts similar to the ones you had, and some acted as you had, but so few will mention it at a later time.

    “the jacket can be altered to fit me and I didn’t have to fit the jacket”

    You lose nothing when you mention something important like this, but some of us will see this and then still keep our important things hidden. Maybe it is needed that we get that feeling that we can’t help but point them out.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Team Up With A Partner To Make Progress =-.

    • Armen, I can’t begin to tell you how much I have appreciated your support and writing over the last few months. I really appreciate your kind words. You are right in that I am strong, always have been, I just didn’t realise it at times, just like so many others as well.

  12. Jink says:

    Dear Steve, you are a delight and I am so glad you are here. Your writing on your blog- and now you- are important to me (way down in Australia) . Thanks heaps for sticking around and for your bravery in posting this!

  13. Gareth says:


    Thats an intensely personal story and it can’t have been easy for you to share it. I am obviously glad that you survived the experience and that you have turned your life around so profoundly since then.

    I was gratified that you had the strength and self-awareness to write this line:

    “I felt ashamed, guilty, upset and angry at myself at having to put my family through something as awful as this just because I didn’t have the balls to sort out some of my problems.”

    This struck a chord with me as a friend of mine took his own life about ten years ago and the effect it had on his family and friends was absolutely devastating. It really is harder on those left behind. I remember someone telling me about how sad and angry he felt about how he had missed out on everything that had happened since the suicide. All the births, marriages, good times etc that he could have been a part of…

    You are right that there is help available and that that your circumstances, no matter how grim they appear right now, will change. No-one should be choosing this way out – no matter how bad it seems, we don’t want to lose you.

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing your story of how there is always a way back – even from a situation as dark as the one you were in.


    • HI Gareth. I will always regret doing what I did because of the pain it caused to my family so I know where you’re coming from with regards to your friend.

      Thanks for commenting Gareth and sharing a part of your own story.

  14. Shaznaym says:

    Steven, Thank you for sharing your story. It is truely incredible that you eventually realised what your issues were.

    I too, went through something similar. I was not happy with life or the life that I had although I had everything too.

    What was getting me down was that I was in a relationship I was not happy in, plus I had found out I was pregnant. I was unhappy because I had no close friends (Due to my relationship) and was increasingly sad. I took pills, but not enough to do me or my baby damage. It was more a cry for help.

    After that, I realised I needed to change my life. After my son was born, I ended my relationship with his dad and started going to church. This was exactly what I needed at that time and it has changed me forever. I made the right friends and had a hectic social life which I loved. It also helped me to find me. What I liked and disliked, how I wanted my life to be, not what everyone else wanted my life to be. I had the time to do a lot of soul searching.

    Everyone is now amazed at my strength and courage now , but I guess in life, we have to go through these rough times to get the strengh to overcome them.

    Thank you again for sharing. I hope it helps many people out there who are going through trials and need a wake-up call. Ending your life is never the best way.

    • Hi Shaznaym, thank you so much for sharing your own story and I am sure it will help others in a similar situation. A lot of people find church a comfort in times like this and I am glad you found something.

      I think the rough times make us stronger, although we may not see that at the time.

  15. Wow Steven, I’m so glad you’re still here. And how lucky we are that you changed your life or I wouldn’t be commenting here today.

    I’m sure you’ll touch everyone who reads this in one way or another.

    I was 17 and pregnant when I married and by the time I was 22 I was mom to 4 girls. I thought of ending it when the twins turned one. I was so exhausted I lost weight and had dark circles under my eyes. I would cry myself to sleep at night. My husband couldn’t help me because he had 2 jobs.

    I had a plan but never followed through with it.

    Like you I changed every area of my life and my husband joined me in the process. Today the girls are all in their 30′s and we’ve been married 38 years.

    I’m glad I’m here too!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Bold Solutions For A New World =-.

    • Tess, thank you so much for your kind words.

      You also have been an inspiration and managed to turn it around and I am so glad you didn’t follow through either, or this conversation would not be happening. Thank you for sharing that.

