Welcome to the second half of “Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder”. The first seven tips have been previously posted. At this point in time, I will continue with the list of tips for how to specifically address chronic depression for trauma survivors with DID:
8. As the memories surface, feelings will also surface. Expressing genuine emotion is key to working through depression.
Crying tears of grief, screaming out in anger, quivering in fear may not feel comfortable, but holding these very real and intense emotions deep within will create long-term depression. Allowing these emotions to come out safely and appropriately – even if years after the original point of acquiring these emotions – will help.
9. In the appropriate time, let other parts of your dissociative system know about the information that was held by the depressed parts.
Overcoming the dissociative barriers by sharing that information between the system parts is critical in your long-term healing. The more that your internal system shares with each other, the more you all can work together towards healing. The full story line does not have to be shared immediately with everyone. However, keeping pockets of dissociated information will continue to create an underlying cause for chronic depression.
10. Your feelings will need lots and lots of processing time. Talk, cry, draw, write, vocalize what you are feeling.
Do lots of safe expression for as many hours and hours over time as you feel these feelings. If you have been holding your emotions in for years of time, it will take oodles of time for these feelings to be worked through. Talking about it once or twice won’t be enough. Pushing feelings back down into non-expression will create more depression. While it will be very new territory to learn how to express your feelings, it is a necessary step.
11. Learn new rules about the expression of feelings.
For example, in the past, when you were at risk of being hurt by your perpetrators, you most likely learned that it was not safe to express anger towards those that violently abused you. And yes, in that time frame, when you were likely to express direct injury from your perpetrators, it was safest for you to push those angry feelings deep within. At that time, that was a good decision. However, once you are away from your perpetrators, and the risk of ongoing abuse is no longer prominent, it is both essential and ok to express anger at your perpetrators’ atrocious, criminal behavior. Your healing will require that you remember to adjust with your changing circumstances, including creating new rules for expression.
12. Learn to direct your anger at an appropriate target, even if that means starting with a “generic” unnamed target.
Talk with your therapist about the variety of anger-expression techniques that allow your anger to be vocalized without creating harm to anyone else. Learning to express your feelings does not give you permission to take it out on whoever is there. The more you can express your anger directly towards the perpetrators that harmed you, the more effective it will be. Likewise, misdirecting your anger towards the wrong target (ie: someone who was not responsible for your abuse or injuries), will only create more problems for you, and will harm a lot of innocent people in the process. For example, getting angry with your children or your therapist will not resolve the anger you feel towards your parents.
13. As a continuation of tip #12, be willing to learn specifically about transference, projection, displacement of emotion, etc.
Survivors who have had years of repressed emotion due to duress and abuse will truly need to practice expressing their emotions properly, and will need to learn when they are misdirecting their emotions. All survivors that were not allowed to express anger directly naturally learned to displace any display of anger in sideward ways. Realize that you will continue to get this mixed up for awhile. Be very aware that you might first take your anger out on safer targets. These mistakes are to be expected, and not a “fault” of yours, but it is still your responsibility to learn more accurate skills. Making the mistake of blaming the wrong person will only add to your depression. It will leave the deeper feelings unprocessed, unaddressed, and unhealed, thereby creating the foundation for ongoing depression and pain.
14. Replace the years of trauma and abuse with your own preferred people and activities that you enjoy.
Once your life is full of happier, more meaningful things, you won’t feel as depressed. This probably will not happen quickly or easily, and you might have to learn how to live again. It might feel like you are learning to live for the very first time. You might have to learn how to love, or how to experience joy, or how to play, or how to forgive, or how to explore, etc. The more you can fill your life with activities of your own choosing, the less depressed you will feel.
15. Be sure to encourage all of your insiders to have their own individual healing process.
Let each of them work through their own traumas, their own feelings, and let each of them find new and more positive interests in life. As each individual part of you experiences less depression, the whole of you will experience less depression. If you let only some parts heal, the whole of you will still be affected by the parts that were not given the chance to work through their healing. Remember, as split and divided as you might feel, you are still all connected within the same one body and the same one brain. To truly overcome depression, all of your insiders need the chance to overcome their pain.
Depression can be very debilitating.
Healing your trauma issues will be fundamental to overcoming the effects of the chronic depression.
In other words, in my opinion, you will continue to struggle with depression if you have unresolved trauma issues. If your dissociative symptoms have a significant negative impact on your ability to function, the likelihood of your having a significant level of major depression (MDD) is also present.
It is true that there may be other reasons for your depression in addition to trauma. (Please note: those topics were not addressed in this blog).
However, it is safe to assume that if you have unresolved trauma issues, you will most likely have chronic depression. And, the less unresolved trauma in your life, the less depression you’ll experience.
So….. get to work on addressing your DID / trauma issues. You’ll feel better for it!!
