Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

What happens when we do not heal?


Childhood abuse has consequences therapy does not heal.

What happens after a decade of all-out effort to heal falls short?

How do we handle the frustration and suffering that dominates our lives?

How do we stay optimistic in the middle of daily suffering?

What keeps you going?

Do you have goals?

Do you have dreams or have they faded with PTSD?

Two types of chosen pain and suffering


Pain does not always bring suffering.

Can pain bring pleasure?

Is there a purpose for some pain?

Excerpt from “The Sweet Spot” the pleasures of suffering and the search for meaning

“THIS BOOK WILL explore two different sorts of chosen suffering.

The first involves spicy food, hot baths, frightening movies, rough sex, intense exercise, and the like.

We’ll see that such experiences can give pleasure. They can increase the joy of future experiences, provide an escape from consciousness, satisfy curiosity, and enhance social status.

The second is the sort involved in climbing mountains and having children. Such activities are effortful and often unpleasant.

But they are part of a life well lived.

“These two sorts of chosen pain and suffering –for pleasure and for meaning—differ in many ways.

The discomfort of hot baths and BDSM and spicy curries is actively pursued; we look forward to it—the activity wouldn’t be complete without it.

The other form of suffering isn’t quite like that.

When training for a marathon, nobody courts injury and disappointment.

And yet the possibility of failure has to exist.

When you start a game, you don’t want to lose, but if you know you will win every time, you’re never going to have any fun.

So, too, with life more generally.”



Let’s look at Suffering


From “Making Sense out of Suffering”

Yet people are hurting far more psychologically and spiritually today than ever before.

Suicides are up.

Depression is up.

Mindless violence is up.

Boredom is up. (In fact, the very word boredom does not exist in any premodern language!)

Loneliness is up.

Drug escapism is up.

But the barbarians are no longer at the gates.

The Huns and the Norsemen have long gone.

What are we escaping from?

Why can’t we stand to be alone with ourselves?

Solitude, the thing which ancient sages longed for as the greatest gift, is the very thing we give to our most desperate criminals as the greatest punishment we can imagine.

Why have we destroyed silence in our lives?

We are escaping from ourselves (or trying to, since yourself is the one thing other than God that you can never escape from) because we all hurt, deep down.

Usually it is not an unusual, spectacular, tragic kind of hurt but a general greyness that settles like dust over our lives, a drabness, a dullness, a dreariness, an ugliness, an ordinariness of everything.

We go around like robots, obedient to our social programming, never raising the great questions.

Our very passions are sleepy.

We stumble into bed obedient to sexy advertisements, and out of bed obedient to alarm clocks.

We have almost no reason to get out of bed and almost any reason to get in.



PTSD and Suffering

Public domain



A friend asked me, what do you gain from your suffering?

I have a hard time applying that to PTSD suffering.

Whether we are a victim or actively trying to heal, suffering is part of our life.

In my opinion, childhood abuse was a sentence of future suffering.

No matter what I did, suffering and loss would be my companions.

My damage and weaknesses were glaring for me.

The best I can do is, try to heal in spite of my suffering.

Feeling I gain something from suffering, brings strong guilt feelings.

I must be doing something wrong to prolong PTSD and my suffering.

Seems to me, having courage and taking action to heal is trying to stop suffering.

An idea arrives. I can offer my suffering up to help Others heal.



Suffering is winning, happiness takes to much effort

Researchers are exploring whether a technology called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can help make meditation easier and get more people to do it regularly.

I ran into this article yesterday, describing how few of us Americans continue a Meditation/Mindfulness practice.

“Too impatient to meditate? A mild shock to the scalp could help. The benefits of being mindful take time, but there might be a way to speed them up.”

By Dana G. Smith 

My two cents: If you trace Soto Zen Buddhism’s birth, the journey goes back 2500 years. The first 500 survived through word of mouth.


People understood the path was arduous, it took courage and perseverance everyday.


A pill or a machine will not help you.


The hardships of practice are an important part of our inner discovery.


