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Which "me" is the real me?

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Yes princessstarburst..and that is why I think I am having these headaches and crying spells and neuro emotions. Am I crazy to think those are all part of withdrawal? It's so hard to think " this is happening to me "

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Everyone is telling me I am depressed again but I think it is withdrawal from Lexapro after only tapering 1 month. I don't want to get back on meds. I want to feel real again.

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I've been thinking a lot about who the 'real me' is. For most of my life I have always been a worrier and slightly anxious. It wasn't a bad thing, in fact it was those traits that saw me do well in school and achieve high grades. I never once handed in a late homework assignment as I was always 'worried' about not getting it in on time so made sure to do the opposite! It wasn't until my late 30's when a series of personal tragedies hit that I experienced my first bout of depression. Even then I managed to cope with it without medication. It wasn't until I had my last baby, about six years after the first event that my depression got really bad. I had never experienced anxiety like it. The medications made me feel very little emotion. I remember when the kids would get sick and I would be so blasé about everything. I was rejoicing in my new found freedom from worry! but my husband saw the other side, the same women who had always been on top of the finances was suddenly 'forgetting' to pay bills. The women who used to keep a neat and tidy house was now sitting on the computer all day and the housework was ignored. Washing piled up in the laundry, kids running out of clean clothes because mum wasn't doing her chores. Now in my withdrawal I am finding myself once again and sometimes (even today) it is scaring me because I am feeling again. I am worried about things that I should be worried about. I want to be free from the pain of worry but in reality that wasn't normal. My house is clean again, I am on top of finances. I am feeling emotions that I haven't felt in a long time. I guess I am struggling with these emotions again right now because for seven years they were stifled! I was never a perfect human being and I'm sure that such a person doesn't exist. My weaknesses were played on by the psychiatrist who put me on medication. 

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I've been thinking a lot about who the 'real me' is. For most of my life I have always been a worrier and slightly anxious. It wasn't a bad thing, in fact it was those traits that saw me do well in school and achieve high grades. I never once handed in a late homework assignment as I was always 'worried' about not getting it in on time so made sure to do the opposite! 

 

I can really relate to that. For as long as I can remember I have been prone to worry and anxiety also. Similarly, I was a diligent student and my grades were good.

 

I see from your signature that you managed to taper off lorezapam. I am slowly weaning myself of it myself. I am down to less that half of a milligram a day now.

 

The best of luck to you anyway  :)

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Glad to find this site. I m off sertraline after a slow taper over a 4 month period. I stopped them three months ago after 18 years!! I share many of your concerns. My main reason for stopping was my need to try without due to my fears of long term negative health effects of these drugs. Although i did a slow taper its been pretty awful. I m dizzy a lot of the time, head pain , fatigue, anxiety , highly emotional, mood swings. Its horrific. Beyond seeing a counsellor i have no one who believes this is withdrawal. Everyone is telling me to go back on the tablets. I m fighting it every day. I do get better days and i want to do this but i m struggling to live with the person i am at the minute and keep fearing this is me forever. This site has given me some hope. Thank you ,

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The real me is hidden inside.  She wants out like a crocus wants to break through the soil and bloom.  I can really relate to what everyone is saying.  What is sad to me is I think my husband of over 30 years likes me medicated.  I haven't told him I am going to do this.  I don't think it is conscious on his part but I want to feel and feel authentic.  I want a good cry to clear my  head.  :)

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...I found as I got to the low doses in my very slow taper is that I have gotten myself back. I had forgotten who I was...

 

I started noticing it after about two years of tapering off five meds. ... I went from being agoraphobic and feeling like I never really belonged with other people, to gradually getting back my old very social extrovert self who loves being around people and hardly ever stays home. ..

 

I've seen other people describe the same thing, getting back old enthusiasms and interests long lost to the drugs.

 

I think the thing I most greatly value, which I lost, was my ability to really connect with other people. It's hard to explain, but it's amazing to see the difference.

 

And this process is continuing as I continue to get to lower doses. Now I'm focusing on the benzos and starting to notice deeper and more subtle changes--more self-control, a much broader and more flexible range of responses and options in dealing with life (interesting, because Breggin talks about that but until now I hadn't noticed it so much, but here it is)...

 

...if you taper slowly enough, it's not painful. You are in control. If you start to feel bad, you hold your taper until you feel good again. As the level of drug in your system goes down, you will feel better and better. Gradually you will find you are getting yourself back. It's a beautiful awakening, at least for me it has been... 

 

So that's been my experience. It's been worth all of it, including that first bumpy year.  After the first two years or so it's just gotten easier and easier, and now I seem to have reached a point where it's almost all gain and almost no pain.

