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Being better at accepting depression

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  • #388959
    noname
    Participant

    Anita

    okay thank you for the reassurance. Sometimes I don’t know if fully experiencing my emotions is helpful because I haven’t been doing it most of my life. Like you say it matters what part of me is holding that experience for me. The approach I have been taking has been to try to step into the nurturing parent role within myself and console my wounded child. Sometimes that means I end up going deeper into a feeling, I may cry harder., which usually starts when I try to be compassionate towards my pain. In the past I would shut it off more quickly with an immature parent part of myself, which helps me function and get work done, until it all becomes too much and I can’t ignore the pain anymore. So I appreciate you letting me know I’m on the path.

    it is difficult to find people who are willing to talk about this kind of stuff. My friends are great but most are not doing their inner work, or when I do bring up this kind of thing to people it can be over their heads and they don’t understand where I’m coming from. It makes me feel isolated often.

    I’ve been doing Dopamine fasting the past week, basically giving up all addictions for a week (porn, sex, alcohol, internet, tv, video games) and I didn’t realize how much I have been relying on distractions to regulate feelings of  loneliness, low self esteem, and meaninglessness in my life. I’m very motivated to make some changes in my life right now. I feel like I need to grow because I’ve felt stuck for the past couple years. One of the things that bothers me the most, is my avoidant personality. I must look/seem inviting because people frequently talk to me but I don’t know what to do unless I’m solving a problem for them. It’s almost like I don’t know how to connect with people unless they need something from me, when people just genuinely want to be friends it’s like I don’t know how, but this is exactly what I need in my life. I don’t need to be taking care of anymore peoples problems than I already am.

    #388966
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I am working on a post for you. It will take more time.

    anita

    #388974
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you

     

    #388975
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are welcome. As I have done times before, I went back, again, and read through our communication since March 2017, wanting to re-educate myself before answering your most recent posts. And because there is so much that I re-read, I am too tired now to make much sense. I will therefore post again Wednesday morning.

    anita

    #388976
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I thought I might as well write to you just a little bit of whatever comes to my mind, without referring to quotes from what you shared previously. When I use the pronoun “you”, in the following, I mean not only you, but me and many millions of others:

    When we have a very difficult, unhappy childhood, when is our childhood over? Is it when we turn 16, or 18, or 21.. ? or is it when we get to be 30? Is our childhood over when we no longer live with any of our parents.. or when we get a degree, when we get job, when we can pay our bills.. when is it over?

    Clearly to me, it is not over for as long as we continue to experience the same emotional and social experience as we did in childhood, and we are still the children that we were then, with the addition of primary and secondary sexual features and inclinations.  You love women just like you loved your mother; you are afraid to be hurt by women just like you were afraid to be hurt by your mother (and father), you are as needy and angry at women just as you were needy and angry at your mother, you don’t trust women just like you did not trust your mother or your father. You are as lonely now as you were then, hopeless like you were then, anxious and depressed like you were then.. it is all the same. And when you interact with your mother, you still (currently) love her and distrust her and angry at her just like before.. it’s all the same-old-same-old.

    More, tomorrow.

    anita

     

    #388983
    Grace
    Participant

    Exercise more, eat healthy food, keep a good mood

    #388987
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for your reminder to take care of my body Grace.

    I actually do very well with exercise and diet, unfortunately it is not enough to help overcome feelings of inadequacy. In fact I have been obsessed with exercise to the point where it was unhealthy, again because it was coming from the a wounded place in me, the part that didn’t feel good enough.

    #388996
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    The theme of my post today is this:  a very difficult, very painful childhood does not end when a child reaches the age of 18, 28 or 78. It does not end when we get a job, rent or buy our own place, make little or lots of money, get married, etc. It does not end unless and until we go through a very long, intentional and difficult process of emotional and social healing. It is only with adequate healing that we get to live a life that feels different from how we felt as children. Only then, our childhood moves to the Past, freeing our Present for a life that feels different, a life of lasting new emotional and social experiences.

