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Old 08-08-2013, 03:08 PM
Inferno Inferno is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default Depression as a child

Hi Dr. Joe,
I have started working through your book(setting up workbook today) in order to help me manage my lifelong struggle with depression. Let me begin by thanking you for sharing your skills on the subject. I understand how childhood issues lead to insecurities that continue, as an adult, to contribute to the cycle of depression. How early are these insecurities developed? I have no memory of my childhood prior to around age 10. I remember at that time I was already depressed with suicidal ideations and self-harm behavior. I would frequently cry thinking that I was a useless person...hit myself, give myself eraser burns, and play chicken with the trains. Though I am not anywhere near that bad now...I'm curious where that came from. Being a child...is it possible to develop these insecurities that lead to depression at such an EARLY age? My parents divorced when i was 2, leaving me with a neglectful mother, immasculated father, and angry step-mother. There is the possibility of sexual abuse...my father once told me he took me to be hypnotized(said I had a psychological block) and found my uncle had molested me. However, I have very little trust in anything he says. I don't remember any abuse...nor going to a therapist...is this something I need to explore for your program to work? I feel like it shouldn't be an issue since I can't remember any actual abuse...but whenever I start thinking about mental health the possibility that this may be the cause continues to come to mind. Am I just trying to find something to blame my depression on? I know it's not the 'cause' that is important...guess I just want to make sure I can do this while putting anything that "may have" happened to rest(any advice on how to do that appreciated as well).

Thanks for your time
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:24 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,015
Default A here-and-now perspective

From your note, it's evident that you grew up in a toxic environment. Insecurity has its roots in our early years and is largely determined by the stability and security of the home. In your case, this was absent. It's understandable the you are tempted to look to your history for answers to your chronic depression, however, from a Self-Coaching perspective, simply knowing the truth does not always set you free. The best example I can give you is a cigarette smoker. Knowing why you smoked that first cigarette isn't going to do a thing about stopping your present smoking habit. What's necessary is to attack the habit directly, in the here-and-now.

It's likely that, because of the early disruptions in your life and inconsistent parenting, that you never were able to embrace trust. Trust toward life or toward self. Without trust the world becomes a battleground. Depression typically rides on the back of despair, hopelessness, and yes, self-distrust. A Self-Coaching approach would start out by recognizing that you have a lifelong habit of depression. The operative word is 'habit.' And, inadvertently through the years you've been feeding this habit with doubts, fears, and negativity (all related to your early destabilized upbringing). The key is to recognize that the problems of your childhood (i.e., faulty perceptions) exist in the here-and-now. And these problems are "fed" in the here-and-now! From this perspective, "blaming" your depression on what was, isn't going to do a thing about the current habit (like the cigarette smoker example above). It's important that you recognize how you are still mired in the faulty, self-distrusting habits of when you were a child. To separate yourself from these Child-Reflexes and begin to challenge the knee-jerk thinking characterized by doubts, fears, and negatives. My technique of Self-Talk is designed to help you accomplish this.

A word of caution. Long-standing habits are difficult to break (or neutralize), it's going to take time, patience, and persistence. Each day begin to increase your awareness of how you feed your depression. Begin to take responsibility for your thoughts and, thought by thought, begin to insist on more objective, here-and-now interpretations. Trusting is going to take some awareness-building, and ultimately a leap of faith. The good news is the only thing standing in the way of your liberation from depression and self-distrust, is your history. Saying this differently, as you look forward (rather than backward) there is NOTHING in your way. Nothing but a habit of depression and habits, all habits, are learned and all habits can be broken. The key (Reactive Living) is learning to let go of the destructive, misperceptions that have become your habit and the motor behind your depression.

I find your interest in Self-Coaching very gratifying. Although I try to spread the Self-Coaching word through my writing, lectures, and private practice, I find that feedback from someone like yourself is invaluable. If you’re so inclined, I would be most appreciative if you would consider writing a reader review of the book on Amazon.com.

I wish you the best,

Dr. Joe

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