 

But this would never have happened if I had not gone very slowly and allowed my nervous system and brain the time it needed to heal, adapt and adjust all along the way.

 

Well, I'm a year late finding this post, but it is something I want to cling to and believe so very much. Thank you for sharing this!

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Hi everyone. I posted on this thread awhile ago, but I keep coming back to this board and I see this topic come up and it is a profound question for me. What I'm going to share may not sound original at all, and I am sure others can relate, but as I'm planning to come off all medications I have lingering doubts about the whole thing. I hear so many stories about people getting their lives back, their emotions back, and their ability to relate to others, once they came off the drugs. This all sounds great, but the journey is a highly individual one, and there is no guarantee that my story will be the same as anyone else's. Every time I have tried to come off Abilify I go back to the highly traumatized person with anger, depersonalization, and a little psychosis thrown in. I was put on medication because of a highly traumatic event for me and my family five years ago, and I've been medicated since. All I think about, and all I dream about, is getting my life back from drugs. But what guarantee do I have that I will ever get better, or what guarantee do I have that the "old" me is going to be better than the "me" that currently exists ON meds? I am currently winning customer service awards at my current job, and seem to be doing really well. My psychiatrist is very wary of making any changes. But I miss my old self. I've lost the ability to read, to write, and to think, as well as to relate to others on a genuine, deep level.

 

Does anyone have any advice for me, especially those who might have been on this journey before?

 

I am planning on finishing my taper this year or next year, but honestly, it's just a huge risk that lingers in my mind. Not only would I be sacrificing my successes at my job, not only would I face chronic unemployment, not only would I not have any guarantees of getting "the old me" back, but I will also be taking out a significant loan to finance myself while I'm going through withdrawal. This may not make sense to most of you, but I've actually tapered Abilify for many months before and the outcome was exactly the same as cold turkey. All of our bodies are different, and just because you taper slowly does not guarantee that you will be successful. I've gone cold turkey off antidepressants and had no problem whatsoever, and I've responsibly tapered many drugs with great success.

 

I'll stop rambling now. I have the option to talk to a counselor about this, but I'm rightfully wary about voicing any of this to any mental health "professional" for fear I will somehow be forcibly drugged or just receiving bad advice.

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I really understand your concerns. I have a background of severe trauma, too, that affected my whole family. I often wonder if I will ever get the old me back. I had some very bad experiences with counselors. I took a break and saw none for awhile. Now I am slowly trying to learn to trust a new one. I know I need some kind of trauma therapy. But I'm going to take it slowly and carefully this time around.

 

I talked to a young woman who is a peer support specialist in my state. She said she liked the word pro-covery rather than recovery. She said I should not expect to get the old me back, that life is about moving forward and that I will need to find a new me. I would like to regain my confidence and ability to work. I would like to be the supportive mom if used to be. I would like to not build my days around panic attacks and exhaustion. But I may never get off the sleep meds I take to keep the night terrors away. I want to try, but I know it may not happen.

 

Sorry, I don't have answers, but I just wanted to say I understand your questions and concerns. I'm proceeding forward with my taper and with therapy very slowly and very carefully. If I run into trouble I will slow down even more. I may pause my taper to do some trauma therapy if I decide that's the correct thing to do. Lots of things to think about. Not a lot of answers and no guarantees.

 

I wish you all the best on your journey toward pro-covery.

 

MN

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I am planning on finishing my taper this year or next year, but honestly, it's just a huge risk that lingers in my mind. Not only would I be sacrificing my successes at my job, not only would I face chronic unemployment, not only would I not have any guarantees of getting "the old me" back, but I will also be taking out a significant loan to finance myself while I'm going through withdrawal. This may not make sense to most of you, but I've actually tapered Abilify for many months before and the outcome was exactly the same as cold turkey. All of our bodies are different, and just because you taper slowly does not guarantee that you will be successful. I've gone cold turkey off antidepressants and had no problem whatsoever, and I've responsibly tapered many drugs with great success.

 

Hi Daniel.

 

I often have very similar thoughts myself. I am working full-time and I am doing relatively well career wise. I plan on starting some post-graduate university studies (part-time) in the autumn. From the outside, people would probably say that I am doing reasonably well. From a material point of view I have everything that I need.

 

However, on an average day, my mood is never fantastic. From a social point of view things aren't great either really. I have been on various meds since my so-called psychotic break in 2008. I am not sure if I have ever felt really well since then. Even though I was taking my meds I became very ill again in 2012.