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Great advice, but all everyone does is completely ignore me. Because i guess i am just too much for people to handle. I wish i could disappear.
I have major depressive disorder. I struggle a lot. I feel like going away and sleeping all the time. Like I think, ok time for another part to take over because I am done, I was on ECT (electrocolvulsive therapy) for a year and a half and it was hugely triggering. Has anyone else gone through it? I’m thinking of doing it again, but I dont really want to…
I’m so depressed and I don’t really know the reason why. Sometimes, when quiet and still, when done with something I was doing, I feel the urge to cry. Examples: 1) The other day I was listening to an audio Kathy made, an interview, I think. At the end, she was saying goodbye. A little one started to cry. (It surprised me.) 2) When I’m out on the road driving, and I park for the night, I get the urge to cry. 3) When I leave home to go out on the road, I feel the urge to cry. This has been going on for months and months. It could be we’re grieving the loss of my mother. We’ve let go of that toxic relationship (and we miss my mother terribly). She’s getting older and now has Alzheimers. She’ll never be able to take responsibility for her actions. We still talk to her for 2-3 minutes, when it’s less stressful to do it than not to do it. We try not to, but the other day we did.
Then, there could be some hidden trauma not yet dealt with. Duh. Easily. But nothing is coming up. Well, something came up last week, but nothing more on it. And… it was really off the wall, like way out there, from all the stuff I’ve already faced or had any inklings about, or intuit is still within to be faced at a later time, when we’re ready.
It’s very difficult for me when I feel this sad and bad, and don’t know why… very, very difficult. : ( I have to keep parts from thinking negatively about everything. Thank God, I can do that most of the time. I’m just very, very unhappy inside. : ( I pray for help and answers. I want us to feel better! I want us to face the truth, the real reason why we’re so unhappy. That would be so helpful!
Oh my dear Naturluvr … my heart goes out to you. It sure does sound like something important is trying to bubble up to the surface. Trust that what you might see as “off the wall” may be very important stuff that has not come into full focus yet. As hard as it is to do, try to just relax and let whatever needs to come up and out do so in its own time. No pressure. No agenda. No expectations. No judgments. No overthinking it all. Just let it be. And, if that is crying whenever tears come up, let that be too. I know that it is hard to sit with feelings and not know the “why” behind them. But sometimes we just have to honour and experience the feelings first for our insiders to trust us enough with the “why” later. Let your insiders know that you respect them and what they are feeling and that, when they are ready, you are there to hear whatever they have to tell you with an open mind and heart.
Take good care dear friend.
As the memories surface, feelings will also surface. Expressing genuine emotion is key to working through depression.
is this really true?
if there was ever in the world a safe place to have feelings would i ever get better?
because that feels really impossible.
Very pertinent to me right now. I was inpatient 23 days ago. Almost a constant struggle for a few months now. A lot has to do with accepting DID dx. But slowly things have been coming up. And I’ve lost 3 therapists in 5 months (with one consistent t). I struggle with the basics so it seems impossible to “work through” any trauma. Any mention of a slightly emotional charged conversation and I am gone. Im just beginning to accept that this is going to be a long journey (already almost 2 years)…and yet this article makes it seems like a snap of your fingers. It’s just not fair! ugh. 🙁
No it is not fair. None of this is (i.e., what made us DID, living with DID, trying to heal, the whole lot). The article may have sounded like it was just a snap of the fingers but none of us (including Kathy) believes and knows that it is so. It is a life-long journey. I do not say that to frighten or depress you. I am just saying the truth. But, with that truth comes reassurances that it can get better and even joyful at times. And, with that truth also comes the understanding that you are not alone, you have all of us here to listen, ask questions, talk with, etc. knowing that we know what it is like to live and heal with DID.
You are just starting out on this journey of understanding CD. It is probably feeling very overwhelming, confusing and out of control right now. That is very understandable. We have all been on that roller coaster ride. There will be more and more moments of feeling the firm ground under you though as you start to understand your system of alters, build communication and cooperation with them and start the knowing and healing process as your traumas are revealed.
It just takes a whole lot of small baby steps of work and understanding CD. There is no racing down this path. You have to go slow and easy, finding your footing with each step and assembling the tools that you need to pick yourself up when you fall and keep yourself moving forward. But again, I cannot stress enough that you are not on this path alone. You have a lot of friends here to watch your back, give a hand up when you need one and to offer light and understanding when the way gets dark. Kathy is our beckon of light here CD. Keep coming here when you get lost.
Sending positive, healing energy your way.
