Archive for Depression
I grew up receiving the message that I was not that important. My feelings were invalidated and my emotional needs were discounted. And ‘that’ causes some life-long belief systems to develop when it comes to self-care and self-love. Learning that I was not important led me to discounting myself. This led to putting myself and my needs last and to breaking agreements that I made with myself. Breaking agreements with myself leads to not trusting myself in the same way that I don’t trust other people who break agreements with me.
The start of a new year always reminds me of this issue. I love the beginning of a new year. I relate a new year to a new page, a new blank slate that I can fill up in any way that I want. A new year brings new choices, new opportunities and new adventures. I often think in terms of “this year I am going to…..” and when I don’t do what I promise myself I will do, I damage the relationship I am building with myself. I damage my self-trust.
When I first noticed that I was doing this and that I didn’t actually trust myself because of it, my solution was to stop making agreements with myself. That didn’t pan out to be the best answer because the message that I was giving myself was this: If I can’t keep agreements with myself I won’t agree to anything at all. And that thought is related to many of the abuse tactics that I lived with for so long. For example in the past when I got upset with my husband for always being late, his solution was to stop agreeing to any specific time. (he admits today that he thought this was a genius idea and also admits that it was abusive) So he would call and ask if I wanted to go with him somewhere, but he would not tell me Read More→
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………
A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.
Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.
When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives. All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.
It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that Read More→
When I was about 17 years old and had escaped the difficulties associated with living under the same roof as my mother, I became friends with a neighbour lady whom I eventually sought mentorship from. (Or perhaps I was actually just looking for someone who would love me and mother me.) She was a nice lady with a couple of children and she seemed to be interested in me. When I grew comfortable enough to tell her about a problem that I had with one of my mothers boyfriends, she told me to pray for him. PRAY FOR HIM! She told me that I needed to forgive him.
I got assaulted and HE got prayer. I didn’t realize at the time how much she discounted ME by telling me to pray for him. I didn’t notice that she wasn’t interested in what happened to me, or in the difficulty that I was STILL having dealing with what had happened to me but that she skipped right to concern for HIM. I didn’t even realize that the message that I was getting from her was concern for him. I was used to being discounted in that way so it was normal and familiar to me then. Today I see her directive for me to pray for him and forgive him as abusive.
Forgiveness and child abuse is a difficult combination.
I didn’t respond in any way to her suggestion at first. In my minds eye I see myself “thinking” about this suggestion; considering the best way to “go about it”. As always the compliant victim, I stayed quiet. I even agreed to let her HELP me pray for him.
I remember her praying “with” me or “for me” or maybe she prayed “over me” I can’t remember for sure which method she used. She asked God to heal my heart and to show me the way to forgiveness.
I got assaulted and he got forgiveness?
She told me that I needed to forgive my mother for not protecting me and not believing me. She didn’t even listen to the whole story before she was telling me that I had to forgive them. It was invalidating.
There was no comfort for me. There was no understanding for me. There was no permission for me to be afraid or to be in pain. There was no permission for me to talk about what happened or Read More→
I hear this expression all the time. I hear it used in the sentence “well he always was the black sheep of the family” and I hear it used in the first person such as “well I am the black sheep of my family.” This week I have been thinking about HOW a child becomes “the black sheep of the family” in the first place. The black sheep may be the one that rebels against the family system or the black sheep is also used to describe the one who “doesn’t fit in” with the family. Not “fitting in” with the family usually means not being accepted by the family for going against the family rules, questioning certain practices or simply for being an individual. (note: sometimes “not fitting in” is simply the feeling of not being as “good” or as valuable as other siblings or other family members.)
I am not sure if I am now or ever was regarded as the black sheep in my family, but I certainly didn’t feel like I fit in there even before I stood up and publically rebelled against the total family dysfunction I grew up with. I resisted thinking that I might have been “the black sheep” because to me it was an admission of the rejection that I had always felt; rejection that I was terrified to acknowledge. I tried for most of my young years to comply but even that didn’t keep me safe and the feeling that I was “not loved” was always lingering close by.
There were things said all along about me by my family that discredited me long before I ever exposed any of the truth about what had been going on in my childhood. From a very young age I was defined as Read More→
Today I was thinking about how many emails I get from people who sincerely want to find validation. Unfortunately most of them want validation from the people who invalidated them in the first place. I am always thinking about ways to communicate WHY hurt people seem to think that if the people who invalidated in the first place would finally validate, then life would be so much better. It is the way our belief systems have been fed and formed that is at the root of this dilemma. And there are MANY hidden false truths back there that govern the confusion we are dealing with.
It occurs to me that the people in my own life who invalidated me had this kind of “if you don’t comply ~ Good-bye” attitude towards me. In realizing that truth I remembered that my mother always said “if you don’t like it, lump it.” I don’t remember if I ever wondered what the hell that meant but I always took it to mean that if I didn’t like it, too dang bad. And that means the exact same thing as “if you don’t comply, good-bye”. When I got older she started to say Read More→
I am grateful and excited to have another guest post from Pam Witzemann ! Pam is a frequent guest blogger on Emerging from Broken and contributes her voice to most of the discussions here as well. As always please add your thoughts and comments. ~ Darlene Ouimet Founder of Emerging from Broken
Psycho-Tropic Medications Used As Chemical Asylums by Pam Witzemann
People who are treated for mental illness are led to believe that the medications they are prescribed are in their best interest and treat a specific disease. However, people are prescribed medication as a means of control and psycho-tropic medications are in actuality, chemical asylums.
