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    what will you do if your hopes are lost, gone, destroyed, destructed? create another one, brick by brick: an overarching purpose of life 

    key words:
    raising hope
    building hope
    hope & purpose of life
    systems of survival
    reinventing hope & purpose in life
    rediscover purpose
    finding an overarching purpose

    what will you do if your hopes are lost, gone, destroyed, destructed? create another one, brick by brick: an overarching purpose of life


    Recovery, Purpose and Nests
    by John Folk-Williams

    There is a link, though it’s a stretch, between recovery and the building of nests that occurs to me on this fine spring day, and I’ll get there in a moment. Right now, life is blossoming out everywhere. The stunning medleys of the mockingbirds are in the air, and there’s much courting behavior among all the birds: the strutting, chest puffing and singing of males, the coy approaches and retreats of females. And of equal importance, they’re building nests for their future young.

    I saw a crow sail up to a high spot in our neighbor’s spruce tree, not far from the towering line of eucalyptus where his kind usually hang out, a hundred feet above us. This crow carried a single thin, flexible twig much longer than his body. I wondered if that one strand was the first for weaving the nest. How do they begin – what holds the first piece in place? How long does it take to pick out and carry back all the twigs of just the right type – one strand at a time – until the whole structure is woven together? The crows know by instinct the intricate pattern to follow, exactly the materials to be used and the right shape and depth of the final product. The purpose it serves is just as clear.

    I may lack the instinct, but I’ve been learning to put together the pattern, the structure to support a new life. And there’s my homely analogy. I’ve been weaving a nest for recovery, one strand at a time. Getting started and having that first piece stay in place has always been the hardest part. I’ve learned all sorts of methods, patterns and step by step pathways to get out of depression. Time after time, the whole thing unraveled, no matter how strong it appeared to be.

    The problem of the various treatments I used was the way they handicapped my thinking from the outset. They were telling me how to stop something, to end addiction, to overcome depression, to reduce stress and anxiety. That’s aiming for a negative, and, as important as it has been to stop those plagues, I need to see the positive side too.

    Recovering means coming back from a loss, regaining lost ground. It is an activity, surely as hard as they come, which will support the future, but it is not that future itself. I don’t want recovery to become a constant. If I assume I won’t ever be free of depression and that I am always threatened by its return, I will have to apply the techniques of recovery as long as I live. But I don’t want to think or live that way. I can’t accept recovery as a life sentence, anymore than I can accept depression.

    I don’t want to understate or downplay the importance of recovery itself. It is a tremendous accomplishment. It has taken everything I had to keep going after so many failed attempts. I always knew there was a different self inside me that could live differently, however dim the memory of that person might be. Only a deep instinct to survive, a will to live, kept me going through so many years of depression.

    I celebrate that will and can never forget all I’ve had to do to get this far. For the recovery to last, however, as the earlier ones did not, I have to break out of the mindset that recovery as a life of constant vigilance is as good as it gets. As long as I think that way, depression continues its dominance as the condition I am always trying to control. I have to turn my mind and feelings toward a life with new purpose, not just a life in recovery.

    For one last shot at my metaphor, those birds don’t go about building their nests as part of therapy. They are building the means to nurture new life, to extend the species into the future. They are born with that simple and compelling drive.

    The instinct in people to live is just as basic – though for us it can be warped into its opposite by a mind estranged from its own nature. But we also need more, an inner meaning to guide the spirit to fulfillment. And that is what I’m moving toward now.

    Evan says:
    March 23, 2009 at 11:50 pm
    Hi John,
    I pay tribute to that wonderful will for life.
    I think it is possible to build the new within the old. Even while dealing with the old.

    john says:
    March 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm
    Evan – I haven’t thought of it that way, but you’re right – how could it be otherwise. The new is still me – a different potential that I’m now bringing to the forefront. That reminds me of an observation of a Jungian psychiatrist I once worked with – that in later life you move to a different point on the psychological type dimensions – more the feeling type than the thinking. So the whole of what you are gets full expression.
    All my best – John


    Recovery, Well-Being and Purpose
    by John Folk-Williams

    It occurs to me that recovery is past, well-being is now and purpose is the future. Let me explain.

    Recently, I wrote about recovery as a concept I no longer wanted to apply to what I’ve been going through. The word carried a set of assumptions that kept me within an illness frame of mind. It meant getting over depression or perhaps managing it well enough to function more effectively. The focus was on what I had been through in the past and could not completely escape in the present or the future. My life was stuck in time. Recovery would never end because depression would never fully disappear.

    But why did I have to start with that idea? Well-being, mental health, emotional balance, whatever you may call it – that’s what I was experiencing at the present moment. Why was I assuming that depression was the strong, well-being the weak force?

    There was an alternative that could start from the fact that I’m excited, full of energy, feeling good right now. I can stay with that and assume that this is my normal state – that I’m well. Every time a depressive thought or symptom comes up, I can refuse to go there. Think it, say it: I’m not going there. If it should get bad, ok – it’s like being sick with the flu, or if it’s a lot worse – like pneumonia. Treat it, get rid of it, then get back to the norm of feeling good.

    So I made a list of the assumptions I had carried around for so long. These are some of the big ones:

    * I have had a condition diagnosed as major depression for most of my life
    * Major depression is a chronic and self-sustaining
    * I am treatment resistant and will probably have this condition all my life
    * I hope for recovery, but none of the treatments work
    * Though I will have good periods, depression will always return
    * Medications aren’t very effective, but if I stop taking them, I’ll be much worse

    Once I had set the assumptions down and saw them staring back at me, they lost their power to guide my thinking, feeling, expectations about the future and the sense of who I was. Recovery has been taking place for a long time, and the assumptions had to change. They didn’t make sense anymore, and I could suddenly sweep them out of my brain. Recovery was about the past – living and well-being are the rich present.

    And what about purpose and the future?

    I kept thinking of Viktor Frankl and the story he tells in his classic Man’s Search for Meaning about internment in a Nazi concentration camp. Thrown into the midst of the worst torture and suffering imaginable, subject to arbitrary “selection” for death, living through the grueling work details and lack of food only by mastery of the small tricks of survival, he learned the lesson that would shape his later life and career.

    Without a sense of purpose, no one could live for long in those camps. He saw the truth that starkly. Those who could believe in a positive future, or even a single event like liberation from the camp, and who could sustain the will to achieve it, lived. Those who lacked that inner sense of purpose and meaning died. Those who held such an idea in mind could live as long as it lasted. Once it was lost or given up, they died. Learning the art of survival was not enough; there had to be a vision of what came next that transcended all the suffering.

    Frankl developed the basis of his psychiatric practice from such extreme experience. He believed – and I share that belief – that all of us need a sense of meaning and purpose not just for bare survival but for fulfillment as human beings. Since I have survived, that sense of meaning and the hope it engenders must have been much stronger than I imagined.

    Getting beyond survival, beyond the goal of recovery – that’s where I am now, shaping a new future while trying to make the most of the life that fills and surrounds me.

    What sense do you have of the role of will and purpose in getting past depression?

    Minu says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm
    I am currently in the survival mode of depression. I am trying to get through the day and night without giving in to my despair. I have an insightful positive feeling for a short time followed by more despair, exhaustion etc.
    I am still trying to accept depression as a real illness, not something I can will myself out of. I am still blaming myself for not trying hard enough. But the truth is that I have tried hard all my life.
    I know my beliefs need to change in order for me to recover. I just don’t know how to do that…I want to have a career or at least be able to support myself in a meaningful way. I am so scared that I won’t be able to do that. That thought keeps my depression going. I need help to let go of that.
    Anyway, that’s all for now. Thank you for this blog, and for all of your insights.

    john says:
    May 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm
    Hi, Minu -
    I know how hard it is to keep going through a time of feeling discouraged and fearful about getting better. It really is true that depression is an illness and that there’s a lot more to you than that. It’s hard to find the methods that work – I’ve tried just about everything except sending electricity through my brain. In the end, I think it’s all helped – I urge you to look at the Sherwin Nuland video on his recovery (which did require ECT). It’s another moving testament about recovery from a man who almost lost everything to depression.
    My very best to you.

    John says:
    April 9, 2009 at 9:58 am
    Ironic, this last week I’ve been looking at the different phases I’ve gone through with mindsets of ‘diagnosed’, ‘maintenance’, ‘recovery’…now I’m on ‘living’.
    The cool thing for me is knowing now where I was years ago, months, and even weeks ago compared to now. Making better choices than I ever have in my life, and knowing that I’m healthy and living to make ones for greater tomorrows, today and then.
    Again, another wonderful post.

    john says:
    April 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm
    John -
    Thank you – that’s so encouraging to hear you’re doing well. It amazes me how the words and concepts can frame our whole outlook. Congratulations on great progress!
    Thanks for coming by.

    Merely Me says:
    April 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm
    Hi John
    This post reminds me to re-read this book. It reaffirms so many things for me.
    The way that I have always survived my moods is to think that there is a meaning and purpose to my life. Suffering is part of this meaning. I no longer resist suffering so much because of this. Not that I allow myself to become disabled by my moods but more so that I accept that these dark times are a part of my existence as a human being.
    I think nowadays the emphasis is upon eradicating any form of sadness. I am not advocating some romantic version of depression but being happy all the time is not my goal. Instead it is to find joy. There is a difference.
    Well I could go on and on but I will stop here.
    You always get me to thinking. Great post as usual.
    Was wondering if you could stop by to give your insights on a tongue and cheek post I have written about the history of depression “treatments.” Imagine using leeches to cure your melancholy!


    john says:
    April 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm
    Hi, Diane -
    Accepting suffering and pain as part of being human is hard, but I think that gets at it. You show incredible resilience, given the number of issues you have to deal with – and you remain a highly motivated writer despite the pain. Happiness, I agree, is not the way to think of what to aim for. Frankl is great on this. He deplores the idea that people should seek a happy equilibrium – what he emphasizes is both purpose and action in the world, a dynamic state full of change and surprises – not the same anodyne existence all the time. (I’m actually working on a post about that now.) I’d be interested to know more about how you distinguish between happiness and joy.
    Thanks so much for your insights – they always get me thinking.
    I’ll check out your post on treatments – and others, since I’ve been remiss in visiting my favorite blogs. I’m spending a lot of time on my new blog and other online ideas. Fortunately, I have the time now to focus just on this kind of work.
    All love to you – John

    Gianna says:
    April 6, 2009 at 4:06 pm
    I’m not sure this is in keeping with what you’re saying or not, but I simply don’t pathologize my feelings anymore. I’m okay however I feel…and the feelings pass through more quickly…like a rain cloud or some weather…or a burst of sunshine…etc…
    I don’t use clinical terms at all to describe my experience anymore and I don’t think in those terms either. This has been profoundly liberating.

    john says:
    April 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm
    Gianna -
    This is exactly what I mean – getting away from the illness words and assumptions. What you say so beautifully about feelings passing through quickly is a wonderful quality about well-being. Unfortunately, I’ve always had a way of pinning the feelings up on a wall to stop them for review – I wind up holding onto them and they whip up a storm trying to get out.
    Thanks for this comment!
    All my best – John

    RoasterBoy says:
    April 6, 2009 at 2:35 am
    Echoing the thanks, I’ve arrived at a similar place myself, making the transition from living just for recovery to some kind of new purpose. I hear the word ‘reinvention’ a lot, not only from my therapist, but even from people in business who are trying to cope with the external turmoil of the economy climate.
    To your question about the role of will and purpose, I believe that a certain amount of recovery has to take place before the will can function meaningfully.
    Depression robs me of the ability to do the things that I need to do to get better. There have been times when I was a puddle. No amount of exertion of will, belief in the future, or anything could bring me out of it. I required treatment in the form of meds, ECT, hospitalization, and therapy, along with tremendous and loving support from family and friends, to get my head above water.
    This varies widely from person to person, just as responses to crises, infections, or pollutants differ. My father, a welder, worked with asbestos all of his life, wrapping himself in asbestos blankets while welding inside boiler tanks. He lived to 93 with clear lungs at the time of his death. Another friend had a brief exposure to asbestos and died of lung cancer a few years later. It was, IMO, about genetics, not about will.
    Again, thanks for your good insights.

    john says:
    April 6, 2009 at 9:04 am
    RoasterBoy -
    Thanks for this interesting comment. It’s true, of course, that recovery has to take place and requires much of what you’ve worked with (I hope the ECT had benefit – friends of mine who’ve had it suffered serious cognitive loss for some time afterward). I discussed that more in the earlier post I cited in this one. I spent years in that condition of not being able to will anything, so what you hear from me now only comes after that long struggle for basic survival.
    There is evidence about the genetic basis for the disposition to get depression, provided the later life experience triggers it. But it isn’t the whole story, as it probably is with other diseases. However, no one really knows the whole story from a medical and research perspective, and each of us has to figure out what works and make the most of it.
    I wish you well with finding out where you go from here.
    My best to you – John

    Katharine says:
    April 6, 2009 at 12:45 am
    I love this post. Getting beyond the “survival” of recovery is something I have explicitly talked about with friends of mine also in recovery. There is more to life than survival, and sometimes, that gets lost in the bare bones scramble to hold on of recovery. Survival is necessary for living, but surviving is no way to live. It’s what reaches beyond survival that makes life worthwhile.

    john says:
    April 6, 2009 at 8:53 am
    Hi, Katherine -
    I love that line – survival is necessary for living, but surviving is no way to live. Great tag line for a blog! I’m starting to explore different approaches to therapy that emphasize this idea. Frankl does, and there is one I hadn’t heard of before called ACT – just trying to find out what its principles are. I’ll probably write about those and others by way of follow-up.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    My best to you – John

    Lynn says:
    April 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm
    As usual, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think psychologists have done us a disservice by keeping those with histories of depression, alcoholism, or drug abuse “in recovery” for the rest of their lives. There is something better beyond recovery. Recovery is like getting a C. We need to strive for a B, or an A. The human spirit and will are stronger than any antidepressant. People can continue to function with severed limbs and other massive injuries when they need to. Active treatment of depression (planning a future, interacting, moving, talking, exercising) works better than passive (only taking meds). Depression looks back, anxiety looks around, happy looks forward. Yet the whole theory of depression today keeps focusing on neurobiology that we supposedly can’t control except with expensive drugs. I believe that human will is stronger than that, and by encouraging and expecting more out of those with a diagnosis of depression, we ultimately serve them better.

    john says:
    April 5, 2009 at 9:02 pm
    Lynn -
    That’s beautifully put, and you’re so right that “human will is stronger than that.” Looking back on all the treatments I’ve tried, it’s strange that not one therapist, psychiatrist or anyone else ever spoke about human will or my will to live without depression. There was always the principle that making progress was up to me – but that usually meant achieving catharsis and acceptance about the losses of the past – or achieving a state of tranquility and equilibrium. It’s definitely time to get a higher grade than a C!
    All my best to you – John

    Evan says:
    April 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm
    “You don’t have to be sick to get better” – Fritz Perls, one of the founders of gestalt psychotherapy.
    I once tried the thought experiment of doing away with the concept ‘therapy’, it had interesting results: e.g. ideas like a celebratory approach to life (including suffering). I don’t mean this to sound like I trivialise very real pain.
    Looking forward to hearing how you shape your life.

    john says:
    April 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm
    Evan -
    I love that quote! That’s an interesting thought experiment – there are so many things we just go along with that it’s refreshing to try turning them upside down from time to time. Something new always appears.
    All my best – John

    Sikantis says:
    April 5, 2009 at 3:47 pm
    A very impressive post, thanks. I thinnk it’s always important to write about positive personal developments to encourage others to do the same.

    john says:
    April 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm
    Sikantis -
    Thank you so much! There is something to be said for writing about the down side of things – mostly for the catharsis. But writing out of hope and good feelings is one of the ways I stay well.
    Thanks for coming by.


    Does Finding Purpose in Life Help You Overcome Depression?
    by John Folk-Williams

    Finding purpose in life that goes beyond your personal needs is often mentioned as a major step in overcoming depression. That’s a hard thing to imagine, though, when you’re in the middle of a severe relapse, and survival is the only goal in sight.

    Yet, one of the hallmarks of depression is loss of motivation to do anything because you feel that your life is meaningless. You are meaningless, empty, worthless, bad, nothing but a burden. There’s no sense of future, no purpose to give you hope and help pull you back to an active life.

    A sense of purpose goes along with building hope for the future, hope for recovering from depression and getting your life back. Even though you can’t focus on it when you’re struggling, hope and purpose are pretty basic for regaining a sense of who you are.

    The Long-Term Threat of Relapse

    Let’s say that medication, therapy, and whatever else you might do to get well, succeed in getting you back to a level of basic functionality. Is it enough to be able to sleep normally, feel more energetic, get your work done?

    Many would say: You’re damn straight it is! They’d be thrilled to recover that much, to stop the symptoms, even partially. But if you look to the longer term, there is no medication and no form of psychotherapy that can prevent relapse. The high rate of relapse is becoming one of the major concerns about dealing with this illness.

    Continuation of even minor symptoms greatly increases the likelihood that the illness will return. Something more is needed to help you keep depression at bay.

    Finding that larger purpose may not be enough either, but many stories of recovery – including those of Donna, Tony Giordano and I on this blog – describe it as a critical step.

    It’s not the first one. The first step is always to get control of the worst symptoms. After a while you need more to get to the next stage of living well, and a larger purpose may be part of the answer.

    What is “Larger Meaning” All About?

    Many of the most widely read books on recovering from depression emphasize the need to immerse yourself in activities that serve purposes beyond your own immediate needs. Richard O’Connor (Overcoming Depression), Martin Seligman (Learned Optimism) and Michael Yapko (Breaking the Patterns of Depression) are among the influential psychologists who urge this as a necessary part of recovery.

    Seligman says that the emphasis on individualism has replaced values that once focused on community, religion, family and a sense of social cohesion. The private good is more important for most than the public good, and as a consequence many of us seek fulfillment for ourselves as if we were independent of a greater social context.

    He believes that an excess of individualism is a social contributor to the vast increase in depression. His solution is to explore a role in community life that serves others as well as yourself.

    Victor Frankl, in Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning (my emphasis), goes even farther. He says that the fundamental drive in human existence is the need to find meaning in life in general, not just in your life. He calls this transcendent meaning, one that includes us in a greater whole.

    Many find this greater meaning and purpose in God and spirituality or service to country or activism for social good. Frankl believes that a sense of purpose in your own life and self-fulfillment are the by-products of attempting to fulfill such a larger meaning.

    Putting yourself into an activity that goes beyond you – like Donna’s volunteer work, Tony’s new career in teaching, my own writing on depression – can make the difference between getting by and feeling fully alive again.

    Avoiding a Common Trap

    There is a potential trap here. Depressive thinking can twist the most fulfilling activities into more excuses for self-condemnation. That can happen if you start imagining that you’re not worth anything unless you have this larger purpose and unless you’re really good at the work you do to fulfill it.

    Your worth is not proportional to what you achieve in life. Part of depressive thinking and your inner critical voice keeps telling you that it is and that you always fall short. This is a classic example of all or nothing thinking, and it’s an ever-present danger for the battered self-esteem that is usually part of the illness.

    Cognitive therapy techniques can be effective in keeping you out of this trap. They enable you to assess each setback in realistic terms rather than as indicators of your worth as a person.

    How Do You Rediscover Purpose?

    How to you find this larger purpose if you feel you don’t have one? Starting at any level is important, and support groups build on your own need for help. You may look at them only as a means to feel better yourself. But what you’re doing is sharing with others. You’re helping them as much as they are helping you.

    I’ve rarely found it easy or comfortable to become active in face-to-face support groups because I get so anxious and self-conscious. It’s hard to be myself, harder still to trust others enough to open up. But I did find a place in one group that make a big difference in my life.

    What drew me into it was the concerned and non-judgmental response I got the first time I spoke up about my problems with depression. As the group continued to meet over time, we would share the good feeling when one of us made progress and empathize with anyone having a tough time. We had all had similar experiences, and that helped us talk freely.

    This may not sound like finding a meaning in life. That phrase suggests a great epiphany, a call from on high to some noble duty. But the reality is down to earth. You start at a level that feels good and supportive and see where you go from there.

    Alcoholics Anonymous has always understood the power of one addict helping another. Both are supported and both are doing something that goes beyond their immediate personal need. That’s why service became one of the three pillars of recovery from AA’s earliest days.

    I doubt you can live without a belief that there is some purpose to your life. It’s so common to hear people say that they want to make a difference. They want recognition, but they also want a sense that they’re doing something that will help others as well.

    This may be the farthest thing from your mind when you’re absorbed in a depression nightmare. But I feel it’s one of those anchor points I need so that I can look ahead with a little hope.

    Does this idea make sense in your work to get rid of depression? Have you been able to find a meaning and purpose that helps you keep your bearings at the worst moments?

    Donna-1 says:
    November 23, 2013 at 11:57 am
    “There is a potential trap here. Depressive thinking can twist the most fulfilling activities into more excuses for self-condemnation. That can happen if you start imagining that you’re not worth anything unless you have this larger purpose and unless you’re really good at the work you do to fulfill it.”
    Yes. Guilty. Another avenue to self-condemnation is denying yourself the chance to simply live free of depression, once you reach recovery or stability. That is a part of what you are saying, I think. Sometimes I feel I need to make up for lost time. All those decades I was not able to “contribute” to society. All the chances I missed to have relationships, to enjoy my family, to go for a walk and see something besides the tops of my shoes.
    There are times I sit and watch TV all day now, the rare afternoon I take a long nap, having fun following boards on Pinterest, even the fascination of realizing, “Hey, I’m not fighting for my life anymore.” I feel like I just got back from military deployment. I’m home, but still in shell shock. Still learning how to filter my feelings and my senses. Things don’t feel quite right, but I’m hoping they will soon.
    Voices are hammering at me from the past and present. “When are you going to get a job? When are you going to save for your retirement like your brother? Don’t you want to own your own home? At least you are are well enough now you could move in with your mother and take care of her. Why do you have all these great ideas and never follow through?” But if I listen to those voices, I’m right back on the battlefield. Getting no sleep. Anxiety attacks. Sliding down that slippery slope.
    My inner voice tells me recovery is not fully attained when the depression ends. There is maintenance. Keeping things in order. A very slow adjustment period. I need this time to acclimate, to rehabilitate my thoughts. Right now, this is more important to me than anything else. I just have to keep reminding myself.

    Ken says:
    July 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm
    One thing that gives my life meaning is my daughter. She’s 7 now. I’ve been through a couple debilitating bouts with depression but she was wonderful through it all. I don’t know how much she understood but she is the most accepting person in my life. I remember coming out of the most recent dark time and for the first time in months I was able to make her laugh so hard she got the hiccups. That was an amazing feeling and I imagine it was for her, too. At this point I never expect to recover from my depression and I’m trying to learn how to manage it and live with it. I carefully guard my energy because I know I don’t have much. But even if I’m sitting on the steps with my daughter and I play catch, there’s a feeling of contentment. In other areas, it’s a lack of energy and motivation which seems to be preventing me from working at creating meaning in my life. I have moments when I feel that I’ve been called to something higher than myself but I can’t quite find it. The passion is not there. But maybe I need to be more proactive and fuel the passion? I don’t know – it just sounds like a lot of hard work to me :-)

    Erin says:
    January 1, 2014 at 8:09 pm
    This is exactly the point I am at. I just feel so emotionally void, and yes, it sounds like a lot of work. I’d rather take a nap.

    Julie says:
    September 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm
    I remember hearing that Robin Wright Penn was credited for stating: “There is no sense of future” in describing what the world was feeling in
    the throws of this global economic melt-down but, true to my nature I had to make sure that I had remembered correctly who said it so googled what I felt perfectly summed up the world’s emotions as a whole. And I found your site. Lucky me! Just when I needed you most! Thank you all for reaching out to others as you have, it is the very essence of humanity.

    Laura Eckard says:
    September 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm
    I am currently working on getting my life back (again…) from depression and just happened across your blog and articles. I am finding them inspirational and thought provoking; I appreciate the comments and it is refreshing to read some truly supportive and insightful commentaries… Shared experiences can be so powerful. At times, knowing that I was not alone was the ONLY thing that got me through.

    Joanna Z. Weston says:
    August 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm
    When I first began to struggle with depression I was convinced that it was a spiritual crisis, and that if I could only figure out my life purpose, I would be fine. This was overly optimistic, but not totally off the mark. While I had to go through therapy and medication to reach a basic equilibrium, I didn’t start to really throw off the shackles of depression until I started working towards a life purpose. Not that I will ever be 100% free of it, but working towards something bigger than myself has allowed me to become much more free than I was before.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    August 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm
    Hi, Johanna -
    I agree that most therapy and medication can help stabilize you and limit the impact of depression, but it takes a lot more to find your life again. Sometimes, it not so much recovering life as entering it more fully for the first time. Purpose and meaning are essential – “much more free” is a good way to put it.

    Alex @ Raw Recovery says:
    April 25, 2012 at 4:18 am
    I actually just wrote and finished my senior thesis on Depression and Free Will, using Frankl as one of my primary sources. This is a great site and I’m so glad to have found it. I’m recovering from depression as well as other disorders and I believe we have a mental health crisis on our hands. It’s great to find others who are engaging in discussion about what is often taboo. Great job!

    John Folk-Williams says:
    April 27, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Thanks, Alex -
    I wish you well with your recovery and look forward to reading your website. Thanks for commenting.

    Sriram says:
    March 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm
    Great article. Abraham Lincoln probably is the most well known example of someone who transcended his depression by finding an overarching purpose.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    March 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Thanks, Sriram -
    I’m waiting to get hold of Nassir Ghaemi’s recent book (A First-Rate Madness) on other great leaders who also used depression to their advantage. Ghaemi is a psychiatrist with a lot of interesting ideas – this is his first book for a general audience.


    Do You Have to Lower Your Expectations of Life to Recover?
    by John Folk-Williams

    Donna-1 recently asked me this question in a comment at Recover Life from Depression. It’s an important one to think about. I’ve often mentioned how crucial it has been to my recovery that I made basic changes in my work and way of living as a whole.

    Did I have to give up on hopes for what I could accomplish and settle for less in life in order to get better? My answer is No.

    But if you had asked me before I made the switch, I would probably have said, Yes. Leaving the work I had done for so long seemed like giving up on myself – and I didn’t want to do that. I had been feeling bad enough without wrecking the last bit of self-esteem and hope for the future that I had left.

    That’s the way I thought about the prospect back then.

    But since making those changes I haven’t felt at all that I’ve lowered expectations or given up on myself. Just the opposite. I feel I’ve gained a new life.

    I do sometimes look back with regret, but it’s not about giving up that high-stress life. It’s about having held onto it for so long despite its terrible cost to my well-being.

    There were strong reasons for resisting change, but they had more to do with what I thought I should do rather than what I wanted to do. There was a long history behind that way of thinking – all the way back to childhood. Early on, I started assuming that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t a real person.

    I had to make up for that by trying to be first in every project I undertook. I felt instinctively that doing what I wanted to do was dangerous even destructive. I could only justify myself by working on what seemed to be more socially useful – by taking on a purpose that was not my own.

    For years I accepted this flawed belief about what I could and should do. I knew I was good at certain things and bad at others. I wanted to be a writer but believed I could never be good enough to make a go of it.

    As if to prove that, I kept trying to write in my spare time but soon hit a wall of fear that I couldn’t break through. My mind stopped working, and I felt only confirmation of the belief that I simply couldn’t do it.

    That was the real defeat, the lowering of expectations, the giving up.

    Donna also pointed me to a post at PsychCentral by Shannon Cutts that gets at these beliefs from a different angle. She refers to the story you tell yourself about what you can and cannot do. You relive this story with each choice you make that follows its assumptions. You fix yourself into it every time you tell your story to someone else. You don’t imagine that you can rewrite it, and so you avoid anything new.

    Jane Chin recently wrote two posts I find helpful in thinking about living in a trap like this. One talks about Why Failure is Good. If you always avoid the possibility of falling short, you will never learn that failures are survivable and can teach resilience.

    The other is I Don’t Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up. If you’re preoccupied, even well into life, with the question of what you want to be, you can avoid exploring any new interest because it couldn’t possibly be the final answer.

    Both strategies can lock you into a narrow view of who you are.

    Add severe depression and a collapse of will and motivation, and you’re locked in even more. Anything new feels so impossible. What’s the point? I can’t do anything well. The only prospect is more defeat, more failure.

    It’s hard to follow the twisted logic because you’re hardly conscious of it most of the time. I lived that way for so long because I was often filled with drive and energy, but only when I felt secure that I was meeting someone else’s needs, not my own.

    In my (hypomanic??) periods, I’d spin out ambitious goals and stay high with them through the first years. Each was a career that felt like the real thing.

    After a while, depression would set in, and I’d start falling short in meeting the expectations I had set – and that others counted on. Especially over the last ten years, the illness got worse and worse, and it was clear to everyone that I was falling apart. No one is going to hire a person so depressed that he can hardly function – especially when they don’t know that depression is the cause. So when the possibility of retirement came up, it was the obvious choice.

    But right after getting out, I felt the kind of relief from stress, the lightness, that made clear how much I had been fighting myself. I felt deeply energized and vital once again. Changing my life in this way was decisive in getting me out of depression.

    There is, though, no instant cure for the illness. Recovery has to be supported every day, and that means, among other things, keeping the level of stress low. But that doesn’t mean cutting down my expectations of life. There are two kinds of stress. One bears down on you with the force of life that feels out of your control, a constant threat. That’s the one you have to watch.

    The other comes from the excitement you feel when pouring yourself into what you love to do. That’s the kind of stress you can live with.

    So, no, I have no feeling of expecting less of life. I’m finally doing the writing full-time that I’ve always wanted to do. Working hard in that way improves my life, and my wife’s as well, since depression has taken its toll on both of us.

    How do you feel about making big changes in your life in order to get better? Does it seem like you have to lower expectations? Do you dismiss the idea as impossible to do, even if you wanted to?

    Anna says:
    January 23, 2014 at 7:53 pm
    I have little to say except “Thank you for writing this.”

    Matthew says:
    May 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm
    Wonderful post and site. You have provided me with the inspiration to start a blog that deals with my recovery from depression. Thank you.
    I too have stepped back and allowed others to care for me and make decisions. I have been afraid to expect more from life, but I am working hard to make a better life.

    Donna-1 says:
    May 12, 2011 at 4:53 am
    These are very instructive and useful comments to a well-written post. I am wondering…without discounting the genetic predisposition aspect of depression…do you think that, in any sense, depression can be a result (or one of the results) of abdicating personal responsibility for our own lives, our own choices, and making others responsible for our moods? I can see very clearly that I have done this. But now I am making it a “priority” as Ms. Chin said, to treat myself and my opinion with respect and to pursue wellness on all levels. I can see where I have “used” my moods, even my psychosis, to manipulate others into taking care of me in the past. It honestly felt good to let others take control and make decisions for me. It is very difficult to climb up and out of that way of thinking. But I have a “kick butt” therapist who is helping me!

    Jane Chin says:
    May 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm
    Excellent post, John, thanks for including 2 articles I wrote to help others frame some questions around their life and work choices.
    I was thinking about this question the other day about “can medication ever replace psychotherapy” and my immediate answer was “no”. Because “normal” people get depressed too! Granted, their depression is situational and short lived and they usually climb out of it barring any genetic disposition to the illness.
    It got me thinking about the dramatic impact of our environmental signals and external stimuli that we allow to affect us on a daily, consistent basis. This coupled with a disposition for depression guarantees symptoms.
    The way that I see the equation, it’s not about settling for less in order to get better: the true statement is, “it is exactly because I know I deserve better, that I’m prioritizing getting better, from now on.” If I didn’t take care of myself and focus on healing first, there would have been no way (NO WAY) I’d ever imagine coming to where I am today.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    May 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm
    Hi, Jane -
    I like the way you frame the idea – knowing you deserve better and so prioritizing healing. For me, though, and several others I’ve heard from, it takes a while to develop an attitude that positive. The starting point is often a collapse at work because of depression. Many don’t realize that depression is the problem and just feel like failures – a belief in keeping with low self-esteem during depressive episodes. Even if you do understand that depression is the problem, it can seem like you’re being defeated by the illness and have to do something “less” stressful or demanding or “less” than full-time – the feeling is negative. I got over that pretty fast because I really wanted to do something different with my life anyway. But if you love what you’re doing and find you can’t do it anymore because of depression, it’s a very human, understandable idea that you’re losing something rather than taking time off to heal so that you can have the better life you deserve. Therapy is helpful in turning around the negative framing. As you come out of depression, of course, you’ll naturally think more positively about the future. I have to say, though, that I’ve worked overtime on the idea that I deserve better, since my self-esteem was surviving on deficit spending. I “know” I deserve better, but I don’t always believe it.
    I’m not sure I’m making sense here – but you’ve got me rethinking the question. And that means I have to write more about it!
    Thanks for coming by.


    Mapping Recovery-1: The Big Picture of Depression Symptoms
    by John Folk-Williams

    This post is the first in a series about how you can help yourself begin recovery. Depression can be a powerhouse of misery that leaves you feeling helpless, but it’s not one massive force, whatever it may feel like.

    Depression is a combination of several conditions, and there are effective ways to deal with each one. It takes a lot of trial and error to find the best treatments, but the steps described in these posts might help you get on the right path a little sooner. Here’s the basic approach:

    1. Get the big picture of depression symptoms and the dimensions of life they distort.
    2. Track the symptoms that most disrupt your life and the specific impacts they have.
    3. Choose the treatments and lifestyle changes that focus on those problems.

    Once you have this map in mind, the challenge then is working with it every day, despite setbacks. None of this is easy, or follows a simple logic, but it helps to have a guiding idea of what to do. You may well lose sight of it during the worst episodes, but it’s something to come back to when you’re out of those depths.

    Getting Beyond Helplessness

    What does your depression feel like? Most people I know answer this by trying to find words to capture the overwhelming nature of the illness. You’re under a cloud or a huge weight or drowning or flattened or feeling dead or living in a fog. You use some powerful image to get across the totality of the experience.

    You can’t do anything, don’t want to see anyone, and barely manage to drag yourself through the workday. Depression is a vast force you feel powerless to change. It seems hopeless, you feel helpless, you don’t know what to do.

    During my worst episodes, I felt exactly like that and for years couldn’t imagine anything else. That began to change, however, as I learned more about the full scope of the illness. There were not only a lot of symptoms that I had never linked to depression. There were also ways to group them so that I could see how they reinforced each other.

    This was no intellectual exercise. I had lived with the disappointment of ineffective treatment for a long time and knew I had to do more on my own. As I learned more, depression felt less like an overwhelming force and more like a complicated problem I could do something about.

    Learning the Full Scope of Depression Symptoms

    There are a lot of explanations and paradigms of depression symptoms, but most group them as disrupting the healthy processes of your body, thinking, feeling, behavior and relationships. A grouping of this type helps you form of picture of what your depression is like, but you can’t stop there. You also need to know how the symptoms interact, reinforce each other and sustain the illness over time. That’s the dynamic process of depression.

    To start with the lists, the best known one covers the nine criteria for identifying an episode of major depression. These symptoms are based on clinical practice as the most reliable ones for differentiating depression from other conditions. They’re not the only ones, but they comprise the crucial indicators that moves you toward a formal diagnosis.

    I won’t go into the details of diagnosing different types of depression – that would take several posts. As far as grouping symptoms is concerned, they’re broken out into two lists. The first group includes the two defining characteristics of depression. A diagnosis requires that you have one or the other.
    1. depressed mood much of the time or
    2. lack of interest, enjoyment or feeling for anything

    There are seven more, and the screening requires that you have at least five of them:
    1. significant changes in weight or appetite
    2. sleep disturbance nearly every day
    3. physical agitation or slowing
    4. fatigue or loss of energy
    5. feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
    6. diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions
    7. recurring thoughts of death and suicide or plans or attempts to commit suicide

    This is the list you’re most likely to have encountered. You find it in every book about depression and on every mental health information website, along with screening tests that use these criteria. But the list is too short to capture the full scope of the illness. There are many more symptoms you might experience that are shared by countless others.

    Getting the Big Picture

    I’ve put together a more extensive list here, though you may find it still doesn’t capture everything you’re living with. I realize many of these symptoms don’t define depression exclusively since they could also indicate a different condition. However, all of them can and often do accompany depression.

    You may find it as helpful as I did to be able to link all these to the illness. It can be reassuring to know that a problem you thought was part of who you were turns out to be a treatable symptom. But there is a downside to long lists of symptoms.

    If you only count them up one by one, you might become more convinced than ever that depression is too overwhelming to deal with. That’s why it’s important to go beyond a bare list. Many symptoms are closely related and act together to intensify their impact. So it helps to group them, and many experts do that according to their effects on the basic dimensions of your life that I’ve mentioned: what they do to your body, thinking, feeling, behavior and relationships.

    That’s the way I’ve organized them here.