Lesley Barford says
I’ve been in therapy with my current therapist for 5 years….although for 3 of those I have been very poorly so therapy has had to have been through Skype or when I’ve been well enough. I’m not starting to return yo weekly appointment which is good, and parts love! But I suddenly feel myself in the depths of it all….which in some ways is good because I’ve spent the last 20 years messing about and avoiding the big issues! BUT my question is……How do I cope when I get home from a really intense heavy session where parts have disclosed new information, I’m in a heap and I’m expected to carry on as if nothing happened?!!! I can’t do it! This week has been hell. I’ve just wanted to hide away but I can’t my family don’t understand that……I can’t share with them either. Please help me.
WOW … you have asked a HUGE question here. First, however, I want to say that I hear your pain and fear. You have come to the right place to find help and undertsnading. I am not saying this to take away focus from your suffering but I just want you to know that you are not alone here. You have the kindred spirits in friends who have walked the path that you are on and know the struggles that you are facing. This is not an easy journey but we are all here to help one another down our unique paths of healing in any way that we can.
Finding balance between knowing, healing and dealing with everyday life is a struggle. Most days I want to go live in a cave somewhere and be left alone. Any social interaction, even the most benign or loving kind, is like a cold wind blowing over an open wound. I cannot cope. I want to work on my stuff, dredge up the vial muck and cleanse it so that I can heal. But, often I find myself drowning in the stuff, unable to move or breathe or function or … well, just live in a most basic way.
My T offered a couple of different coping mechanisms and reassurances to me that I pass on here in hope that they may help you.
The first concerned an abuser that was just driving me crazy. I was in circles of torment about him so my T simply said that I needed a break from him. Hum … strange thing to say, I thought. and then — how the hell do I do that! “Find a container to put him in and lock him away just for now,” was her reply. So, out came a big trunk, I put him in it, slammed down the lid, put a huge lock on it and covered it with sand. He was still there to dig up when I was ready to deal with him again but for now, he was safely put away.
The other thing was along this same idea. So, stuff, really awful, hard stuff, comes out in therapy. What do I do with that? I do not want to sit on it until my next session and it is too hard to live with and deal with without the help of my T. So, I have this big bookcase (in my head). Stuff that comes up in session is put in a shoebox at the end of the session and it goes up on the shelf. It is still there but I do not have to deal with it outside of my therapy session. At the next session, I can take it down and o[en it up again or take down another box.
Learning self-soothing techniques and ways to keep you calm grounded and centered (like meditation) also help during the week I find. Building communication with your insiders and learning to help them, sooth them and find ways to help them express themselves in positive ways also helps. Some times it just takes telling yourself to try and stay here for your next session with your T.
I wish you all the best Lesley. Keep coming here especially when you are most frightened, confused, alone … you will find kinship here if not answers. Sometime we just need someone else to hear and know.
Lesley Barford says
Thankyou so much for replying. Therapy has got too overwhelming at the moment. I’m still going…because I have nothing else. But I am exhausted with all that keeps coming up. All the new memories. It’s hideously painful, overwhelming, and totally exhausting. Even when my T says right today we are not going to do ant memory stuff, something seems to come up!!! Today it just took her to say one word in a sentence and Bam I was there!!!!
Thankyou for sharing your techniques, I have tried the first one before and it worked well, but I forget to use it again! We did try today but it didn’t work, now I’m left with yet another image 😭 But I don’t want things that keep me going for the next few minutes, I want something that can help me long term. The thought that this is it, I just have to go through life feeling like this with only distraction techniques is too much for me. I don’t think I will make it. 😭😭 I’ve never felt this down before. Sorry.
I think what is most important to remember on those hard days is that feelings come and go. It will feel awful, exhausting, painful and overwhelming. But those feelings will fade. They won’t be with you forever. They will eventually recede and make room for better feeling emotions.
After really hard appointments, I usually make a point to sleep – sometimes even in the car right after my appointment. Sleep can sometimes be a reset for me, so it helps. It also is a break from those hard emotions.
I try to find something to do that I enjoy – watching a show that feels good. Looking at pictures. Sometimes I will plan a trip that I probably won’t ever take, just because it is fun to dream about where I might like to go. I try to talk nicely to myself and take good care of me.
If I have a lot of emotions that feel overwhelming, I will do artwork. It helps to get the feelings out and on paper. Different parts like different things. Collage has been the best thing yet to get feelings and emotions out and helps to process them. Journaling also helps. A lot.
Learning to grieve has been the hardest part of my therapy. I tell my therapist that recovery feels like one long grieving process. There is so much to grieve when you are remembering. And a lot of those losses are things that aren’t tangible –
like innocence, like trust, like skills you should have learned but didn’t, like a coherent identity, lost opportunities, loss of idealized others. Lots and lots of things. Read whatever you can get your hands on about grief and abuse. Make a list of the things you are grieving. It helps to name and acknowledge your losses. You can’t properly grieve them until you do.
There is a lot out there that is helpful related to grieving and helps puts things in perspective.
