The Fear Depresses me the Most

It has been a long time since I experienced significant bouts of depression. I’m quiteblack dog sure many readers will relate to that jittery feeling we get in the pit of our stomach, never really knowing how low the depression will go, or if it’s merely just a passing blip.

My MH diagnosis’ includes Major Depressive Disorder so I guess it does what it says on the bottle. There was a time not so long ago when chronic depression became more than a regular occurrence, but it feels as if I’m out of practice, although this can only be a good thing.

Where did this episode begin? The largest part of it seemed to settle during my therapy with Paul yesterday. I was already exhausted and feeling pissed off on arrival, which just seemed to snowball during our session.

We briefly talked about a number of issues, without going into anything in depth, but those topics possibly held more significance than I initially realised.

I told Paul about my emails to the narcissistic mother and Sissy, the Golden-child, asking for no contact. There’s not one shadow of doubt or regret hanging over that decision, but underneath the certainty, is a weird sense of loss. I didn’t expect this to happen.

The fact is, childhood memories and dysfunctional family dynamics have dominated my life for such a long time and now that my mind isn’t so swamped, there’s this vast empty space just waiting… waiting… for… my… future. The fear depresses me the most.

Somewhere along the way, I lost faith in myself. I was always a worker and the opportunities were more than I could’ve ever wished for, I loved and breathed my vocation. But, fifteen years disappeared and there’s no way I would qualify for the same positions today.

Nevertheless, Cat does have something in mind, but the plan entails going back to college/university for four years. It’s not the time that feels daunting and I can handle the cost and even the debt, but the thought of returning to study at 52, feels humiliating. I know, I know, we’re never too old, but I just can’t snap out of feeling a complete failure for reaching this time of life without any solid roots.

The biggest hurdle of all is PTSD and ‘related’ Agoraphobia, which is something I don’t often talk about on this blog, but it’s hard to imagine being able to live my life as freely as before. The “related” part is not a medical diagnosis, but it’s entirely the aftermath of being a victim to violent crime, which I wrote about here.

There’s little point telling a victim of any kind of trauma that it might never happen. The fact is, it did happen, and sometimes the unimaginable becomes someone’s reality. .

Yes, I know how unlikely it is to become a victim of abuse or violent crime again and I’ve heard all about “statistically,” but I was once one of those statistics, so applying that kind of logic doesn’t seem to cut it for me.

When I first started therapy, many things were hard to imagine.

It would not have been possible for me to talk about childhood memories without recoiling in shame and trauma.

It was hard to imagine ever finding peace and acceptance for the childhood hurt and disappointment, and I never thought it possible to find the courage to ‘divorce’ my family.

thU6CGHWTTWhen I first asked the Mental Health Team for help three years ago, I shamefully admitted to the Psychiatrist, “I don’t want to get any better, not if it means re-joining life again or connecting with people” and here I am, anticipating and planning both.

It seems these “hard to imagine” scenarios have a habit of becoming reality and this needs to be my focus in the next phase of therapy, but that doesn’t mean every part of my senses will not still be screaming out “DANGER” whenever I try to push past those safe boundaries.

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44 thoughts on “The Fear Depresses me the Most

    1. Cat Post author

      Sometimes I still feel as though I never truly grew up, maybe locked in that time of trauma. Thank you, Lilly, nice to hear from you

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  1. Priceless Joy

    I think you have made an enormous positive step to better your future by your decision to “divorce” your family. I think, you going back to college is awesome. You will see how many mature adults are going to college these days. I know that by facing my fears I have been able to grow in more ways than I knew was possible but it literally took me years to be able to face those fears. There is a lot of confidence and peace that comes with that. But you already know that because you just recently conquered a huge fear. I cannot say I understand how you feel regarding being a victim of a violent crime, but I can only imagine what an enormous fear that must be. And I cannot even imagine how I would go about conquering that fear. I do know this. I have to wake up and show up (to life) and take one step at a time and handle every situation that comes across my path. The more I do so, the stronger I become. The stronger I become, the happier and more at peace I become. But hey, that’s just me.

