Restless, Irritable and Discontent


Living in the struggle, trying to overcome depression and abuse I had a lot of questions like “what is the point? What am I doing here? There must be more to life then this so what is it? What is the meaning of life? And there was that ever present feeling of having to “survive” so that I can…… WHAT?….. So that I can do “what” with my life? Raise another generation? WHY? What is the point, what is the purpose? What was I born for?

In the beginning of recovery all I knew was that I wanted something better for my life, I wanted to feel more alive, be more engaged and to know there was some reason for being. I knew that I wanted more out of life way before I found the answer to my longings which were so deep.

I thought I was chasing a rainbow; that recovery, freedom from depression and personal wholeness were not really possible. I thought I was ungrateful and selfish; always wanting something more but I didn’t think about where those doubts and those negative thoughts came from. I didn’t question if they were right or wrong. I didn’t think that maybe those thoughts about wanting something better or wanting something more out of life came from my inner being, my spirit or maybe even from God himself. I didn’t consider that maybe it was my longing for real life or that I really was missing “real life” and that life was meant to be fulfilling. Instead I thought that maybe those thoughts came from my ingratitude towards God.

I thought that I should KNOW by now what “life” is all about and to admit that I did not know would be like admitting failure. When I wasn’t feeling foolish that I didn’t know, I thought that the greatest joy should be about being in service to others, making a difference, being selfless, and showing love to all others but the problem was that I was not doing any of that for myself and had never actually been taught to take emotional care of myself.

Not having a proper foundation for emotional self care means that it is really hard to provide that for someone else. You know the old saying “you can’t give away something you don’t have”.

So ~ the world’s universally known recipe for a happy and fulfilling life, which is something about serving others~ didn’t work for me. So I was stuck. I would not only to serve others, I would try to live for others, and I would fall. Sometimes the ‘falling’ looked like a serious depression. I would give up and give in and go to bed and pull the covers over my head. I would plead with God; “Why can’t I just be happy? What is wrong with me, why can’t I just be normal?” And then I would answer my questions with a stream of mean and unsupportive answers “because you are ungrateful, it is never enough for you, you are selfish, you are self centered and there must be something really wrong with you that you keep on ending up here hiding under the covers”.  (metaphorically speaking)

One of the first things that I had to learn was that I did not love myself and that I kept hoping that I would find someone to love me ~ to prove to me that I was lovable or worthy of being loved. In retrospect I realize today that that I believed if I could find someone to love me then I could love me. This is a left over from not being valued as a child and a belief that I carried with me into my adulthood. I thought someone else could provide my worth and provide my worth because it was defined for me as a child. I had to learn to define my worth and value for myself.   

It was a shock and a relief to accept the truth that

a)    I could learn to love myself  

b)    People did love me, and it didn’t change anything.

c)    No one could ever love me enough to prove to me that I was lovable.

 Self esteem had to come from me and for me; recovery began when I decided that there was more to life then the depression I constantly struggled with and there was more than always trying harder, and I was determined that I was going to find out what that “more to life” was….. and I did find out.

Living in the Truth means knowing that I am worthy, loveable and equally valuable!

Darlene Ouimet

I welcome everyone to share a piece of your journey, victory or struggle; please comment.

29 response to "Restless, Irritable and Discontent"

  1. By: SMD Posted: 18th February

    Hi Darlene,

    You put a smile on my face when I read your comments in #28!…Thanks for your validation of MY comments. I especially like your comment, “You are bang on!”…Your encouragement is appreciated! Now that I have more time away from taking care of others, I do feel more connected to my feelings & thoughts. I’m doing a lot of self-reflection and making gains in counseling…I do feel like I’m in a better place emotionally- maybe recovery from my depression- I’m having more good days then bad, I have more inner strength and listen to my intuition more.

    I feel as if I’m coming into my own!…It’s still hard getting out of bed in the mornings, but I tell myself each day is a new day and I’m worth it!….The love & care I give my kids is what I deserve in return!…I’m teary eyed now and the feelings are flowing…Thanks for having this forum for a wounded healer like myself….I’m going to BE in the HEALING process.
    Sincerely, SMD

  2. By: SMD Posted: 17th February

    Hi Darlene,
    I’m writing up a storm these days, trying to unload a lot of baggage, that I’ve been carrying around for too long. I can relate so much to this post & truthfully to every post I’ve read so far, since coming to EFB. What rang true to me is, when you talk about I thought the greatest joy would be for me to SERVICE OTHERS and BE SELFLESS.