    * sleep disturbance
    * significant weight loss or gain
    * fatigue or loss of energy
    * physical agitation or slowing down of movement and speech
    * unexplained pain

    * diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions
    * ruminating, obsessive thinking
    * recurrent thoughts or death or suicide
    * impaired memory
    * negative thinking

    Mood and Feelings:
    * depressed mood
    * lack of interest or enjoyment in anything
    * hopelessness
    * irritability and anger
    * feeling helpless
    * anxiety
    * feeling worthless or guilty

    * self-defeating behavior
    * inactivity
    * lack of motivation
    * crying for no apparent reason
    * blaming and angry outbursts
    * attempts at suicide
    * substance abuse

    * social isolation
    * loss of empathy
    * unwillingness to communicate
    * emotional withdrawal
    * social anxiety

    You may divide up the symptoms differently, but breaking them out like this can give you a starting point for making choices about treatment. Before you can get to treatment, however, you need to profile your own depression in as much detail as possible. Making a list of all the symptoms you experience shows you how pervasive the illness is, but you probably don’t experience all the symptoms at the same time or always with the same intensity.

    It’s important to track them over time while looking also at what else is going on in your life. This is the way to get a sense of the overall patterns that sustain depression.

    I’ll explain how you might develop a profile and track depression in the next post.

    In the meantime, it would be useful to hear how you’ve thought about your experience with depression. Have you already put together the big picture of your illness? Is that a helpful approach, or does something else work better? Has learning more about depression in this way helped you take a more active role in your treatment?

    Do I have depression says:
    July 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm
    It takes mee about 5 seconds to be aware of how I feel and to realize that I need
    to respond to the messenger. Feelings, behaviours, thoughts and physical responses on your journey.It is surprising hoow soothing and
    therapeutic that simple little thing is.

    ange says:
    May 28, 2013 at 5:00 am
    After about 20 years of enduring a ‘colourful personality’ over which I seem to have no control, I’m trying to figure out if I’m mentally ill. My motivation for this is my two young children. Nothing is more important than being a stable, warm, loving and engaged mum to them. And at the moment, I’m not.
    For years I’ve experienced what I’m now calling ‘episodes’. When they kick in, I get angry really easily – at a loud noise, at one of my kids accidently bumping me etc, and I’m constantly managing irritability. I lose interest in things and lack motivation (housework, personal projects, work etc). I self medicate – alcohol, valium where I can get it. I get very negative, ruminating on things constantly, thinking about people close to me in a negative way. I think about death a lot. Not suicide, but I see the date on the paper in the morning and get the sense that it’s ominous, that today’s the day. I see a truck driving towards me and think ‘this is it!’. I think about what would happen if my partner died, I touch wood constantly, fearing the worst for my kids. I hide behind my hands constantly, sometimes I pretend I’m rubbing my eyes – other times when people are talking to me, I literally just cover my face with my hands. I often burst into tears for no good reason. I don’t want to leave my house, and I don’t want my partner to go either. I want us all to just stay home – but then I don’t want to be around them when we are. I probably have about a dozen ‘mental health’ days off work each year – the ones where I make up some excuse (gastro, food poisoning, the flu) because I just can’t face the world. During these times it takes me ages to return calls, and I dread talking to anyone – I avoid filling the car up with petrol because I can’t face the small talk. I dodge familiar faces in the supermarket if I’m not feeling ‘on’. I can’t concentrate, my memory is absolutely shocking – everything you have listed above basically. And I wrote all this down a few weeks ago.
    I’m currently trying St John’s Wort. It’s ok, but not arresting the lows, just making me a bit more lucid during the non-lows.
    I’ve tried 3 or 4 psychologists over the years in response to two major traumas I experienced – they didn’t work, in fact they seemed to make it worse.
    I did an online test on the Black Dog Institute website, and scored really highly on the ‘probability’ spectrum for bipolar disorder (but I don’t see how because I don’t get the extreme highs they talk of..).
    I’ve tried exercise and it makes me realllllly happy for a few hours immediately afterwards, and pretty grumpy for a day or two afterwards.
    Thanks to your website I’m now going to monitor my moods more frequently using the Optimism App.
    I’m also considering going to a psychiatrist and asking for a diagnosis and meds.
    I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this – why would you care!? I guess it’s to say thank you for your blog. It is reasoned, and unprejudiced. The hardest thing about this whole process is the secrecy, the inability to use the ‘d’ word, the judgement, the being bounced around by well-meaing NGOs, GPs and the broader public health system that doesn’t seem to know what to do with a non-suicidal-but-still-not-coping-very-well-case.
    Thank you,

    Anonymous says:
    June 9, 2011 at 10:13 am
    1.Get the big picture of depression symptoms and the dimensions of life they distort.
    2.Track the symptoms that most disrupt your life and the specific impacts they have.
    3.Choose the treatments and lifestyle changes that focus on those problems.
    Yes, I believe that all three of these are absolutely necessary in recovering life. And not just re-covering but at times re-building from the foundation up. Many of us have had symptoms of depression since an early age, so the history is there, the disruptions and impact are there and are usually quite obvious. But that #3, choosing changes that focus on the problem areas, that’s where I’m afraid most of us fail. I’m eager to see what you have to say about that. In my own life, my relationship with my aging and frail mother has come to the forefront not only now, in midlife, but at many times in the past. So I am focusing on therapy and lifestyle changes that will aid in dealing with the Consuming All-Mother…if you know what I mean. I am instituting changes that will restrict the flow of information from me to her while leaving open the reverse flow. Being available for her is important, but letting her live her life vicariously through me by seeing her input lived out – that soon to be a thing of the past. At age 52, it is necessary to make these changes to deal with her eventual death as well as to put right the excesses and exigencies of the past. To re-cover and re-build.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    June 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm
    Anonymous -
    That must be a highly stressful way to live, and I’m glad you’re working on changing the way you handle the relationship with your mother. I’ve found that changing life conditions to reduce stress has been a crucial part of my recovery. The effect of stress on depression – and vice versa – is one of those problems I was completely unaware of until a few years ago. There were other connections with depression – such as the connection with anger – that I never made, despite the fact that I’d dealt with depression since childhood and had extensive psychotherapy over several periods of my life. Perhaps I worked more with earlier generation psychiatrists who focused on probing the past in detail and the way it’s reflected in the present but who weren’t so concerned about attaching everything to a DSM label. Today there’s so much publicity about depression that it’s hard to miss the symptom lists – though the standard one is terribly incomplete. Nevertheless, most people who turn out to have depression go to their doctors complaining only of physical pain. Apparently, there are a great many people who need to learn much more about the wide range of depression symptoms.
    Thank you for commenting. I’ll get to the treatment part of this series next week.


    Mapping Recovery-2: Tracking Your Symptoms
    by John Folk-Williams

    Tracking your symptoms as part of mapping recovery might sound like one of those good ideas you’ll do for a while but eventually drop. It could be like all those computer programs for organizing your work into projects, goals and actions. The method itself becomes a big project and takes so much time that you can’t get anything else done.

    Or it feels like another of those pointless prescriptions for getting well that you hear all the time. Like the Otis Redding song: so many people telling me what to do, that I think I’ll remain the same. You know how rotten you feel so what’s the point of jotting it down?

    I used to think that way, and you may have the same impatience with the whole idea. But there are a lot of good reasons to do it.

    1. Why Track?

    Shift Awareness:

    Tracking is only a tool for learning more about your illness. And learning is a form of change, a waking up to awareness of the habits of depression. You’re learning to turn off the auto-pilot of living.

    It’s like feeling lost when you’re driving in an unfamiliar place. The first thing you do is turn down the volume of the radio or CD because you need to concentrate all your attention and awareness on your surroundings. You look more closely to find some marker to guide you.

    As you start recovery, your attention shifts from the voice of depression to your close observation of where you are. You’re turning down the volume of a voice that wants all your awareness all the time. That voice is your guide to staying lost.

    Tracking takes back the power of awareness to tell you where you are. You’re listening to your own voice instead of depression’s droning.

    Get Specific:

    Learning in general about the scope of depression symptoms is important. New knowledge helps you connect depression with dimensions of your life you may have thought were unaffected by the illness. That sharpens your awareness of what to look for but doesn’t fill in the details of your version of depression.

    That’s what tracking is for. It helps you see more clearly each of the problems you have to deal with. You can compare the effects of the symptoms you follow: how severe each one is, how long it lasts, how badly it damages your life.

    Take Action:

    Getting active in your own treatment is itself a big step toward recovery. Depression is all about inaction, inability to move, to make decisions or use your brain for much of anything. Whatever you can do, however small a step it seems, can help break that spell of paralysis.

    Improve your Treatment:

    Tracking gives you something to share with a therapist. It’s more reliable than your memory and provides a good starting point for discussion.

    2. What to Track

    There’s a lot more to learn about your depression than you might think. You can track a huge amount of information if you’re up for it. But if you’re like me, you might want to start more slowly and get used to tracking a few key things rather than take on everything at once.

    Getting Started

    The first form of tracking I tried, at the suggestion of a therapist, was simply to jot down each day what sort of mood I was in. I used a scale of 1-10 so all I put down was a number. That was good start because I got in the habit of paying attention to the ups and downs of my moods from week to week and month to month.

    Before long, I added mood levels for morning, afternoon and night. The tracking gave me – and the therapist – more detail to help explore what I was going through.

    That’s about as far as I got with tracking at that time, but it helped make therapy sessions more meaningful. Now I had a lot more specifics to work with.

    Going Deeper

    His questions about specific events and feelings opened my thinking to other possibilities for tracking. During each session, he’d ask me to be clear about what I was feeling as I recalled some incident, whether my body was tensing up, what thoughts were going through my mind, what I had done and said as that event had unfolded.

    Those were the details that brought the mood numbers to life. Not surprisingly, his questions centered on feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, behavior and relationships – the five broad categories of symptoms that are so commonly referred to in discussions of depression.

    Although I didn’t consistently track all these dimensions, I started writing down a few phrases about them alongside the mood numbers.

    Before then, I’d often arrive at a therapist’s office and wonder what I was going to talk about. I couldn’t remember very clearly what had happened – unless it was something earthshaking – and tended to act as if I felt better than I really did. Now I was beginning to feel more like a partner in treatment. I went to the therapist actively thinking about what had happened the week before. I was no longer depending on him to wake me up to my own experience.

    Tracking All Your Symptoms

    Building on the kind of tracking I did, you could get into following the specific symptoms of your depression profile, such as sleep disturbance, pain, loss of energy; level of concentration, memory, negative thinking – whichever problems are causing the most trouble.

    You could also add notes about triggering events and memories and how you reacted to each one.

    You don’t have to limit yourself to what’s wrong. If you try to take care of yourself each day, you can track the wellness activities and compare the timing of those with the ups and downs of depression. You decide exactly what to follow and how much detail to record.

    3. Next Steps.

    By doing this, you’re becoming much more active in your own healing process, and I believe that makes a big difference in how effective treatment can be. Whether you use a simple system with pen and paper or an elaborate computer program, you’re taking a step back from depression.

    How you go about tracking is an important decision because the wrong choice can turn you off to the whole idea. Since it’s essential to find the tools you’re most comfortable with, I’ll review several in the next post.

    Donna-1 says:
    June 14, 2011 at 10:41 am
    On May 21, I started tracking my moods and some startling truths have already emerged. For instance, I knew I usually felt better in the morning. But every single day since I’ve been tracking, I have felt alert and calm and in a fairly good mood early, then as the day progresses I feel worse and worse till at night I am a basket case. I still haven’t gotten far enough to figure out if there is something I can do about this, or if it is just my own body’s emotional rhythm. But I’ve been writing down what I ate before a big mood shift, too, and it appears that a lot of carbs at once lifts my mood. I guess that is not such a stretch seeing as how carbs provide almost instant energy. But as this progresses I may find that I am able to stretch carbs out over the course of the day to my advantage. Nutrition seems to be a big key for my recovery.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    June 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm
    Hi, Donna -
    That’s the sort of discovery that has led me to start tracking again. I’ve decided to pay most attention to the problems I haven’t focused on in detail in the past. As you’re finding with nutrition, I’ve been linking anxiety and stress to depression for some time now, but I haven’t looked at how those two play off each other in day to day living. I had one of those no-duh moments when I realized that.
    As far as simple carbs go, I’ve always thought of them as comfort food. I’ve read that depressed folks do reach for those foods exactly for the mood boost. Years ago, when I was dealing with cancer, I made big changes in diet so it’s been whole grains and complex carbs for me. Anything with much sugar tends to drag me down, strangely enough, but food is definitely my drug of choice. Now there are exceptions to the sugar drag effect (intensified by lots of oils and fats) and guess what that is.
    I’m not giving up my daily 3 oz dose of bittersweet chocolate – which has obvious health benefits, especially with almonds.
    Keep on tracking – I’ll report on my findings soon.


    Mapping Recovery-3: Reviews of 4 Web Apps for Tracking Depression
    by John Folk-Williams ·

    The best way to understand depression is to track your symptoms and triggering events each day. The question is: How to do it. To start with, you might use a written diary, or just a list on note paper. But the more symptoms and triggering events you follow and the longer you keep up with it, the harder it is to reorganize the information to get a good picture of patterns and connections.

    That’s why I’m focusing on software in this post, especially online applications, or web apps, that you can access with a browser from anywhere.

    A good online mood tracker preserves all the data you enter over time, presents it visually in a chart or graph and allows you to print and/or download the results. You get a useful report instantly and can look at it in different views. Many web apps have mobile versions that you can use on a smart phone.

    But they’re not all created equal, and after testing a number of online mood trackers, I’ve picked out four to review here.

    Any software that’s new to you, whether online or on your desktop, can have a discouraging learning curve. The web apps, however, are designed to be simple and readily useful to visitors with little computer experience. After all, they aren’t written for geeks but for people with an urgent need to learn more about their illness.

    These four apps are quite different, so I won’t compare them to each other. They’re all good at what they do, and you’ll need to decide which one best fits your goals and style of working.

    Optimism Web App

    Optimism, available in desktop and mobile as well as online versions, enables you to track a large number of symptoms and many other dimensions of your illness and treatment. James Bishop, its author, recently made this a free application in all its forms. It was well worth the price at the time I bought it. Now that it’s free, there’s no barrier to trying it out.

    The opening screen is the first of five, as indicated by the five tabs across the top, shown in the two images I’ve included.

    That first screen is for recording several aspects of your condition. Though it might look a bit overwhelming at first glance, the use of sliding scales and check boxes makes entering information fast and efficient. The top section covers the basics of mood, coping, sleep, exercise and medication use. After that are sections for stay-well strategies, triggers and symptoms.

    You can change any of these or add new items. You decide how many are relevant for your tracking. The flexibility of the application means that you can adapt it for any other mood or physical disorder you may be dealing with. Here’s a screen shot of that form.


    Optimism Data Entry Screen

    Second is a chart for visualizing progress for a time period of your choosing. This summarizes the same data categories you’ve been recording. The third tab gives you a text version of the information that can be downloaded as well as emailed to a doctor or therapist.


    A fourth tab lets you isolate and make notes about individual items you’re tracking. The last tab brings up a screen for planning wellness strategies and treatments you want to follow.

    Tracking this much information fits my needs perfectly, but it may well be overkill if you’re just starting to follow your symptoms. The next three web apps are much simpler, as well as being free. All you have to do is register at each site to get access to the mood tracker, and you can do that anonymously.

    Bear in mind that there are a great many more mood trackers online. Several of the big health sites have them, but most prefer to emphasize symptom screening, rather than tracking, to help you figure out if you have a depressive disorder. I’ve chosen just three of the mood trackers that I find helpful and easy to use, but you may find others that fit your needs better. If you do, please let us know in the comments.


    MedHelp offers a good set of tracking tools with multiple views of your results. The starting mood entry chart enables you to track seven mood levels throughout the day, every hour if you want to. For whatever frequency you use, you can indicate levels of as many as 30 different symptoms. Another tracking section lets you record whether or not you’ve followed treatment each day, and a fourth provides space for five conditions that might contribute to mood, such as family or work issues.


    The visualized result consists of five sections stacked on top of one another. (For space reasons, the image shows only part of the full report.) There is a vertical bar chart for each day’s mood level, a graph showing the average mood over time, a chart showing the levels of as many as 30 symptoms, a section for treatment, and a final one for triggering conditions.

    Another thing you might consider about this web app is that MedHelp also provides trackers for many other health problems – like chronic pain. You may have an illness concurrently with depression, and you may want to follow that as well.

    I like MedHelp’s detailing of symptoms and the variety of ways for visualizing progress. As is often true on big health sites, navigation and instructions for using the tracker could be clearer, but on the whole this can be an effective system for monitoring your illness.


    PsychCentral is one of the oldest and most respected mental health sites and has amassed a wealth of information since the 90s. Its mood tracker is far simpler than the one at MedHelp, but simplicity can work well in capturing the essentials. The tracker helps you put together a basic portrait of the trend of your moods. You need to register on the site to use it, then, once logged in, you find the mood tracker under Quizzes in the menu bar.

    You enter data by using a sliding scale to describe your level of agreement or disagreement with 10 statements about how you’re feeling. There 2 more asking you to fill in blanks about the quality and amount of sleep. Here’s the list of all 12 – but without the lines for your responses.

    1. I feel sad, blue or unhappy.
    2. I feel full of energy, hard to slow down, or have been more active than usual.
    3. I feel my future is hopeless, or that I’m worthless and am a failure.
    4. I’d describe my sleeping recently as:
    5. My attention keeps jumping from one idea to another, or I have so many plans and new ideas that it is hard for me to work.
    6. I feel irritable or restless.
    7. I feel nervous, nauseous, my heart pounding, dizzy, or have had shortness of breath.
    8. I have lost interest in things that used to be important to me.
    9. I have difficulty relaxing or sleeping.
    10. I have had periods of tearfulness and crying and other times when I laugh and joke excessively, or my self-confidence ranges from great self-doubt to equally great overconfidence.
    11. I have periods of mental dullness and other periods of very creative thinking, or there have been great variations in the quantity or quality of my work.
    12. Average hours of sleep I’ve had per night over the past week:

    There is also a space for notes where you can add anything else you’d like, such as triggering events or treatments used that day.

    This information yields a numerical score for depression, anxiety, mania and sleep, with an indication of which ones might be cause for concern. A chart is also provided which organizes the information on a slightly different scale, with columns showing whether you’re above or below a norm. There is also a graph that shows the trends of mood and sleep over the period you have tracked thus far and a section showing all your saved data. The charts can be printed, sent by email or downloaded in PDF format.


    The charts and summaries are good, but the navigation is a problem. You have to go to three different locations to find all three versions of your data, and I missed one of them the first time I used the site. If you’re new to PsychCentral, this could be quite frustrating.


    HealthyPlace is another big website covering many health conditions and including numerous community features. Once registered, you can find the tracker under Tools in the menu bar under the header on each page. Once at the tracker, you’ll find a clear setup that lets you record basic data quickly. You use dropdown menus to answer the key questions. Here’s the full list of measures in the questionnaire.

    1. Select your Mood – You indicate your basic mood (elevated/manic, normal or depressed). Then you can choose the level of that mood.
    2. Your Anxiety – You can choose a level for anxiety and then one for irritability.
    3. Your Hours Slept – How many hours did you sleep in the last 24 hours?
    4. Your Weight – Enter your weight in pounds.
    5. Your Medication – You can add multiple medications and doses.
    6. Your Daily Notes – You can write a brief diary entry on triggering events, and as you continue using the form, you can look for patterns.


    You can print out a daily chart and a graph covering a date range you select. The program also generates a 30 day report. HealthyPlace has a prominent disclaimer and caution about using the tracker without consulting a mental health provider. To make it easier to relay information to your doctor, they include an optional alert form you can use to send a direct email, fax or SMS message.

    Although the information tracked is limited, the ease of use in filling out the form and seeing immediate results would probably help you use the tracker every day. That’s a big advantage since the charts aren’t very useful if you don’t add the data consistently over a long period of time.

    Using web apps is only one way to track depression, but after a lot of experiments I’ve settled on this solution. Whatever level of detail you want to follow, the most important thing is to track consistently – and to be honest with yourself with what you put down.

    Please use the comments to let us know what method you use and what you’ve learned from the practice.

    Al says:
    April 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    I just visited optimism online and found that they no longer charge for their online service.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    April 27, 2012 at 7:56 am
    Thanks, Al -
    I’ve updated the post to indicate the change. It’s great news. Optimism is state of the art for this kind of software.


    Mapping Recovery-4: Matching Therapies to Your Symptoms
    by John Folk-Williams

    If you’ve been tracking your symptoms for at least a month, you should have a fairly detailed picture of your particular variety of depression. You understand the full range of symptoms, when they occur, what other conditions in your life accompany them and which ones you’ve got to deal with first.

    Now comes the hard part – figuring out how to control the symptoms as soon as possible and, hopefully, get rid of them forever. You may hit the mark with the first treatment you try, but there’s a good chance you won’t.

    The search is likely to be a tough test of your patience and hope, and those qualities are in short supply when you’re in the midst of this illness.

    Focus on Learning Skills

    I lived through years of discouraging relapse and failed treatment, constantly looking for the right therapy that would at last undo depression. Finally I realized that I was looking for the wrong thing. This was the wake-up call:

    You don’t need therapies, you need skills. You need to drive your own treatment. Psychiatrists and therapists can be thought of as guides who teach you the skills you need.

    Focusing on learning skills is more helpful than focusing on finding the right therapist or treatment. Those choices are important, but they’re the means to the end of training yourself to get rid of depression.

    You can evaluate the usefulness of a form of treatment by looking at the practical skills each one teaches you. Some therapies depend on professional guidance while others can be mastered on your own, with the aid of recorded lectures and exercises, workbooks and support groups. However you learn about them, you have to practice the skills over and over.

    When you need them most, you won’t have the time or clarity of mind to recall how they work. They need to become habits you can automatically use.

    Most therapists draw on a variety of techniques to respond to your needs. If you want to go further with one approach, they can guide you to resources and contacts. In this way, you can learn new skills even without the benefit of working with a specialist in each treatment model.

    Types of Therapy and the Skills They Teach

    There are hundreds of books and studies about each therapy, and each has its promoters and detractors. It’s easy to get caught up in the endless debates about which therapy is best, which has the strongest evidence behind it, whether its claims are true or fraudulent. But all that is beside the point.

    It’s not a question of which therapies are right or wrong. If you’re focused on skills, you need to zero in on the ones you can learn from each form of treatment.

    To do that, I’ve found it helpful to relate therapies to the basic areas that depression affects: thinking, emotion, behavior, relationships and body systems.

    For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and its many spinoffs, like Positive Psychology and Well-Being Therapy, teach you methods for changing the distorted patterns of thinking that reinforce depression. I don’t buy the underlying concept that your thoughts determine your feelings, but that doesn’t matter. The cognitive skills this approach has taught me have been invaluable for dealing with negative thinking.

    Mindfulness-based therapies use meditation as a way of combining impacts at cognitive and emotional levels. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT combines cognitive techniques with skills to identify and change patterns of behavior that support depression.

    Psychoanalytically-based psychotherapies build awareness of patterns of behavior, feeling and thinking that are self-defeating. Dozens of therapies, like exercise, nutrition and yoga, teach you ways of influencing mood and brain health through the body.

    This sort of grouping can help you link therapies to the skills most relevant to your symptoms. Over time, you need to put together a variety of skills to deal with all the dimensions of depression you live with.


    There is one skill that I’ve found essential in order to benefit from any form of treatment, and that is awareness. It’s important in a couple of ways. If you’re not alert to all the changes that depression brings with it, you probably won’t use the therapies – or develop the skills – needed to deal with them.

    As a result, you may make some progress with the treatments you’re using but still feel that something is missing. You’re not completely well, and those remaining symptoms, even if they seem minor, are often the predictors of future relapse.

    Awareness is possible when you’re able to step back a bit from your symptoms. You can observe what they are and recognize them as dimensions of depression rather than unchangeable parts of your identity. Without that skill, I wouldn’t have gotten far with recovery.

    Meditation, writing therapy, peer support groups and many other methods can help you cultivate a level of awareness that keeps you alert to warning signs of depression. It’s one of the most important skills you can learn.

    Clustering Symptoms

    As you follow your depression, you’ll probably notice that certain symptoms feed off each other in a vicious cycle.

    I find that looking at these clusters of symptoms gets me away from formal labels and closer to what I’m actually living through. Labels for symptoms are pretty abstract, and there’s limited value in trying to understand the technical meanings assigned to each one.

    When I’m depressed, I tear myself apart and feel like a worthless creep. In terms of symptom labels, I can call that a cluster of low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness and negative thinking. In my life, they’re three sides of one terrible problem, and I know how to fight them with a certain set of skills that I’ve learned from cognitive behavioral therapy, among others.

    That’s how I think about matching therapies to symptoms. I apply internalized skills to counteract painful experience.

    Donna-1 says:
    June 26, 2011 at 10:30 am
    CBT helped me because it wasn’t all talk on my part and all listening on the therapist’s part. Believe me, I went through 5 years of meaningless, fruitless therapy where I just talked and someone else just listened. I began to wonder just what kind of training she had received…then I began to wonder what I kept seeing her, so I stopped for a long, long time. Now, I am seeing a cognitive-behavioral therapist who speaks her mind and gives me assignments when I get stuck. I never wonder what her training tells her about what I’m saying, because she lets me know. I really do appreciate that. But early-on, before the “listening only” therapist, I had tried CBT and it was a total washout. I think a lot of what a particular type of therapy can do for you depends on where you are in the wellness process and what you’re ready and willing to do to move forward.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    June 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm
    Hi, Donna -
    I agree that therapy’s value does depend on where you are in the process – are you really ready to deal with things yet. But it’s also the therapist – a good person will draw you into the process even if you’re only partly with it. You can trust the current one because you know what she’s thinking and how she’s responding – and that she is responding. I went through two periods of therapy with psychiatrists who said nothing – apparently their interpretation of Freudian methods. I guess they were too young to have gotten more flexible. Two older psychiatrists with similar training were as open and responsive as could be, and I got much more from them.
    I’m interested to hear about your CBT therapist – I think there’s the same variety in therapists of every persuasion. Some use the methods mechanically, others bring it to life and make it deeply meaningful – they really see you as a person.


    Mapping Recovery-5: Does Your Life Support Depression?
    by John Folk-Williams

    Mapping the full scope of your depression requires a searching look beyond symptoms to include the way you’re living your life as a whole. When tracking symptoms, the focus is on what’s wrong, what you can no longer do. Following daily life means focusing on what you do, the specific actions you take in response to the situations you run into.

    By following your daily actions, it’s easier to spot the patterns of depression’s impact on the way you’re living. You can see more clearly when the illness seems to drive everything you do and when you feel have some room to maneuver. Those are the openings for change that let you begin a recovery process.

    Learning the Habits of Depression

    You know too well the pervasive impact of depression in undermining your capabilities, vitality, sense of self-worth and the will to take action. One of the most damaging effects on daily life hits the expectations you have about your future. You come to expect that things will work out badly no matter what you try.

    As this happens internally, you start acting almost by habit in ways that reflect all the negatives that now fill your mind. The worst experiences and the pain they cause become the standard guiding daily behavior.

    You may be afraid that if you try to take on these difficult problems, even when feeling better, you will provoke a collapse. You come to expect that you won’t be able to handle them and avoidance becomes almost habitual, often triggered outside your awareness, like a reflex action.

    I’ve found that tracking and mapping out what I do help me build the awareness I need to move forward. Here’s how I used the method and what I was able to learn.

    Becoming Aware by Suspending Judgment

    The first step is becoming aware of what I do and how that behavior is shaped by depression. Then I can start to ask questions. Why do I always act that way? Do I feel better as a result? Does it feel like a healing step or one I’m forced to do because of depression? Trying to answer at least gives me a starting point to work from.

    To do this, I realized that I had to suspend judgment. I needed to stop blaming myself and listening to mental tapes of self-condemnation. Instead, I had to pause the obsessive thinking about all my shortcomings and failures – and simply look at what I did each day and the situations I had to deal with.

    Patterns of Avoiding

    Avoiding the dangers of a depression crisis was for years the most common element guiding my actions in daily life. It’s probably the best example I can give about how the mapping process works for me.

    I put up many defenses to protect myself from depression, but most of them turned out to be self-defeating. I believed quite deeply at the time, however, that my best strategy for defending myself was to avoid the situations I couldn’t handle.

    Finding the patterns of avoidance – and the variety of methods for doing it – was the eye-opener.

    There were so many activities that triggered deep anxiety and the fear that they would overwhelm me. I’d tell myself: I just know that I can’t handle this right now. I’m exhausted or not up to it or incapable of responding. Often the trigger was an unfamiliar social situation, an unexpected demand at work, a difficult meeting.

    Whatever it might be, all the depressive beliefs and symptoms came to the fore: the cloudy thinking, the anxiety, the expectation that I couldn’t do it, my lack of ability, the certainty of failure, the loss of short-term memory, my slowed-down thinking and speaking, the droning inner voice telling me no, no, no in a dozen different ways..

    I felt I had to get away, to rest and recoup, find a way to deal with this – on my own, alone, safe. If I couldn’t get away, then I would disappear in place, hiding in plain site, saying nothing, feeling completely detached and uninvolved.

    Being passive was another strategy, leaving it to someone else to take the initiative, constantly deferring, not daring to impose my own point of view. I felt fear about my own emotions, that any feeling would be dangerous to release.

    I tried to avoid facing anger from anyone because I was dependent on what others thought of me. My own self concept sank so low that facing anger was unbearable, confirming my worst beliefs about being worthless. I avoided those situations as much as I could by trying to please everyone and preventing conflict.

    Asking Hard Questions

    These are a few of the patterns of avoidance that emerged. Only by recording what I did could I take a more detached view of what was happening. I tried to put down what I had done, what I was reacting to and what was driving me to act in that way.

    I could then start to ask questions. They sound simple, but it was hard to answer them honestly since I so often wanted to say I had no control over what I did. That wasn’t always true.

    Did it help to get away, to be alone? In a few cases, the answer was yes. There are times when severe depression leaves you no choice and you have to get help. You’ve got to get away. The isolation may not cure anything, but it’s one way you try to help yourself.

    Most often, though, avoiding hard situations plunged me deeper into depression. I felt like a failure. Stress and anxiety increased as I battered myself and sank into hopelessness.

    On balance, I realized that avoiding difficult situations usually cost me more than it gave. I was acting on fear most of the time, and I felt terrible living that way.

    Instead of giving me strength and time to get some energy back, it only increased the stress I was generating. I could feel myself frying in it.

    What stood out from the mapping was the way I was narrowing down the scope of my life. Trying to stay safe meant defending myself within a constantly shrinking perimeter.

    So long as I kept myself confined and alone, I excluded any opportunity for breaking out of depression. Mapping what I did provided no answers or solutions, but by adding a new level of awareness it helped me find a place to begin to change.

    Donna-1 says:
    July 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    The area of avoidance I deal with most often is in regard to intimacy and even casual friendships. I will open up to someone too fast because I am starving for a relationship with someone, often anyone. And then I pull back in horror upon review (isn’t this “review” a part of the guilt and self-blame?) Then I quickly backpedal and get out of the relationship. I’m sure it leaves the other person totally baffled as to what happened, and leaves me feeling even more guilty because it seems I have betrayed the budding relationship.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    July 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    Hi, Donna -
    That definitely qualifies as a life trap sort of avoidance. But at least, you’re reaching out to someone – trying to broaden instead of narrowing your life. The “review” is puzzling – or is it a gut reaction? It’s reasonable to worry about jumping in too fast – everyone probably has a story about a nightmarish misreading of another person. The reaction I often had in that kind of situation was a shame attack, not believing that anyone could really want to have a relationship with me. I guess I started to get around that when I explained to the would-be friend that I had this weird problem about getting to know people. That made a huge difference.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 2:01 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    what to do when you are losing hopes: admitting that you have suffered massive depression 


    Living Depressed

    Depression affects emotions, mental abilities, self-concept, behavior, relationships and the entire body. These core posts describe the full range of symptoms affecting daily life. Read More.

    Depression is an illness that affects many levels of health. We tend to think first of the drastic changes in mood and vitality: hopelessness, lost energy, confused thinking, broken self-esteem, paralysis of will – and thoughts of suicide. Those symptoms are devastating enough, but even they do not give a full picture of depression’s impact. It is not only a “mental” illness but one that interferes with the functioning of the human body in many ways. The brain and central nervous system, the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, our bones – there is growing evidence of the links between depression and diseases affecting all these.

    This section brings together posts about the full range of symptoms linked to depression and how they can affect daily living. Hopefully, that material will help you identify all the changes you may be experiencing. This knowledge, in turn, can set the stage for choosing the treatments that are most relevant to your life.

    Robert says:
    October 30, 2013 at 9:24 am
    I suffered from depression, accompanied by social anxiety and panic attacks for most of my twenties.It took a long time to receive any professional help. Initially I was prescribed anti-depressants which were very useful in helping to rebalance my mood to a point where I thought life might be able to continue. Whilst they also had some pretty unpleasant side
    effects, in my case they were the first step in my recovery from what had become a potentially life-threatening condition.
    I was incredibly fortunate in that a wonderful individual, who also happened to be a brilliant counsellor, moved in to a house just up the road at this time of my life. Going through counselling was the second step in my (very gradual) recovery. As the years have passed, I’ve realised that if one can succeed in beating the awful affliction of depression, the experience can teach you much about yourself and others. Indeed I am stronger and more resilient as a result it.
    However I still have to be mindful of my mood, as occasionally I can feel it sliding downwards. These days,though, I am much more aware of the early earning signs which helps a lot in taking positive action early on.
    My message is that YOU CAN beat this horrible condition, even though that may seem impossible when you are in the depths of it. If you can make even small positive changes as often as you can manage, these can add up. Help may come from unexpected quarters when you feel all is lost. Never give up! “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

    amber1537 says:
    October 10, 2013 at 7:41 am
    I feel my depression comes from myself. I hate the way I look and talk. I try so hard to love myself and be happy but I just cant. I hope one day I can face my demons and be who I really want to be

    FiresideScarlet says:
    November 19, 2013 at 9:49 am
    Please don’t dismay. I’ve had depression all of my life, and I know from experience that it does get better, it can get better. Although I’ve been hesitant and downright stubborn with the notion of joining groups and keeping physically active, it really does make a difference. Now, I go walking, hiking, out to restaurants, movies, and all kinds of things with others. We go to art shows, potluck dinners, pubs, night clubs, jazz performances…anything is better than sitting at home. Even when I’m feeling low, I put my “game face on” and go! When I’m out no one knows that I’m depressed, because for a period of time I feel great! And the more you do this, you make memories, and you build up a lot of positive memories to think about. This, as well as journaling, meditating, walking my dog, volunteering and listening to my fabulous music, keeps me mentally healthy, and always looking forward to something new to do. My calendar is booked, not full, because I don’t want to stress out, but full enough that it reduces the time I spend alone and thinking about me. Find free events and join an active group where you live. You can find a group at meetup dot com. Not sure if you are allowed to post web sites here, so I wrote it like that. Good luck!!!!

    Barbara says:
    September 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm
    My father’s alcoholism and abuse brought me to the point of depression, anxiety, and psychosis. I’m fortunate to have had a lot of help dealing with all three issues. This has really given me an insight into the depths of the human spirit.

    phoebe says:
    March 21, 2013 at 5:26 am
    Does anyone else get spring depression? I don’t remember feeling like this last year, but I know the year before around this time (FEB-APRIL) I had it. My depression and anxiety get really bad. I’m crying a lot and have no motivation or energy. My negative thoughts are out of control. I am beginning to hate this time of year (which is actually a really beautiful time of year)!

    Nora says:
    May 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm
    At a recent appoint, my nurse practioner told me that researchers are finding a link between hay fever and depression. I am not sure that this is the case with you, but it might be something to consider looking into. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other information on the studies. When she told me, I was like…oh, that’s interesting. She asked me if I had hay fever. I used to, but I don’t now, and depression has stricken me for a longer period than the few months of spring. Thankfully, I am not getting treated for depression and am feeling much better.

    Swordfish says:
    July 1, 2013 at 8:50 am
    This time of year is actually the time where people in the Northern Hemisphere are the most deprived of Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is mostly synthesized by being exposed to sunlight (dietary sources are negligible in comparison). February-April is a time when you have not been exposed to intense sunlight for a few months.
    I highly recommend reading “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs”.

