Are You a "Helper" Who Deals With Depression & Anxiety Yourself?

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Wounded Healer
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/19/2010 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello,

I'm new to this forum.

I know that many people in the helping professions have either dealt with, or continue to deal with some of the problems that they help other people with.

It's sort of ironic in a way, that we're so good with helping others, when we still have the tendency toward our own version of their problems. But when looked at properly, it makes perfect sense that our experience can give us an upper hand on it.

But there is a certain sting to depression and anxiety when you have to appear like you ALWAYS have your stuff together, because you are supposed to be the one who has no problems - so to speak. Do you know what I mean?

I'm going through a particularly rough spot lately. I've had several years of operating at a highly functional level, with a pretty strong grip on my anxiety and depression. But as of late, circumstances have gotten really difficult, and lonely.

So I've been using all of the incredible knowledge and tools I have at my disposal, but there is one major factor missing: human connection.

That's why I'm here. I'm hoping to connect with someone who can relate to this particular struggle. I can't count the number of times I've told someone "You don't have to go through this alone".

Looking forward to hearing from you :)
To quote Kerenyi, a colleague of Jung who elucidated this archetype, the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity "to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth Asclepius, the sunlike healer."


vballplayingirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 7/19/2010 9:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome =)

I understand completely what you said in this post. I deal with my depression and anxiety in my own way and on my own terms, with guidance and help from my support system of course. I'm studying Psychology and OT in college so I have to be extremely focused on my schoolwork and I often put both the anxiety and depression behind me while I'm going through the motions of schoolwork and class. Only afterwards do I find myself feeling sad or anxious, when things are finished and tasks are accomplished. I also understand the lonely feeling. All of my friends look to me for guidance and advice and support for their own struggles. I feel like its easy to find the solutions to their problems, but when it comes to my own some things sometimes get ignored. Most of my friends think I have "all my stuff together" like you said...they don't realize the feelings I get and the anxiety I suffer with. I can relate completely to the hard times your referring to when all you need is someone who actually understands. I've been on this forum for a few days and I already feel better equipped to handle situations that make me feel depressed and anxious. The support given by the people who post is just tremendous. I hope we can all be here for you when your feeling lonely =)

--Che
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”


Wounded Healer
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/19/2010 10:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi vballplayingil,

Nice to hear from you.

Thanks for understanding! You hit the nail on the head, not only am I always understanding, helping and supporting my clients, but I'm always doing the same for my friends. Sometimes it all feels like a giant one-way street. Funny - I find that I even feel guilty for talking about myself - even here.

I know it doesn't have to be that way. It's part of my challenge to learn to say "no" more often, and speak up for my own needs. And it's just an unfortunate fact that my circumstances are such that I'm starting over, making new friends and connections in a new place. I know it will get better eventually, but it will probably take a long time.

It is something I am working to re-frame and see for the opportunity that it really is - to learn from past mistakes and build a more balanced social system for myself.

In the mean time, like you, I'm forced to face the reality that exists underneath, when I slow down enough to feel this old friend/enemy of mine.

Thanks again for your understanding and encouragement.

Never underestimate the effect kindness can have on others =)
To quote Kerenyi, a colleague of Jung who elucidated this archetype, the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity "to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth Asclepius, the sunlike healer."


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/20/2010 2:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Wounded Healer, you are most certainly not alone in this predicament. The situations that you and vballplayingirl explained are practically mirrored in my life as well. I have always been the mediator, problem solver, sense talker of any friends or family. The one thing that differs in my situation is that I am clearly dealing with some difficult things right now and it is apparent to others.

I think that you are exactly correct about the fact that if we have dealt with or are dealing with similar problems, that can give us an edge on easily pinpointing the solutions to others problems. The thing is, doing that does not involve any willpower of OURS, it only takes thinking, experience, just make the few connections that they haven't been able to alone. Now if in introspective examination, we find the same exact problem, so easily solved in your mind for another...but when we are the ones who then need to step up and bite the bullet, take on whatever issue it is, that goes beyond our abilities to help other people completely. One would probably say at first glance that a "healer" should be able to help themselves with the same abilities...but the fact of the matter is that actually DOING has very little to do with the thinking and solving used to help others.

Also for people like us, finding someone who can understand your problems and supply answers is not terribly easy. Either way though, taking that thought one step further just lands you back at the fact that we most likely know what we need to do, it's just a matter of willpower, motivation, confidence...and sad as it is none of those things are generally supplied by other people, they are found within yourself and with God.

