I struggle with the fact that I suffer the consequences of another persons mistakes and evil choices. I get depressed thinking about what a mess my childhood was, most of my life I couldn’t even remember it.
21. “I have major issues with anxiety and depression because of my childhood. The biggest factor is I cannot communicate well and I don’t know how to express my feelings with others because I am so used to just holding them inside because I wasn’t allowed to share how I felt. When tense situations arise, I get nauseous and uncomfortable, [and] my anxiety levels sky rocket. Definitely have a lot of emotional scars from my past, it’s been the hardest thing to conquer.”https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/
When I started counseling the therapist asked me about my childhood. I answered quickly, “It was great we went to the park, we went to the zoo.” He asked me about an average day. Yea, a lie. I confessed I had no idea what happened in my childhood. The question, “How could I be depressed because of my childhood, if I didn’t remember it?” I felt such shame that I suffered depression. My mother pointed out to me constantly how fortunate I was to have roof over my head, food to eat, and clean cloths to wear. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t appreciate these things. I married had six beautiful children and my World was crashing down around my ears. I felt like I had no excuse other than ingratitude. I went to medical doctors they ran every test they could think of, all results normal. What was wrong with me that I felt so depressed?
Counseling open the flood gates of emotions from my past. My brain did not remember why I felt what I felt but my heart felt the pain, hurt, fear, frustration locked away in past I could not remember. The body remembers and holds a grudge but does not share with the brain why it is so pissed off. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t get out of the deep slump that I was in and seemed to be spiraling deeper and deeper. I was blessed with an amazing counselor that believed me. When the memories started unfolding I felt wretched, then I was furiously angry. All the hurt, fear and frustration bottle up and contained for 40 years. I learned that I used depression to bottle up years of rage.
My counselor spent years teaching me to slowly release, examine, reframe*, process and file away years of suffering. He validated my version of what happened to me. He encouraged me to believe in myself and stop accepting the poor opinion of others as my reality. He helped me change my life. I still struggle with depression. However, I recognize that depression is my go-to tool when I am raging angry inside. I would rather be depressed than angry. Depression is not fun. So I continue the process he taught me to recognize my hurts, accept my feelings as valid, figure out if there is a solution or do I consider the source and let Christ solve what I can not change. My sister reminds me often, Give the Battle to God.
I researched forgiveness and realize I was taught a distorted forgive and forget with no expectation of the other person to change. Now I know that forgiveness for me is releasing them to their own consequences but I learned to set boundaries, protect myself, and understand that some people are not trustworthy and never will be. One of my abusers was sent to prison. I’m glad because he couldn’t hurt anyone else while he was locked up. However, what happens to him is not my problem. Fortunately, I don’t need to worry about meeting him on the street, he is dead now. I don’t need to test my calm acceptance that he chose to do evil to others.
I am happy more and more often. I remember one day sitting in rush hour traffic driving about 5 miles per hour. As I sat there I felt this feeling of joy wash over me. It wasn’t anything I did or thought about but a long culmination of work. Joy is awesome. We can feel it now in this life time not because circumstances change but because we do. I still battle bouts of depression and anxiety but I know the process recognize, accept, cope, and finally thrive.
*Reframe – taking my life stories and put them in a different context. Instead of saying I made my mommy mad, I recognized my mother had anger issues and took it out on me. She targeted me because she felt superior to me. Changing how I viewed my past helped me see that my feelings of helplessness were real not the actions of an over imaginative child. Instead of accepting my abusers lies, I reframed my past with the light of truth of their mistakes and evil choices. Yes, I use evil deliberately. Some people do indeed choose to do evil to someone else.