Life Events

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There has been a lot of talk on here about life events causing depression.  Of course if you lose your job or marriage etc. you can end up depressed and I am not knocking that.

It's much more difficult to cope with depression when it stems from a dysfunctional upbringing and learned behaviour as a child.  When things go wrong it is not the events which is causing it it is a learned response.

For example I suffer from very low self esteem and lack of confidence in myself and my abilities and worth as a person,  so if anything goes wrong in my life I tend to deal with it in a negative way ie this confirms that I am worthless and don't deserve better.

To me this is true depression.  It is very hard to unlearn things you learnt as a child.  Yes you can do the therapy and change things in your life - that's the intellectual approach.  The emotional approach is very different and extremely difficult (and sometimes downright impossible) to alter.  

I have so many issues I have fought and partially won but I cannot fully change the emotional aspect.  A good example of this is when I am called in to see my boss at work,  I automatically think I have done something wrong and am on the defensive straight away.  Ok I know all about the parent/child thing but it is so hard to fight the emotional fight.  I end up exhausted battling with myself.  And that is just one example.  I have many others I have to fight on a daily basis and I believe this is the cause of my depression.  I have insight into them but find it very hard to change them.  It is definitely not boredom or unhappiness - it is true depression.

When I take meds I don't react so emotionally so even though they dull my senses this is much better than the alternative.

I don't know the answer and wish I did,  


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  • Posted

    Hi i had a great life in the early years of growing then got married which lasted for 20 yrs  then got married to someone i meet at my work force, now into my next 20 yrs.

    But i left a very good job, but left to go with Franchise which feel apart and we lost everything i got another job, but ended up on a disability,i feel sorry for my wife because she still has to work to pay our mortgage.

    Sometime we make the wrong choice for our future, but i am bother that at night i have chronic nightmare ever night now for the last 12 yrs,i have sought all the help possible, but now with a new Doctor but back on taking anti depressants again.


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  • Posted

    Hi Hypercat, I can relate to what you are saying. My childhood was awful, abusive, neglectful my father was a brute,a cruel man. Because of this i suffer low self esteem, no confidence, no self worth, self respect and am very critical of myself. My marriage was also awful and my husband commited suicide. The only good that has come out of my life is my two children, now grown up. At times we have a difficult relationship, i believe because of not being able to express my love in the

    usual way ie hugs and kisses, thou i love them very much and they know that. My chidhood has had a detrimental effect on every asspect of my life. The only way i can accept it now is to know that the past cannot be changed and that my childhood was not my fault. Very hard especially when i am in the dark depths of

    depression, that only other sufferers can truly understand. 

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  • Posted

    When I spoke to my cognitive behavioural therapist recently (following a terrible experience with another therapist - re-referral; you know the old chestnut), I sort of explained to the problem I had with CBT was that it focused on the here and now rather than the past, and part of the mistake I made in the past was spending an inordinate amount of time bringing whichever therapist it was up to speed, and I asked him if there was any way I could bullet-point the story of my life rather than give, as before, an 18-page diary that was put in front of somebody that said "this is me". CBT is very structured; it is also very short-term but nonetheless intensive.

    He suggested I condense it into a page that highlighted my positive and negative experiences. I spent around half an hour filling it in and it came out at two pages - virtually every day for 27 years in 2 pages.

    I presented it to him at my next appointment and he read it; he was surprised to see just how much I typed on the pages, and how much detail despite the obvious constraints. He looked at my negative experiences; he looked at me. He looked back at them. He looked at me. He said, "you haven't had a break, have you?"

    So I just sort of laughed and said, "no, not really." He asked me how I'd managed to pull myself through everything and I just sort of said that I've developed a lot of my own tools to use out of necessity since it was often the case the services didn't provide any care or guidance, and I wasn't satisfied with the effects of medication. He asked me if there was any medication that benefitted me and I said, "well, I've been through the A-Z of medication, and I mean that literally from the amitriptyline to zopiclone, and everything in between, and the only one that seemed to work was lorazepam"

    I explained that I understood the dependency qualities of that drug so it wasn't in my best interest to take it on a continual basis. Over the course of the appointment he got to know me more, listened (which is important with any therapist) and was shocked that I was sitting in front of him, and was curious to know why I was still sitting there despite the fact - I didn't know, fully, the physiological aspect of, particularly, brain functions and definitions - I just knew enough about coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression for me to be able to cope without CBT. I explained to him, "there's just something missing still. Just something"

    I explained to him a lot about the dissociative aspects of my condition; the degree of punishment that I give to myself for things (mentioned in my negative experiences) that I can't change. I spoke to him about DBT, about having a proper diagnosis, about the problems I have with medication (which he agreed with, and was again shocked at my level of awareness) - he even said, "your level of awareness is admirable" - and I said, "I won't say it's exceptional because I'm sure others have it too", and he said, "you'd be surprised" and we both sort of laughed, and I mentioned that I can imagine a lot of instances where people just sort of sit there and say nothing. He nodded.