I have been going through a very very rough patch as of late, but I may be starting to see some shafts of sunlight through the gloom. I was considering starting to post again this morning and wasn't exactly sure if I would, but reading this post seemed very oddly spot on to my own feelings and also is oddly coincidental that I finally check the forum and find your post at the top. I figure this is one of those situations that I'm presented with that I probably shouldn't just ignore. God gives us lighthouses to help us along our rough journey. When your vision is filled with only the crashing of waves, your ears deafened by the howling of the wind as it attempts to cripple your vessel...anyone familiar with boating knows you need to keep moving forward else you will be capsized by a wave when it t-bones the boat. When all seems lost and you have no direction...that is when you must look the hardest, don't give up hope of glimpsing the light. That is when He will provide, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big, a light for you to right yourself by. Direction amidst the chaos of life...something that gives you the bearings needed to keep moving forward. Just as in the actual storm, the only way to make it past, through, or out of our personal storms is to trudge on. Keep moving forward because it is better than floundering helplessly, without even a chance to help yourself.

You could think of it like being lost in a corn field, when I was young I remember that being a somewhat frightening experience...you can't see a way out, only an endless field of obstacles blocking your view. Now though I realize that the only way out sometimes is to just move. If you panic and sit down in the field, you're never getting out...but if you just push for long enough, eventually you will step clear of the last corn row. Now, the next time you find yourself in a field you will still have to get yourself out, but you will be that much more knowledgeable and ready to do so. That is what makes some people good at helping, they have just been through a lot of "fields", leaving them with a more complete "map" with which to guide others. It would also mean that they have struggled similarly themselves, or even still do.

Before I found this forum I almost never let anything out. I never talked with anyone about my own problems because of my familiarity with being on the other side of that equation, and feeling weird about that idea. When I was able to finally let loose of that weight, I had been dragging it alone for so long that I hardly remembered what it was like to be free of the burden. The beauty about this place is that you can talk and work through your problems with us, leaving you more able to help others without having that odd flipped situation of telling them your problems. I'm glad I found your post, it prompted me to write this huge reply and I think that I needed that. I hope that some of my ranting can apply to your difficulties, and possibly that my maps might help you through some of your fields.


Christian

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 7/20/2010 3:57:11 AM (GMT-6)


Wounded Healer
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/20/2010 9:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks misunderstood and shuvvykins,

Wow, so much more in response than I expected. I do feel understood. I really appreciate your thoughts. And it seems good for us to be able to relate in this way. I'm going to force myself to talk about myself and my process right now for my own good.

Today has been particularly difficult. The depression just got worse and worse as the day went by. I felt myself yearning to connect with someone, but the barriers to reaching out feel so thick sometimes. I go down the list of my contacts and stop at a couple - the ones I would normally reach out to, but I don't call them. I picture myself calling and I just know that, even as well intended and caring as these people are, they don't have what I'm actually craving. Besides the imbalance I've mentioned already, there is something else.

When I look underneath the desire to connect, I see the desire for intimate connection. It's of no small consequence that I'm presently still grieving the loss of a long term relationship. However, if I look even deeper, I also know that no person can give what I'm craving - even if they know me and love me completely. My condition is partly due to being in an important stage of grief, and partly due to old wounds and established modes of being.

What lies underneath is a complex of old wounds that perhaps I will never find means to totally heal. And that's okay, really. I don't feel the need to completely transcend all the effects of what has happened in my life. The point, rather, is that this depression stirs me and pushes me into myself, almost as if to say "look!" Because, being the human being that I am, the tendency to look away is very well ingrained.

So, instead of reaching out in the way I was originally inclined (by phone), here I am writing myself into a fuller awareness of what I am really feeling. Part of my depression is the pressure caused by resistance to what it is I truly feel. The hurt, the loss, the pain from recently and long ago that still churns underneath needs me to return and completely feel it.

And so a vague sense of relief comes in. I feel lighter now, gradually, just knowing that I'm going to light some candles and sit down, and I will do a bit of crying and at least allow all that energy a chance to do something other than churn, churn, churn below.

When I feel that I have honored my own process, I think then I will stand to gain more by connecting again with supportive people. I think I'm just at the point where I have to dive alone again, even if only temporarily.

I have to say, I may have eventually rediscovered this understanding on my own, but being here and hearing from you folks has done something important to help me do it a lot sooner.

So again I thank you! I will write again soon.