Find something every day to be grateful for, no matter how small. Thank your insiders. You are heroic! Recognize and embrace your strength and courage.
Remember this quote from Winnie the Pooh,
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh
Things do get better.
Oh wow Neo … what brilliant advice you gave to Lesley and, by extension, us all. I learned so much from what you have said here for myself. Thank you for sharing these insights.
I really feel that the key here is that it is not forever Lesley. It may feel overwhelming and setting a course for life-long suffering but there is hope. What we have offered here are not patches on your reality. They are ways for you to get through your every day without being flooded and overwhelmed to the point of hopelessness.
The road is hard – darn hard. And, sometimes it feels impossible. But, trust those of us who have been there, you can make it. All of this pain that you feel and the flood of memories that you are having are purging your heart, mind and soul of the garbage that others have filled you up with. Sometimes that feels too much – well, okay often it feels like too much especially when you are just starting out to do your work. My T always tells me that my insiders (subconscious) will only reveal what it feels I can handle. Well, sometimes I think that my subconscious has it all wrong and I am going to go stark raving mad. Yet, somehow I manage to crawl my way through the fire.
Check out our discussion about “baskets of safety nets” on the “Our Normal Complicated Selves” blog Lesley. We need a whole bunch of tools to help us through the rough times. Some times one tool will work and then some times we need another tool for the same job. And, some times we need everything that we have in our basket. This website can be one of your tools in your basket Lesley.
Sending warm thoughts and positive healing energy.
I think we have depressed parts that come out from time to time. We have endured long term trauma, so it is normal to grieve those things: lost innoscence, lost childhood, lost sense of “what is normal.” Right now I am unable to work full time (I do clean houses on the side), my marriage is on the rocks, and we keep making everyone mad at us. So there is depression from trauma, depression from current circumstance, and depression b/c our Mom is dying of an awful disease. So lots of sad parts going on.
The problem is that we don’t know what makes us happy anymore. So if anyone knows how to find happiness, please clue me in. Spent a good deal of the morning crying b/c Mom called and cried the whole time. Also because my husband hates me and wants a divorce.
Boy do I hear and feel what we all have a big challenge in dealing with Depression. Med’s make it much harder for me to work in therapy as they make me feel nothing and anti-depressants make me more depressed. My system can not handle any meds. Little ones become over dosed and the parts that need them do not use it. We do better with out. As the main host, I am not connected full to their trauma and emotions but I do allow and work the best I can with them but I can only work with them short periods of time and then ask them kindly to step back a little (and explain why ) but not go away and make a appointment for later to rejoin and work some more with them. I do a lot more with them to do this and is something my therapist taught me how to do. It maybe helpful for you to talk this over with your T. I had to do it today with some newbie’s. I worked with them most of the morning then asked if they could step back a little with helper alters working with me. I can hear, talk and feel their emotions but not where it over whelms me as they learn that I also have to handle daily life so taking a couple steps back I do not become disabled. Working with T then I can become one with them and T helps me to recover and stabilize again to go home. I need T to help going thru intense memories and emotions. Not able to do it alone. Other parts can learn to help with this process. Usually in a couple minutes I am released from there emotion pain body memories or trauma scenes. At 9 pm we met for a hour and then step back a little till tomorrow when we talk again with T. Just a suggestion to talk with T about first.
I wish i could stop this depression that gets worse and worse.
We have been on new meds for 2 months but theyre not working.
All we feel like doing is laying on the couch and curling up with our dog and make the world go away. All we want to do is sleep, but we cant sleep anymore, and we are so exhausted.. Theres too much stuffed inside, too many flashbacks and words and voices and bad pictures, they never stop no matter what we do to distract ourselves. Theres so many things on your list that we cant do right now, we are just stuck. It feels like life is standing still. What if we are stuck here forever? It feels like its already been forever. What if we stay like this the rest of our life? What is wrong with us? Why cant we fix it? We are always too full, too loud, too…everything. We hate being this way. Theres something WRONG with us that we cant fix and no one else can fix. We really are hopeless. Nothing works.the problem is US. But we cant seem to fix us. There is something broken in us that cant be fixed.
thanks for posting this, very helpful.
I initially came into treatment for a free-floating depression and was not able to pin it to anything. Suddenly I ended up with flashbacks, nightmares…it was rough. It took years of peeling back layers before I really knew what was going on.
My experience has also been that you can’t treat the depression without treating the trauma.
Thanks for sharing
C. Rosenblatt says
To us it’s best to ask inside: “Are we depressed or is our life depressing?”
Most times it’s the reality of life as a person with DID (and all the problems that are inside this little three letters) that opens the door for falling into it, what therapists call “depression”.
It doesn’t help us to hear, what we have to do, when we are “depressed”/in a depressing life situation, because we see a depression as a reaction on something- so we did already something and maybe all we could do.
