Thursday, September 24, 2009

Accepting Myself (Part 2)

The reason I returned to therapy in January was because of a severe depressive episode last November and December, which continued through March (to a much lesser degree). I couldn't understand why I was suffering so terribly when I had changed so many aspects of my life, engaged in a ton of wellness activities, had stopped seeing relatives (and a few friends) whose behavior was making me ill, and was very happy with my life.

What I realized was that I was carrying a ton of anger related to how I had been treated when I was so ill. What still amazes me is that I am kinder and more supportive of complete strangers than some of my relatives and friends were to me. (And I was certainly deserving of their support because I'd done everything humanly possible to get well.)

What I didn't realize was that I had internalized their criticism of my behavior, and was judging myself harshly at every turn. I was angry at myself that I'd become depressed after working so hard to remain well. I was angry when I talked too much. I was angry and disappointed if a freelance assignment didn't work out. I was angry if a friend disappointed me. I was angry about every single person who had abandoned me during my darkest hours.

And I knew that my anger was preventing me from getting well. So, I decided it was time to stop being angry, and to begin therapy again.

I don't want to belabor this topic, but I will tell you that my eight months of therapy were terrific. For the first time ever, my therapist had insight. He was a great listener, and truly supportive. He helped me regain my self-confidence, and finally let go of my anger.

12 comments:

Writing Works said...

Boy, you sure described me there!! I have gone through the same thing, and still catch myself getting angry about things that I need to just deal with and let go of. It certainly is a learning thing - and that's great. The more of my unresolved anger I dealt with, the more peaceful and fulfilling my life became.

More Than Conquerors said...

Susan,

Accepting ourselves is indeed very important though it is not easy. Our struggles with the many awful and painful depression episodes have inevitably affected our views of ourselves and the people around us. It is good to identify the negative elements in them and try to reverse them.

I think you are doing well in doing everything possible to get well. And you are such a great support to those of us in this blogging world in our various struggles. You share very generously your personal experiences and things you find helpful, and these have helped many people including myself.

Btw, thank God for His mercies that my brother is discharged from the hospital and now resting at home! Thank you for your encouragements and support. I hope you continue to get better and find wellness activities that benefit you! I am keeping you in prayers.

Warm greetings,
Nancie

marja said...

Sounds to me like you needed to be more forgiving of yourself. Forgiveness can do magic - not just forgiving others, but forgiving yourself. You'd need a lot of patience as well, though. Patience and forgiveness. But sounds like you've figured this out, Susan.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Writing Works,
Thanks for letting me know that you've struggled with this as well. It always makes to feel better to realize that others have grappled with the same issues.

What's interesting to me is that I thought I'd let all this go until I became depressed, and then it unexpectedly reappeared in my psyche with a strength that totally surprised me.

And, you're right. The more we let go of these things, the happier we are!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Nancie,
And thank you for always letting me know this. From the beginning, you have written about how much my blog has helped you, and you've thanked me for sharing what I've learned.

And during the times when I've been depressed and felt that my weaknesses were greater than my strengths...you (and a few others) have always let me know that it's the depression speaking, and that I've made a difference in your life...whether I am feeling I have or not.

And I thank God for your kindness in reminding me of that!

Again, I'm so glad that your brother is healing!

With love,
Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
I think I've addressed the issues you bring up in my comments to Writing Works and Nancie.

I believe we can feel we've solved a problem like forgiveness, and then when a depression hits, it may rear its ugly head all over again.

And, it feels like we're starting over again although we're not.

Susan

Annie said...

Dear Susan,
You seem to be working so hard and it sounds like good you are making progress! Good for You!
I relate to the idea of anger. It has been part of the grieving that I have done but it feels like I get stuck in anger and it is self-defeating. Just recognizing it is helpful. But like you I think it is important to take steps forward to let go of the anger. Thanks again!
Peace Annie

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Annie,
Thanks for sharing. It is self-defeating to get stuck in anger, isn't it? And, I had thought I'd let go of it. But, it still creeps up now and then, particularly when I'm depressed.

But, one of my best qualities is my willingness to persevere, so perhaps I'll overcome this as well.

Hopefully, we'll both reach our goals in doing this.

Susan

Wendy Love said...

This is great news. You have had a positive result from the hard work of therapy. I am happy for you that you have been able to let go of some of your anger - that is big! You inspire all of us to not give up! Thanks again for your honesty as you share Susan.
I think that for me, accepting myself has been helpful in recovery as well. Thanks for the reminder.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
You're welcome. Thanks for letting me know. i genuinely appreciate it.

Susan

Tamara (TC) Staples said...

Susan,

How brave of you to face the fact that you had so much anger. Anger, for the most part doesn't seem to be an approved emotion in our society. So, admitting that it was keeping you stuck and doing something about that took a lot of courage and desire to heal. I am so glad the therapy was as helpful as it was. I agree with your doc that a lot of your "symptoms" are just normal behavior that we all experience from time to time.

All my best,

Tamara

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
It took me years to be able to express my anger, and that was truly a step forward.

But, then I realized I was holding on to it, and that was making me sick. So, I must admit that it's been an interesting journey.

I would agree that it's a difficult emotion to deal with. Thanks for your support on this. I genuinely appreciate it.

Susan