Wounded Healer
To quote Kerenyi, a colleague of Jung who elucidated this archetype, the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity "to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth Asclepius, the sunlike healer."


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/21/2010 1:15 AM (GMT -7)   
I have to admit that your feelings, even when so specific and detailed, are so close to mine it is truly odd. I have always been introverted, yet yearning for connection...just not your average "talk about the day and the sports team" type of thing that most around me seemed happy with. I also find myself going down my caller ID and thinking about who I will call, to help somewhat with the stagnant loneliness...but I too know that for as much as they are my close friends, their not being there was not the source of my feelings of solitude. I think you might find the lyrics to two songs very interesting and quite close to home, I know they are for me. Check out the lyrics to Dream Theater's "Misunderstood" and "These Walls", I think you will know very much why after reading them.

I am also seeking that deeper connection, something actually real in a time full of so much that is fake. My loss was a while ago...but being a hopeless romantic, no matter how long it has been I immediately begin to feel the same old feelings anytime I see her or think of her too much.

I have also come to the conclusion, even so recently as when I was first responding to your message, that some of my wounds will never totally heal. In the same thought though, one should include the fact that you must continue on, you must do what you can with what you have, enjoy what you can when it happens, and do your best to cause the same happiness for others. As much as you can control the old wounds...they are your maps, your experience, what has made you into who you are. If you were able to eradicate them completely who would you be? There is some good to be done with going back to an old problem, reevaluating it and feeling it again...but it is possible to do so with a purposeful stride, take that retrospective journey with the knowledge that you do so for closure and to move on. It may not be the most enjoyable experience...but when you have taken it, felt it, never allowed yourself to reattach to it, and taken charge of it and moved it aside for good...you can finally have that mental sigh of relief. That churning feeling will subside, and the weight will continue to lift. After my first message on this forum I felt the initial weight come off, to at least have my musings in a readable form, and even more so that I possibly was not as alone as I had thought.

Depression certainly has a way of causing a sort of implosion of self...I'm not exactly sure if implosion or collapse would be the right word. As you said though, some things need rehashing, and sometimes in the midst of the chaos you can find just that. Depression, I don't think personally, ever really goes away if it is really there. Those things or feelings are a part of you, the trick is to reign them in, do not let them control you just because they have occurred in your life. No one lives free of loss or failure, but there are those who handle it in a more positive fashion. That is what we must all work towards, a goal of accepting those parts of our lives, moving the negative ones firmly into the past, and moving forward with those parts of your unique person in control. An introspective look can be a great thing, reveal things about yourself that you never knew. Rather than fear that look inward, embrace it to move past it. Appreciate the fact that you are looking inward because there is something that needs attention. It's like going to the doctor, but the doctor is you...it is usually not a pleasant occasion, but when it is done and over and that worry is off your mind, you will feel worlds better.

I wish you luck on your journeys, as in the last message I hope that my maps come in handy at some point. I hope to hear from you soon. You're messages are so close to how I often feel, I think that my responses might be helping me just as much as they are you :).


Christian

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 7/21/2010 2:20:07 AM (GMT-6)


THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18746
   Posted 7/21/2010 1:45 AM (GMT -7)   
for me it's the etachment with detachment. it's caring but also knowing my limitations. also i try not to cross my own ethical white line as well. sometimes hard, we are human, although i rather be the conduit rather than the fixed line. jamie.
YESTERDAY IS A BUTTERLY WITHOUT WINGS. (ME)
 
DX, MDD, SEVERE BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER.
 
REMEMBER TO LOVE YOU. BE YOU AND BE TRUE.


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/21/2010 1:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Most definitely, I have often thought to myself that I have far too much empathy for my own good...then I realize what that would make me. I find myself empathizing with anyone around me to the point where I will be upset and bothered by a problem, even when I don't know the person involved. There may be limitations to ones abilities to aid, but there is none to the amount that one should care. Being the conduit is better I believe also, it is better to facilitate a positive outcome rather than attempt to force or demand it.

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 7/21/2010 2:57:12 AM (GMT-6)


Wounded Healer
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/23/2010 12:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Misunderstood,

We're definitely operating on similar planes aren't we? I looked at those lyrics and I certainly do find them more than applicable. The songs themselves aren't bad either. I especially appreciated "Misunderstood". It's the feeling of all-pervading isolation in those words that resonates with me the most. But of course the feeling of being misunderstood is even more specifically pertinent to the title of this thread, too, I suppose.