If we get a list: “do this- do that…” there comes pressure to do it “right”, to don’t do it for us and and and
and at the end its just dissociation to deal with it.
From “don’t feel good”/”feel depressed” to “feeling nothing- so everything is okay”.
The best for us is to remember: there is an beginning of feeling bad and there is an end – there was always an end
Kathy Broady says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and thanks for the comment. Depression can very much be like that. You can do only as much as you can do, and that’s that. The rest will have to wait. Because yes… There can be and will be better days. I really like that you can recognize that. Remembering it won’t always be this bad can help a lot in terms of giving some hope to inch forward. Good point!
Its interesting, since labelling emotional states is nigh on impossible for the majority of us.
Those of us who are around most pick up on other peoples emotional states instantly, but our own are rarely identifiable.
Depression has hit us in various forms. The most debilitating was when we became catatonic. Chronic “low mood” is fairly “normal” for most of us. Then there is grief, and sadness which while we are only very slowly beginning to recognise, we are trying to see as valid feelings and are at a snails pace working out ways to tolerate acknowledging.
Anger is an emotion not felt by any of us who are mainly up front….unless it is on behalf of [external] others, but we know it is one of those basic “key” emotions and wish we could feel anger, since it appears to be a fairly motivating and energising emotion.
Trauma is clearly the root of D.I.D, however we have been told that were mistaken to have focused on it so intently, when psychoeducation communication and acceptance of our present has been bypassed by many of us for a very long time which means taking huge steps back from past trauma and covering those basics again, more fully [while clearly doing what we can to prevent/cope with current/recent traumas, whether they be simple or complex].
Am not sure how anyone[s] living within D.I.D can *not* [if in therapy] be working at addressing DID/trauma issues….or how any therapist could allow that to happen without re-orienting the patient/client to reality.
Hope this has made sense [?].
Kathy Broady says
Reblogged this on Discussing Dissociation and commented:
Here’s Part 2 of Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Part 1 had 7 ideas that can help.
Part 2 has 8 more.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Right now I’m waiting on my last three sets of FIP test results, should have them back by Monday or Tuesday, and I am expecting them to be negative. Which will be wonderful for the cats…but not so great for me. Because I will have lost my automatic reason to live, which has been that I have to live so I can care for my animals because no other person or rescue has space to even foster them, much less treat them. But once they are all healthy, that is no longer an issue. And there’s just not really anything else holding me here. I have no friends, no real family, have never had a meaningful relationship with another person in my entire life. So what is there really to stay in this world for? Not much that I can see…
I think you must have missed about half of what I said. I AM a rescue. My rescue is called Healing Hearts. I have 18 cats, 3 kittens and 2 dogs here right now. More animals would be the last thing on earth that I need right now. I have spent my last pennies on getting all of my cats well from FIP and I am busy enough with my job, my graduate school and caring for all of my own animals, with my own medical problems. Since I’ve had FIP and Parvo at my house, I’m not even supposed to be touching other people’s animals. That’s one of many things that I find depressing. Even if I had friends, they could not come and visit because my house is so contaminated with highly contagious and highly fatal diseases. I plan to eventually replace everything – the carpet, the furniture, all of the cats and dogs’ things, and repaint the walls, to get rid of both viruses, but right now I am struggling to buy food for everyone. And putting up ads every place I can find online and in person to try to get my foster kittens and some of the healthy friendly adult cats adopted for Christmas. I could really use some people to volunteer to come and help ME, but no one wants to because of the Parvo and FIP.
Kathy Broady says
OH! No, I didn’t understand at all that you yourself were already the rescue facility. But oh my goodness…. the additional explanation to all the complications of FIP and parvo certainly helps me understand more of what you’ve been going thru’. How overwhelming is that?!!! Maybe one day when your house is all spiffed up with the new stuff, you’ll feel all this a little differently, but yeah, at the moment, I can really understand how heavy all this is on you. The loss, the overwhelming cost, the feeling of contamination, the forced social isolation — all that — definitely becomes depressing.
I do know that sometimes helpers pay a very steep price for being willing to help others. Something doesn’t seem right about that, but it does happen.
I’m sorry that it is costing you so much…
You must truly care so very deeply for your animals….
I hope some good-hearted people are looking to adopt some kittens for the holidays!!
For me depression is still a relatively new concept. For most of my life I have either been manic or suicidal. Or not present. But last year I was actually completely stable and mostly integrated for the entire year. This year, however, everything has fallen apart. I have a lot of cats that I love more than anything and they all got sick with a disease that is supposed to be always fatal. I was very blessed and only lost 5 of them, plus a puppy to Parvo, but I cannot grieve for them because if I cry I can’t stop and that scares my cats and my dogs. Last year was the first time in my life that I actually wanted to live. This year I didn’t have a choice. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if anything happened to me that all of my cats would be euthanized because no one else could afford to treat them. But now they are all getting well. By Christmas the last of them should be completely well. So my automatic reason to live will not be there anymore.
