Mayo Clinic Connect
I’m hesitant to reveal the trauma that I went through. It’s still a sensitive subject for me although it happened a while ago. If I do reveal it I’ll probably be very vague. I guess I’m seeking advice on if I should open up about this.
Liked by Jen, Volunteer Mentor, Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Mamacita, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor ... see all
Thank you for sharing your trauma with us. You help others to express their trauma when you are able to express yours. You are a courageous young woman (I have assumed you are a young woman.) As you can see, you are not alone in your experiences and reactions to it. We each respond to our traumas in different ways, all of which are responses meant to protect us from current and future trauma. Protection comes at some cost to us.
I built walls around my heart to prevent anyone from getting close enough to hurt me again. That meant I not only kept the pain in like it was a valuable jewel, but I also kept out the joy I might have been experiencing. I learned to slowly take down my wall, one brick at a time. I also learned how to express my anger after a lifetime of stuffing it down. I learned how to “depress” my anger. Depression kept me docile and accepting of the various assaults as if I deserved them. I struggled with a therapist to learn how to express my anger. I was afraid that if I ever let go I would be like the Tasmanian Devil and rip apart everything in my presence. That didn’t happen, in fact I could barely gather the energy to hit a chair with a “battaca”, which is a piece of dowel wrapped in foam so it doesn’t cause damage. It took several sessions before I was able to hit hard and with conviction. I then moved to hitting a bean bag chair with my fists while picturing the person I was angry with. I got quite good at doing that, and continued that anger expression for nearly a year. At the same time, I learned how to use the D.E.S.C. Script to express my strong emotions in a safe and assertive way. I learned the “inch worm” rule also. That’s where you share a small vulnerability with someone and wait for their response. If they share a vulnerability with you, then you share another vulnerability. If their response is negative, you stop. That allows you to protect yourself, but still venture out there to be real with others.
Next, I took “hugging” lessons. I was afraid to touch others and I remember saying, “Touching hurts.” That was from my traumas. I was in group therapy at the time and the therapist took us all through different levels of touching. Starting with looking into the eyes of each person in the group, then facing each other and holding hands briefly, touching a shoulder in passing, until we finally hugged each person in the group. It was very scary for me, but I was determined to get well. I then made a contract with myself to touch 3 people a day in a non-threatening and light way. A touch on the shoulder or arm in passing worked best for me. Eventually I could do that without thinking about it, and feeling comfortable doing it. I practiced hugging people I was close to even when I didn’t want to. Eventually, and to this day, I ask for hugs when I want or need them. I’m now a well – trained professional hugger. LOL
I must say that without taking down the wall around my heart and learning how to safely express my anger using the D.E.S.C. Script, I would not have been able to hug. I would also not have been able to accept that the decisions I made as a child to protect myself (necessary!) were no longer helping me, but were keeping me stuck in the past. Are my issues still with me, yes. I occasionally get my script going and play it through to the end, which is not something I like, but it does happen once a year or so. It lasts a day or so, and then I’m back to being the healthier me. I cannot change what happened in the past, but I have changed how I deal with it now. I’m not haunted everyday by the past traumas. I went back to the orphanage I lived in for 7 years, and can see the good that came from being there. I’m a strong, smart, talented woman who has been very successful in my career, and I’m proud to say, in my second marriage of 35 years. It’s a lifelong journey of discovering your internal emotional landscape and learning how to live a full life.
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Jim, Volunteer Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator ... see all
Hi Parus …. I know it looks as though some glide through life with ease, but ….. I’ll bet if they “took off their masks” you would see a whole different piece of their story. I know that’s exactly how I was. Oh, I was the perfect wife, perfect mother, did everything well (sort of like June Cleaver if you remember Leave it to Beaver), was social to everyone and always with open door and open arms to “help” those that were having difficulty. I was “perfect.” (really????) Well, shocked was I when one day my therapist said to me …. “you know, I see a good Suzy in you …. we’re going to dismantle her.” WHAT? Isn’t this how a good person is? I don’t want to be different. Well, 15 years later, here I am, and life is so much better… I can be real, if I have to run to the store looking like a slob “oh well.” I’m still nice to people, but I’m sure no June Cleaver ….. you won’t catch me vacuuming with pearls and high heels. I doubt anyone really has a golden life, if really known. Take care,
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Therapists have told me I am the best mask wearer they’ve ever seen.
