Depression and the emotional body of a family

Written by Amie on February 26, 2011 – 11:43 pm -

Suicide and depression

Since my brother’s suicide almost 4 years ago, I have been trying to make sense of suicide and also how depression and other emotional issues play into it. I wish I could say I have come up with an answer, but I can’t. I do have some ideas and opinions, but who really knows? The one belief I do keep coming up with is that one or more family members carry the “emotional body/pain” for the whole family. I believe this pain is carried through the generations until family members decide to heal some of the emotional pain that has been repressed, avoided, denied, or otherwise “forgotten”. I believe some people are more sensitive to emotional vibrations than others, and this is why some are able to get through trauma, dysfunction, and emotional pain while others may not be able to handle it long term unless they learn tools that will help them release the deep emotional scars. It is very hard work when we begin releasing the pain, and healing emotional traumas and family pain that has been buried for many years. The majority of people don’t understand that some of their emotional pain is not even their own.

Verbalize the imbalance

Looking back through my own family, I see so much dysfunction. This used to make me feel angry, but now I am able to see it in a different light. I am able to see that as humans we are all evolving, and for the majority of us, avoiding emotions, needs, and feelings has been a part of our history for many years. As children, we learn how to act in ways that will get us the love we want. Most of the time, children sacrifice who they really are so they can be who the family needs them to be. There is really no way for a child to verbalize the imbalance they feel, unless they use “negative behaviors”. This habit of hiding who they are just sort of happens, unless the adults in their lives are emotionally healthy, or at least dealing with emotions as they come up. Learning to be someone other than who you are is the beginning of the road that leads to turning off your inner voice. When your inner voice is turned off, it is like being dead but appearing alive. We are going through the motions of being alive, but inside we are dead. Depression. Depression is being dead to your life. If you can’t be yourself and you can’t do what feels right to you, you are not living. The hope is that each generation will get healthier. This is not always the case, but it is the hope. I believe that even though it appears as though our world is getting worse and worse, there is good happening underneath this. So many people are awakening to the truth that if they want to be healthy, joyful, and happy, they must do their own healing work. This makes me feel really positive. It is imperative to start *feeling* the truth that is your inner voice.

Genetic depression

Quite frankly, I am tired of people saying that depression is genetic. I talked about this briefly in this post , but since it is weighing on my mind, I am bringing it up again. Right now, in this moment, “genetic depression” means (to me) being handed the family dysfunction and being expected to hold it so that nobody else in the family has to deal with their own true emotions and feelings. This is a very subtle thing, I don’t mean to make it sound like someone makes this decision and says, here, it’s your turn to deal with this so that my life will be easier. However, if you are the one holding the family insanity, it feels exactly like this. The term “carry on with business as usual”, feels really appropriate here. Family secrets, issues that have never been talked about, lessons taught about how to be someone other than who you are, abuse that gets repeated, behavior that is being emulated; all of these things are “genetic”. To me, THIS is what depression is made of when it begins.

Self hate begins

As a child, we are born *knowing* what we came here for. As we get older, most of us begin to hear, see, and *feel* messages that go against this knowing. When those around us begin telling us or showing us (either with physical actions or on an energetic level) that we are not here to be loved and feel joy, our sense of self begins to chip away. With the predominant behavior being dysfunction in this world, our own voice starts getting drowned out because the messages telling us we are not OK, we are not worthy, something is terribly wrong with us, and we shouldn’t have needs beyond the basic ones, start becoming much louder. This happens because many people are too afraid to do their own emotional work, so in turn they continue passing along this “genetic” issue.  It is scary to work on emotional issues, I will be the first to say this. But until each and every adult is able to look within themselves to see what untruths have been  passed down to them, and what needs to be healed, they will continue to pass on their dysfunction to the next generation.

Seek your truth

Imagine the confusion of a child when so much dysfunction gets thrown at them on a daily basis. Imagine the confusion when they can’t reconcile a loved one’s words or lack thereof with their accompanying actions. Imagine the confusion a child has when they *feel* something is wrong or is going on in their family, but nobody tells them what it is. Imagine the confusion when a child tries to articulate their sadness or they cry out for help only to be told that they are the one that has issues. Every human has issues that need to be dealt with. If we want to create a healthier, more loving world, we must seek our own truth, while learning to acknowledge and heal our emotional pain and that of our family.

Adults now

If you are an adult now, you can take responsibility for your emotions and issues. No matter what age you are, and no matter what your family history is, you can take responsibility. By this I mean, please begin finding ways to heal your emotional traumas and issues. This is the beginning of the path to self-love. We have to understand what we are, who we want to be, and what our family history of dysfunction really is. It is not your responsibility to heal other family members as that is not possible anyway. But you are 100% in control of what you want your life to look like. No matter what your background is, you are capable of healing and taking charge of your life. Awareness is key here. Once you become aware of what is really going on for you, you can create ways to change it. If you are still young enough to have to be in a dysfunctional family, you do have control over what you think about yourself. You control your thoughts once you are able to see what your thoughts are. I want to help young people create the life they want no matter how dysfunctional their family is. I want them to know that they feel unbalanced for a reason, but healing is completely possible. Feel free to contact me.

