Which Comes First, The Depressive Chicken or the Therapy Egg?

I like E., my therapist. She’s been wise and very helpful over the years. I started seeing her a long time ago, primarily to deal with the stress of my elder son’s developmental disabilities. He went through an incredibly difficult period in middle school, and besides suffering a lot himself, he sucked all the energy and joy out of our family life for a while. E. helped me set some boundaries and protect my marriage and my relationship to my other son, while also comforting and supporting my oldest. Sometimes we briefly touched on the childhood reasons that boundary setting was so hard for me. I told her a little about the “less scary” abuse experiences I had, but we didn’t spend a lot of time on them.

I quit therapy for a while and then returned again to talk about the my son’s needs as he grew older and less inclined to listen to parental advice or observe household rules. We talked about my dad’s need for help as he aged. And then E. thought we were about done. That’s what made me realize how much I still needed to process the deeper wounds that had been locked up in my heart for so long.

We started that work last fall, and it led me to the deepest depression I had experienced in many, many years… essentially since the time I had first been in therapy with Hannah.

Do I go to therapy because I am depressed? Or do I become depressed because I am in therapy? Does talking about childhood abuse help me get better or suck me into the pit? I am honestly not sure.

Maybe I should reduce my focus on therapy and increase my attention to doing thing that make me happy in my current life. Maybe I should quit therapy entirely. Maybe I should backtrack with E., get more clarity on where we are going together. Maybe she’s known me too long and doesn’t see me anymore–I feel a little disturbed that she didn’t see how very depressed I was this past winter and spring. But most of all, I feel worried that all this healing from sexual abuse is actually making me more, not less depressed.

I have a therapy session this evening–seems like this might be what we should talk about, don’t you think?

12 thoughts on “Which Comes First, The Depressive Chicken or the Therapy Egg?

  1. I heard it suggested to just box it and put it on a shelf. That wasn’t the course I chose, though I don’t remember it feeling like a choice when I went to therapy, but a need.
    I believe there is no wrong or right way, only what works best for each person.

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  2. Yeah, it would indeed be very helpful if you could tell me what I should do in therapy and how I can live the healthiest, happiest life! Plus you could probably make a LOT of money if you could do that for people, especially over the internet…

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  3. My personal experience has been that therapists can just about start you on the way you’re supposed to go, according to them. It might be the right way, don’t get me wrong. But eventually it’s a road we travel alone, there’s no one to share the burden, no one to lean on and no one to carry us when we’re tired as f***. The best we can hope for is a couple of people standing by the roadside, shouting a few words of encouragement like we’re one of those city marathon runners. I hope you do find your path easier. Peace.

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  4. I can relate. I know that therapy brings up all the really hard stuff and it can seem that you are feeling worse than ever before. For me it has brought up feelings and wounds I repressed so deeply, so for a time I felt really awful. Everytime I went for therapy I would feel bad for days but I knew I had to keep going, to get out all the darkness. I have persisted for the last 15months of therapy and its getting better, the dark episodes don’t last as long and at last I feel some relief. The pain seems to be tempered now, more manageable and there is space for more and more joy.
    But that’s just me! I hope you can find your way through too! Take care

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  5. I know that last year…about 15 months ago…when I started with this therapist, things got really bad for awhile. They are getting better now. Lots better. Sometimes things get rough but not for long. Before this lady, I was seeing another therapist for three years, and I started seeing her for a tune up. I had started having flashbacks again after 12 years with no PTSD symptoms, and in the time of seeing her, I went from being very successful at work to not being able to work. Because she was emotionally abusive and had such sporadic boundaries that I ended up in a downwards spiral. I guess I’m trying to say that sometimes things get worse before they get better. Sometimes I wonder if I should have just closed up the box and put it on a shelf instead of digging into it and pulling things out. But I’m pretty sure I ended up with MT (my therapist) because I need to dig through the muck until I come out the other side as she guides me.

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  6. This is gonna sound repetitive but I think thing NEED to get worse before they get better. Maybe a stupid example, but it’s the one that comes to mind: last summer my son was running barefoot on grass and stepped on something sharp. He couldn’t walk, was in a lot of pain and the doctor took out what she could see of the splinter and said “Ok, he should be fine now”, but he wasn’t fine.

    For a whole week we went through this process with him of soaking his foot (splinter was in his heel) in order to drain the pus and squeeze the foreign object out. My son would scream and cry, he was in pain but was also AFRAID of the pain. The anticipation of the pain, was worse than the pain itself. Finally after a whole week, my husband squeezed out the splinter – it was a fairly large piece of wood in a little 6 year old’s foot.

    Analogy is: The splinter was there all week…the work was getting done (soaking, squeezing) and it seemed to take forever. He didn’t walk on that foot the whole week – only walked on tip toes. The problem was there. As long as he didn’t apply pressure on his heel he was fine. The pain and discomfort HAD to happen in order to expel the foreign object.

    If a person has very deep and painful issues, then I don’t see a way around the discomfort. If I may mention my observation – “hiding” the abuse is a huge burden for you…you may consider “coming out” and letting the secret out in order that it dissolve; because as it is now, it’ like acid.

    Be well

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  7. We all are amiga. All of us are afraid of pain (well some enjoy pain, but that’s another blog, not this one). I feel like something happened between me and my brother (he’s almost 7 years older). I’m referring to sexual abuse. There’s always been sibling rivalry and I feel like he’s always hated me. I can’t remember anything. Do I want to remember? To be honest, no I don’t. But that could be a big part of my cyclical depression. I’m rooting for you. I want you to be well xx

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  8. Pingback: Day 53 – The Pep Talk | la quemada

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