Aug
21

My Coping Method Failed and Depression Increased

By

Survival method
RUN

It was a big decision to tell my therapist what was going on in my mind. I could tell him what was going on in my life but what was going on inside my head was a different matter.

I lived inside my head for years. I constantly wondered what to say. I constantly wondered what you (or they) wanted me to say, what would make them mad, what would make them like me and accept me. What would keep me safe? Those are a lot of questions going around in my mind that I needed to think about BEFORE I answered anyone. I got quick at it though. This was one of my coping methods.

This was my survival mode. This coping method went so deep that I realized even as an adult, I was always wondering what everyone else was thinking. Always trying to guess what they wanted me to say, who they wanted me to be, what they wanted me to do. I wondered this so long and so deep that I didn’t know what I thought anymore. And worse than that, I didn’t care what I thought most of the time. I don’t think I even thought about what I personally thought; I was too focused on everyone else, believing that understanding and complying with others, would keep me safe. It was one of the ways that I coped, one of the ways that I survived.

 I was always afraid that everyone was disapproving of me. I didn’t want to meet with any disapproval. Oh I used to say all the time “I don’t care if “they” like me or not”. But it wasn’t true. I was just saying one more thing that I had heard from someone else. I was lost in a world that was not mine. It was exhausting.

Eventually I fell apart and just could not seem to climb out of the serious depression I kept going back into every time I tried to stop taking the anti-depressant medications. I felt like I was being pulled under water; deep, murky, heavy, mucky, dirty cold and yet comfortable water. Looking back antidepressants really only represented a band-aid and I had come to the point that I needed the cure or I was going to just stay under that water and drown; once and for all.

I went to a therapist again because I was afraid for my life. Not because of others this time, but because I was really aware that I was losing the fight. I was losing my lifelong fight to just be okay and belong somewhere.

So taking into consideration everything that I said above, why would talking to a therapist be any different then talking to someone else? All my approval issues and fear of being hurt came with me to therapy.  My “what do you need me to be” mode didn’t go away just because I was paying someone to talk to me. I still worried about what he would think, what he would want me to do and how would I stay safe? I didn’t trust because long ago I had learned to keep my guard up. I’d had a few inappropriate therapists cross my path too. All of this came into the therapy room with me although I didn’t know that. I was operating the exact same way that I always did. Survival and safety, coping and extreme self control came first. I had been groomed that way my whole life.

I was afraid of what he would think of me. I was afraid that I would be in danger if I told him what I had been through and what I was really like, because I was convinced for most of my entire life, that I was the problem. I even told him in that first session that the problem was me. I told him that I had a fantastic life but I just wasn’t happy and I was ungrateful. Something, I told him, is really wrong with me.  

I had to break through this wall that stood between me and my recovery before I began to change and the first step was realizing that I although I believed that I all thought about was me, the truth was that I never thought about me.

Stay tuned this post will be continued…… HERE

Exposing Truth ~ One snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Depression

18 Comments

1

Wow – I can see myself in this and many more blogs you post and it’s like YIKES help I’m drownin in my own mirror of ME. I love your writin and they mean a LOT to me, most of them touch me in ways none other has b/c it’s like they relate to me and I to them…I don’t turst much of no one or nothin and I know it’s probably stupid but it’s what I get for trustin in folks as a child and sufferin at the hands of those and more so…Not sure where I’m goin with this so I best just nip it and just…wow, sorry

2

Jackie,
I want to assure you that you had no choice as a child. You had no choice about abuse and you had no choice about trusting. When we have been abused or mistreated as children, we have to somehow re-learn everything, and trust doesn’t come easy. The first step is to realize what happened when we were children and that we had nothing to do with it.
Please don’t be sorry for anything you share on my blog.
Hugs, and thank you for your kind words.
Love Darlene

3

Isn’t it exhausting trying to figure out what you’re “supposed” to be all the time. I did/do that. I wont say I don’t at all anymore because that would be a big fat lie. But I definitely don’t put that ridiculous amount of thought and energy into trying to know what everyone else was thinking, and trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be. What a huge waste of my life. Ya know.
And the thing that I have noticed, people actually like me better when I’m myself. I wasn’t getting anywhere with those old coping strategies of over analyzing and trying to conform. It just made me feel more alone. The less I worry about other people, and do what I want with my life, the more REAL friends I have around. It’s a wonderful thing.

4

This is all too familiar for me too. I didn’t know what I thought anymore either, neither even occurred to me to even think about it. No, to me going to a therapist made no sense. I never sought out help anyway cause it just became a way of… life for me. But I think we need to get to a point where we are ready to make the change ourselves and unless we reach that point then nothing positive will come of it. I reached that point but only after years of living as a non-person, just living for others’ needs. Now I finally am opening up with those I trust and THAT is making all the difference.

