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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #377375
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    Good to read back from you. After reading your recent post, I decided to do what I often do, go back to your past posts and see if there is something new for me to see. I read a bit of what you submitted every month, beginning with March 2017, just over four years ago. In the following I will be typing out just a bit, a very small part of what you shared through the months and years, using your words, but with fewer quotes than I usually add, so to make the reading more fluid. Please read the following when you feel okay to be reading this patiently.

    March 2017:  you shared that your mother was very depressed and your father had anger issues. When you were 8-year-old, he told you that your job (and your sister’s job) was to keep your mother happy.

    April 2017: you shared that you were feeling burned out with life and very lonely, and that depression was creeping in again. You noticed children’s mannerisms, their natural curiosity and genuine emotional expressions, and how you, unlike them, were completely spent and forcing yourself through life.

    June 2017: you shared that to get close to a woman was the scariest thing in your life, that it brings up in you feelings of worthlessness and makes you feel hopeless with any amount of rejection. You shared that you were very angry with yourself, and that you have a long history of being very angry with yourself.

    In July 2017: you shared that you were so desperate for love, “and the hope is what hurts the most”. As a child, you didn’t feel and receive love. You felt then and since the overwhelming need for love. You talked to your mother at the time (July 2017), told her that you “didn’t feel the love as a child, and still have trouble feeling it”. Her response: “She cried a little bit, but admitted that she knew this was true and regretted leaving me alone so much as a kid, and not  hugging or showing affection towards me and my sister.. it’s clear to her how sad I was. She admitted (that) her and my father being inaccessible and unresponsive to my emotional needs as a child”.

    August 2017: you shared that your need for love was immediate and overwhelming, too tall of an order to be filled by anyone, and that you were “so sick of just living with hopes that tomorrow might be the day” that you will be loved.

    September 2017: you shared that your depression was worsening mostly because of life circumstances beyond your control- your car engine broke, your bike was stolen, and your roommate was to move out at the end of the month, while you were not able to pay the rent on your own. You “never felt cared for” by your parents (italicizing the word felt), and that their lack of love has been the source of your depression.

    October 2017: you shared that unlike your coworkers, classmates, everyone around you, you were the one who “consistently ends up lonely”, that you didn’t know how long you can “continue living without feeling love”, that you needed a hug badly, haven’t been held  in over a year. You shared that you have a strong desire to be with people, but when you are with people, you “withdraw pretty hard or just straight up leave to go be by myself”. You reflected that you were in a healthier state of mind when “life was slow, not too many obligations”.

    February 2018: you shared that the pain you felt was always lingering, even when you had a good week and when you made progress, that the voice in your head telling you that you were unlovable was very, very loud, and it made you want to “keep away from people”.

    June 2018 (the original post of this thread): you shared that no matter what, you still get chronically depressed, and your goal was to look  for a way to “accept the underlying lonely pain that persists no matter what I do… that I’m just going to be sad on a regular basis”, or as you put it in the title of your thread, “Being better at accepting depression”.

    July 2018: you shared that you were envious of couples you see everywhere, couples that were enjoying each other’s company.

    August 2018: you shared that you felt well the weekend before, so you decided to go back on a dating app, but you were “very uncomfortable with the idea of being in need of love or (in need of) another person”, that you were angry at women who treated you disrespectfully, that you pretend that you don’t need women. Regarding your hope to be loved, you wrote: “It hurts me to have hope”.

    September 2018: you shared that you find yourself slipping back into depression for no particular reason, feeling disconnected from people again, that you were not getting what you needed from friends, that a friend you were seeing the most didn’t ask you questions about your life.

    October 2018: you shared that you cried a lot thinking about a woman you met in the Fall of the year before, who ended up lying and cheating on you. You felt upset with yourself for “still missing her and wanting to care for her”. You also shared that a month or two before, you felt really good about yourself for 2-3 weeks, “feeling, believing, and acting as if I was a good person”. You then you “tried to start be more  outgoing and dating again”, and (as a result), that really good feeling about yourself faded.