 

Post the 2012 episode I was on 300 mgs Effexor. Today I am down to 100 mgs. What's to say that I won't reach 0 mgs? Even though my mood is rarely wonderful (although I can become hypomanic at times also, but not so much since I started olanzapine) I am never depressed in a debilitating way. There is mild to moderate anxiety also.

 

It was my reading of Anatomy of an Epidemic for the second time that really convinced me that I don't necessarily need to pop these pills. However, the road back isn't always an easy one. In general I have been able to function although my mood is rarely consistent for long.

 

It's a difficult question. To protect yourself I suppose that the wisest thing is to taper very slowly. I don't know a thing about abilify however. I wish you the best though.

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I still think I am me, but I feel as i am me on drugs. To me it seems like if I were taking heroin for years and years and then finally come off, i'm still myself, but now my personality is different sort to speak... I am still me but without the drugs. There is a certain level of pride and self-confidence i feel from going down on the medications- the pride in having trust in myself. For me, it really is a sad reminder and shot to my ego when I wake up and open up that pill-box, knowing I need to take it. 

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Hi everyone. I posted on this thread awhile ago, but I keep coming back to this board and I see this topic come up and it is a profound question for me. What I'm going to share may not sound original at all, and I am sure others can relate, but as I'm planning to come off all medications I have lingering doubts about the whole thing. I hear so many stories about people getting their lives back, their emotions back, and their ability to relate to others, once they came off the drugs. This all sounds great, but the journey is a highly individual one, and there is no guarantee that my story will be the same as anyone else's. Every time I have tried to come off Abilify I go back to the highly traumatized person with anger, depersonalization, and a little psychosis thrown in. I was put on medication because of a highly traumatic event for me and my family five years ago, and I've been medicated since. All I think about, and all I dream about, is getting my life back from drugs. But what guarantee do I have that I will ever get better, or what guarantee do I have that the "old" me is going to be better than the "me" that currently exists ON meds? I am currently winning customer service awards at my current job, and seem to be doing really well. My psychiatrist is very wary of making any changes. But I miss my old self. I've lost the ability to read, to write, and to think, as well as to relate to others on a genuine, deep level.

 

Does anyone have any advice for me, especially those who might have been on this journey before?

 

I am planning on finishing my taper this year or next year, but honestly, it's just a huge risk that lingers in my mind. Not only would I be sacrificing my successes at my job, not only would I face chronic unemployment, not only would I not have any guarantees of getting "the old me" back, but I will also be taking out a significant loan to finance myself while I'm going through withdrawal. This may not make sense to most of you, but I've actually tapered Abilify for many months before and the outcome was exactly the same as cold turkey. All of our bodies are different, and just because you taper slowly does not guarantee that you will be successful. I've gone cold turkey off antidepressants and had no problem whatsoever, and I've responsibly tapered many drugs with great success.

 

I'll stop rambling now. I have the option to talk to a counselor about this, but I'm rightfully wary about voicing any of this to any mental health "professional" for fear I will somehow be forcibly drugged or just receiving bad advice.

 

Hi Daniel;

 

I'm currently on a long, slow(ish) taper of Abilify.  Prior to entering the American Psychiatric System, I considered myself a boundaries busting, yet pleasant, mess.  An incredibly traumatic event sent me on a spiral into fear and paranoia, culminating in a nervous breakdown.  When they placed me on Zyprexa, I felt meh.  Things worsened when I cold turkey'ed the drug and couldn't sleep for 3 months.  I lost my ability to feel emotions, which took years to recover.  During that period, I engaged in self-harm, both physical and psychological.  In my mind, I gave up on life and wanted to die.  But as months melted into years, something happened: I matured.  I began to critically question my need for psychiatric medication. Rather than turn inward and hold engaging conversations with my voices, I sought support from real human beings. Now, I find myself on a road to something better than where I was before.

 

In terms of who was the real me, I feel the fluidity of our being, the constant change all humans face, makes us hard to essentialize.  I can never be the hyper-ambitious, boundary-less 22 year old, or even the super emotionally aware teenager; time and experience closed those gates in this lifetime for good.  However, I am fascinated about what the journey holds for the day, hour, and year.  That desire has been heightened by the lack of abilify in my system, the restoration of most emotion and the one thing I lacked in my pre-drug years, self-love. I want to see where the rabbit hole leads without Abilify blinders.

Edited by PluckyPony

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What a  great post, Pony! You've been through so much and have so much wisdom to share.

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Thank you from me too Plucky Pony.  Something that I really needed to hear right now.

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I cried my eyes out non-stop on a lovely yesterday, praying to God for my period to arrive - which it did this morning. I was also expressing pure hatred of my family.

 

I then freak out because it's different (everything in WD is different and just weird).

