Triggered.

Depression (1)

Some days are better than others. Overall, they are getting better and better, but there are days where I feel like I took three steps back and get trapped in my old toxic emotional thinking patterns. At those times I feel like I’m trapped inside a dark, moldy prison with no one but my own demons to talk to and will never be able to escape. I know that’s not true, and tomorrow will probably be better, but right now, at this moment, I’m in immense emotional pain.  I feel like if I died and went to hell, it wouldn’t much worse than this.

I got triggered. At least I know what the trigger is. Today is my daughter’s birthday, and we were planning to drive up into the mountains and have lunch together. She was supposed to be here around 10 AM. But by eleven AM I still hadn’t heard from her. I began to panic and imagine some kind of catastrophe befell her, the way I always do because the world has always seemed incredibly dangerous to me and no one can be trusted.     You never know when you’re going to get bad news or when the other shoe will drop.  It’s a horrible way to live and I definitely don’t recommend it.   But it’s in my programming.   People think I’m nuts but I can’t help being this way.   It’s hard to change the programming.

Around noon, I finally got hold of her and she hadn’t gotten out of bed yet. She was hung over from a night of partying and she was also depressed. All I could think about was myself and what SHE was doing to ME. I told her I’d been looking forward to this and I’d taken the day off work to spend with her. She told me I was putting her on a guilt trip and she was right–I was. I apologized and told her to try to have a nice day and we’d get together another time. But I still felt triggered  and ornery.  I’d written a nice, positive post this morning about the fun day I was anticipating having with her, and what a great daughter she was, but I couldn’t bear to keep it up, so I removed it.

I spent the rest of the day alternately feeling sorry for myself and being angry. I did nothing but sit on the couch, switching channels mindlessly but not really watching anything, and poking around online but not really paying much attention to what I was looking at. I tried to read a little, but couldn’t focus and would keep reading the same sentence over and over, not comprehending the words. I yelled at my cat for no good reason. I snapped at my housemate. I thought about how much my life and everything in it sucks and how I’m not getting any younger and will probably be dead in the next 25 or 30 years with nothing to show for it.   I thought about how most people my age and even much younger are doing much better than me emotionally, financially, and every other way. They have healthy, real relationships because they were given the emotional tools to have those things.  My programming cut me off from having access to those things.   Of course I was constantly reminded of my inferiority by my unsupportive narcissistic family (I was rejected and labeled “the black sheep” for my failure to attain the “success” in life my very programming denied me) until I cut off almost all contact with them.  I was cruelly told to “sink or swim” but never given any swimming lessons and in fact spent most of my childhood with my head forcefully held under the water. That’s the sort of mindfuck you get when you’re the child of narcissists. You can’t win. You can only lose–and then you’re callously blamed for it. I’ve been treading water–barely–for years, in constant fear of drowning.

The rain stopped and the sun is shining but I have no motivation to even go sit outside on the porch. All I want to do is stew in self pity and self hatred. Why? What good does it do? I hate it. Angry and bitter? You bet. But I refuse to drown in those feelings because I still hold onto hope that I can be a real person someday. I won’t give up on me, even though the people who were supposed to love me unconditionally did.

Finally I got a call from my daughter apologizing to me. She was crying. I felt so terrible. She told me how depressed she was and it sounded a lot like my own depression. She was talking about all the bad choices she’s made. She feels badly because some friends she went to school with are starting families or are getting advanced degrees or have careers and she has none of those things. But she’s just 23.  She blames herself. I could relate. I tried to be empathetic and not think about the way I feel very much in the same boat–only I’m a lot older and don’t have my whole life ahead of me or the options she still does. I assured her that she may be a late bloomer but that she is blooming and to be patient with herself. I may never be a perfect mom, but I will never give up on her or abandon her the way my family did to me, because it’s not something you ever get over. It ruins you. It murders your soul. I won’t let her soul be murdered.

Sorry this post wasn’t more upbeat. But I’m just really depressed today and needed to write about it. It doesn’t help to keep this crap inside.  And I thought maybe I was “cured”?  Hah!

