No More Hiding

let-the-hurt-soften-you

When I met with A. this week, I told her that after meeting with her last week I read about depression and how it described what I have been dealing with for years. I told her how emotional it was to read. I feel so safe with her, I can’t really even describe it. She is so connected to me and present. I feel like I have been longing my whole life to be seen, really seen. Without it, I don’t think I could do this.

And so I proceeded to tell her things that I have not been able to admit or say out loud regarding my depression to anyone, not even a therapist, because I have been hiding. I have been struggling for years with panic and emotional torture without letting anyone know, while at the same time desperately crying out for help. But no one could recognize it.

It seems sometimes the easiest place to hide is right out in the open.

I asked her if it was possible to be depressed and not even know it. Because at some point I was able to shut down my emotions, and it made everything else not seem that bad. It felt like a relief. I felt as though I could deal with the fact that I have a hard time doing the smallest things, that everything seems laborious, and other struggles that have been hard to admit. I was hiding it from everyone, including myself.

I was able to be honest for the first time in detail how much I am struggling and have just accepted it as normal. It has become my way of life. I was able to tell her things I could not ever say before.

When I was done sharing this with her, she looked at me and said, “This is what I wanted to talk to you about today.” Apparently, last week she had just briefly looked at the diagnostic evaluation and saw signs of depression. She told me that later when she scored the evaluation, I scored in the severe range for depression. This didn’t change my truth, but it did shine a spotlight on it. For the first time in my life someone saw the depth of my struggle. She told me all that I shared with her before she told me this confirmed her diagnosis. She said she had to check the score twice and go over everything again because I hide it so well that it is easy to miss. She is the first therapist to discover all of this… to see beyond my mask and see me. I needed someone to tell me what I could not say.

She told me that it is very rare for someone to have suffered the way I have and not to struggle with suicidal thoughts. She asked me to please tell her if I ever do because it could potentially be a problem going forward. No one has ever caught any of this before. I have felt so diminished and alone throughout my life that I don’t think I could have shared any of this with her if she wasn’t as skilled as she is and in tune with what has happened to me. It is as though, for the first time in my life, I have a place to begin to feel safe talking about the struggles I have inside with someone who is trained enough to understand better than I do what is happening to me and why. It is very emotional to face how much I have suffered unnecessarily, without this kind of support, because a professional took away my ability to feel safe or risk getting the help I have needed. It has caused me countless years of internal torture that has been locked up, silent and alone. I haven’t known what was happening to me to tell anyone. I have been too afraid.

Because I have been suffering with severe depression and PTSD for so many years, she wants me to consider medication. She knows that I am resistant to this and she wasn’t trying to force me to take it. She told me that when you suffer for this long it changes your brain chemistry. We are no longer talking about will power. She said that if my depression was minor she wouldn’t even mention it. God knows I have been trying to pick myself up for years. I have been very hard on myself, disappointing myself daily. I don’t know how I got here and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I have had periods of time when I feel okay only to keep struggling again. I feel as though I am walking around with lead weights on my ankles. When I shared with her my struggle, and she was trying to describe to me her plans to help me, she was crying with me. I really do feel blessed to have found her. I could not have even hoped to find someone like this to help me.

I don’t know what I am going to do regarding the medication. I have done some research and found some natural ways to increase your serotonin levels. I will talk to her about that this next week. I am sure many of you are or have taken medication for depression. It is all overwhelming right now to think about.

She wants me to start being aware of my emotions and how I am feeling every day and write it down. She said this could be frightening for me to do. I realize that this is everything I worked so hard not to do. So I am not sure how any of this is going to work out for me. She also told me that since all of my traumas have involved relationships, it makes sense that most of my triggers will be created by relationships. This has helped to explain so much for me. And also was very emotional to hear because I have been very hard on myself for these triggers and struggles in my life.

I haven’t been able to talk about the ways in which I struggle in detail before. I guess the best way I have been able to express it, has been through my poetry. Which also has made me sensitive to the responses I have received at times from it. Poetry is the only tool I have had to express my pain.

For so long now, poetry has been my only way of crying out for help!

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25 thoughts on “No More Hiding

  1. A sounds fantastic! It is emotional to put a name to something you’ve been trying so hard to hide and accommodate to as your “normal”. I take an antidepressant, the lowest dose they do, and I’d be a mess without it. The problem with anti depressants is only that doctors tend to prescribe them in doses that are too high as they are quick to increase the dose if you don’t appear to improve straight away. If you’re having suicidal feelings you can always message me. Suicidal ideation is nothing new to me, and I can understand and empathise with you so well. You’re not alone darlin 😘🙋💖

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    1. Once I started therapy and finally found A., I realized that one of my biggest fears was having someone force me into taking medication. Which is why I couldn’t tell even a therapist unless I felt safe with them. And that could only happen if they were smart enough to really see my pain. I am so afraid of doctors (and police officers) because I feel as though they have the ability to take my power away. Because she mentioned medication, I had to tell her of this fear as well. It all gets very complicated. It seems as though many of the very basic things I need in life, I am afraid of. It makes living very difficult for us, doesn’t it?

      You are right Summer, we long so much to be helped but facing the reality of our struggles… really facing them, is very overwhelming. It is entering unfamiliar territory. We are not used to being cared for or about, not when it comes to the abuse. It is wonderful and scary all at the same time.

      I have been forced to shut down my feelings and emotions in order to survive. So trying to become aware of them and even revisiting them is frightening. But I do realize shutting them down only allows them to control me in so many dysfunctional ways. Then it feels as though there is no way out.

      I am so very glad that I found A. I feel safe with her, enough to trust her with my internal world. The world we just open the door a crack to from time to time to see if it is safe to let anyone in. Thank you Summer!

