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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #338708
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome.

    My input on first topic: “I find myself judging her for her mistakes.. women I want to be intimate with I find myself judging them for their past even if they are more self-aware and a completely different person now. It makes me feel hypocritical”-

    – in the core of this judgment is your judgment of.. you: “My inner child is so noisy and still requires very much attention”, you wrote today. You judged what your inner child has to say as noise, and you judged your inner child as requiring attention that he does not deserve. Your judgment of your inner child is wrong: what he has to say is not noise, not if you listen to him. And he doesn’t require any more attention than what he deserves. The reason that the attention you paid him is not enough is because it was never an empathetic, gentle attention!

    You still don’t know your inner child, the person that you were (and are) well enough. Aim at getting to know yourself in a different way, in a way that places this child that you were/ are as the most important person in your life, a person born good but not treated good. Fast forward, he needs you to treat him differently from how he was treated.

    He was noise to your mother growing up (when he made a noise), he was noise to your father… he needs to not be noise to you!

    Now back to women you were intimately involved with, this woman particularly- the reason you judge them but not your clients is the intimacy issue, the women activate your judgment because they feel too close to you. The judgment of a parent activates self judgment-> self judgment activates woman judgment.

    Prepare counter thoughts to focus on when you feel that judgment for the woman in your life, relax into those thoughts, and place empathetic, gentle attention on your inner child, listen to him, listen to the simple sentences he has to say to you.

    My input on the second topic (I read the part of your post on the second topic after typing the above): in the first paragraph of your post, you wrote: “I find it difficult to see myself sometimes, had someone come to me with this same issue it would have been easy for me to identify”- it is easy for me to identify that your decision to have no contact with your mother is the right choice for you, and long, long overdue. For now, you can see it yourself and you felt relief having made this decision. But too soon (has it already happened?), you will feel guilty about it, and you are likely to find reasons to contact her again. When that happens, it will be easy for me to identify that you shouldn’t reconnect, but you will have a difficulty seeing that yourself.

    In that same first paragraph, you wrote: “I am an adult yet my inner child is so noisy”- your inner child wants you to see him as he is, a good child. But you can’t see him this way for as long as you don’t see your mother as she is. She is selfish and unloving, dishonest and not a good person.

    Your inner child is mixed with your misunderstanding of your mother. There is a mix between the two, and her part of the mix is what gets projected into the women in your life. You have to separate you (your inner child, you in the beginning) from her. A no contact is only the beginning, but a necessary beginning.

    You have to go back in time and give her the Bad that belongs to her, so to see your inner child as the Good that he is.

    Don’t let the (unjustified) guilt draw you into the swamp of depression where you spent so much of your life in. If you make this separation happen, you will not have to aim at “being better at accepting depression” (the title of your thread), you will be able to not be depressed.

    anita

    #342626
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for your response.

    I had read and processed it at the time you wrote it. Since then me and the woman i was seeing decided not to be romantically involved anymore. It was a healthy break which i learned from. We had a discussion and she basically wanted to be my girlfriend and I wanted to keep seeing her casually as we had only known eachother for a month. She knew exactly what she wanted and i applauded her for that and I had to be humble enough to admit i did not, even though i thought i did. I realized there is fear of intimacy present for me. At the core of it i believe is i’m most afraid of having a responsibility towards another person. The responsibility is that to love myself unconditionally, i.e. i’d have to give up impulsive pleasures and rewards for a greater, yet less thrilling, though more fulfilling pleasure of being vulnerable again with another human being. At the moment i do have responsibility towards other people, my clients in particular, i must be prepared to hold their emotions, for some reason having that responsibility towards a girlfriend seems scary to me right now in that i believe i may hurt them because of my lack of emotional availability at times. I feel the need to be alone frequently after work.

    In other news, i still haven’t spoke with my mother and i don’t really intend to. I’m tired of the merry go round. My sister told me she believes I have mistreated my mother over the past few years as well. She doesn’t empathize very well with me about keeping boundaries with my parents. She gets her need to be needed filled from them, my mother especially and she admitted to this. So at this point i feel I may have to avoid going back home altogether and my sister will just have to come and see me for a change instead. It seems no one is okay with me being firm with my boundaries and as you’ve said in the past all the empathy is reserved for my mother. If i were to have this conversation with my sister there will always be something like “you need to forgive them” my mother preaches forgiveness yet wont every forgive me. This situation sucks but i know it’s better for me if I don’t ever go back to my sisters house while my mom is present. The thing is i don’t feel guilty for not talking to my mom, because it would somehow turn into a conversation about what im doing wrong in the relationship, there is never an end to those types of conversations unless me or my sister admits we were wrong. But at this point i refuse, of course i’m not perfect, and i have responded out of anger, suppressed anger specifically, and it is a parents job to hold their children’s emotions, and empathize with them, instead my emotions have always been met with criticism and im too tired to keep up that pattern.

