Is my mother the main cause of my depression and anxiety ?


Dear diary,

I know it is a very taboo thing to share in any way, shape or form but I strongly dislike my mother. For the past twenty-four years of my life, I have never felt loved by her, which may be why I feel so much disgust and resentment towards her, because I now acknowledge that this is not normal.

She's always talking about herself, yet I don't know anything substantial about her. She's got so much unresolved trauma which stems from being the last child in a large family (14 children total!) with old parents. She also has TERRIBLE self-esteem issues which she compensates by being egotistical.

I have always loved reading and learning new things. I was able to read books at age five and started learning about mythology in the following years. Yet, I could never talk about it because my mother thought I was trying to outsmart everybody, her especially. She thinks I view her as an uncultured idiot, because I've got a master's degree in literature when she's "only" got the lowest diploma in my country. I was A CHILD.
Sometimes, she'd hit my head with a wooden spoon, because she "felt like it" (her words).
Sometimes, when we were away on holiday, she'd forget me in some place because I was very quiet (OBVIOUSLY because I was never allowed to talk).
She's still controlling my money despite me being 24 and telling her that I can do it.

At home, we don't talk when eating dinner because she thinks we're mocking her.
She only works one day a week, yet I'm treated as the lazy one when I'm working to jobs from Monday to Sunday.
She's always thinks of herself as the unhappiest, the unluckiest, the worst and the best person in this world at the same time.

A week ago or so, she bluntly told me that I have mental health issues. Not in a helpful way. She's ashamed of my depression, anxiety and OCD, because it's a bad look on her. She wants to live in a perfect world where I don't have issues which would mean that there's nothing wrong in her own wonderful life. No one at home is allowed to feel sad, tired or burnt out. A few years ago, my dad dislocated his shoulder and three years ago he burnt out because he works too much and my mother forces him to sleep on the couch. She is disgusted by him because stress made him gain weight. She cheats on him as well, with a married man.

She needs to control everything yet I've been abandoned quite early. She still buys my 17 year-old sister clothes, when I had to buy mine from age 12 onwards. Yet, she's always complaining that I spend too much money.
She's convinced that every job I get is thanks to her.
Needless to say that she was pissed that I didn't stay home for the first lockdown period and that she was the last one to know I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking meds (paroxetine).

I've never been good enough for her. Why ? Does she see herself in me ?
I've no idea.

This is only the general picture.

I could talk about the fact that when I was seventeen and studying for my baccalauréat (A-levels / SAT), I forgot to make lunch so she decided to stop feeding me.
I felt so bad I was ready to throw myself under a car to make amend for being such a bad daughter.
She forbade me from consulting a therapist.
She always wanted me to be the skinniest kid.

Now, I take care of my mental health and don't hesitate to tell her to piss off if need be - which is too often.
I'm not ashamed of my depression and anxiety anymore.

All I ever wanted was to be loved by my mother. It's not likely I will ever get what I needed.

With love,

I am able to post because I've been seeing my therapist since April 2021 and talking to other family members made me realize that I am not alone and never have been.
I thought I was alone, abandoned and hated by everybody. People made me feel ugly even though I looked like a young Thora Birch in primary school. I was too skinny, had glasses, braces and too much acne. I already felt bad but mother and classmates were always hitting the nail in the coffin a little more everyday. The first guy I fell in love with liked tall blondes with big breasts when I am a small bean (5'3) and flat as a cutting board.

To my mother, my life is perfect : I have friends, a boyfriend, a job. I have nothing to worry about, therefore I have not reason to be depressed or anxious about. This means that I am not allowed to have any mental health issues.

Being reined in like that means that I've never explored creative hobbies. I've always been afraid to f*ck up, to not be perfect since everyone hold me to such high standards. Not trying meant that I would not fail, right ?
I was afraid to work too.
My mother is so anxious all the time that I've got a bad anxiety disorder. I am able to contain it but it hurts my body and after that I get sick for a few days.

I never felt like I could talk to my parents. My mother would tell the whole town and ridicule me when I messed up because even though I was a child, I was supposed to know how, for example, kitchen appliances were supposed to work.

My boyfriend draws a lot and he paints sometimes and while I LOVE what he creates, I always felt not good enough for him. He's very chill and understanding. He cried when I pushed him away because I felt so bad about myself and I thought I was such a horrible girlfriend I wanted to breakup with him. I also hold him to a very high standard : he HAD TO take care of me the way I wanted and needed because no one would or ever had. But the thing is that he's a human being too, with his interests and worries so my behaviour hurt him a lot. He too did not feel good enough.
We've been together for three years and I still ask him if he loves me because I still struggle to feel loved.
I'm still afraid he's going to realize what a f*ck up I am and leave me. I wouldn't hold him back.
September 7th

Dear diary,

I struggle to talk kindly to my mother. Even when she's trying to be nice, I snap at her because I feel like she's not being her real self. Her "real self" has never been nice to me.
To me, she's never cared about my life, what I like or what's going on. I was never able to confide in her or ask advice that would not end in her telling me to "go to the cinema" to feel better. When she is asking about my life, it feels very nosey, her not minding her own business even though I know she's my mother and likely to worry about me. It's just that she loves gossip too much.