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  2. I am very moved by all you have written and I can relate to a lot of it. I tend to dissociate depression so that I don’t know how bad I feel, if that makes sense!

    It seems to make a big difference to name this condition aloud and not hide it away. I am so glad you were brave enough to go to A, I can imagine how much courage this must have taken.

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    1. It makes a lot of sense to me. When what you feel does not seem real to others, it is hard for it to be real to you. And so we bear the weight in other destructive ways. The dissociating from our pain often makes it very difficult to be aware of how much anxiety we have until it is too late.

      It did take a lot of courage, as the stress was causing me a great deal of panic. But when I met A, her very presence melted my anxiety away. It was a tremendous burden lifted. I am grateful for her willingness to connect with me and to be present. It makes a huge difference. Thank you!

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    1. Dave, this touches me deeply! Yes, it is very, very overdue! My heart overflows with gratitude! Your words bring tears to my eyes. It really means so very much to me, please know that! I couldn’t thank you enough for your kindness!

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  3. Ah you and I share so many similarities.poetry seems the only way I can go deep into my true level of pain and depression and hurt. I read your poetry and I feel the same words you speak.
    Isn’t it just an odd feeling when someone tells you a diagnosis that no one ever even noticed before. Just being heard and noticed and have someone realize what you’ve been through and that yeah this is pretty normal for you to now be depressed or have PTSD. I’m at a similar place with meds. I looked up meds, looked at others thoughts on meds. Then I finally decided I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I needed to make the decision on whether I truly knew I needed them. I do. I’ve been through hell and I haven’t been able to pull out of the realization of how bad it has been and where it has left me. I recently had my catacholamines checked. If I have too much serotonin then adding more or doing an Ssri could make me feel worse. Possibly. So it was suggested I check these things first. So I am waiting for the results which she said could be negative because they are sporadic in findings. Either way I am giving it a shot. She said she could even order a liquid dose of whatever we tried to start at a baby dose since I am scared of side affects. So maybe if you do want to try there is a happy medium? Wishing you well!!!

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  4. I have prayed for you that you would find the right therapist for your needs. My therapist has cried for me when I cannot cry for myself. It was very touching and very foreign for me to experience. I didn’t know how to process it. But it was comforting to watch as well…but scary at the same time…it’s hard for me to explain. I understand so much of what you have communicated in this post. I’m an excellent hider…at least I think I am. No one knows anything about my past or presence. I have experienced the deepest of depression I have ever experienced in the last year. I knew it was there but I couldn’t label it as anything other than lazy and me being a failure. I don’t ever talk about it, but I know I should. I don’t know if I even realize how serious it is, and I’m afraid to find out. Just being diagnosed with PTSD recently has been too much to absorb. I’m still trying to connect with it. You have put words to some of my struggles here and it has stimulated a lot of thought for awhile now. Thank you for speaking your truths. It is so helpful to me.

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    1. It is very hard to come to terms with PTSD and depression. When what you feel is not real to anyone, it is hard for it to be real to you. There is a difference between being filled with emotions and being aware of them or what you are feeling.

      It is wonderful to have you back again. You were missed!

      I am glad this was helpful! Thank you!

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  5. I also think it is very wise of you to explore all options and research before deciding if medication is right for your. I share the same fear as you. My therapist rarely brings it up because he knows I am afraid of it…but he reminds me occasionally that it is an option if I feel too overwhelmed.

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    1. Yes, and I do plan to take my time and not feel rushed. Because I want to try natural methods, she is going to find a Homeopathic doctor for me to see. But I am afraid of doctors, so I may resist this too. Fortunately she is not pressuring me either. And like you said, it can be an option if nothing else works or we change our mind.

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      1. I saw a naturopathic Dr many years ago wen I had no idea what was wrong with me but I knew something was off. He was able to pinpoint the stress and the fight or flight going on in me and had me use Bach’s Five Flower at the start of my treatment and a variety of other flower essences as I progressed. He also prescribed natural oils and supplements. I still use some of these things I used with him to this day when I think they could help. I learned a lot and miss going to him, but we moved away. He was very very safe and Im sure if he knew now what I’ve discovered and have been through he would know how to integrate natural therapy into my other treatment to enhance and support what I’m working through with my therapist. A sounds wonderful. She’s really listening to you and respecting you as you process for yourself what feels right for you.

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        1. Yes, she is very respectful of my choices. I have been using essential oils and supplements for years as well. And I have used Bach’s pastilles before. A. has a friend who is a pharmacist at a homeopathic pharmacy and she is going to ask her for a referral for me. I will at least consider this if I can get myself to feel safe enough. Since it is a therapy that I feel comfortable with, maybe it will feel safer. Thank you for sharing your experience. It would be great if you could find another naturopathic doctor again where you are living now, especially since it helped you before.

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    1. My husband did a search for therapists who specialize in Trauma and PTSD. I then looked through seven pages and narrowed it down to four therapists. I did a phone interview with each of them, and chose to meet with two of them. After neither of them worked out, I researched a few names that were given to me from one of the original four that I did a phone interview with. And from this list chose A.

      When I called A., she was not currently taking new clients and referred me back to a therapist I had left. I became emotional and shared with her that her referral was not an option for me. Since I was flexible, she offered to see me. And we connected very well.

      The most important advice I can give you is that, if you find yourself having questions about a therapist after speaking with them or meeting them, or something just doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut instincts. Don’t question your instincts. When you find the right person, you will feel safe and won’t be filled with questions or concerns.

      And if someone feels safe at the beginning but that begins to change, don’t be afraid to leave and look for someone else. I had to do all of this. It was very, very stressful but worth it.

      I wish you much success. I do know what it is like to try and manage all of the trauma on your own. There is no substitute for good professional support. I wish you all the best!

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