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View Diary: WYFP: “Check out of that room full of sorrow”: a journey through major depression (232 comments)

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  •  Hi Noor, (12+ / 0-)

    I too am prone to debilitating depression, and have struggled with it ever since childhood.  I was born to two WWII parents who lived through the worst of it:  my mom lived through the Berlin bombing as a teen and saw horrors I cannot even comprehend to this day.  My stepfather was a Nazi soldier who lived through the cold winter when the German army got defeated before reaching Moscow. He was a scout, and found his whole unit massacred and mutilated (I found the photos he took in a drawer when I was 6 years old).

    They were both badly damaged people that had no counseling or medication resources available to them, as everyone back then was just supposed to suck it up.  There was no term like PTSD, or treatment thereof.

    So my childhood was a depressing affair, as they had no love nor attention to offer me, struggling with their incredibly heavy burdens that war had brought upon them.

    As a child, you do not know about these things, and they did not talk about these things.

    All I knew is that there was something really wrong with me, as I constantly got punished for things I never knew, through emotional outbursts and physical beatings.

    It took me a good forty-five years before I finally understood that they could not possibly have done any better, given what they had lived through.

    Last year my mother (still back in Germany) died.  I had just started communicating with her again after I ran away so far from her that I ended up in the US by marrying a US soldier stationed near my home town and 16 years of age (I was pregnant).

    I've been here since, and have never gone back, but my son from that first marriage tracked me down (I left that marriage when he was 9 months old - I was an emotional mess), and it turns out he lives in Germany after marrying a German student he met at a University he attended in Georgia.

    He had contacted her, and me, and I finally, after seriously researching the incidents I had learned about as a child, was able to understand why she was the way she was.

    I was able to write her a heartfelt letter void of anything negative, but remembering the best of our times together (the German Sunday mid-day meals, going mushroom hunting at 6 AM, picking wild blueberries, roaming the small town and its un-fenced farm areas, woods, meadows and creeks, where I ALWAYS felt safe and found spiritual refuge.

    Those settings and memories gave me enough strength to overcome my hatred of her, and my first son told me that she died peacefully after I sent her that letter containing only loving memories, pictures of her other two grandsons and my beloved second husband of thirty years (who died in 2006 - the love of my life)

    By doing that, I changed the picture of my past into one where the things of beauty (nature),"won" over the very real trauma of my childhood.

    By focusing on the "gold" in the "dirt", I was able to change my history, and appreciate what I have done with my life, as I now work with injured wildlife, and educate young children about the beauty of nature as a personal refuge - no matter where you live.  There is always a spot, for free, may it be a park, a creek bed, a meadow, a grove of trees - where you can find that peace so desperately wanted.

    It has also taught me that if I can stay focussed on the beauty all around me that exists this VERY DAY,  my depressions (still always lurking), recede.

    I suspect they will be with me for the rest of my life, but these two prayers, especially if read or said out loud first thing in the morning, do a lot for me:

    There's Beauty above us
    Beauty below us
    And beauty all around us
    (every day and everywhere - my own addition)
    O Great Spirit
    Whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak; I need your strength and wisdom.
    Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
    Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
    Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
    Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
    I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy—myself.
    Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
    So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.

    "It doesn't take many words to speak the truth" - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

    by Tyto Alba on Sat Apr 09, 2011 at 08:09:37 PM PDT

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