    This book goes into more details about dietary supplements, bright light therapy, and more. Every step is supported by clinical studies.

    joanne says:
    February 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm
    Hi my dad has been a miner all of his life and had a good position in the heading training people etc.My brother also works at the same pit and wants to do what my dad does where the moneys good,but has to do night shifts. Aposition come up and my dad took it as he would have been working and trainning his son.He could not sleep and went back on shift work. Then decided to give night shift another go, after 2 weeks of hardly any sleep he decided to go back on shift work but they had give his job up, so it ment he was in back up going any where they sent him.Last night i found out he can not live with letting his job go what he has worked for all of his life, he can’t sleep he’s lost weight, and can’t stop thinking of what a bad mistake he has made. I have told him working with machinery and driving when tired is dangerous. He told me he fell asleep at wheel other day and my brother had to grab steering wheel. He is making his self ill , we as a family can not stand seeing him like this. I’m so worried about him can you please help me.

    shilps says:
    June 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm
    Dear Joanne ,
    I am touched by your story .
    This is a common problem people face upon retirement
    The brain is so used to the work that they just cant get out of it ,its a matter of habit , emotional attachment and their identity .That is the only way he knows to live and probably now after so many years of work that is the only thing he can do and is so good at .
    His sense of security is attached with it and he is feeling as if someone has snatched away that from him .
    What u can do is that dont let him be alone.Some one should be with him to give him emotional security .Speak positive and appreciate him and express gratitude for what he has done for ur family. That way u can keep watch on him without letting him feel that he is being watched.
    Also find out what were his interests that he has not pursued or that he wil like to pursue
    and help him to get engaged in that.
    He can be also engaged in some sort of training activities /community work as that will give him his sense of usefulness and worth and also keep him busy .
    Explain to him the dangers involved in work and that u all need him healthy and safe forever
    Help him to mix up with other retired people in your area .
    Let him play with kids /teach them something
    He can start to diary his experiences / learning
    He can also learn some new skillsets for safer employment suitable for his health
    Gradually explain to him that now he has to change himself and if not willing ,some one has to take a stand and tell him straightaway
    Hope that helps…!!
    Take care of urselves
    Also remembered the movie “October Sky”.Please see it if possible

    Will M says:
    January 31, 2013 at 10:48 am
    My partner of 5 years walked out over a week ago. Now she does not even email me.
    I now understand why she was unhappy but it was gradual and I didnt know how to fix it at the time.
    I’ve told her I would do anything to work on our relationship. I want her to come home, I love her unconditionally, I can’t even be angry at her. I have never felt this bad for so long. At least I know she is ok with friends. Being abandoned not knowing what she does it tough.
    She says she needs space, time to think and gives me no hope of even coming back, she says she does not know. Doing nothing as she wishes prevents me from trying to make it better, so frustrating.
    I know reationally that she needs to be without me, but for how long? How long does a woman need to decide? Every day is hell. She doesnt tell anyone what she does, I have no way of convincing her that Im serious about working on our relationship, i thought we would grow old together.
    i can’t imagine being without her, I don’t want to be with anyone else.
    Is there any hope, anything that I should do?

    K says:
    February 1, 2013 at 11:50 am
    I’m sorry to hear your story Will. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do ‘to make it better’, she needs to fix herself. The depression is making her push you away and you are going to have to be very, very patient. If you contact her, do not mention the relationship and how much you are missing her, as this will probably only serve to make her push you away even more.
    The Depression Fallout forum is a wonderful site from which to gain support in this awful situation. All the best, K.

    Patricia Robertson says:
    January 29, 2013 at 11:32 am
    I have recently started a blog on aging and depression; it’s more like a weekly journal. Have some readers that are friends and relatives, no comments. I am paralyzed by isolation, depression, anxiety, have been living in an apartment attached to my son’s and daughter-in-laws house which is good as far as our relationship is concerned but I have literally forgotten how to do anything for myself. We will be moving in the next 9 months into two separate condos, about 8 blocks apart, and I am terrified. There’s no social interaction in the building and my energy for getting out and trying to meet people is very low. I feel close to giving up.
    Can I post on this blog? Maybe some of the posts I would put on my own.
    My website is aginganddepression.blogspot.com or the full title is Aging and Depression: From Darkness into Light. Is there any way you could take a look at it and give me some pointers. I long for contact with someone, anyone.
    Thank you
    Patricia Robertson

    shilps says:
    June 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    Hi Patricia ,
    I read some postings from your blog. Dont feel depressed .You are always taken care of by the universe and God loves u much beyond ur imagination .
    I also found spirituality and meditation very useful to remove depression
    Also some other things like exposure to sunlight , deep breathing exercises ,listening to meditation music , drinking lot of water , eating the right food , eating lot of fruits and nuts ,meeting loved ones will help u .
    Focus on what u want and not on what u dont want
    What u focus on increases .
    So in ur blog start counting your blessings .
    Note down what depresses u more and avoid doing that .Observe urself continuously
    Note down what makes u happy and do that more ..!
    Forgive all those who have hurt u , as by not letting go u are hurting urself
    Dont spoil ur now for what has gone .
    For what has gone is only a memory now.
    Release all the emotions one by one everyday ..
    Bless all your enemies…
    Thank all the hard times they have given u as u have gained a lot from that too
    even if u are not aware of it .
    At highest level , we all are spirits and so no one can harm anyone .
    So its the role that people are playing in this life to act in a certain way to give u certain lessons in life and that also is agreed by you (as they say) before we are born .
    Express gratitude for improvement in health if any , for what u can still do
    Thank all your organs and express all that they have done in detail
    Express memories of great moments in your life
    What are the good lessons u learnt from ur life
    Thank all people who have helped u
    Express what u would like ur life to be from now onwards..!
    Take care of urself

    shilps says:
    June 24, 2013 at 4:31 am
    Hi Patricia…
    Hope u will be reading my reply and it will be useful to u and others who read it .
    Since u can use the internet , u can learn something new everyday
    That will keep u healthy and motivated
    Also u can share the practical knowledge u have acquired like
    Small tips for bringing up kids ,Relationships ,Marriage ,Cooking
    Or u can share practical experiences :
    Funny Incidents in your life , Great People u have seen and what u liked about them ,
    If u can list out things u think one should do at different phases in life ,
    it will definitely help the next generation
    You can also write about :How u handled certain situations gracefully , how were the difficulties in life overcome by u or your loved ones, what was their mindset , experiences of having helped people or received help and your feelings that time,
    realizations of existence of God, etc…
    Some one somewhere may be needing this information and ur knowledge will
    be useful to them
    Memories get overwritten as we get new perspectives and learn
    to practice forgiveness, gratitude , compassion ,acceptance ,appreciation ,Love
    Also when u find some usefulness of ur life ,some purpose you will get the energy ,circumstances and ability from life to do it ..!! :) Your health will improve too .
    “When u find usefulness of ur pain
    U will realize nothing has gone in vain ..”
    Every moment in ur life is not just about ur life
    u are a part of the universe …it takes a lot of resources and efforts of
    different components of universe to keep u alive
    Appreciate the gift of Life!!
    ur life is not just ur life…share it with others and feel one with the universe
    ur body is not ur body …u are the God of all thats there in ur body
    and u can act to forgive ,love , be grateful ,care and serve every part of ur body
    Let this mind create some value for the world , Let this body be at service of this universe
    and it will receive all healing energies
    Now u dont need appreciation , compensation ,rewards for ur work
    Let the work itself be a reward!!
    Feel joy in Giving !
    Think of what u would like to give back to the world
    and evaluate what is possible for u now
    I am sure u will be able to Just Start Doing it …!!
    Take care…

    saurabh garg says:
    March 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm
    I am 26 year old. please suggest me I always thinking of die ,I think what benefit of living life and fear one day I become old and die by heart attack.and life is very small.

    CJ says:
    April 12, 2014 at 7:32 am
    This is for you, Saurabh Garg. It’s also for ANYONE and EVERYONE who may be thinking of suicide as a “way out” of your suffering. That is not an answer. Life can be long, satisfying, and very beautiful! But please don’t set your goal right away as “finding happiness”, not yet anyway. In the beginning just set your goal as dealing with those dark times and getting relief from suicidal thoughts. Be kind and gentle with yourself, and love your SELF and the beautiful gift of your life. There is lots of beauty around you, just look and see.
    Please get immediate assistance and find someone who can help you when you feel this way; they will refer you to helpful professionals who will coach you, listen to you, give you resources, and get you on your way to a happy and fulfilling life. But you have to do some work also, even though it can seem impossible when you’re really down in a dark place. I’ve been there, too. First, make an appointment with a doctor and TELL THEM you think you have Depression and want to see a professional for a diagnosis and possible ongoing talk therapy. They will later talk with you about using medications, and it will be up to you if you take them or not. You do NOT have to see a Psychiatrist at first. You can visit a Psychologist, a Social Worker, a Minister or Priest or any other clergy you may know of, but start with someone trustworthy and with valid credentials.
    Go easy on yourself; you don’t have to be perfect. Find ways to lift up your mood that suit YOU. Go for a drive in the countryside. Walk in the city gardens. Go for a spin in the park on your bicycle. Visit an animal shelter and see all the dogs, cats, bunnies and other furry animals that will make you smile. Bake some cookies. Visit a fond auntie or uncle. Watch a comedy flick. Phone a friend who always tells you a joke. Go for an ice cream. Listen to upbeat music. Get on the treadmill and work up a sweat or lift a few weights. Go down to the riverside or to the beach and appreciate Mother Nature. Buy some flowers. Practice Yoga if you don’t already. And then, if you need medications, well, go for it. They DO help. Yet they aren’t the only ticket back. Your life choices can make a huge improvement in your outlook.
    When you’re active and exercising, a lot goes on in your body to make you literally healthier and happier. Just a few of the hormones released in exercise are: endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. They all play a part in making you feel really good, alive, and vital. This is where you want to be, but you’ve got to do the work.
    Best of luck. Live long and be at peace!

    saurabh garg says:
    April 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm
    Thaks CJ.
    You Do good job. I am very motivated by this.

    Rita says:
    December 30, 2012 at 4:07 am
    Hi there
    I have a partner for has been previously in three relationships which broke down, and re married etc..he has in all 4 children and 3 grandchildren. I hv now been with him for 5months, and within this time he has had three lots of depression, and he cuts me out, and sends heartbreaking messages to me by email and mobile. It takes about 4 to 5 days to come out of it, and when he does he is really sorry about it. He tells me sometimes he wants to commit suicide etc… I am new to this , and dont know what to do to help him. I have said to him, never to send me messages like this again. i hv asked him whether he has mention this to his GP but he said no, what do I do or say to him. I find that the repetition of this is too close together , and it may be worse, the way I see it. Let me know.
    Regards .

    Sophie says:
    December 14, 2012 at 7:57 am
    Im an 18yr old girl whom just finished my hsc. Ive had depression since i was 15 but it keeps getting worse.. Ive attempted suicide more than a few times and ive seen a couple councellors but nothing seems to help. I tried talking to my friend at 16 but it got spread all over school that i was attention seeking. After that talking to people seemed impossible. I feel as though someones watching me all the time. Sometimes i can sleep all day and then sometimes not at all. I dont know what to do? How do you get better? It seems impossible..

    John Folk-Williams says:
    December 15, 2012 at 8:22 am
    Hi, Sophie -
    It really is possible to get better, but it can take time to find a way of dealing with depression that works for you. It’s always good to start with a checkup to rule out physical causes, like a thyroid problem. Have you seen a doctor who can do a thorough evaluation and diagnosis? I know it can take time to find a counselor or therapist whom you trust and have confidence in, and it can also take time to find an effective medication, if that is thought to be appropriate for the worst symptoms. But you can find both. There are therapy methods that have helped me and millions of others, especially with the patterns of thinking that make you believe there is no hope for getting better. There is hope. It is important to stay connected with people who really care about you – they can’t be your therapists, but spending time with them just to hang out really can help, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s good to learn as much as you can about depression too. You can start with other posts on this blog about recovery but also look at the many other sites, books and videos I mention in the Resources section. And please feel free to stay in touch here when you have more questions or just to sound off.
    All my best to you -

    Swordfish says:
    July 1, 2013 at 9:18 am
    If you have tried conselling and/or medication and haven’t seen any change, I highly recommend you read “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs”.

    This book starts from the insight that our western way of life is toxic to our mind and bodies. Fortunately it is possible to improve our situation with exercise, dietary supplements, sunlight exposure, etc. Every step is supported by clinical studies.
    The only part of this book that could be improved is the chapter about stopping rumination (negative thought loops). I would recommend mindfulness meditation.
    Article: http://www.fastcompany.com/3009764/dialed/the-big-chill-out-how-meditation-can-help-with-everything
    Video with meditation expert Jon Kabat-Zinn (author of the book “Wherever You Go, There You Are”):

    FiresideScarlet says:
    November 19, 2013 at 10:03 am
    If you need a friend who has experienced this all her life, please get in touch with me. I’m here. There is help, just ask your doctor for a referral. I don’t know who you’ve talked to but psychiatrists aren’t that good for depression. I’ve seen a psychologist, and also a social worker. There are many different kinds of therapies out there. One suggestion: laughter yoga! It is REALLY therapeutic! Just keep looking and NEVER give up on YOU. You are alive and you are beautiful. You deserve to love yourself. That feeling of someone always watching you is something that I have experienced. It can go away; mine has. Personally, I think it is a form of self consciousness, but if it gets out of hand, it can lead to some kind of paranoia. Don’t worry, it can be helped and you can control it. I used to have panic attacks, and I know that they arose out of exactly that feeling. I was overly self conscious and always felt someone was staring at me. This I think is called “hyper vigilance”, at least my therapist mentioned this once. Try relaxation methods, yoga, deep breathing, calming music, meditation, and so on. You are not alone in this, it is HUMAN to have these feelings!! Even if someone IS looking at you, what harm can they do to you? Ask yourself “What is the worst that can happen?” Confront that feeling and you will gain control over it. Eventually it will subside.

    Nat says:
    November 4, 2012 at 6:54 am
    Hi i just found this site and think your feedback and help seems really good so i thought i would share… I havent wrote on any sites before but i am struggling and worried. I am 23 and have suffered with depression since i was 18 and anxiety since i was 14. I have been on and off tablets, started seeing a therapist last year but stopped going because i couldnt even make myself go to that. Right now i am down and scared and feel so negative about my future. I recently got a temporary job after being made redundant in february, felt okay when i started on a steady level but the last month i started with the depression and then my anxiety increased and panic attacks. I had some days off work, spoke to them and saw occupational health (with it being the nhs they were quite helpful) been in the last 3 weeks – it is only weekends though which makes me feel even more rubbish that im struggling even with that! Ive veen to the doctors again on tablets but never really feel like im taken seriously. I thought i was doing a bit better apart from in the week just feeling like in completely wasting my life and time. But this weekend i couldnt do it again. I will have list this job now, feel like such a failure and crap person. I still live at home and they just get annoyed at me. I have a boyfriend who ive been with for 5 years and really happy with him but feel guilty for what he puts up with. I have extreme self esteem issues. Sometimes i get so angry. Im sorry this is so long! Its hard to make short im really sorry. Just trying to give as much info as possible. Just also add that i suffer with ocd which worsens with the anxiety, i have quite bad eczema which drives me mad and makes me feel ugly and i pull my eyelashes. I sound like such a case! I dont know what to do about jobs and myself. I need a job like everyone i need money. I just feel so stuck.
    Thank you for reading this. I really appreciate it!

    shilps says:
    June 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm
    Dear Nat ,
    U are stll very young dear and thats the most precious gift u have now…TIME
    Start counting what u have and be grateful for that ,appreciate urself for that and be grateful to life .Things like:
    Having a boyfriend for 5 yrs is a great thing!!
    Having experienced a love relationship is a wonderful experience
    U have a family which is at least allowing u to stay with them
    U are staying in a country where women have freedom
    U had landed up with a job which means u have the capability to get employed..
    U worked for few days rite…?
    U are able to overcome ur attacks and be able to blog here..!
    U made an attempt to see a theapist….
    U are able to identify ur problems
    U still have the desire to get over this……That is the most positive thing I can see!
    Congratulate urself for this all…
    U are a tough fighter that inspite of all odds u have still managed somany things
    Now list down what u want and believe that u will get it
    ” I am mentally healthy and capable of doing what I want to do now”
    ” I am financially self sufficient “
    “I receive love ,respect and support from my family and boyfriend “
    Negative self talk lowers self image and so convert all negative words u use to positive affirmations .
    Help someone …Kind acts raise self esteem
    Love yourself …Only then others will love you ,
    Keep watching motivational movies and talks from net
    Tell ur self ” Whats happening is a part of universe and i am not the only person experiencing this . I am continuously protected by universe .I am in harmony with nature
    My body received healing energies and gets healed quickly
    I am strong and healthy .”
    Identify what u really want to do in life and all procrastination , fears ,obstacles will go away automaically…Be patient !!

    shilps says:
    June 24, 2013 at 4:05 am

    nat says:
    June 24, 2013 at 8:32 am
    Hi again, thank you for your reply and all the positives you pointed out. It.was a while back now i was feeling.that low, and its strange when you read it back. I have been signed off work for 6 months and seeing my doctor, getting a better routine with my tablet and kept on with them with out gaps etc. Aand they really do help. I use to not like the idea of a tablet to make you happy but i realise now it is like having any illness you take medicine and it helps.. Will never cure but makes a huge difference. I do worry about coming off them but step at a time, making most of feel good right now. I still hve my moments worries anxiety but not at the level it was last year when iwrote.
    Reading back i feel like i soinded really ungreatful for the things i have, and i promise im not. I realise and knew then how lucky i am for my boyfriend, family and age etc. And they make me so happy but as you know when depressed it doesnt matter for some reason you just arent happy. Which then made me feel so guilty and hate myself even more. Especially being young and thinking why am i like this?! Then feel even worse for that. Everything is just grey and youre in a sort of bubble a grey bubble. At the time you wish your well self and positive self could pop in and talk to you.. If you know what i mean! Anyway, appreciate you writing back and for the video. I love to find natural help. The worse you feel the worse the eczema is. At the moment its a lot better, more under control like the depression and anxiety.
    This is a great site and helped me express when needing to, just want to say to people in that place at the moment.. Even though i know you have probably heard it all before and it might not help right now but keep repeating to yourself “i wont always feel like this i WILL feel good again”. Cos you will, take any help you can, talk, see someone, take medication if need to. But it will pass, might come back for periods in life but you wont always feel that low and can get under control and find lots of ways to help.
    My thoughts to everyone on here

    heather says:
    September 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm
    I just started new medication, and I have seen an increase in panic attacks and anxiety. My husband isn’t supportive and is using my illness as a threat. Go take your pills…if I say or do something wrong. Even said I am worse than his ex wife….I am so so broken

    John Folk-Williams says:
    September 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm
    Hi, heather -
    I think you should talk to your doctor about the medication and tell him that you can’t tolerate the side effects. As far as your husband using your illness as a threat, that sounds like a lot of anger and abuse. Can you discuss this with a therapist or someone you trust?

    edna nieves says:
    September 21, 2012 at 5:53 am
    hi im married with a person who get a bid depression bc he lost his son like 8 years a go i was in depression too bc i lost 7 ppl in 2 years but went iwant to talk to him he dont have the tipe i fell alone i had 4 tenager and everytime went i go to them they never had time to listen to me can u help me out what i can do.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    September 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    Hi, edna -
    It’s really hard when no one in your family will listen. Is there anyone else your husband would be able to listen to who could talk with him about the depression? Sometimes another family member can help or a clergyman. It’s often hard for a man to talk about depression or hear about the effect of his depression on his family because he could well feel that he has failed to handle his own feelings or failed to be a good husband and father. It helps to approach the subject without talking first about what’s wrong with him – but instead about stresses he’s under – sympathizing with how difficult things are. I can’t tell what would be appropriate, but just remember that men can feel a lot of shame about an emotional problem.

    Ravine Hotel says:
    July 30, 2012 at 12:03 am
    I am looking around on the net searching for the best way to Living Depressed and your website happens to be extremely professional. Nice article.

    clynically depressed says:
    July 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm
    Doing all this-fixing myself-seems too, too, too tiring…

    John Folk-Williams says:
    August 3, 2012 at 9:22 am
    Hi, clynically depressed -
    I know. That’s the problem with suggestions for self-help – you feel you can’t begin to practice them. I’ve always tried to find the smallest starting point – I have a post somewhere that describes a moment like that. I stood up from my chair and walked out the door into the sunlight. I could at least do that when I felt a certain way. It was a start. I hope you can find something like that at least.


    Depressed: No Friends, No Life
    by John Folk-Williams ·

    Lately, I’ve come across a number of questions online by plainly anguished people, asking: Why do I have no friends, no life? The first time I saw one this blunt, I reacted almost defensively, laughing as I recalled an old film in which a man hires a private detective to find out why he has no friends. Isn’t it obvious? But I knew so well how much the question implied. Lonely and depressed, I had often asked that same question, or at least felt the need to ask it.

    I wrote an earlier post about the difference I experience between loneliness and depression. Loneliness is a sadness at the loss of close relationships. It drives me to reach out to people. Depression pushes me away from them. When I feel these two at the same time – as I can if the depression is not too severe – the tension of these opposing forces makes it all the harder to find the help I need.

    Thinking back over many years of living with depression, I can quickly find many reasons why I had such trouble finding a friend to talk to when I most needed one. (I’ll set aside the much worse problem of not talking to my wife. I’ve said a lot about the reasons behind that, especially in this post.) Here are some of the problems from my experience. I can’t say how true they might be for others.

    1. Sometimes it wasn’t I who had an issue with reaching out but friends who had trouble opening themselves to listen. Many people refuse to talk about depression or other serious illnesses. I first found that out when I had cancer. It was stunning to me that a few people I had known quite well simply disappeared from my life. Though I never heard any explanation from them, my wife and I believed they couldn’t face the risk of emotional involvement and possible loss.
    Depression adds another dimension. Many may feel helpless in the face of a friend’s pain and despairing mood. When I reached out for support, some friends were sympathetic but at a loss as to what they could do to help. And, of course, some friends are not in the habit of probing their own emotional lives and run from the idea of listening to someone else trying to go deeply into feelings. That’s a language they haven’t learned and never want to know.

    2. One habit of my own depressed thinking was to assume that everyone I met had the same negative and contemptuous view of me that I did of myself. I projected my own shame into their minds and then retreated before the dislike I was sure they felt. It’s so strange to imagine that this could have been such a common occurrence, but it was. I stopped myself from reaching out because I “knew” these friends wanted to have nothing to do with me.

    3. Then there was the isolating drive of depression, the belief that I was in too much pain to face anyone – too lost in despair to move. I believed I could survive only by cutting myself off from everyone, yet that only intensified the feeling of having nowhere to turn. I ruled out the possibility that anyone could break through the wall I’d put up around me. The result was that I went more deeply into despair. Eventually, the crisis passed, but it wasn’t the isolation that had helped me survive. That only increased the likelihood that I might push myself over the edge.

    4. When feeling more numb than despairing, I could often get out and talk to people, even at social gatherings. But I became very nervous at what I might say. It wasn’t uncommon for me to make an attempt at getting to know someone or to get into a personal issue with a friend. But the words I found myself speaking were not at all what I intended. They had an edge to them, putting a jab into each pleasantry, souring a compliment with a sarcastic tone, or pouring out so much so fast that I sounded impossibly egocentric and uninterested in anyone but myself. I acted like someone I would never want to know. Of course, people could tell at once that I had “issues” and walked the other way.

    5. So often, I had to mix with people when I wanted only to hide. I made it hard for anyone to find me, no matter how many people might be in the room or how prominent my role was supposed to be. Emotionally, I lost connection with what was happening and just watched it go by. I felt so small and tried to be invisible. If anyone asked me a question, I’d become tongue-tied, or, if I tried to say much, the words and thoughts came with painful slowness. It was impossible for anyone to talk to me.

    6. At other times, anxiety and fear could hold me back from talking freely. Taking part in conversation was hard because I had to double-think everything I wanted to say. There was a danger in the simple spontaneity of conversation among friends – a danger for me of any uncontrolled talking. I had to reflect to get the words just so, and then would miss the right moment as talk flowed on to something different. It’s hard to imagine now, but talking freely felt risky, as if an inner violence might escape my control.

    7. Apart from all this, there was the natural reaction anyone might have at suddenly hearing from me when I was in need of someone to talk to. Wrapped up in myself and in depression, as I was, my reaching out was an attempt to meet my own need in a one-sided way. Not only that, but my friends would not find me at all even if they wanted to listen and offer support. I wasn’t the same person because I was driven by the strange, isolating rules of depression. Even if I didn’t want to be hidden, I was nowhere to be found.

    All this added up to a comprehensive strategy for remaining friendless. And that’s what it was – a series of my own actions to keep me isolated from the help that friends might offer and pull me out of the life I’d had with them. This hit me one day when I was the one who was asked to listen to a friend in the midst of a terrible depression.

    I met him at a restaurant for lunch one day, and I could tell at once that he had changed in a way that made him hard to recognize. Of course, he looked and sounded the same, but there was nothing in his words or reactions that was like my friend. He was lost, partly in rage, partly in despair.

    When I tried to tell him the deep sympathy I felt for what he was going through, that only made him angry. More than that, I felt a deep rage boiling inside him as his eyes stared through me with steel intensity.

    It was especially hard to see him this way since I knew I was looking at myself.

    What has your experience been in trying to reach out to friends when deeply troubled?

    Kortni says:
    July 9, 2014 at 1:42 am
    Up until the moment I read this the things you stated hadn’t crossed my mind. Thank you for that. Tremendously. You have no idea how much reading this has helped me.

    Jenn says:
    June 30, 2014 at 8:24 pm
    I’m a single 42 attractive woman that has absolutely no friends. I have been immediately dropped, suddenly accused and blamed for untruths or misunderstanding of my intentions whenever I’ve become close with someone. I certainly apologize for making mistakes yet I remain hated. I used to be extremely social but have done at least 1 thing to most acquaintances that was judged harshly that they no onger speak to me. The loneliness is nearly unbearable and when I do attempt to get to know someone, I invite myself by asking if I can join and keep in contact all while feeling extreme insecurity and stupidity. I am not good at socializing anymore and it seems to be getting worse. I cry ever single day. My life changed drastically due to an emergency back surgery in 2010. Over the past 4 years and now needing yet another level 5 back surgery, I have lost everything and I’m currently at a poverty level I never imagined. This increases my depression, anxiety, insecurity and greatly limits what I can afford to do, not to mention my physical inabilities which greatly impact walking and standing. I feel like I’m sinking deeper & don’t know where to find friends that will accept me as I am.

    annemarie says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm
    Hello Jenn,
    I just wanted to respond so you knew someone was out here reading/listening to you and that you are not alone! I can totally relate to loneliness being unbearable. I feel the same way. I am lucky to have a few friends to talk to, but it is difficult when so much of your life is in turmoil and you don’t want conversations to focus too much on your own problems. Three years ago my husband of over 20 years filed for divorce unexpectedly, moved out within a couple of weeks, and we had to short sell our house as I couldn’t assume the mortgage on my own, so I lost a home I had been paying on for over 2o years. Nothing to show for it and had to walk away. 3 months later, my company downsized, and everyone in my dept was laid off. After 21 years, I was unemployed for the first time ever. I’m now 55, renting, and just lost the second of 2 jobs I’ve had since the big layoff. I was ‘ fired ‘ from both due to performance issues/ low numbers ( I’m in outside sales ) and am now struggling to job hunt once again with very low self esteem and fighting depression. Anyway, I know our situations are not the same, but wanted to let you know once again, please don’t feel totally alone. Your story touched me and I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you!

    Aurora says:
    June 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm
    I am 20 years old, and have been 3000 miles away from my family and friends for a year now. I work full time, 8-12 hour days Monday through Friday, I’m up at 5:30 every morning and in bed by 9. I have no friends here, just friendly co workers who never invite me anywhere. Why didn’t I just stay home and go to school. Now I feel like I’m never going to do anything in life except work to barely make it by. I live with my boyfriend but he doesn’t understand. He is lucky and just a happy person. Life is getting me down.

    Carly says:
    July 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm
    Hi Aurora,
    I have been in a similar situation to yourself when living in New York away from my family in Australia. All I can say is, I was like this for four years before I made changes and went back home to study. I regret not moving back earlier. If I had just been able to be honest with myself about how unhappy I really was, I would have made changes earlier. It’s not too late – I wish you the courage to make the decisions you need to make to be happier and healthier in your life.

    Carly says:
    July 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm
    Oh and just to let you know I have been struggling with depression for about 7 years. My darkest days were in New York when I was away from my family though – I was suicidal there and not in a good place. Moving back improved this immensely as did getting doctor’s and counselor’s help.

    Dell says:
    June 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm
    I am a 40 year old single lesbian, I do not have kids and I don’t have any deep friendships. Even my relationship with my family is shallow. I work, come home, waste time and go to bed. I am back in school so that’s giving me something to do. I’m sad and lonely. I’m attractive and lots of women try to get with me but it’s never the women that I want. It’s not like anything is wrong with them I just don’t connect. I feel I don’t connect with anyone. People are always talking to me at work but they have lives after work. People like me on facebook and my posts get lots of likes but I never connect with these people outside of facebook. I feel like something is wrong with me because I don’t know how to connect with people. I try doing things like working out or going places but I start feelings pathetic and desperate. I don’t know what is wrong with and ask people to tell me what it is and they just say nothing is wrong, you’re nice and cool. And I’m thinking well why don’t you like me, call me or invite me anywhere.

    Carly says:
    July 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm
    Hi Dell,
    I think it takes courage to reach out to others and say, hey, why don’t we get together for coffee sometime? Chances are, people are thinking the same thing but are too shy to ask. Also, you are a unique person and worth getting to know. Be yourself – but you have to reach out to others – they are just waiting to connect too. I would strongly suggest taking up a hobby or volunteering, or taking a class of interest. I met lots of people through school, volunteering, and art group, even though I’m mature age. Just find something that interests you as a hobby, cause you’re passionate about to volunteer for, or something new to learn and people will be there too! You can connect over common interests. Don’t give up and don’t settle for having no friends, I’m sure there are people out there who also are waiting to make a friend, I know many people who have room for more friends as they are quite shy too.

    Carly says:
    July 2, 2014 at 10:25 pm
    Also, people probably don’t not like you, it’s definitely negative self perception creeping in there. You have no real way of knowing what’s going on in another person’s head until you ask.

    Arne says:
    June 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm
    I didn’t see the word ‘bullying’ anywhere in the article or the posts. I’ve been bullied, ridiculed, and socially rejected or ignored most of the time for the length of my life that I can remember. As a guy, I was told or expected to ‘fight back’ if I was being bullied or ridiculed. Unfortunately, that was bad advice for me; it’s always made a bad situation worse.
    I lived with few or no friends throughout childhood, declining eventually to zero in young adulthood. The result is that I’m introverted, lonely, anxious, and depressed. To me, this all seems like a natural process that I didn’t have any control over. I find it best now to ‘play defense’ at all times and do whatever I can to avoid situations that I can anticipate will cause me any more mental and emotional pain.
    Bullying probably seems to many of my age that it’s overhyped in the media as a social problem in schools; it seems like one of the signs that America’s ‘gone too soft’. After all, aside from the added bad influence of social media, bullying and social rejection/isolation aren’t new; when I grew up, nobody would’ve even thought about bringing up the subject. It was just part of life.
    I doubt I’m the only person with this type of life story. The only way to feel better is not to beat myself up over it. No one asks to be born.

    Sierra Lynn says:
    July 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    Hey Arne,
    I am 20 years old and I am going through the same. Being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder seemed to be the start to a solution, but it only became a title, a word. I was bullied, tormented, used and abused by people in my school years and by my alcoholic/drug addict mom. What she did and said was the worse. I literally fear going anywhere and fear having a conversation with anyone (even virtually/text based) because the expectation of them losing interest and the fear of rejection because of the years I spent being told, programmed into what I am…I understand what you are saying. I do.

    Todd says:
    June 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm
    I am 45, at this time in my life I am unemployed, financially almost destitute. Do have a brother and sister , who I never hear from.
    Early when I was younger it was tough for me to feel hurtful , negative things that were directed right at me. And would end up not wanting to be around others that did that, because I did not want to feel it again. Kids can be cruel, and I got alot of that while at school.
    Have I given people forgiveness, yes. Things are still hard to forget.
    I believe I hate myself for what I have become, and never felt like I was any good, since I was younger.
    Another thing that happened was while younger i starting to have Epilepsy, a neurological condition, which i still have to this day.
    Other things that were obvious at times, was my Mother who was constantly screaming at times. She had bad depression and still does do this day. Somewhere I feel, I was telling myself I was to blame for how she was feeling. She also had Epilepsy while younger. And from what I heard, dealt with parents that were always fighting.
    I may not be one that is open to listening from people. That might be because of how i closed people out and never gave some a chance and thought there was never any love to receive.
    I am passive aggresive as my Dad is, he would never interject anything. Don’t recall ever doing anything with him much. DAD/SON stuff.
    My Mother was leechy, and could not let go of my Dad and always needed to be nearby to him.
    Other times while living with them, I would constantly hear complaining from her. I don’t know what should be right or wrong, but any two that are married, I had thought it would be best leaving quarrels in the bedroom, but that didn’t happen in our family.
    all of us heard anytime when she is upset. And it never fealt good.
    I became very needy younger, with my Epilepsy I didn’t not have luxuries like others(driving). And anytime that would be asked to some to help me, all thought it was intrusive of their space and wanted me to leave them alone. Anyone, friends, siblings. sometimes harshness sounded from my parents.
    Most recently I had lost two jobs. No one to really console with, parents live nearby but never ask anything really. They don’t want to know, or they are scared to even ask.
    I can get defensive,when being told what to do. but when it is said this is how it should be done, rather than in a suggested way it feels like that way or the highway.
    I did find it was very good to have a dog for comfort whne troubling times would be. But that ended up being stopped. My Mother , as I recall, told me let me have your dog. It is best we take care of him in case anything bad happens. I didn’t have options like driving it to the vet if needed, i guess. But they didn’t want to even get to that point to see if there would be a problem.. Which didn’t give me any self confidence at all. So mostly I would not tell them about anything I did. Because of how I didn’t want to hear accusations that what i was doing was wrong.
    So I am at a stopping point now, not sure what to do. I am looking for groups to discuss things and be with. Depression, anxiety areas. But with my limited transportation. I sometimes don’t even want to look to see if there might be anything.
    I don’t give other people a chance. And have major trust issues from early on in life. I think alot of this is obvious and some just don’t want to ask because they know of how bad stuff might be.
    There is alot more, but at this time I am needing to find a way to get out of my depression state, but unsure to fully disclose this to my folks because of ramifications that may come up if they might not be understanding or not.

    Wrongway says:
    June 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm
    Hi Todd,
    You might just want to see what I have gone through. Some of it mirrors very closely. We can pm if you’d like on that forum. It just might help. I know the thread is really long, but just read the first post.

    Wrongway says:
    June 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm


    Arne says:
    June 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm
    You write that you hate yourself for what you’ve become. First, don’t hate yourself! You say you’ve forgiven others even though there are things that are hard to forget. Give yourself a lot of credit for that. Many people can’t make it that far. I can’t. Don’t beat yourself up over your current circumstances, and don’t see yourself as ‘at a stopping point’. Life goes on. I hope things take a turn for the better for you. Don’t give up.

    Lucy says:
    June 4, 2014 at 4:39 am
    I am 42 years old. I have no meaningful friends and rely on my husband and children for companionship. I have had a trying life: divorced parents at two years old, addicted step parent, clinically depressed other step parent, sexually abused as a child by more than one person, cheated on repeatedly etc, etc. …since my practical existence I have avoided close relationships because I am afraid of being hurt physically or emotionally, yet at the same time my soul yearns for just that: a meaningful relationship with a friend who wants nothing of me but to give and receive friendship. But because of my childhood upbringing, I find myself literally unable to be comfortable in a potential friend’s presence. In my own minds eye it’s because I am so starved for companionship that I try to make myself too perfect and end up sabotaging my efforts. The person likely see through me into the depressed soul that I am or is scared off by my awkwardness, because no matter how amiable I am, rarely a friendship develops. In addition, I am a stay at home mom and work from home, but the business I’m in does not alot for real interaction with people, my husband works six days a week, my teens are involved in extracurricular activities and friends, and though I connect with my toddler, I cannot expect the nurturing and support I need from a child. I’m supposed to be that for her, and I am. I’m a lonely stay at home mom who longs to connect with someone who can relate. My husband is great around others but prefers to stay home most of the time, however in the event that one of his co workers invites us over I feel excited and anxious all at once. In social situations I look forward to going but find once there I feel awkward and nothing comes to mind to say, especially to strangers. On top of that it makes me feel more of an outcast because generally everyone knows everyone, except for me and I find it extremely difficult if not impossible to insert myself into conversation. Small talk comes very difficult to me and it shows, my therapist says it’s because I’ve learned through experience to be so guarded my brain freezes when it comes to natural conversation. As Mo said, I censor myself. I’m always two steps in my head analyzing, when I should just be enjoying the moment. Easier said than done! I end up being perceived as stuck up, when I am anything but. I even find it difficult to open up on here, like I shouldn’t be bothering you good people.

    Erin says:
    June 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm
    Oh my gosh i cant believe you are telling my story! I’m also a SAHM of 3 and have woken up to realize i have no friends…i have spent all these years dedicating my life and energy to my sweet kids who are so much fun but are growing up and will be moving on soon. I will be left with nothing but incredible memories because while i was completely loving being a mom, i forgot how important it was to build relationships… The anxiety that came from all that just made me want to shut down. And I’m a nice looking, normal-seeming girl.. I have no idea how people see me but i find i am never really sought after, when it comes down to other women and friendships. I just shut down and enjoyed the love from my family…and loved my family bunches!
    But to wake up and realize how i havent built any kind of sweet, caring network of friends that i could share all the fun times with…its so painful and shameful. I have no one to share this with.
    I’d love to talk, to hear how we are in many ways so much alike in our pain is really surprising, because i feel so alone in this.