You're right on about not surrendering to the downward pull, in the larger context - not allowing the pain and the damage from old wounds to rule us - to define us. That being said, to some extent I still find a lot of meaning in what I've been through (as I'm sure you and many others do with your own experiences as well).

And when I think of those old feelings, I think of what has been perhaps one of my greatest teachers. And when I turn within, understanding that the downward and inward pull is partly old and partly new, I can choose to surrender to that flow. Not as a relinquishment of my more dominant and powerful drive to survive - to heal, and to grow. But rather, it's part of that larger living force sometimes to venture, temporarily, into the "underworld", inevitably suffering under the illusion of being hopeless and lost, long enough to truly process and move through what might be rotting there. Then, when the work is done (or at least mostly done), something will shift, and the cycle moves back into the rising, re-surfacing stage.

When in the abysmal stage though, the memory and the hope of my probable return to a more tolerable level is all but absolutely obscured. So, though part of me knows my own soul well enough to anticipate an eventual return to "normal", I'm so submersed in the depths that I'm seemingly cut off and completely separated from that part of myself. Thus, the experience is that of complete isolation and helplessness. And I think there is something really important about that quality in the experience.

As I'm writing this, I'm remembering a lot of reading I've done on the more spiritually oriented concept of "The Dark Night of The Soul". And I think I'm very comforted by the idea. Although I'm obviously not totally submerged right now (considering I'm able to write this entry with this level of awareness), I still find it an inspiring idea, that, in a most existential sense, "the darkest hour comes before the dawn".

I think what I'm trying to extract from this theme is that, for some people, sometimes, depression is exactly what we need in order to till and fertilize our inner soil, in order to grow and feed whatever seed may have been planted recently, unbeknownst to us.

But we run, we distract ourselves, we avoid the full experience because we don't recognize it for the fullness of what it is. Again - some people, some times. I'm quite sensitive to those who would totally disagree.

But then, I used to be one of them myself, so I take it ALL with a grain of salt :)

I do appreciate your maps, very much so. I find this exchange to be very helpful and healing. And I really appreciate your heart-felt and well-thought-out replies. Thank you.
To quote Kerenyi, a colleague of Jung who elucidated this archetype, the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity "to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth Asclepius, the sunlike healer."


Wounded Healer
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/23/2010 1:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Siobhan,

You make a good point too! Yes, I'm quite open and enthusiastic about receiving help from many directions and sources. And the fact that you've suggested it has already provoked me to do more about that soon. I'm going to be doing some Qi Gong classes starting next week, and I'll have an opportunity for some hypnotherapy soon too.

The biggie for me right now, however, is good ol exercise. I'm really looking forward to getting back on my bicycle in the next couple of weeks. That has always been my main way of getting the flow working well again.

I'll look at the herbals too. I will probably have to find someone who really knows their stuff. A good friend recently gave me some lavender aroma oil. I will get it out tonight :)

Hugs

WH
To quote Kerenyi, a colleague of Jung who elucidated this archetype, the wounded healer refers psychologically to the capacity "to be at home in the darkness of suffering and there to find germs of light and recovery with which, as though by enchantment, to bring forth Asclepius, the sunlike healer."


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 7/24/2010 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Ohh I'd definitely love to hear about the Qi Gong classes. I have actually done quite a bit of research into Qi Gong and the various paths in an entirely practical mindset. I believe there are many misconceptions about "qi" as being mystical or magical, when it actually means in definition "energy". Energy could be the force of a physical punch, it can be the food you ate that day to fuel your muscles, the air that you are breathing to supply oxygen, and even the activities of your mind (obviously being the source of all thoughts/actions).

I would agree about the depression being needed at times to force that reevaluation of self. As many Eastern philosophies have explained in different words...life and our passage through it can be compared to a wave. In any wave there can not be a crest, a high point, without also having a trough, or low point...a wave cannot exist without both, and within these ups and downs is where we are able to truly find ourselves.

I'll keep this from being a novel lol, it is about 9:30am and I am yet to get around to that sleep thing. I have actually been doing quite well myself recently, have had a few things going my way. Started talking more with a girl that, I come to find, is crazy about me, hehe funny how that works. I've known her for a few years, but I just always look so lowly upon myself that I guess I miss it...like every time lol. I also have a party all day tomorrow, and there will be drumming!!! :-) I'll be back around Sunday night, I can't wait to hear about your Qi Gong.


Christian

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 7/24/2010 8:35:09 AM (GMT-6)

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