Admitting Illness

Health, Psychology

For a long time, you’ve denied who you are. You’ve denied that there was something seriously wrong with the way your mind works because you were scared to face reality. This whole time, you kept telling people and yourself, “I’m not depressed, I just get like that sometimes,” when in fact you are. You think about wanting to die, mainly because you feel like your life isn’t worth it.

You can’t control your emotions. You got through episodes of sadness and apparent happiness. You cry in settings you shouldn’t and for reasons that you’ve conjured up. You’ve avoided getting to know people because they’re all just going to leave and hurt you like the demons of your past. You tucked everything away, internalizing all the trauma you dealt with as a child. Now, the dam has broke and is flooding the person who you are.

Profound early losses, such as the death of a parent or the withdrawal of a loved one’s affection, may resonate throughout life, eventually expressing themselves as depression. When an individual is unaware of the wellspring of his or her illness, he or she can’t easily move past the depression. Moreover, unless the person gains a conscious understanding of the source of the condition, later losses or disappointments may trigger its return.

What causes depression? By Harvard Health

Worse, you hate yourself for all this. You think that this should be controllable that you’re wrong for feeling this way, that perhaps you should just get over it. You’re unhinging at the seams, trying to keep your sanity together and it scares everyone you know. You don’t want them to worry, so you rationalize that it’s better if you didn’t exist in the first place.

It’s not your fault.

What happened to you as a child wasn’t your fault. Your parents divorced. Someone you trusted was psychologically and physically abusive, neglectful, and selfish. You didn’t want to understand what happened to you because it made you feel uncomfortable and ashamed, so instead of talking about it, you cut off everyone. You reduced yourself to a shell of a person, hiding all the painful events deep inside your brain because what else were you supposed to do to protect yourself? Still now, so many years later, you tell yourself affirmations, you say the words aloud, but you don’t believe them. You’re damaged.

Millions of Americans suffer from some form of depression every year, making it one of the most common mental disorders in the country.

Major Depression (Unipolar Depression) By Arnold Lieber, MD

You’re not alone.

Do the things you really don’t feel like doing. Get outside and talk to strangers. Tell yourself you’re worthy. Put a smile on your face. Exercise. Write in a journal. Be creative. And let yourself heal. It takes time. There will be moments, like maybe right now, that it seems like you’re not getting anywhere. Sometimes, you still feel like you can’t control your emotions, but all those years you denied your mental illness changed the chemistry of your brain. Seek and accept help for you and the people you love. Small progress is progress. Each day you get out of bed is each day you grow stronger. One day, it’ll be part of your past.  

Stepping Out of Harm’s Way

Health, Psychology

There may be certain people in your life that you need to let go of. Your love and relationship with them doesn’t counteract the way they treat you. Some people don’t deserve to be in your life, even how much you want them to be. Each time they betray your trust and mistreat you, you find nostalgic memories, unable to understand your own emotion. A basic human need is connection. Letting go of that connection is a painful process, particularly when that connection is with parent. You find yourself missing them, wishing they aren’t like what everyone said, and most of all wanting to believe that they wouldn’t hurt you.

There is a different kind of hurt that can only come from a toxic parent – someone who is meant to love you. Kind of like being broken from the inside out.

How to Heal from a Toxic Parent by Karen Young

The abuse that you had as a child leads into your adult life because you still crave that affection, attention, and affirmation that you were denied in your childhood. You have issues with your self-worth and confidence. You grow up not knowing your value since you always thought of yourself as lazy, selfish, and not good enough. Yet as you age, you forget and forgive the person who told you this in the first place. You understand that people are human, and more than anything, you wish to create the relationship you never had.

How many times can you keep forgiving someone whose hurt you? When you sit down to think about it, the person whose hurt you the most has never said sorry. You let it go for the sake of love, and occasionally, they showed the side of them that gave you hope. You held onto those seldom, carefree moments, using them as an excuse for their bad behavior toward you.

We are more strongly motivated by intermittent reinforcement — having what we desire happen some of the time — than we are by getting what we want all of the time, or even never getting it.

Healing From a Toxic Childhood? The Two Words You Need Most by Peg Streep

Maybe, the person you love that you need to let go is broken themselves. Maybe, they never knew how to love and have since treated you as a reflection of how they were treated. You feel empathy for them, but you can’t fix them. It’s not your job to. It’s not your fault they couldn’t be the person you wanted. No matter how much love and kindness you give to them, they’re never able to return it because they don’t love themselves. You wanted to see everything good you could in them, but there comes a point when you must face reality.

It’s okay to grieve.

Don’t try to be strong and hold it in. It hurts to lose someone, even by choice. It’s okay to miss them and want everything to go back to the way things were—familiarity is a comforting state. You’re allowed to worry about them and pray for them. But it’s time to think about yourself. You cannot control other people’s actions, despite wanting to. It’s time to start concerning yourself with your future, your happiness, and overall well-being.

Lessons in Love

Health, Psychology

People are selfish creatures by nature, and their selfishness harms those around them. Within every human relationship, there is some type of power dynamic. Parent and child. Older and younger sibling. Good and new friends. In all these scenarios, the balance for dominance is ever teetering.  The thing that holds it together is love.

Love is shown in various forms and levels. Love, or the hope there for it, keeps you going every day. You love your spouse, your parents, your children, you pets, your job, your friends, and sometimes, you love yourself. Your vision and ideas of love came from your upbringing and will forever follow you, infecting every relationship you have. Your love doesn’t let you see past this.

Wise trust assesses the probability of betrayal, in recognition that we are all frail creatures capable of betrayal in weaker moments. Realistically, it’s possible that any of us could betray a loved one. Blind trust denies this darker characteristic of human nature; suspiciousness exaggerates it. Wise trust is an assessment that the probability of betrayal is low.

Trust and Betrayal by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

You grow up and find out the real world is something you were never prepared for. Everything’s hard and conspiring against you. Just when you pick yourself up, something knocks you down again. It’s easy to give up and satisfy your mind with meaningless activities and redundancy. You find the only constant in your life is your family, and your love for them.

If this love betrays you, you find yourself believing somehow, it’s your fault, as if you can control the actions of another. No matter how many times you say it doesn’t matter, it does. Memories of good times and adventures flood your rationalization. It must be something you’ve done, because why else would someone you trusted break that trust?

Not everyone in your life is who you wanted them to be. Your parent might not be the parent you’ve always wanted. Your siblings might not reciprocate the same concern you have for them. Your friends might only care when it’s convenient for them to do so. People are selfish because it’s safe. It’s safe to look out for just yourself since caring for others leaves you vulnerable and that vulnerability can be misused.

People with negative developmental experiences involving intimate relationships may opt to avoid closeness and isolate themselves. […] But healthy relationships with other people are crucial for personal development, presenting opportunities for growth and change.

6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships by
Grant Hilary Brenner MD, FAPA

Love changes people, for better and worse. It’s a tough journey to let go of those you love who may be a negative aspect in your life. Everyone has a someone whose hurt them so deeply that barriers form. You can’t believe that not everyone is out to get you because the ones you did give your heart to, took advantage of it.

You forget that not everyone’s like that. You forget that you’re worthy of unconditional love, and that some of love you were raised with had strings attached. There are good souls out there, in a sea of many. It’s scary, but if you give them the chance, they can show you a love you’ve never known.