    Yes, I thought this way throughout my adult years & I’m now 43.
    Within the last year & a half, I struggled with guilt & anxiety about leaving the Mental Health field. I worked in the service field for over 20 years providing case management & care to the elderly, mentally challenged, & mentally ill. That was where I could relate & it was my interest.

    I questioned what will I do now?…This is what I know. But I finally realized, working in the mental health field left me feeling drained. It’s a demanding job to begin with but I have clinical depression & anxiety, so I was triggered everywhere.

    I did a good job with my clients- I truly cared about their well being but in doing so, I neglected to look at my feelings. I emotionally fell apart after working for a year, in a outpatient mental health facility. I had so many stressors in my life- My Toxic Family, taking care of my two young kids, my mental health and having no husband at home after working.(he works second shift) I was carrying a big load with no support.

    I was just used to pushing forward in survival mode, without addressing my deep feelings of sadness & anger. I’m just seeing this now and I’m admitting to myself that I was abused & looking at the believes from My mother & father, that I internalized to define me.

    Looking back at the last few jobs I’ve had, I was in over my head with the demands. I could not admit that at the time, since I would believe I was a failure, which is a lie-I was CAPABLE & COMPETENT to do the jobs. I have the degrees & the experience, but the work was just too emotionally demanding. I had my own issues & problems to deal with, which went on the back burner. I was getting counseling & medication, but even that wasn’t keeping me out of my dark moods & self-doubt. My strong will pulled me through, however, i realized I needed to take care of ME!

    Right now, I’m unemployed, which was a big transition for me because it changed my routine and I defined myself through helping others- which justified my worth as a good & caring person. Well, I don’t need to do that anymore!…I’m a lot less anxious now, being out of the rat race. I’m a work in progress and finding my way.

    I have to remind myself that I’m where I need to be right now and i’m not less than because I’m not working!…My dad actually told me I could be a CEO by now, in a harsh tone, after I left my Job. He had no idea what I endured with my problems and work conditions! Sorry for my rambling…..Sincerely, SMD

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th February

      Hi SMD
      I found writing one of the very best tools that I have ever used. I still journal lots. I always wanted to make a difference too. I think it came from the false belief that my value was only in what I could do for others. Once I learned to put myself and my needs first, I was able to make a huge difference in the lives of my family and to others. I had 1000 times more effective impact than I used to! I love your comments here. You are bang on! I hope that you will give yourself the time you need; When I came out of the darkness, I emerged into a light that I never knew existed! It is so worth it. I am still learning about the dangers of putting others before me, (sometimes I have been known to put this site before me) but with each lesson comes more freedom and wholeness… so I don’t mind being in the process!
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Beverly Posted: 23rd August

    Thannks for the gracious welcome, and I will keep thinking it through, and I will make good use of this and will tell my other friends and clients! It is so important to have places where we can talk, write, share about those things. I will encourage others to “spot it” in their historical journey, the work I did with my own ACOA stuff broke it loose for me, I think God so often for those listening and sharing women. I have been in this work for nearly thirty years, and I guess like one of your other writers, I look for ways to stay current, happy, and do not want to put my “stuff” on my clients who are searching as I was and as I still am. This is perhaps a great vehicle for ME to do some more sharing, learning, and supporting. I do know that when we reach out or let others reach out to us we are re energized. Blessings and thanks for the “virtual” hugs, I can use all I get, peace and glad that you are here. Beverly, as I read your other writings I must say it is time for me to get more honest with my own anger regarding injustice and imbalance in our lives, world!

  4. By: Beverly Posted: 23rd August

    Thanks for this great writing, I can so relate as have the others, I do lose sight of the hope and I go along, things are so repetitive, so much the “same”, and I use meetings, spiritual books, spend time with others who re growing, just get tired of the “same old thing:,then I feel selfish, ungrateful, and away I go again, thanks for being here, needed someone to talk to. Beverly

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd August

      Hi Beverly,
      Glad you are here! This is a really active community ~ hope you share often.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Chloe Posted: 29th June

    Hey Darlene I wonder if you’ve ever written about art and the search for healthy self-expression? I am looking for new ways to figure out who I am and I am quite frankly getting tired of talking everyone’s ears off about my issues … and I’m tempted to try some sort of creative class to help me process … writing, knitting, maybe even pottery. I’m curious – did you find art helpful in your recovery?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th June

      Hi Chloe
      I think all that stuff is helpful. I did a lot of painting (walls) as in faux finishing work when I was in the process. I rode my horse a lot. I did a lot of writing. Even gardening was therapeutic.
      I don’t think I have written about it though, but I am an advocate of creative self expression!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Michaela Posted: 18th September

