Living with and Managing Depression and PTSD

November 19, 2019

Am impressionist painting of a woman;.
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I am sure many people can relate to the symptoms and causes of depression and PTSD.

I have been living with depression most of my life and have been in denial up until recent years. The PTSD has only just been recognized in the past year—back in the 70’s/80’s it wasn’t a common diagnosis among civilians.

PTSD can certainly occur without combat: for example, if you have been continuously abused mentally, physically and/or sexually, would there not be an affect on your psyche?

I was repeatedly sexually assaulted. The one time, at the age of two, was bad enough and yes, I remember. Even little ones remember big events. I have finally come to terms with this in my 40’s.

I also witnessed verbal and physical abuse on more than one occasion with the extended family and then we moved around too many times before the age of five, which was not anyone’s fault.

Throughout school I found it hard to learn and I look back now and understand why I needed education to be adapted into simpler terms. I know how to break down process-orientated things now. I lacked focus then, which made it harder, as did being bullied. I felt like a misfit and an outsider.

I wanted to be free and joyful, to just be me. I unfortunately could not so do so with this weight hanging over me and tied to me, along with ny cultural/social conditioning.

So life became difficult and lonely. Memories about the assault would come and go. When I was sixteen I remember telling a friend in so many words what had happened ato me as a toddler. She didn’t say anything if I recall correctly, but then what could she say? She was only a child herself so she probably didn’t quite understand.

Obviously the original memory was deeply embedded in me. It led me to have a weak bladder on and off, and acid reflux for about twenty years of my life, along with other illnesses.

The triggered memory started when I used to go to religious study classes. The teacher would hold my hand under the table whilst praying or pull my cheeks. I told my mum and she stopped me going then and there—no questions, nothing—and I am eternally appreciative of this. We all know how families love to brush such situations under the proverbial carpet.

After that, life went on as I was conditioned to expect it to go.

Then, in my early twenties, I ended up being in a thee-year relationship with someone who was mentally, physically and emotionally abusive. Obviously this deepened the wounds of abuse that were neatly tucked away and I ended up becoming an angry, passive-aggressive person.

In my late twenties I got married but it didn’t go well. I ended up making myself ill and was hospitalized. I wanted to end the marriage and didn’t know how, so the my unconscious solution was to manifest sickness. We were one those families who didn’t speak about emotions or true feelings and when I did, I was ignored, so illness was an easy way to get everyone’s attention! Unfortunately I am sure lots of people can relate to this.

People will say, “Why didn’t you stand you for yourself?” It is not as easy as this when you are deep in the situation or circumstance. The education system doesn’t teach you about self-care, human behavior or life skills. Parents only teach you what they know and the majority of parents haven’t been taught mindfulness and such.

The important point is that the throat chakra becomes out of balance in people who have suffered abuse.

A friend once told me that my manifesting abilities are powerful. I gave her a funny look. Finally after all these years I understand what she meant and I have been healing negative manifestations and turning them into positive manifestations. I am learning to stop creating abuse and replacing it with kindness, self-love and acceptance.

Through the healing process I have learnt that my depression would start or trigger when I was unhappy, especially in jobs and relationships as I would feel helpless and powerless.

When you’re in a long-term relationship and you have thoughts of leaving or know that you have outgrown the person you are with, then you start to wonder if your mind is playing tricks. Is it because things are getting stale and you want more? What about the finances? You will be alone. You will get lonely. Everyone else is in a relationship and you will be the outsider. You will have to start over.

Then you deny the realization and put it to the side. A few months down the line you start to become withdrawn from society and your partner.

I just wanted to stay in bed under the covers and for my life to pass me by, or I was avoiding the reality that I was depressed and burnt out.

I felt like I was the only person like this and I didn’t know how to recover. On the days I was okay, I would try to make up for the lost of time rather than pace myself.

In my forties I actually accepted that I get depressed and don’t feel embarrassed about it any longer.

From 2006 to 2010 I was on antidepressants on and off. I would remember sometimes considering taking the whole pack at once: my mind will stop and I will have peace, I will be able to breathe, the headaches will stop, I can try to attain some type of peace.

I had mycoplasma pneumonia and Steven Johnson Syndrome and was in hospital for two months—my mind, body, soul/heart/spirit had been through the wringer, died and were reborn a few times, I remember looking down at myself and thinking, “poor thing,” and smelling jasmine—the flower of death!

The recovery took years. That’s when the depression was at its rawest, and the PTSD was going haywire too and, again, it wasn’t diagnosed until recently.

At times I wanted to throw myself over the edge. It wasn’t suicidal ideation per se. It had more to do with being free: no one around, just simply suspending in the air.

I have always been a person who is in my head—over-thinking, over-processing, over-analyzing—which circuitously adds more confusion and brain fog. It’s like sleepwalking through life, being reactive rather than acting accordingly in the first place.

The organization I worked for at the time was supposed to support people with disabilities but they actually caused another set of trauma.

Even though mental health has more awareness now, it still is not enough. The amount of people/organizations that are still prejudiced or use it against you is astonishing.

Am impressionist painting of a woman;.

“Return of the Queen” by Tim Flagg

Present Day

In July 2017, I joined a martial arts school. Prior to this I used to do Muay Thai boxing in the local gym, which was your local spit-and-sawdust kind of place.

Going to the school triggered so much suppressed emotion that I had denied facing. Am I good enough to be here? Do I deserve to be here? Because the space was smaller than the gym and three classes were going on at once, I didn’t know how to process what was happening. My spacial awareness and focus fell to pieces.

I started to act out and retaliate. I wanted to jump on the instructors and just scream. I stopped going for a while and switched to the quieter weekend classes and then moved to a crack-of-dawn class and then to personal classes.

Looking back now I realize that I was picking up on everyone else’s anxieties along with my own. Someone told to stay and ride it out because I was facing and healing my shadow. I am Grade 9 now—three more belts to black!

I had my last round of counseling in August 2018. I explained how I felt when I went to the martial arts school and my history of depression and experience of trauma from assault, and work/school bullying. As we got into the sessions, we realized together that my PTSD and the depression had stemmed from that. The boxing classes had triggered the fear of control—you don’t know what the other person is going to do, on or off the mat.

Unfortunately, I ended up in a job that was draining and that added to the distress. My poor little mind/brain has been like Spaghetti Junction the past year.

I also had cellulitis, which is inflammation of internal and external skin. Mine was on my eyelid and that then caused the blood flow to left side of my head to slow down and was intolerably painful.

At the present moment I am at a standstill in life or at the crossroads as one would say. What to do next? I have taken this time out consciously to heal properly. I have taken responsibility and stopped manifesting abusive situations with the help of therapy.

Now I understand life better. I am able to manage myself better and I like quiet time, through which I calm my mind down.

I listen to my self finally, sleep and rest when I need to, and I don’t care what people say or think I should be doing. I do what is right for my soul, spirit and heart.

The whole experience has made me strong and sensitive. I do think mental illness results from deeply rooted pain from childhood and that if you manage to get over the trauma and see the opportunity of the situation and the blessing, life becomes a whole lot better.

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