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Being better at accepting depression

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This topic contains 365 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 days, 20 hours ago.

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  • #326867

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    In your most recent post you wrote: “I can’t receive love.. even when love is present. I feel defective”-

    – connecting it to my post to you before last, as a child there was a window of opportunity for you to receive love before your brain concluded that you are defective and unlovable. It was a time-limited window of opportunity, maybe ten years, maybe 12, I don’t know. But that window of opportunity closed by the time you were in your second decade of life. Love later on can’t get through that closed window.

    It will take a couple of things to open a new window for love:

    1. Walk to the part of the house (part of your brain, that is) where that old window is located, that is the window through which you see your parents, outside that window, still thinking that they love you, still waiting for them to open that closed, shut window. Go there and fill that closed window with wet cement and let it dry. No more window. What this means is that you realize that they didn’t love you, never have, issue closed. It will hurt to do so, (but then.. you’ve been hurting all along!)

    2. Start this new year with the intent to live for yourself, to place yourself as The important person in your life, every day, through an ongoing, renewed-every-day practice of mindfulness, from preparing breakfast for yourself, to the way you shower, gently, treating yourself very well throughout the day in everything you do.

    anita

    #326933

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    I had a chance to read back through some of what you wrote to me recently.

    I’ve finally reached the point where I feel no contact with my parents is here. Aside from thanksgiving & Christmas, I don’t see me having a relationship outside of that with either of them. I know you will frown on me keeping even that small amount of contact at all but I have to see my sister and cousins when possible. I have slowly been inching towards this outcome over the past couple years but I see it clearly now, especially noting how triggered I become around my mom especially, and how selfish she is general.

    i went to see my therapist today. It’s odd because where I see chaos and failure in my self & life, he sees opportunities for growth. I’m glad I have the both of you holding out hope for me when I’m depleted, and the guidance being offered here. He sees me quitting my job at the inpatient unit as a good thing for my growth, noting how I’m making room for things that align with my true self rather than living a life that is not congruent with who I am. Looking at my decision through this perspective is helpful, and puts me at ease a little bit knowing I’m following my inner wisdom and guidance despite how uncomfortable and painful that may be. I’m not afraid. If I was afraid I would’ve never quit my job as a social worker and went back to school, if I were afraid I would’ve stayed at this job and been bitter about life. Sometimes I think I’m making things harder on myself but in reality it may be that I’m too stubborn or courageous to get pushed around and have my spirit crushed on a daily basis in exchange for a paycheck. For some reason I refuse to give up searching for answers to how I can live my life in congruence with my authentic self.

    Where I’m getting stuck with how to live in congruence with my authentic self is actually knowing who that is. In a lot of ways this is the battle I’m currently in the midst of. I don’t know who I am or my purpose  in a poetic sense, not in a scientific rational kind of way. All I really know is that when something is out of alignment in my life in regards to my purpose or authentic self that it is painful, and stirs up my childhood patterns of being which I’m still coping with, and you addressed in the post about IFS and the Exiles.

    One of my favorite books of all time “man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl addresses how suffering ceases to be suffering once it is given meaning. There is nothing worse than suffering without a reason, which is where I feel I’m at right now. My therapist would probably say I’m yet to find that reason or purpose yet but that there is one. The times in my life where I felt purposeful in my suffering were so much more gratifying than what I’m going through now. At the same time I see where some of my suffering in the past which at the time seemingly had no meaning was given meaning as soon as I began to help others with their own suffering, it’s what makes me a good therapist, because I have suffered.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  noname.
    #326941

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    “I don’t know who I am or my purpose in a poetic sense, not in a scientific rational kind of way”-

    – I know who you are. This answer is somewhat poetic and it is true to who I am as well, and who every human being (and every social animal is) in the beginning of life:

    You are a boy who loves his mother.

    This is who you are in your core, a boy who loves his mother. This will never change, this is who you were in the beginning.

    And this is why when she didn’t love you back, and when she neglected you, it hurt where it hurts most: in the soft part of us. There is nothing more painful than the broken heart of a child.