    Thankyou, that puts it so clearly! I always thought that helping others was the way to “get fixed”, that looking outside myself was the key. But at the same time, I hated other people and made a promise long ago not to depend on anyone because that wasn’t safe. The result was resentful slavery and a constant search for sanity. I had people say they weren’t able to understand my mentality because I was a walking contradiction. I never loved myself enough to look myself straight in the eye and say “You are worth it. You are loved. I will take responsibility for myself and love myself.” The toxic pain, abandonment and anger kept me from this. But seeing my experience so clearly layed out in this blog means more than can be expressed. Thankyou.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th September

      These kinds of comments make it more than worth every effort that I put in to writing these posts! I do what I do because of the exact feelings that you discribe! The truth hits hard, and the lies seem to fall away and freedom is on the other side. You might even be surprised at how much more it hits you over the next few days and weeks. When I first looked at all this stuff a light came on and then another and another and then they got brighter and bigger and it was just amazing how much clarity I got and how much just clicked into place.
      I am really glad that you are here and I hope you share often and as much as you wish!
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th September

    Hi Mel!
    Thanks for sharing your amazing break through and victory with me! That is so great! Whoooo hooooooo~ you discribed exactly how I felt when the blinders started falling away in my own life, when I started to catch on to other people and the real motives and how so many only thought about what they wanted and how they could manipulate to get it. With victims it works so well to make them feel like they have done something “wrong” so that we are all compliant! UGG.
    I am so happy for you Mel!
    Thanks again for sharing!
    Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Mel Posted: 9th September

    Wow, thanks so much Darlene! I have to share with you some of the self transformation I’ve made since I last commented here. The other day I was at the point where I was telling myself “what’s the point, I’ve done all this work and seem to be in another situation where abuse is dominating my life, again…” It has been painfully challenging, living with a housemate who since then has refused to respect my boundaries on a daily basis, insisting on discussing something I was not prepared to until i could process what had happened. I heard it all, the name calling the control tactics even a physical tantrum as seen in 3 year olds. (and i thought i was certifiable…) In short, I came first and was very clear about it. My old belief system was to be compassionate meant i had to put my feelings aside, this time I didn’t. He couldn’t handle the idea that what he did was wrong and needed to talk about it urgently so I could forgive him… He was looking for his own comfort instead of accepting responsibility for his behaviors. I also discovered he had personal feelings that he neglected to disclose prior to us becoming housemates. It was wrong to mislead me and his actions demonstrated the secret he kept from me. You were totally right when you said the coolest part is that I know not to take the blame for others!! Yay! Although it’s a real crappy situation, I feel more empowered! I knew recovery was possible but now I am actually seeing and feeling it!
    <3 <3

  9. By: eric esko jalonen Posted: 8th September

    Cont (got zapped there)
    What is the MeaniNg of it aLL ?
    The only conversations of this type are w people like me, survivors! I think that’s part of mY answer, had I not known abuse and fear and isolation etc to xtreams, I may nvr have had a nEed for meaNing and fillfilment. And TruTh and hOneSty, self worTh, serviCe ect. The only ones truly answering theSe questIons are Us, and blogging, writing books, making documentaries, advocating; beinG truTh because the actions of another on Me as a child, so distorted Me from evolving, it stunted n altered every aspect of my Life… Today, and for most of my life , since AwarenEss came along, IAM finding out mE. Some days and yrs better than others, but overall an evolution. Deff not an overniter.
    A journeY…

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th September

      Hi Eric,
      Yes a journey ~ that is absoloutly true. We have been distorted by abusers as you say. Our whole understanding of who we are as individuals was taken. This also happens to people who have never been encouraged to make a choice or think for themselves too. This happens to us when we are not valued as individuals and our lives are built on shakey ground. It is great to read about your awareness and that you are ON the journey! Thanks for being here, and thank you for your comments!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: eric esko jalonen Posted: 8th September

    Well I certainly identify w everythng said here. Great blog ! I see so many similarities. The questioN to the answere of my LifE ? In my experience , were the only ones that Do something abt that question. The deeper meaning of ME. Who AMI ? why did I go thru 5 yrs of sex abuse from a teacher ? Why did it affect me so much? Why do I tHink so mucH? Why do I go to extremes? Why depression, anger, anxiety, objectification, ptsd, lack of intimacy? Why did I see myself as a sex object?(why wudnt I?)