    Ma says:
    June 7, 2014 at 5:44 am
    I recommend brene brown to you both. She’s taught me how to live wholeheartedly. Please try her. It changed my life and relationships.


    Dimitris says:
    June 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm
    Don’t give up and don’t feel you are over. These things happen to everyone. These things don’t discriminate against age or sex. Think of it. I’m a 25 years old man who has no one because do you know something? People make me mad. I can’t stand people and their strange weather attitude I just can’t. I’m very conscious about my choices and I found my inner truth. No friends in my life and that’s ok. Everyone that passed from my life was just too shallow. No meaningful connection, even my 17 years best friend ended up to wanting me as company only when her best friend was absent or when she was bored. NO. That’s a no no. Either good friends that love you every time of the day or no friends at all. The ones that need you when they are bored or want something can go right down to hell for me. Only few people worth for me. My future cat my sister and my mother. Love from Greece and don’t make negative thoughts. Life is wonderful for all and happiness is moments

    RG says:
    June 17, 2014 at 8:04 am
    I am sitting here crying reading yours and Lucy’s words. I feel the exact same way. I am so despaired I don’t know how to even function anymore. I have made my kids my life and now all of them have grown up and have to move on with their own lives. I feel like I am friendly and try to make friends, but every time I make a friend and it seems like we are going to be good friends something happens and I either lose them all together or we drift apart. I am at a point now to where I feel like I have no one to talk to and nobody reaches out to me. I really am not sure what it is about me that turns people off. I try to be friendly and nice. I am not overly funny though and I guess I can be a bit boring.

    Lucy says:
    June 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm
    I am so sorry that I am replying a couple of weeks after you posted your reply. I was away with my family. I am excited to hear that someone else shares my experience! It helps me feel connected to life to know that others are going through the same thing…and that’s a positive thing! I would love to talk too. I’m new to this website and not sure how connecting outside of it works.

    Grace says:
    June 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm
    I also could have written the above post. I have 2 tweens and a toddler. My husband works a lot and despite trying and trying – room mom, PTA mom…volunteer, volunteer…smile…etc, I have no friends. I drive my kids to activities and playdates but have never received an invitation for a cup of coffee. I’ve pretty given up. I am not very pushy. My kids school year just ended and all the moms who said they would email me to let me know what camps their kids were in, well they didn’t.
    I sent out 3 emails. One emailed back and she actually emailed me a few times as I was getting more details on what her daughter was doing. The other 2 never contacted me. I am trying though as I used to just not bother if they never contacted me. I realize the road goes both way but it does make me sad that, if I didn’t really work at it, they would never bother.
    One of the camps, 4 classmates of my daughter’s, are in. They probably contacted each other.
    I really don’t get it. I did sign up my daughter for camps based on this one mother who contacted me. The other thing is, I will probably bring my daughter to these camps and see that the other moms are all carpooling. This has happened before.
    I am trying to be upbeat about this. I mean I don’t want to think/assume it’s me.
    I am going to double up my efforts but I realize I need to also try to branch out.
    There are moms who regularly pick up each other’s kids and go out for coffee, I know because I see it. I often see moms going for walks together and taking gym classes together. I always go to the gym alone and for walks alone.
    I get that cliques were formed and they don’t want anyone new or they just don’t want me but I hope there are other moms who feel the same as me and maybe I can find them.
    I try to say the right things, don’t brag about my kids, ask them about their kids…but nada.
    You do ask yourself maybe it’s me, maybe there is something wrong with me. It’s hard because then I will go through a period where I just avoid people.
    I sustained a brain injury when I was 15 and was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic inattentive ADHD as a result of that injury. The doctor put me on meds about one month ago and now I see I really couldn’t focus on people, on anything.
    So now I am trying to pick up the pieces but part of me fears I am too late. I mean I notice I make eye contact now and answer people faster than I used to. Social situations don’t fill with with fear.
    The good thing that comes from being a social outcast is I have had time to focus on my kids. They have benefited. Some moms have said to me “how do yu do it?” because my kids really excel. I can’t tell them that it’s probably because I am there, all the time, because I have nothing else to do.
    My worry now, as my kids are becoming teens, is will they realize I have no friends? that mom’s a loser?
    I had lots of friends in high school, but that was before my accident and brain injury. So they were my friends after until I moved away to go to college.
    I realize how much, well it’s really frontal lobe damage which is what they say causes ADHD, affected my life for years. Never had many close friends after high school.
    The meds have helped me realize why I don’t have much of a social life. They’ve also made me see things more clearer and I feel I can sense people’s rejection more strongly now although the difference is, it doesn’t bother me as much.
    Maybe that’s key, they want it to bother you. I used to shuffle out of school events quickly because I felt so much rejection. On these meds, I stay and I really don’t care. In fact, the last school event, I never acknowledged the moms who tried to give me that non-accepting look.
    You are not alone in your feelings. I wish you luck.

    erin says:
    June 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm
    Grace, RG, Lucy…reading your posts makes me alternately have hope and despair more. I have hope because I see I am not alone. Others are telling my story. But then you are all inaccessible. It feels bittersweet to then only be able to chat on a public forum instead of be able to ring up and say, “hey girl, I know what you are going through, how’s your day going? Hey! LETS DO COFFEE!” :)
    I have Brene Brown’s book, will actually pull it out and re-read it…its true about being vulnerable. its just so hard when everyone else seems to be functioning so “normally”…I want to find a place where my “peeps” are, “peeps” who share from their heart like you all have.
    Thank you. For being real. Stay in touch!

    Lucy says:
    June 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    Erin, Grace and RG,
    Reading your responses has given me hope that there are good, honest and giving people out there. And I would invite any of you for a cup of coffee right now if you were living in my vicinity. Just knowing that there is acceptance and non judgement here on this site has lightened my heart. I agree with Erin, let’s stay in touch!

    Todd says:
    June 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm
    Hi Lucy,
    I can totally relate to some things mentioned. I also do try to perfect in everything I do. That is my way to make sure everything will be alright, so I don’t end up hearing things from others when they get pissed off or angry at me.
    In this politically correct world we may be in. The media and other things always frown upon things when people do things wrong, or at least show how that was wrong, or why did somebody do that. And it is what we see mostly being talked about.
    In a way, the world is not accepting anything wrong or anybody making mistakes either.

    melany says:
    May 20, 2014 at 9:54 am
    I have so many issues within myself that I struggle with everyday I’m so lonely and depressed I feel like nobody gets me just judge me me and my mother don’t get along at all she tells me I had depression once and I got myself out I have years of depression and I tried doing it a alone but I can’t I just can’t I don’t know who I am I can’t find myself I lie to myself I do things without thinking I’m just a mess sometimes I wish I was sleeping And that I dont wake up but then I think of my kids and it changes my mind but it’s a struggle I’m fighting for my sanity for my kids how can I do it when sometimes I just can’t get myself up off the bed I push people away but it’s not like they care anyways I wish I had a different life I wish I was a different person I have no friends basically no family my mom and sisters don’t get me I’ve always been an outcast abandoned by my father it sucks having a step father who treats you different I’m alone in the world.

    J says:
    May 8, 2014 at 1:34 am
    Im currently 23… i just read what ive been unable to write myself or explain to anyone else.
    I shut myself off from the world, afraid of the inevitable hurt.
    Lets see, I dont quite remember when the depression started or when i realized that was what i was experiencing, I wouldnt say i had a rough life exactly, i do live in a privileged country, always had food on the table, and enough people around to give me love, so my stories always feel so over worked and unrealistic. My dad always had alot of anger issues and abuse issues and im sure not having it easy himself as a child played a part in how he raised me, he was mean, unkind, abusive physically and mentally and manipulative.. you name it and he was that nightmare for me and my mother and some of my other siblings. We all put up with it, home business stayed at home and wasnt mean to be talked about with anyone else, it was the rule, or else i would get taken away so things always progressed, nothing got better… luckily i had a few family members who gave me love unconditonally, and cherished me always. but still that abuse towards everyone in the family progressed, than when i was roughly 12, both my parents started to use hard drugs, became addicted, watched my family crumble due to crack addiction, seen alot of crap, had alot of hatred, at 15 dad uses me to sleep with my childhood best friend behind my back (they turned me into an alcoholic so i would pass out and let them be together) and they start dating, i find out by catching them in the act sexually….i have to tell my pregnant mother that my father and friend are having an affair… they didnt last long once my so called bestie got what she wanted from him.
    ill never forgive myself for that one.
    parents quit drugs 5 years ago, mom changes back into my best friend, dad still a fat loser crackhead with anger and abuse issues, i blame him for everything wrong in my life… if only i had been shown how to be properly loved and how to give love.
    soo the family that was there for me, through thick and thin… sadly all passed away in the last 5 years, first my great uncle, than great grandma, than my uncle wayne, than my great aunt (her husband, her mother, her son, lost her leg ) just wanted to die, than she passed away, than my grandma (who lost her leg when i was 12) lost her other leg and her mother and sister and nephew and she was the last one left and she sadly contracted a virus from the hospital and her leg wouldnt heal and got infected and she also passed away, so i lost everything i knew and i even lost my religon… i gave up on any idea of heaven or god or the bible… i just became a closed off agnostic.
    anyways im 23 and i enjoy being inside, im afraid of people i dont know or large crowds, ive been in a serious relationship for 5 years with a great person, who sadly i dont treat correctly.. :( im bringing him down, im bringing me down… i have no friends at all, not even 1… i live across country from any family, in a province where i dont speak the language. so much more stuff but i cant even figure out where i would start. thanks for being descriptive and making me feel like im not the only person who feels like this.

    melany says:
    May 20, 2014 at 9:42 am
    I feel just like you I feel like I just don’t belong most pol judge me they just hate me I even hate myself I’m 25 I have kids they are all I have I don’t have a big family only my mom and 2 sisters I’m married even tho my husband abandoned us he plays with my emotions because he can’t fix himself my mom and me can’t get along for the life of God I feel lost like I just don’t know myself can’t find myself my father abandoned me I’m a mess it’s a long story behind all I feel but your not alone I know it’s hard but don’t push that one person you have by your side unlike me you have a great person me I have my kids and they are too little to understand I feel alone. Try and be happy. Your partner is hope.

    lou says:
    June 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm
    I came across this discussion after yet again Googling ‘depression’. Why I do this I have no idea, as if I expect the answer & cure to be amongst the search results…alas, it never is ofc. I’m sure the real answer would be found in a therapist or having a talk with those that have hurt me, but that’s on the same scale as walking into a fire – I would never ever do it. So here I am, locked in my depression. I thought I had everything, an ambition & career in mind & a partner who loves the bones of me. But it’s nothing, it all means nothing when you have a mental illness (albeit self-diagnosed) cause the depression stops you from doing everything & I mean everything. My only friend is my boyfriend & even that is starting to feel like a nightmare, we don’t have sex anymore & I feel like my days are filled with him trying to discuss this with me. It’s driving me crackers. His reply all the time; ‘go see someone, go see a Doctor’ sounds so so easy doesn’t it, little does he know just how thick the wall is I’ve built around myself.

    Tonya says:
    March 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm
    I am almost 39 yrs old. I have suffered with the depression for as long as I can remember.At 14 and puberty I was tested for a heart condition bc I was having repeat episodes of chest pain and racing heart. It was anxiety. My home life had been pretty bad with my parents splitting apart when I was 2 and moving to a whole other State was hard on my mother to be a single Mom raising to children. We were poor and all my Mom could do was try to put a father in our lives. Rhat led to man hunting. Alchoholic abusive men with lots of baggage and emotional problems. I was born over 2 months early so I was already the girl that got labeled slow learner,stupid and retard. Sorry, to use those words. That is just how it was. I had a few friends through church. I would intercept the New kids at school that stood alone bc I mostly knew that feeling. They would friend me for awhile until someone better came along.
    I grew up with feelings of inadequacy. Nothing was ever going to be good enough for everyone else around me. So, why should it be for me attitude. And so, that set the mood to how the rest of my life would be. I let a few wounded people in close enough to see and understand my darkness but they always betrayed me. Either by socially humiliating me by telling my secrets and laughing about them behind my back.. Or just plain hanging around to take my boyfriend or later husband for themselves. I have felt a sence of distrust in women that makes it awkward for me to fit in.
    I am also a quarter Native American. People can be very judgemental about race too. I found that out. I am a beautiful lady though. That has never been an issue but with all of the abuse in my life, mental, physical,emotional, molested at 10 by an Uncle, raped when I was 19. Institutionalized a couple of times. Once for trying to commit suicide, drug abuse when I was 18-20, alchohol abuse from then until about 6 yrs ago. I know I have isolated myself from fear of hurt to my children from others, fear of rejection, fear of being laughed at ans judged by my mental diagnosis, by my past with drugs and alchohol. I am so lonely but I keep myself alone. I am myself’s worst caretaker living with no friends. A wife that’s husband travels so, I stay home to manage the home alone. I wish the best for everyone on here wirt these same struggles. I hope you find inside what you are looking for. Just pray that I do as well..

    woman says:
    April 13, 2014 at 1:05 am
    I feel the same way. Women gossip a lot and It hurts me when people bring up my past and try to bring me back down when I’m trying to move on to a better place in my life. The worst is when they do it at work, I feel like I have no choice but to be an outcast.

    KG says:
    October 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm
    This phenomenon of depressed people losing all their friends reminds me of a story my depressed (maybe ex-) girlfriend told me. When she was 30, she blew out her knee when in a sporting accident, and wound up in the hospital for a week. During that time, she says, she had a total of two (unwanted) visitors, both of whom (she says) were there for romantic reasons (married guy who was interested, gay woman who was interested). Her family (who lived in the area) didn’t show up. No other friends.
    I thought that was a very sad story, and kind of hard to fathom. I know her family, and they are good, caring, people. She’d been a popular girl in her youth. She seemed warm and wonderful to me. How did she wind up in the hospital alone? Well, knowing now (though I didn’t then) that she’s a depressive (who has now cut me ceremoniously out of her life) I can see how she might have found herself in that situation.
    She claims that at that point, she looked at her life and realized that things weren’t what she wanted, and she needed a change. And she soon changed her career dramatically. But I don’t believe she saw that hospital stay as the culmination of depression. She’s probably pushed everyone who tried to care away, just as I’ve seen her do with me.
    Very sad.

    Ken says:
    July 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm
    I’ve always been introverted (except for a few years in college and then only when I was under the influence :-) and have never had more than a handful of friends. When I was in high school, there was only one friend I hung out with outside of school. I work at home (and have for about 20 years) so I don’t even have the forced socialization of an office milieu. So depression hasn’t really changed that aspect of my life very much but it has amplified it. When I do go out socially, I usually hang back. My wife is extremely gregarious and is well-known in town so she sees people she knows everywhere we go. I usually try to stay out of site while she makes the rounds in order to avoid as many introductions as possible. I can sometimes manage to get involved in conversations and there are some topics that automatically draw me in. And in those times I can forget about my depression for a bit and feel almost normal. But then I’ll remember and start to withdraw and want out. I realize that being around people is good for me but when I’m home I don’t want to be around people. When I’m getting ready to go out it’s always so much trouble to get ready. I can’t find clothes to wear and I feel unattractive and I just want to get back in bed. I know that socialization helps my mood (most of the time) and yet it’s extremely difficult to muster the energy to actually do it. I never talk to anyone (except my therapist) about my depression – I don’t have that kind of relationship with anyone. It’s very isolating. Most of the time I don’t realize how isolating that really is. I’m trying to go online more to find kindred souls I feel like no one wants to hear my sad story and I shouldn’t be whining so much. I’m also trying to blog about my depression but, again, I feel like a whiner when I really talk about it. Anyway, I totally understand the feeling of no friends and no life.

    Lili says:
    July 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm
    Hi Ken,
    Please do not feel like you are a whiner, ofcause you cant help it, but really you are going through an illness that you have no control of. It is ok to talk about your pain just like every other illnesses. Also ofcause there’s that stigma about men dont want to talk about their feelings as it’s percieved as a weakness. My partner never talk about his feelings, untill the day he couldnt contain his depression anymore, then it came flooding out like a broken dam. I was comepletely in shock and over whelmed by the things he said (and the nonsense blames). If only he talked, and shared with me what was really going on in his head all those month….
    He also have no friends, hates going out, but this only contributed to his depression. He feel more alone than ever. Ken i sincerely hope you open up people around you. It will let you see who are the ‘real’ friends, that’s willing to stick by you, or the ones who flee at the mere mentioning of a mental/mood disorder. Having friends dosnt mean you need to be the talk of the town, it just means you should have a couple of really close, honest mates that can be there to support you without any judgements.
    Online is a good way to start, as its less confrontational, you can atleast build up your confidence and become comfortable at sharing about depression or just problems in life in general. Because you can never be sure what can trigger an episode of depression.
    Best of luck to you Ken!

    Ken says:
    July 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm
    Thank you very much, Lili. I appreciate your word of encouragement :-)

    gandox says:
    July 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm
    All my friends are gone. Have been for many years. I have tried making new ones but I always perceive them to slight me,so I reject their intentions and ideas and further Isolate myself. I do this and look back at it and say to myself “did I do that on purpose or am I just that bad of a human being? ” That only furthers the cycle. When someone gets too close to me I will self destruct the encounter and force them away.
    I wasn’t always like this. Once I was happily married and raising 2 children. I had a few friends,more along the lines of acquaintances. Then about 12 years ago we bought a house with a basement. That is now where I most days with the door closed and only the computer and xbox to keep me company. My wife brings me food and we communicate but I push her away to. I can tell her anything but I am so negative that a meaningful conversation is not really possible.
    I do get up everyday and go to work and interact with the people at work but that too is strained. If not for my skills I would be let go for being a D-bag (yes,I am THAT guy). Although I do try so hard to restrain myself from spewing my pain and anguish upon them but unfortunately some of it slips out.
    I do return home and settle into my basement world and beat myself up for the way I acted and for the person I am then,I play on the xbox and because the anonymous nature of the interwebs I spew my negativity further alienating myself online. I could easily cut that part of my life out but it is almost like I need to do it.then I beat myself up for doing it…then I do it again.
    I do pay the bills and I do fix the house when it needs it and I tend to the vehicles. When those minor interruptions to my insanity happen I pat myself on the back and tell myself “see, that’s normal you’r not really that bad” but as soon as I am not needed I return to my the world I have created in my mind and beat myself up.
    I know exactly the reasons for my isolation but fail to stop it I am not suicidal although, laying down and dying wouldn’t bother me. I am a Barker not a Biter which means I talk tough but not really ever hurt anyone physically,definitely verbally though.
    I hurt inside and outside. I push everyone away. How do I stop ? I so want to get back to “normalcy” I want too feel good again. I reject most new ideas so how do I know which one to accept ? How do know whom to accept? Maybe I am that one person there is no hope for.
    Look how I am rambling and have devolved into into my “woe is me” vitriol.
    Bah, useless, but I throw it out there and maybe someone else has the same life.I don’t want pity I really just want to know if I am alone or not. Today I was in the mood to vent. I’ll check back and vomit more rantings and self loathing another day.

    invisibleplease says:
    July 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm
    You sound like you could be my father. He has lived in his “room” since I was a young teenager. He hated my choice of a spouse and did not walk me down the aisle nor even attend my wedding. He still dislikes my husband and never comes to my house, nor my husband to his home. I hardly ever see my father even though he lives 30 miles away. He seems to be nice to my children when they visit overnight. I feel like he cares only about himself. But it is from him that I have inherited my own bouts of depression. I don’t want to be like him. It is sad to realize that he might be lonely with no way out of his darkness.
    I have been studying the health deficiencies possibly associated with depression. Right now I am trying a natural product to help the adrenal system. This product has taken the heavy feeling of hopelessness away. I am happy most of the day and I am nice to those around me. Since using this dietary supplement, I have been able to step back and realize that I am a good person with a disease that can be healed.

    invisibleplease says:
    July 2, 2013 at 7:33 am
    I related to your article. I have never had more than one friend at a time. I currently have zero friends. I close out my spouse because I feel guilty for feeling depressed. We argue a lot when I’m depressed. I’m scared I’ll be viewed as pathetic if my spouse knew about my depression (taking it personal that he is the reason when that’s not true, he deserves better than me). I’ve tried to let my spouse know a few times that I need help, but nothing happens. I’m really scared my children will not have friends because of me. Some days I crave friends, other days I am happy that I don’t have the pressure of being perfect in their eyes. I talk so, so much when I meet new people or meet up with people I know. I am so embarrassed afterward and get really upset with myself for being this way. My dad and older brother were depressed… to the point of suicide, but I have always viewed myself as better than that and in control of my life. I really have a great life and maybe it’s not depression but I’m rather a lazy, pathetic person.

    Cathi says:
    May 23, 2013 at 10:01 am
    This is my first visit to your site, found through a search for ‘accepting depression’. Wow! What a similar set of thoughts run through my mind almost daily.
    Yesterday walking home from the commute bus stop my thoughts and feelings rang a familiar theme and reached a new level of almost apathy.
    Feeling invisible, not sensing anyone with whom I can share the real feelings and thoughts I live with – rather needing to be the one who listens and helps others solve their issues both at home and at work.
    Accepting (sadly ) that there most likely won’t ever be anyone there for me, and at the same time beginning to realize that approaching life this way must create barriers between myself and others that prevents relationships from beginning or continuing. After all, who wants to be real about the loneliness, depression and isolation?
    Not sure what to do about it, feeling a growing sense of anxiety about the outcome. About this time my guilt kicks in as a single mother of an almost 21 yr old who also suffers from anxiety and depression. Did she learn it by living with me? What can I do to help her move through and past it?
    I’ve been noticing the commonality of my relationships with most of those in my life, the shallowness and limited exchange of real life. I’m not sure if my sense that the common factor and therefore, cause is me is true or not. How do you verify that with others?
    Add to this my continued dis-ease and unhappiness with my immediate and extended family. I made the conscious choice to live next door to our mother to help with her care in her later years (she’s 85), while my brother lives a few hours away and is clearly her favorite and chosen one to go to for assistance. My role seems to be to wait in the wings until asked, don’t be proactive when I notice areas she needs help with, and accept not being included in discussions. Ugh – not sure what the point of being here is.
    John’s thoughts about being in relationships and the interaction of depression, anxiety and relationships ring a familiar tune with my experiences.

    Alex Kamonohash says:
    May 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm
    I’ve had great difficulty making friends (or finding satisfying romantic relationships) all my life. I’ve pretty much lived my entire life, since early childhood, without friends, or with just one, until they moved away. (I currently have one very good friend who lives in another part of the country.) I definitely lacked social skills in my youth and was very shy. That is not at all the case now. I have well-developed social skills. I’m a very pleasant person- kind, friendly, interesting, and a good listener. It’s not at all difficult for me to find people who are happy to be my friend (or girlfriend). Rather, the problem is that I almost never find the relationship satisfying.
    What’s almost always missing is CHEMISTRY. Do a Google search for “chemistry” and “love” and you’ll get thousands of hits, but zero for “chemistry” and “friendship.” Yet chemistry is as essential for friendship as for love. I’m different from other people in profound ways- so different that they can usually only see a small part of who and what I am. I find myself feeling deeply, profoundly lonely when I’m out with a group of people and realize that I have nothing in common with any them, and that they don’t even know who I am. Again and again throughout my life I’ve ended up choosing to be alone because, ironically, that feels significantly less painful and lonely.

    Maria says:
    February 3, 2013 at 8:33 am
    Thank everyone for sharing their emotions & stories .I have been dealing with depression for over 8 years. all my friends have gone away, they want nothing to do with me anymore.I kept myself distance locked up in my house waiting on the phone call from a friend yet also fearing the call would would come which it would ,then fear of rejection. I was unable to explain to my friends what was going on. My friends would just think I didn’t care about them .I always wanted to join in with my friends however when it came time to get ready to go meet them .I would freeze. I recently turned 40 , my thirties were very hard. I though the worse was behind me. Now turning 40…I am alone with no friends and my mother & father are no help. I was raised with no encouragement, I was always told I was a loser. I am still single with no children.Where do I start ? I believe it is very important to have friends .I have tried to make amends with past friend however they see me for my past when all I want to do is show them a different me. I’ll pretend to be happy and that all is going good. I was always the friend who listened and did everything for my friends. I was always there for them all.Back then I didn’t take of my feeling or my depression I would just listen to all of their issues in their lives.I did pull back on going out but that it. Was that so bad to justify for these friend to no longer take my calls and no longer want my friendship? I’ve been ostracized, I become the outcast. So in that said my depression as worsen. What’s next? If anyone had some words of encouragement I will be so grateful

    John W says:
    February 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm
    If your friends won’t listen to you then they weren’t your friends to begin with. Keep your chin up. Join a civic group? What do you like to do outside of work? Can that activity be shared outside in a group? My trouble growing up was I was so centered on myself; I have a tough time keeping a conversation going. I realized people like to talk about themselves. So I learned to have people open up. You already have the hard part down. **Listening**. Someone told me once, “You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them proportionately. “
    I know what is like to believe that you’re a loser after being told many years that comment. I got mad. That originally gave me the strength to do something. Unfortunately that validated that comment and I became resentful. The best thing is to not accept the comment and feel sorry for the person who is saying those mean comments. Most people say those comments because they are inadequate themselves. So keep your chin up. Don’t listen to any of those horrible comments. You’re worth finding good friends. If you feel down, well I think it is time to learn how to stand up. What do you think? I’ll stand with you, okay? :-)

    Maria says:
    February 7, 2013 at 7:56 am
    Thank you John for your words of encouragement & for taking your time to respond. I recently lost my job .Also yesterday who I thought was my best friend told me that her husband brought it to her attention that what other single friends of her hangs out like I would. Honestly I would see her maybe once ever other week on a Friday night. For a friendship that was over 15 years and after 5 of those years she was cheating on her husband with several men. I was the one who encourage her to stay with her husband , I never judged her ever. SO to now be told that her & her husband feel that I was getting my happiness threw their family and she is now happy with her husband after he purchased a new home , and new horses and many other things for her. I was shocked. Once again another friendship gone. I have enjoyed so much being outside riding horses, just being out East on the property & being on a boat fishing…..I keep reading what you typed” Its time to learn how to stand up” I hear it & know it. What did I do in my life that it has come to this?

    John W says:
    February 9, 2013 at 6:00 pm
    I don’t believe in fate. I was partly responsible for the condition I am in. I have to take my life into my own hands and make it better. Many people find the forum helpful as many of us visit it daily. Maybe you can come and see yourself. Maybe there is a way here for you to stand up on your own without help?


    John W says:
    February 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm
    By the way…my screen name is Wrong way. (long story to that name)

    Susan says:
    February 11, 2013 at 8:45 pm
    Darling Maria,
    I, too, can’t believe how poorly some of my friends have treated me. I’ve come to wonder if perhaps I give up on friendships (and jobs, hair products, and knitting projects) too easily. I have nothing left to lose so I am going to bully my way through this wall. My goal is to contact one person a day that I don’t see regularly. Anyone with whom I’ve ever had fun is fair game – all the way back to the womb or first grade. Whether we ended through a fight or just drifted apart, I’m going to call them or e-mail them. I won’t talk about the bad, just listen to them. I dread what may happen, but I’m going to do it anyway.
    I challenge you to join me. What’s the worst that happen? We are already friendless and hate ourselves. We are already working souless jobs. Next year I may be living in a cardboard box and shouting obscenities to passerbyers. Today I can live without fear of rejection because it just doesn’t matter anymore.

    Mandy says:
    December 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm
    Depressed: No Friends, No Life
    I am now in the recovery process of depression. Now that I’m “waking up” I look around and find that not many of my friends have stayed around, which makes me down, causing a cycle of depressed moods. I lost a really good friend partly because of depression, and another friend either has excesses not to hang out with me or says very little to me. It sucks! I have tried to reach out to one of them with no luck, and when it comes to Christmas parties at their house I wanted to be invisible; even at work I feel that depression has hurt the relationships I have there. its a cycle that is hard to stop. I try to get out and reinvent myself but when I do people just look at me and see the depressed me. I try to fight it off and some days I’m good but other days its much much harder, starting the cycle again. Keeping strong in the recovery process is hard but the more I practice being strong, the easier it is to be strong!

    Lisa says:
    January 27, 2013 at 6:00 am
    Hello Mandy – You sound just like me. It gives me encouragement that you feel you are getting stronger. I’m trying too. I lost my job in March and I am also menopausal which causes more depressed episodes. I just got a new job as a contractor but I’m getting depressed again. Stress brings it on and I just want to die all the time. I want to give away everything I used to love but I have my animals and they are keeping me alive.

    Mandy says:
    January 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm
    Lisa; Keep your head up. What I have been doing lately is making myself do something everyday. It may be small or big depending where I am at. some days all I can do is go for a 5 min walk, or if Im up I will go for a walk and do what I love (bake)! If its a struggle to do that one thing then I done let myself get down and when I catch myself then I don’t get mad, its just a day. I give myself a reward after doing what I don’t want to do (usually laying on the sofa without guilt). I tried something amazing yesterday and even though I was sceptical I think it will work. I joined a meditation class. It doesn’t hurt to go just once to try something and when you are in that moment you feel pretty great. Keep working hard and take it day by day, hour by hour, or minute by minute. Depression sucks but don’t let it get you down fight it. I’s fighting the good fight:)

    John W says:
    November 5, 2012 at 7:56 am
    Thank you for keeping this blog up. I have been dealing with some form of depression over that last 25 years of my life. Only within the last 6 months did I recognize my illness, and asked for help. I was literally in such a depressed state that everything bothered me including waking up. I got help from
    1. Primary Physician
    2. Therapist
    3. Psychiatrist
    4. Writing
    My primary physician made sure my body was at the optimal working condition. She had found my Vitamin d levels were so low that it was almost non-existent. I met up with several therapists, and I found one that suited my needs. My psychiatrist helped maintain my medications regarding my depression. I originally started writing to let some of my uncensored feelings out. I have trouble expressing myself in ties of duress or stress. Writing helped me gain some perspective, but my depression will need all four components working together in tandem for me to be a functioning person.
    I finally have a job that I like, and am trying to stay positive. There have been times where waves of sadness will sweep over me. It is quite a scary feeling. I think it has only happened once at work for 5 minutes, but I was crying profusely because of this sadness. Today I deal with depression, but each day that I work on this, is one step closer to me feeling independent and happy.
    I want to share with everyone at how my depression has shaped who I am today. I think much of depression stems from the combination of my upbringing and my environmental circumstances. My parents emigrated from another country fleeing from war. They always mentioned their strife in achieving in this country. This in combination with some momentary physical abuse from my dad I think sparked the initial depression. My depression fully blossomed in high school. I had really low self esteem and felt socially awkward.
    I hit rock bottom a year ago. I was 40 and I had lost my job 8 months ago. I was on the verge on going past due on my payments, and finally had to stand up for myself. My wife had seen the proverbial ‘emotional dive off the cliff’ and all I wanted to do was sleep and cry quietly. I knew this wasn’t the normal “me,” so I sought professional help against my normal instinct.
    Since then, I have been able to get a job I like, improve my situation one day at a time. I think the most profound change in my life was to create my own happiness. I think through my parent’s upbringing, I learned that my happiness was going to be defined by my pains in life. While I know it is not realistic to go through life without pain or sadness, I was looking for more pain and suffering to help define my happiness. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I would seek out difficult situations, and in some cases, unreasonable situations to experience more discomfort. I found sadness, anger and pain more familiar than happiness. If found after time, that I forgot what being happy was like. I never realized I shut everything that was enjoyable in life. I hope this choppy post helps someone. Depression is an everyday fight for me. I am glad to experience happiness once again. Stay true to yourself.

    Lisa says:
    January 27, 2013 at 6:10 am
    Thank you for posting this, I found it to be very helpful. I too have a difficult time allowing myself to be happy and instead of finding things that make me laugh I unintentionally seek things that cause misery. I am still working on it but it’s really hard. Today I woke up and talked to God and asked Him to just take my life. I told Him I never ask Him for anything, I don’t ask for a husband (because nobody would want me), I told Him I don’t ask anymore to be cured because if He wanted to He would have since I have been suffering from depression since kindergarden. I am now 46 and things have never gotten better no matter how hard I try (meds, doctors, exercise, diet, friends, job, etc.,) I want to give up but have a little dog and 4 cats and they are keeping me here. I really hate living, I want to give away all the things that used to bring some joy to me but I still feel empty inside. Your post gave me some inspiration and encouragement. I believe I need to start focusing on the things that have the potential to make me happy instead of looking for things that are a comfort zone of bewilderment and disappointment leading to depression. Thank you!!

    John W says:
    January 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm
    I’m glad you found my post helpful. below are some tips which I found helpful in getting myself out of the mental fog of depression.
    I have 3 people working on this for me.:
    1. Primary care physician:
    a. He has made sure that my overall health is in good condition.
    b. He is helping me lose some of the weight I had gained (50lbs gained= 3.57 stone)
    i. Right now I have lost 30lbs =2.14stone; 3 inches off my waist = 7.62cm
    c. My vitamin D levels were nearly nonexistent. This is a contributing factor in my depression and had to be monitored to ensure proper energy levels
    d. Thyroid is in good working condition .

    2. Qualified Therapist
    a. She has allowed me to work through some of my emotional issues
    i. Emotional baggage from childhood
    ii. How to effectively engage the world
    iii. What are my emotional triggers and what I can do to control them
    iv. How to move forward and be aware of consequences of each action
    v. How to move past ‘Analysis Paralysis’ (I love to figure things out and how they work. Unfortunately it prevents me from solving problems efficiently.)
    b. Allow me to choose the direction of therapy. I n the beginning I had to choose another therapist because I was not comfortable with her. After 4 session with my current therapist I did not Feel any better. I challenged her on this by asking what direction she was planning on this therapy, because I did not feel any better. She took notes of my comments. At my workplace, I use a coaching to behavior method style of management. In the beginning I was being coached to my feelings. I found it most annoying, and I told her to stop coaching me to my feelings. She stopped and asked which method to use. I didn’t know that there were different methods. I told her to choose something else. She has changed since then , and has set emotional goals for me with estmated time frames. If your therapist cannot give you a time frame or goals, find another one!

    3. World renown Psychiatrist ( my wife thinks he’s an idiot)
    a. He monitors my medication.

    b. That’s why I keep a journal. 1st three months I was still in a deep mental fog. The danger of not keeping a log is as follows: Example
    i. You feel crappy 29 out of 35 days
    ii. On the day you see the doctor about your medication; and you have a “Good” day
    1. He asks you, “How are you feeling?”
    2. You answer ” I feel fine.”
    iii. In reality you feel crappy 29 out of 35 days.
    iv. Medication can take up to 6 weeks to take effect.
    v. Mood and behavior diagnosis is incorrect, and time is wasted

    c. 1st 3 months of log record mood and feeling 3 times a day. Morning, mid day, dinner time. Please note any significant event that may trigger mood or feeling. (if someone died, then no amount of medication except zombification will stop the pain)

    d. Beginning month 4 record mood and feelings once a day.
    Now you have
    · an accurate log of your mood, feelings with times and dates
    · a plan to stay healthy so your body is not inhibiting your recovery
    · A therapist who can give you mental tools to handle and face life situations as they arise
    Can you tell I like having a plan? A failure to plan is a plan to fail.

    John W says:
    January 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm
    Sorry Lisa, I read the post below and I thought your name was Laura. Please forgive me.
    I also found a website of people who either suffer from depression or people affected by ones who are depressed. I think they’ve given more advice and therapy on a daily basis.


    Laura says:
    October 20, 2012 at 10:30 am
    Hi, John
    Thank you for your reply. You’re absolutely right, but, unfortunately, I didn’t find a therapist or a counselor, because in my country they are rare, expensive( I suppose there are many sessions) and it is quite hard to find a good therapist, because I’d rather somebody recommended me one.
    From now on, I will try to have a positive characterization of my self work because I can no longer continue with this stupid depression. It is an awful feeling, it basically destroys my ‘self’, my inner beauty and my way of being. I am not going to allow the negative thoughts/feelings to hug me to their heart. I will live the present moment, I will try to feel good in my inner self and stop being so hard on me. I’ll just make them my principles.
    Nevertheless, there will be moments when I will feel down and everything will seem to turn upside down. I am conscious of that. And in those very moments it will be quite difficult to me to keep my balance . Those moments are very critical for me and nothing seems to take me out of that dark mood.
    Thank you very much for your pieces of advice. I am very grateful to you. It is curious that whenever I feel down, I need to talk to someone so much and let loose my feelings. After that I feel better as I am now.
    I will keep you in touch with the progress I am making and its faults.
    Thank you.

    laura says:
    October 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm
    I think I have come across my real problems due to Storied Mind. Thank you.
    I do not have close friends at all and I tend not to socialize with people. I have prejudices. I have read a lot of books which changed my way of thinking. Definetely that is not good. I have realised that, but I never thought it would affect my way of being so much, but it does, it really does. I have created my own world which tends to destroy me.
    I have never tried to discuss this problem with anyone. Not even to my boyfriend for fear he would disconsider me.I leave the people I meet the impression that I am normal, but inside me there is a hunting stormwind which makes me feel inferior in front of them, sometimes I can hardly find my words when I try to express myself. Apart from all these, I also tend “to project my own shame into people’s minds”. That’s horrible because people do not take any personal interest in me. But I give myself away in front of them.
    It might sound weird but I do not suffer, I do not cry, I am not consumed by all these, but still I’m conscious that I don’t have any close friends. I am still going to school but it seems that i “suceed” in keeping the others away from me.
    I want to improve my confidence but I do not know how…

    John Folk-Williams says:
    October 14, 2012 at 10:51 am
    Hi, Laura -
    I can relate so well to your description of a stormwind inside that makes you feel inferior – that’s such a common part of depression. I was wondering if you had tried talking to a counselor or therapist. That’s what I had to do to deal with feeling so badly about myself and driving others away. You mentioned being in school – can they help you find a good counselor?

