So many people are just walking around in a daze - feeling like there is a black cloud over them every waking hour. They don’t like it, and they are looking for a way out, but the thoughts of rejection or sadness, anger or depression, are just too much for them. They search for hope, but hopelessness torments them. They feel lonely, but they are certainly not alone in their journey.
When she first came to my office, April (not her real name) was filled with fear, and the pain of rejection. She was depressed and fearful, with both emotions fueled by anger and rage from the abuse of her childhood. She was quiet, and desperate. A spirit of suicide tormented her everyday whispering that she, and everyone else, would be better off if she just killed herself and ended her pain.
We talked about the lies that people had told her about herself through the years – the lies that she had come to believe even more strongly than the truth. She handed me a list of lies that she had written:
- “I can’t do anything right;”
- “Nobody loves me, not even God;”
- “I don’t deserve to live, and nobody would care if I died;”
- “I am no good, useless, worthless;”
- “Don’t trust anyone – everyone is out to hurt you;” and
- “Be friends with animals, not people, because people hurt you.”
Her story is like so many others. Abandoned and adopted, then abused and abandoned again. As an adult she was trying to make her way in the world, but she was starting her journey without confidence, or healthy role models, or even hope.
She had been diagnosed by her doctor with Depression, but there certainly were more issues than Depression alone. Her antidepressant medications did stabilize her and allow her to deal with the core issues of the lies that she believed, the victimization of her past, and the underlying anger and rage that she had turned onto herself.
Today she is much better than when we started meeting together about six months ago. Although there were some dangerous and dark times, there have also been great personal victories for April. Today she is about 70% better than when we first began this hard journey to wholeness together. And there is still a long way to go.
I have probably met over a hundred precious people like her over the past 27 years of being a therapist. While it is hard work to get to a healthier place, it is not as hard as waking up early each morning just to be depressed or angry all day long. It is possible to move forward and find peace.
Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., MFT is a professional therapist (Marriage and Family Therapist in CA, M24381) and counselor with offices in Tehachapi, Bakersfield, and also meets with people via Skype from anywhere in the world. Learn more at http://DouglasCowan.me .