      Isn’t it amazing the stories that come out!

  16. Hi Steven,
    Thank you so much for your amazing openness about what happened to you. You have taken such a challenging situation, and by some stroke of grace, you were able to turn it around to not only heal your own life, but help others as well.

    Stories like this bring people together. We resonate, we meet in the similarities, we reach out to support each other, we learn from one another. Social networking doesn’t even begin to capture it. This is true, heartfelt connection, where we meet in love.

    I so appreciate you, your courage and bravery. It’s inspiring to all of us.

    Much love to you,

    • Thank you Gail. You’re right about social networking not even coming close to capture this and meeting everyone on a different level. Thank you for your support, I always appreciate it.

  17. Steven, wow, this a powerful post. I imagine it must have taken a LOT of courage to share this, but I’m so glad you did. It’s incredibly personal stories like this one that reach out touch people and really change lives. Thank you for sharing this.
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..how to stay positive in the face of rejection =-.

    • Hi Dani, Thanks for that. I honestly am still trying to figure out why I wrote this and posted it, I am trusting that gut instinct.

      • I know why. :-)
        .-= Gail from GrowMap´s last blog ..WHO CAN YOU BENEFIT BY SHARING GROWMAP? =-.


        These posts are from 2010, but I just came upon this blog. Sounds like you were young and had everything going for you. Try being a middle aged woman, no kids, no career, and someone who had a promising life in 1990 and beyond. The last four years I have lost everything and everyone. YOu can bet, I have given up it seems. I need to talk to a professional because I really don’t care anymore and have prayed for cancer or some other illness where I don’t have to do it myself directly. I could just refuse treatment. I wasted my life, I blew it, and like they say…you only get one chance.


      I’ve heard alot of people say it will get better, which I guess it could…Kind of if I greatly lowered my standards. I can relate to your experience to a degree. But I still don’t feel all too optomisstic about life. I was leading a rough life at first but not too bad. I had met this girl and started I turning my life into what I thought was better direction. I went and spent time with her in europe. She’s canadaian I’m american. This was the first and last time I saw her. From my life was cluttered with the death of a grandmother. Followed by people making plans for my life when I already had plans of my own. I forced into a deep depression of family breathing down my neck on a daily basis. I barely got to see friends to at least have someone to talk to to gain a level mind with. I tried talking to the girl only to discover she was having difficulties and I was also being really irrational and depressed when I’d talk to her. So she eventually said she just felt horrible and that our relationship was unhealthy. Everything was just cluttered under a series of misconceptions. I had no one to talk to to gain any sort of sanity to straighten things out. While in the mean time had a terrible boss that despite me working my ass off for the bitch she gave the newly hired people more hours than me and always talked down to me. My fathers marriage was falling apart at the same time I was always always always talking to family or him about depressing things. I watched all the things I had worked very hard for fall apart at the same time relationships, friends, work, etc. And now here I am unemployed everything I had set my mind and heart to is dead and gone. More deaths of people I was close to occured. I have lost all faith in anything what so ever. I do not will not cannot and shall not ever believe there is a fucking god. I have been pushed to my edge and my limit for a whole year now and I simply just don’t care anymore. Maybe it will get better but I know its definately never going to be or is anything I ever wanted it to be. Its just a piece of shit life and a petty meaningless existence that I live for some reason that I don’t know right now. I am very quite nearly to the point of saying fuck it all I don’t care where it goes.

      • RE: COLIN SAYS:

        Hi Colin! Sorry to hear that you are going through many obstacles in life. I hope you’re doing much better. This recession seems to be getting the best of people. I can’t imagine what it would be like in other parts of the world, especially third-world countries. If it’s any consolation, at least here in the U.S. – we have many more opportunities than other people from poorer countries. While we may experience temporary setbacks in life, these poorer people must deal with no running water, no food, no health insurance and no job as daily occurrences. It may seem like your life is not going as well as you intend it to be but remember at least opportunities exist here for us to make things better.


