Overcoming Depression ~ Getting Past the Pain


recovery, abuse, depression

I got a comment the other day from Cassie and it has been haunting me ever since so today I am going to answer one of the questions in her comment. 

Cassie wrote an in depth and pain filled comment about being stuck in depression and feeling guilty about not being fulfilled as a Mom. (to see the entire post and comment please click here) and her comment ended with this question:

“How do I get past the day-in- and day-out pain that haunts me with memories that wind inside my head like a foggy, black memory monster?” Cassie

It was in looking at the events through different eyes and putting it through a different grid of understanding that I was set free from the daily pain and increasingly difficult memories. I learned to take apart a memory. The next step after that was to keep going forward righting false beliefs about who I am “supposed to be” in favor of becoming who I really am.  

Honestly looking at a memory;

Taking apart a memory has a lot of aspects to it. The biggest part of the problem with the memories I had was the way that I understood them. That was a problem because I understood them “wrong”. I understood them the way that the abusers wanted me to understand. I was trained to take the blame, taught that I was a bad girl, that I was unworthy of better and that I was a problem. I was also taught to doubt myself and told that I remembered it “wrong” and sometimes even told that it didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened. Sometimes I never told because I learned that I didn’t matter.

These teachings that become part of our beliefs are not always taught to us in words, sometimes they are taught by actions, or results. Sometimes they are taught to us by the way that we get looked at, a disapproving frown, or being ignored and pushed aside. Sometimes our feelings and our fears are completely disregarded, and we are given answers that make NO sense but we try to make sense of them.  Answers such as “well you know how she is” a father might say when we tell him mommy hits her. OR “well just try to be a good girl” and we take that to mean that IF we can be a “good girl” then we won’t get hit. Adults will tell children who are being emotionally abused “you have to respect your elders” or “I am sure it didn’t happen that way”.  Looking at the truth of these things meant realizing that they were wrong to have given me these answers, NOT that I was wrong to have had those problems.

I didn’t realize that abusive events can piggy back on each other when it comes to how the belief system is formed. Not being believed or protected when someone beat you up at school can have an impact on the next trauma that you experience. It was very important for me to look at the things that happened AFTER the trauma. For instance, after my mother’s boyfriend came into my room at night when I was a young teenager, my mother acted like she didn’t trust ME anymore. I didn’t question whether or not I deserved her lack of trust. This was a result that went on for years but I had not thought about it when I processed the event itself. In my next post I am highlighting this whole event, how I processed it and the beliefs that developed because of it.  

I had all kinds of mixed up beliefs that I didn’t know I had because my experiences and the results of those experiences had become my truth, so I didn’t know any different. I had to be willing to learn a new truth. I had to realize that the way that I was raised was not right, and that some of the things that happened to me had actually resulted in serious depressions, post traumatic stress and dissociative identity disorder either because they were never dealt with or because I was falsely convinced that these things were normal, that I deserved them or brought them on myself, that I liked them or that I was lying about them. And this is not a complete list; there are many more ways that we can be falsely taught and convinced that mistreatment was not “wrong” or was no big deal. Each one of these things however, contributed to the way that I formed my world view and each had to be looked at through a new lens. I had to take apart one memory and look at all the aspects of it. I had to try to remain neutral as I looked at it; trying to put aside all the baggage that came with it or as a result of it until I had the details on the table. I had to believe myself. I had to be willing to take a look at the possibility that people who “loved me” didn’t do right by me. I didn’t have to accept it right away, but I had to be willing to just look at it.

I know this sounds overwhelming but remember that I only took apart one memory at a time. I didn’t have to look at every single incident in my life; I only had to look at about 3 big events where I was mistreated, devalued, unprotected or traumatized, in order to begin to see the pattern that formed my belief system. Once I began to see that pattern, I saw where all the breakdowns for me began; I was able to identify the roots of my serious depressions, post traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder and I was off and running towards healing and wholeness.

Freedom is on the other side of broken,

Darlene Ouimet

Stay tuned for part two ~ I take a look at one abusive event and take apart the memory step by step and talk about the pieces that I understood at that time. In part three I will look at the pieces that I didn’t look at.