    Since March 2017, you wrote about your life as a child: “Growing up my mom was very depressed and my dad had anger issues… trying to keep my mom happy and my dad calm was a very exhausting task… I took care of everyone’s feelings and acted as a mediator on many occasions… I was a very well-mannered child, excellent student, overachiever etc. I did this because I always thought if I could discipline myself, it would make my parents life easier…  I think back to all the times as a child I was alone with my pain, disappointed, scared, and angry”.

    Since March 2017, you wrote about your life as an adult when in the company of your parents and sister (she & her refer to your mother): “she tends to start to tell me about her problems because my dad won’t listen…  life is suffocating me mainly due to my parents going through a divorce… lately I can talk no sense into her and she is in constant crisis… I do have much empathy for my parents less so for myself…. (December 2018:) I became depressed upon arriving at my sister’s house last week. 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 and my family, yet I have to swallow that feeling… there’s no room for me and my feelings with my dad, just his…I have to edit everything and don’t get to be real because my mom is always around and in everybody’s business…  I’m much happier alone and away from their never-ending demands and favor asking… I very much pity both of my parents…  (May 2019:) I came home for Mother’s Day… my mom became furious…  threatening to drive the van into his house, and I grabbed her and wouldn’t let her get in the car, I told her to stop thinking about herself and think of me and my sister. She was very aggressive and rude towards me for trying to Deescalate the situation. I later yelled at her and stormed out of the house asking her to get her shit together, and take care herself so me and my sister don’t have to… Whenever I see or talk to my parents all of the trauma and disappointment are re-ignited in my spirit… I still experience my childhood attachment pains when triggered like it was happening now…(December 2019:) 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… Every time I think my parents are changing, they do something to let me down once again…(March 2020:) My mom was in the hospital yesterday with kidney stones but she’s 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”-

    – It is as clear as day, to me, that as an adult, you have been experiencing your childhood whenever in the company of your parents, meaning your childhood has never been over when in their company. Because your sister lives with your mother and when you visit your sister, you also visit your mother, you are experiencing your childhood when in the company of your sister as well. In addition, your sister encourages your guilt in regard to your mother, pressuring you to spend even more time with your mother and father. At least, that’s what she did in March 2020: “My sister told me she believes I have mistreated my mother over the past few years…  She doesn’t empathize very well with me about keeping boundaries with my parents…  My sister text me last weekend pleading to unblock my mom and talk with her”.

    In addition to your childhood experience continuing just the same when you are in the company of your parents and sister, it also continues when you are not in their company (September 2017 and onward:) “Attempting to get close to a woman is seriously the scariest thing in my life, it brings up feelings of worthlessness, and quickly makes me feel hopeless with any amount of rejection….  I question whether I will actually ever get any reasonably long-term relief from depression. In a lot of ways, I feel broken, I have a strong desire to be with people, but when I’m in social situations I will withdraw pretty hard or just straight up leave to go be by myself… Life never ceases to be difficult… even when I have had a good week and can say that i feel happy, the pain is always lingering… 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’m distrusting of most women in general… Posting here is helping but..  I feel like you’re going to abandon me eventually, the same dynamic plays out in my physical life as well… I am overly cautious of every move I make out of fear I might somehow offend someone, therefore I’m quiet and reserved to avoid any mistakes. This makes it near impossible to have fun with people most of the time… I feel.. like I couldn’t matter to another human being therefore I’m useless and lonely. That is the best description I have of how I feel when I’m having suicidal thoughts… I get angry with women who have treated me disrespectfully… I need affection, and love from another person more than I care to admit. I fake strong by isolating myself when really, I’m just avoiding the possibility of being hurt again. It hurts me to have hope though. It’s something to lose… my worst fear reactivated which is being alienated and completely alone. Paradoxically when this fear of being alone is activated I tend to isolate from people… I have a strange anxiety right now that if I leave my apartment something bad will happen”-

    – Look at the last sentence: when you were growing up with your suicidal mother and angry father, of course you were afraid to leave the apartment because in your absence, something bad could happen. Altogether, your childhood is still happening in your 20s, same old, same old emotional and social experience alone and with most if not all other people.