  11. By: Maggie Posted: 8th September

    Yowch is right. Your post reminded me of many things but one really jumped out. Worth outside myself. In school it was a report card. I was an A. After school I yearned for annual reviews. And then it was status. Always wanting the best. One day I just stopped and asked myself “what is enough”. And I figured out what I needed to live comfortably. So much stress left after my aha moment. And I’m so glad I got to that message before I became disabled and had a limited income. I am comfortable with my life. That word works regardless of emotion on a particular day. Thanks for the post setting off many milestones on that arduous journey of accepting all of oneself.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th September

      Hi Maggie!
      Yes, we conditioned to believe that our worth is outside ourselves! I had a lot of work to do in that department. I didn’t even realize that I thought my accomplishments would define me! I remember now that I used to think things like “just wait till….. and then they will know that I am smart or whatever. I thought that one day I would “do something” that would make them notice. It never happened, but eventually I realized what was going on. One day I called my mother because a well known therapist had asked me to do the content edit on his book about the misuse of power and control. My mother asked “why you?” she openly wondered if I was having an affiar with him. That was when I realized that she was NEVER going to see me any other way than she wanted to see me. I also realized that she liked trying to make me prove myself all the time. That was when I decided that I was taking my recovery to another level when it came to my family.

      Thanks for sharing your own victory! I really appreciate your words ~ they inspire hope for healing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Aerin Posted: 8th September

    I was deeply depressed a few years ago, finally started healing over the past year, and am just now starting to feel like “me” again these past few months. As wonderful as I feel these days, there are always reminders that I’m not finished with my journey just yet. If my husband catches me off-guard with an “I love you”… “Really?” is what pops out of my mouth. Too many glasses of wine, and I’m a sobbing mess… “I just want someone to love me”, I cry as my husbands holds me and says “I do and I’m right here”. Yep, I still have a long way to go… Thanks for showing me that you can learn to love yourself… sometimes I just don’t know.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th September

      Hi Aerin, welcome!
      I know what you mean! I finally was able to believe that others could actually love me, when I learned to love myself. AMAZING how that works.. as long as I didn’t love myself, I could not really believe that others could love me. I had to change the bottom of the belief about who I really was and what was lovable or not about me. When I carried so much of what others defined me as, I could not see the real me anywhere around and I was afraid to find the real me too ~ so sure that I was that I would not like what I found.
      I am so glad that you are here, thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Audri Posted: 8th September

    So HOW? How do you get what you want and need and not feel selfish? How do you get self esteem when you are starting practically from scratch? I am 50+, depressed, and angry a lot. I have a wonderful husband who wants me to be ME but I am still that scared-of-losing-your-love little person. Which backfires often with him, since he wants ME and I am too afraid to be me. I don’t even know what ME looks like.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th September

      Hi Audri,
      I wish that I could tell you in a few sentences “how” I did it. It was not an overnight process. I have written a lot in this blog about the different things that I did, the different ways that I dug down into the foundation of who I had become, how I had lost me in the first place, and how I replaced the lies with the truth. I think the first step is just to wonder how. Just wonder if it is possible, and to hope that it is. I remember that little bit of hope in the beginning and it sparked into something much bigger and the hope grew and that is what kept me going. I didn’t know what I looked like either, but I do now! I am all me now! It is possible and all I can do is encourage you to read some of the older posts, keep going forward, and just believe that it is possible.
      Thanks for being here and for your honesty.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Cassie Posted: 7th September

    I am stuck. I am mired in a depression, struggling to find a place where I can decide why I am here on this planet. 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’ve made choices. Why can I remain discontent? What is wrong with me?

    When I look at my family of origin, the four of us -mom, dad, sis and me – I come out looking/resembling the strong/ functional woman who has the emotional capacity to put her sh** aside while meeting the needs of others. My mother is bi-polar 1.Afer years of agonzing, I have not seen her in 2 years. My sister is bi-polar 2. I thought she was doing better. Now, she hears voices and looks to me as her ever motherly presence (only 2.5 years separate us). My father…where do you begin with someone who justified an incestual relationship with his daughter for 18 years. In comparison, the mental health train has left me with gentler struggles and internal scars.

    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.

    Thanks for letting me vent.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th September

      Hi Cassie,

      You are welcome to vent and share. I understand your pain ~ I thought all those same things too and in a way it is only in retrospect that I understand things the way that I do today. I didn’t realize that when I was “doing everything” for my kids and family, not taking care of myself, that I was actually modeling that for my children too. That they should grow up to take care of everyone else and not think of having something for themselves. I don’t think that it is selfish to have an interest outside of raising a family, I think it is healthy. The thing is that now I am so so much happier and my life is so fulfilled, and my kids (all teenagers the oldest is 19) see the difference. I am a way better Mom now and a way better example of a healthier and more balanced life then I used to be.