    He explained to me that the reason I was quite different to a lot of people ("certainly that he'd met", he said), was in the fact I took the time out to fully immerse myself in... well, me, basically. He explained that based on my negative experiences (particularly in childhood) that I'd developed my own survival manual, and that this survival manual developed more clarity as my condition progressed, and allowed me the chance to look inward. Circumstances that I considered negative actually, in his opinion, worked to my advantage because it allowed me time to “think”, and in that “thinking time” I learned to “observe, rationalise, interpret and process” the black and white reality of every situation, which he said was not unique but was different (and challenging) to what he was used to dealing with, and he understood why I'd been met with such adversity from the clinical nature of the services.

    How we intend to progress is through activities such as re-scripting, grounding and daily activity diaries. First time I've looked forward to therapy in ages actually.

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  • Posted

    You are right learnt behaviour is very hard I've had anxiety attacks on and off for years, my counsellor said I had not learnt any coping skills from my parents as a child.  My Dad was always ill with his nerves and anything that happened my Mum panicked and it was always a major crisis.  However, having said that I made a conscious effort not to be anything like my parents who were both controlling and abusive.  My kids have turned out really well balanced and have become kind and mature adults.  I too had low confidence but fought it and have come through it, it's by no means easy and takes an enormous amount of effort.

    I have only recently been able to forgive my Mum for what she did to me as a child and I am in my early 50's.

    I must admit I have always experienced great difficulties dealing with people in authority such as bosses, no idea why?

    I've recently lost my long and happy marriage of 30 years and what was once a very happy family due to depression.  My husband has been bullied in the workplace and despite us all trying to help and support him he wants no help from anyone professionals included, sadly he has pushed us all away.  He is still bumbling round like an unexploded firework pretending all is well, knowing what I went through with the anxiety I know he cannot avoid his issues forever and will at some point have to face his fears!

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    • Posted

      "I must admit I have always experienced great difficulties dealing with people in authority such as bosses, no idea why?"

      I have a problem with authoritarian figures but it's mainly because those I had experience dealing with in childhood were so-called authoritarian figures; teachers, mainly, and the problem now is - it's not so much like an anti-social behavioural disorder; I understand a very clear cut moral code; do not murder, do not steal, etc etc - I dislike what society would call "ego trippers"; people who in the grand scheme really have no power over you, and that includes managers, peers, other employees and so on. And it's quite right to have objections to this; it becomes a problem when it affects your quality of life.

      Basically, in my mind, when I see people who tell me what to do - people who aren't law-makers - I see every person in my childhood I looked to for guidance only to be, well, abused, I guess. Abuse of power and sense of injustice is a massive topic in any session I have. Managers, like sharks, like predators ("psychopaths"; all in management roles have psychopathic traits) will sense a weakness as an opportunity, and will abuse it if they have to.

      The process of re-scripting (in CBT) involves placing yourself in the situation you were in at the time, possibly as a third person (I've yet to discover this) observing what is happening and creating, in your mind, a non-existent scenario where you are the victor. Other therapies that deal with past traumas and so on would include EMDR, which has apparently been effective but I've yet to experience it also; my niece, however, has, and she recovered from experiencing a house fire that nearly cost her and her entire family their lives. It was remarkable, actually, how effective it was for her.

      How I alleviated a lot of the problems I have with people in authority was by becoming self-employed, but it didn't address the problems I had with people just in general, hence the continued CBT.

      It was virtually impossible for me to be employed by anybody because - first of all, I lacked assertiveness and worked in jobs that had no clear cut role, so if a fellow employee asked me to do something that wasn't what I felt was my job, I'd do it, and they'd continue to ask me to do it but I never told them to sod off, basically. When managers began to get involved, sensing the same lack of assertiveness in me, they piled on the pressure for me to perform better in the role I was working in without knowing that I was also having pressure piled on by other employees. Then comes the stress element. When it happens in one role, you can leave it. When it continued to happen, I said to myself, “I'm not cut out for the working environment.”

      I was, of course - everybody is - but I couldn't adapt to the environment created by others, so it was necessary for me to create my own and adapt to that. When I did that, I felt happier.

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    • Posted

      Sorry to hear about your family and the fire I am so pleased to hear they are all ok.

      Not sure if this authoritan era we were bought up in to respect and not question others.

      When I first started work I was bullied that's when the anxiety started, however, I learnt much from the bullying as a result of which I don't take sh*t from anyone the DH and his solicitor.  Doingmy reent degree gave me confidence I had always considered msyself thick to discover I was Dyslexic I now believe in myself more and know with what I am going through I am actually very strong.

      It's good to hear you have created your own environment.  J x

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    • Posted

      Yes I find employment by others very difficult too - it makes me feel trapped and powerless.  But because I have no skills to utilise for self employment and lack confidence I have no choice whether to be self employed or employed.  I have had to deal with the situation rather than avoiding it by becoming self employed.  

      And before you say anyone can become self employed  - they can't.  And don't forget I am a lot older than you so am nearing the end of my working life anyway thank goodness.  

      I have never had a real ambition or vocational desire so have always been employed.  

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