My sisters (alters) don’t cause me any stress. They try to alleviate it. I cause them stress most of the time. They are very caring and supportive and amazingly creative at thinking of coping strategies, but they have been doing it my entire life and they are weary and discouraged. Not suicidal, but running out of things to say to me.
I’m just sort of trudging through life right now. Doing chores. Going to work. Pretending like everything is fine. But it is very much NOT. And i don’t know how much longer i can hold it together.
Kathy Broady says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation – it’s nice to hear from you.
I am sooo very sorry to hear of all the losses you experienced with your cats and dog. Pets are just so very important, and how heartbreaking it would be for you to lose so many of them. It sounds like you have a real tender heart for animals – are there some animal shelters in your area that could your help?? I know there are a lot of animals out there who could use the devotion and compassion you have for animals…
That much loss in one year is so very painful… and completely depressing…
I hope things get better for you soon.
Kathy you are very correct about my needing to be able to access the anger that must be there, rage really. The ones who abused me worked a lot of programming me to deny and disallow feelings – or the expression of feelings. They would continue to harm me until I accepted it with no outward sign of feelings.
I am grateful I am now beginning to cry and become angry. Anger in myself frightens me because as a little I wanted so much NOT to be like those evil people. Now I am desperate to begin letting these old toxic out. I’ve been letting my spouse verbally abuse me and it happened this weekend and I never truly saw it for what it is, but he goes on lengthy rants about my faults and tries to control me with fear. BUT, it is beginning to fail. I used to cry when he did it, now I just watch him. Today when I see my T I am going to ask to begin to do whatever it takes to STOP allowing him to disrespect me in our home. It’s so wrong of him to do it and me to take it! When he was gone Sunday, my feelings erupted and I let them go and yelled as loud as I could and just let all my feelings freak out and I am so proud of my insiders for doing that. Phil is behaving like a rotten ratfink and his actions anger and disgust me. (blowing big raspberry here ! )
Mona, Thank you for sharing your poem, you really expressed it very well. Someday I believe you and I will have good and beautiful things to express. I don’t believe this pain is all there is or is a forever place. We will do more than survive. Today lets just hang on together with all the other people working to recover from a horrid past.
I appreciate this forum Kathy and All of you who write in.
Deborah…I wrote this poem some time ago. Depression is certainly an old “friend” but not in a warm fuzzy kind of way. I thought you might relate to it.
He paces in the shadows,
watching with cold, hollow eyes
for an opening
where he can slip in
and with icy hands
burning on my shoulder
push me down and down
until the weight becomes too much
and I just want to sink
Into the earth
and become a shadow too.
in your first post on this topic of depression you said it “follows you around like a warm blanket and a lifelong friend.” I gotta say I radically disagree with that. It follows me around like a bad case of lice followed by a sadistic mugger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think I have probably been somewhat depressed for my entire life, things started out grim and never got much better. Depression never, ever felt comforting like a warm blanket, it always felt like something malevolent just waiting for me to slip up so it could overwhelm me and completely distroy me.
Sorry if this seems over the top, I just feel like depression has been one of the worst symptoms of my struggle to survive violence and ritual abuse and a whole lot more crap in my misbegotten childhood. BAH HUMBUG!!! I hate depression and wish i could get angry and yell a lot. GRRRRR!!!!!
deborah of pixies
Kathy Broady says
Deborah of pixies,
Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear that your depression feels like a bad case of lice followed by a sadistic mugger! YIKES!! But then again …. it’s good that you were able to find a metaphor that is much more accurate for how it feels for you. I get your point tho’ — depression can be overwhelming, and it can destroy people’s lives, so… in that sense, I completely understand.
Your comment was not over the top – it is completely ok to say how things are for you. And frankly – I think that the more you could get angry, and the more you could yell out some of the stuff you are holding in, that might help bit by bit. Remember the saying… depression is anger turned inwards. Maybe that is particularly true for you????
I hope it doesn’t get you. Maybe yell at the depression itself? (not at yourself, at the depression that is following you around) … ???