5
Amelia FullOf Grace
August 21st, 2010 at 3:36 pm

It has taken me many years to override my survival programing. Always worried about what I said, would it be okay, would I be in “trouble”, hit, yelled at, or rejected? How many years I lived in FEAR of what others thought about me, or what I had to say. Crawled into my overwhelmed shell, and went into protection mode. So deep was my depression, it almost killed me.
Darlene, you speak the truth of abuse so well. The deeper issues of how our brains were programmed to believe we were nothing. Suggesting strategies to override that rotten programming and REBOOT!
Honored sister, to have found your beautiful voice, that helps so many.
Love LOve lOve U!

6

Growin up I wasn’t “allowed” to seek help due to if/when I did, no matter what I said, it’d always get back to my abusers so I kept a lot within my own mind so to speak. I been to therapist off/on for years and each one seemed to not actua……lly “be there” if ya know what I mean. Today my trust has deminished more b/c of crap that seems to be a “tag-a-long” wanna be. I do trust my Husband though as he is my best friend and I do have a very FEW friends I talk with but not much trust in those either b/c what’s said to some seems to find it’s way comin out of others’ mouths so…I have very bad trust issues but I’m tryin to change, just not sure who for anymore…maybe one day I’ll be able to do it for ME instead of others and I’m probably not makin sense here so maybe I should just step back 🙂

7

Hi Jennifer,
I agree, it is totally exhausting and people DO like me better when I am ME. (except for the people who wanted me to stay compliant and totally controlled by them, but that is my next post) I have real friends now too, and I have REAL LOVE and mutual relationship in my life.
Thanks for commenting!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mary,
Thanks so much for posting this! This is so true for so many! And YES about living as a NON person. That is how I feel about the past now too. My feelings didn’t count and I became totally used to living for everyone else until I didn’t even think I deserved to have any desires, wishes and dreams of my own. Thank God that is all changed now! I live a full and exciting life today and I live in equality (having equal value) with my family and friends.
Thanks for being here and for leaving your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

8

Amelia,
I can SO relate to what you have written here. In fact when you wrote “crawled into my overwhelmed shell, and went into protection mode. So deep was my depression, it almost killed me.” I thought you were quoting me! I felt that way for so long; not that I knew it until I began to heal, but it was the truest and deepest truth. I was dying and I had lost sight of me. The farther I got from me, the deeper I sunk.
Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement. I really appreciate you!
Love Darlene

Jackie,
You are not alone my friend. The trust grows stronger along with finding out the truth about what happened to us; especially when we realize that it was not our fault and it what happened to us was not because we were not good enough, or behaved enough, or whatever enough. It isn’t because we were bad, or because we were not loveable. It was because “THEY” didn’t know how to love, and they were dysfunctional. Abusers are not “right” somewhere, and they blame us for it.
Keep trying to grow. Keep striving to be YOU and to do this for you. You make total sense to me, and I am very glad to have your comments here!
Thanks
Love Darlene

9

Hi Darlene,

Again, so much of what you say zings me each time I read your blog. I just think, Wow, how did she know what the inside my head had been through? Have you ever wondered that, what it would be like to crawl around inside someone else’s head and see their life experiences truly from their vantage point, rather than from their interpretation of it? When I read your blog, it’s like “She GETS it!”

Coping – Goodness, what a major defense mechanism that was all my life. After the s*xual abuse ended from creep #1, I drifted in drug use in my mid-teens, drugs given me by “friends”, and I soon learned that drugs were a really good way of escaping and coping with the crap that had become my life. If I had the drugs, then I didn’t have to think about anything else because all I was concerned about was feeling like I was worth something more than an object to someone else. And the drugs gave me the ability to have some control of what my body did – I was the one ingesting it, so I made the decision. After creep #2 came along, I really didn’t care any more – he was good to me, groomed me, and started me on a battle with alcohol which I decided was yet another nice way of coping – get drunk, it’s how you cope.

And trying to please others in any and all ways possible so they will like me, approve of me, and maybe make me feel a little more worthy than the day before. I remember saying to my therapist once “I don’t like myself, I never have.” That’s was the crux of the problem. Learning to like ourselves, let alone love ourselves, is so hard when we’ve been conditioned into thinking that we are unlikeable.

I could go on and on about the coping thing, and feel like I’m probably talking disjointed about it here. But, yeah, coping was a big part of the dysfunctional feelings about myself. I coped because I didn’t like myself and what I felt I was.

10

Eddie,
Well I did the drugs and alcohol coping method thing too! (are you surprised?…) I think we cope because we don’t know what the hell else to do. We don’t like ourselves becasue we never learned to, we never had a reason to. We were shot down. We got used, mistreated and devalued. Felt like objects and as you say, all that conditioned us to thinking we are unlikeable. Coping methods eventually became a problem; back to not liking ourselves.. round and round it goes.

