Friday, October 19, 2007

Depression

Depression is something I have know intimately. For most of my adult life I was depressed. So depressed in fact that I hardly felt anything at all except numbness, well, numbness and darkness.

While I was in the throws of depression I didn't really understand it, I just experienced it. Like a wave it would wash over me, hold me down, take my breath away and leave me with no energy, no desire, no will to live. It just swallowed me up like some mire of quicksand from which there was no escape.

I never knew when it was coming to claim me or when it would release me. All I knew for sure was that it wanted to devour me and wouldn't take "No" for an answer. It had complete control over me or so it seemed.

It wasn't until I began my "real" therapy that I had any idea about the role of depression in my life. While it seemed so familiar, I really knew nothing about it except for how it felt. Imagine my surprise to learn that my depression was the result of all my unexpressed feelings.

The deep dark hole was the direct result of years and years of swallowed down anger and rage. Every time I denied myself something I wanted or needed, swallowed my feelings because someone else's were more important, lied to myself, called myself stupid or an assortment of other names or all of those other self destructive behaviors I was so go at, I was digging myself a deeper and darker hole in that pit called depression.

That pit was there because I didn't take care of myself, emotionally or physically. It was there because I didn't like me. Well, to be honest, I hated me. It was there because all of those feelings have to go somewhere. Because I didn't express them outwardly where they belonged, the feelings went inwardly directed against me.

With a life like mine, that's a lot of backed up feelings to deal with. Finding safe ways to express all of that pent up rage was a daunting task complicated by my fear of "losing it" to such an extent that I would go insane. As a victim, I was convinced that expressing anger would kill me. Yet the opposite is what is really true.

So I wrote letters and poetry to my offenders and burned them. I drew pictures and put them on dart boards and filled them full of holes. I sculpted lifelike busts of my offenders and dropped them off of balconies and buried the remains in a muddy swamp. And of course, I screamed and yelled and swore until I was voiceless. I broke things and threw furniture, whatever it took(that was safe) to get the anger out where it belonged and directed away from me.

Then there were the ways I was adding to the load of depression each day. Addressing those negative messages that told me I wasn't worth it, whatever it might be, had to be handled as well. Because I was as merciless to myself as my offenders had been to me, the only way to totally free myself from depression was to stop my own self abuse.

To crawl out of that deep dark hole, I had to learn to quit being my own worst enemy. I had to learn to identify and give up all of the self deprecating behavior. I had to learn to accept myself. I had to learn to look in the mirror and love and respect whoever I saw looking back at me.

Now when I visit the blogs of other victims and read posts where the author calls herself/himself stupid or ugly or whatever the trash talk might be, I feel sad. Sad because I know that depression is an all too familiar part of her/his life. Sad because I know she/he is still caught in the trap laid by the offenders from the past. Sad because I know all too well, that place in which she/he lives.

10 comments:

Beccy said...

It's great to see that you have fought depression and come out the other side, I hope your experiences can help other sufferers.

Kahless said...

I have a couple of questions, please feel free to ignore.

How long in therapy did it take to overcome these feelings of depression and the 'trash' talk?

Was there a special 'key' to turn to overcome it?

What do you mean by 'real' therapy?

Was it a case of learning to express your anger, or did you also have to find it? If so, how?

Cheers,
:-)

Rising Rainbow said...

Beccy, thanks, I hope that I can help others as well.,

Kahless, I think I'm going to do a post on your questions. I'm sure that others probably have them as well and I can answer more thoroughly that way.

Kahless said...

Thanks.

jumpinginpuddles said...

depression is like a cancer if left untreated it will only fester and grow.

April_optimist said...

Good for you! And yes, it IS important and healing to let ourselves go through the stage where we vent our rage. Me, I did it in a safe place in my mind. Boiling oil, burning at the stake, etc.

I believe that when we allow ourselves to finally feel this rage, we are honoring and standing up for the self that got hurt. And saying we are never going to let it happen again.

Great post.

keepers said...

I had to learn to quick being my own worst enemy. I had to learn to identify and give up all of the self deprecating behavior. I had to learn to accept myself. I had to learn to look in the mirror and love and respect whoever I saw looking back at me.

We consider the above words to be crucial for anyone to proceed on this journey in a forward direction, great words!

peace and blessings

keepers

Rising Rainbow said...

jumpinginpuddles, you are right depression is like cancer. It festers and grows, it affects everyone around it and it can be fatal if left untreated.

april_optimist, you are right about honoring the self that got hurt. The fact that self was never protected before contributes to it feeling unimportant, unloved, etc all of which fuels the depression.

Finally standing up for that part helps build self-esteem etc. It's very important stuff.

keepers, yes, if one is to heal, they must deal with these issues, that's for sure.

Austin said...

Sheshhhhh! Self destruction takes place of the abuser. They may stop because we got older and moved out or they died or whatever but self destruction in the form of tearing ourselves down often takes the place of the abuser. I wrote awhile ago that if anyone talked to me the way I talk to myself I'd be so angry. I'd come up for air real quick asking who they thought they were and all that. So why is it acceptable to talk to myself that way? It's not. It's a stumbling block that I try to avoid.

Depression can kill but it doesn't have to. Support is vital for survival.

Austin

Patricia Singleton said...

Risingrainbow is a beautiful name for someone who has risen up out of the depression and discovered that the world does have colors besides black. By the grace of God, I came out of a deep depression when I was 27 without any professional help. A part of me witnessed myself telling my husband that I hated him and everything in my life. That witness realized that the truth was that I hated myself, not my husband. I started working on me. Very little information was available back in 1977 on incest so I devoured every bit of literature that I could find on self-improvement. I got some relief from the self-hate but still wasn't ready to deal with the rage inside of me until 1989 when I found an Adult Children of Alcoholics group and a few months later an Al-Anon group. It was easier for me to acknowledge the alcoholism in my family than the incest. Soon afterwards, I started talking about the incest in the these groups. I know people got tired of hearing me talk about it. 2 people even told me so. The dam of silence was opened and I couldn't close it and pretend it hadn't happened any more. Then I went through counseling for about 4 years with 2 different counselors. The first counselor decided the group was over before I was ready for it to be over so I found the second group which is where I did most of my hard work of learning to deal with my anger.

I didn't do anger because I was afraid that if I felt it that I would hurt and possibly kill someone because to me it felt so powerful and I was afraid of that power. I developed health problems that forced me to start dealing with my anger. Guess what? I haven't killed anybody yet and my health is much, much better. Keep up the work on yourself and thanks for sharing your journey with others. When someone shares, it helps us all. Have a glorious day.