Pull yourself together and get on with it…. That’s one phrase I think I would ban from the world if I could. The idea that someone, anyone, who is depressed could just pull themselves together is not only ludicrous but it suggests their feelings are little, insignificant, manageable or imaginary.
I have my own battles with depression and (touch wood) I’ve been stable for a while now. My demons are controlled, my darkness hidden by light, but (and there’s always a but) at any time they could free themselves and the light could go out.
When I was at my lowest, my mum would tell me you just have to pull yourself together and get on with it. I couldn’t explain to her that I’d like nothing more than to be able to do so, but it wasn’t possible; nor could I tell her that my childhood was a huge part of the darkness that surrounded me at that time.
I wanted to equip my children with strong armour to enable them to know their feelings were valid, acceptable and acknowledged. S1 has grown to have demons of his own, caused in part I think, by his biological father who by the time our divorce was finalised had stopped seeing him; S1 was 18 months old. He went on to have 2 more children with someone else who he raised until they were 6 and 4 years old. S1 was 8 when he and their mum separated. When S1 was 6 he did start to see him again stopping when that relationship ended. S1 would often say what is wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want to see me anymore? How do you explain to a child that their biological father is a twit without saying anything negative? Let me tell you it’s difficult! I would always tell him that I didn’t know why but I did know that there was nothing with him, that he was special and loved.
He battles depression and mostly I think (I hope) he wins. He wants a family of his own, and a partner to love. I think I have done the best I can and he does know he can come to me when he feels low. He knows we accept him and that he is allowed to feel.
S2 has recently had his own fight and again he came and told us how he was feeling. He’s winning at the moment with the help of medication.
Maybe we managed to give them both the armour they needed…
That’s not true
There is of course that other method some people use to invalidate a person’s feelings, or experiences. I call them the rewriter’s. Usually a partner, probably one who emotionally abuses their partner.
These master manipulators will contradict the story teller. Eventually the partner may even start to think they are recalling events wrong, that they imagined it, blew it out of proportion… the manipulator can take your valid feelings and make them disappear.
Been there, won’t go back
I’ve been on the receiving end of this a few times, thankfully I am now in a safe place where my feelings are protected and valued.
MrH looks after me and encourages me to share so I don’t get overwhelmed. He lifts me, pushes me and protects me as needed. In all honesty I have no idea how he knows what I need but he seems to get it right more often than not.