I know what I have written in the above paragraph is controversial and I’m not advising anyone to go against their doctor’s instructions however I don’t think people with mental illness are always treated with their best interests at heart. Historically, treatment has been primarily about containment and even in these modern times, I believe that containment remains the top priority. In the sixties, many mental hospitals had to be shut down because of the expense required to run them and since that time, drugs are the primary method used to control the behavior of people with mental illnesses. From my personal experience and from my observation of others undergoing treatment, I see little benefit to the patient from the psycho-tropic medications being used today and often they seem to cause more harm than good. I don’t think these chemical asylums are working in the best interest of patients or for society at large.
In the late nineties, I underwent interferon treatment for hepatitis c and became depressed. I was given an anti-depressant that made me hypo-manic and I was sent to visit a psychiatrist who spent an hour with me and diagnosed me as bipolar II. I was told that only bipolar patients become Read More→
I saw this poster on facebook that said “PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with you; it’s about what happened to you.” I believe this is a true statement. I believe that we can achieve all positive results through facing what happened; facing the trauma and the damage that trauma caused.
I believe that this is true for all depressions too. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the best term I have seen to describe depression. The name itself indicates that there was a trauma. After the trauma there was damage. The damage caused stress. Stress manifests itself in many different ways; depressions, dissociative disorders, physical illness and sleep disorders just to name a few.
But something happens when people actually try to face what happened. Looking back I can see how hard I fought facing it and how much I wanted to stay in the dark about the bottom line truth of it all. It’s human nature to try to protect ourselves when the truth is too painful. When we are kids it is much easier to cope by not thinking about the trauma and just “blocking it out”.
Quite often there is a terribly negative response from other people in our lives, especially from family when a survivor of trauma wants to face the facts and the truth about that trauma. When we try talking to our parents or our siblings, these people who are close to us may try to convince us that it is better NOT dealt with. We are encouraged by many to let it go, leave the past in the past, put it behind you and the list of these unhelpful trauma directives goes on and on.
Therapists will even jump on board and suggest that you have to “forgive your family” or that we should “try to understand them”, or that these parents “did they best they could” and the problem is that all this is said BEOFRE the trauma itself has been examined and Read More→
It wasn’t that bad. What happened to me wasn’t “that bad” and I told myself that for YEARS. When I was in my early twenties and struggling with trying to quit the coping methods of alcohol and drug use, some of my memories of child sexual abuse were coming up and I was trying really hard to get rid of them without resorting to alcohol or drugs. At that point in my life I had never told anyone (outside of family but they didn’t validate the abuse OR me) what had happened to me.
One day I was having coffee with a friend of mine who I had met in a 12 step program. In an attempt to mentor me and validate an issue that I was struggling with he told me that from as young as he can remember his parents sandwiched him in between themselves while they had sex. He told me that he can never remember a time growing up when he didn’t have sex with both his parents. He told me that by the time he was 5 he liked it and by the time he was a young teenager, he loved it. He didn’t know it wasn’t “normal”. It was his normal. And now he was struggling to learn what the truth about “normal” actually was and to overcome the damage that had occurred in his life. He was having all kind of relationship problems as a result of child sexual abuse.
Although I felt extreme compassion for him, I didn’t hear any of what he was trying to communicate to me. He was trying to communicate that it wasn’t his fault and that his body reacted to being sexually stimulated. He had been sexualized from a very young age. All I heard was how horrible his childhood was and how horrific the child sexual abuse that he endured was. And the biggest thing I “heard” was that what had happened to me did not compare with Read More→
I am excited to have my friend and fellow writer Tracy Nall contributing to Emerging from Broken with her guest post on how her search for answers about depression led her to realizing that child sexual abuse was at the root. This article articulates how hard it is to tell someone and describes the setbacks, feelings and damage when someone reacts to that horrifying experience in a minimizing way. Please help me welcome Tracie and as always please add your comments and feedback. ~ Darlene ~ founder of EFB
Understanding Depression Led to Facing Sexual Abuse by Tracie Nall
I have traveled a long road to get to the point where I can now speak out about the abuse I survived.
I knew that I needed help before I knew the reason why. Or at least before I would admit it to myself. Depression was something I had battled since my childhood years. By my late teens, I was working in a bookstore, and I found myself regularly drawn to the self-help section, searching to answers for questions I hadn’t articulated.
One hot summer day, the kind of day when no one wants to leave the comforts of their air conditioners, the bookstore was completely empty, and we hadn’t had a customer for hours. I wandered to the biography section to re-alphabetize books and look for a new read. It was that day I came across a little book where the author shared about her experiences with depression. I skimmed through several chapters, and then hid it behind a stack of books. It scared me how much of my own life I saw reflected in her words.
Two weeks later, I was at another bookstore on my day off (bookstores are my very favorite places) and found another copy of that book. I wasn’t looking for it. It wasn’t even sitting in the right section. I re-shelved it, and left the store.
I couldn’t get away from that book about depression, though, because the next day at work Read More→