    Laura says:
    October 15, 2012 at 2:27 am
    Hi, John
    Thank you for your reply.
    No, I haven’t tried to find a counselor or a therapist. I always thought that I could recover myself, but things got worse although I couldn’t realise that. I have moments when I feel okay, living my life to the full, but then I come back to the same problems over and over again. I am really convinced that it is I who has the power to reckon with depression, but sometimes I fail. At the moment I am practicing self-suggestion and yoga, but I can’t realise whether I am making progress or not. There is always something in the things I do which reminds me that I lack confidence, memory, or guts, and things seem to start again. That is the moment when I feel awful.
    My problem is ambivalent and quite ambiguous. I hope you can understand it.
    I am looking forward to your opinion.
    Thank very much.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    October 19, 2012 at 9:13 am
    Hi, Laura -
    (I thought I would reply to your last few comments here since you have subscribed to responses for this post.) I have found it hard to make progress without the help of a therapist or counselor. My mind has too many ways of trapping me in loops that keep taking me back to the starting point. You mention feeling a lack of confidence or guts, and that is one of the big traps. The negative characterization of your self-work is one of the most difficult depression symptoms to get around. I have found that a therapist is helpful primarily as a teacher of effective methods I can use on my own and as a guide or coach who can help me spot when I’m fooling myself and going round in circles.
    I am glad you find the writing here helpful, and I hope it does encourage you to write more. Your comment about almost making a mistake with your boyfriend is movingly written and also a perfect example of how depression wraps you up in ideas and perceptions that screen out the full reality of how people are behaving. I have that same tendency to keep everything inside and agonize over something that usually isn’t true. I wrote one post about an incident with my colleagues at work years ago when I was convinced they had betrayed me. I confronted them only to find that I had fabricated the whole thing on the basis of a few inaccurate perceptions of mine at a meeting. Depression has often led me into paranoid thinking of that sort. That’s why one of the basic skills that has been so helpful in recovery has been the ability to observe my own negative thinking without believing it. You mention yoga, and that is a good practice for making you observant of your body, as meditation and cognitive therapy can help you observe thoughts and feelings. Depression keeps fighting you by turning on self-criticism for not doing these practices “right” – but that’s only more symptomatic depressive thinking.
    Thanks so much for commenting.

    Cat says:
    June 30, 2012 at 12:59 am
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your wonderful writing. As someone who is in the midst of a spiritual awakening, but also living with depression (there goes the law of attraction some days for me!) I totally related to this. I am sure no one cares about me, thinks I am a big dud, etc. etc. And that is not always the case. Not at all. Most of the time, I have had to shuck off people who have tried to take advantage of me or didn’t actually like it when I started getting better in spite of the depression. They suddenly went away. They liked me sick and down so I could be their project! But as well, I also know that I have probably burned people out with talk of depression and I am working on that. I feel so much shame over it though.
    As I go through this awakening process while fighting my mood swings, I also feel a need to step back from most relationships. I have been burned too many times and no one there for me when I needed them to go do something fun with. It’s been very heartbreaking and I’m having to change my whole life and the people I associate with. But first I am working on me. It hard to be your own friend at times under the weight of depression. I cry a lot and hang out with my dog and wait for something intuitive to comfort me and guide me on. Thank you.

    Shel says:
    June 2, 2012 at 9:31 am
    “Depressed: No Friends, No Life” is probably a bit extreme for me right now, today…but I’ve definitely felt the depth of that statement at different points in my life.
    In the past I simply didn’t reach out: I kept it hidden. Even my husband didn’t know the depths of despair that I often felt. When I started therapy, I was told that I push people away…build walls around myself and keep people at arm’s length. That I don’t allow others to help me. That I don’t accept the help others are willing to give. When I finally accepted that, yes, I did suffer from chronic depression, and that my life would only get better if I worked on it actively, I chose a couple of friends to open up to. I explained some of my situation, and asked for their help, in very specific ways (which as you probably know is extremely difficult to do…opening yourself up like that…allowing yourself to be so vulnerable). I wish that I could say that this has been a good thing…but unfortunately it hasn’t really worked the way I had hoped. Maybe my expectations were too high. I’m trying to stay positive, but am perplexed that I can be such a poor judge of character in others…repeatedly. I have to keep reminding myself to fight the negative self-talk, but it’s really hard when you face disappointment nearly every time to put yourself out there with other people. It’s far easier to stay within myself.
    All of your points are spot on with me. If I felt up to risking it, I would forward your blog to a couple of people just so that they might understand all of this better.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    June 10, 2012 at 10:02 am
    Hi, Shel -
    It may not be that you’re a poor judge of character (though depression makes clear judgment harder), it could just be that people don’t want to hear about a chronic problem like depression. So many people simply won’t go into their vulnerabilities. As you share yours, they may well fear getting too close to their own. I made several mistakes like that of talking to the wrong person. Suddenly, they aren’t really there for you anymore. When a couple of friends heard I had cancer about 20 years ago, that was it. They were gone. It’s a rare friend who can handle such things and remain helpfully responsive. On the other hand, I found it essential to open up to my wife and later to my grown children – the honesty has only drawn us closer together.

    Kirsten says:
    April 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    What I just read that was so beautifully written sounds exactly like me. I was wondering if you could email me. I have been diagnosed bipolar/depression. I have a king story. I am a female, only 21 and just got out of the Marine Corps and am happily married- but who I am has been suffering since I was 16.

    mark says:
    July 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm
    just be comfortable with yourself and who you are in the end of the day. Then you don’t have to seek anything from anyone becasue you’ll know who you are. I think a lot of people think if they don’t have friends or money that their life is a failure. But what are friends only aquaintences who really lets be honest won’t be around when times get tough for you. Money is the same. A materialistic trap that many people have fallen into and wasted the great gift of life in spending their days trying to acquire. So really in the end have you lost out on something or have you gained something. Trust me it all comes from how you percieve yourself.
    If you see it as a bad thing then guess what it’ll be a bad thing.
    This thing also of bringing people out that the other poster mentioned doesn’t really work. Ive had people do that and all that happens is they drag you into their happy little world trying to make you happy and you may not really be comfortable with it in the first place.
    I guess in summary the truth is once your comfortable with yourself who you are everything falls into place.

    Tom says:
    December 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm
    My friends and I have come up with a strategy that has been useful when any of us gets stuck in a rut: we more or less, literally, pull the down and out person out of the their house and take them out for some fun. It sounds and sometimes can be pretty hard but in the end, it always expedites the healing process.
    Is this a good tactic? Or should this type of depression-kicking strategy only be used by very close friends/relatives?

    john says:
    December 4, 2009 at 10:58 am
    Hi Tom -
    If it works, that’s great! I’m not sure, though, what you mean by “stuck in a rut.” That sounds more like a normal down period that everyone has from time to time rather than the chronic depression I write about here. Depression as a disorder as opposed to the “blues” would last quite a while and be pretty stubborn. Working on the symptom can certainly help – I do similar things to get myself out in the sunshine when I’m down – but that wouldn’t keep it from coming back. If it seems more persistent and really is depression, the illness, you would know that. Consulting a counselor would also be a way of checking out what was happening. But, as I say, if it works to pull a friend out of the house and improves outlook and mood, that’s a good thing. Everyone has their own methods to deal with the immediate feelings.

    WonderingSoul says:
    December 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm
    I’m stunned again at hearing all my own experiences spoken with such clarity and such understanding.
    I wish I could tell you what it’s like to have all these words in me, jumbled and split, but in me nonetheless; and then to see them all put together, in the right order, to tell some of my own story… It is so strange and again, highlights the commonalities of depression.
    For an illness that is so profoundly isolating, there is a hell of a lot of shared experience involved…
    When I’m really bad, I can’t face being near anyone because it feels so overwhelmingly pointless.
    I guess tht in a way, I’m still very much at the mercy of all this and although not terribly depressed at this very second, or even on this day, I feel as though it is almost a part of me nowadays.
    I identify with what you you write about people not really being able to handle despair in others. I think it has to be one of the hardest things… to be exposed to absolute bottomless despair in another… maybe even harder than being faced with your own.
    I also find / have found that not too many people really ‘get it’ and so find it pretty fruitless to evn attempt to explain.
    I do just the opposite really.
    Hardly anyone, bar my therapist and 2 good friends, would ever even guess that I suffer from it. For the most part I am incredibly upbeat and positive.
    I struggle with this bcause I find that the act exhausts me. At the same time, I cling to it because it keeps me alive.
    I would be far too afraid to show people the darkness and the lack of hope that is like a shadow across my lungs and gut. I would be ashamed.
    Thank you for such a thought provoking, well articulated post. Again.
    Much love

    Andy K says:
    November 27, 2009 at 3:14 am
    very articulate, thank you!

    john says:
    November 27, 2009 at 1:57 pm
    Thanks, I appreciate that. Glad you came by.

    Evan says:
    November 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm
    Thanks John.

    Evan says:
    November 25, 2009 at 3:18 am
    Reaching out can be tricky. Normally my friends know that I am willing and able to listen. Sometimes it’s just sitting with them.
    It can be pretty awful being with the distress.

    john says:
    November 26, 2009 at 5:33 pm
    Hello, Evan -
    They must trust you to be with them in a supportive, non-judgmental way. You project that deep humanity through your writing as well. I hope you have someone to turn to for your own need.
    My best, as always -

    Wendy Love says:
    November 24, 2009 at 9:05 am
    As always, it amazes me how many words you can find to describe some of these feelings and experiences. I am a bottom line kind of person, summing up without giving all the details of what leads to my conclusions. But you ask a good question which I will try to answer. When I reach a really dark place I email (don’t phone) a few choice friends, tell them I am in trouble once again and ask them to pray. They are only too happy to do that for me as I am happy to do that for them as well. I choose carefully, only those that understand depression and will not be overwhelmed with my request. They all know I don’t want visitors, just prayer. It has taken me a long time to get to this place. But actually reaching out is not my style when depressed. I hide, which is my form of rest, and stay hidden until my symptoms improve and I am able, once again, to face people. Then I report to my prayer team, who are encouraged by my progress. When I am feeling quite good though I try to connect with a friend. It seems then to be wonderful medicine for me and they are happy to see me since they don’t see me very often. If I am not doing well, but not down so badly that I have to hide in bed, I will sometimes visit a specially chosen friend, who I am comfortable with. I don’t necessarily tell them I am down. I just try to enjoy the visit and often find it lifts my spirits at least for awhile. This is probably easier for women than for men since we relate to each other so naturally and manage to share from our hearts without much effort. I guess that it would probably be more difficult for a man to find a man friend to relate with. Therefore the topic of friends for depressed men becomes even more depressing! But for anyone reading this, if you don’t have an appropriate friend, pray and ask God to send you one. He will!

    john says:
    November 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm
    Hi, Wendy -
    It’s wonderful that you’ve found a way to deal with this and have the heartfelt support of friends. I think you’re right about men trying to relate to other men. In fact, I had a section on that in this post but cut it out since it’s such a general problem. I shouldn’t have. The close relationships many men have with other men tend to go back to early years, growing up together, in school or very early in their work lives. After that there’s enough competitiveness that it can be hard to admit to problems. Then also men are raised to keep their feelings to themselves or even suppress them. That’s communicated by all sorts of cues, not just strict parents. So, yes, that’s hard. I’ve always found it much easier to talk to women friends about these things.
    Thank you for letting us know about how you deal with this.

    Mo says:
    November 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm
    I too have felt the same way, very recently. I “censor” myself, according to my therapist, but I think he’s only got it half right. I’m not trying to censor myself. Rather, I’m desperately trying to speak, but no words will come out. My mind, in social situations, can become a complete blank. The other day I was out with a group from work, one of whom I really wanted to befriend, but I could not say anything of value. I can write it down, I can say it to my wife (with great difficulty), but I cannot reach out when I’m depressed and anxious.

    john says:
    November 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm
    Hi, Mo -
    I’ve felt that same way, and it is quite different from censorship. Talking to others, even people I know well, can be impossible – my mind blanks out, and I just feel stupid. Or I speak so slowly that people start filling in sentences for me. I started telling people I wasn’t well or else avoided even trying to talk to anyone when in that condition. I sympathize. It is a big step to see this as a symptom – I hope your therapist can listed to everything you say. Sometimes, they can jump to conclusions.
    My best to you -


    Is It Loneliness or Is It Depression?
    by John Folk-Williams

    It may seem strange to pose this question: is it loneliness or is it depression? After all, many people feel loneliness at the loss or weakening of close relationships because of depression, and most of us who’ve lived with the condition over a lifetime experience those broken connections as some of its worst effects.

    On the other hand, lots of lonely people are not depressed – sad, most likely, but not necessarily experiencing the classic symptoms. The two are different but often occur together. Getting straight about the difference isn’t a matter of hair-splitting for me. It’s been an important part of learning how to take my life back from depression.

    The recent book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection reminds me of the way I got started in recovery and also offers new and helpful insights about the differences between loneliness and depression.

    The authors explore why social connection is an essential part of human nature and what the effects of loneliness are, including long-term physical deterioration. They cite many cultures in which the worst punishment is not death but banishment, because it cuts a person off from every connection that gives them a meaningful place in the world. Deprived of that, they begin a collapse on many levels – from neurological to spiritual.

    But this study also describes the importance of the pain of loneliness in the broad trend of human evolution as a possible warning sign. It can help sustain the bonds that hold a community together by reminding an individual of the central importance of human connection to survival. That impels a lonely person to restore the lost relationships. There is a pull to return.

    We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. – Dorothy Day

    Depression, on the other hand, serves as a different kind of warning. Stress and other causes have created such harm that an individual can no longer be a helpful part of the community and must retreat from contact in order to heal. Depression impels a person away from social bonds, at least for a time.

    The concept of this contrasting pull-push is a good description of what I’ve gone through.

    Isolation and Loneliness

    When I’m in the depths of depression I’m completely isolated from people. I can hardly focus on what they might be telling me or bear to make a gesture in their direction. My feelings aren’t there – I can’t respond. People sense I’m not really in their presence at all. Trying to be with others is painful, and I need to retreat to deal with my own sense of despair, worthlessness and the rest of the charming attributes of depression. I need to start healing and to do that I have to be alone and get into whatever treatment might help.

    It isn’t until I’m coming out of depression and can see the damage I’ve done to my relationships – even if unintentionally – that I can begin to feel that loss. Then I’m deeply lonely and hope I can rebuild and restore the closeness and trust I’ve undermined. In our culture, though, that’s hard. There are no ceremonies to celebrate a return. I may more likely be greeted with mistrust, anger and distance.

    No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust? – George Eliot


    When I was putting this blog together, the first topic that came to mind as essential to recovery was connecting. It was a main theme that ran through the journals that were my first source for these posts. Connecting meant that, first, I had to reconnect with my own feelings, always so remote and unreachable during the worst periods of depression. I had to be able to feel again, and to do that I had to open doors shut firmly against even sense impressions of the world around me. Most fundamentally I had to accept myself again as a whole person.

    I had to feel the strength come back to my own body, see the colors in things, hear the words people spoke, and laugh, grieve, feel lonely, want to be part of my family again, want to go to work. Reconnecting with my own feelings, responding to daily life, I could begin to restore deeper connections with my wife and children. I often went through all this quite quickly, sometimes waking up one morning and feeling human again. At other times, I had to use all the tricks I’d learned just to get started.

    Hard as most of those periods of recovery were, they were lost in depression before long, and the whole process had to start over again. What has encouraged me more recently is that the pull from loneliness back into connection has been so much fuller and more complete than ever before.

    This push-pull idea is a useful reframing of experience, partly because it suggests that there are forces moving in depression and loneliness that go far beyond my own boundaries. That is another reminder that I’m not so alone as I imagine when isolation seems most complete.


    I know the experience of loneliness in relation to depression can differ widely in meaning for each person. What is it like for you?

    Ann Louise says:
    June 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm
    Hi Guys and Girls. Same problems with SAD, depression and isolation. Have a hard time dealing with all these emotional issues. etc. Would it be possible to make Skype group or videochat online?

    robin says:
    April 6, 2014 at 10:26 am
    I need help! I am dyslexia! I have coverd this for your years. I get by with it by hiding it. As long as I can remember. I have been mad, depress, anger, lonely and lost my marriage. Can’t read, write and no job. Nobody wants to hire stupid people. I can’t sleep, I feel the walls coming on me. Something happen to me as growing up. I sit down all day and think about sadness in my life. My mother perfer to be with my sister and het sons. I can’t remember anythink nice about my life. Just bad things. No money! No job, every time I start to write it’s about sadness, hurt, pain. I want to be smart and pretty. I want to trust and believe in people. I have two beautiful daughters I love very much and care for. I have holed job like receptionists. I can’t even take notes down the fear of Somebody finding out I am dyslexia. I am barassen about this. I live with somebody but he say I don’t make sentences half the time. Just sad and anger mad at the world.

    beverly s says:
    April 12, 2014 at 10:07 pm
    Robin, please don’t be embarrassed. Dyslexia is something you did not choose and it doesn’t by any means equal stupid. I can’t imagine the resourcefulness and cleverness you have relied on all of your life to continue hiding your dyslexia. Did you know that whoopie goldberg is dyslexic? I am no expert…far from it. But I believe there is help out there. Try googling dyslexia and your town and maybe see what resources might pop up.
    And you probably are already smart and pretty, but just don’t see it. If you get help with coping and adapting with/to the dyslexia it might be a first step toward feeling better..best wishes to you.

    Jackson says:
    February 21, 2014 at 6:58 am
    Hello John,
    I have lost a deeply meaningful relationship seven months ago, and have spiraled into depression and profound feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.
    I have a question I hope you, and others, may address. Do you think it is possible to advertise for companionship of another understanding person, who also is experiencing similar feelings of profound loneliness, and to offer them a place to live and to reduce, hopefully in time, eliminate, the deep sense of loneliness? I have a modest but nice home, and would welcome the company of another person to share my home with me. Rather than attempting to wait for the chance of bumping into another person, I have considered the idea of actively searching for someone who is lonely, like me, who is searching for a safe place to live, and be with another empathetic person who is also lonely. Is this idea realistic, or is it flawed somehow?
    I hope I have made myself somewhat clear, and hope you and others will give me your thoughts and insights.
    Sincerely yours….Jackson

    gg says:
    February 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    Hi Jackson,
    First of all, I’m sorry for your loss, hope you’re recovering.
    I think your idea of advertising is, in theory, good, but unfortunately it could be a bit dangerous to open up this way, to show fragility upfront, because you could be an easy target to someone with bad intentions.. I think you should look for a good company to live with, if you feel it would help healing (and in my opinion online dating is a really amazing tool – in case you wanted someone to have a romantic relationship), but I guess it would be better if you’d start looking without opening your house right away to a strange.
    Best wishes!

    kathy says:
    January 14, 2014 at 6:43 pm
    I need help all I do is watch TV all day till I go to bed n do it all again the next day, am I just lazy or is something else all
    I know is I can’t do it anymore, I love my grandbabies, but do nothing about it,,, I miss them so much but do nothing to see them, I hate going out, what’s wrong with me, I just cry. M miss them n am jealous

    beverly s says:
    April 12, 2014 at 10:19 pm
    Kathy, It sounds like you are depressed, I have been the same way and asked myself the same question. I can work hard but i lean towards lazy..but when I am depressed I can be frozen to the couch channel surfing and not even really enjoy anything on TV. I used to come home from work and do that for hours….way into the night and of course be late for work the next day and get home and do it all over again.
    I was the same way about my grandkids and what made matters worse was I was trying to hide my depression from my kids. We don’t live in the same towns. When I am with them it really lifts me. I have somehow been forcing myself to pick up the phone and call my family and do a little facebook so that I don’t disappear all together. I was very sad and cried a lot too. I still do but not as much. I am regularly seeing a therapist now. I hope you seek out some support to feel better.

    Greg Weber says:
    November 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    For me, it’s not loneliness or depression, it’s loneliness AND depression. The two are always present and interacting in a kind of dance. Sometimes the loneliness is the result of isolation brought on by depression. Sometimes the loneliness is the fundamental loneliness of the human condition. Even people who are completely depression-free feel lonely some of the time – because they’re still human beings. That kind of basic human loneliness is, I think, fundamentally healthy. Learning to sit with it is part of my journey of recovery.
    The profound isolation brought on by depression and the loneliness that ensues from that is, however, part of my disease. It’s THAT loneliness that requires action, requires me to reach out. That’s the challenge, because my depression doesn’t WANT me to reach out. It wants to kill me with the intolerable loneliness that comes from isolation. I just think it’s important to differentiate between the two.

    Elle says:
    November 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm
    It is like being in jail in my mind. Who am going to tell how lonely I am when they all just flick it off as take a pill you mental case. I know I am lonely and that I isolate I myself.` I am kind of scared that trying and failing would push me over the edge.
    Nobody can tell me that all of the Social Network and Facebook and 2 dimensional friendships are like emotional intimacy. I need a 3rd dimension outlet. One friend I do not care. I know I am a good person, I know that I am worth something. I know all of these things as surely as I know I have not spoken one word on a phone or to a living person in a week. Sometimes when I open my mouth to I cannot even talk. It sucks
    I did do one thing that may help you guys. but had to stop because I have to get my eyes operated on….No biggie just long wait.
    I knew that I am shy and have a hard time looking people in the eyes..so I started taking acting classes where YOU HAVE TO DO IT!!! The first night after class I could barely get to the car because it was very emotional…all those people being nice and supportive and I HAD to look them in the eye and had to be filmed. It was so out of my comfort zone . I really started crying it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself…it made me WANT to go somewhere. Then came the eyes..so I can’t see the scripts so figured why waste these guys time. I WILL BE BACK AFTER THEY ARE DONE THOUGH.

    The Real Answer says:
    October 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    It is always wonderful to be Blessed to find a Loved one to spend the rest of your Life with, instead of being Alone and having no one.

    Stan says:
    November 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm
    My love goes out to you, you have found what you are looking for, but it is something you already had before you found love….

    Leslie says:
    October 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm
    I found this blog very interesting, I have struggled with isolation, loneliness, and depression in my life. I feel like they all go together. I read another blog on this subject which I found helpful, http://www.psychalive.org/2009/06/isolation-and-loneliness/. I particularly liked the part where it suggests the actions you can take to get out of the isolated state, especially looking outside yourself and looking for ways to help others.

    heloisa says:
    October 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    hope you can get this message.

    Violet Reid says:
    October 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm
    I’m just incredibly lonely, all the time, even when I’m with people. I feel unhappy everywhere and as though I don’t belong anywhere. I have nowhere to turn and nobody to talk to. I can’t even connect or look forward to connecting with people anymore. I just don’t know.

    Seriously Speaking says:
    October 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm
    have to certainly agree with you very much on that, and being alone really sucks when it is very hard to meet the right person to connect with.

    loyal says:
    October 12, 2013 at 3:47 am
    Perhaps you could reconnect with someone who once made you happy-before the depression. I bet there are people from your life who miss your presence.

    Seriously Speaking says:
    October 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
    Not Really, and many of us serious men out there looking for a good woman to meet is very difficult since they are not that friendly to start a conversation with. the ones that were Very Blessed by God to have met the right woman for them and have a family, certainly do have a lot to be thankful for.

    Elysse says:
    August 31, 2013 at 6:57 pm
    There is life in you. I wonder if I’m hearing the description of deep deep loneliness and the sadness of not being connected to another person, or people. Finding people with whom we truly connect is hard…and rare. Being misunderstood compounds the feeling of loneliness. The void you describe breaks my heart and you are not the only person who has felt it or feels it. You are not alone. I will think about you and hope that you have a moment of joy. And that those moments increase. And I hope that feelings of hope return for you. No lectures from me or advice. I’m just a stranger who read your post and is feeling compassion for the feelings you’re describing. You are not death. You are living. I do hope you’ll feel alive again.

    MM says:
    September 7, 2013 at 3:40 am
    I dont know you but I care…please get help and don’t take your life.
    My son has Asperger’s. He is ten. It’s a struggle daily but your post moved me a great deal. Have you ever read “Look me in the eyes”-it’s a great book of a man’s account of growing up with Asperger’s…I found understanding in it and assume that someone with Asperger’s might find a connection in it . . . one man to another. Words and writers can connect with complete strangers but it’s still meaningful. I don’t think it will save you but it may help you feel like you are not so alone…do you have anyone you can talk to? A friend? Therapist?

    Heliconia says:
    August 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm
    It is really true that I am unbelievably, deliriously happy when I am volunteering, on mission somewhere. You know what its like to wake up everyday and be happier than you ever thought you could be? But I don’t have money to support myself that way – so I can only do it when I have enough money saved.
    Otherwise I don’t even want to describe myself to depress you and me both.

    janine says:
    July 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm
    Hi John
    I came abour your blog while searching the web for solutions for my current feelings. It helps a lot just to know that i am not the only one suffering from this condition.
    I am busy destroying all my close relationships because I feel i am not worthy, not good enough or there will always be someone better then me. I also have this jealous nature that causes me to resent what other people have, causing me rather to stand back as to be part of their happines.
    I do not know where to start with the healing process, i just know that i do not want to feel like this anymore.
    Sorry for my grammer, I am from south africa an english is not my home lanuage.

    Val says:
    June 23, 2013 at 2:12 am
    This definition makes so much sense. Depression can include loneliness but is so much more. Loneliness, to me, is an overwhelming feeling of sadness. People with depression have described a total disconnection with people as well as feelings.

    TheTruth says:
    May 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm
    being by myself is very depressing and lonely, especially after a divorce. and what makes it worse is trying to meet a good woman is very hard for me. and after seeing so many very lucky men and women that were very fortunate to have met one another and have a family, makes it much worse for me. i always wanted to have a family since i am no different than the ones that have it today. i feel as if God is really punishing me from having a love life and i don’t know why, and with so many mean women that are out there today makes it even worse when many of them don’t want to be bothered when i am trying to start a conversation with the one that i would really like to meet.

    Maria Scally says:
    May 14, 2013 at 1:52 am
    Good morning John
    I am sat here on this lovely morning realizing that I have lived longer than I will live, given my age now. I feel angry with myself for having depression. And I hate my weakness of character that creates a need for company. My children are all grown and I am so lonely. At the moment I go to bed so early because I have nothing else to do. I hate the thought of dying and when that time comes wanting to jump up and say stop this process I have not done such a thing yet. It will be too late then, so why can I not get better. Why are there people like me, who are kind human beings, but are just so lonely.
    I searched for articles on loneliness and depression and your blog came up. Thank you for writing it.

    Judy says:
    July 6, 2013 at 9:56 am
    Hi Maria,
    I understand. I am lonely, and I have depression. My children are grown, and I feel that life is meaningless. I had moments of happiness but I realize that I have been lonely all my life except for the years raising my family and when I had deep love and connection. A brief space of my life.
    There is no reason for it.
    Peace to you.

    Laura says:
    October 15, 2012 at 11:13 am
    I love your writing style. It inspires me in learning and improving my English. Not only the way you write is wonderful, but also the things you say. It relaxes me and I learn a lot of things about ourselves at the same time.
    Maybe you got fed up with my posts, but I have to say that I no longer feel alone when I am expressing myself through writing and speaking to you. It makes me feel so good. That’s a connection.
    Thank you very much.

    Robin says:
    July 10, 2010 at 6:56 am
    John, thanks so much for writing this post. My significant other suffers from severe depression and she sometimes need to withdraw and it was hard for me to understand why, so your post has been most beneficial. Your writing is wonderful, please keep it up!

    john says:
    July 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    Thanks, Robin -
    I’m glad the post was helpful. And I hope your SO can find her way out of severe depression. It’s great she has your support.

    Alyssa says:
    October 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm
    Hey John,
    Thanks for using my photograph for your article! I’m honored to have contributed, in some small sort of way, to the powerful essence of these original written works in your Blog. Truly, a compelling culmination of thoughts. Indeed, your message captures a huge part of the motivation behind this picture.
    My heart goes out to you and those who find a glimpses of themselves within the words of your article – keep writing! And
    Keep on keepin’ on.

    john says:
    October 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm
    It’s great to hear from you. Your image is one of the most compelling I’ve found in the 2+ years I’ve been doing this blog. Thank you for making it available under Creative Commons. I’ve been looking again at your work on Flickr – there are so many brilliant images. Your studies of people have a special depth that I don’t often see.
    And thank you for that enormous ego-boost of encouragement.
    All my best -

    Marlo Perez says:
    October 8, 2009 at 11:51 pm
    thanks for posting this blog. Sometihow everybody got depressed over something or someone that we have lost. Though I felt depression but not that severe, I really thank God as well my friends and yes the internet since it become my outlet of my loneliness and depression. By doing and writing and reading blogs, somehow I felt the connection that indeed I am not alone, indeed I am not the only one experiencing those moments.

    john says:
    October 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm
    That’s very true. When I started blogging, I never suspected how important the exchange of comments around the mental health blogging world would become so important to my recovery. I’ve found so many wonderful connections.
    Thanks for coming by.

    Rich says:
    June 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. If it’s one thing I’m learning during all of this is that patience is a virtue that is most needed in my life. I’ve heard of Hayes’ ACT therapy and subscribe to the ACT forum – there’s a great deal of useful information from others who actively practice ACT. And, interestingly I am currently reading Storr’s book.
    And, yes I do keep trying each and every day.

    Rich says:
    June 15, 2009 at 10:29 am
    Thank you so much for writing this article and sharing your experience. I am currently reading the book you mentioned in your blog and have found it very insightful. I suffer from depression, social anxiety, and loneliness and have for many years. What is most profound for me is the sensation (and pains) of social isolation that come from loneliness. I completely understand the push-pull phenomenom mentioned in the book, which leads to learned helplessness. I struggle with the loneliness on a daily basis and I find it difficult at days to cope. My therapist encourages me that things will get better, but it will take time. I am keeping a positive attitude but I have to say there are days when I don’t feel that way.

    john says:
    June 15, 2009 at 11:37 am
    Hello, Rich -
    I know those are difficult feelings to put up with for so long – though the hopelessness you might feel at seeing no change is yet another symptom of depression. There is a newer form of therapy, which I’m going to write about soon, called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It’s the one approach that most closely reflects the experiences I’ve been through, leading to a change in the way I experience the pain of these interrelated conditions. You might check with your therapist about it. Steven Hayes is a leading practitioner and writer in that field. His book is called Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Life – it’s primarily a workbook but a very good one, unlike most I’ve seen. ACT is about changing the way you view and experience the pain you feel.
    Another good book presents the positive side of aloneness, as opposed to loneliness. That Anthony Storrs’ book called Solitude. May Sarton, the poet and novelist, wrote a lot about living alone. One book is Journal of a Solitude. They’ve been helpful to me – but each of us is so different.
    I hope you’ll keep trying. I figure if I could make a turnaround after decades, it must be possible for others as well.
    All my best – John

    Bobby Revell says:
    May 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm
    Hey John, one great thing about blogging is that if someone is depressed and lonely and perhaps doesn’t have many people in their daily lives, they can turn to the digital community. It’s certainly no substitute for real human contact, but it does help a lot. I know it’s helped me in my daily life. It gets the conversational juices flowing and often carries over into daily life. Very insightful article:)

    john says:
    May 9, 2009 at 8:55 pm
    Hi, Bobby – That’s so true. I’m amazed at how meaningful these online relationships and conversations become. They’ve been really important for myt recovery as well.
    Thanks for coming by!

    One Sick Mother says:
    May 3, 2009 at 7:57 am
    I have selected you for the Premio Dardos award. Info below.
    The Prémio Dardos is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.



    john says:
    May 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm
    Thank you so much!
    The purpose you quote is especially beautiful, and I’m honored that you thought of me.
    Be well – John

    Ellen says:
    May 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm
    Hi John,
    It almost seems that loneliness is a sign of returning health – while in the depths of depression we don’t want people in any case, but once we get better, that lonely feeling hits.
    Because I suffer from social anxiety, which is a fear of people combined with a longing to be with them, I think my own depression may actually be caused by my troubles with relationships. Life doesn’t go well when just being with others is a source of anxiety. Then there is deep loneliness and frustration that life is so difficult. And bang, I’m in depression. Which like you say first has to be healed to some degree, before I’m ready to try with people again.
    I think too that loneliness is a feeling, though a painful one, while depression tends to be the absence of feeling and meaning.
    Cheers, Ellen

    john says:
    May 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm
    Hi, Ellen -
    That’s interesting about social anxiety – I hadn’t thought that longing to be with people was part of it. But I think that’s been true for me as well – I’ve always imagined getting along splendidly with others – and wanting to be with them – but then felt acute, consuming anxiety that just drove me away.
    I guess feeling loneliness is a sign of recovery the way the ability to feel almost any emotion is. The connection with people is so basic it’s no wonder we get lonely and long for it when there are obstacles – invisible ones – blocking us off. It’s easy to see how depression can follow.
    Thanks for stopping by – I hope you’re well.

    Kelly says:
    April 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm
    This is such a timely topic for me. I emerged from a deep depression a few months ago, and ever since I’ve been extra leery of any hint of depression. Just last night I questioned whether I was depressed because I’ve been feeling so lonely. But after reading your blog post, I realize that I can be lonely without being depressed. Loneliness isn’t necessarily an indicator of depression.
    I guess in figuring out whether you’re depressed or only lonely, you need to look at the whole picture – are you feeling hopeless, lack energy, isolating yourself, etc.

    john says:
    April 29, 2009 at 9:11 pm
    Kelly – I’m so glad you’ve gotten past that period of depression. It’s true that looking at the big picture is important to get clear about what’s going on. I know the feeling you describe of being leery about depression returning. The problem I had to get around – and it only took me about 25 years! – was to change the assumption – belief – that depression was my norm, that sooner or later it would reassert itself, and I wouldn’t be able to stop it. Being as clear as I could about what I was experiencing has been so helpful. I’m no longer convincing myself that depression explains every aspect of my life. These changes in thinking and belief have been so important for me!
    I hope you keep on making progress -
    My very best to you – John

    la says:
    April 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm
    I feel depression would be much easier to bear if it wasn’t for the accompanying isolation. It’s like pneumonia in a way: it crops up on so many birth certificates but they always suffered from something else, pneumonia was just the thing that they couldn’t survive.

    john says:
    April 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm
    Hi, la – I believe depression only comes prepackaged with isolation – the free bonus, like arsenic in the mail. It’s strange how the whole thing can come and go for no apparent reason – at least in my case. I’d rather not think about dying from it – but when deep into isolation I’m not sure there’s a whole lot else to think about. Thank God in a big way that I’ve been feeling basically OK for quite a while now – can’t say I miss the isolation ward.
    I hope you’re feeling better – John


    Depression Gets Physical: Pain, Heart, Bone and Beyond
    by John Folk-Williams

    Just as I was thinking I understood the full range of depression’s impact on my life, I started finding out about links between the mood disorder and some nasty physical problems. I mentioned in this post the prevalence of pain among depressed people seeking treatment from their regular doctors. But depression can do a lot more to your body than inflict pain. It has been linked to coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes and loss of bone mineral density.

    The link between the mood disorder and physical impacts, however, isn’t a simple matter of cause and effect. Some physical problems, like chronic pain, may be symptomatic of depression, although it’s not yet listed among the formal diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode. When depression appears along with cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure or diabetes, on the other hand, the relationship is not that of symptom to illness. Instead, depression coexists, or in medical terms is comorbid, with independent diseases. It can be a risk factor for the future onset of those conditions, and depression may have the same neurochemistry that causes them.

    Here are a few of the facts and theories emerging from recent studies.

    Physical Symptoms

    The most common physical complaints that depressed people bring to their primary care physicians are pain, gastrointestinal problems and sleep disorders. The leader of the pack is pain.

    It comes in many varieties that relate to depression. Chronic back pain, joint pain, arm and leg pain, especially when they seem to have no explanation, are high on the list. In fact, the presence of pain and other physical symptoms that seem to have no cause makes it all the more likely that there is an underlying mood disorder, most often depression.

    Why does pain, in particular, so frequently appear with depression? Neuroscience researchers have looked closely at the link. Apparently, there’s an overlap between pathways in the nervous system that help bring on both pain and depression. The neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine, familiar as the targets of antidepressant medication, also contribute to pain. The evidence seems to say that reduced levels of these hormones can result in both pain and depression.

    Unfortunately, treatment usually doesn’t deal directly with pain. However, research is finding that if those problems stay with you after you feel better and seem to be out of a bad episode, you have a greater risk of relapsing. That makes me wonder if I’ve recovered as fully as I thought, since I have my own checklist of chronic physical problems.