    I want you to come to the awareness that indeed, your child heart was broken by unrequited love- you loved your mother and she didn’t love you back. A no contact with your mother in itself will not do, it is the awareness that she broke your heart that I believe you need to access.

    I hope we continue to communicate on my suggested poetic answer to you.

    anita

     

    #327295

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I want to diagnose you today with the following non-professional diagnosis: a boy with a broken heart. It is a common condition boys and girls suffer from, growing up to be men and women with broken hearts.

    You loved your mother (and father) deeply, completely and it was an unrequited love. It hurt where it hurts most- in the softest part of a child, (the heart of a child is not prepared for such a tragedy).

    June 2018: “my depression has a lot to do.. with not having a woman around”- your mother (and father). “The lonely feeling has only ever really been quenched by romance for me”, “The only times I feel fulfilled is usually in the company of a woman”,  “I have made amazing friends.. yet I still feel alone and empty”- empty because your mother (and father) didn’t love you back. The search for her substitution led to thrilling and fulfilling moments, but didn’t fill that early life emptiness.

    “my wounds from childhood are so deep”, “I  have an underlying constant pain that even when I feel happy reminds me that I can’t be loved”, “this empty lonely anxious feeling that doesn’t seem to let up. It rests in my stomach throughout the day. It’s the feeling right before I have a breakdown but it’s right at the surface”- this wound is that of a child’s broken heart, this pain,  this empty-lonely-anxious feeling is how it feels for a child to have his heart broken. This is how it felt then, this is how it feels now.

    “I get depressed because I’m straight up lonely, especially at night”, “the pain of loneliness feels unbearable”, “I get so depressed from being alone more than a couple of hours”, “underlying lonely pain that persists no matter what I do”, “sobbing uncontrollably in my room”, “cried until I was too tired to stay awake”, “curled up in a ball on the floor wishing someone could hear me but of course there was no one there”-

    -this is how it felt then, for the boy that you were,  to have his heart broken. I hear you now. I hear this boy crying in his room, sobbing, curled up in a ball. Do you hear him?

    “I’ve reached a point with myself where no matter how much work I put in, no matter how mindful I am, no matter how motivated I am, I still get chronically depressed”, “I think to myself ‘you’ve done all this therapy, read all these books, tried all these groups and s*** ain’t working for you”-

    – what will work for you is to mend this broken boy’s heart, to grieve that tragedy of that unrequited early love, that early broken heart, too soft for that break.

    “What’s frustrating is I know that even if my desire to have a partner was reached I would then be in a constant state of anxiety from distrusting of people”, “I’m distrusting of most women in general”, “My tolerance for liars has fell to zero. I’m stuck in a place where I trust very few people”-

    -part of the work of mending your broken boy’s heart is to learn who is it that lied to you, who is it that betrayed you very early on. This way you place your distrust where it originated, leaving you with the clarity required to figure out who in the future is trustworthy, and who is not.

    “when I begin to feel marginally better is usually when I’ll restart my downward spiral”, “What I’m struggling with now that I’m feeling marginally better is now can I reach a feeling of peace and potentially joy instead of just being ‘not depressed’?”-

    – mend that boy’s broken heart, and you will reach that feeling of peace and potentially joy.

    anita

    #328335

    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    I hope you never get tired of hearing my gratitude for you. You have been a major catalyst for my healing and a source of wisdom I feel lucky to have came across. Thank you.

    I have been feeling well the past week since quitting one of my jobs, it has allowed me to slow down to think, and more importantly feel. I have quit smoking and hoping it sticks long term this time, it makes me socially anxious, avoidant, and keeps me from accessing my feelings by sedating me. I’m hoping that i’m finally understanding those feelings need to be felt to completion for me to feel any sense of peace and real joy. I have been sober the past week and it is helping tremendously for me to feel at peace. I had been slacking on my meditation but have gotten back into it first thing in the morning and right before bed. Meditation helps me access joy which i’m so glad to say right now, it also helps me access the pain i’ve been running from. The pain of the broken hearted boy you described.