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    1. Cat Post author

      And you are spot on, Joy. Something quite simple but hugely significant occurs from facing those fears and, you’re right, each step brings more strength. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, much appreciated

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  2. edwinasepisodes

    I can understand your fear of being back amongst people not knowing if anything is going to happen to you again, You survived a horrific attack that was not your fault. The bastard that did it to you should have never got out of prison in the first place. Please consider going back to training to help you to achieve whatever career you want to do, Don’t let what has happened to you with your family and the attacker stop you from living your life the way you want to, It seems that you have already come quite a long way, and you can go that last little bit Cat too. 🙂

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  3. myspokenheart

    Going back to school is a huge step. Scary, intimidating, overwhelming, yet something to be proud of, a positive foot forward… I am excited and anxious for you, and very proud of you! 😀 So much is happening for you Cat. Just remember to stop, breathe and reflect when it feels too much. I have to remind myself to do that all the time.
    ((HUGS))

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Andrea, that reminder to take the time to reflect comes at just the right time. It can all get a bit overwhelming, so many emotions without names or identity. Thanks for your kind thoughts

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  4. therabbitholez

    When I first asked the Mental Health Team for help three years ago, I shamefully admitted to the Psychiatrist, “I don’t want to get any better, not if it means re-joining life again or connecting with people” and here I am, anticipating and planning both.

    The above speaks volumes to me, it’s terrifying re-joining life again and all entails, and it can be done, you say you lost faith in yourself, but look at you now, your regaining a new faith in yourself one step at a time, it doesn’t matter if the steps are faltering, your taking them.

    I can’t go back to my former career and opportunities, and even though I freelance using many of my old skills, I feel sometimes things have passed me by, then other times I know I’m trying to forge a new life, and like yourself thinking of going back to study and at 50 to say it makes my knees knock is an understatement..lol

    Sometimes when you lose faith, it takes a leap of faith to get over the next hurdle, only you’ll know when your ready to do that.

    Living with fear especially when a victim of violent crime I can only imagine how that must affect your life even though many years have passed though the number is not important, it happened and must still be incredibly difficult to come to terms with especially as you want to “be out there” you have a good therapist is Paul and I feel sure he’ll guide you through that minefield.

    It’s understandable that you will feel a sense of loss over your family, you told the truth and drew the line, that shows tremendous self awareness that you would no longer participate in the dysfunction.

    Keep well and be kind to yourself:) x

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    1. Cat Post author

      It’s nice to know that you completely understand where I’m coming from, I can sense this in your very supportive comment. Maybe it’s all becoming a little overwhelming, but this too shall pass! Thank you so much 🙂

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  5. jamborobyn

    Know the feeling, Cat. Kind of at a similar point myself. I recently discovered something so fundamental to my survival as a child, may have truly hijacked what seems like the core of my personality. In one way I’ve dealt with it as much as I can consciously, for the moment, but I can sense that there is a lot of rearranging of my entire view of the world and myself within it – going on under the surface. I feel utterly confused – as though I don’t know the terrain of my own being. Right now, in the absence of a miracle, I will have to re-enter the workforce ASAP. Already confident in my work skills and my ability to perform, except for this… last year I worked for most of the year, I did not write. Instead I spent most of the year crying. Could not even walk down to the shops at lunchtime without people yelling abuse out of their cars (remember my first story, exactly the same things haven been happening for the past year, though most Aussies will deny it). Colleagues screaming at me in the office. So my fear, like yours is based, not only on the distant past, but the very real and present danger in my environment of more abuse. As I said, Cat. I can relate, but even further I feel quite stupid and unable to resolve this one because all the growing and learning has left me unable to continuously turn the other cheek, I demand better for myself. That is not in accordance with the times nor the reality of my life. LOL. I am absolutely sure that I will find a good way to sort all this out sooner or later. Have done so far ;-). Perhaps something totally wonderful and new will arise from this emptiness. I truly think it will for me and I hope with all my heart that it does for you. Not merely survival. Joy!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Sometimes memories/knowledge can turn our perception on its head. I remember the story of disgusting racial abuse and it is difficult to understand why this still happens today. Of course, it still happens in parts of the UK, but I live in a 50-50 black/white community and it really stretches my imagination to think of someone coming under attack because of their colour.
      Sometime we don’t need to accept or pretend it doesn’t matter. It’s perfectly acceptable to say F-you to the world and take no more Sh**.
      Thinking of you, Robyn, I hope things improve soon

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  6. rootstoblossom

    Oh do I understand that sense of loss from divorcing your family, I’m right there too. Makes it so tempting to call them up to fill that void, to go back to familiarity. Wishing you strength, and so happy to hear the hope in this post, even if mixed such frustration and pain too

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    1. Cat Post author

      That sense of loss is for many things, I think, not only for their company (which I didn’t have anyway) but a feeling of grief for never having a family we could connect with. As for filling the void with a call to them…lol…I would rather gouge my eyes out with a red hot poker 🙂

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  7. mm172001

    I’m 32 and still in community college. I feel like my mental illnesses have stolen so much of my life and I am not even entirely confident that I can go to school full time at the state level yet and I am also embarrassed. I feel like people will ask questions, and then what do I say? Or people will just look down on me since most people my age already have it together. Two or three classes at community college is safe, I’ve done it again and again but I am also trying to push out of my comfort zone. And with the few steps I’ve taken like coming out and getting involved in the gay community. I can say it’s very stressful and anxiety producing BUT SO WORTH IT!