    November 2018: you shared that you went through cycles of feeling extroverted and confident, wanting to  invite everyone you meet to your house to hangout, but like clockwork, you got depressed, cut yourself off from people and wouldn’t leave your house.

    December 2018: you shared that you were nearing your breaking point again, that two weeks before, you stayed in the house and talked to no one for an entire week, that you go through chronic depressive episodes, recover for about a week, and then restart your downward spiral. You were feeling more and more hopeless every day. The only thing that made you feel worthy was “love or admiration from other people”.

    January 2019: you shared that you were grateful to be back to your apartment after spending two weeks around your family, that you saw yourself as needy, that the feeling of being needy was closely tied to your feelings of being worthless and unlovable in platonic and in romantic relationships. You were feeling “the very specific urge to cut myself which hasn’t happened in almost a year”.

    February 2019: you shared that in the past couple of months, you’ve been “feeling more balanced, grateful, worthy, confident, and self loving”, and that your depression was much more manageable.

    May 2019: you shared that you graduated and hopefully, would be starting a new job by the end of the month, that you were on extremely thin ice financially, that asking for help or for love “always felt like a losing battle”, that you were the only single person out of all your friends, and that you felt that there must be something unlovable about you.

    June 2019: you shared that you were providing therapy for  people while feeling worthless yourself, that you didn’t know where or how to find your value and how to let go  of your pain, that getting close to people felt scary, that you felt separation anxiety from people even if you just met them, that the separation anxiety you felt as an adult, you “used to have as a child most of my waking hours”, and that (as an adult) you seek connection, but when you get close to someone, you try to run away.

    November 2019: you shared that the August before, you moved out of your sister’s house, and were living with a roommate, that you realized that you were far more emotionally mature than you thought you were, that you have done the work most people don’t do, and that you were scared that you will not find secure attachment with anyone because so many people are so wounded and lost in the world, including yourself. You shared that you were so desperate to feel loved that you would “accept almost anything someone promised me, no matter how foolish”, and that you hated yourself for that.

    December 2019: you shared that you had a very difficult week, that you missed two days of work, that you felt terribly unmotivated, that you were “overwhelmed by hopelessness and loneliness”. You shared this: “when I was cutting, I would cut when I felt dead.. cutting reminded me I was alive”. You shared that you desperately wanted “to be held, and seen or heard, but I don’t know how to get these things”.

    January 2020: you shared that you were angry at your parents for leaving you alone often, that one time, you were left for 2-3 hours at the bus stop when you were in grade school, waiting for your father to pick you up, that your mother was there physically, but not emotionally. You wrote: “My parents have lip service to love though I did not experience what it actually felt like”.

    February 2020:  you wrote: “I am generally uncomfortable being emotionally & physically intimate with people”. You shared that you went to your sister the day before. While you were talking to your sister, your mother continually interrupted you. You ignored her and continued to talk to your sister. You then talked to your brother in law. Your mother interrupted you again. You sighed and rolled your eyes. Your mother then screamed: “You’re always so F*** ing disrespectful!” and went upstairs to her room for the rest of the day. The morning after, she texted you: “I’m not sure why you continue to have an issue with me… I don’t deserve that from my child… I’m worthy of your respect”.

    March 2020: you shared: “my mother preaches forgiveness yet won’t ever forgive me… I don’t feel guilty for not talking to my mom, because it would somehow turn into a conversation about what I’m doing wrong in the relationship, there is never an end to those types of conversations unless me or my sister admit we were wrong… the conversation is always criticism of what I’m doing to hurt her and never about the abundance of things I’ve done right… 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”.

    December 2020: you shared that you didn’t talk to your mother since March, for about five months, (but your sister at the time was pleading with you to unblock your mother on your phone).

    January 2021: you shared that you felt more hopeless than you felt in a few years, that you saw nothing but isolation, that you were able to survive, but surviving seemed hopeless.

    Today, April 8, 2021: you shared that you are very stressed with financial survival worries, living paycheck to paycheck, that you will be 29 this month and “have nothing to show for it”, that you had a couple of dates with a woman last month. She asked you if you were doing okay. The question caught you off guard, and you broke down in tears.

