Feeling well enough at last to find my voice again
I have known for years there was a forum here and was too afraid to join because it would mean admitting I needed medication and just couldn't fix this by myself. So here I am at last! I hope this helps even one person if they are feeling like I did. Ok here goes.....
I'm a 32 year old mum of 2, 15 months apart. I'm happily married, love my job, love my family and friends. I have support. Nothing bad has happened to me. So I thought I had no right to feel depressed. I have always been an anxious and emotional person. Mood swings were normal for me. I made every excuse to myself and the doctors to explain away my poor scores on the postnatal depression checklists. I admitted I constantly thought about suicide but that had been normal for me for years so it didn't feel like a big deal, it didn't mean I'd do anything. I was angry all the time and my moods were unpredictable.
Hubby said constantly I don't care what the doctor said you perform for them and I know you. Something is wrong. After my second bub and the start of a new health condition (psoriatic arthritis) I saw a psychologist who said I was dealing with chronic pain and two small children and what I felt was normal.
I practiced mindfulness. Family and friends gave me rest. Eventually I got medication to help my joints. I talked. I ate well, I went back to work. Everything was supposed to be better....
But I felt worse. I'd see the doctor and they'd say I was ok but I'd stand at the sink washing dishes and plan the steps of how to kill myself. If I wasn't busy I would find the thoughts repeating. They'd all be better off without you. You're worthless. They'll only put up with so much of your issues and then they'll leave you. So I'd plan how to die. And I was TERRIFIED.
My husband told me to write down exactly what I felt on a bad day and he put it in an envelope and made me an appointment for the psychologist. We made a plan. I would go in and say I need you to read this. I don't feel like this now but this is how I've felt most days for years but I can't seem to communicate it to a doctor and get help and I'm so frightened.
And finally! A crisis plan put in place until I could see the psychiatrist! Apparently I have had major depression for over 12 years. Only after starting an antidepressant did I notice how anxious and self destructive I had constantly been. I don't have suicidal thoughts anymore. I am happy again. It's the start of my journey but there is hope at last.
My dear Quercus,
No, not your fault. Despite the 'signs' you were not to know. You were in a relationship, you trusted him. Toxic relationships are so hard to leave as we are manipulated, controlled, made to believe we have the issues. You stayed because you were locked into this pattern of behaviour, you were made insecure,possibly scared of leaving and being alone. Remember, manipulators are masters at making you feel guilty. You were made to feel this way. It is not your fault.
I have been neglecting you just lately so please forgive me. I have had some full days and then died in bed at night. Feeling much better. Almost afraid to say the pains have gone but since this morning I have felt virtually pain free. Whoo-hoo.
I think several people have said this is not your fault, and it's not. You can go on beating yourself up by saying what you 'ought' to have done but it will not help you. You have started to realise the other people involved were at fault but then your mind flips back again to the 'ought'. I suspect this will happen for a while until you get on top of it altogether.
You say, I'll eventually accept that I can't change the guilt in my memories but I can recognise that I was young and vulnerable and isolated and conditioned to feel that way. Not entirely true but on the right track. There is nothing for you to be guilty about so try to let it go. I know every time it comes up you feel dreadful, want to crawl away, shut out the voices that tell you it's your fault. That alone is telling you to stop having these feelings. I know it's not that easy and there is no magic wand. Instead build up your resilience, enjoy who you are, do the things that make you self confident. Sadly I think you will never forget but distance and time will smooth edges until you can look the memories in the face and say you were not guilty of any kind of complicity. These were acts done against your will. How can you be guilty? The bully, the abuser, the rapist will always try to say it wasn't their fault, they couldn't help it, you were there (as though that makes it OK) so you must have agreed. Can you see the self justification?
This is such a common pattern. According to some people, girls who wear short skirts deserve to be raped, the man is unable to control his urges. Is that truly the world we live in?Do vulnerable people force their abusers to carry out these dreadful acts? Of course not. Those who know they have done these things either believe they are entitled to do what they want, or be ashamed but cannot bear the self loathing and blame the victim.
I am disappointed for you that your mom was not more supportive. Well you tried but do not be sucked in to believing she had good intentions. Her words are just another form of self justification for doing nothing.
I have always had cats and dogs around. I would love to have small dog, to fit into my small garden. Goldfish not a substitute.
Hi Mary and CMF,
Thank you for your replies I'm not in a good place today. Thank goodness therapy is tonight and my mum in law is taking the kids soon. I'm not sure if it's the new meds but I'm exhausted and fuzzy and very very low.
You haven't been neglecting me Mary and I am pleased to hear you're feeling a bit better 😊 Yeah a goldfish just doesn't cut it compared to a dog or cat. What sort of dog would you like? I have a German Shepherd he is such a softy with the kids (he lives outside though hubby would have a heart attack if there was dog fur in the house haha).
And CMF I'm sorry to hear you're having a difficult day. Maybe you should go for it and try a job or study just to give you something new?
You both make sense. I just don't know what to say. Or how to explain how I'm feeling. I feel really horrible all these random memories I'd forgotten keep coming up.
I know you're right Mary...
until you can look the memories in the face and say you were not guilty of any kind of complicity
At this moment I'm not able to. And the kids keep climbing over me when I just don't want anyone to touch me and screeching and fighting eachother. I can't wait to hand them over to my mum in law and say keep them!
Sigh. I'm sorry I keep going over the same things over and over. It's not healthy for anyone. I'd better go we're late for the lunch already. Thank you for your help and support. Sorry I am not good company today.
Probably time to look for the milestones you have already past to occupy your mind and help deal with those random memories - plus listen to My Soul Back or Human too I guess
Being kind to yourself takes lots of time (and repetitions) - I'm still learning, I suppose we all are. You are getting there, its just the road is hard so you lose sight of it.