    Thank you for everything Anita, i’m so grateful to have such an empathetic person to bounce things off without judgement. d

    #342652
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    A month is a very short time, too short to make a serious relationship commitment. I am all for a man and a woman getting to know each other gradually, over time, and in different contexts, before making a heavy duty relationship commitment.

    Regarding your sister- I recommend that she visits you by herself, that you see her without your mother there, and that you and her agree to not discuss your mother. Talk about other things, not about your mother, and maybe even better, don’t talk about your parents at all. Your inner child doesn’t need another advocate for your mother owning your empathy. Your child needs an advocate for him, for empathy being with him, for a change!

    You wrote to me: “I’m so grateful to have such an empathetic person to bounce  things off without judgment”- you are welcome. I want to point out that I am judgmental here: I judge your mother plenty. In the context of you and your mother, I judge you as innocent of all of her (and your sister’s) accusations and complaints, and I judge your mother guilty. If your mother somehow appeared on this thread, I would tell her this myself.

    anita

     

    #344666
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I am wondering how you are feeling and doing these days, in this ongoing pandemic, it wasn’t a pandemic when we last communicated. I hope you are keeping yourself as safe as possible.

    anita

    #345502
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thanks so much for checking on me. How are you doing with all this??

    I have been up and down this past week. My discomfort with anxiety has been evident. I have been doing therapy with clients over video chat. I also started a job 1 day a week working in a foster care facility. I am so grateful to be employed right now as so many people i know have lost their jobs overnight.

    My sister text me last weekend pleading to unblock my mom and talk with her. I said okay but i still haven’t done it. My mom was in the hospital yesterday with kidney stones but shes okay now. I felt shame for not checking on her but i’m also just very tired of communicating with her, the conversation is always criticism of what i’m doing to hurt her and never about the abundance of things i’ve done right. My mom couldn’t have asked for two better children, yet she is always complaining about us and how we treat her. I’m sick of it and don’t feel like defending myself anymore against her opinions of me, because i frankly don’t have the capacity to care that much right now. I’m much more focused on keeping myself from spiraling into a deep depression.

    My therapist pointed out to me the discomfort i feel with the tension of anxiety. I have probably said this before on here but sometimes i just want my life to go ahead and crash completely so i can just deal with it. Waiting around to see whats going to happen always feels worse than when the worst actually comes for me. Right now i have two months of savings, something i am extremely grateful for. Though it still makes me very anxious if it will be enough to keep me from being evicted if i cant keep cash flowing in. I should be okay, but again the anxiety is probably worse than the actual event, much like we’ve seen these past couple weeks with the panic vs. the actual virus in society at large. The anxiety itself seems to be the enemy. My therapist suggested i use this as opportunity to just be, be with the anxiety, and to be unproductive. Being productive has always been my coping mechanism (or achievement) , and these circumstances have forced me to be unproductive. When i’m working i feel as if im doing something to fend off the worry, as business has slowed to a trickle for me this week it has been difficult for me to stay calm without just becoming all out depressed.

    This whole situation has raised some awareness in me however, its shown me how disconnected we are from the earth, and meeting our own basic needs like food and shelter. It is clear to me I am far too dependent on the system to meet my basic needs and to meet the needs of others. This disconnection has highlighted why there is so much despair within me and the world around me. I want a small affordable home with a yard where i can grow food and raise chickens or somethings, i want a community where people are interdependent on eachother for our physical and emotional well being. I want to live more humanely. This is where the dissatisfaction in my life has it’s roots i have discovered.

    #345510
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    So very good to read from you! I am fine, thank you for asking, I will elaborate later in this post. For now I want to respond to a few things you brought up:

    1. “My sister text me last weekend pleading to unblock my mom and talk with her”- I am so sorry to read this. I am sure she is not intending to do her part to hurt you/ prevent you from getting better, but that is exactly what she is doing. I am asking you to keep your mother blocked; this is what I am doing, having no contact with my own mother (even though she is getting older, and there is a pandemic, and  my sister is living with her.

