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Repressing depression as a survival mechanism...?

Ecdysis

MyPTSD Pro
Throughout a childhood of trauma and most of my post-trauma phase, depression did not play a significant role.

I had plenty of reasons to be depressed, but I think as a child I intuited that if I allowed myself to get depressed (to slump, to stop caring, to stop being hypervigilant, to stop over-achieving) then I'd be done for... that I wouldn't survive.

So I made sure that I always had hope, always had a goal (get out of this hell and build a better life for myself) and I was always being "active" to protect myself and to make sure I could get out of there.

Basically the same pattern kept going in my post-trauma phase... until I got re-traumatised a few years ago and the wheels just came off and depression took hold and started making all the calls.

It seemed really "new" at the time and confusing, because it had been so significantly "absent" until then.

But I'm starting to see that it was there, all along... I was just keeping it at bay, repressing it, because it was a matter of survival...

And now it feels like it's all "catching up" to me... A lifetime's worth of repressed depression all unloading at once... Like this giant truckload of depression has been dumped at my doorstep.

I have no idea what to do with it... Repressing it has been my only coping strategy all my life and that's stopped working.

It scares me to realise that as a child, I didn't want to live... I just wanted to survive...
 
It's doable.

I felt the same really. My coping mechanisms of denial, keeping occupied, avoidance, all worked for decades. Until they didn't anymore. And that was then scary, as I felt I was opening up a box with no way of shutting it, and no knowledge of how to deal with it. As I told my T "I feel like I am free falling off a cliff".
The trick is to learn how to make some soft landings.
These are feelings. Pent up from years and years and years and years of repression. But, as everyone on here always reminds me, these are feelings that will and can pass. It's learning how to accept these feelings. Learning where they came from. Working through them.
I think it does get worse before it gets better. For sure. You're working through letting go a way of managing that worked for a long time, and trying to find a new way of thriving. That middle ground, where everything is thrown up in the air, is tricky tricky tricky to navigate.

I've avoided (!) using the word depression. As I wonder if it is more than depression? A heady mix of all sorts of things that comes out as depression?
 
It scares me to realise that as a child, I didn't want to live... I just wanted to survive...
i find myself visualizing attempts to explain the diff between living and survival to my foster kids, ages 10, 8 and 5. the 10 year old, in particular. he was 6 and closed tighter than a clam shell when he came to me. he has since suffered the deaths of both parents and i am utterly convinced he is still repressing ALL of that. ! ! !let it go, child, let it go! ! ! he has opened up some, but? ? ? i remind myself often that time has no meaning in the healing process.
And now it feels like it's all "catching up" to me... A lifetime's worth of repressed depression all unloading at once... Like this giant truckload of depression has been dumped at my doorstep.
in my own recovery, the most repressed emotion was anger. i've wondered often if depression and anger are two sides of the same coin. on one side of the coin is "i give up." the other side is to fight everything in life, regardless of value. whatever the evers of that what, the good news in my own case was that unloading that truckload was much faster than loading it.
 
I never experienced depression with my PTSD the first time around. It just wasn’t a part of my makeup. The second time around, more than a decade later?

Holy. f*cking. Shit.

It’s brutal, and I have zeeeeeero tools for it.

Sparky sparky BOOM? I can manage. I have 20 years of seriously badass self control …and quite a few other tricks… on board to deal with that. But “waking up” a few months later, only then realizing I’ve been depressed? Would have been better spent lost to smoking opium, than whatever the f*ck this noise is.
 
These are feelings. Pent up from years and years and years and years of repression. But, as everyone on here always reminds me, these are feelings that will and can pass. It's learning how to accept these feelings. Learning where they came from. Working through them.
I think it does get worse before it gets better. For sure. You're working through letting go a way of managing that worked for a long time, and trying to find a new way of thriving. That middle ground, where everything is thrown up in the air, is tricky tricky tricky to navigate.
Wow. Thank you. I’m sorry that you hid for decades and grateful for sharing this. Really struck a chord with me as well as the OP’s words. Depression was and still is part of my personality to an extent AND it’s not okay with me to act like “it’s just me” because there’s so much joy to unlock under it.
 
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