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Kids/teenagers and depression, Self-love | 3 Comments »

Depression and choosing to be alive

Written by Amie on June 23, 2010 – 8:10 pm -

My experience that might help others who are in deep depression

I would like to share this experience with you because I think it might help people that are in the deep dark places where depression can take us. I had this experience awhile back, but I was recently talking about it with a friend, and  thought it would be helpful to write about it here. I’ve written several times about how I have suffered with very deep depression. I say this because I want anyone reading this to know that I didn’t just have a “bout” of depression, so I really understand how debilitating it is.  I want to share this “ah-ha” moment because it really changed my thinking about feeling so depressed that you think you don’t want to be alive.

I didn’t think I wanted to be alive

I have been in that place several times. I have been in a place that I felt so depressed that I just wished I would die. I didn’t make any plans on how to do it, and honestly I would never do it. But, the fact is that I have felt bad enough that I thought that’s what I wanted. One night I was talking to my therapist, and I was feeling really really low. One question she asked me sparked hope within me. She asked me if I want to be alive. She asked me to put aside my emotions and how bad I was feeling, and just ask myself, “do I want to be alive?” There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be alive, which shocked me. I thought I didn’t want to be here, I have actually said those words before, “I don’t even want to be here”. But when she asked me that question there was no hesitation, the answer came without me even thinking about it. After I said I wanted to be here, I added the sentence, “but I don’t know how to be happy here”. This is the part I needed help with. I hope what I am writing makes sense. It may not sound like there is a difference, but there really is. It gave me hope knowing that I want to be here in this physical body right now. At the time, I really thought I didn’t want to be here. After she asked me the question, I actually gained hope. I had hope that since I wanted to be here, I could get help so that I could find ways to heal and find joy again. I know there are people who think they don’t really want to be here. My brother was one of them. He committed suicide over three years ago. Knowing what I know now, I really think down deep my brother wanted to stay here, but didn’t have the tools he needed in order to live here without suffering every day of his life. He gave up hope that he could ever find what he needed in order to feel joy.

Conforming can lead to self-destruction

I want to share my perspective because I want people to know that there are ways to heal depression. I wanted to share this specific experience because it gave me a new perspective. I have healed so much since the realization that I do want to be alive. I have worked hard on healing my past wounds that were debilitating me. In my last post, I wrote about how we learn to hide our truth in order to fit in or to gain love and acceptance. It is not always easy to break out of these self destructive habits. For me, I had to remind myself VERY often that my negative thoughts were not true. These negative thoughts and habits were conditioned non-truths. As children we learn to conform to what the adults around us need. As we grow, we get into the habit of conforming to what our peers are doing, what our society is doing, etc. We learn to look outside of ourselves hoping to find what we need. We learn to quiet the voice inside of us that is revealing our truth. We conform to fit the mold of what others need us to be. Depression happens when our truth is completely buried, and we get to the point of barely having any emotions at all. We shut down. Often times, anger is alive within us, but we don’t allow ourselves to even express that. Anger is present because it allows us to hide all of the hurt that we repressed when we were busy blocking our truth. Many people finally explode with the anger, sometimes lashing out at others. Some people may internalize the anger and let it eat them alive until they can’t take it anymore. They lash out at themselves rather than let themselves *feel* the repressed truth within them. They don’t allow themselves to *feel* what is really going on in their body. It can feel overwhelming at first since many of us never learned how to express emotion in the first place.

Reminding myself that emotion is energy

When I first learned that I did in fact,  have other emotions than just anger, I was surprised to learn that emotions are energy. It is the *story* we tell ourselves *about* the emotions we are having that make things more difficult. When I allow myself to just feel the emotion (energy) moving through my body, and acknowledge what I am feeling in my body and where I feel it, the energy moves along. Releasing this energy is a huge relief. It is when I try to figure out *why* it is there, or what happened to make me feel a certain way that I complicate my experience. Let it flow! Most of us have learned to be afraid of emotions. We have learned that they must be bad since we were not allowed to feel our truth or express it. Expressing ourselves has everything to do with wanting to be alive, and allowing ourselves to *feel* our “aliveness”. When we repress emotion, we are repressing *who we are*. When we repress who we are, we are sending ourselves the message that we don’t matter. The truth is we absolutely *do* matter, and everyone has the right to express themselves and to be who they are.

Learning how to be who you are and choosing to be alive!

The night that I realized I wanted to be alive, I knew I needed to work hard on allowing myself the space to be who I truly am. I would no longer just agree to doing things if my body was screaming to me, “NO”. Each time I was asked to do something, or asked my opinion, I learned to stop and check in with myself first. Then I would give an answer. Each time I listened to what was true for me in that moment, I was giving myself the true messages that would replace the old negative untruths. It takes practice, so give yourself the space and the compassion and patience you deserve. Each time I allow my truth to be heard, I take back some of my inner power that was given away. This post ended up being longer than I thought it would, but I hope it helps to give hope to those suffering with depression. There is always hope, I promise you. I didn’t go into every single thing I do in order to restore my truth, but I have in past posts, and I would be glad to talk to anyone that wants more detail. Please feel free to e-mail me from the home page. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please get help right away.

Embracing your inner acceptance, “Affirmations”, by Harold Becker, The Love Foundation.

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