    This is what you don’t need:  “criticism of what I’m doing to hurt her… defending myself .. against her opinions of me”.

    2. “sometimes I just want my life to go ahead and crash completely.. waiting around to see what’s going to happen always feels worse”- what I found out more thoroughly during this pandemic is that we who grew up as children in scary home situations, keep being scared of the same that scared us back then. As adults, we move though different political leaders and situations, different economies, still fearing what we feared as children. If you read through your posts before this pandemic, you can clearly see that you were no less afraid before the pandemic than you are now.

    We keep feeling scared of something that is not a real-and-present-dangerfor us anymore (ex: your mother criticizing you; my mother blaming me for causing her so much hurt by my alleged wrongdoings).

    What I found out during this pandemic, a first time situation in my lifetime, is that the fear I felt about the pandemic itself, the economic consequences, is amazingly lesser in intense than the fear I felt for decades previously.. during good economic times, with no epidemics on my mind!

    “You mentioned your basic needs in the last portion of your post, referring to your need for food, and other material goods.  One very crucial need that you have is to no longer suffer as you do. There is no way to accomplish this in life other than to no longer be afraid/ anxious about the same-old-same-old that scared you as a child.

    “I want a community where people are interdependent on each other for our physical and emotional well being”- this is exactly what you did not have as a child,  this kind of home-community. Exit the home community that you did have, and you will find your way to the community that you want.

    “I want a community.. This is where the dissatisfaction in my life has its roots I have discovered”- having had the home situation/ community that you did have is indeed where the roots of your lifetime dissatisfaction are to be found, and those roots should be uprooted, meaning, leave that home of origin in each and every way.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by anita.
    #370565
    noname
    Participant

    Good morning Anita,

    I hope you are doing well! I want to start by saying thank you for the support you have provided me over what has been years now, whether you know it or not you have been incredibly helpful for my growth.

    It’s been a while since i’ve posted here so ill just catch you up a bit…Me and my roommate had covid, i was completely fine with no symptoms and she was okay as well. I felt very relieved to get it over with.

    Since march i quit talking to my mom for about 5 months, my non-communication began causing problems for my sister in her household. My sister finally understood what i’ve been trying to communicate to her for a few years now which is, our mom is too dependent on us for her emotional well being. Because of my non-communication my mom began going to therapy and is still in it. I have seen her twice this year, and its easier than ever to detach from her emotionally, thanks to alot of the work we’ve done here and with my therapist.

    I talked with my dad in person for the first time in a year over thanksgiving, and it was exactly what i expected. He talked about himself and didn’t really ask how i was until my uncle called him on the phone in the middle of our interaction and asked how i was. Since march I have reached an acceptance on an emotional level i haven’t before that for the rest of my life my parents will never be what i need them to be.

    Where I’m at now after doing some reflecting this morning is this…I notice that emotional safety needs are whats keeping me from being my best self. I don’t know where to find emotional safety in other people or myself. When im scared and dont feel emotionally safe is when my negative core beliefs are activated (i.e. im worthless, unlovable, etc) This is also when suicidal ideation comes up for me, telling me i need to find safety.

    When i feel emotionally safe whether that’s connecting with a good friend, or the rare moments when i have a healthy romantic relationship those beliefs are replaced with much healthier sounding beliefs, and i feel good about myself, and motivated to do more good in the world, reach out to people, be vulnerable, courageous, etc.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to exist feeling emotionally safe while alone? I have my roommate and she has been a great friend, but is not the best safe place as she gets into “fix it” mode with people when they come to her with feelings, and i just need to be seen & heard, so i’ve learned shes not the best place for that. I have my friend back in my hometown who always listens with patience but i dont get to see him that often anymore thanks to covid. I have a friend in the city i live now who i see about twice a month who is a good listener but i feel i need more than that. I still struggle with wondering if i even need to be looking outside myself for human connection at all.

    #370569
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I can’t believe it- you are back! I thought about you a few days ago, thinking that I will probably never read from you again! What a pleasant surprise, it feels like a Christmassy surprise, just in time for the holidays!