      Hang in there Cassie, the answers will come. I spent a lot of time asking “why can’t this be enough?” but it was not about enough, it was about finding the real me, and living for my purpose, which included the people that I love, but didn’t include me killing myself for what I mistakenly thought was for their higher good.
      Love Darlene

  15. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th September

    I can really relate to needing time to breathe. I could not carve out enough ‘me’ time when I was in the thick of the process. I sat outside in the parking lot while my daughter was in swimming lessons for a whole year, because it was an opportunity for me to get some alone time. I was thinking for the first time in my life about the truth, about who I was, what happened to me, how I was ripped off of my identity, my life, my innocence and how I had the opportunity to get it back, to recover, to embrace truth and possibly be happy!
    All those questions got answered, not that I can tell anyone else all the answers, but my own deep longings are satisfied now and I feel a deep life purpose in where the confusion and struggle once lived. It is so much better now.
    Thanks for your comments Nikki!

    Hi Chrysalis and welcome to the comments section!
    Thank you so much for deciding to say hello! Isn’t that the truth, first we get it on a cognitive level and then we have to “get it” on the emotional and “real” level! Great way to put it!
    I hope you will feel welcome to comment often!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Hi Kim,
    I had a bit of a hard time with 12 step in that I didn’t realize that I was so willing to take all the blame. So when I was doing inventory I was willing to believe that my mother was right when she told me that I had “asked for it” and other worse things that she said was my fault. I took all the teachings out of context and agreed that I was accountable for everything. I thought that the secret to freedom and wholeness was to accept that it WAS all my fault. When you are talking about abuse, that is a big problem. I know the programs were not written with that intent, but I really took accountability to a harmful extreme.

    Thanks Kim for the lovely compliment and YES it is positively joyful! I can’t wait to get up in the morning; each day is so exciting. I love the sharing that is going on in this blog! I learn so much for you and everyone else too. That is what makes the world go round!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Hi Shanyn,
    It is so amazing that what we need to read often appears at just the right time and when I am the one that wrote it I feel so blessed! (thanks for the bright blessings! you bring them!) And yes, you said a mouthful of truth with your comment Shanyn!

    Thanks for being part of this post and for your contributions!
    Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Shanyn Posted: 7th September

    Worthy! Lovable! Valuable! Indeed, thank you for this Darlene. Once again you not only had the right words but at the right time. I’ve been struggling with some things, and this is a timely reminder that when I choose for me, for my family, for what is worthy, valuable and lovable I’ve chosen right. Regardless of what others may judge it to be…bright blessings!

  17. By: Kim Vazquez Posted: 7th September

    Hi Darlene,

    Once again, I completely relate. I was very confused when I first began recovery because I already was an over giver. I’d say to my sponsor- Can you tell me again how I’m selfish? I am selfish at times, of course. I had a hard time finding my center. I gave until I was depleted and then resented those I gave to. For years I over gave of myself hoping to buy love. It wasn’t until I learned to love and care for myself that I then found total joy in giving to others.

    And look at you Darlene.You completely give of yourself and help others. Isn’t it positively joyful? Thank you for continuing to share your insight. You help me learn about myself. Peace & Love~ Kim Vazquez

  18. By: Chrysalis Posted: 7th September

    Ouch, this really hit home this morning, Darlene, thank you. I read often and rarely (if ever) comment, but I wanted to thank you because your posts almost always hit on something I’m particularly struggling with at that time in my life.

    Although I know and accept these things on a cognitive level, I’m still learning them on an emotional and “real” level.

    Thank you again.

  19. By: Nikki Posted: 7th September

    Wow a page right out of my own struggle! I have been asking myself those questions for a long time.. “What is the point?” or “Human life is so redundant” this has been the way I have felt for much of my life. I just wanted to rush through this life and get it over with, now even though I still have some of those questions yet I am seeing that I can’t rush myself nor can I really rush this life. It is all a process or an evolution that occurs within the mind and the heart!

    Though I will say this much I have discovered my true love for solitude during this time of my life not because I want to hide away from people but that it gives me the space I need to be able to digest the reality and the truth that I am having to come to terms with plus right now I don’t want to feel obligated to the “social” menu at this point, in other words I so need this moment to just breathe. Because I have ran all my life away from myself that now I am having to really dig deep and deal with this so that I can be a complete and whole person.

    Thank you ever so much !! <3

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