The brutality of the truth

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.

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7 thoughts on “The brutality of the truth

  1. Goose says:

    Marros…..I go through this on a daily basis myself. There is definitely a fine line between being okay and accepting and simply not being able to handle any portion ofr reality as it was or now is. My heart is with you. I can’t deal day to day. I work as a pharmacy technician so I deal with a lot of triggers daily. I am only able to work p/t because of this…..I can’t maintain my “mask” or composure day in or out. I am with you. However, we recently lost a member of our family that had dementia for years. It did no good to try and tell “the truth” (at least the truth we saw), for their mind is not remotely close to the reality of things. Just like you and I (or me when I have night terrors or flashbacks) my mind is not within the realms of true reality. My opinion is to try to stay with someone where they are mentally….then they aren’t questioning themselves internally as to what reality really is.

    • marro says:

      Thanks Goose, it’s hard to get my head round it, I think it’s good that you manage to work, especially in that environment, and I am sorry for you loss.
      I guess reality can be a difficult place. Marro 🙂

      • Goose says:

        Reality for some is far worse than where they are in their head. Some get to choose when and where they go. I don’t get to…so it can be trying. I tend to disassociate and wander off into my past and the depths of my mind. It can be scary.

  2. Ben Naga says:

    Your conclusion seems to me to be a example of self-respect. Perhaps that type of respect is also helpful, even the key, in working through your thoughts and feelings about the place of “truth” in general?

  3. Ellen says:

    Seems like you are touching little pieces of your truth. You need to go at your own pace. Slow is good.

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