    Coexisting Diseases

    Coronary Heart Disease:

    Because heart disease is such a widespread killer, researchers have put together a lot of data about the difference that depression makes to heart patients. The findings aren’t good. If you’re depressed and have coronary artery disease, you’re twice as likely as those who are not depressed to have a major cardiac event within 12 months of the diagnosis. You are also a lot more likely to die after a heart attack or coronary bypass surgery. While a number of studies confirm those grim connections, it’s less clear why depression has these effects.

    One theory points to impacts on the autonomic nervous system. This is the system regulating vital functions that occur without your awareness, especially the beating of your heart. One part of autonomic system is the sympathetic nervous system. Its function is to stimulate the heart, while the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes it. Depression may increase the stimulation and reduce the relaxation of the heart muscle, and that can lead to a number of cardiac events.

    The neurotransmitters linked to depression could affect the arteries as well. When their levels in the blood drop, that reduction may contribute to the chronic inflammatory process that defines coronary artery disease.

    Loss of Bone Mineral Density:

    All studies haven’t reached the same conclusions, but the majority of them have found connections between depression and decreases in bone mineral density. That leads to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fracture in older adults.

    Depression is linked to elevated levels of the steroid cortisol. Too much cortisol may also affect bone metabolism and so reduce mineral density. Estrogen and testosterone production are important for bone health, and depression tends to lower the levels of these hormones as well. A third mechanism by which depression can lead to bone loss is the increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system that affects heart disease.

    The behavior of depressed people can also play a role. Depression is associated with less physical activity, and without exercise the body loses an important way of increasing bone mineral density. Smoking and alcohol use are both linked to depression, and both can reduce bone formation.


    About 23 million people in the US have diabetes, and a ten year study, lasting from 1996 to 2006, has found a link with depression. The study tracked more than 65,000 women between 50 and 75 years old. Those who were taking antidepressants were 25% more likely to develop diabetes than women who were not depressed. Women with diabetes were almost 30% more likely to get a depressive disorder than women without diabetes. If they were taking insulin, the risk of depression was more than 50% higher.

    There are two ways of explaining this connection. One is biological and has to do with the effects of stress. Depression tends to put people into long-lasting stress, and that results in higher levels of cortisol in the blood. That’s the steroid produced by the body to help it deal with threats and high stress situations – which can be psychological as well as external. High levels of cortisol cause numerous problems, and diabetes may be one of them.

    The other explanation focuses on the behavior of people with both conditions. Diabetics rely on self-care, including regular insulin injections, and depressed people often fail to take care of themselves. Diabetes can also worsen depression because it is a chronic illness that increases the level of stress and worry in daily life. Since these are also characteristics of depression, they become even worse with the added complication of diabetes.

    I first read about the possible effects of depression on these widespread diseases in Peter Kramer’s Against Depression. He argued that such physical effects made it all the more urgent to begin depression treatment as early as possible. Successful treatment of depression at its first appearance increases the chances of preventing the illness from becoming recurrent. And it is the continuing distortion of the body’s neurochemistry caused by repeated episodes depression that greatly increases the risk of developing other serious diseases later in life. That’s a strong motive for finding effective treatment as soon as possible.

    amber1537 says:
    October 10, 2013 at 7:37 am
    I have longed wanted someone to help me with my depression and anger. I feel that having this illness mybe have a reson but I cant find one yet. I hope that I can be stornger and more wise with my depression and deal with my anger

    thulasi says:
    January 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm
    i m suffering with some depression and addicted to thinking something in day time and night in sleep also everyday from past 6 years . and i am extreamly stressed also . i am not able to give rest to my mind at all . as it goes on like that from past 2 weeks i’m feeling chest pain very much and my eyes also paining like any thing .. please suggest what i have to do ? please ?

    Liz says:
    January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am
    Hi all,
    I’m feeling sad today. I just woke like that…i have moved to Canada 13 years ago and still don’t find Canada my home. I work on a job which i didn’t choose by likehood, only because of the role. I have children which i don’t enjoy for a long time. A husband who’s day to day is work and come back home to feel sad and talk to me about his ugly boss and his far away family who lives at 10 min from us and he never sees, because they don’t even care on calling. I’m tired, upset of who i have become…and i’m only 34. I have been recently diagnosed with some kind of Depression, i guess i understand what’s all about, but i can’t feel i’m going forward with my therapies. I have been off since August and can’t find an easy way to get out and play with life. I have gone to the gym, brought the dog to the park every day, talked to one of my friends about other things, trying to get rid of anyone with sadness and argumental opinions around me. I have tried to feel more comfortable with the children and play any games. Watched shows about the disease, make myself available to others, read books, …..i don’t know what else to do….
    Can you please help me
    Dr. John?

    laura says:
    October 11, 2012 at 11:13 am
    I think I have just found myself in these lines and I’m really happy it happened. I have some health problems but it had never occurred to me that they should be connected to our daily stress and anger. I have acute back pains, stomach ache, candidosis, I fall asleep late at night and I have also realised that I’m not so pleased with myself/my life.
    While reading this article I suddenly became aware of how serious these aspects are in our life. Fortunately, I have not reached the highness of these diseases, but I was making rapid progress towards them.
    It is so easy to write down our problems, to be aware of the fact that we are really affected by them and it is so hard to leave talking and begin acting…There is a huge difference. This is my real concern.
    Thank you very much for the information. It helped me a lot.

    Ravine Hotel says:
    July 30, 2012 at 12:09 am
    Life’s hands you difficulties so you can learn from them. People who have really easy lives fall apart when bad things happen because they have never learned how to cope or let things roll off their backs. Everything, even very Depression, can be used to learn better coping skills and to develop wisdom and perspective about life that will help you deal with many difficulties in the future. Whatever doesn’t destroy you can serve to make you stronger.

    Lilano says:
    January 28, 2013 at 11:21 am
    Although I like the sentiment, is it wishful thinking? Since the first breakdown, I have started to feel more fragile and prone to cracks.

    ircurts says:
    May 19, 2012 at 10:45 am
    Having suffered from mental illnesses all my life I can see how it has affected my physical health. I had no idea that there was such a link between depression and diabetes and heart disease.
    I was diagnosed with diabetes nearly 5 years ago when I went into the emergency room with a blood sugar of 450. About 4 years later I had my first heart attack and then again about a year after that I had another heart attack.
    I knew that I suffered from PTSD, anxiety and major depression but that second heart attack (and suicide attempt) was the wake up call I needed to find some meaningful help for mental improving my mental health. About two weeks out of the hospital from the second heart attack I started to call around for affordable (free) mental health resources and found none. I became so disappointed and eventually worked myself into a panic attack.
    Panic attack lead me back to the emergency room and I was at risk of another heart attack with pulse racing well over 120 beats per minute. From the ER I was referred to a free mental health crisis center and am doing much better after my 6 day stay.
    Today I eat better and exercise fairly regular. I am actually loosing weight, have practically cured my own type II diabetes and all my cholesterol levels are approaching a healthy level.
    The link with depression (and mental illness in general) to me was mostly that I didn’t care enough about life so I just sat around waiting for it to end. I ate one large meal before bed but nothing the rest of the day. I never exercised and refused to do even simple household chores. I had thought the cause of diabetes and heart disease was very much the mental condition but never realized how much deeper the link was until I read this post.
    Again thanks for this information.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    May 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm
    Hi, ircurts -
    I’m glad to hear you’ve made so much progress with these serious health problems. I continue to be amazed at how widespread the effects of depression and other mental disorders are on the body. I guess a lot of the surprise is due to the strange idea we learn that the mind and body are separated, when they are, in fact, so intimately connected through the nervous system and the constant back-and-forth flow of information. I’ll be writing more about this soon and hope you’ll share more of your experience and insight as well.

    andyking @ emedoutlet says:
    December 28, 2011 at 3:26 am
    I am having unexplained body pain for more than 5 years and I am a victim of depression since last ten years. After reading your post, i feel my pain may be the side effect of my depression. I am treating it with exercise and Yoga. I am feeling better and getting better. It’s a long process, i will have to continue for ver long.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    December 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    Hi, Andy -
    I recently wrote another piece on depression and pain – fibromyalgia – but it’s in the newsletter, not the blog. I think you have the right approach. Pain that can’t be explained by any specific physical cause is often linked to a mood disorder like depression.
    All the best to you – John


    How Depression Spreads
    by John Folk-Williams

    Depression spreads through the closest relationships almost like a communicable disease. I learned the hard way that the illness didn’t happen to me alone. It happened to my children, my friends, and most of all to my wife.

    The pull of depression took me away from her and everyone else. I often felt I was choosing to be alone in order to feel better or to escape situations that seemed too painful to bear. Most of the time, though, I was driven by depression and had little choice.

    I may have felt some comfort by being alone, but it didn’t help me get better in the long run. Isolation only deepened depression and imposed a cost on my family. They were exposed to the risk of “catching” it through the changes it brought about in our relationships.

    Brain and Human Connection

    The psychological and emotional damage became clear to me in time, but I had no idea that the brain itself was being changed by the loss of human contact.
    Like every other aspect of depression, its effect on relationships is also reflected in distortions of neuron circuits that are essential to the way we function.

    Researchers say we’re hard-wired to be social beings. Much of the complexity of the brain developed through the need to bond with other humans for survival. The brain loses nourishment just as feelings do when depression undermines the connections between people.

    It’s hard to think of a feeling that isn’t a response to interactions with others, whether in the moment or in the vividness of highly charged memory. You grow up learning to be a person through your family, friends, teachers. If you were left alone as a small child, you’d wither into sickness.

    Changing within Relationships

    Feelings are the stuff relationships are made of. Without the sharing of deep feelings, all you have are the dry habits of being together, going through the motions without deeper contact.

    When two people bond, there’s an exchange below the level of awareness that can reshape their emotional lives from within. They can become different people emotionally because of the influence they have on each other. That was a basic part of our relationship as well.

    We had become interdependent and needed each other, to some extent, to maintain a feeling of wholeness. Depression disrupted all that.

    Losing Trust

    My wife was forced into her own isolation by my withdrawal. She lost the chance to express her feelings when she needed so deeply to connect with me. I was cutting myself off from the emotional flow from her that had changed my life, and she too lost the ongoing influence of my presence.

    Even worse, she had no control over the ebb and flow of my feelings. I was completely unpredictable. Depression came and went. I shifted from total withdrawal to spontaneous closeness for no apparent reason.

    It was hard for her to trust the relationship, and she became by turns frustrated, hurt, angry.

    But how could this experience turn into depression?

    Learning to be Helpless

    A partner in that position feels more and more helpless. Neither the most loving or angriest behavior makes a difference. All the forms of intimacy and ways of talking that have brought two people closer over time now come to nothing.

    The hoped-for return of intimacy is unpredictable and has nothing to do with anything the undepressed partner might try.

    It’s the situation Martin Seligman describes in Learned Optimism. When there’s no connection between your effort to do something and the outcome, you may wind up retreating from the situation and giving up.

    My wife was left in this position. No matter what she did, I was the one to open the door or close it, and I was reacting to the coming and going of depression. The break between cause and effect often left her feeling helpless – and without hope. More than once, she would say in despair – I give up.

    Seligman calls this learned helplessness and sees it as a powerful factor in bringing on depression.

    At the same time this psychological damage is taking place, the enforced isolation starts affecting the neurochemistry of the brain, just as it does in the depressed partner. So as depression worsens and continues over time, the combined impacts on the brain, the sense of self and relationship mirror the varied causes of the illness.

    Not everyone with a depressed partner develops the illness, since there are so many other influences that come into play.

    But the danger of “catching” the illness is increased. In fact, living in a family with a depressed partner is now considered a risk factor for developing depression. I think it’s the impact of isolation that brings on the greatest risk.

    After all, if two people reshape each others lives through their closeness, then isolating from each other chokes off hope and the healing interdependence of love.

    What have you found in your own experience of living with depression, either your own or that of your partner or other family member you’ve been close to? Do you feel that depression can spread through these relationships?

    Sho says:
    June 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    I can’t believe how articulate you are, & how similar my story is to your wife’s.
    We’re in in of those dark periods now where i’ve asked him to move out for a while & focus on himself because i felt I had ” caught” depression & simply couldn’t cope, & that was having a negative impact on him too cos he was blaming himself. Even needing space for myself to get back on track made me feel guilty though because I know, and I’m terrified, that isolation is the worst thing for depression. It’s been a breather for me not to be around him everyday but j had hoped to be able to love him again & that’s not happening because the brain needs intimacy & he is still not able to provide it.
    Thank you for your post, it really helped me. I have been feeling like I’m doing everything wrong & no one can help, this has normalized what’s going on & given me a little boost to keep trying.

    Jessi says:
    June 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm
    My husband was diagnosed with anxiety and depression a couple years back. I had to have him committed after he told me he was fantasizing about killing me and then himself. He got some needs which worked wonders and after 2 weeks, he said something to me that he had never said in 7 years of marriage “I had a great day”. I sobbed I was so happy. He had since stopped taking his meds but still finds release and happiness in yoga, playing music with his band and taking photos. Unfortunately this leaves me always on egg shells and with no emotional support of my own.I can’t burden him with my feelings nor does he seem to recognize that myself and or kids have emotional needs which are of our own which only leads to me taking care of everyone and without a partner.the worst part is I can say nothing about it because it will send him into a tailspin.
    I am trying to get through this as my vow to support him in sickness and in health is important. I love him deeply but lately I have found myself not wanting to be around anyone,I talk to no one and I hope every second of every day that I an wake that

    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. says:
    January 18, 2012 at 6:34 am
    it also dragged my fiance down. he became hopeless and frustrated esp as he’s a positive person. when everyday i just wanted to die he didn’t know what to do. he became angry
    we were fortunate, he came to see my psychologist too who taught him about depressio and to identify that the depressed me isn’t really me. slowly he was able to distance himself from being affected even though he took care of me
    Noch Noch

    John Folk-Williams says:
    January 22, 2012 at 12:19 am
    Hi, Noch Noch -
    Hopeless and frustrated are the right words for so many partners who see their loved ones disappear into severe depression. The film Helen, that I’ve mentioned here a couple of times, gives a very realistic portrait of the husband of a suicidally depressed woman. Depression puts every relationship to the test, and it’s a great thing when two people can come through it together. You two are indeed fortunate.

    Liz says:
    January 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    You have a gift John. Thank you for sharing what you have been through. For me your life experience is invaluable to learning the ebb & flow of depression when it comes to my partner. Right now, he is on a road to what we hope is long lasting recovery. However, I’m always on guard for signs. I’m not sure if that is healthy or not but it’s our reality. I’ve thought about “catching” depression especially when we were going thru troubled times. Looking back, I definitely was despondent but I don’t attribute it to his depression but to my reaction to the circumstances at the time. Maybe it’s all the same thing. Maybe I was depressed…I know it was the darkest time of my life. But now it’s all good, beautiful and healthy.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    January 22, 2012 at 12:08 am
    Hi, Liz -
    I’m glad to hear that things are still going so well. The doubts are natural for you and your husband. Recovery never goes in a straight line. There are always problems along the way, but you both seem to have learned how to get through the worst times. There are a lot of ways depression can spread. Living day after day with an unresponsive, withdrawn partner almost proved too much for my wife in more than one period of our marriage. She definitely had her depressed and hopeless spells as part of her reaction to my condition. It’s hard for either partner since each feels powerless to change things for the better.
    All my best to you both.

    Wendy Love says:
    January 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    Oh my goodness you do have a way of writing about what you experience! I understand and have probably experienced much of what you said.
    I am so glad you emphasized how damaging isolation is. I try to fight it, try to ‘come out of myself’ for awhile but oh some days are harder than others. But I never thought of it affecting my husband in the way you suggested. I just feel guilty that I don’t have the desire to get out and about and do things and have people over more often. My husband is quite shy and so unless I initiate social contacts, they don’t happen for him.
    But even when I am in the mood to socialize, my husband has mixed feelings because he knows about the ‘fallout’ I go through after being with people…usually total exhaustion for about three days. It is bittersweet.
    But the things you have said have encourged me to try and get out a little more…. thanks for that.

    Judy says:
    January 15, 2012 at 9:50 am
    John, you’ve done such a great job at describing this – at least, it pretty much tells my own experience, too. While my family probably probably has some genetic tendency toward depression, both of my sons have been dealing with it most of their lives and eventually, my husband “caught” it, although it may not have been 100% from me. The isolation is really the most damaging, I think – inability or refusal to communicate. Speaking from the depressed person’s point of view, sometimes the partner can make it very difficult to talk about the depression because of preconceived ideas about it or simply fear of what it might mean. The depression can produce an angry response in the partner, which can then generate it in the depressed person, and on and on we go. And, of course, the more angry we get and can’t express it, the more depressed we become. I think what saved us was years of couples therapy. I also got help for my sonsp; the older of the two is on his second divorce, partly due to his depression for which he, for some reason, does not get adequate treatment. I feel badly about that, but it’s ultimately out of my control at this point – I can just say so much, the rest is up to him. I’m hoping it doesn’t spread to my grandson.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    January 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm
    Hi, Judy -
    One difference between now and the time I was growing up is that depression is a well-known problem that people talk about and can get help for. The world – and my family – were so silent and uninformed about such things a few decades ago. But there’s still the tendency to blame and isolate the depressed person in a family. I think that has the paradoxical effect of making others in the household more vulnerable to depression, even as they shun the whole idea and stigmatize one person. Blaming strikes me as the soul’s quarantine, drawing a fake boundary for self-protection. Refusing to talk about it seems so damaging all around. I know the decision to get help can be imposed on anyone, but if they don’t take care of themselves, that increases the damage for everyone else.

    Maria says:
    January 15, 2012 at 9:18 am
    I love the phrase “the dry habits of being together”. We have a lot going on in my family and I suspect that unacknowledged depression is one of the problems. I remember experiencing a pull that I could not understand when I was growing up. I felt smothered and abandoned at the same time. I knew I had to raise myself because no one was there. I also found that all of my efforts did not gain any traction and made no difference. Because the situation was fairly extreme I knew it wasn’t right but I had no validation from anyone – and I sought help – I fought to retain some optimism, sometimes successfully sometimes not. I was very confused, but kept persisting not knowing why I was. It felt like a matter of life-or-death, which sounds very dramatic, but the I how I perceived it, and still do.
    I think you make a good observation about social interaction and brain development. Our differences and things we do not understand activate our brains and help us to develop. I was very restricted but books became my social companions and helped through that difficult time.
    Thank you for this wonderful article, which I am pleased to pass on.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    January 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    Hi, Maria -
    In some ways your childhood sounds like mine. I can especially relate to the feeling that your efforts “did not gain any traction and made no difference.” I kept expecting responses but didn’t get them – or rather I didn’t get any that focused on me. I had the sense that my parents were talking to some other kid who was different from me. So I worked at getting their attention more and more by acting the way I thought they expected me to act. Nothing made much difference, though. Persisting but not knowing why, as you describe it, seems the only choice kids have.
    Thanks for your comments – – they’re very helpful.


    Making Decisions When Depressed
    by John Folk-Williams ·

    Like so many, I experience depression in various forms, yet each in its own way knocks out the decision control center in my mind. At times, I scramble in anxiety and can’t focus enough to pick out one among many possibilities. At other times, I don’t care about choosing – or anything else for that matter – and I let the alternatives fall where they may. Or I make all kinds of decisions, even life changing ones, but none of them seems like a choice. Each one is do-or-die. If I fail to do it, I’ll go right over the edge.

    Varieties of Indecision

    Depression isn’t one thing but a series of moods along a continuum from mild to severe. I used to move regularly with this perverse flow toward desperation. At the mild end, I might wake up knowing that something is wrong, feeling at once that everything is a bit off. I want and need to get a lot done, but I’ve lost my sense of where to begin and what’s most important. Then I get anxious.

    There’s a steady snowfall of tasks, floating free of deadlines and priorities. I feel the anxiety and tension about getting them all done, so I pick one out of the air – yes, I’ve got to do that! Then I realize after a few minutes of continuing worry that I’ve got to do that other one in a hurry too. So I grab that and start working. And then another and another. It’s like picking snow flakes out of the air, each melting at once, a drop of moisture in my hand. I’ve got to get everything done, but I’m going crazy because I can’t grab hold of anything.

    Then there are those times when I’ve felt nothing and could care less about making decisions. That’s happened most often when I’ve been on the antidepressants targeting serotonin, like Prozac. I think I’m fine because I don’t feel depressed, but then everything else, including close relationships, seemed far away and empty. I could drop them in a minute, and that might well seem to be the logical thing to do. The thinking brain can still function but cut loose from any tie to feeling. Decisions based on logic and indifference can be the most dangerous of all.

    But on the other end of the spectrum, where major depression waits, there is plenty of feeling, but it’s all desperation. My survival is at stake. I have to be alone and shut the door on everyone I know. I have to quit this job, or it’ll destroy my life. Seeing this therapist makes me sicker, and I’ll go off the deep end if I don’t quit. This relationship is a trap that’s ruining my life. There are only relentless drives here, and everything I do or desperately feel I need to do simply has to happen. I have no power of choice. It’s easy to argue that a decision has been made. But I can’t see it that way, any more than I would say that someone under torture makes a choice to confess and stop the unbearable pain.

    What Does It Take to Decide?

    The psychologist James Hillman wrote a book called Kinds of Power in which he presents an interesting take on decisions. This may sound a bit pedantic, but he looks at the root meanings of the word from a Latin verb meaning to cut or to kill. Decision/decide shares this root with words like incision and homicide. Cutting away or killing off are useful metaphors because that’s what I have to do to pick one among many possibilities.

    Cut away the extraneous possibilities and narrow down to specific action that will accomplish something: here’s what to do, now do it. Choices must be made to keep life and mind moving. But to do that, I need a clear vision of what I want, confidence that I can do it and belief that I can improve my life by acting in this way. When depressed, those are exactly the qualities I know I don’t have.

    Depression brings the whole world inside me. I look at people and everything around me, and I’m not seeing anything but evidence of how bad I am. I’m dancing with my own nightmares. Even if I’m only mildly depressed and feel suspended amid a thousand possibilities, no one of which I can choose, I’m assuming that whichever I might pick will not take me anywhere. I’ll move in an endless circle.

    Or else I’ll feel nothing, and there is no point in wanting anything. I put on a good show, pass for happily adjusted to life but only see blankness ahead – if I take the trouble to look. And in the most desperate state of severe depression, I’m running for my life. The idea of choosing a different path doesn’t enter my mind.

    What’s common to all those ways of being depressed is an all-or-nothing thinking. Nothing good can result from what I do, and so there is no vision that I can choose of my own will. Everyone else is better than I am, and each seems a powerful presence that only makes me smaller still. Whatever I do will not work and only confirms the worst. All the creative possibilities I might see when I’m healthy become so many triggers of obsessive thinking.

    When I began to recover some years ago, I started with a single decision. I can’t explain how it happened when I was so close to believing that I should do the world a favor and just disappear. But something snapped. All I could hear in my mind, louder than any sound I knew, was NO, I won’t go there, and YES, I’m getting out of this. I will do it. It was more than a survival instinct, or fear of where I was headed. I had to push hard against the current that was forcing me in the wrong direction, and suddenly the strength and purpose were there. I felt in my bones that I did have a choice, and I’d better make the right one.

    Most people don’t have to make a decision like that. They can take self-respect for granted and get on with living. I guess people with severe depression have to work harder to master the most basic dimensions of life, to keep going and to kill of the impulse to stop.

    How are you doing at deciding things these days?

    guru says:
    June 4, 2014 at 1:01 am
    hi everyone,
    i am having problem in making decisions, for example if i am working on one thing, suddenly some one tells about some thing new then my mind will get attracted to it and i cannot concentrate on the work i am doing. because of this i am confused which one is my goal. and in which field i want to start my career. so can anyone help me how to decide which one is my goal….

    Fred says:
    April 5, 2014 at 7:58 am
    I’m posting in order to subscribe to followup comments.
    I’m 12 years into my recovery process and treatment for depression. I envy people who have loved ones willing to wait for them; I was very young (22) when I had my meltdown, and my ex-fiancée did not wait for me. I had left her for someone else in a desperate attempt to stop my pain; by the time I was clear-minded enough to realize what I had done, my ex had started seeing someone else and hated me. I’m still struggling to figure out how I let that happen.
    Hoping says in an earlier post that you have to realize you’re depressed. I definitely didn’t. I felt like me; it turns out I’ve had dysthymia probably since birth, so the major depressive episode just felt like I was more intensely me, if that makes any sense. I didn’t realize that life wasn’t like that for everyone. Every decision I made felt like a life or death matter that had to be dealt with immediately. I feel like I’ll never stop paying ythe price.

    Hoping says:
    April 8, 2014 at 4:22 am
    Hello Fred, I was one of them people who was willing to wait for my depressed Ex, She left me for another man in her desperate attempt to stop her pain. Waiting it hard when you know the one you love is ill and they dont!..and the damage they do can be bad. We in the end have to move on to protect our hearts. Like most of us here we fight that battle hopelessly trying to get the people we love to see they aren’t themselves and we all fail. I dont hate my ex i love her dearly always will, but i will never forget how worthless she made me feel. And i hope she finds the courage to find hersefls again. And im sorry you to had to suffer from this awful illness.

    Fred says:
    April 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm
    Hoping, thank you for your response, and thank you for trying to hold on. I think my former fiancée would have waited longer, but her parents were very much involved in her life and I believe tbey manipulated her via finances to give up on me. She was still financially dependent on them, so they had a trump card. That in no way alleviates my guilt.
    I wish she had known I was sick. I really do think she simply thought of me as an asshole who had wasted five years of her life. I loved her, desperately so, but my sickness made her feel a million miles away. When she repeated that her parents said I was “dragging her down with me”, it was over for me. They confirmed my worst fears.
    I wish her a happy life filled with love, but I wish it had been with me, or at least that we could have parted on happier terms.

    Hoping says:
    April 9, 2014 at 4:08 am
    Whats so hard when your trying to hold on is that from the outside it can look like a normal break up, but its far from it..your blind sided when someone with depression ends things. And it takes a long to to feel normal again. I know my ex lost her connection to me..but she turned on me was cold and indifferent. Now im not sure if i want to every see that stranger again. How long did it take you to become clear? And did you see everything for how it really was? Or was it still a skewed version of you reality? Again im sorry this illness ruins good things.

    Rachel says:
    January 17, 2014 at 6:45 am
    Whoever is reading this, I’m sure for most people it is a desperate hope to find an answer to what you are going through. I think this description of depression is the best I have found. I myself this morning was trapped in my own mind, which lead me here. These thoughts I describe are what I have decided may improve my life after reading this page.
    The biggest thing that has gone wrong is not the actual things that went wrong, although they were horrible to adjust to, but the loss of the ability to find happiness, hope and meaning. Or perhaps the ability to accept that what you do may no longer have a great deal of meaning, (for example your day job – or trying to find one if you are unemployed) but that is how your life is and when there is no practical alternative to try to believe that it is ok and that you need to be ok with yourself doing what seems like un-meaningful tasks.
    When you have no cause, it is very easy for people to try to help by telling you to find one. Of course there are many causes you would like to feel you believe in but maybe you aren’t quite attached to one yet in order for it to make a difference to how you value your life. Whether it be a faith, charity, person you love or passion (this is quite rare to find in a depressed state) I think the problem is that I don’t believe it will find you. Somehow you have to find it, even if you can’t physically go out perhaps you could find it in a book, on TV, online, another person you have contact with. Then you have to make contact with that cause – do something to feel part of it, whether it’s just a phone call, a letter or something more practical. After having a major passion and losing it through a series of bad events it makes sense for me to try to find a few little causes rather than one big one – without over complicating my life in a way that I can’t deal with when anxiety attacks or spreading my time between so many things that I have no sense of belonging. For some people it might be better to find just one cause, or sometimes I think it might be better for me to find a new one cause realising that if that one becomes difficult I will find another one. Everyone’s cause is different – but it should be your own, and not somebody else’s. You may be alone in your own mind, but you may not always be if you can let something else in.
    I hope this works. I’m off to find a cause for myself. Thanks to all the lovely people that have posted on this page.

    Kim says:
    December 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm
    First: Thank you John for setting up this page.
    I have been writing earlier on (below) about indecision due to depression during stressful situations. Reading through this page once again helps to remind me how bad off I was just a year ago.
    My summarization below is intended to point out some of the key aspects that have helped to redirect at least one “storied mind” back to his true and usual self. Perhaps these pointers may give some good insights of how to throw out the demon of depression hiding deep inside.
    The importance of moving on – I used to be stuck “in my bed, too immobilized to eat or even go to the bathroom”. It is very important to find a way to get the momentum back in life. To start thinking ahead rather than looking back. As painful or useless as it may seem to try moving on it will still have the reward of having taken action in it. And taking action means regaining control. Do not be afraid to ask for help to get a move on. Total entrapment in unsolvable situations or unmanageable circumstances is the slow strangling killer when facing a major depression.
    The importance of realignment – I used to “hesitate to make decisions because I’m afraid they will be wrong”. Clearly and without a doubt all important decision making while being depressed should be avoided. My experience with indecision is that life will graciously always give you more opportunities that will be there for you (yet again) when you are more ready to grab them. Realignment also has a great deal to do with changing life style, present life circumstances and/ or expectations on life. It is easier to find a daily sense of gratefulness when easing up on the goals and achievements.
    The importance of others – I used to feel “isolated, imprisoned in my apartment”. Let’s just face it. If heading into major depression it is vital to have others to rely on for support (not for decision making but for the sake of recovery). I do not believe there are many people that manage to “shape up” on own without the help of a supporting friend or relative. Isolation leads to entrapment and the best way then is to avoid remaining isolated. One obvious step to help break the spell of isolation is to understand that you are not alone and that there is help to find.
    The importance of faith – I used to feel completely lost and helpless. Somehow I cannot help but stressing how important it is to be able to find true faith in God. From then on you will always be heading somewhere, whatever achievements or failures in life that you struggle with are suddenly of minor importance, and you will never ever have to be alone again. Depression always seems to arise from losing faith in oneself. My point here is that lasting faith may actually be found elsewhere.

    As far as I know the only really important decision I had to make while being depressed was to “never give up”. And that was not even much of a decision.

    Alan says:
    October 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    I have to say this is the best explanation of feeling depressed that I’ve ever read. I couldn’t have put it better myself, I even recently penetrated the ‘saying NO to ending it all’ barrier, but It doesn’t get get much easier, in fact i don’t have the ‘ending it all’ crutch to lean on any more, I have to do this the hard way.
    For those that have never experienced severe depression, this is what it’s truly like, your doctor is unlikely to understand to the extent this author does, and indeed the British NHS service understood depression so badly that it only drove me closer to ending it all when I was at my worst.
    My advice; seek to understand your mind yourself, and try your best to love those around you, that will keep the hope if a better life alive. Also, confront your demons, it will seem impossible at first but once you take the first step it can only get better. (in my case i had to confront my father about childhood emotional issues)
    Despite how you might feel there are understanding people out there but don’t be fooled there are a lot of uneducated people who cannot and will not understand your condition, avoid them if you must and seek out those who are a little more emotionally sensitive.

    Hoping says:
    September 27, 2013 at 3:38 am
    This is helpful to know, but only if your aware your depressed. My ex partner broke up with me afew months ago yet she’s depressed but in denial of it obviously not aware of it at all. It’s her reality how do I question her reality against my own?

    may says:
    August 20, 2013 at 8:31 am
    really i learn alot from all of you.iam so sorry for that and i am now in the same situation since 20 day my boyfriend he broke up with and go away.but my question please if the dispressed pesron not come back why they have to go doctors and take medicine i was hopping he will back when he is will be ok and good?

    oxy says:
    August 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm
    this is my biggest problem i ever had in my entire life.. i cant make up my mind on the right time and most difficult part of my life is when i didn’t make up my mind on time realize me that i made a mistake which make me very upset , disappointed n very sad…if you guy’s know what can i do for rid off from this situation plz plz plz tell me i really need inspiration…

    Donna-1 says:
    August 5, 2013 at 2:22 am
    Yeah, this can be a big problem. I deal with the same issue. I think depression makes me more sensitive to failure, so I hesitate to make decisions because I’m afraid they will be wrong. Part of the problem is, there isn’t always a lot of time to make the decision (whatever it is). So by the time I weigh all the positives and negatives and possible consequences, the optimum moment for deciding has already passed, and often it is just plain too late. I’ve missed an opportunity. I’ve lost out on something good, or I’ve lost a chance to experience something fun, or people have moved on in their lives and left me behind. Sometimes, you just have to make a leap of faith and go with your gut instinct and hope for the best. If you get too bogged down in what you “should” or “could” or “ought” to do, that can actually just become a way of avoiding the responsibility of making a decision. You wait too late and then you don’t have to decide. Then you get mad at yourself for NOT taking the leap and it just makes you more depressed. Or at least this is what happens to me. It is one of those vicious cycles. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But if you go ahead and make your move, even if you fail you will know you tried your best.

    Brittany says:
    April 26, 2013 at 2:54 am
    This is my current downward spiral. It’s terrible..a terrible rut, “All the creative possibilities I might see when I’m healthy become so many triggers of obsessive thinking.” So, then I ignore everything till it builds so much that I’m waiting for something to crash and burn so I don’t have to do it myself. It’s like I want it to all end and go away so I have a way out and I can recuperate and start again fresh without all the obligatory sh*t in my life which drives my depression incessantly. bah.
    Thanks for the article..much of what you describe is how I feel 100% of the time. It sucks. My counselor called it “Turning a Corner” when I must make a decision to a path that I want to try…which is incredibly hard for me :(. The unknown is scary. I dunno, why I’m responding, just want to say, I relate to everything in the article and everyone’s responses.

    David says:
    April 24, 2013 at 8:36 am
    Hi Jon,
    Great article, I too have hit rockbottom again in the space of 8 months and what you wrote above struck a massive cord with me. I hate the fact the depression I have effects me and family and this time has me questioning if still I love my partner anymore on top of my other issues. I don’t want to say anything or do anything yet until I’m in a better place, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get to a better place again.
    Though I don’t want to commit suicide if I had a heart attack today I would be a happy man.

    Jess says:
    April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm
    In the past I too had a very difficult time making decisions when under a great deal of stress or anxiety. I found if I did force myself to make a decision, many times I would come to regret that decision later. Waiting until you are in a better place to make a decision, especially an important one, makes good sense. Thanks for posting!

    mike says:
    April 11, 2013 at 7:33 am
    I’m terrified of my situation that I feel is quickly getting worse. Severe depression due to long term unemployment, now broke, having to move out of my apartment and return to my conservative, small town to share a condo with my 91 yr old mother. At 54 and clueless about what I can do for employment I’m feeling panick, grief, shame, intense regrets but no choice left. My life feels ended. Doom and gloom surrounds me. Isolated, imprisoned in my apartment and beginning to fade awasy physically. I’ve had many depressions but was able to ride them out, now I have no choice but uprrot and relocate again, lost my house in the last 3 years so I’m spending time in any fashion to find comfort and distraction from the reality and torment I feel but can’t avoid the future choices. Many, many hours spent contemplating the utitmate solution but too frightened to lift a finger on that as well. Trapped and without hope, direction or sleep.

    Jon says:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:45 pm
    You incapsulated the highly concentrated period of depression that may in fact be reflected in many who have survived the poisons of MDD for so long. OMG your list describing your mid life march through humiliation, loss and fear while suffering the constant burn of untreated depression was really spot on. Or I should say it resinated with me very much. I hold out hope and I wish you every opportunity for good and healing. Keep going, please… that’s what we do, right?

    Robyn says:
    March 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm
    I was searching the web to find an answer to my question, “why can’t I make a decision” and I found your post and read it and all the comments. We all seem to be in this black boat together, weathering a storm of anxiety, self doubt and indecision. I want to be part of life but I also want to cut myself off from everything. I lay in my bed, too imobilized to eat or even go to the bathroom.
    I am not sad or suicidal, I feel nothing. I start an interest and even though I want to continue I have no motivation to do so. The only things I do are things I must because the shame I would experience in the eyes of others would be too much to bear. Like another commenter, I also feel it is contrary to my actual nature. In the good times I am born leader. i will read more of your posts to try to find the answer mean’t for me. I like your style of writing, there is a kindness in it.

    KM says:
    January 24, 2013 at 10:06 am
    I guess now’s not the time to decide to pursue some sort of permanent birth control…?

    Me says:
    November 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm
    I just reread this post and found new meaning. Fear of making decisions, procrastination, fear of failure remain with me . But somehow when all seems lost, I decide not to give up and decide to go on for another day.

    Jeanie says:
    December 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm
    Yes you are right – giving up is suicide. And what’s the point of that. So yes I have once again raised myself up. There was something you wrote that has really stuck in my mind. We spend so much time “cursing” our depression and you said we must learn to live with it as part of who we are, not as if its a demon sitting on our shoulder (my words latter part!!). We need to take in into ourselves and really feel that it is part of our living composition, in our mind, flesh and bones. As with sleeping eating laughing crying, depression is part of the series, more some days and less others.
    I am trying to include it as part of me rather than an external force.
    Thank you John for your crisp clarity despite the mind-befuddling roaring and subsiding of depression.