Reading a book or taking a course has nothing to do with actual practice.


20 focused minutes everyday combined with application is all it takes.


If you need a pill for that, you will give up anyway.


If we need mindfulness to be easy, why waste your time.


It takes an ardent commitment and courage applied each day to accomplish our goal.

Pain And Suffering At Life’s End Are Getting Worse, Not Better: NPR;

It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering that many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care.

But the number of people experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly 12 percent between 1998 and 2010, according to a study published Monday. And the number of people with depression in the last year of life increased by more than 26 percent.

All that happened as guidelines and quality measures for end-of-life care were developed, the number of palliative care programs rose and hospice use doubled between 2000 and 2009.

“We’ve put a lot of work into this and it’s not yielding what we thought it should be yielding. So what do we do now?” asked Dr. Joanne Lynn, a study author who directs the Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness at the Altarum Institute.

The study looked at 7,204 patients who died while enrolled in the national Health and Retirement study, a survey of Americans over age 50. After each participant’s death, a family member was asked questions about the person’s end-of-life experience, including whether the person suffered pain, depression or periodic confusion. Those three symptoms were all found to have become more prevalent over the 10-year analysis.

One reason, Lynn said, is that doctors are using a greater range of high-tech treatments, which can lengthen the process of dying without curing the patient. “We throw more medical treatment at patients who are on their way to dying, which keeps them in a difficult situation for much, much longer,” she said. “We’ve increased the number of people put on ventilators and kept in hospitals, and we simply have more treatments that are possible to offer.”

Medical research focuses on wiping out diseases, Lynn says, rather than on long-term support or symptom management for people with chronic conditions or disabilities associated with aging: “Think about how much we invest in curing Alzheimer’s disease, and how little we put into making the course of Alzheimer’s better.”

Most physicians tend to undertreat pain and other symptoms at the end of life because they don’t recognize them or are hesitant to candidly talk about the process of dying and the pain associated with it, said Dr. Tim Ihrig, a palliative care physician at UnityPoint Health in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

“A lot of practitioners aren’t honest. We fail to empower patients with the truth,” said Ihrig. “In that setting, it’s easier to continue to do procedures and diagnostics rather than having that conversation which is very honest and very difficult.”

Take a cancer patient who has stopped eating and is writhing in pain, he said. An oncologist might recognize the person is going to die, but rather than telling the patient, he or she begins another round of treatment that causes more pain and suffering.

“We don’t have the vernacular in our society to have the conversation about the end of life,” Ihrig said. “People say, ‘I don’t want to take away someone’s hope.’ But in a metastatic pancreatic cancer, for example, we have to redefine what we mean by hope,” he said, citing one of the most deadly cancers.

Often, those conversations aren’t happening until the last days or hours of life, according to Ihrig.

Jonathan Keyserling, a senior vice president with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, points out that half of all hospice patients receive hospice care for less than 30 days.

“If these patients had been under the care of a hospice or palliative care program [earlier], their pain and symptoms could have been brought under control for a much longer and sustained period of time,” Keyserling said via email.

It’s possible, however, that caregivers interviewed in the study simply were more likely to report suffering, reflecting Americans’ changing awareness of pain and depression over the past decade.

“We’ve raised the expectation of better pain management over the years, which may make [the caregivers interviewed] more likely to report it,” says Rosemary Gibson, author of The Treatment Trap and a senior advisor at The Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank based in New York. There are many more Americans diagnosed with depression today than in 1998, she added, “So it’s not surprising that people would report it more.”

Nonetheless, said Gibson, the country has a long way to go in improving care at the end of life. The increase in palliative care and hospice use over the last decade was just “an oasis in the desert. We did nothing to stop the tsunami of overuse [of aggressive treatments] and doing things to people at the end of life that have no benefit.”

It’s time to pick up the speed of change, said study author Lynn.

“We are all going to pass through this part of our lives, and we have a strong interest in its not being awful. So let’s buckle down and get it right.”

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