    More of the same-old, same-old childhood experience: “when I’m in relationships I do feel that anxiety and anger along with the love or attachment… I’m still stuck in the cycle of functioning for a few days and crashing into self-hatred, self-harm binges, existential crisis, and hopelessness… (November 22-23, 2021:) I still frequently feel worthless and unlovable, I still struggle with depression, I still struggle with impulsive behaviors, and the hardest one I still struggle in relationships…  the thing I want the most I fear most. Every time I have any romantic interest, I am painfully reminded of my childhood pain… I don’t know how to connect with people unless they need something from me”.

    Here is your foggy vision in regard to what is as clear as day to me:

    1) July 2017: “For me, it’s just hard sometimes to blame my parents…  because I know they did their best…  yes, they made a lot of mistakes, but I’m still grateful for them and wouldn’t have it any other way. If I never went through all that crap I would have never gotten into social work and counseling as a profession to help others in similar situations see what is possible. I’m hoping I’m going to be the one to break the cycle in my family”- what is clear to me is that (1) Your parents as parents are plenty blameworthy, (2) There has been nothing good about their parenting, therefore it can’t be their best. It is their worst, (3) I am sure you would have had your childhood some other way than it was- loving and calm, instead of depressing and utterly miserable, (4) You can’t break the cycle of Misery by staying in with your family; you have to step outside your family setting, in order to break the cycle.

    2) July 2018- April 2021 (the boldface addition is mine): “I’m struggling to see the connection between my feeling of worthlessness and my mother’s (& father’s) ‘badness‘… I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of being in need of love or another person and I’m not sure why…My relationship with my parents doesn’t feel like the problem right now…I continue to find it odd that you focus a lot on my mother. I see my mom tryingI still struggle with awareness of how my relationship with my parents and mother in particular affects me now… I understand my mom did a poor job of loving me. Believe me when I say I’m 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”.

    In your recent November 22, 2021 post, you wrote: “30 is near and my mental health has no doubt improved, I don’t cut anymore, I don’t act on suicidal urges, I haven’t been hospitalized since 23, I am capable of tolerating more pain, I know what to do in crisis situations with myself and others. However, .. I still frequently feel worthless and unlovable, I still struggle with depression.. these patterns have stuck with me and are starting to feel impossible to break. I’m at a point where I feel as if a meaningful relationship with a woman hasn’t happened by now it probably isn’t going to… I’m wondering what the solution to this problem of feeling lovable is going to be? recently I have felt lovable and worthy at times, however when I’m triggered for whatever reason the grief and anger towards my parents return. I thought I had taken care of the grief associated with being neglected, but the more I learn about mental health and myself I realize my wounds are barely healed. I find myself crying for the childhood version of myself that was left alone as a baby while mother was passed out trying to kill herself… I am wondering if pain associated with my childhood should be ignored or felt… The approach I have been taking has been to try to step into the nurturing parent role within myself and console my wounded child”-

    -My closing thoughts today, with a few more quotes: The nurturing parent role within yourself that you mentioned right above has to switch from having empathy for your parents and sister to=> having empathy for you, four the wounded child that you are. The reason why all your experiencing of pain and crying did not lead to healing is that all along you were primarily experiencing your parents’ and sister’s pain, and not your own. I think that it is their pain that is that lingering pain that you mentioned being always there, even on a good day. Your nurturing parent needs to be your nurturing parent, not your parents’ or sister’s.

    In August 2018, you wrote: “I get angry with women who have treated me disrespectfully and it seems sometimes to be the only ones I choose”- you weren’t thinking about your mother when you wrote this sentence, but it very much applies to her: she has treated you disrespectfully all along, although you didn’t choose her, instead: you had the misfortune of being born to her. Still, you keep spending time with her, and every time you do, your hurt, fear and anger get re-activated and maintained as your dominant emotional experience, culminating in ongoing depression, social withdrawal and lack of motivation.