      I use to think this stuff made sense. But now that I’m 50, and in the last 4 years I lost my job making 80k yearly, both my parents died and it has been impossible for me to get back into my original field of work. It appears my 20 years of experience isn’t as good as a college students. I guess what I’m saying is sometimes it best to end it all.

      • DAN SAYS:

        I feel the same way! I’m tired of fighting everyday. I have just given up! I need some peace!

        • KELLY SAYS:

          Dan please don’t give up my sister took her own life 9 sept and its now the living hell for me and the rest off my close family I agree life is shit constant fight but please nothing is worth the pain it causes I now live every day wishing and aching for my sister .she was 34 and my niece who is 12 considers doing the same as I said I know it’s hard but please get help join a group


        I couldn’t agree more. What you have to bear in mind is that it is much harder to carry out that you would imagine. I have been close to death twice but it wasn’t meant to be. The worst thing about failed suicide is that it becomes no longer an option. Then you REALLY have no way out. I have promised my daughter I would never try again. I regard my promise as shackles chaining me to more and more years of worry, regret, sadness, loss and increasing poverty. You would never know this to look at me. I’m attractive, popular (specially when their computers go wrong), passionate about my political causes – adopted to compensate for the big hole in my life and the fact that I know I’ve had all the best bits and that, yes, maybe things could be improved. But I really don’t care enough to improve them. Just get it over with already.

  18. Richard Grant says:

    Dear Steven,
    You are “Spot On” about all that you speak of. I too had the same life changing experience as you. I have spent the last 5 years reading and studying every book I can get on “Positive Thinking”, Physics, NLP, How the Brain Works, just about anything on human behavior available. So, at this point in my life I am currently writing a book on “The Science Of Thinking”, by “Unlocking the Mysteries of Our Brainwaves and How that Effects Our Relationships.” I have seen many, many web sites discussing The various Powers of the Universe, and I must say I believe, truly believe you are on the “RIGHT TRACK”. It is very obvious that you have done much research in presenting your thoughts and ideas and I commend you. I intend to follow you as closely as I can by sharing our thoughts, feelings and ideas. Thank you for sharing your LOVE with us all. I embrace your Grace and I am grateful for your GIFT!

    Richard Grant


  1. […] Go Of Your Past We’ve all done something stupid, had bad experiences and things that we wish would never have […]

  2. […] “The night I gave up on life” at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your […]

  3. […] the drug when recommended.Take care always!! Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments! Question by shortygirl: What can happen if I have taken sleeping pills when I am too young? I have …has cancer has given me some of his sleeping pills. On the box it says over 16s only and I have […]

  4. […] Go Of Your Past We’ve all done something stupid, had bad experiences and things that we wish would never have […]

  5. […] Go Of Your Past We’ve all done something stupid, had bad experiences and things that we wish would never have […]

  6. […] Steven Aitchinson has a driving force in the shape of one fateful night, which he eloquently described in The Night I Gave Up On Life. […]

  7. […] feel out of place when I started writing.  Why the hell would anybody listen to a guy who tried to kill himself at aged 20, went bankrupt when he was 30, didn’t get married until he was 36, and thinks he is going to […]

  8. […] The Night I Gave Up On Life by Steven Aitchison at Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life […]

  9. […] The Night I Gave Up On Life over at Change Your Thoughts […]

  10. […] wrote a very personal and powerful post about The Night I Gave Up On Life at his site Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life. “A few nights later I decided […]

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Memory-training as treatment for depression and PTSD


Earlier this year, I was updated on the latest new in the treatment of depression and PTSD. I use EMDR a lot, but this was an interesting addition to the therapeutic tools available. Empirical research show that people who remember specifics, like the color on your shoes when you were 8, or how an animal looked at the zoo, have happier life. For depression this “steals” meaning, if you can`t see earlies experiences, its also hard to imagine a future. When not depressed, most people will create emotional picture of what they dream of: Like how you will look in a wedding dress, the people who would come, and you might even dream up your husband to be. What would life be without memories connected to emotions?

