The Journey to Depression by Carinne Allison
The roots of most depression lie in No. Depression is sometimes seen as repressed anger, which belongs with No. The violation of an individual’s boundaries in childhood is abuse. This can be physical, mental, emotion, psychological or sexual. Such abuse leaves us with unclear or non-existent boundaries and sets up patterns of abuse, self-abuse, co-dependency, addiction, manipulation or other dysfunctional behaviours in adulthood.
It also leaves us with a confused sense of identity. We don’t know who we are and we spend a lot of time trying to be whatever other people expect of us – or we believe the lies we were told and take on the identity forced upon us by our abusers. Instead of unfolding as a result of free, proactive choices that reflect who we are, our lives become a series of reactions to situations over which we seem to have no control, or which have been forced upon us by others.
One day we wake up and realise we do not know who we are or what we want. Our life is out of our control – we have given (or they have taken) our power away to our lovers/bosses/children/parents/friends. We are living a lie. Is it any wonder we feel angry? However, we may not be aware of our anger, because we were told we don’t deserve any better, so we don’t feel we have a right to feel angry. Or we may have long ago lost any connection to our emotions. This unrecognised anger leads to depression – as does the sense of helplessness that arises from years of abuse/self-abuse, loss of control, manipulation.
Now we reach the ‘tipping point’ – but we have to make a choice. Some people choose denial – ‘I’m not depressed, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just a bit stressed at work, that’s all; I just need a drink to wind down when I get home, nothing wrong with that’. That’s okay, because it’s possible to change our minds at any point – that is to say, when we’re ready. At that point, we can say, “Yes”. The keywords for Yes are Permission, Acceptance, Agreement and Surrender, and as soon as we are ready, they all come into play. When we stop fighting our depression, we give ourselves permission – to feel awful, to feel useless, to have no appetite or energy, to be tired and weepy, to want to avoid people – in other words, to be depressed. As soon as we give ourselves permission, we accept our depression and stop fighting it. We can now begin to deal with it and the process of recovery can begin.