    This emotional activation of hurt, fear and anger- expands to your interactions with women in the romantic-sexual context. You have to decide what to do regarding spending time with your mother and father, as your father also activates a very negative emotional experience in you, every time you spend time with him.

    Every once in a while, your mother says something that makes you think that she has some insight into her past poor mothering of you, and that she regrets it. But not long after, she says and does plenty that shows that if she experienced any insight and regret, it was superficial and insincere and therefore, forgotten. You have to stop giving her credit for her insincere words and tears.

    In June 2019, you wrote: “Anger is always my knee-jerk emotional reaction when a woman or even friend makes themselves unavailable to me. I then ask myself why am I angry?… The anger is definitely a relived childhood experience with my mother, not available when I need her”- anger is in the way between you and a secure-enough romantic-sexual relationship with a woman. Every time you spend time with your mother and/ or with your father, your Anger gets Stronger and as Solid as ever, and it expands to women in the romantic context.

    Back to the nurturing inner-parent concept: he/ she has to have your well-being in mind as first priority, not your mother’s, not your father’s, and not your sister’s. What kind of nurturing is your wounded inner-child receiving when the inner-parent’s message is: cry, little noname, feel your pain.. but remember: your mother’s/ father’s/ sister’ pain is more important!

    anita

     

    #389089
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    On this post-Thanksgiving Saturday afternoon, I want to clarify and elaborate on my closing thoughts of three days ago. I wrote to you then:

    The reason why all your experiencing of pain and crying did not lead to healing is that all along you were primarily experiencing your parents’ and sister’s pain, and not your own“-

    – of course, all the pain you ever experienced is your own, experienced in your own body/ brain.  What I meant by the above is that too much of the pain you’ve been experiencing is about your perception of your mother’s, your father’s and your sister’s pain, and these perceptions, in your mind, are of a far superior value to your perception of your own individual pain, rendering your (perception of your) own pain irrelevant.

    I wrote to you: “Back to the nurturing inner-parent concept: he/ she has to have your well-being in mind as first priority, not your mother’s, not your father’s, and not your sister’s. What kind of nurturing is your wounded inner-child receiving when the inner-parent’s message is: cry, little noname, feel your pain.. but remember: your mother’s/ father’s/ sister’ pain is more important!“-

    – your own inner-parent (the strong, in-control part of you, the one needing arms big enough and strong enough to convince your wounded inner child that he, the wounded inner child, is in good hands) needs to regard that wounded inner child as the most important person in the world, and be there for him wholeheartedly, with all his focus, attention and intention.

    I imagine that you spent your Thanksgiving in your mother and sister’s home, that you are probably still there for the whole Thanksgiving weekend, just like you have been in years past. I wish you as pleasant rest of the stay with your family as possible, as free of conflict and strife as possible. And I wish you a better 2022 year than years past.

    Also, congratulations for all your accomplishments, personally and professionally, including your much improved and practiced ability to regulate your emotions and promote healthier behaviors!

    anita

    #389180
    noname
    Participant

    Anita thank you for you well wishes.

    I have been reading over your response for a few days now. I arrived Wednesday night stayed for thanksgiving and left Friday morning. I no longer allow my mother, father, or sister to steal my empathy. I don’t talk to my mother at all unless i’m in person with her, and I watch closely my reactions to her distress so to not push my needs aside. I have no empathy left for my parents whatsoever.

    Me and my sister were downstairs in the kitchen thanksgiving day cooking food, my mom calls my sister from upstairs on the phone, crying hysterically with no explanation saying she wouldn’t be attending thanksgiving then rudely hung up on my sister. Anita, I am %100 truthful with you that i couldn’t give a damn whether or not she attended thanksgiving or not. My sister noticed i was lost in thought for a few moments about a half hour later, and asked what was on my mind, i told her “i was just over here thinking about how i can be more empathetic with myself”

    These are the reactions i have to my mothers pain now. It is simply a reaffirming reminder to give myself the love i missed/am missing out on. Same goes for my father. There was another incident a few months ago where she sent me and my sister a long angry text message complaining about how we dont have a relationship anymore. I never text back, I woke up that morning read it and didn’t give it a second thought. I reminded my self then to keep focused on my needs.