    I’ve come to understand all my behaviors and trauma bonding relationships as “rebounds” from a broken hearted childhood since you made that post. I think back to all the times as a child i was alone with my pain, disappointed, scared, and angry. I talked with my sister about it some this week and she’s finally starting to understand me. She always says our parents “did the best they could” but like you wrote to me once we as children were the ones doing the best we could with them. I can tell she is frustrated, my mom asked her what she wanted for christmas and my sister said for her to go to therapy. She then said my mom tried to ask if they could go to family therapy, which seems like an attempt on my mothers part to evade the fact that she is the problem for lack of a nicer term. This brought up a memory I had long forgotten when I was discharged from the hospital as a suicidal teenager my mom took me to family therapy, just me and her, before i ever got my own therapy. As and adult and therapist now i see it for what it really was, an attempt for my mom to protect her ego and get a professional to identify me as the problem and not her. I can remember how awkward it was for me because my mom wanted to sugar coat everything and make it about her and i just wanted some attention from the therapist, she was a nice warm lady.

    I wanted to share with you an experience i had earlier this evening while meditating. My roommate left around 10:30pm to take one of our friends to the psych hospital. She had cut herself severely for the second time in 2 months. I feel for this girl she has been through so much trauma it breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. I prayed during my meditation and cried so much the floor was wet beneath me. None of the tears were for me tonight, strictly for others. I cried for my friends, my family, my clients. my coworkers, i thought of you as well and cried for all the pain you must have experienced to gain such wisdom. It was a good cry if ever there was one. I feel motivated to work even harder for myself so that i can be there for others. I have been thinking alot lately about how all beings in this universe are connected and how love is clearly the answer to all the worlds problems. What i couldn’t understand is how did things get this bad in the world? I just kept asking why. Why all the pain? the violence? where did it start? when did we lose our compassion as a race? I don’t understand why but i feel my purpose i’ve known but have feared to live, which is to heal my self and guide others to healing themselves. It seems obvious to me now, yet why do i forget so often? i’m not sure of any answers right now i just know the world needs my gifts.

    #328393

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome and thank you for those first two lines, beautiful to read, feels good, much appreciated.

    I want to retell what you shared in your recent post (it helps me process information), my input follows the *s: you feel good since you quit one of your jobs, quit smoking (both that job and smoking worked against you, increasing your distress). You also didn’t drink in the last week and that too helps you “to feel at peace”; gone back to meditation first thing in the morning and last before bed.

    * Pay attention to what works for you and use this information to continue what works, evaluate from time to time, practice what works, let go of what doesn’t.

    You now understand that you did suffer from “a broken hearted childhood” and that much of your relationship experience since was “‘rebounds’ from a broken hearted childhood”.

    Your sister “always says our parents ‘did the best they could'”, but you  know that “we as children were the ones doing the best we could with them”.

    * From what you shared about your mother in this recent post, she tells you and your sister about her pain because it makes her feel better to have the full attention of an impressionable, very empathetic child. (Mothers are notorious for doing this, I call it empathy-abuse: the child feels the mother’s pain more intensely than she as the adult sharing it, feels it herself. The child takes her pain, intensified, as his own).

    Next, she shakes off ownership of the pain she shared and points to the child (minor and adult) as the one that needs healing. (Which is true, now the child does need healing from having been the victim of empathy abuse).

    Having freed herself from ownership of her pain and the responsibility to do her own healing,  she is free yet again to repeat.

    Plus, when she took you to a therapist following your acute distress, she took away that therapist’s attention away from you, points it to her direction, and you have nothing, no one’s attention.

    Back to what you shared: a woman you know severely cut herself last night, you cried a whole lot, but “None of the tears were for me tonight, strictly for others” (thank you for including me there). You wrote: “I have been thinking a lot lately about how all beings in this universe are connected and how love is clearly the answer… how did things get this bad in the world.. Why all the pain?”-

    *  My attempted answer this morning: because people’s greatest motivation is to relieve themselves from pain as quickly as possible. When we feel pain we get scared and our motivation is to stop that pain ASAP. This is why your mother relieved herself of pain by inflicting it on you and on your sister; this is why this young woman cut herself again. The ways of relieving oneself from pain ASAP are numerable. Many of these ways hurt oneself, many hurt others and most often, both, we hurt ourselves and others.