 

So then I apologise to God for constantly asking things from him - praying for a modicum of normality I guess.

 

This is the story of my life.

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I cried my eyes out on a lovely WALK yesterday, lol

 

Just correcting my post above.

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I have been thinking about the Real Me question some more. I have been reading Your Drug May Be Your Problem (which I would really recommend) and I am wondering now if some of my symptoms, which differ and vary in intensity, may actually be caused in some part by the medications that I have been taking. I have been on constant meds now since 2008. However, I have made great progress in reducing down since I discovered this forum in 2014.

 

For example, I feel a lot of social anxiety and I can find it hard to be around people for extended periods of time. Especially large groups. I just feel anxious and want to be alone again. I am not sure if I was always like this. However, I used to drink a lot back then when socialising and the drinking made probably made it easier for me to "fit in".

 

I would certainly also suffer from blunted emotions (aka flattened affect). I don't seem to get an excited or passionate about things as I once did. For example, I used to really enjoy going to the movies but these days any time I go to the cinema I am counting the minutes waiting for the film to end.

 

Well, it's hard to say really. The only way to know for sure is to taper off completely which will take many more months. And then some.

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I cried my eyes out non-stop on a lovely yesterday, praying to God for my period to arrive - which it did this morning. I was also expressing pure hatred of my family.

 

I then freak out because it's different (everything in WD is different and just weird).

 

So then I apologise to God for constantly asking things from him - praying for a modicum of normality I guess.

 

This is the story of my life.

Junglechicken: I hear you. I went to church last weekend and didnt' stop crying the whole time about how much I hated my mother and the impact she has on me growing up. I never wanted to be one of "those" people who blamed everything on their mothers but that was me last weekend. I really like what another poster says about that we have to hear ourselves out and that's me, coming off meds and having to hear myself out.

 

OA has taught me that I should never have to apologies for asking for stuff from God, but that he always give us our greatest good and highest joy, but it doesn't mean I can't ask for anything I want (doesn't mean I get it!).

 

I hope you are doing ok Junglechicken.

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I never wanted to be one of those blame your parents people either FG.

 

The fact of the matter is they are to blame for gross financial negligence, and my suffering from PTSD as a consequence of AD WD.

 

Can't turn back time either, but I am looking forward to getting started with the CBT in a few weeks time.

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What a  great post, Pony! You've been through so much and have so much wisdom to share.

 

 

Thank you from me too Plucky Pony.  Something that I really needed to hear right now.

 

Hi MNgal1960 and manymoretodays;

 

You're welcome. The warmth from those who understand gives me the courage to share my experiences.  I also draw strength from fellow survivors who succeeded in or are currently withdrawing from psychotropic drugs. In gratitude to all the folks here at SA and in the movement as well.

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Junglechicken: I hear you. I went to church last weekend and didnt' stop crying the whole time about how much I hated my mother and the impact she has on me growing up. I never wanted to be one of "those" people who blamed everything on their mothers but that was me last weekend. I really like what another poster says about that we have to hear ourselves out and that's me, coming off meds and having to hear myself out.

 

 

 

I had a "moment" last night thinking about my parents and just how negligent  and abusive they both were to me and my brothers. I'm working through my denial about it all and trying not to be hateful but I guess you gotta go through it...,

 

sorry to come in on the end of a conversation that wasn't really "mine" to jump in on...

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Cayperz - it's fine and I appreciate your comments.

 

We solider on.

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Cayperz, denial and anger are stages we survivors all have to work through, I think. I was in denial for years and then angry for years but now it is all gone and I feel only pity for my mother. But it was a long way getting here. Still, Mother's Day is always a bad day for me. It reminds me that I was cheated out of something and will never even understand fully what it was. Not to mention how darn hard it is to pick out a Mother's Day card every year! :wacko:

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MNgal1960 - Junglechicken

 

I'm "no contact" with my mother. It really helps. She always makes everything about her and I know she would be totally against my tapering if she knew... anyways... this is my life and I've finally begun claiming it.

 

MNgal - have you ever googled "mothers day ecards"? VERY funny... :) might lighten the mood for you a bit...

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mom-voice-mails-love-mothers-day-ecards-

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The difficulty I have with my mother is that we are on different wave lengths.

 

She gelled way more with my brother and did a major trip with him to Siberia in the 90s when very few westerners had been there.

 

What I find particularly hard to swallow is that she has never taken me seriously, and yet I was the one that sorted out my parents financial mess, NOT my brother. He stayed out of it (with the influence of his wife) much to my frustration and disappointment, and that's why I have ended up ill like this as there was no one to help me.