For a long time, she complained to me about the way I dress (either very "grandma librarian" or grungy-goth) or my haircuts because she had - and still doesn't - no control over these things.
When I started middle school, I had very gothic lolita shoes my grandma got me. She made fun of me publicly and told me people were mocking me.

We can't talk about serious, important topics. The only thing she's interested in is herself and how everything is affecting her. She's unable to care about my dad (whom she hates now) and his health issues for example. She never questions herself, her motives or the fact that she's making people's lives actually miserable. She does not talk to her siblings anymore because of things she wrongly perceives and accuses them of. She's convinced that because they have more diplomas and degrees than her, they think she's stupid. She thinks I view her as stupid. No one ever said this to her. She's super insecure and disguises it under narcissistic habits and words.

She told me that I'm insane for having compassion towards people in Afghanistan, for caring about other people in general. She only wants people to care about her. But she's not my God anymore.

With love,

I'm glad you're seeing a psychiatrist and I hope that helps. I have a mother like yours in a way, and it's hard to become who you really are with someone like that.
The more you write, the more I see my mother too. My mom has told me her doctor says she's a saint, and St. Peter will be waiting at the gates of heaven to escort her to the front of the line. She seems to think that I would fall apart if not for her, and I've taken care of myself for over 50 years. I'm glad you are recognizing this in your mother so early in life. You will be able to heal from her abuse and disconnect if that's what you want.
The more you write, the more I see my mother too. My mom has told me her doctor says she's a saint, and St. Peter will be waiting at the gates of heaven to escort her to the front of the line. She seems to think that I would fall apart if not for her, and I've taken care of myself for over 50 years. I'm glad you are recognizing this in your mother so early in life. You will be able to heal from her abuse and disconnect if that's what you want.
Dear Dharma,

Thank you so much for replying to my diary-thread.

It seems that you went through a lot. I really hope your life is good and that you're happy where you are <3

My mother is not religious but she's thinking quite highly of herself (maybe because of insecurities she's trying to overcompensate instead of working on them). I don't know what to do at all. The whole family tried to help her when she was being dangerous to herself but she pretended she'd get professional help but never did and now she's pretending that everything is fine.

I'm sending you lots of love !
September 7th again

As I'm waiting for my boyfriend to come to my house, I wanted to write about EDed behaviours in my family, how I am doing, etc.

My mother is thin. Scarily thin now and she's boasting about it. She grew up in a poor family, with many overweight siblings (except one of two). She's always been slim but she's been restricting and exercising a lot for the past three to five years. She went from a French size 40/42 to 36/38. She thinks very poorly of my father who's severely overweight (I'm worried about him but she puts him down all the time).

When we were younger, she'd watch everything my sisters and I ate. She'd control our portions so we wouldn't eat too much and end up fat. That was her worst nightmare. I don't particularly think I was underfed but I was forbidden soft drinks and couldn't eat more than two biscuits as a snack, regardless of the size of said biscuits.

Today, I had to buy new clothes because I gained weight. I don't really know why I gained this weight but I eat more than I used to because I'm not as anxious anymore (anxiety suppresses my appetite quite strongly), I don't restrict anymore,... I used to be able to eat A LOT without gaining weight because of genetics, luck and exercise, I guess. When I was very sick in 2015, I only weighed 42 kgs. For a 160cm / 5'3 woman, it's not much. I gained, lost, gained, lost, depending on what was happening in my life.

Back to the decluttering part. I gained around 10 kgs in six years, which might not be a lot and was quite necessary but this means that I have to purchase new clothes because some of mine are too tight around the stomach, which is where I gained. I mean, I used to have protruding ribs.

I was not an anorexic girl. I loved eating but at some point I couldn't eat because of stress. Then I started worrying about my physical appearances, which, to me, explained why people didn't like me. I took it on my body. I started restricting in university, by bringing a tiny box for lunch. I told my classmates that it was enough and most of the time, it was. My mother only eats ridiculously small portions of food, quickly, before going back to her bedroom.

She makes fun of fat people, such as my father, our neighbours, my paternal grandmother and even some of my friends, while bashing those who demonize fat people... There's something wrong here.

I'm working on my food and body issues and I'm faring better than I used to. I'm mostly fine with gaining weight. But it makes me so sad to have to get rid of the skirts I love the most because they're too tight around the stomach. This morning, I thought about restricting again, so the clothes would fit me. My BMI is normal so I shouldn't do it. Cognitively, I know they're only clothes but I cannot shake the fact that I like them so much. I put them in a bag under my bed, just in case I lose the weight. If not, I'll donate them.