    My thoughts today: I think that the following did not occur to me until today: I re-read today (and remember having read it repeatedly before), that in July 2017, you had a particular conversation with your mother, where you told her that you did not feel loved as a child, and she validated your experience, telling you that indeed she left you alone a lot, didn’t hug you or show you affection, etc., and that she regretted it, crying. You later shared that she attended therapy, so I was somewhat under the impression that she was no longer the way she was before, when you were a child.

    But 2.5 years later, in February 2020, there was no evidence at all of her Feb 2017 impressive understanding, validation and regret, or of any therapy she attended: (1) when  you were a child she talked a lot about herself, fast forward, in Feb 2020, she repeatedly interrupted you, (2) the mother who was regretful for neglecting her boy throughout his childhood and beyond, screamed at same boy for being disrespectful to her in Feb 2020, (3) the mother who left her boy alone, disappearing into her room, behind closed doors for hours, did the same thing Feb 2020,  disappearing into her room for the rest of the day, (4) the morning after, she texted you: “I’m not sure why you continue to have an issue with me.. I don’t deserve that from my child”- as if she did not admit of the very serious emotional neglect issue she admitted to 2.5 years earlier.

    And then, in March 2020, you shared that she repeatedly criticized what you were doing “to hurt her”, complaining about how you were allegedly mistreating her, pointing to what you were allegedly doing wrong, wouldn’t stop talking until you admitted that you were wrong.. I don’t remember noticing this before, that she massively guilt-tripped you when you were a child, and still, as an adult.

    Now I understand, after all this time, how destructive she has been in your life, not only when you were a child, but still, at least true to a year ago. You wrote in March 2020: “my mother preaches forgiveness yet won’t ever forgive me”- no wonder you have hated yourself all these years: she has wronged you, yet she insists that you wronged her and.. somehow you.. think (and/ or she thinks)  that she needs to forgive you.

    I am guessing that your mother’s impressive performance in July 2017, was just that.. a performance, or as you called it perhaps, lip service (“My parents have lip service to love though I did not experience what it actually felt like”, January 2020).

    I am sorry, noname, I don’t think  I realized this before. If you read this far, take your time and reply to me when you feel like it, when it is okay for you to reply. And when you do, we’ll take it from here.

    anita

     

    #377383
    noname
    Participant

    Anita,

    I’m always shocked at how much work you put into your posts. I am shocked that anyone would take that much time out of their day to focus on me in such detail. I truly appreciate it. To be honest I don’t post here as often anymore because i feel like you work harder than i do on my own problems and that makes me feel guilty that i have made such little progress with myself in the years i have posted here. However i am very grateful you give me and others who post here that level of attention.

    It’s hard for me to read through these post’s sometimes knowing i come back here with the same problems time after time and seem to go nowhere with it. My lack of progress is making me feel hopeless.

    I understand my mom did a poor job of loving me. Believe me when i  say im not waiting up for it either. I don’t know if it’s really doing me any good giving my attention to that relationship anymore. Not saying she and my father didn’t have a profoundly negative impact on my self worth, i just don’t know what to do with the information that my parents loved me conditionally anymore.

    I really would just like to get my needs met at this point and it feels hopeless after putting so much effort year after year. i mean maybe im not trying my best i dont know.

    #377385
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome and thank you for your appreciation. I did the hours long work today on your threads because you are worth it!

    I wouldn’t come back to your mother if I didn’t think that you can get un-stuck if you understand something about her that you did not understand before. What I am suspecting today, that I did not suspect before, is that your mother did not only neglect you emotionally, but that she is actively dishonest with you, meaning, she puts on a show: that time when she appeared validating and empathetic to you (July 2017), and at many other times, I am guessing.

    This will explain why an intelligent, educated, persevering, amazing person like yourself is indeed stuck. Again, it’s not her failure to be attentive and affectionate to you, that keeps you stuck, but her (then and ever since), ongoing pretenses and her lies, is what I am thinking at this point.

    anita

     

    #377489
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    In your previous thread, “How to FEEL love?”, on July 29, 2017, you shared that you told your mother that you didn’t feel loved as a child, and she admitted that indeed it was true: she didn’t show you affection, left you alone a whole lot and so on.