Thanks for your post –
I found your site and this particular blog to be helpful with my situation. I have been going to therapy on and off for the past eight months, dealing with CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse) for the first time. It happened thirteen years ago, for a period of three years, and now that I’m a young adult, I decided to reach out and get some help for my issues. It wasn’t easy, which is a broad statement, but at the time, I didn’t think I had any issues to address, other than, I just needed to get somethings off of my chest. Therapy was going great and after eight months I decided to step away from counseling and manage things on my own. It wasn’t until a month into doing so, I started feeling very depressed, as in your blog, and I realized there were things I didn’t share with my therapist because it wasn’t affecting me at the time and it was embarrassing. I happened to be with a trusted friend at the time of my melt down, who talked with me about what it was I was holding onto and suggested I call my therapist and make an appointment to see her again. I have yet to see my therapist, but ever since I talked with my friend, which has been about two weeks ago, I have felt so emotionally “out of it” and in shock. I attempted to write in my journal the other night about my childhood, and I was overwhelmed with emotion, I had to stop writing. I have never been in this state in my life, I feel so numb and distant. I don’t know how therapy is going to go during my next appointment, but from reading your blog, I hope “change” will occur and I’m not either like what I was before therapy, nor in this state forever. I realize every person is different and working through emotions is a process, but I’m also a full-time student and working full-time. I have to focus at some point on my activities and hold down my job duties. I haven’t been given a diagnosis other than mildly depressed, I have tried an anti-depressant at one time, but I didn’t find it effective to help me work through my emotions. How do you feel about anti-depressants and the healing process?
Kathy Broady says
I am glad to hear that you have started to work on your healing. I think it takes quite a long time to work thru’ all the feelings, and emotions, and confusion, and “mixed-up-ness” that comes from being sexually abused. Sexual abuse affects so many more areas of the mind, soul, body, and social relationships than people may realize at first. The healing process is not a quick thing by any means… Important, yes, but it doesn’t go fast, especially not when there are other things in life to tend to (ie: full time work, full-time school, etc).
It sounds like you are still very much in the early stages of your healing journey…
Be kind and gentle to yourself – you’ve got a ways to go, and a lot of painful connections to make…
But healing also brings greater depth, and deeper peace, and a compassionate understanding for so many things in life, a solid resolution and stability…
It’s well worth the effort.
But yes, its a very hard and painful journey at times.
As far as medications go – I’m not a psychiatrist with direct medical training, so I would refer that question to someone with that kind of background for more specific answers for you.
As a clinical answer from my experience, some of my clients rely heavily on anti-depressants, and some refuse to touch the stuff. I think it really depends on the individual person, and how much they can manage their depression without falling too far in.
But one of the most important aspects of feeling better, and overcoming depression, is finding a way to express what has happened to you. Telling your story in whatever way it can come out — not having to hold in big heavy secrets, not having to hold in emotions that were locked away for years of time — those things will give you a kind of freedom that will make the biggest difference in your feelings of depression in the long run.
Keep at your healing journey – it’ll be worth it…
I agree with the comment on not knowing your depressed.
I have never scored NOT depressed on the beck depression test, not even close, even when I have felt I’m not depressed. ( think one time I actually WAS below severe though….)
Throw in different ‘parts’ and as usu its all the more confusing.
I am glad you posted about depression, cuz I keep forgetting that I need to address it.
But I s’pose….first I gotta learn how to feel, or let myself feel….
Kathy Broady says
Oh dear, it sounds like depression has become such a normal, everyday state of life for you that you that “depression” is just how life is. I’m sorry to hear that… Because, living a life with that much depression must feel very sad, or very flat… or just not so fun… If you could ever get not-depressed, you might be surprised at how life feels when you’re not depressed.
I have a guess tho’… besides with all the other stuff that you are keeping tucked inside… and keeping your feelings pushed down, and not allowing yourself to feel is going to cause / create / enforce depression. But being dissociative, I’d also guess that a lot of your feelings, or most of your feelings, are tucked away in some of your other parts. SO…. it goes back around to really really connecting to the other parts of yourself. The more you can and will talk to your parts, and the more you allow them to have freedom of expression, the more you will be able to feel, and in time, with enough expression, you will not feel so depressed anymore.
Depression is a complicated thing, so… it might be more involved than that for you – but this stuff might be one of the key factors.
Remember to let those insiders out to have a voice! Or listen to them from within. But talking together consistently and repeatedly – that’s a real key to lifting depression for dissociative trauma survivors.
Thanks for your comment, and I hope that you feel better soon.
Wounded Genius says
Thanks for the reply. I guess with meds you can’t treat the whole system in one go – for example I have parts that are SI-prone/suicidal but treating that with meds deadens everyone. Also, some parts are more effected by side effects than others. At least with talk therapy, everyone gets the same consistent treatment 🙂
Wounded Genius says
@ljane – are you on the right ones? None of them do very much for me… just shed loads of side effects…
No advise to offer on the acceptance thing, I’m a looong way from there.
Kathy Broady says
I am really not sure why the blog Depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder, part 1 is not accepting comments. I can’t figure out just what went wrong, lol. So if you have anything you want to comment about part 1, please feel free to add your comments here to the part 2 thread. It’s all one big article anyway, so… your comments will still make sense and are definitely welcome.