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10 thoughts on “Triggered.

  1. Hey lovely,
    It sounds like you’re doing so great! I’m sorry that things are so hard right now, but that’s not indicative of something “wrong” with you in any way. This is not to say at all that the way you feel is not horrible, but you’re not flawed for it. (And a friend told me that for her it is the things that cause her the most pain (like hypersensitivity) that are behind her gifts. But please ignore this if it doesn’t help you: I do not wish to invalidate your feelings at all.)

    Also, everyone gets angry, and irritable, and shouts for no good reason sometimes. There is nothing to say that the people around you are doing “better” emotionally. I’m not sure any relationships meet some perfect measure of healthy, and it sounds like you’re really working to be the best mother to your daughter you can be. (Again, I don’t believe in perfect, and value effort and awareness, such as yours.) I see it as a very good sign that she opened up to you about her feelings and difficulties, and I really admire your efforts to put your own needs (which are understandably very strong right now!) aside to offer her empathy. I also admire your determination not to give up on yourself. Have you ever read any of Brene Brown’s books, or watched her TED talk? She emphasises that a person’s strength is not in never falling, but in their ability to get back up again. This is what you have. This is a great thing! You have so many amazing qualities and strengths, and this post, like many others, how they shine through and inspire others.

    What happened with your family is truly horrible, and I know that for me, my past can make things so much harder, and it can feel like drowning when I’m triggered. But you are so much more than they could ever have imagined, despite their best efforts to destroy you. I don’t believe in measuring people in terms of achievements (fear of narcissism!), but your blog is insightful, diverse, informative, and hugely valuable to helping huge numbers of people. And I am so, so impressed by, and jealous (!) of, how amazingly successful it is. You come across as a very likable person, with a real desire to help people and make things better (just two of many positive traits). My point here is that you have so much value (!), and you give so much to the world. I wish you could see it now. I can relate so much to the self-hatred, and to the not feeling like a real person, and I don’t know how to get out of it. But you are not remotely deserving of that hatred, and you are most definitely a real person. (The truth is, there isn’t a difference between you and this imaginary class of “healthy” people. You are not a list of flaws. I’m not saying give up on self-growth: This is something I respect the most in a person. But you’re already a real, lovable person, and every day you’re so much closer to becoming the person you want to be through your own hard work and determination (although you will never achieve this, but in a good way, because the nature of being reflective and wanting to grow is that you will always aspire to be better, which is another gift).

    Anyway, I hope this doesn’t make things any worse, and I really hope things get much better for you soon. With much love. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Andrea–it does help a lot, and in fact I had an amazing brainstorm today and can’t wait to write up my next post, which is about self pity, shame and self compassion (which is different).

      Recently I’ve realized that almost every time I get triggered to the point of falling into one of these depressions, in a day or two I make some amazing self discovery and something changes for the better. So I think the depressions are actually growing pains. I used to become so depressed but learned nothing from them–but now I have enough insight to be able to use them to look inward even deeper. I do feel like I’m changing!

      I realize I do have a lot to offer the world, and I do want to help people, and people do seem to like this blog which of course feels like a huge achievement to me. Little by little I’m realizing I have value in this world, even if the things I offer the world are not the same things my parents value. What they value and what they think of me DOES NOT MATTER! I’m my own person and I feel like blogging, therapy, and God are the the 3 things that have brought me to the point I’m at now. I still have a very long way to go, but when I look back I can see just how far I’ve come.

      Peter Walker’s self-affirmations about loving your inner child are another thing that is really helping me immensely. I recommend his book to anyone suffering from PTSD due to narcissitic abuse.
      Thanks so much for your very kind remarks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to write back to me about this. I am definitely looking forward to your next posts! 🙂
        It makes me very happy to read that you are able to see that you have value and a lot to offer the world. These are absolutely true!

        (Incidentally, was it you who wrote the excellent review of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”? If so, thank you! I bought the book and have found it very helpful.)

        Looking forward to reading your new posts! 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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