    You are welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation so generously, just as you have in the past. I am glad you and your roommate are okay, having had Covid, no symptoms. I did not have Covid as far as I know and am fine, thank you.

    Also good to read that you stopped/ limited contact with your parents and that you reached a new level of acceptance of the fact that for the rest of your life, your parents will never be what you needed them to be.

    In the last three paragraphs of your recent post (more than 8 months since your last post, March 26), you shared that your “emotional safety needs” are keeping you from being your best self. When you are scared/ feeling unsafe, your negative core beliefs of being worthless and unlovable get activated, as well as the suicidal ideation that accompany these core beliefs. When you feel safe within connection with people, friends or the rare healthy romantic relationships, you feel good about yourself and “motivated to do more good in the world, reach out to people, be vulnerable, courageous, etc.”

    You “need to be seen & heard”- your roommate is a great friend but gets into “fix it’ mode” instead of listening to you. You wanted to be seen and heard by her, not to be a fix-it project. Your friend from your hometown “always listens with patience” but you don’t get to see him often because of Covid. You have a local friend whom you see about twice a month who is also a good listener, but you need more than that.

    “I still struggle with wondering if I even need to be looking outside myself for human connection at all”-

    – I don’t believe that you are able to not look  outside yourself for human connection because you are human, a social animal. Unlike other animals we can think elaborately, using a huge vocabulary, but we are still just as socially needy as other social animals, we are born to look outside ourselves for human connection. And the very connection with others cause the release of feel-good chemicals in our brains.

    “I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how to exist feeling emotionally safe while alone?”-

    – yes, imagine that you are not alone; this is how I survived many years of loneliness, of being very much alone. I chose elaborate love stories that I played in my head, especially when listening to romantic songs. It gave me so much pleasure (those feel-good chemicals), pleasure that interrupted the otherwise painful depression. Maybe you can write a love story on the computer, bring it to life with your words… ?

    I am not suggesting that this is all you do- daydream, what I am saying that it is a way to get the feel-good chemicals going when alone.

    anita

     

    #370572
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for reminding me I am an animal. I think it’s interesting you brought up using imagination, something my therapist mentioned to me a few weeks ago. I find myself limiting possibilities of what my reality can be because of it, like how it is still hard for me to imagine being deserving of love. I also understand that as humans we can use our ability to focus our attention to create. As I was thinking some more this morning, i was asking myself how can i consciously create an internal feeling of love using my focus when i need it? Maybe some form of meditation can help with this…

    Through my personal work, and my job i notice i have developed a skill of listening. I do a really good job on picking up on other peoples needs without them saying much at all. Of course this skill of rapidly diagnosing and meeting the needs of other comes from my relationship with my parents. However, i’m not so great at seeing and meeting my own needs in the moment. Which sometimes means weeks long episodes of depression or severe social anxiety. I am trying to learn how to give to myself what i give to others.

    #370574
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. “I was thinking some more this morning, I was asking myself how can I consciously create an internal feeling of love.. Maybe some form of meditation can help with this”-

    – I recommend J. Mark G. Williams mindfulness meditations series, available online (I listened to one free of charge some time ago). He is a leading authority on mindfulness, a professor of clinical psychology and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

    You may also benefit from his book, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness.

    A quote from the book regarding meditations: “the combination of Western cognitive science and Eastern practices was just what is needed to break the cycle of recurrent depression”.

    Another quote from the book that I think you may be interested in: “depression forges a connection in the brain between sad mood and negative thoughts, so that even normal sadness can reawaken major negative thoughts“.

    Back to quoting you: “I’m not so great at seeing and meeting my own needs in the moment”- mindfulness practices, such as listening and participating in mindfulness meditations- will lead you, if you persist,  to seeing and meeting your own needs in-the-moment.

    anita

    #370576
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you i will look into those resources!

    #370609
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, noname. I will be thrilled to read from you again anytime you want to post again.

    anita

    #371661
    anita
    Participant

    Merry Christmas, noname!

    anita

    #372287
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    Merry Christmas and happy new year to you as well!

