Are we Really Depressed?
Years ago, as he was dying my father told me; “You know, I’ve been depressed my whole life, it’s a terrible fate.”
Even then something came through me and my response was, “Poppa, you weren’t depressed, you suffered from PTSD. You killed people and that is something that you never recover from, ever.”
During WWII my father was a paratrooper, and jumped on D-day and saw A-lot of action. Seeing death up close or being an instrument of it, tears at one’s soul.
My father used to tell me that most wounds aren’t visible.
Frequently, it’s only the symptoms that get treated.
I worked with a client today and in a momentary flash, during her reading I told her:
“You are not depressed, you are suffering from trauma.”
She nearly wept. “Oh my gosh, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.”
She had been verbally abused and treated with extreme hostility by her now ex-husband. She ran to another continent to get away from him. And yet no matter how far she ran, she could never outrun the abuse she carried in her head.
“Nothing is wrong with you,” I assured her.
When I do multi-generational healing readings, it’s easy to see that she witnessed this level of abuse as a child, but never thought it would happen to her.
When this kind of thing happens, we often freeze, unsure of what to do. The phrase Deer in the Headlights typifies an inability to process in the moment what is happening to us.
Later, after the light is no longer in our faces, we defrost from the experience.
Yet each layer that we strip away was gently layered with wounding like a paper mache piece of art. The levels of pain, as we learn to be with ourselves, transform into wisdom. We can see how each layer was applied and the power of our brain to protect us.
When we feel this level of depressed energy, we don’t quite understand where it’s coming from. We think something is wrong. We call it depression. Deep sadness and lethargy overtakes us.
The truth is that often we are undoing trauma.
Years ago I traveled to Teluride in Colorado. I went all the way up to the peak and the altitude was VERY high, over 10,000 feet. I started to get sick. I was told it was altitude sickness and my friends soon put me, as I was very queasy and sick, into the car for the journey back down the mountain. As I was traveling back down, I still felt ill. Waves of nausea trough over me as we traveled down.
A few hours after arriving at the bottom of the mountain I began to feel better.
I recalled this story as I was working with my client because my sickness at the top of the mountain was more than simply altitude sickness, it was representative of how abusive situations grow and build.
Every abusive moment is a few hundred feet up the mountain; when one reaches the top, that is a breaking point. A decision within must be reached.
Those who can leave, and I say this most respectfully, rarely know what it will take to unravel the ball of yarn that is their story.
My reading with her was a reminder that she is going to heal. She is defrosting from trauma.
I am not a trauma expert.
My job in that moment was to validate the extreme abuse she experienced as the wife of an abuser for nearly 20 years. This woman holds a PhD and can barely leave the house, and she really wants to go back to work.
The biggest component of this conversation was that someone believed her. This husband was charming, well respected, and yet venomous toward her. During our session we recognized that her father’s mother had suffered from physical violence. And in many ways, her husband was “better than that” in her own words.
I asked her what she would suggest to her daughter if her daughter had experienced the level of abuse she had. What would she do?
Her answer was lovely:
“I would tell her that she was okay. Like you said, forgive yourself for loving someone who hurt you. I’d tell her not to try to get a job right now but to just do something, like temporary work until she defrosted and processed all the trauma. I’d remind her that depression is depressed energy, like you said, and if she needs more help, to seek it. But I would remind her that she’s okay. And she will and can heal if she applies self-forgiveness every day.”
People know their own answers. She knew her answers too, she just needed validation. I love to validate their reality and support them in their path. She walked away from our reading empowered. She had a deep sense of being back in the pilot seat of her own life.
See you next week…
Please Note: If you need help seek it. Meds, take it. Follow your own wisdom.