    “After this conversation”, you wrote back in July 29, 2017,  “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.. I finally have the permission to stop blaming myself, and to really begin to love myself through empathy.. It finally feels like it’s not all my fault”.

    Later on, in March 2020, you shared that conversations with her were “always criticism of what I’m doing to hurt her and never about the abundance of things I’ve done right… 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”.

    Those conversations did not start in March 2020, but way closer to March 2017. The relief you felt following the March 2017 conversation did not last long because she did not change her behavior, she kept blaming you and guilt- tripping you after allegedly taking responsibility for hurting you throughout your childhood. Her alleged admission of Feb 2017 served only to confuse you and delay your healing.

    Her words and that bit of crying in Feb 2017 was not significant enough in her mind and heart, to motivate her to change her misbehavior toward you. To me, this means that she was not sincere back then or since. Your ongoing contact with her keeps hurting you because you are dealing again and again, and yet again, with an insincere woman who doesn’t really care for you or about you, not enough to stop hurting you. Every time you communicate with this woman, you are hurting yourself more.

    True, ending contact with her is far from being a magical solution, but it has to be a beginning. Also, you can’t see yourself as you truly are before you see her as she truly is. The truth shall set you free from sickness based on.. false thinking and false beliefs.

    Backing away from the topic of your mother, regarding hope and depression: you keep comparing yourself unfavorably to other people. When I was most depressed and comparing myself unfavorably to everyone else, at one point, I let go of hoping to have a better life/ to catch up to others. Once I gave up the hope, my life didn’t improve as a result, but I felt much better. It was a great relief.

    Connected to this, a certain story made an impression on me at the time: someone asked, how do you free yourself from a jail cell? The answer was something like, stop wanting/ hoping to get out. For a person in a jail cell, the desire and hope to get out of the cell is a source of suffering. Once a person accepts an unfavorable circumstance, the torture lessens a whole lot.

    I hope you are okay, noname. And this hope is not causing me suffering. It makes me smile as I imagine you smiling, carefree, if only for a moment.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by anita.
    #377599
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you Anita,

    Believe me I’ve given up hope, the suffering is the frustration i feel at attempting to get my needs met and failing over and over. Maybe that is me hoping for a life where i dont cry myself to sleep, and wake up screaming at myself to get out of bed. I canceled my day today and just feel overwhelmed with work, and the fact that it feels hopeless for me to have any outlet for my grief.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by noname.
    #377605
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. If you gave up hope, you wouldn’t be crying every night and waking up screaming at yourself. You would be calmer at night and calmer in the morning.

    What are you screaming at yourself about in the mornings???

    anita

    #377611
    noname
    Participant

    Im stressed and dont feel like i cant handle all the responsibilities in my life by myself. Im screaming because i know i need to get up and show up for people but my whole body is telling me i need to rest and regroup and i feel an intense sadness of having no one to support me in my loneliness. Its hard to put into words but the feeling tells me i need love and to be told im doing a good job. I guess i feel like im unlovable, unworthy, and just failing  to wake up everyday and do the 9-5 thing right

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by noname.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by noname.
    #377618
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are doing a good job, best you can. You are lovable. You are worthy of appreciation and love. I mean it!

    anita

     

    #377628
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear noname,

    I believe there are two ways you could feel loved: 1) one is by giving love to your inner child (being the compassionate parent to your wounded inner child), and 2) if No1 isn’t working because you’re unable to give any love to yourself whatsoever and cannot be a loving parent to your inner child, you could ask God to fill you with love.

    Are you religious, noname? Pleading God to fill me with his love is what helped me to get that first “dose” of love and nurturance, which filled my heart and allowed me to start loving myself, little by little. Opening myself to the love of divine parents is what helped me cross that bridge to loving myself.