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    1. Cat Post author

      I completely relate to those fears, Marci. It’s easy to tell us not to worry, but difficult to put into practice. Like everything else, I am sure we’ll both get there

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  8. Ellen

    I’d think the depression might be mourning your childhood, the one you never had? Going no contact might set off those feelings – kind of like giving up the hope that they would ever be good parents.

    What would you study? I’m ever nosy. I went back to school in my thirties, and it was challenging for sure. Sometimes I consider going back again, as I’m unsatisfied in my career.

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    1. Cat Post author

      You’re spot on Ellen, I just wrote something similar in a previous comment to yours. There is a lot of emotion for what I never had, maybe more than I can actually admit right now. Perhaps I am at the angry stage of mourning, not anger for them, but everything else 🙂

      I’ve been thinking of going back into counselling. Technically, I would only need to do 3 years, but confidence wise and where I am at emotionally, I feel it would be better for me to start at the very basic level. There’s a three tier stage of courses and the first wil probably have too many people under – way under – 30’s. I struggle with the idea.

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      1. Ellen

        So interesting, thanks for sharing. Maybe you could start slow, dip your toes in for one course?

        I am at the angry stage also. We are twins. 🙂 or 😦

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        1. Cat Post author

          Lol it must be something to do with the weather or the flippin mind-blowing, head-numbing, brain shattering therapy

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  9. Andi

    It’s so remarkable how you can both acknowledge and spend time in your fears but also frame overcoming them as the “next step” in your journey. Which is absolutely correct. This is just the next step towards becoming you – the you WITHOUT them. Xo

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  10. cardamone5

    This is all normal, Cat. You are scared…who wouldn’t be. Challenging self, especially after trauma, is scary and can induce feelings of downness. Take it slow, and do not believe those untrue whispers about being too old to begin again. Our age is just a number, and for those of us deprived a childhood, it often is much higher than our emotional age so we accomplish things later. At least, that’s been my experience.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Well, I certainly do feel younger, emotionally, shame I didn’t look it 🙂 It just feels a bit of a minefield at the moment, so many emotions, so much uncertainty and fear of the unknown can be depressing. Still, it is all progress. Thank you, Elizabeth

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  11. Creatopath

    That’s great you’re thinking of studying again. Good on you. It will keep your mind busy and you can learn something new. My daughter’s Principal is in her fiftiesand after 19 years of teaching, she is now going back to uni to study something different.

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  12. lynettedavis

    Yes. Unfortunately, I can relate to that “jittery feeling we get in the pit of our stomach, never really knowing how low the depression will go, or if it’s merely just a passing blip.”

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  13. mincs1

    I think the fact that you recognize the fear inside you and yet you are still willing to even consider pushing past the boundaries that surround this fear (this fear surrounds?) speaks volumes of where you are at in your recovery. Trust your desire to continue learning!

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  14. mandy

    I sure relate to all you’ve said here, Cat. Nothing felt worse for me that to put aside a career I loved while I took a “little” time off to fix myself, and then to have 25 years flash by, and then I was, uh, 58! Sick in the pit of my stomach yes. No longer qualified to do what I did–the medical field, computers, it had all passed me by. Then my age prevented me even getting call-backs from freakin’ MCDONALD’S! That’s when I began writing my story of childhood abuse, and now I’m coming up on 62 and ready to head out into the world to spread awareness about abuse issues. Yes, that little demon on my shoulder keeps holding a placard in front of my face “70! 70! 70! That’s coming next–you’re almost dead!” But I have to knock that little shit off my shoulder and pretend I’m 25. Okay 25 with a lot of pain in my joints! Don’t let your future dream go, Cat. 52 is younger than 62. Imagine where you’ll be when you’re old like me, Lol! You’re making great strides. Your fears are not unfounded. You have personal experience to vouch for it. But proceed, yes with caution + a big stick, and then get out there and share your wonderful self with the world!!

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    1. Cat Post author

      I relate to the “you’re almost dead” although, admittedly, it’s not exactly rational thinking 🙂

      I want to turn the past into something good and give the fingers (throw a bird in us?) to the narcs of the past.

      I’m not sure there’s much difference between 52 & 62, especially from the younger generation who just see us all as ancient.

      Thank you, Mandy 🙂

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  15. D.G.Kaye

    You’re a very brave person Cat. The things you’ve endured in your life with your family, whom you’ve bravely divorced, and the violence you lived through haven’t deterred you from speaking up and sharing with others who can relate and not feel alone, as well as educate many more who are lucky enough to have never had to deal with such issues. Keep growing, and go to that University! 🙂

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