    Enigma says:
    January 24, 2013 at 8:31 am
    I wonder for how long I can live this get by life,Sooner or later it will cease to be even an option and then that another day that I’ve been living will not come.Two choices are all I have-either get out of here or get out of life.I’ve already resisted making any decision for over a month,but this is killing me now.The sheer worthlessness of my being is weighing heavily on my conscience.Got,only days to decide now,but thoughts are so messed up that I can’t think clearly,if I choose life,i have to get out of here.

    Jeanie says:
    November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm
    Hi John
    Just found your site. You speak to the heart with your talent for words. You have a gift. Can’t write much now – too detached. But want to say what happens when over and over and over again you make the decision to lift yourself up and for awhile life is moving at a nice, manageable pace.; but then down you go again and again and again.. until there is no strength anymore to get up, to crawl away from the darkness. You know you will only return once again so why bother. This has been my pattern for 20 years and I am just too tired now, too worn out.. and feeling guilty and ashamed to burden readers with my despair.

    Jon says:
    March 22, 2013 at 9:51 am
    As much as I wish us both renewed capacity to get up again and take our place in this amazing experiment, I totally understand the exhaustion you describe. I’d like to reach out and hold you up until you’re able again.
    peace and strength to you,

    Jeanie Bailey says:
    March 25, 2013 at 3:02 am
    Hi Jon
    You hold people up every day with your lucid and truthful words. I have read many web-pages on depression over the years and yours is the only one that reaches those dark pits where depression resides.
    You have helped me realise that deperssion is part of me and not outside me; it is not a dark force that descends; its a darkness that lives within. It can’t be descarded so it must be part of the journey that is life. With that in mind I have started an exercise regime that has buffered the darkness and my life at this moment is content. I am living in this moment.
    So Jon you have reached out and you have held me up so I can reach this moment. We can’t ask for more than this. I will be depressed one day again but not now.
    I hope others may reach the realisation that depression is part of us. We can’t curse it. We can’t wring our hands and say why me. It just is as it is. We all feel suicidal at some point. We all reach points of utter exhaustion. We all have times where even having a shower is beyond our ability. I say to myself thats OK. This is me. I am where I am. Someday ahead I will be able to shower and feel the other parts of me that make me whole. Love to you all.

    Laura says:
    October 15, 2012 at 10:34 am
    Once, I was on the point of making a serious mistake. I wanted to break up with my boyfriend because I had accumulated too many details of his gestures, attitudes and behaviour towards a certain girl. I was so angry and so frustrated. I didn’t want to part with him because I really loved him. We have a five-year relationship. All I did was to cry and be indifferent to him, although he was acting normally, but I was so lucid and so rational. I was even searching for other reasons why I should leave him. I was also listening to sad music which made me feel even more horrible than I had felt. I think I was a sadist myself. I felt depressed for almost two weeks. He noticed that I wasn’t okay, and started asking me questions. I would avoid them. After so much pain my reaction would be to alienate from him. But I simply didn’t have the guts to leave him and tell him what I was thinking. Little by little, those thoughts left me, because I realised he was still loving me.
    Nevertheless, I am still predisposed to this kind of depression. Now I realise how much depression can change you if you allow it to do that. I felt as if I were a stranger myself. That pain needs a pause at some point, and you think that taking a decision at that very moment would change your life and be happy again. You have the impression that you’re right, but you are completely in the wrong. Maybe I am exposing myself to suffering and too much pain, but in the end I don’t have the courage to take up the responsibility of a wrong choice and I just leave it. Anyway, it is a dangerous method.
    Best regards.

    michele says:
    October 1, 2012 at 5:07 am
    The two articles I read-the one about relationships and this one about decision making with depression really spoke to me. My husband decided just before our wedding that he wanted to move back home, which is overseas to Israel. I’ve always had the tendency toward depression, but as our departure came closer I was struck with a nasty bout of it. I saw a psychologist, marriage counselor, and began taking Zoloft just to be able to be alone in a room without the “what ifs” swarming in my head and tears swimming in my eyes.
    What’s strange is that I never felt like I decided to move- I could have called off the wedding, not filled out the paperwork, not packed up/sold my belongings, not boarded the plane, and I could have left at any time, but I never really decided-this is it, I’m going to live abroad, I’m going to make this work.
    Even though I logically know that postponing making a decision until I feel better is the best idea in my situation, waiting has its own set of “whatifs.” I’m constantly reminded that I’m already 30 and if I ever want to have a family…
    And I don’t even trust myself in my feelings about my husband. I’m currently so resentful of him (feeling like he forced me to move here, not accepting my hand in the decision), that I would be relieved to just go back to the U.S. But there’s no doubt that I would miss him, regret it…
    He is trying to be patient with me while I blurt out negative feelings, but he’s anchored his feet… he says he staying here no matter what I decide.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    October 5, 2012 at 10:57 am
    Hi, Michele -
    What a terribly difficult situation to be in when you’re depressed. I’m not sure if it would help you, but the method of focusing on what you most value rather than the reasons and what if scenarios might simplify making a decision. It’s the approach I describe in the latest post on Inner Beliefs vs Outer Action. The best motives for choosing are rooted in the things we value most deeply. This is something I’ve been learning from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and is a broader view than the one I had in mind while writing this post on making decisions.
    My best to you -

    Vernell says:
    September 19, 2012 at 1:57 am
    As a woman whose husband has been diagnosed with depression and who has now had him leave me with our 8 month old son for a new woman and life so unlike we built together, Im beginning to wonder if his decision to sell our house and divorce should be stalled until he is 100% well.
    His medication has been doubled for the last 2 weeks but he is still drinking heavily on them but seems clear headed and is adamant this is what he wants…He doesnt love me, wants out of our marriage and wishes to set up home with his new woman who also has mental health issues.
    Its so hard for me to know what is best to do as he is constantly telling me he doesnt love me and we need to sell up etc, but this has come out of the blue, and he is living a life all of the sudden that is so unlike him and is actually a life he would criticise others for leading.

    Daffa says:
    June 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm
    Thank you. I feel relieved I am not alone with the torture of making a decision under duress.

    Sriram says:
    March 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm
    Superb piece. What strategies does one follow to overcome this?

    John Folk-Williams says:
    March 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm
    That’s a hard one to answer. Usually, I try to avoid any big decision when I’m depressed. At times I’ve tried a mechanical approach of listing out criteria, pro’s and con’s etc. The problem with that is that there is a crucial emotional component to every important decision. If it doesn’t feel right – despite all the rational reasons for doing it – you won’t want to follow that decision. When depressed, of course, I either feel nothing at all (so worrying about the decision seems pointless) or so despairing that every option seems miserable and hopeless. Not much fun.

    Kim says:
    May 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm
    I also like this blog a lot and can relate strongly to almost each and every experience described on account of depression.
    I am presently having my second hurdle in life with regards to this immobilizing condition. It is a very much real and terrifying experience that somehow also feeds on itself and that practically makes me unable to sleep more than a few hours a night and makes me toss around in shivers/ shakes of anxiety.
    Right now I am stressed to make a crucial decision if I should go ahead and buy an apartment that has been booked for purchase andI have extreme difficulties in coming to a firm decision. The indecision makes me stay mindlocked rather than to be able to move on. Letting the deadline pass without having reached a clear decision is equal to an avalanche of despair and regret. Any decision made in time (yes/ no) cause immediate fear of having come to the right or the wrong decision and so I reevaluate again for a new decision.
    Since this is a flat that we will forcibly be locked down with for at least 5 years the emotional ingredient is very important – and as explained it is either non-existent or randomized. It is impossible for me to judge clearly from the present point of view and it is driving me insane. And time is running short.
    From where I am at right now I am not even sure if I can even make it to any appointments to even sign the papers if I go for ‘yes’. Indeed it may be very awkward.
    The ‘do-or-die’ in having to decide when you are really not well is deteriorating me as I cannot snap out thinking about of it – all of the time – and even if I am reasoning to let things be/ to let it go / I bounce right back into the decision making thought process sooner or later. When in this kind of mental condition everything becomes a trap. There are no solutions and it is easy to spark off other negative evaluations.
    Thus from my present point of view I find it downright dangerous to have to make major decisions when heading for a more severe depression since it will always come out random or not at all in the end because of the emotional turmoil/ or blankness, the confusion and physical exhaustion. But what if you must choose and are in a hurry to do it (we are talking about hundreds of thousands of $ paid for someone that is not rich)?

    John Folk-Williams says:
    May 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm
    Hi, Kim -
    You convey the anguish all too well, and I’ve been trapped in that do-or-die decision mode too many times. In the situation you describe, it sounds like there is no option not to decide – is there? Letting the deadline pass is the same as saying no?? What I’ve been training myself to do is to just face the fear and walk through it. The fear by itself is only that, and I find that the real-world consequences are never as terrible as the anguish and panic – or the intense shame of not deciding. It sounds too rational and pat as I write that down, but in a way the fear is the problem I’m facing, not the decision. And I’ve let fear run my life for too long. Maybe it takes a certain amount of fear-bred disaster to get to the point I’m at now. I’m sorry it’s so impossible for you, and I hope you’ve been finding something to guide you through.

    kim says:
    May 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm
    Thank you for your reply. I am in dire need of encouragement.
    Just want to share on what happened after the deadline expired. Shed some light on it for others to read…
    I cowardly let my wife steer our steps, reasoning that she would see things clearer than me. I believe that she did choose my health over finanical gains and status. Thus I feel like I did not give her any choice. From that moment on it had to become a sacrificed opportunity, a “no”.
    For me things are now in a shutdown, motivation lost, no future perspectives, self pity. Depression is still there but the acute anxiety is gone leaving room for apathy. I admit serious regrets for not facing my fears. For not being decisive. For abandoning my post in the midst of battle.
    Today my therapist ask ‘so what has changed?’. I reply ‘nothing’. My wife says ‘everything’. Feel like still stuck in a hole unable to see anything else but rainy clouds far above. She is already a bird in the sky.
    It is impossible to know what would have turned out better or worse, but it seems at least that even if ‘no’ in this case was a bad decision we do continue to live in the present and I am to some degree relieved and did not force change upon myself (and others) at a time most vulnerable.
    The spell of depression is not broken and confidence is at an all time low. But life goes on regardless. No one died. No one was injured. Cash still in the bank, even if the heart is poor.
    If anything, through this ordeal, it has brought me closer to God.

    Donna-1 says:
    February 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm
    Many days (they flow into each other) I wander from what absolutely must be done, like laundry, to absolute immobility, like lying in bed. The time spent in bed might even be worth something if I could sleep. But I can’t. I’m either trying desperately to keep from thinking, or I’m obsessing about conversations I want to have with other people but never will. Often, these “mental conversations” end darkly. I am almost seduced by the pleasurable fantasy of “disappearing,” as you say. And there are many ways to disappear besides suicide – holing up in my apartment and refusing to answer the phone; packing up my stuff and moving to Arizona; refusal to visit any of my usual haunts and therefore setting myself up to be forgotten, and even delivering myself over to a punishing diet and exercise wellness routine. Some people disappear into books, some into gambling, some into drugs. There’s a whole smorgasbord to choose from.
    I’m afraid to interact with people and society, but what happens if I “disappear?” Would I be any happier or would it just be more bed-time obsessing?

    John Folk-Williams says:
    February 23, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    Hi, Donna -
    It’s so good to hear from you again! It sounds like you’ve had a hard time recently, and I hope you’re feeling better. I must say as a veteran of disappearing that I wouldn’t recommend it. Sometimes, it is sooo tempting, like a beckoning paradise of simplicity and contentment. But I’ve always found it to be a dangerous Siren song that only leads me into more pain – and shame.

    Wellness Writer says:
    September 28, 2009 at 11:19 pm
    Dear John,
    Terrific piece. Yes, I know how difficult it is to make decisions during a depression. In some cases, I learned that I was better off not making them because my judgment was impaired.
    In other cases, I couldn’t seem to make a decision no matter how hard I tried. And perhaps some of that was because I had become terribly confused about what I wanted or thought I wanted.
    What’s interesting to me is that an inability to make a decision is contrary to my nature when I’m well. One of my best skills is my analytical ability, and I like making decisions. So…it was always so disturbing to be so wishy-washy.

    john says:
    September 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm
    Thank you! I know well what you mean about acting against your nature when depressed. I have endless experiences with that, all of them things I wish I could just forget.
    Holding off from deciding sounds exactly right. Trying when you have half a brain to work with only adds to the torment.
    All my best to you -

    Wendy Love says:
    September 27, 2009 at 5:10 am
    Here is another article on decision making and depression which may shine some more light http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx?id=592

    john says:
    September 29, 2009 at 7:47 pm
    Wendy -
    I finally had a chance to look at the article you mention. People had to make choices under (mild) stress and went with the safer one, associated with smiling faces. That makes sense – though that sort of stress – momentary distraction while trying to make the choice – doesn’t capture the sustained impact of depression. Retreating to safe ground when the mind isn’t free to do its work sounds like a good strategy.
    Thanks for the reference.

    Ellen says:
    September 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm
    Hi John,
    I um ‘suck’ at making decisions. Recently I was trying to decide on a therapy method and therapist, and ended up just going with whatever was closest to hand. Not the best way.
    However, I also found that sometimes I would try to hedge my discomfort with decisions by doing a lot of research – for me, research can lead to endless detours and procrastination and in the end, I would still have to make a decision. I spent about two years trying to decide on a brand of car – in the end, I just went with a Honda because I’d had one before and liked it. A lot of research and agonizing wasted really.
    Now what I’m trying to do more is to discern what I really want – what is it I really like, emotionally? That’s kind of a small voice inside, not so easy for me to hear. But that way, at least I choose something I genuinely desire, whether in the end it was the best choice or not. Kind of trying to respect my own personality.
    Now, what do I really want for dinner, truly? Perhaps pasta…with something green. Yes, that will make my heart glad!

    john says:
    September 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm
    Hi, Ellen -
    That sounds so familiar – two years for a car is impressive. Of course, you don’t want to rush into anything. I’m busy at every procrastination sale and always come home laden with bargains.
    But you’re so right, you have to get clear about what you want. If only that were a simple thing to do! It’s embarrassing how long it takes me to figure out what I’m really trying to say in these posts. At least I’m able to keep asking that question and staying with it until I’ve cleared away all the digressions. But it takes way too much time, given all the other things I’m trying to do.
    I like that idea of respecting your own personality. Perhaps that’s a key part of this inability to decide – not accepting the legitimacy of your own wants and desires but trying to import them from somewhere else – like research into what other people think you should want.
    Best of luck – I hope you enjoyed that dinner.

    Louise says:
    September 25, 2009 at 10:01 am
    I am finding your blog most helpful and enjoyable; and, I agree, you have a great writing style!
    I wish to share a book that caused a shift for me: Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard (or any work by Vernon Howard). Yes, it’s a corny title, but it contains authentic answers to worry, heartache, and suffering.
    An excerpt: “We must see what happiness is not. It is not exterior activity; that is merely a distraction from inner unhappiness. What, then, is happiness? The answer is not complex. Happiness is simply a state of inner freedom. Freedom from what? With a bit of self-insight, every individual can ancer that question for himself. It is freedom from the secret angers and anxieties we tell no one about. It is freedom from fear of being unappreciated and ignored, from muddled thinking that drives us to compulsive actions, and later, to regrets. It is freedom from painful cravings that deceive us into thinking that our attainment of this person or of that circumstance will make every right. Happiness is liberty from everything that makes us unhappy….it is formless; it cannot be fitted into the frame of our demands. We insist upon this wife or husband, this career or achievement, this home, this secrity, excitement, or distraction. Even if we get our demand, we are no happier than before; we have merely covered our unhappiness. It is still there, and it will inevitably show itself when change occurs. We must break the frame altogether, and just let life happen; then, we enter an amazing new world whose existence we never before suspected.”
    “For a happy life is joy in the truth.” (Augustine)

    john says:
    September 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm
    Hello, Louise -
    That is a beautiful passage. It’s amazing how many writers I keep discovering who’ve been around for a long time and have inspired millions.
    Thank you for letting me know about his work and also for your kind words about the blog.
    All my best -

    Wendy Love says:
    September 24, 2009 at 7:44 am
    This is so good, so well-written and so true! The way you break down the process of thinking and deciding and ruminating etc. impresses me. I tend to be a bottomline kind of writer and your details add so much. I decide when I am well, then regret when I am not well. One way or the other, it is a difficult process. I used to be very decisive and so being undecisive is a change which I have not yet adjusted to. Thanks for the challenging ideas.

    john says:
    September 25, 2009 at 10:44 pm
    Thanks, Wendy -
    You’re too kind! It interests me that you changed from being very decisive. I went through perhaps a similar shift at midlife as measured by Meyers Briggs. From being a very cocksure and decisive INTJ to an INFP – much less interested in reaching sharp conclusions as in exploring possibilities – often for far too long to get things done.
    Thanks for your comment.


    Talking to your partner
    To the Partners of Depressed Men
    John Folk-Williams Health Guide June 27, 2009

    I’ve been married for well over 30 years and spent most of that time in one phase or another of depression. My wife experienced a lot of pain because of my behavior, and we came close to splitting up more than once. From reading dozens of stories online, including many sent to my blog, I know that what happened to us is not uncommon – though the ending is often less happy than it was for us.

    The stories I read – mostly from women – tell of hurt, confusion, fear, anger and desperation at the sudden transformation they’ve seen in their partners. A loving spouse turns into an angry, withdrawn and sometimes violent person who blames his partner for causing the pain he feels. Most of the time, he refuses to say anything, other than words of abuse. Many isolate themselves, others actually leave for a time and return, some men leave for good. And they do everything they can to avoid looking deeply into themselves. I’m sorry to say I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

    If you’re going through this kind of agony with an intimate partner, I know from our experience that it is possible to survive and to restore a damaged relationship. But for us, it was by far the hardest and most demanding thing we’ve ever done, and there were many times when my wife was convinced there was no hope.

    I found one book that was especially useful in understanding what can happen to relationships under the influence of depression. That is Terrence Real’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It. Taking stories from his therapy practice as well as his own life, he details this kind of behavior specifically in men. He calls it covert or hidden depression, and that fit well with my own experience.

    For a great many years, I knew I had depression, but I thought that only meant I kept going through episodes of deep emotional bleakness. I did not realize how pervasive its effects could be in clouding and scattering my thinking, intensifying anxiety and stress, filling my mind with obsessive and even paranoid thoughts and completely destroying my self esteem. So I acted out, blamed my wife for what I felt until I could at last understand what depression really was.

    Then it was no longer covert at all but out in the open – a part of my daily awareness. At that point, I could begin to deal with it, and at last there was hope for my marriage.

    Julie Fast’s Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder is one of the best books I’ve found for understanding what my wife and I could do in order to save our relationship. Even though she writes about bipolar instead of depression, most of what she says is directly on point for other mood disorders. She focuses first on recognizing the illness and treating it – unlike many books which emphasize what the hurting spouse should and should not say or do. Her approach gives the big picture and helps the non-depressed partner avoid self-blame or imagine that she can bring about her partner’s recovery.

    The most important advice I could offer is to remember that you can’t change your depressed partner. It has to start with him. He has to recognize the problem and seriously start treatment. You can’t do that for him. After that there are many things you can do to help, but you also have to look out for yourself and get your own support.

    It’s possible for that loving partner to return and for two people to renew their closeness. It’s hard, but I know it can be done.


    Talking Honestly about Depression
    by John Folk-Williams

    I’ve always had trouble talking honestly about depression, in therapy or out. Even though much of its influence is gone, this remnant of depression is still holding on. I was always able to report the latest news to a therapist – I’m down at level 2 instead of up at level 8 (or whatever other shorthand you might use). And talking about history was not the problem. I could summon up all the turbulence and pain I’d gone through long ago from the safe distance of time.

    It was the here and now that stopped me. Telling anyone the full emotional truth of the present, as I was feeling it – especially the intense stuff – was next to impossible. The fear was that the words could not be formed without the emotions flowing with them, and it was the spontaneous rush of feeling that had to be prevented. Something in me always reacted faster than thought. It was more than a censor, it was a builder of strong barriers that walled the feelings in and me with them.

    That autopilot response hard to stop, and it worked with cold efficiency most of the time, especially in therapy. That’s supposed to be a refuge for healing as old poisons are purged from my present life. How much emotional truth of the moment was I able to get out? Let’s put it this way. If there had been a buzzer going off at every half-truth, that would have been the loudest and most frequent sound of the hour.

    It’s amazing that therapy has done me any good at all, but it has. I’ve always been able to talk about the past, even the worst moments, or about powerful dreams that force something into my awareness. These things provoked strong feeling, but however bad they’d been, they weren’t here and they weren’t now. If I did feel overwhelmed, about to cry – the door slammed shut at once.

    It wasn’t just the talking, it was letting the feelings roll through and find whatever physical expression they were after. Emotions need the outlet of the body to be complete and serve their purpose. Not so hard to do in private, though I can have plenty of trouble with that too. (Remember that Real Depressed Men Don’t Cry!) But facing a live person – the resistance was like biting into splintered wood to shut my mouth and crush the feeling into manageable size. That hurts!

    That wasn’t the end of it, for then I’d have this crowd of ticked-off feelings pounding in me to get out. There must be a law of physics about the conservation of emotional energy. It’s never destroyed but takes on different, more ghostly forms. I could never recognize them, but I’d always feel something strange happening. Each moment of denial put another to-do on the list of things I’d have to deal with later – that is, talk through. In the meantime, I had no clue when or how the stunted feeling would finally kick its way to the surface.

    Emotions like to be sociable. They need to get out there and be seen and heard by the people I’m closest to, most of all, of course, my wife. Letting the feeling be itself can only deepen those essential bonds. Whenever they did get through the walls, as happened every now and then, my wife and I would feel the intimate connection all over again. How else, except by that emotional presence, could anyone get to know who I am and trust the relationship we’ve formed together? If I stomp out fear or grief, I’m also refusing to reach out for help, not to mention love, and refusing to accept it.

    But all this holding back never had anything to do with common sense. It was about the deepest fear I’ve known, courtesy of severe depression. It was a soul-deep dread that intense feelings on the loose would release a terrifying force I’d been keeping in check. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but eventually I gave it a recognizable face. My own hideous and violent Mr. Hyde was waiting to spring free, and that I could not allow.

    Of course, I knew that was a crazy thing to believe – especially after all sorts of therapy and self-probing – but on a depressed and primitive level it felt like truth for many years. He was everything half human and monstrous that my depressed mind told me I must be. Chains and shackles were all that held him, not to mention round-the-clock surveillance.

    He’s not really there anymore, but the habit of holding him and every intense feeling in check hasn’t gone away completely.

    So talking about depression, which bundled this dread together with all the other symptoms, has never been easy. Nevertheless, I was able very slowly to learn the skills that let me see clearly what I was doing and stop the weirdness, on most days.

    So how’s your emotional truth level with a therapist or whoever you try to talk to about depression? On a scale of 1 to 10, you usually come in at … ?

    WonderingSoul says:
    October 7, 2009 at 6:05 am
    Just to say…
    Yes.. You are so right! Depression differs only slightly from person to person and its masks are few.
    Amazing then, that it is still so profoundly isolating.
    Hope you are well.

    john says:
    October 7, 2009 at 8:23 pm
    Who knows – maybe some day we’ll be able to enter a collective mind space and crack the masks forever. ;-)

    Louise says:
    October 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm
    Believe it is important to recognize and factor in innate characteristics of the personality such as being either an introvert or an extrovert, which has everything to do with the best therapy for depression. An extrovert may need talk therapy and the exchange; an introvert would probably do better being in nature, a walk in the woods or along a shoreline to clear the mind. Tools I’ve recently practiced with success in fighting depression are: putting space around my thoughts and watching them pass through without condemnation in recognition of my duality, that I am not my thoughts; and, doing something for another, expecting nothing in return. Getting my mind off myself, I find, is second only to laughter as a best medicine.

    john says:
    October 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm
    Hi, Louise -
    Those are great ideas, though this introvert has often done therapy as well. An exchange one-on-one always helps me, but groups are a strain. I usually wind up putting on a false face at those and so avoid them – definite introvert behavior. Mindful meditation has served that purpose for me of stepping aside from the flow of thoughts and watching them go by. That does wonders, especially if it becomes a regular part of living.
    I’m glad these things work for you – that keeps you in charge of getting better.
    Thank you!

    Svasti says:
    October 5, 2009 at 1:10 am
    Hi John! I never once told my therapist when I had suicidal feelings. Mostly because I didn’t intend to let anyone know. Sort of because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I was emotionally blackmailing them. And sort of because if I decided to get serious about going down that path, I didn’t want anyone to stop me. Heh.
    About other things, I dunno. I mean, I think I was generally pretty honest, but I also didn’t want to end up taking medication, so I think I probably skimmed the top off how I felt for that reason, too.
    Sometimes, especially when my PTSD was really active, I had no choice. I couldn’t control how I felt, I couldn’t control it if a flashback occured in a session. So I’d lose it all over the place.
    And in those times, I’d feel physically ill before going to see my therapist, because I was terrified of another incident. So its probable I pulled back then, too. To save myself.
    Complete emotional honesty. How many of us ever do that, anyway?

    john says:
    October 6, 2009 at 11:56 am
    Hi, Svasti -
    Isn’t it interesting how we can control – for whatever reason – what the experience of therapy can be? We all do it sometimes, and not only because there’s something we don’t want to get into. How many therapists know how to handle anything beyond a little crying? If we don’t have total trust, it would be foolish to get into immediate hot button issues.
    Thanks for being so open about it!

    Tomas says:
    October 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm
    While reading Talking Honestly about Depression, I have sensed myself as if in a cinema where film of my own life was going.
    Emotions like to be sociable. They need to get out there and be seen and heard by the people …. Your note portray as our whole being, as a way out of our calamities: as the story goes, it’s bad to man to live alone.
    Your post helped me to grasp myself – to understand the mystery of the artist’s need to display their pictures for the public review) Emotions just must be shared – that’s like the breathing that makes us alive.

    john says:
    October 2, 2009 at 10:37 am
    Thank you so much, Tomas, for this beautiful comment. It touches me very deeply to know how this has helped you.
    I had not thought of the special need of artists to share emotion by displaying their work, and the mystery of that need, as you say. That is part of the urge to create work in any medium – to speak the feeling to others.
    All my best to you -

    WonderingSoul says:
    October 1, 2009 at 12:59 am
    I don’t know where I come in at. Probably a 1.
    Your post (again) feels as though you have read some kind of script deep inside me.
    Talking openly about depression with anyone, even here in the blogsphere is AGONY… It feels almost impossible. I’ve been trying to write about it but I find that just the energy it takes to try leaves me feeling exhausted.
    You have described the pain and the fear of repression so beautifully. It resonates so deeply that it almost hurts.
    I know and understand the intense pain of keeping everything walled, repressed, hidden… and yet, the overwhelming fear that to NOT do that will result in being somehow swallowed up up by it.
    “The fear was that the words could not be formed without the emotions flowing with them, and it was the spontaneous rush of feeling that had to be prevented. Something in me always reacted faster than thought. It was more than a censor, it was a builder of strong barriers that walled the feelings in and me with them.”
    “But facing a live person – the resistance was like biting into splintered wood to shut my mouth and crush the feeling into manageable size. That hurts!”
    Yes and yes.
    So well put.
    Your writing on this subject is some of the most powerful I have ever read. I wish I could talk to you.
    Thought about a book?

    john says:
    October 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm
    Wondering Soul -
    Discussing all this has made me realize that the “script deep inside me” isn’t just mine or just yours. The details may differ, but so much is the same. Depression is an illness that spreads its familiar symptoms and tries to bury the uniqueness in each of us. Like a swindler, it takes real feeling and pays us back with counterfeit. There are endless ways to be fully human but only a few ways to be sick with depression. It’s especially agonizing to be able to see what’s going wrong – like the walls and suppressing feeling – and not be able to stop it, either because of the fear you mention or because that stuff happens before we’re fully aware.
    I can’t thank you enough for all the kind things you say about my writing. [Of course, I can't really believe praise ;-)]
    Take total care of yourself!

    Wellness Writer says:
    September 30, 2009 at 7:27 am
    Dear John,
    Another really important post. And thanks for sharing your feelings on this topic.
    I, too, have found it almost impossible to talk about depressions when I’m experiencing them. The problem for me is that when I’m severely depressed, I don’t feel like talking at all.
    However, I have always been capable of writing about my feelings when I am incapable of talking about them.
    The problem is that I’ve never met a psychiatrist yet who will read what I’ve written and respond to that rather than asking me questions I have no interest in answering.
    But, last December during one of the very worst episodes ever, I tried my hardest to discuss what I was feeling with my psychiatrist and when that wasn’t satisfying with another psychiatrist whom I had to drive more than two hours to consult with.
    What I learned from both experiences was what I have long felt. When I am at my lowest ebb, psychiatrists (at least the ones I’ve seen, and there have been seven in the last 15 years) can’t help me.
    Their clinical approach to despair leaves me feeling far worse. The professional distance they create does not heal me. And talking about feelings of hopelessness makes me feel worse rather than better.
    This is not to say that I don’t believe in seeking help when I’m depressed. It’s just that I now seek it from people who in my mind are true healers.

    john says:
    October 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm
    Hi, Susan -
    I hadn’t thought about it in that way, but my experience with psychiatrists is similar. There have been a couple who have helped me at those bad times (though I’m great at understating and concealing what’s really going on). Many, though, listen for a while, then reach for the little white pad to add a new med or increase the dosage. That’s what a lot of them have to offer. A few in my experience, though, have had enough experience, humor and skepticism to see past treatment fashions and get back to the basic human relationship.
    Your new approach makes a lot of sense – forget the credential and find the genuine healer. I hope you’ve found the right one.
    All my best – John

    Jaliya says:
    September 29, 2009 at 10:25 pm
    Telling the whole emotional truth of the present moment … Gulp … Does it ever feel impossible to you, John, to simply sense and locate a feeling in your body, or to know what it is? I find this difficult to write about because I’m in an open space of real confusion about what a feeling feels like … or even if I’m capable of feeling itself. Major depression totally buggers up the natural sensation, perception, articulation and expression of feeling. With all our defensive habits of repression, we’re left with unexpressed emotion that eventually backfires on us somehow. KABOOM. We act out, or act in.
    “Something in me always reacted faster than thought,” you write, and I wonder if that might be instinct. An instinct to self-protect – perhaps the “autopilot” you name. I know this reaction … and it’s hard to pin words to it. When it’s beyond thought’s capacity to grasp, I wonder if it’s an infantile, precognitive reaction that occurs without conscious thought.
    … I have to come back to your post … must get to sleep … John, your blog is a thinker’s delight, and a saving grace.
    More later :-)

    john says:
    October 1, 2009 at 9:37 pm
    Thanks, Jaliya -
    Impossible to sense and locate a feeling in your body … I guess when I’m depressed, really at the despair level, every feeling is blended into one, and I’m not very conscious of what my body is doing. Confusion about what a feeling feels like .. that’s a powerful way to put it. That and the idea of being incapable of feeling itself seem to come with a different form of depression where I’m completely detached from myself and everyone else.
    This is tough stuff, Jaliya! I’m so sorry you’re in that state now. The backfiring is a terrible part of all this – and makes it hard to trust myself with other people. I might say or do something I don’t intend – but there it is, coming from I have no idea where.
    I hope you’re moving into a better space!
    All my best, and then some -


    Talking to Depression – 1
    by John Folk-Williams ·

    Talking to the depression of a spouse or partner is usually a no-win trap. I speak from the experience of having angrily fought off so many attempts my wife made over the years simply to let me know that something was deeply wrong. Depression is the intruder in any intimate relationship. It creates a replica of the person you know and love, like the pod people of the Body Snatchers films – identical bodies taking the life away from the man or woman living with you and substituting a terrifying, unknown being.

    People enduring the pain of relationships distorted by depression tell their stories over and over again in the user groups, blogs, forums and message boards of the internet. These partners to depression, often bewildered and desperate, need the outpouring of support they get on these sites, but they want more than that. They want to know what to do.

    Advice is easy to come by on the forums, and we’ve all had mixed experiences with it. Sometimes, it’s enormously helpful, but it can be preachy, dogmatic, irrelevant and even offensive or wounding. But whatever the shortcomings of the help offered, I find it always to be passionate. Most of the participants online have learned what they know from hard experience, and sharing it is usually part of their own healing. Despite having to sort through much that is not relevant to my situation, I keep returning to these forums to understand more about the struggle of living with depression.

    But I have a very different experience when I turn to some of the best known books offering analysis and advice on how to respond to a depressed partner. I’m going to avoid names here because there seems to be a more generic problem than one I find in a single writer. It’s a very tricky thing to offer step by step advice to people dealing with depression because the term covers a multitude of conditions along a spectrum from mild to suicidal.

    The best writers, from my perspective, ground advice in their own experience with the illness and are helpful in guiding readers to adapt the suggestions to their own unique circumstances. I find Julie Fast’s work – though dealing with bipolar rather than depression, (Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder) to be very helpful for just these reasons.

    Many other writers have their own websites and forums, and I often find a strange break between the down-to-earth advice found in their online sites and the overly neat prescriptions in their books. Now, please understand that I have enormous respect for each of these authors. Their books are best sellers, and they have helped thousands of people better understand how to deal with depression. But I’d like to review a few of the problems that most trouble me as I search for advice that would be helpful in my own marriage.

    Here’s an exchange from a popular forum that captures what bothers me about the advice in one such book. A woman had posted a few times and expressed enormous relief and gratitude at finding this source of help and support. Following is a response to one of her statements – quoted first below.

    “…. I am still trying to persuade him to get help, but so far with no luck.”

    Response:”Stop doing that. All he will do is actively resist it. If you make him an appointment [with a therapist], he thinks you are (s)mothering him, and he resents it. Not will. He does.”

    “Really, I should stop trying to persuade him? I just read the chapter in [author's book] about using persuasive techniques – so that’s what I tried. I guess I’ll stop.”

    The woman seeking help is so hurt and confused that she is grabbing whatever advice comes her way. The book’s prescriptions about how to persuade her husband to get help sounded so clear and doable that she went for it. Finding that contradicted by an experienced contributor to the forum, she goes for the new suggestion – advice which makes more sense in the context of my own experience. The problem with the book’s advice was that it ignored the storm of intense emotion and conflicting feelings in relationships damaged by depression.

    In re-reading several books of this type, I’ve listed out a few of the things I find most troubling.

    1. They often present a stereotype of the depressed partner as incapable of thinking rationally, helpless, needing to be guided like a child, needing to be treated and talked to carefully lest the wrong words trigger an angry or violent reaction. Of course, there’s an element of truth in this, but there’s a lot more going on. Denial is not the same as irrationality. To use myself as an example – though I know I’m not unique in this – my rational mind is often functioning perfectly well, but in the midst of depression it is disconnected from what I’m feeling and capable of doing. The best support comes from understanding that I’m in the grip of something I haven’t been able to control, not from assuming I can’t think straight.

    2. Despite the characterization of irrationality, the advice is completely rational. Here are the stages you as the non-depressed partner go through, here are the steps to take in dealing with the depressed partner. Here is what you should say, here is what you shouldn’t say. I don’t believe it’s possible to use rational techniques of persuasion with a person in the midst of depression. More fundamentally, it’s not the words themselves that cause a negative reaction. It’s the attitude and feeling behind them. If I hear scripted words coated in reassuring tones that conceal hurt or anger – I’m not going to be fooled or pay much attention.

    3. The advice also tends to assume that the undepressed partner has a big responsibility to help change the troubled one. First, this is unfair. Only the depressed person can initiate change. Second, I worry that a person trying these techniques, which in many cases will fail, will believe they’re not up to the job of overcoming the partner’s resistance. That not only damages self-esteem, it reinforces the idea that they may have contributed to the onset of depression. Or worse – they might come to feel that success in changing the partner will make them happy That’s almost a formula for codependence – putting the depressed person’s state of feeling above your own and making it a condition of your wellbeing.

    4. There is a lot that the better books get right, but the priorities are often backwards. They emphasize that depression is the problem, not the relationship or the partner. Even though the impact of the practical advice might contradict this, it’s the single most reassuring thing a reader needs to understand. There’s an illness here; it’s not your fault. They also get to another key point, that the undepressed partners need to take care of themselves by drawing behavioral boundaries, setting conditions for what they can’t tolerate and backing those conditions with action, even if it means leaving the relationship. The problem is that these books often get to these points last, when they should be first and give shape to everything else.

    5. Lastly, the books seem to assume that this drama is a one-time thing. If the techniques are applied and work, the relationship is saved and happiness results. If they fail, the relationship may well end. But, while many people may endure only one major episode of depression, it’s more likely that there will be many more. Having dealt successfully with one doesn’t necessarily mean that the next will yield in the same way. Both members of a relationship need to understand this possibility. They may well be in training for a long struggle.