 

Also, my parents were married in the 60s and my father (a rich man in those days), never planned anything, they lived for the moment and continued to do so their entire married lives. Fast forward 40 yrs and they have nothing to show for it.

 

I was left to pick up the pieces......while my brother carried on peacefully with his life, and my mother drank herself to oblivion unable to cope with YET another announcement from my father that there was no money.

 

My mother finds it hard to accept that we (like many families) are dysfunctional.

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The difficulty I have with my mother is that we are on different wave lengths.

 

She gelled way more with my brother and did a major trip with him to Siberia in the 90s when very few westerners had been there.

 

What I find particularly hard to swallow is that she has never taken me seriously, and yet I was the one that sorted out my parents financial mess, NOT my brother. He stayed out of it (with the influence of his wife) much to my frustration and disappointment, and that's why I have ended up ill like this as there was no one to help me.

 

Also, my parents were married in the 60s and my father (a rich man in those days), never planned anything, they lived for the moment and continued to do so their entire married lives. Fast forward 40 yrs and they have nothing to show for it.

 

I was left to pick up the pieces......while my brother carried on peacefully with his life, and my mother drank herself to oblivion unable to cope with YET another announcement from my father that there was no money.

 

My mother finds it hard to accept that we (like many families) are dysfunctional.

 

Every family is dysfunctional. We all have our own sh1t to deal with and weather... it's just a matter of who's more open about it! haha

 

I walked away from my family because I was the "go to gal" for any catastrophes/issues. I realised that if I didn't walk away now, I would end up being responsible for looking after my mother in her twilight years and being that I can't STAND the woman, I just had to cut all contact with everyone. I will be written out of the will and I couldn't give a flying! She is exceptional when it comes to finances, so she'll be fine without me.

 

I think everyone has been conditioned to believe that "family" is ALL.

 

Family is dysfunctional and family can be destructive. And usually, the reason for a lot of us having "issues" was due to the way we were treated as children and then as adults. Childhood trauma is a very real thing and it can affect a person for a lifetime.

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Cayperz - I can relate being the "go to gal" 100% for family crisis, and like you have had to walk away in order to save my own life.

 

Family are incredibly destructive and I have been destroyed by their negligence.

 

Hugs,

JC

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Cayperz - I can relate being the "go to gal" 100% for family crisis, and like you have had to walk away in order to save my own life.

 

Family are incredibly destructive and I have been destroyed by their negligence.

 

Hugs,

JC

 

It's great to find another person on-line who feels the same! :) 

 

Hugs on back!

Cayperz (have a great weekend!)

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BTW I also quit smoking but in 2009. Don't miss it at all.

 

Yes it is comforting to know we have been driven here because of family dysfunction, lol

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BTW I also quit smoking but in 2009. Don't miss it at all.

 

Yes it is comforting to know we have been driven here because of family dysfunction, lol

 

 

hahaha :) 

 

Have you seen anything by Daniel Mackler on YouTube? He talks about families and has the most poignant views on childhood… very interesting stuff...

 

Meanwhile… I'm currently drafting an email to my mother. She needs closure and so do I. I just need to get it over with. Breaking up with a parent is effing hard to do… jeeeez…. I mean that with all sincerity. I can't go into any detail as to "why" so, I end up sounding robotic. Oh well...

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BTW I also quit smoking but in 2009. Don't miss it at all.

 

Yes it is comforting to know we have been driven here because of family dysfunction, lol

 

PS Congrats on the no smoking too! :) 

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Today, I cried and let it all out for the first time since before being drugged. The ability to feel emotions like this again is incredibly cathartic. One step at a time towards discovering who I was before falling for the scam.

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anonymous - crying is really good and needs to happen. I can't tell you how much I've cried in WD.

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anonymous - crying is really good and needs to happen. I can't tell you how much I've cried in WD.

As much as I agree with this I also think one should lessen the chance to cry (not forcing of course) cause yes it's beneficial to cry but I remember that crying nonstop and often during severe depression made things worse like burning your natural depressant even more.

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I think everyone has been conditioned to believe that "family" is ALL.

 

Family is dysfunctional and family can be destructive. And usually, the reason for a lot of us having "issues" was due to the way we were treated as children and then as adults. Childhood trauma is a very real thing and it can affect a person for a lifetime.

 

 

Hi Cayperz,

 

I think  that you raise a very valid point. We have certainly been conditioned to believe that our early family life influences how we become in later life. I suppose that it originates with Freud. Perhaps I could be wrong about that.

 

I have read somewhere (I can't remember where though) that our peers when growing up can have just as much an influence on us, if not more than our parents.

 

However, in The Divided Self by Laing he stresses the importance of the maternal relationship. I love that book actually.

 

Blazes.

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