13 response to "Overcoming Depression ~ Getting Past the Pain"

  1. By: bonnie richard Posted: 13th September

    The road is paved–what I see–in the picture–the only difference is
    the gravel we throw-is the ones we have to walk on-and it is a rough road–but as depressed feelings go away -it becomes paved–as smooth
    as ever to walk–we are free–sexual abuse holds us at one time in Bondage–but -for some–NO MORE!

  2. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th September

    Hello Sandra!
    Thanks so much for this amazing comment! I love your attitude and your enthusiasm. I totally relate to the “box” analogy and I use it a lot in public speaking but I have never thought about it visually the way that you put it here; “Burst out of the box, tearing through all that conditioning and limiting expectations…” OH yes! I love that! That is so much what I had to do. AND yes my family cheers me on now and I can see how my transformation has empowered each of my children in their own lives.
    I hope that you comment often, I am so glad you are here!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Hi Shanyn,
    There is something about your comment that moved me to tears. It is so true how we have been told over and over that we just do everything “wrong” and I can feel the pain of that rejection, but there is something deeper in your words; there is hope, there is solution, there is a decision to go forward with your life and to stand up and say “no, you can’t kick me anymore” It is beautiful Shanyn.. really touching, deep and honest.
    Thank you so much for sharing it with me and everyone else reading.
    Hugs, Darlene

    I can really relate to what you have said in your comment. I had all those fears, and I knew that I was not raising my kids like I was raised, and I was very afraid to make those changes in case it actually did damage and on top of that I believed what my abusers told me about me too. But WOW, going through this process and standing up for me has been a huge factor in the emotional growth of my children! They witnessed me take care of me and insist on having equal value and not being subservient and at first they didn’t like it.. but now they are flourishing. My kids are all teenagers, and we sit around talking, our whole family will sit around talking! It is amazing. My children TRUST me. They respect me because I respect them but I also respect me.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for inspiring this whole blog post!
    Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Cassie Posted: 12th September

    Thank you to Shanyn and Sandra for understanding and giving your support. That means so much.

  4. By: Jamie Posted: 12th September

    I am so afraid to face the bad things in my past. But now I see my youngest sister having anxiety problems and my sister 3 years younger has been on and of paxil for years and covers herself in excess weight. We run from conflict. I am afraid to say anything to them. I can not even say it here.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th September

      Hi Jamie,
      Welcome. I was very afraid to face my past too but it had imprisoned me. I felt like I was dying by inches. Facing this stuff has set me free. I hope that you will continue to read and continue to share even just a tiny bit at a time ~ everyone here has been where you are now. We all started at the beginning.
      I know that it is hard. I am really glad that you posted a comment.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Cassie Posted: 12th September


    Thank you for your blog in response to my question. This is such a BIG quandry in my life. However, I am only beginning to see through a different lens. At this point, all of my inner children quiver at the thought that I can put me first. That I can be a good wife and mother, but not devote every ounce of energy and minute of time to them. This has been difficult for a couple of reasons. The first is exactly what you talked about…Believing what my abusers said to me. Believing what they said was the truth. I’ve never had balance in my life. It’s all been very black and white – for myself, although not when I deal with others. Also, I want so much for my girls to have a different childhood than mine – one filled with love, laughter, safety and the freedom to be be/express/create as they need. (And those around me can tell you that they have just that! I am proud of this!!) For me, this meant (with my black and white thinking) that I could only devote my time to them. I haven’t allowed myself time to be me or develop me. I am trying to take steps to stand up for me in my adult relationships, including my marriage. I want to be equal with those around me, not some subserviant being.

    Thanks again, Darlene. I appreciate the chance to express my self and to be heard. To be heard – that is the key.

  6. By: Shanyn Posted: 12th September

    Cassie – you have my empathy and my prayers. I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from.

    Darlene – where to start? Maybe with part of the story that is going to be over at Scarred Seeker later. I was fixing fence – and the electric wire was so tangled up, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t get it untangled, and all of the sudden I could hear them telling me I had failed, I had done it wrong, I had remembered wrong how to do something, that I was just wrong all the time. I stood back and realized what that fence was telling me. The tangles of being told WHAT to believe wrap us tighter and tighter until we cannot find the ends. We THINK we have to untangle them end to end, work through the knots. Today, however, instead of doing that I got out my fencing pliers and CUT right through!