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor, Parus
i went to a gathering on sunday. the discussion centered around a book called “the Fear Cure”, I think. Haven’t read the book. we discussed things like assuming and believing the one giant issue many of us are taught to believe. that is…THE WORLD IS A DANGEROUS PLACE. we discussed how that one belief can take over our lives. i’m just throwing that out for discussion. i’m 73. i am gonna’ give up that feat thing one minute at a time. i kinda think it’s time.
Liked by Jim, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
hi parus…well, please continue to do whatever helps you to feel comfort in your personal space. i wish i had magic words to make you feel better. i wish i could wave a magic wand for all of us. i just wanted to post this before i signed off. i send you virtual hugs and blessings.
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How it is childhood trauma is now starting to destroy my life is a mystery. T’would I did not have the memories.
Liked by Jim, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor
@jimhd Fortunate we do not have the same therapist you would have a rival. Must be the English blood and the stiff upper lip thing.
@georgette12 It is the thought that truly counts. There are no magic words, potions or pills. I have 2 things I say when in a difficult situation. “Can’t change it, can’t fix it” and “That goes on their plate, not mine”. My own mantras and definitely “not” chanted.
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Memories can be a blessing or a curse. Some of each.
Liked by Gail, Alumna Mentor
I just responded to your post in another site on Mayo Connect. I’m a Volunteer Mentor with Mayo Connect. It would help me and others to understand your situation better if you are able to share a basic idea of the trauma you suffered. BUT, you should only share that which you feel comfortable sharing. Causing you further trauma by reliving it will not be helpful to you and our hope here is to support you in finding relief. Please, only share what you think will help us help you.
Warmly, Gail B
Hi, @theotherone — thinking of you and wondering how you are doing?
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor, Parus, Jan
@lisalucier thank you for remembering me. I appreciate it a lot. I didn't post recently. Although I am doing my best to hide my depression, my mind is blurred and I can't think well. I have not visited my psychiatrist for several months already. I feel it does not make any good. I can see she is not interested to listen to what I want to say. I don't trust her anymore. I feel down again, and it is like nobody around me cares.
@theotherone Many of us here can grasp what you are saying. I know I have been terribly down for quite some time. I am sad you are experiencing the same. It is a bummer when it seems no one near us cares. People are busy. those who do not experience depression cannot "get it" and oft feel helpless and also wonder why we do not just snap out of it. Good to hear from you.
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
We care about you. It is great that we all have each other so we are not ever completely alone. Have you thought about calling a distress line (if there is one you can access). Believe me, there are more people there who will care about you too. It is totally confidential and you can use an assumed name.
Best wishes ,
Hi, @theotherone — absolutely remember you. Great to hear from you. That is really tough that your mind is feeling blurred and can't think well from your depression.
Sorry that visiting your psychiatrist does not seem to do any good — that's very unfortunate. Would it be possible for you to look for another psychiatrist?
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor
@parus @ainsleigh @lisalucier thank you all for your kind words. I feel so alone with my feelings sometimes. Those who never experienced depression can't understand it. Advices that I should overcome it do not help.
My psychiatrist is not interested to help. When I am there, she mostly talks about herself or gives general advices without asking me anything. And I am really not motivated to go there. I will try to find another psychiatrist, but it is so hard to find a good one.
I remember writing to Samaritans long time ago. We exchanged few emails. I can write them again. Thank you for your patience with me.
Liked by Gail, Alumna Mentor, Lisa Lucier, Connect Moderator
Hi, @theotherone — please know you are not alone — it definitely seems you have members here who care about you and are ready to talk to you when you'd like to chat. I do think it's hard for people who have never had depression to really grasp it, so having others you can talk to who "get it" is a great thing.
I think your thinking in terms of finding another psychiatrist seems wise. Would be great to have support and engagement.
Just so I understand, did Samaritan's have psychiatrist referrals available when you spoke to them before?
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Gail, Alumna Mentor, Jan
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