About being inside your head.. a lot of people say that to me. From speaking in mental health seminars, I realized that the things I said, almost everyone could relate to. This shocked me because I thought that I was so different. (as in something was really more wrong with me than with others) The more times I spoke, the more I realized that MANY of us feel this way but somehow we were so convinced not to talk about it, or convinced that we were “different” and we were a “problem” that no one could talk about it or even knew HOW to talk about it. SO I decided to do this blog and take this message to a bigger audience. It is my hope that we build a community here, breaking the silence and at the same time supporting the building blocks to healing with each other.

I love it when you visit Eddie. Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

11

Hi Darlene,

I’ve been thinking about this some more today and thinking about the after-effects of the coping and how there were links between everything. What I mean is that the abuse caused me to cope and the coping led to further destructive things, so a continuous spiral down in a way.

For example, the abuse led to me seeking ways to cope with that so my escape became drugs and alcohol. When I was 16, I remember waking up one Sunday morning still stoned out of my head and walking into the kitchen where my mother was washing dishes. When I walked in there, I passed out flat on the floor. I was only out a few seconds, but came to clutching my shoulder because I had hit it on the doorframe when I fell. My mother and older brother came running over to me, of course, but later my mother asked me point blank if I was doing drugs. I lied and told her No, so the coping made a liar out of me as well. She took me to the family doctor in our small town the next day and he talked to me a while alone. He asked me that as well, and also asked if I had been drinking. I felt he was on to me so I lied and told him that I had had only a “couple of sips” of beer that night before. To this day I’m pretty sure he could see the signs, but he didn’t bust me to my mother. He just told her I probably hadn’t been eating good and needed to eat better.

All of that to say that the coping just further dragged me down to the level of being a liar in order to maintain the secrets. The secrets were all-critical as I could let NO ONE know WHAT that I was coping with. I felt that it was much more important to keep the secrets than risk the possible outcomes that could occur if it were found out what had happened.

A good friend and I talking about these coping mechanisms that we used as children to hide these things. He put it well when he said that we were simply children coping in the only way we knew how. We didn’t know of any other possible solutions, so we thought these were the best ones. We did what we did because we thought that’s what we need to survive.

12

Exactly Eddie,
We do need to cope these ways, we do the best self protection we can, because we HAVE to and the whole things just grows stranger and bigger. So the lies that lead to more lies, deep down also added to my shame, because now I am a liar, if I want to be one or not. So when my parents accused me of being a “story teller” deep down I believe it becasue in a way ~ it is now true ! And that is also added to the ever increasing confusing mess! Even the cover ups have consequences.
Thanks for coming back and adding more content and context to this blog post!
Hugs, Darlene

13

I played at being a chameleon so well that I got lost in the process. I had no opinion about anything because if I did you might get mad at me, reject me, leave me, call me a liar. I was so full of fear that I didn’t know what to do so I did everything possible to fade into the background. I was extremely quiet and shy. The reality was that I was terrified of people. I trusted no one. It was too painful to trust and be disappointed again. I remember telling myself in the first grade that I would never make promises to anyone because I knew that promises were always broken. I do not consciously remember where that knowledge came from or who gave me that message. As a teenager, I remember my dad making promises and never, ever keeping them. Something always happened. According to him, it was never his fault that he couldn’t keep his promises. Life, according to him, make keeping promises impossible. To this day, I still don’t make promises.

14

Patricia,
I LOVE your first line, I relate to it deeply. I was also so good at conforming that I got lost ~ oh yes, this is so profound Patricia. I too had no opinion, I was too scared. As an adult,when I knew a subject well and dared to have an opinion,it hurt me deeplyy when I was questioned. I never had any impact on anyone.. that was a horrible thing.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Love Darlene

15

Wow. This is my first visit to your blog and I just want to say how much I admire and respect your honesty. It takes a lot of courage to tell the truth about feelings and what’s going on inside. And so many of us share those feelings…
Thanks for putting yourself out there!

16

Hi Kristi,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken and thanks for your comment. I just checked out your blog too. I am going to visit it again; what a worthy site you have there. ( for other readers Kristi, writes a blog about Therapist Abuse)
I think what drives me to write like this is exactly what you have said; I realized that so many of us shared those feelings and how many of us never talked about it. Hope you visit often!
Hugs, Darlene

17

I can relate to all of what you saying…all my life..and now I’m tired..I don’t know how to get up again..just too tired..:(

18

Hi Irene
Welcome to EFB
There is hope for healing. I remember being that tired too and I got to the other side and that is what I write about in this site. I hope you will keep reading.
Hugs, Darlene

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