    Yep I sliced right and left of that impossible, tangled knot, and then I put the ends together with a splice. I looked at that knot and realized not long ago I would have felt like a failure for not untangling it but I know now I don’t need to untangle every knot they tied in my psyche. Some I can just cut out, and leave behind in the trashbin.

    So when I’m feeling like a failure, when I can hear their words telling me I didn’t get it right (again), I didn’t understand (again) that I didn’t fulfill some impossible expectation (yet AGAIN), I am going to pick up my fencing pliers and cut them out. Yeah I make mistakes – so far no one has died or been kicked off a transplant list because of them. Yeah I fail, but I get up. They don’t need to keep kicking me to remind me. I don’t need THAT kind of reminder, I need to stop falling into those traps emotionally and mentally. Then I’ll be able to keep moving forward on the healing path.

    Blessings to everyone who shares, who cares, who hurts and who prays!

  7. By: Sandra Posted: 12th September

    I too was struck by Cassie’s post, particularly this part:

    “To be a mom/wife. Why isn’t this enough? Shouldn’t I be pleased that I have 4 girls ( 3bio and 1step) that are full of enriching joys and struggles that make each day more full. Why isn’t doing for them enough? Why do I still want the creative outlet of theatre for which I am trained?”

    I think this is something so many of us struggle within our roles as wives and mothers. We need to give ourselves permission to care for ourselves. We need to give ourselves permission to follow our own dreams. That doesn’t mean we are selfish, or letting the family down. We have got so use to putting everyone else first. Putting ourselves first, or even trying to figure out just what the heck our needs even are, can be a daunting task when we have been conditioned through abuse that our needs don’t matter. Then we get further boxed in by those expectations of how we are supposed to behave as wives and mothers. We need to burst out of the box tearing through all that conditioning and limiting expectations that have been put on us, that’s the hard part because it is so foreign to us.

    Cassie, you were able to pinpoint your unhappiness in your post. It sounds so much like me. Why am I not happy just being a wife and mother? We are moms and wives, but that is not all we are. We are people outside of those roles as well. We can find the joy in nurturing our families, but who nurtures us? Who said that we must give only to our families and be happy with that? What do you do for yourself? What is your passion? We need to fill ourselves up with our own passions so that we have something left to give our families. If that vessel is empty, what is there to give others? So often we end up just giving and not taking anything for ourselves. Fill your vessel, better yet, overflow it!!! You want the creative outlet of theatre then take it for yourself. In the long run you will have more to offer your family and you will find yourself. Give yourself permission to follow your heart!!! Your family will still be there – applauding you in the audience.

  8. By: carol Posted: 12th September

    i didnt really understand that my childho9od was so much different to other children’s till i was 17 yrs old and had a flashback to when i was 9yrs old. this started the memories seeping out, then came the denial and self blame. yet somehow i had this thing about not just treating the symptoms of my depression but the root cause of why i felt or acted a certain way. i shunned medication but did do talking therapies. it wasnt til i was in my early 20’s that i actaully used prescirbed medication to help create a stable see saw for me to work on. i have continued on my journey ever since, yet am still struggling to release the deep rooted causes.
    i have my appointment foe CBT assessment tomorrow, so am worried that they only see the progress i have made and not what i still need to deal with,like personal relationships n the ‘what is love’ conudrum

  9. By: Jen Posted: 12th September

    I have found this same process of breaking down the past has really helped me experience God’s love more. There were so many lies I was believing about myself and God from those past experiences and to be able to root that out and replace with truth set me free. Thank you for sharing this.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th September

      Hi Jen,
      This is the most powerful process that I know of ~ getting to the bottom of the truth, discovering what is NOT TRUE in our minds and setting it straight ~ that is the truth that set me free too! Welcome and thanks for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Carol
      I understand that you are worried and nervous about tomorrow. Hopefully none of your fears will be realized, but that they will meet you where you are at in your process and appreciate that you want to go farther. I think that the clients that want to go further are actually special. There are so many clients who only want to just get to “okay” and call it good enough. I think it is fantastic when someone wants complete healing and is willing to go the distance and do the work to achieve it!
      I am looking forward to hearing the update and I am sending positive thoughts your way!!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Jackie Posted: 12th September


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.