Sorry for the inconvenience,
Ugh! I’m on an antidepressant and I can still say I have every symptom you listed from the National Institute of Mental Health. I know, though, that I feel better than I did. I’m not wondering about whether or not life is worth living– at least not to the degree I was before. I do not feel quite so… black.
But, this just sucks. I am so tired of being in no-man’s-land. I can’t believe my past and I can’t not believe it. How do I get to some degree of acceptance?
Kathy Broady says
Thanks for your comments. I’m sorry to hear that your depression is so very deep — I do understand how miserable that can be. I’m not a psychiatrist, so I can’t comment on which med works best or any of that kind of psychopharm kind of thing. But as a therapist, I have some ideas. I think meds can only do so much, and from what I’ve seen, it is very very difficult to find the right combination that works for each person. They can help, but they can’t do everything.
I do think one of the important things to remember is that doing your clinical work — working thru’ all the hard stuff with your internal parts, and addressing the trauma, and sorting out the conflicts, and learning to express your feelings — all those kinds of things — are equally as effective, and in the long run MORE effective than medications. If the unresolved trauma issues stay there, all the medication band-aids in the world won’t remove or take away the effects of the trauma. So… maybe there is something more? new? different? you can add to your healing work?
Expression of emotion and just having the freedom to talk really makes a big big difference in the amount of depression someone feels. And when you are dissociative, this applies to the host and the inside parts too. Everyone will need the chance to express what they are feeling / thinking / remembering / experiencing, etc. If you have to hold everything in, it’s just going to keep adding more and more to the side of “needing to be” depressed. Freedom of expression lowers the “need to be” depressed.
So my first thought is to say….. talk more, more, more!!! 🙂
I’m sorry you feel so badly – it’s really not fun to be that depressed.
I wish you the best –
Wounded Genius says
(I think it’s post #1 where the comments aren’t working)
In response to the first part – I was on antidepressants before I started with a DID-specific therapist who advised me to come off them because they prevented me from “feeling” (on top of general splitting and alexithymia)
Any thoughts on this policy for DID people? It sounds like you think they are a *good* idea..?
Kathy Broady says
Well… that’s a hard question, because I’m not sure that there is one correct answer for that. First let me give the disclaimer that I am not a psychiatrist or a medical doctor, so… my opinion is not based on any medical type expertise. But as a therapist, I do see the effects of medications, and I can speak to that kind of idea. I generally think, the fewer meds the better. And if someone can manage without any medications, that is good, simply because meds really do have a lot of negative side effects. Some of the negative side effects are very troubling, to say the least.
But those people with such severe depression that they are a suicidal risk, and survivors that have bipolar, will need their medication. Intense suicidal behaviors can too dangerous to be left to just talk-therapy, so using meds to at least help the person move away from that type of self-injury could be very important. People focused on suicide / self-injury are not going to be able to address much else in their therapy, so the quicker the person is at least safely stabilized, the better. So for me, it depends on how extreme the depression / bipolar is. Bipolar really needs to be medicated as it can just spiral out of control so quickly.
I am less inclined to support medication for anxiety, unless the anxiety is really creating problems in functioning in daily life. I think far too many people turn to anxiety-meds to avoid the feelings of life / memories, and if people are trying to medicate in order to “chemically create” dissociation, then that is not at all helpful.
Survivors and their doctors really have to remember that popping a pill to remove the symptoms isn’t going to heal their trauma wounding. Medicine can’t take away the fact that you were hurt, and that you experienced various effects from those injuries. Addressing the trauma is more effective in the long run than taking meds to try to squash things back down again.
That’s a quick reply – hope that helps.
I am beginning to think that you can be depressed for so long,
that you don’t even recognize it as depression, just as a way
After hearing the word depression, directed at me several times,
by several people (with great disbelieve) I have started to wonder
if I might actually have depression.
Who would have thunk….
I also think that people have to remember there is a waayy beginning
stage for some, like me. First recognizing the depression, the spaciness,
the everything, long before they can address what to do with it.
Kathy Broady says
You have made a very good point. I completely agree — some people have been depressed for so very long, it’s completely normal / natural for them, and they don’t recognize that they are dealing with an actual mental health issue.
And yes, recognizing the depression one of the first steps in addressing the problem.
And just to be clear…
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
* difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
* fatigue and decreased energy
* feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
* feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
* insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
* irritability, restlessness
* loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
* overeating or appetite loss
* persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
* persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
* thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
I hope you feel better soon….
Kathy Broady says
Well, I can see both comments, so … as far as I can tell, the comments are working.
I’m not sure what the issue was earlier…. ????!?!?!?
I’m just glad things seem to be ok now.
Post away, everyone! 🙂
Kathy Broady says
Checking to see if the comment section is working now…