    In other words, even though love is a powerful emotion, the motivation to relieve oneself from pain is more powerful.

    When healing, what happens is that our ability to endure pain increases over time, insight and practice. And so, we get to a state of being that we are not overwhelmed by most kinds of pain. Not overwhelmed, we can choose to not hurt ourselves further and to not hurt others.

    Many people are not willing to do this, to endure pain. They reach a point of no return and will not consider changing their ways. Your mother is probably one of those people. I say probably, most probably because she has been very consistent for so long, having victimized two children for decades, and true to yesterday, she keeps at it, keeps operating the same way.

    As an individual, you have to stop getting hurt by people willing to hurt you, your mother. As a professional, you will give a woman like her a chance, in your office, for as long as she shows up. But in your personal life, you can’t afford the luxury of having your mother as your patient because her pain is still yours, intensified. You can’t help a person whose pain you felt so intensely as a child, way more intensely than she felt when sharing it with you (your objectivity is zero and your subjectivity close to 100%).

    anita

     

    #329507

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    it is 3am I have been crying alone for the past 3-4 hours. My pain is telling me today that I want to be wanted. I don’t feel wanted. I wonder if there are people in my life who do want me to be around them and enjoy my company, I think there has to be people who want me around, but I don’t feel it. I feel alone, deeply alone with no forseable end to the pain. I don’t know what to do right now I can’t stop crying, I have been sick for the past week and isolated except for today. I feel physically better today but emotionally awful. I want to feel hope so badly. I don’t even want a guarantee that I will be loved I just want hope and I don’t know how to give it to myself. I give love to others as my job and they tell me they feel it. But I can’t feel love, I feel broken and lost. I haven’t been able to see my therapist because I’ve been sick and work, and I can’t see him till next Thursday. I’ll survive but the pain is surfacing more and more since I’ve given up smoking, trying to date, and drinking. There’s no relief.

    also I’ve thought about your last post and the part of empathy abuse. It is clear to me my parents are a lost cause, I’m at my sister’s for Christmas and my mom basically plays this “no one can ever understand or possibly be in more pain than I am” thing whenever she talks and it annoys the hell out of me, I see it clearer every time I talk to her and I hesitate every time I say “I love you” because I feel like I’m lying. Our dad didn’t even text or call me or sister today. Not that I expected him to anyway.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  noname.
    #329563

    noname
    Participant

    I feel like I’m not going anywhere sometimes with my health, like there is no peace out there to be had. It all just feels so painfully repetitive. I feel broken is the best way I can describe it, or hopeless.

    #329569

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    Being in the presence of your mother is not a good thing for you. Because still, in this very present time, Christmas 2019, her message to you is still: “no one can ever understand or possibly be in more pain than I am”.

    So, you express to her that you are indeed in a lot of pain, enough pain be worthy of her attention: “crying alone for the past 3-4 hours… I can’t stop crying”. I know,  you are crying alone, but she is there with you in some form, her representative, and you are trying to show her that indeed your pain is great enough to be worthy of her respect and attention.

    She is very competitive this way: her pain has to be the greatest of anyone’s. And for as long as she believes this is the case.. your pain..  has no case.

    noname, really, there is nothing unusual about a man at any age, being still that boy who didn’t have his mother’s attention and love and craves it greatly. The boy in you wants his mother’s love (and father’s/ parental love). Others’ attention, love and appreciation doesn’t do it for you because (aware of it or not) the child in you is focused on just the one or two craved sources of love, his parents.

    Tell me more, how you feel, what you think. I want to read from you more.