I don't know quiet what to say to you. I feel so bad you have endured this terrible experience and continue to re- live it through the guilt and shame you continue to suffer. I don't know what to say because it is exactly what I do as you know.
Yet I can see how this is absolutely not your fault not ever in a million years did you deserve any of this and to continue punishing yourself lets these evil people continue to rule your life. Quercus please look back at some of the replies you;ve sent to me and try to apply your reasoning to your situation
I'm glad you love your mum enough to not hurt her with all of the truth, but excuse me if I am out of line did she love you enough to accept the reality of what happened and take the appropriate action. What do you want from her now if you were able to confront her with everything.? Is it going to change things for you?
Sorry lots of questions I probably have no right to ask. In my case it is too late.I cant ask those questions so I don't know if it would have made the things that happened easier to bear.
You have done so well , you have told your story here and more importantly to people that matter in your life . Quercus it breaks my heart to know you are suffering like this. I hope you got a little relief from psych visit .
In Paul's words, "kind and gentle." Just do what you can and please don't beat yourself up for not being further along in your journey as you would like.
Thanks for your earlier post btw. I appreciate how you're trying to get to know everyone but maybe don't worry too much about my thread for now. Just look after yourself and focus on you- that's much more important right now.
So much kindness on these forums. Thank you all very much for your support today. I am very very grateful for you all today.
Croix: Ah Jon Bellion! You guessed correctly. I was listening to Human and Maybe IDK while waiting for my appointment. Not so keen on My Soul Back 😊. A little peace in the car did a lot of good.
Dottie: I like Paul's words they are so true. Reminds me of good advice from my psych "be gentle and forgiving of yourself". I'll still get to your thread I learn something useful from every one I read. Plus I'm really enjoying following your thread about making your own path that discussion is excellent.
And Stressless: you've got skills! How did you know the exact topic I ended up on in therapy?! Must be psychic 😊. My psychiatrist asked me to think about why was I vulnerable? If my childhood was happy and the familiar relationships I knew were stable why did I accept the way he treated me? Why was I vulnerable to start with?
And the answer wasn't pretty...
I've spent a lot of my childhood as the carer not the child.
I don't tend to make decisions for myself or value my own input because thats what I've always known. My family expect me to go with the flow.
That I chose my degree based on what I was told to do not what I enjoy.
I'm the kid that would do things because I was told to. Not to argue. Conflict is a bad thing. It never even occurred to me that these weren't necessarily positive things.
I accepted being treated like I was worthless because I felt worthless to begin with. I kind of feel like I don't exist sometimes. Like I'm an empty shell inside no substance or anything of interest.
I accepted someone being in control of my body because the one thing that had stuck with me my entire life was the idea that being happy in your own skin required the approval of others. Exercise to lose weight to look attractive rather than because you enjoy being active.
I am 32 and I'm only just working out what I enjoy doing. Just for me not what others think I should enjoy.
Kind of sad really. I'm not angry at Mum. I love my Mum to bits. What's sad is that I've been like her to my kids getting overwhelmed with noise and touch just like Mum used to. The difference is I asked and wanted help... She didn't.
Lots of work to do. But I'm up to it. Too bloody stubborn! My heartfelt thanks to you all.
Gentle, forgiving and kind to myself.... Baby steps 😊
Sounds like you had a very full on session with your psych. it always blows my mind how they get to the heart of things - must be why they get paid the big bucks. A little advice ( again) don't try to connect all the dots now, or even think too much sometimes these sessions can be overwhelming and can come back and hit you later.
Just let the info settle into your head , if it pops into your thoughts ( which it will) take it out , have a little look and put it back for a while. Next time it pops up look a little longer ( or not ) and put it back. Its like a new book you've bought. Read the title and the plot , and then say to yourself, "not sure if I'm going to like this book but hey I've got it now I might come back and look at it later" , No rush Its yours now .
No I'm not psychic although I have had that comment before or was that psycho? Ha! Probably just many years of therapy and my psych would be thrilled to know how much of it has stuck , maybe not too thrilled that I cant use the same reasoning with my own situation. Maybe its that old " Do as I say not as I do " argument I used to use on my kids
Why is that do you think? How come we can see clearly the right and wrong in another persons experience but it all becomes somewhat foggy when we look at our own ? Umm maybe good place to start for my next session. Did u try any new light hearted distraction techniques ? Like knocking his damn clock of his desk? Another story
Oh and by the way how did u get to be so smart at only 32 ? Wow your life is just beginning, Imagine those days, months, years ahead when you can put all this crap behind you and live the wonderful fulfilled life you were destined for as an inspirational wife, mother and friend --and someone who is finally comfortable in her skin
Awesomeness ! Now I must get out of my rocker chair and embrace the day as I'm feeling very old all of a sudden
Ah Stressless! You'll have to start your strangest things I've done in a therapists office because between you and I we'll keep it full of dramas and laughter.
No I didn't throw any clocks. I just told him off for choosing such a crappy depressing painting for the wall! Arrgh cringeworthy. To be fair it is awful. A Van Gogh of a farm but all the colours are crap. I told him he couldn't have picked a worse painting. He seemed to think this was funny.
At the end of the session I started laughing and said yep I still hate it. He told me he'd take it off the wall for our sessions hahahaha. Please start the thread? It will amuse people 😊
Apart from that it was very helpful. It was a relief to know there is more to it than the abuse. Why I accepted being treated like that is the real problem. I'm happy that there is more to the therapy than just reliving all the horrible stuff. And I have an area to work on. My self esteem and self worth. Not news to me but I do get now why I did what I did which is a relief to understand.
Nah no huge dot connecting happening. Little steps and lots of reflection.
Thanks for your reply Stressless it really helped me today. How are you feeling today?