Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Once Broken Does Not Mean Forever Broken


An interesting discussion on beliefs has been ramping up recently. Mike has posted some really interesting ideas at his blog Mikes Musings and Carla at Emerging from Broken has brought up the fact that she recognized that she was not born with depression but born into it.

Beliefs.

Subtle. Hidden from our conscious mind; Freud drew a picture of an iceberg and told us that the sub conscious realms could not be reached. Yet he was able to identify what was "unreachable". But that's another story for another day.

Our beliefs - both the ones that we can speak up and say "This is bunk" or "I feel ya"...and the ones we might deny...."I"m not looking for a caretaker...I"m not "dependent"...(that was me in the beginning...) affect our choices, our viewpoint and how we overcome...or accept...the life circumstances that change us.

Both the conscious and unconscious beliefs we carry affect our ability to walk away from this train wreck called PTSD, mental illness or whatever label you are comfortable attaching to the issues of emotional and cognitive instability and distress.

Case in point: In her book My Stroke of insight Jill Bolte Taylor is able to damn near draw us a picture of what it's like to go through a massive stroke. Then she is able to, with clarity and conciseness, identify the steps she took to reclaim her brain - and her life.

Bear with me here.

Now - compare this to the millions of people who have suffered strokes and been told it is not possible to recover.

Interesting conflict in my mind.

Whats the diff?

Jill Bolte Taylor as a brain scientist had the KNOWLEDGE to understand 1. what was happening to her and 2. the necessary steps to take to retrain her brain and return to her profession as a DOCTOR, a Neuroscientist no less.

Mind you - this is a VERY simplified analysis of this book but think about it...

Many who suffer from the symptoms of emotional and cognitive distress (whatever label you choose) have been told by the well intentioned professionals - the Doctors, Therapists and other clinicians - that WE WILL NEVER WALK OR TALK AGAIN ie comparison to a stroke victim. That we are permanently and irreparably broken and will be broken FOREVER. "Prognosis = poor".

Personally - I firmly believe in the neuro-plasticity of the brain. Once broken does not mean forever broken. I personally believe that every human being has the potential to create change in their lives through new knowledge and understanding. I also believe that not everyone is going to agree with this position and that's ok; just humor me and try to be open to some different ideas maybe.

For some of us this journey to take back our lives and reclaim our futures is a matter of overcoming the PTSD issues and we have a solid "self" to draw on as a resource to support us in this journey of healing.

For survivors of the abuse and neglect as children or other long term oppression who did not have the opportunity to develop a sense of self, competence and individuation - we have a few more steps to take to learn about 1. what we are lacking in our development and 2. what we can do to learn to develop the life skills that will take us further than we would otherwise be able to travel in life.

Regardless of which path your life is on...for me - holding on to that rear view mirror perspective of my life left me in a chronic state of hopelessness for a better day and helpless to change my life.

Me? I chose to jump on the train that takes me out of that dark place.

Q: What's your take on this idea?

9 comments:

Stacy said...

This post is thought provoking. Hopeful. Clearly you like thinking outside the box, which is something I like. And you take your experience of life by the horns. Very empowering.

I'd like to think outside the box more than I do. When traditional therapies have proven less than helpful for me, there's not much left to do than try something knew.

I think getting in the drivers seat and grabbing the stearing wheel is something I'd like to do more of in my life, especially as I get older. But at the same time I have to be prepared for the posibility that another depression probably will come. I guess I'd like to start expecting the best while being prepared for every posiblity. At this point I haven't been expecting the best at all, maybe not even hoping for the best.

I've just come across your blog to night. I look forward to reading more.

Susan said...

Stacy; so glad to meet you!

I so appreciate your comment...it sure sounds like you and I have quite a bit in common:)

I understand what you are saying...in the past much of what I was given to work with suggested that I would live in that dark place forever...no hope for anything other than that.

It took work and effort to find my way out of that chronic dark place but I have to tell you...that today I live in a freedom I never thought existed. It's a long road but not an impossible journey!

Thanks again for stopping by Stacy! I am so glad to "meet" you!

雅琳雅琳 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kyla said...

I like everything you said in this post and I agree 100 perecent :)

Darlene Ouimet said...

Susan,
I am so glad that I didn't believe that I would never recover. (well I did lose hope for awhile, but somehow I got it back and now my life purpose is to inspire that hope in others) My mother told me all the time that depression was hereditary and that I would always have it. (like her and her mother) I had my first depression at age 10. I had dissociated identity disorder, and no self esteem and finally got the right help in therapy when I was in my early 40's. I learned to re-wire my belief system.. but if I had not believed it could be done, then it would not have ever worked for me! So I am a firm believer that all recovery from everything is possible.
Nice post!
hugs, Darlene

Susan said...

Thanks for stopping by Kyla! And thanks for your support and validation of this idea...it is and was so vital to me to be able to find a way to believe - in spite of what I was told by the well meaning folks who believed otherwise!

Susan said...

Me too, Darlene! On all points - It took a long time to find my way to someone who would support my both my desire and belief that I could live a full happy life outside of the issues that you mention - and I'm so glad I stuck with it! I was also told that my depression etc was "hereditary" and that I would be stuck in that funk for the rest of my life. So so so glad to be able to prove them wrong! I'm with you all the way!

Thanks for dropping by Darlene!

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, thanks for your comment on my blog. I know that we can go beyond surviving to thriving and have a good life. I have done that in my own life.

I have had only about 4-5 years of counseling when I first started working on my incest and adult children of alcoholics issues. I have been in and out of Al-Anon for over 20 years and done some of my work on my incest issues with those sponsors.

Most of my work has been done because I knew that I had to do it if I wanted a better life. I know from my own experience that life is worth living and it does get easier.

With this new chapter of healing, I don't know exactly where I am going right now but I do know the effort and going through the pain is worth it. Today I am not sad or angry all of the time like I was in my earlier years. Today I feel joy and laughter as well as tears and anger and every feeling in between. I know that you can do it too.

Susan said...

Patricia - thanks so much for coming by! I appreciate so much what you say...it is hard work but it is soooo worth it! Like you - I found freedom in the hard work. It is a painful journey but not as painful as continuing to live in that prison within myself. So happy to hear that you have found that full range of emotion that makes life such a great adventure!