    #377648
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for your responses. I’m not religious. I gravitate towards the Buddhist philosophy if anything…

    I’m pretty sure I’m just reaching a breaking point with my lifestyle. I feel the need for another, not necessarily a partner just another person or people to hold space for my grief. The isolation is my biggest enemy. And I’m tired of being told it’s my fault I feel this way, i just need to change my perspective or do this or that. There is nothing more I can do.

     

    #377652
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. It hurts me to read how badly terribly lonely life has been for you, for so long.

    “I’m tired of being told it’s my fault I feel this way”- who is telling you this?

    anita

     

    #377654
    anita
    Participant

    It is almost 10:30 pm your time. I hope you have a restful night, that you know some peace of mind. Good night, noname. Please post when you can.

    anita

    #377668
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear noname,

    I feel the need for another, not necessarily a partner just another person or people to hold space for my grief. The isolation is my biggest enemy. And I’m tired of being told it’s my fault I feel this way, i just need to change my perspective or do this or that.

    When we’ve been so emotionally deprived as children, as you have been, we get stuck and identify completely with our wounded inner child, and it feels really difficult to get out of it. It’s like trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. The wounded child needs a compassionate adult to help it process its hurt and get unstuck. This compassionate adult is often a therapist, who can offer mirroring, compassion and understanding to the person, and help the person grieve their losses – everything they haven’t received from their parents and all the pain they had to live through.

    With the help of a therapist, you’ll learn how to slowly disidentify from your wounded inner child and see also the adult side in you, the side which is capable of e.g. helping others compassionately, like you are capable of. So strengthening your adult self – which is present but weak – would be very important, and then bringing the adult self into interaction with your wounded inner child, to give it the missing experience of being loved and cared for. That I see as a plausible way to healing.

    Do you have a therapist with whom you can do the inner child work?

    #377681
    noname
    Participant

    Hey teak,

    i hear you I do have a therapist and I am a therapist. I coach people down the exact path you and Anita are both laying out here I.e. cultivating the nurturing adult to care for the wounded child. I have seen it work on my clients and myself…

    I’m facing a complicated situation with my problems as I see it. I’ll try to explain as clear as I can.

    Being a black therapist in a city where there are less than 5 (male) total means that I am easily identifiable. Why is this a problem for me? I want the same protection of anonymity that people get from their AA or NA groups, but in reality there’s a high likelihood I could see a client which could lead to me being reported for using cannabis or whatever else I do that doesn’t fit the mold of how a therapist “should” act. I’m sure you might be thinking that is an unlikely scenario but my whole life has been unlikely. All that to say I have limited options for support groups if any at all I’m looking for something right now…my emotional health was probably at its peak before I went to grad school and was in a men’s group for about 6 months. The reason being I knew I had support at least once a week I could count on and I didn’t have the pressure of worrying about my livelihood being threatened by by being vulnerable. This is really a huge issue for me, the answers to my problems are really simple: get support+be vulnerable=a stronger inner compassionate adult to care for my woundedness. Execution In reality it’s way more complicated than that for me because of my profession and my race. I’m not trying to be like oh poor me blah blah blah, but seriously I’m not sure people understand how perfect I have had to be to fucking survive in America. (Pardon the language but I’m tired of being told my worries are invalid)

     

     

    #377684
    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    I’m not explicitly told it’s my fault but it is implied. When I attempt to vent to my roommate she frequently cuts me off and offers suggestions which I hear as “your wounds are invalid and is your fault, if you just thought these thoughts or did this self care thing you wouldn’t feel that way” this is the response I get often from friends, and my supervisor. My therapist is probably the only person who actually hears me (validates) then offers suggestions after making sure I feel understood. Most people don’t listen very well they want to fix. I used to get caught in this trap being from a math/science/mechanics kind of mindstate where all problems can be fixed and have concrete solutions. Not saying they’re aren’t concrete solutions to people problems, just that the process is not as simple as replacing a component or adjusting a chemical in my brain, been there done that. People need compassion, especially highly self critical people like myself. It’s so rare for someone to listen without offering up their egotistical self-help style advice. That’s all my heart wants is to be validated again not told it’s my fault for being wounded. I’m also not trying to absolve myself of responsibility if anything I probably place too much of the blame of myself already

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