Autobiographical memory and emotional disorder

ImageTo remember other incidents in specific detail might protect from PTSD

Autobiographical memory refers to our recollection of events in our past. Disturbed patterns of autobiographical memory, particularly for emotional events, are a cardinal feature of affective disorders. These difficulties range from intrusive flashbacks of traumatic events such as war, accidents, or interpersonal violence, in sufferers of PTSD, to ruminations upon general negative autobiographical themes such as failure and worthlessness in depression.

Such patterns not only define the mental lives of patients but drive the onset and maintenance of their problems. Consequently, clinical interventions that can target and reverse these maladaptive memory processes have enormous potential. One of our key research goals is therefore to elucidate the nature of autobiographical recollection in depression and PTSD, and to use these insights to refine and develop novel memory-focused treatments. Below are a couple of examples from this work.

Memory Specificity Training (MEST)

What are we investigating?

Patients with depression and PTSD find it relatively difficult to bring to mind specific, detailed auotbiographical memories of discrete emotional past events. Researc has shown that access to such memories is important in everyday mental life for problem-solving, social communication, emotional processing of distressing experiences, and future planning. Unsurprisingly then, reduced access to specific autobiographical memories disrupts day-to-day cognitive fucntioning and therefore plays a significant role in maintaining depression and in the onset of PTSD (Williams et al., 2007).

What are we doing?

ImageTreatment of PTSD will evoke memories, but if you try to bury them, you also bury other things that might help you and make you stronger!

These research findings suggest an elegantly simple clinical treatment for depression and PTSD  – training patients to become more specific in their emotional autobiographical recollection. Memory Specificity Training (MEST) is a 4-session group clinical intervention with precisely this aim. Patients undergoing MEST simply practice retrieving emotional and neutral specific memories to a variety of cues, both in session and at home.

What have we found?

We have conducted two clinical treatment trials of MEST. One for individuals with depression (Neshat-Doost et al., 2012) and one for individuals with PTSD. We found that MEST was successful in both cases in markedly reducing pateints’ symptoms and that the level of symptom improvement was directly related to how good they had become at retrieving specific memories.

Why is this important?

These findings are important for a number of resons. Firstly, the underline the importance for mental health of how we recollect autobiograhical memories. Secondly, MESt is a very straightforward treatment that is easy to deliver, and thus suitable for less experienced therapists, and cost-effective due to its group format. It is also suitbale for a rnage of clinical settings; for example our clinical trial with patients with PTSD was carried out in a shelter for refugees in a war zone.

Here is a interesting profile from pinterest with personal information about PTSD:

Understanding PTSDby Michele JanesAbout Grounding Techniques ~ Grounding is about learning to stay present in your body in the here & now. Basically it consists of a set of skills/tools to help you manage dissociation & the overwhelming trauma-related emotions that lead to it. Processing done from a very dissociated state is not useful in trauma work. Neither is the goal to be so overwhelmed by feelings that you feel re-traumatized. Every one is different and there are a variety of grounding techniques to choose from.Recovering from mental illness often makes us feel exhausted. This blog explores five reasons why.If I could tell you one thing..."mental disorders are NOT adjectives". This always bothers me.. That's me. Definitely today... :sAlexithymiaStory of my life...That's the truthFight like hellYES. I am an introvertI Am Anxiety- Pretty powerful video. I haven't watched it yet but plan to as soon as possible..ashamedyeah, what ^^^^ saysPTSD.......Pretty much :):/peanutsMindfulness...Child maltreatment has been called the tobacco industry of mental health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for physical disease, early abuse may contribute to virtually all types of mental illness.Psychological abuse is a subtle method used to destroy a child's sense of well being, to instill fear or terror, or prevent, undermine or destroy confidence. The use of psychological abuse, brutality or torture on a growing child is most damaging. It prevents the child from being who they were born to be, and limits or destroys their ability to function normally in life. It is the most damaging of child abuse, without leaving any physical scars. fears

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