This last few weeks I have been working on some stuff to do with older people’s needs. One thing I have consistently come across is a divide regarding telling the truth to those with dementia and those at the end of their lives, some say we should always tell the truth, others that we should meet people where they are and tell them what they need to hear.
I am not sure where I sit on this, in my job I am clear that we should always tell people the truth, but I know that there is a raw almost brutal reality to the truth at times.
I am thinking about it more at the moment as I am aware that I continue to deny the truth of much of what happened to me when I was small. I am not sure if it’s a form of dissociation, or not feeling safe enough to face it, or just being unable somehow to accept it, or indeed myself. The memories are still somewhat foggy, disjointed and I feel detached from many of them too, and those that I can really feel, those that I see in full blown techicolour, those that show themselves when I wake up scared in the middle of the night, those memories I can’t speak about, they hurt to much to share with anyone, there are no words for those ones, no words……
Therapists are often passionate about the truth, and being told the truth of what happened is not something I can hear right now, I can’t really think about it, I just can’t, I need to hold on to the belief that it wasn’t that bad.
Intellectually I know it was bad, if I read my own case file I’d be doing something to protect that child, but then, I am not that child now (I’m not sure I ever felt like a child anyway), and the pain I feel even touching the thought, just for a split second, is so extreme that I know I can’t handle the truth.
So for now I’ll continue to ignore it, to let it wash over me, to avoid the brutality of that truth.