    I have ordered the book you recommended last post and will begin reading it soon, as I feel myself becoming more hopeless and depressed within the past week. The reason for depression feels pretty straightforward this time around; I am lonely and disconnected. The hopelessness feels familiar, it says to me “there is no relief from anxiety for you, ever. You will always be alone and even in the company of other people you are still alone”

    I feel like I’m at that point where i’ve tried everything to feel better, but thinking of the future tells me there is no point or reason to keep trying. Throughout my life I have proven to myself that i can suffer through anything if i have a good enough reason. I’m starting to become afraid because I haven’t felt this type of hopelessness in a few years. In the past i was a able to see or feel some glimmer of hope for my future, whether it was being in school, a friendship, or romance. However, right now i see nothing but isolation and it feels terrible to think that is my future, and is keeping me from getting out of bed in the mornings right now. The hardest part for me right now is feeling unsupported, knowing the suffering that awaits me if i do not work to support myself, which feels like a rat race i will never get ahead of.

    I’m scared if i do not find a reason for living and suffering to attach myself to what my life may become. I know you may not be able to give me a reason to keep suffering, and just so you know i promised myself I would never end things through my own actions, so i will keep suffering no matter what, but it would be such a relief if i had a better reason other than other people would be sad if i were dead.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by noname.
    #372296
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    Thank you!  You wrote today, Jan 6, 2021: “I’m starting to become afraid because I haven’t felt this type of hopelessness in a few years. In the past I was able to see or feel some glimmer of hope for my future.. However, right now I see nothing but isolation“-

    – our memories are not reliable, we forget: you wrote today that you didn’t feel this type of hopelessness in a few years, but about one year ago (not a few years ago), on December 26, 2019, you wrote about hopelessness, hope and isolation: “I feel alone, deeply alone with no foreseeable end to my pain.. I can’t stop crying.. I want to feel hope so badly.. I just want hope and I don’t know how to give it to myself… I feel broken and lost.. I feel broken is the best way I can describe it, or hopeless.”

    It may be, noname, that the reason you feel more hopeless at this time of the year, shortly after Christmas, is that you spent time with your family during the holidays. Let’s look at how spending time with your family during Christmas (and during one Mother’s Day) makes you feel:

    October 24, 2017, before Christmas: “This gives me hope and some clarity as to what I need to be doing for myself right now”.

    Feb 11, 2018, after Christmas: “Life never ceases to be difficult… the pain is always lingering.. I feel unattractive, worthless, and unlovable.. I feel broken”.

    December 24, 2018, Christmas with your parents and sister: “Just being in my dad’s presence makes me anxious and angry, when I look at him I see all of the pain he’s caused me… there’s no room for me and my feelings with my dad… I became depressed upon arriving at my sister’s house last week”.

    January 8, 2019, about 2 weeks after Christmas: “Being around my family for 2 weeks… I smoked, drank & cried the rest of the night.. I’m so lost right now, I want some relief but can’t find it anywhere” .

    January 31, 2019, about a month after Christmas: “I’ve been doing well the past couple of weeks… I’m doing good. I feel loved and motivated”.

    February 26, 2019, a couple of months after Christmas: “I have been feeling more balanced, grateful, worthy, confident, and self loving for the past couple months. My depression has gotten so much more manageable. I’ve been tracking my mood closely. In January I spent 4 days depressed, this month I’ve only spent 2 days depressed”.

    May 13, 2019, four days after Mother’s Day: “I have been doing well since last post with the exception of a recent depression… I’m seriously considering not talking to my parents at all for good… I came home for Mother’s Day.. my mom was threatening to drive the van into his house, and I grabbed her…”

    December 10, 2019, before Christmas: “I’ve finally reached the point where I feel no contact with my parents is here. Aside from thanksgiving & Christmas… I see it clearly now, especially noting how triggered I become around my mom especially, and how selfish she is general”.

    December 26, 2019, Christmas with your parents and sister : “It is 3 am I have been crying alone for the past 3-4 hours… I feel alone, deeply alone with no foreseeable end to the pain… I want to feel hope so badly.. I can’t feel love, I feel broken and lost.. 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 feel broken.. or hopeless”.

    January 15, 2020, 2-3 weeks after Christmas: “I’m doing well… I feel peaceful”.

    I understand that are other factors affecting how you felt at this time and that time, but according to your own words, being around your family trigger you, causing you to feel hopeless and depressed. Once away from your family- you recover. Back to spending time with your family- you regress.

    Elsewhere, you shared: “growing up my mom was very depressed and my dad had anger issues.. The majority of my childhood was spent in isolation”- this childhood experience gets triggered every holiday when you spend time with your family: you re-experience her depression, his anger, and your isolation.

    anita

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