    anita

    #329579

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    thank you for your reply and attention. Even here on this forum I feel guilty asking for attention over and over again, for still being in need of love, despite hundreds of replies, hundreds of therapy sessions, countless conversations with friends, at the end of it all I feel guilty and underserving. As if I should be okay to just go on living life without having an emotional crisis every week. It’s just that the pain is so much sometimes and I don’t know how to reach relief, I don’t know what to do to make myself feel better. I’ve given up on my parents cognitively at least, I think you hint frequently that emotionally feeling wise I have not, and this very well may be the case, even still if I did I feel as if I’d still be missing affection and unconditional love. A lot of times friends can’t be there for me, i can’t just call you anytime, I can’t live in my therapist’s office. I just want to feel like at the end of the day I don’t have to be alone with my pain forever, it’s making life brutal for me, and I would never end it myself, but sometimes I just can’t wait for the end if it means this pain will go away. I don’t want to think that way, I want to see the beauty in life. I feel like I’m constantly waiting on a catastrophe, I fear my car might give out one day even though I obsess over it and I don’t want to ask my dad to use his garage anymore because we don’t even talk regularly. Sometimes I just want the worst of life to come my way so I can get it over with, I want everything to go to shit so I can be forced to deal with it and not have to live in anxiety. I don’t know if I’m making sense I’m very emotional today and didn’t sleep very well.

    #329601

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    It is difficult, maybe impossible to think clearly when feeling very emotional and not having slept well. So better I don’t appeal to your thinking at this time. For today, is it possible for you to stay in bed for a couple of hours, your door closed, music playing, a hot cup of milk or cocoa perhaps?

    I wish you could stop thinking for the next couple of hours. It is very important, on days (and nights) like these, to not make things worse. And to have the modest expectation of making the day just a bit better.

    Keep posting to me, I will look for your posting more frequently at this point on, for the next few hours.

    anita

    #329619

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I am concerned about you. I am so sad that you feel so sad and hopeless. If only I could make a difference in how you feel. If only I had that power. If I had this kind of power, you will be happy today, rising through and above this misery, feeling light and full of that good energy, what I refer to as the calling-of-the wild, eager to experience life, the unknown.

    I will soon be away from the computer for an hour or so. Please let me know how you’re doing, will you???

    anita

    #329647

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    i am ok, I drove back home today because I have a full day of clients to see tomorrow. I went to the skatepark for a couple hours, and it really helps distract me and keep me present. I’m so grateful for skateboarding, it gives me something to look forward to. My least favorite part is having to leave, Knowing that I’m going home to be alone with my emotional pain again.

    i don’t want you to be concerned for me. I will live. I’m just not sure it will ever not feel like a drag. I want so desperately to be held, and seen or heard, but I don’t know how get these things, I try and will continue to try it just hurts running into so much failure in relationships with people and is very discouraging and confusing. It is difficult without good support. I’m glad I have this forum and my therapist, unfortunately that feels like about all the support I really have these days. My roommate won’t pay me any real attention she just wants to fix me, my sister doesn’t understand, my other friends are flaky and generally unavailable, so when I’m sad I’m the only witness, I just wish for someone else to see me so I don’t feel so alone.

    #329653

    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    So glad to read from you this evening. I hope sleep better tonight.

    You wrote: “My roommate won’t pay me any real attention she just wants to fix me, my sister doesn’t understand… when I’m sad I’m the only witness”-

    -when you have the time, let me know what I can do different from what I have been doing, so to pay better attention to you, to understand you better, to witness your sadness better and perhaps to not try to fix you..?

    Good night, and may tomorrow be a better day for you!

    anita

    #329831

    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    thank you for your reply and genuinely wanting to help. I’m not sure you can do anything other than what you have been for me. It’s very comforting to know that you will always respond to me when your able to, something I’ve not always had in my life and I’m very grateful for. I don’t know there’s anything anyone can do for me honestly. It seems nothing is ever what I need, maybe I still don’t let people help me, maybe I’m still not vulnerable enough in my life, I’m so lost and confused right now, don’t know where to go to find what I need. I find myself fresh out of ideas, I won’t stop trying though, I think I just need strength to continue trying, I’ve always been successful at whatever I do despite failed attempts as long as I keep trying, sometimes I just get tired and burnt out and lose hope. I know I am lovable I just have to keep trying to find the places and people where it’s at, and stop looking where it’s not. The search is exhausting and even if I do find the kind of love and belonging I’m looking for there’s no guarantee it will be there for me my entire life. I want to attach to something secure, I want something to hold onto to feel safe in this scary world, but there is nothing permanent as bad as I want there to be, I forget that often. So all I can do is keep trying when love is not present  and be grateful when it is.

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