    I’m not sure how to communicate that i am more detatched from my parents than i have ever been. I don’t make plans with them, i don’t talk to them when im not in their physical presence whatsoever, and even when i am in their presence I dont respond to their bullshit. Its like i have a third person view of myself and the effects it will have on me in these situations so i don’t engage at all.

    I’m going to keep seeing my sister. I may even be in the presence of my parents 2-3 times per year. I can assure you i could care less what happens to them anymore, I think about my parents death from time to time and wonder how i would feel, there are no loose ends for me. My sister has finally got into therapy and is starting to move the same direction i have been for years now and she no longer tries to mediate for any of us.

    I hear your message loud and clear. I suppose i’m really wanting help getting my emotional needs met without having to compromise myself. I hate that everyone acts as if we don’t need other people. If human beings didn’t help each other we wouldn’t of survived this many thousands of years. Yes i understand co-dependence is a thing, and that’s not what im looking for either, been there done that.

    I just really want to come up with a strategy to help me get my social/emotional needs met other than “don’t talk to your parents” I get that. I want to help myself either let go of the longing for a partner/love or find a way to soothe the pain of loneliness. The best strategy i have come up with has been being with my wounded child self and attempting to empathize with it. Nowhere in that process am i telling myself to empathize with my parents, quite the opposite. When i grieve my childhood now, it’s not from a place of “it was your fault you weren’t loved” yes im still angry about it, but i’m not waiting on my parents to repair it or placing my empathy with them. I am worried about me and only me. When i grieve i just want to figure out how to have hope for a different future, that i won’t always be unloved.

    Do you have any strategies for working with loneliness?

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 17 hours ago by noname.
    #389185
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    I just really want to come up with a strategy to help me get my social/emotional needs met… Do you have any strategies for working with loneliness?“- I am sure that (1) such strategies fill in many hundreds of self-help books and articles, written by psychotherapists, other professionals and celebrities, (2) that you had the opportunity to ask this question of the individual and group therapists you saw through the years, (3) that you asked me this question in one form or another during our years of communication, and that I answered it best I could, and (4) that you went over many such strategies, many times over,  during your years-long academic studies that earned you the degree and license to work as a psychotherapist yourself.

    I have no empathy left for my parents whatsoever… I couldn’t give a damn“- you seem to be confusing apathy with healing. Apathy toward abusive parents is a strategy every abused child, in his/ her first decade of life, tries to master: to simply not care. Problem with apathy toward the abusers is that it has a short-term benefit, but long-term, it severely hinders healing.

    You wrote regarding your mother: “she sent me and my sister a long angry text message complaining about how we don’t have a relationship anymore. I never text back, I woke up that morning read it and didn’t give it a second thought. I reminded myself then to keep focused on my needs“- you had to remind yourself to keep focusing on your needs because you when you read her angry text message, you focused on her needs.

    noname, it is of no personal consequence to me if you continue to avail yourself to your abusive parents and to your sister who insists that… you continue to avail yourself to your abusive mother: your life, your ch0ices. But I am not going to change my understanding of your situation, an understanding developed over a few years, just because you reject it.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 15 hours ago by anita.
    #389194
    noname
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply and explanation.

    I suppose i don’t agree on what little distant relationship i have with my parents as the main cause of my current suffering. It feels like coping with loneliness is the hardest part of my life, and what i need the most help with. I will continue to search for answers.

    Thank you so much!

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 14 hours ago by noname.
    #389198
    anita
    Participant

    Dear noname:

    You are very welcome and thank you for always being nice and kind to me, even when you disagree with what I post. I would so very much like it if you were no longer lonely, finally experiencing a long-term healthy relationship with a woman. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it happened this coming year, 2022!?

    anita

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