With love,

Last edited by a moderator:
Have removed the Trigger Warning @coco-kitty, no need for them here. People are responsible for managing their own symptoms when they navigate the site, which is, by its nature, chock full of potential triggers. Trying to mind-read what may or may not be triggers for other readers would send us all batty!!

Aaaand, back to the journalling!
Have removed the Trigger Warning @coco-kitty, no need for them here. People are responsible for managing their own symptoms when they navigate the site, which is, by its nature, chock full of potential triggers. Trying to mind-read what may or may not be triggers for other readers would send us all batty!!

Aaaand, back to the journalling!
Thank you for telling me, I didn't know about this ! Numbers can be triggering to people battling with ED so I took some precautions, just in case.
Dear diary,

Can I write about my burn out that happened during the 2019-2020 school year ?

Before my dad went through it a year before I did, I had no idea that burning out was a thing and I couldn't imagine what it felt like before I suffered from it.

I reined mine in for many years before I could not handle it anymore. In high school (2012-2015), I worked too much to drown my sorrow from being rejected by the guy I liked and by my own mother.

After my baccalauréat / SAT / A-levels, I went to a preparatory class for a year. The workload was overwhelming but I survived thanks to it because that meant that I did not have to deal with my depression and anxiety.
My bachelor's degree went the same, as did the first year of my MD.

However, when my second year started (2019), my boyfriend had to move away to study, 400 kms away from me. He had become my anchor, his hugs helped me survive anything. But he was not there anymore, only during the holidays and only for a week. When I left him the first time, I cried. I did the same the second, third, fourth, fifth (etc) times. It was heartbreaking every time. I couldn't let him go so he had to peel me from himself to get into the car.

The covid crisis made him come back, which is the only good thing about this pandemic.

Before that, I was completely burnt out but I didn't know it yet. I had my dissertation to write, presentations to give with a classmate of mine but she had to do most of the work because I was too tired and anxious to do anything.

It was a horrible time. My mother had a fight with my dad, forced him to sleep on the couch when he suffered from his own burn out and aches from a previously dislocated shoulder. I had too much work. My sister, whom I shared a room with, wouldn't let me sleep before 11 pm / midnight, which made me even more tired and anxious since I couldn't rest at all.

When I really had to start on my dissertation planning and writing, I couldn't do it. I got a disappointed grade and that was the last straw for me. I couldn't sit at my desk without having a panic attack and feeling guilty about not being able to work.

I lashed onto my boyfriend, thought that he was abandoning me. I made him suffer as much as I suffered myself. He didn't do anything wrong. Actually, he went away to get a degree so he'd get well-paying job for us to get married, live together, start a family, etc. He was the only one I could talk to but sometimes I flat out refused to communicate so I insulted him and put my phone on airplane mode. I couldn't stop myself from being an asshole. I hate myself even more.

Out of nowhere, I decided to sent an email to the teacher that was in charge of my dissertation. She called me and we decided to meet at uni.

There, I met another one of my teachers who invited me in his office to chat. I burst in tears so he panicked. He was very nice and I'm still thankful to him for letting me cry.

My director came with another teacher and I cried again. The other teacher was extremely worried about me too. I've always been one of the best student in my year and she had no idea I was burning out. This teachers made me graduate summa cum laude not only because of my good work but because they thought I deserved it for fighting for myself. In fact, I gave my presentation right on time even though I was given a three-month extension.

I'm so thankful that I had kind and understanding professors. They helped a lot. They checked on me, gave me advice and extensions. When I started taking antidepressants, I couldn't do anything because I was too sick ; I was given a week to rest. It might seem normal to people but I was so used to working too much that I had no idea I could take time off, I didn't what true self-care was. Being forced to care for / about myself changed everything. Now, it's my priority.

I'm only working 60% of a full-time job and that's fine. I don't feel like I can work a full-time job. I tire too easily (chronic fatigue ? I don't know) and have very little energy.

Burning out while pursuing an MD and taking meds and being in therapy at the same time was A LOT. I treated my boyfriend so poorly I still wonder why we're still together. I still question his love for me. We almost broke up last year, when I couldn't handle being a sinning trad Catholic (which I'm not anymore, I'm out the cult!!!), studying and being in a relationship at the same time. He had become my go-to scapegoat. I apologized many times and he forgave me for each of them. I still feel like he deserves better than me.

I have become a fighter now.

With love,

It really sounds as if you've come a long way and are doing better. Managing symptoms is the way to handle PTSD, and you are doing a good job. I used to be driven but now I'm less so. It's inspiring seeing someone working hard to heal.