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Is Depression a Way For You To Muzzle Your Angry Monster

Posted Nov 15 2009 2:15pm

What's the point of doing anything if you aren't popular?

Tom felt that no one liked him and that he wasn’t worth caring for. He believed that he had been born unlikable and that was why his parents had never praised or encouraged him in his interests. He felt lifeless, dead inside and uninterested in anything. Everything was an effort. He just wanted to sleep. He felt alone and lonely, but had no desire to meet anyone. Nothing touched him and he moved like a robot.

Tom switched from being furious about his situation to crying about it in despair. He wasn’t proud of his work and believed that his boss and colleagues were not impressed either. He was constantly imagining that he would be let go. His rage would explode when he was fed up with having to support himself. He dealt with it by whipping himself for not being motivated. When it didn’t give him the results he expected he wanted to murder the part of him that failed despite his exhausting efforts. He would tighten the screws further by refusing invitations to go out for dinner, a concert, exhibition or movie. Then his loneliness would kick in and the cycle of feeling unappreciated and uncared for would begin again.

Taking on the role of  slave driver was easy and familiar to Tom. That was the only way he could force himself to work and support himself. He had no time for softness or gentleness towards himself. That would be indulgent and not get the job done. Tom was  both the tough, cold and inhuman slave master that flogged the starved, sleep deprived weak but obedient servant.

After completing his projects Tom didn’t believe anyone would like his work. He expected them to be insincere.  Not only did Tom torture himself  but he then passed the whip to his colleagues, boss and potential clients so they could flog him some more. He was a monster to himself and experienced others as monsters too. That makes for a huge dose of depression.

Better to whip himself than risk feeling needy for contact
Why did Tom have to put himself through this grueling routine? What mega monster was he desperately trying to choke off?  Tom kept hearing a loud voice of doom inside him. It threatened him with total isolation and exile from the human race if he didn’t work hard for a good salary. Whether the job was interesting, stimulating, enjoyable or expressing his true spirit was irrelevant. The only thing that mattered was that he would be able to support himself without needing anyone else. He had to morph into the slave driver in order to ensure that he got paid enough to support himself.

The slave part of him took beating after beating. If it rebelled by sending out an SOS for friendly human contact then he would crush it. Those hunger pangs and needs for affection, conversation and companionship could topple his carefully crafted plan and then how would he survive? If he gave into his human needs he would be like a caged animal being let loose - ravenous and irresponsible. How would he get this wild animal back in the cage? How could he get the animal submissive enough to work hard so Tom could have a roof over his head?

It was worth sacrificing love to be the son his parents wanted
Tom’s depression saved him from coming face to face with his sacrifice. Long ago he had made a decision to strangle the of him that was eager to live. He did that to sedate his fury. He swallowed a false maxim that painted a picture of a world where in order to be a fine upstanding citizen and make your parents proud of you, you had to sacrifice your interests for a secure salary. Tom longed for his parents endorsement and respect. Without their permission he couldn’t do his thing.

Depression rescues Tom from feeling the pain of his sacrifice
Depression numbed the slave part of him. Depression covered over his hurt and pain when his true ambitions and talents were ignored. Depression prevented him from arguing with his family about how he should be in the world, so he didn’t risk loss. Depression let him believe that what he did was inadequate, so he could keep punishing himself. Then there would be no room or energy to wake up the wild animal. Depression was Tom’s way of being the good boy he thought his family wanted.

Reaching out for love will stop the need for depression
If Tom opts to let the monster out he will need a patient and caring midwife. He probably has that person inside him but doesn’t know it. When he is ready he will find the gentle welcoming midwife using his dream messages and other therapeutic resources. When he is ready he will realize that his monster is a gentle fun loving successful giant and there are many who are waiting to give him a baby shower.

Copyright Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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