    Another anecdote posted by the same woman quoted above is worth repeating here. She and her husband went to a family gathering where he was completely sociable, happy and at ease. Overcome by the terrible difference between his behavior in that setting and his silence and abuse at home, she burst into tears. The husband saw this, as did other members of the family. They told him – You’re wife is crying, you have to do something. This finally got through to him. On the way home, he told her that he probably needed to get help. A small step, but a huge change for him.

    That’s the way change can begin to happen. No learned strategies, no persuasive words spoken by the wife, simply the genuine emotion of a life falling apart. Added to that was the witness of concerned relatives outside the marriage. What could be more powerful than that?

    1. Donna-1 says:

    July 6, 2011 at 4:33 am
    I guess I speak of “order” because for so long it has seemed that “order” would solve my problems. If I could only arrange my priorities, if I could only plan for my future, if I could only control myself, others, and the world in general(!) and bring about an integrated whole, then the depression would end. That is the lie I was feeding myself…alnd in some ways it still calls to me.

    Donna-1 says:
    July 4, 2011 at 5:43 am
    How sad to read through these comments. I had avoided your posts, John, about relationships and marriage. The only light I could see them in was my parents’ relationship with each other, which was strained by father’s unconfessed depression. This drastically affected the entire family. I wasn’t thinking about my own relationship with my husband…that which we had while still married. And I knew I couldn’t change my parents’ relationship, nor could I repair the past. My dad is already dead and my mom is in her elder years. So why torture myself by reading your descriptions of men in depression?
    What I failed to see was how my own depression had had a hand in wrecking my marriage. Certainly, my husband was no prize in my aspects. He was narcissistic, addicted to pornography, and in constant flux about his sexual identity. But our respective problems had been going on a long time before we met each other. It is just different when you have to share your problems with a mate; you become responsible not only to yourself (a task we each had let slip into disrepair), but to the other. If you can’t keep your own self in order, how do you bring order to a relationship?
    But today, I started tackling your relationship posts with an open mind about my own contribution (and lack of same) to my failed marriage. It is so easy to blame him, because his were the more outward and obvious faults. Mine (mainly depression) remained inward and undiscussed. Nevertheless, much as my father’s moods colored my early family life, my own illness definitely had its effect on my later relationships. It is very painful to admit. But necessary. One more adventure in wellness-seeking.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    July 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm
    Hi, Donna -
    It’s true that depression always plays a role in a relationship, whether discussed or not. But I hope you don’t blame yourself at this point. There is such a mix of problems – the impact of your past, your depression, his issues. It sounds like neither of you could be fully open with the other. If I had been married to the kind of person you describe here (and I’ve read more about him on your other posts), I wouldn’t trust him enough to open up.
    I doubt any of us can keep ourselves in order, or bring order to a relationship. The openness and constant talking are basic to understanding each other – but for that to nourish the relationship I think the basic trust, love, compassion have to be there for both. It would have been hard, it seems from what I can gather, for either of you to see and hear the other very clearly.
    Anyway, I hope there’s more help than hurt in reading these posts.

    joan says:
    November 10, 2010 at 1:19 am
    after two bouts of cancer, being made redundant before retirement, losing our 43 year old daughter, his mother. Depression set in , dr put him on effexor. Our life has come to a screeching halt with a man who does not want to get up mornings, socialize, all upset that at 80 his friends are dying and I may die and leave him alone. I am at my wit’s end

    John says:
    November 13, 2010 at 9:45 pm
    Hi, Joan -
    I’m sorry that you’re having to live through a devastating problem like this. This sounds like a very severe episode of major depression, and much depends on your husband finding some spark of motivation to get further treatment. The medication seems not to be working at all, and that should be discussed with a doctor – preferably a psychiatrist, who would have much more detailed knowledge of the full range of drugs and their side effects than a primary care physician. I’ve found medication to be most useful to take the edge off the worst symptoms so that other forms of therapy – and my own efforts to heal – can be more effective. It would be best to discuss all the options with a psychiatrist since there are alternatives to drugs.
    There’s a limit to what you can do to help him, but I would urge you to have your own support, if you don’t already, in whatever form you’ve found effective. Severe depression has a way of spreading to others in the family – you are so directly affected that your health, physical and emotional, can also be undermined.
    My best to you – John

    sarah says:
    September 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    Hi John, thanks for your helpful reply. The thing is, I already chucked out his stuff, unbeknown to him. It was such a liberating thing to do. But my main remaining question now is, since he doesn’t know that I no longer have his stuff, why hasn’t he been in touch? I was hoping you could shed some light on it. Like, would it be that he just never thinks about me anymore? Would it be because he can’t face me and feels badly about his behaviour? Is he just careless with his possessions? Or could it be that he fears being back in touch would stir up feelings for him? I know you can’t know the answer, but I’d be interested to hear any suggestions you might have!
    As I said before, this whole thing happened just after my own father had committed suicide, which makes it particularly awful that my ex has never got in touch to even find out how I am. People say to me that I should just forget about it because it all just got too messy, as if somehow it was a foregone conclusion that it could never have worked, because of what had happened with my Dad. Call me unrealistic, but I think that’s untrue. It could have worked – with effort on both sides. That’s what I’m struggling to leave behind.
    My other question for you is: do you think it’s a common occurrence for him to have turned round and started blaming ME for being the depressed one? He said to me, when he was trying to extract himself from the whole situation: “You know Sarah, I always seem to end up with emotionally unstable girls, and since I can be quite unstable myself, it’s not a good idea”. I thought that was such a cheap and insulting pretext for leaving the relationship. I’m not emotionally unstable – but I was GRIEVING, which he seemed to have got bored of, despite the fact that when we got together he swore that he was the person to help me on the grounds that he “knew all about suicidal urges”. I think it is so, so wrong to enter into a relationship with somebody who’s grieving, expect them to support you, and then when that person starts to fall apart because you have asked too much of them, you turn around and label them “emotionally unstable”. You don’t just drop people, in any situation, and certainly not when they have just been through a huge trauma. The worst part is that, when he walked out on me, he said ” you know Sarah, you’re just expecting happiness to come from outside of you, like in the job you’re doing or your boyfriend being home for dinner. But happiness can only come from the inside, when you work on yourself and face up to what’s missing”. Then he walked out the door. I mean, is it just me, or is that REALLY twisted and abusive?
    I wish I didn’t fantasize about reconciliation – because I know I never could get back with him now. But the sad thing is, I still fantasize every day that I will bump into him on the street, or on the train, and he will want to work on it with me.
    And most of all, I want to know whether he ever thinks about me. I think deep down he blames himself for most things, but as with many depressed people, he just externalizes all of that and blames everything that goes wrong on other people.
    Also I wish I could contact his parents – do you think that is a bad idea? I recently found out through a contact of my mother’s that his parents were devastated when we split up and could not understand why he had left me, as they apparently thought I was a lovely person and very good for him.
    So, if you have any other comments and perspectives – well, I can’t tell you how much it helps me. As you so rightly say, I’m not quite done with it yet. A big three cheers for your website

    John says:
    September 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm
    Hi, Sarah -
    Well, to be honest, I’m not at all sure I can come up with suggestions that would be very useful. As you say, I can’t know what he’s thinking – or anything about him other than what you’ve described. Perhaps that’s what I can mention – there is one thing that strikes me about what you’ve written in this and your earlier post. It’s this: Almost all the questions you ask about him sound like you’re searching for ways to remain hopeful about getting together again. On the other hand, most of what you say about his words and actions creates a convincing portrait of an insensitive, self-centered guy who has been manipulating and at times abusive toward you. Of course, you’re writing about a lot of hurt and confusion and conflicting feelings, and I don’t know of anyone who could come to terms with all that in a straightforward way. So I’m not surprised if part of you can describe a man who’s broken with you pretty decisively and part of you tries to find some hope in his silence and distance – or the occasional comments he has made to you. I remember all too well never being able to accept a break-up I went through long ago. I couldn’t stop calling, hoping, trying to push myself back into her life, convinced that I’d be able to get her back, even when she did everything possible to make it completely clear that it was over.
    So I really sympathize with you but find it hard to say much more than this. I just hope this works out in a way that’s best for you.
    I guess
    It’s pretty hard to interpret

    sarah says:
    September 2, 2010 at 6:51 am
    Dear John and Susan
    Just wanted to express my absolute sympathy with Susan’s dilemma and say thanks to John for clarifying certain mysteries that still linger with me over my boyfriend’s departure
    My boyfriend left on new year’s day, which was meant to be our first anniversary. Like other people who have written in to the forum have described, he was dazzlingly keen from day one, and spoke in very committed terms about the relationship although looking back I can see that those words were never backed up by action. I knew when we got together that he had been on antidepressants for some time and had suffered a number of breakdowns, ostensibly triggered by huge amounts of stress in his studies. He was incredibly bright, blustery and charismatic on the outside and in the early days of our relationship, I think I also had access to the more vulnerable, quieter, inner person. But the more I got to know him, and the more we had to deal with the inevitable conflicts and power struggles inherent to any relationship, the more distant he became from me. Any criticism of his behaviour caused him to withdraw completely. Gradually he became more and more defensive and it was as if anyone who did not reflect his “perfect’ self image was excluded from his circle. I began to notice that his friendships were kept deliberately superficial.
    It frustrated me so much that he did not seem to want to confront his own issues, and he was well aware that he had problems, because he had had some counselling and had a very difficult relationship with his father, etc. etc. I made allowances for all of this, all the way through, but like others here, I eventually burst out in a rage that had been suppressed for ages. As Susan rightly identifies, this is a subtle form of emotional abuse and as the partner you do not realise that you are being dragged into it until your own self-esteem has been completely destroyed. In other words, with someone exhibiting such behaviour, it is well nigh impossible to forge a relationship of equals.
    I began to feel resentful over time, and gradually I became depressed myself. I found myself putting his own needs well above my own, and when he was having a breakdown I put everything on hold to be able to care for him as I thought he deserved. He came through it, but afterwards, he distanced himself gradually from me. He wouldn’t invite me out with his friends, and never once took the initiative in suggesting that we go away together for a weekend. I felt I was doing all the giving. And sure enough, when I began to slide into a depression myself, he was working such long hours that he barely noticed me. It was all fine and dandy with him, and the implication was that I was now getting in the way of him having the happy time he had now “earned”.
    I felt so angry and neglected that I got angry with him at a party [mistake!!] and the next day he told me he was leaving as I was “too much responsibility” for him when I was down myself. 4 weeks previously, he had been telling me how he wanted to invest so much more in our relationship and was so happy and close to me. Now, he was coming up with all sorts of pathetic excuses why we couldn’t be together, like how we weren’t into the same hobbies, mixed in with casually cruel remarks about how he could never see himself having children with me. When he walked out, I was shaking and felt unsafe and completely blamed myself. he never even asked a friend to check on me.
    His behaviour was not only abusive, it was also highly negligent. He never got in touch to come and collect the considerable amounts of stuff he had left at my flat, or to check how I was doing, or to discuss us. So again, it was I who, by this time having seen my doctor and started a course of prozac myself – decided that I would, yet again, be the one to take responsibility for us. He still mattered so much to me and I couldn’t bare to see him throw away yet another relationship (he has a history of short-lived alliances that end in tears). So I rang him up. I said we needed to talk about us. But he avoided any discussion of us, instead pretending everything was OK and saying we could go to the cinema, and be friends. Anything but confront what had just happened. I found this behaviour immature, baffling and completely infuriating. My way of dealing with it was – rightly or wrongly – to keep trying to get through to him, but I realise now how futile some of those attempts were. When you say, John, that it’s likely to make him feel even more trapped if the woman keeps declaring her love and constancy, that really struck a chord with me. He withdrew from me physically and was unbelievable cold and distant. As if he had started that “new life” or “new self” that he so craved. And it took me a long time to work out that his level of denial was so deep that nothing and no one could get through to him. We met up a few more times over the course of the next few months, and when I offered him his stuff back he said he “wasn’t in any rush to get it back”.
    John, do you have any thoughts on all this?

    John says:
    September 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm
    Hi, Sarah -
    I’m really sorry you had to go through this hellish experience, and it sounds like you’re not quite done with it yet. (?) There’s so much betrayal in this kind of self-centered and abusive behavior. Thank God you understand what he’s doing and that trying to get through to him – or taking care of his needs – doesn’t work. Depression doesn’t necessarily explain or account for this – not fully – it sounds like that’s just the way he is. (Please understand that when I hear stories like this, I get right into my judgmental, righteous mode – and I’m sure I’m oversimplifying.)
    One thing that I recognize – because it’s so common – is his wanting to hang on to you – not only with the idea of being “friends” but also by leaving his stuff at your place. That’s usually a way of maintaining some control by having you serve him – assuming you’ll store his things. Allowing that to happen assures him you’re still tied to him, even a little. Abusive behavior is more about control and manipulation – whether consciously done or not – and does aim at destroying your self esteem – as you recognize. I know how hard it is to get it back once compromised – and being decisive to stand up for yourself.
    My rational mind, as I mentioned in the recent post on the open door, advises you to let him know – through a blunt email or some other impersonal way – that unless he removes his belongings by a date certain you’ll call Goodwill to take it away and toss what they can’t use. Emotionally, I can understand the push and pull of anger and attachment and how difficult everything about him must be.
    You’ve come a long way in a relatively short time. I’m sure it seems like forever, but, as you know, others have lived through decades of this sort of relationship.
    My very best to you -

    Susan says:
    June 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm
    Despite my response (No 14)your post of 17th (no 13) challenged me to look again at my relationship, in fact i’ve spent the whole weekend reflecting. I have been trying to understand including asking why this anguish keeps coming back every few weeks with renewed vigour and why, despite some misgivings throughout this relationship, I was so totally destroyed by its end. Finally I have started to realise why my mind would not let this drop and to face the unthinkable.
    This relationship seemed like the answer to a prayer and the love was something I had never experienced in all my life (I was married to my abusive & difficult husband at 18). It quickly seemed like something that was just meant to be, so right, wonderful and the love of my life that it was tantamout to heresy to think otherwise or to challenge it or admit to doubts.
    There were things that just didn’t seem right, statements, actions and I continued to be sucked into, and carried along by it. I kept suppressing concerns that, if expressed, seemed to be bypassed or taken over by his needs. Besides some of the things in my first post there were others that I’ve been almost afraid to think about. 6 smonths into the relationship there was an incident, this has nagged away at my soul and refused to lie down, something that just didn’t fit with the kind, gentle, considerate person my partner purported to be. I’m now daring to admit that this was physicalsexual abuse but I was so frightened, inexperienced and reluctant to break the spell that I didn’t protest verbally and when I brought it up later it was denied and dismissed so again I put it to the back of my mind.
    As I said before his health, life, finances seemed to take over my life and my every waking minute. Responsibility for all the depression issues were put onto me.
    He envisaged a world with just himself and me (which I believe fits your description of fantasising about a wonderful, rosy world where everything was so perfect that it cured all his problems) and was annoyed that I spent time at weekends on other things, he said he felt pushed out.
    That I refused to stop my hobby caused friction, my running and training had been instrumental in keeping me sane and maintaining some self-esteem in my marriage, but giving up was presented as ‘concern about my health’ as I’d had a couple of injuries and rounds of surgery. This hobby was so vital to my emotional health that I was happy to risk the physical consequences. I was gradually pulled away from my running friends though.
    All his opinions were presented as just good sense (or sometimes disloyal); almost treason, so you are right – his version of reality had to prevail.
    I wouldn’t conform to his wishes as I didn’t stop my hobby and I wouldn’t drop contact with my dear family, though this wasn’t directly suggested, needing to spend much more time together was more subtle. So perhaps that too was instrumental in his emotional withdrawal and eventual cold, clinical ending of the relationship.
    John, I think you should move our exchange to your post on psychological abuse, you were right on this. There is much more that I can’t face today. It is summarised well in your description of this type of abuse in your post date 17th June.
    I still believe that this is very closely linked to depression-there was much evidence of this. This level of abuse is perhaps, as you say, driven by emotions like fear & shame and reflects both the extreme level of denial needed to keep introspection at bay and also the feelings of things like personal inadequacy. I am convinced he had a lifetime of these issues but whether his abuse of me was unconscious or conscious is one thought too many for today.
    I’m obliged to you for pushing me into confronting the fact that what I thought was the most wonderful experience of my life was a complete illusion but it’s been a very distressing journey.
    Thanks for saying that it was not my fault – that helps though I know that I was so submerged that I suppressed my fears and instincts.
    I will try to relate some of the story to help your readers as soon as I can.
    By the time you write a book, as I think you will, hopefully I’ll be able to provide more case study details.
    All the best, God bless and take care of yourself and your family.

    john says:
    June 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm
    Hi, Susan -
    I’m so glad you’re beginning to find a way to work this out and get closer to some resolution. Most people I know can’t achieve this level of clarity without a lot of time in therapy. I’m glad if anything I’ve said could help, but it’s all your inner strength to keep pushing yourself to look so closely at these painful experiences. There have been many times when I’ve tried to do that but wound up blotting the whole thing out (often by falling asleep in the midst of thinking or writing my way through it) or else just anguishing over the past without learning anything from it.
    You’re so candid and just plain brave to write all this and share it with others here. As you suggest, I’ll move this exchange to the recent post. In fact, I’d like to base a new post on what you’ve written – consisting mostly of quotes from your comments. Your writing and experience are so powerful, just as you’ve put them so far, that they should have more attention than the comments often get. Let me know if that’s OK with you.
    I welcome and thank you for anything else you’d feel free to contribute here.
    My very best to you as you continue to work on this.

    Susan says:
    June 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    Thank you for your reply. You are right that the reply was not what I expected partly because it’s focus was on me when I anticipated more of whathow he might be feeling and the consequent behaviors. Also partly, as you suspected, because of his possible role as the emotional & psychological abuser.
    I have considered this before and I have to admit that I had some misgivings (and feelings of being taken advantage of) on and off through this relationship – this sometimes makes me wonder why I have been so totally broken by the end result. I’ve also asked myself if I’m not facing up to this possibility as it is so painful for me. However I’m trying to think rationally and objectively through many incidents and concerns in this relationship and, though there are many ‘close fits’ on both possible explanations I feel that the situation is one of a depressed person who acts abusively.
    This is because I think that I know every nuance of emotional and psychological abuse and manipulation; I came to know it intimately during the 33 years of my marriage and the first 5 of my separation because, as you rightly say, I became unable to resist and was, in a way, almost complicit in the abuse. Contact only ended because husband found out sbout my relationship, refused to speak to me and started to speak abusively about me to my sons instead of to me personally. He could always find new reasons for abuse regardless of whether they had a slight, manipulated basis in fact or whether they were totally fictitious.
    When I met my partner I certainly was very vulnerable and was swept of my feet very quickly. My experiences convince me that he, from childhood, has externalised and blamed others for his internal termoil and feelings of inadequacy. Also that this pattern of behavior is well-entrenched and that he paid lip-service to medication and therapy. I say lip-service because he seemed to expect a ‘cure’ to come to him, for example he said that he recognised that he took offence very easily and critised others too readily (from earlier rounds of therapy I think though he was not too forthcoming on this) but he carried on and on doing more of the same. I take the point, and agree, that only he can recognise and commit to making the changes needed for recovery despite his efforts to shift resposibility and blame onto me. But waiting, hoping, helplessly for that to happen is almost as hard for the non-depressed partner as living with the fall-out. Maybe harder because there’s no rules, guidance, measure, certainty and in my case neither hope nor closure.
    My partner did not deny the depression it felt as if he used it as a weapon to demand special treatment from others and justify his lack of regard & care of them. He did deny any responsibility for the pain and damage it caused I think because of the gap between the things he knew in his heart were good and kind & his own behaviour was just to wide to face.
    I haven’t closed my mind to your suggestion; some of your words were very close to the mark and thanks for the suggested reading, I will follow up on this.
    I’m actually an intelligent, educated, competent professional person who can make an attempt at objectivity and moving on…. for a week or two … and then the hurt, confusion, loss and so much more comes flooding back with renewed vigour as does the need to try and understand. My instinct is saying that I need to understand to heal; hence my query. I just seem incapable of accepting and moving on even though this has destroyed me and my future as everything we had planned is no more. Underneath all this, and the knowledge that something very precious to me is gone forever, there is a very small voice saying “what about me”.
    Your writing, your honesty and your willingness to examine your own behaviour and the consequences, even when it is painful, is helpful to partners who are feeling the hurtful consequences of depression. It is also rare as most information is focussed on the needs of the sufferer and completely omits, or understates, the harsh reality from the perspective of the non-depressed sufferer.
    Thanks again I appreciate your time

    john says:
    June 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    Hi, Susan -
    Your clarity of insight is wonderful – though I gather it sometimes eludes you. Staying sane through 35 years of such treatment shows what a strong person you are. In the end, I suppose explanations of behavior and the labels that go with them aren’t so important as preserving an emotional integrity while doing what you can to save a relationship. I think men who are depressed and abusive are driven by fear and shame, and the most powerful thing they can do is just admit that to themselves. It’s even more powerful if they can say the words to the person who loves them. There’s nothing like telling the truth.
    The severity of their behavior with others probably signals the level of denial that keeps them from taking a good look inside themselves. In a way, my own lack of self esteem helped turn me around. I could never fully believe that anyone else caused my problems – it was more typical to blame myself for everything when I was completely depressed. So when I was acting out – doing my worst – there was always that bit of doubt – who are you kidding? At least I knew I was out of control.
    If I had not stopped and realized the depression was mine to accept and do something about, I might well have walked out on my family and then repeated the same pattern through a succession of failed relationships. People I’ve known who’ve caused the most harm have been completely oblivious of the needs of anyone else – and they never seem to get that wake-up call.
    It’s hard for me to see a good outcome if that moment of truth never comes. It’s the precondition for allowing therapy of any kind to work, and certainly to reach recovery.
    I’m sorry if I got things wrong in responding to your post – the impressions I’ve had come from your keen observations and clear writing. But it’s my armchair advice, and you’re living through it.
    I wish you the very best,

    Susan says:
    June 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm
    I’d value your help and insight to help me understand and cope with a problem that has almost destroyed me.
    I had 33 years of unhappiness in my marriage, I now realise things I suffered were probably due to my husband being depressed. I stayed in the marriage so long because other people’s needs were always more important than my own eg my younger son’s lung disease, caring for my mother-in-law, my father’s Alzheimers etc. Things were so bad that it took me 5 years to recover after my separation, then I met a wonderful man, we quickly fell head-over-heels in love and I had so many new and happy experiences – it seemed as if someone was smiling on me at last. This man is the love of my life. A few things concerned me, even in the early days, but I tried to put them aside as I’d never been so happy in all my life. He had no friends, was very critical of other people, he used worrying words like ‘belittle’, status was important to him, he could be ‘touchy’.
    After about 3 months he told me was suffering from depression, consequently was on benefits, and gave an outline of the condition. But, due to our relationship things were looking up, he couldn’t understand why he never totally recoved that first year. At the time I admit I was shocked, especially when I read up on some of the behaviors and consquences on partners which I put to the back of my mind. I also found it a bit difficult to understand as I had (somehow) come through a truly awful life with years of emotional abuse and much more.
    He’d had a traumatic divorce after his wife left him after an short affair with a rich, childhood boyfriend. So in just a matter of weeks his marriage & business were destroyed leaving him, mid 50s with no job and two very young children. She never provided a word or a single penny of help or support despite a very affluent lifestyle. This was followed by, what he described as, an unhappy relationship with an abusive, ‘power woman’ who repeatedly verbally attacked him.
    During that 1st wonderful year there were a couple of incidents when he withdrew rather than admit he was wrong that caused me huge distress as I’m a kindly sort who always puts other people before myself. He also needed a great deal of help and support; so much so that I felt almost squeezed dry, especially as I’d gone into the relationship feeling that I needed someone ‘for me’, but I was doing more and more giving and less & less receiving. However we were inseparable, totally in love and we had so many good times so I seemed to get sucked into putting my worries aside, when I tried to express them he didn’t really listen, the conversation inevitably turned to his needs and everything seemed to be about him. I was reluctant to divorce and marry him, despite his requests, partly due to fear of a claim against my pension scheme and partly due to a nagging concern about his behavior.
    In our second year together i suffered a series of blows; my mother & sister diagnosed with cancer, my sick son had 4 major crises, a dear uncle and a close friend died, a dear friend had a traumatic pregnancy and eventual Down’s child then my cat, my constant companion over 16 years died. I needed help and support but, in reality, little was forthcoming despite his assertions of being a caring, wonderful person. Sometimes he barely listened or his interest felt mechanical, almost as if he was reading questions from ‘The Kind Person’s Guide’ and as soon as he got to number 6 he could forget the whole thing and go to sleep; he couldn’t comprehend why I couldn’t do so too. He went from being ‘touchy’ to selfish and quite unkind.
    There was a major incident when I got back from a clinic where my mother’s cancer had been diagnosed (I’d already spent the morning dealing with a benefits claim for him when I really needed some comfort & encouragement)
    and I needed some kindness and support. He’d had a problem with one of his daughters that I asked him to keep until the next day so I could cope but he continued pressing his story and ignoring my pleas until, in despair, I shouted that I couldn’t take a ‘selfish family’ story that day. Result: he withdrew totally for 5 days when I was in despair. He had been endlessly asserting his kind, supportive qualities when his actual behavior was the opposite. He never, ever could say sorry or accept any fault for anything. Afterwards he felt he was entirely justified had been offended because I had ‘attacked’ him (when, in fact, I was challenging thoughtless, selfish behavior) and said that because he hadn’t intended to hurt me the actual hurt he had added to my pain was inconsequential & due to my ‘bizarre’ aggressive behavior.
    I was seriously down at this time and it seemed as if my needs (and, I think, him denying his own behavior) caused pressure that caused him to start pulling back from me and made me very unhappy and tense. Also he had almost exhausted his savings and his financial situation was becoming desperate. My natural kindness, generousity, considerate nature and love seemed to annoy him yet he was taking more and more from me. He was annoyed when I said I was tired after work a couple of evenings even though he told me how exhausted and tired HE felt every single day. This continued for almost 5 months with me becoming more anxious and him more difficult, the last weeks much worse with increasingly ‘odd’ behaviour. I didn’t recognise the depression storm clouds though he was becoming more self-absorbed, selfish and clinically, coldly cruel.
    Then a huge row, (that I beleive he intentionally provoked) when all my fears erupted, he didn’t listen at all, so I repeated it shouting. I know i went over the top and I realise now the impact it had on his increasingly fragile condition – this grieves me and I feel so guilty. I rang him after a week and we spoke and met up a few times – but he was distant and unwilling to discuss anything but mundane things – any suggestion of ‘us’ or my feelings brought a complete blank; or the phone going down.
    I was distraught, grief-stricken, angry, everything and he was clinically detached “we had argued, he had been offended and had withdrawn (in the face of unjustified attack – every challenge or request for some consideration of me was always an attack) totally normal, understandable and 100% justified and any mention of my feelings just brought stares of disbelief.
    After a month of this I visited him and brought up the ‘us’ question. He (the love of my life) looked at me as if I was a thick, tiresome piece of trash and said sslowly that “he felt absolutely nothing for me”. I rreminded him of some of the wonderful things we had done together and all his assertions of love, marriage, mme being his soul-mate and the love of his life. wWithout a trace of compassion or kindness he said “it might have seemed like we were in love but people like me often assumed their partners returned their feelings when they actually did not. He admitted that it might seem a bit strange that he had been completely in love with his former abusive girl-friend and that he felt absolutely nothing for me even though i was the kindest, most considerate, most caring & loving, generous and thoughtful person he had ever met. If there was any chance that he might find some feeling for me I had to leave him competely alone for him to ‘recover’. The only concern he expressed was about being worried about his being single again. I was in total despair and spoke of my unhappiness and the wonderful things he had promised. His response: that my feelings were not under consideration and that what he wanted had to happen. As there was only the very slightest chance that he would find any feeling for me my thoughts & feelings were completely irrelevant.
    Since then I have been so griefsticken but also angry and disbelieving about his callous cruelty and not able tto understand how anyone, no matter how ill, could iintentionally inflict so much pain on anyone, let alone tthe person who was supposed to be the love of his life.
    Despite my grief I tried to be quietly ‘there’ and after a month of no contact I sent him a photo (of himself) and the next month a book both of which elicted a polite, but distant thank-you email. Then I got an email from him asking for help with a benefits overpayment charge and I responded with some suggested points. A few days later a letter came, somehow I expected an acknowledgement of my hurt, a reconcilliation, a kind word, anything. In fact it was a benefits appeal letter for me to check. This caused me to be near suicidal I have been so hurt, wounded & confused and since then have read all the information on depression on the internet and now appreciate what I found so hard to believe and accept before; particularly the ‘don’t take it personally’ but too late.
    During our relationship he had two periods on medication but was not convinced that they helped though he was more concerned with avoiding side effects than recovering. In our final weeks together he was having counselling but, at the time, I was pretty certain he was telling her lies, or recounting things out of context, to avoid any thought of his having shortcomings but now I’m wondering if he was fighting accepting them or taking any responsibility for his actions.
    3 Three months ago I got a polite two-line email saying that his appeal had failed and thanks for the help and since then there has been no contact as I’ve just tried to give him the space he requested but this has been very hard on me and not a single day passes without unhappiness and grief. I have taken up a new hobby, started meditation classes and postponed my retirement, (he was pressing me to retire so we could spend more time together), so I really have tried to help myself but the pain never goes.
    I do not know what to do next for him, or me. Do people recover from where ever he is now? I truly cannot take much more, after a difficult life this has brought me to my knees and sometimes I just want an end to the pain, sometimes I just want the wonderful days back and sometimes I just want to tell him what he has done to me (and make him listen not dismiss, or zone-out, on anything that’s not about him)or to ask him where the wonderful person has gone.
    I do care about him and his welfare first and foremost, but I also know that I’m just too fragile to cope with recurring problems like this but I just can’t walk away either, despite the advice from my counsellor.
    I feel as if his condition has bled me dry, left me with absolutely nothing despite me giving my all(in fact less than I had before I met him as he gave me a glimpse of something good then took it away in the cruellest way possible)and I have neither hope nor any kind of closure.
    II half suspect from some of the expressions he has used ((e.g.”it wasn’t right but she was a wonderful, kind, thoughtful person”)that he did something similar to the girlfriend previous to me but over a much shorter timescale(she tragically lost her sister early in the relationship). This lady died, perhaps a year or so ago so I keep wondering if he is denying letting her down and perhaps any possible guilt that he caused her unhappiness that contributed to her death;but this is sheer speculation.
    I’ve read your comments on men who feel the need to move onto something new – as cure for all ills – instead of looking into themselves and I’m tortured by the thought that I was just seen as a ‘fixer’ for his problems but when rationality returns I realise that the love we shared couldn’t have been faked – or just turned off – and is still there somewhere.

    john says:
    June 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm
    Hi, Susan -
    This is such a painful story to read. I can’t imagine what you must feel living through it all. But, Susan, the advice I have to offer is probably not what you want or expect to hear. Remember, I’m no therapist, and it’s always hard to tell exactly what’s going on from reading even a very detailed post like this one. But please – please – listen carefully to your counselor!
    It may well be that this man is depressed, but it sounds like his pattern of behavior fits another one that is more destructive – that of an emotional and psychological abuser. I just wrote a post here on exactly this problem. That might be a starting point to understand how this form of abuse pervades a relationship from beginning to end, including the love he shows at first and the dazzling experience of feeling like you’ve found the love of your life. Then things go wrong bit by bit as the woman’s words get twisted, his version of reality has to prevail and blame is shifted entirely to his partner. Since I’m no expert, I’d urge you to read the books I reference in that post. The pattern of the relationship you describe is exactly what those books are talking about – at least it sure sounds like it to me.
    I’ve been finding out a lot about this form of abuse because my own behavior when depressed was extremely abusive emotionally to my wife and family. While it’s true that depression warps a personality and much of what a depressed person does and says is not intended personally, the effect and hurt is completely personal. I was responsible for that abuse, and it was up to me, no one else, to get treatment and to make that the most important thing I needed to do in my life.
    The advice I offer in the case of depression and its “fallout” on the family is two-fold. First, that nobody but the depressed partner can change – it’s up to him (or her, but I hear mostly about depressed men) not the partner. Not only is there little the partner can do – despite the strong belief that there must be something they can do to get him back – she also has to look out for her own wellbeing and get all the support she can get, including therapy. I believe she also needs to be clear about how much abuse she can take and let the depressed partner know her limits and that the emotional harm may never heal if it keeps going on.
    Whether this man is primarily an emotional abuser – with a history of this type of behavior – or a depressed man who is acting abusively, there is nothing that you can do for him. He is the only one who can and must take responsibility for getting well – and to stop blaming and hurting you. As I said, it sounds like the emotional abuse pattern is the major concern – and that leaves your mental health and wellbeing, frankly, at risk. That’s why I urge you to pay close attention to your counselor, who can offer a much clearer and more objective view than you can. It’s not your fault that this is happening to you.
    I know this must sound harsh – perhaps way off the mark – but that’s the way it looks to me.
    I really hope that all this pain can come to an end soon.

    Gem says:
    February 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm
    Thank you for replying. I’ve told him many times. I had what i feel was a breakdown last night and i tried asking him for just a little contact. He says he can’t talk to me. I need to get myself sorted before i can do anything. He just said me being “Depressed” isn’t helping him get better. He doesn’t seem to care about my feelings anymore and would rather talk to some random women from America. I’m only 18 and i need to be happy with myself first so i’m going to work on that whilst being on some herbal remedy to calm me. Thanks for your help =] x

    Gem says:
    February 8, 2010 at 10:53 am
    My boyfriend and i had been together for 9 months, he came down often as we live 500 miles apart. He lives with his nan as he had bad parents and she took him in. He’s always had depression but told me i could make him feel better and happy. He moved in with me just before christmas, before this we talked all the time on the phone. After he’d moved in everything was fine, then 2 weeks in he suddenly said he felt lost here, alone. He left that day, when he got home i had a phone call saying he really missed me and wanted to come back. He came back the next day. A few more weeks went by and everything was fine, he was going to propose to me, i felt perfect. He went home again within an hour. He ignored me at first then i called his nan asking her to let me talk to him. He said he was going to stop taking his pills for a day or two so he could make out his feelings, he says his pills numb them. It was different each day, one minute he loved me and wanted me, next he loved me but didn’t want me. We haven’t talked for a few days now and it kills me. He said he wants to be friends in the future but he needs to concentrate on getting better. I’m left in limbo, not knowing where i stand. How can he want to marry me and have children then suddenly want to be friends? I want to be there for him, when his nan dies he’ll have nothing, i’m scared of what he’ll do. I know it sounds horrible to say that but it’s something i think about a lot. Is he really feeling that he needs to get better on his own? Or is it an excuse to break up with me? I love him so much and haven’t wanted to eat or do anything, i just cry and hope something bad happens to me, every day. What should i do? My family just say he’s fallen out of love with me, i just want to know if he ever loved me and if depression is this way as i don’t know much about it. Will he come back to me?

    john says:
    February 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    Hi, Gem -
    From what you’re saying, my first concern is about you. I hope you have some support to turn to and also hope you’re not blaming yourself. It sounds like his behavior is triggered by depression, and you’re not causing any of this. It’s a horrible blow to have this torment going on, and I’m really sorry you’re feelings are being so abused. This is about his depression, but still there are limits. He’s responsible for the impact of his behavior and can’t keep playing with your feelings. The danger for you is that his feelings start to seem more important in your life than your own. If he can’t stop exposing you to his back and forth behavior, I hope you can set a boundary for yourself – as anguishing as that may be. Part of being depressed is that you become self-absorbed and stop thinking about what you’re doing to others – somehow the depressed person has to wake up to that damage.
    Taking antidepressants can dull your feelings. That happened to me over a period of several years. I felt detached, and it was easy to be careless about relationships. Another problem is imagining that moving to a new place, finding a new partner – or some other big change – will “make you feel better.” That never works. Trying to depend on someone else for a cure is abdicating responsibility for facing the inner pain on your own. No one made me depressed, no one could make me better. The hardest part of long-term depression for me was realizing that nothing would cure me if I didn’t make recovery the most important thing in my life – and stop fantasizing about cures happening through a new relationship.
    Trying to find out what he really feels probably can’t be done at this point because he doesn’t know. As long as he’s subject to depression, he’s playing by a different set of rules. I don’t see how he can get in touch with his feelings by switching his medication on and off. Depression is probably the dominant force in his emotional life, and I hope you can get enough support to make sure his depression isn’t controlling your life.
    Letting him know the depth of your feelings and setting a limit on what you can tolerate from him may be the best things to do for him – but mostly for you.
    All my best to you =

    Shelly says:
    October 22, 2009 at 7:07 pm
    Hi John,
    Thank you for responding to my post. Here is really what happened. Him and I carried a long distance relationship (in different countries) for 6 years and finally decided we were getting engaged. He was going to move here to the US and despite the fact that he was going to start a new life away from everything he knew, he was sooo excited and just wanted to be with me. I came back to the states after visiting with him for 3 weeks and when I got back and called him, he would complain about feeling depressed. He linked it to our separation and even though it was temporary (he was planning to be here in December), he said his mind played tricks on him and told him that perhaps things were too good to be true. Another thing was that the contract he was working on was taking forever to cut him a check which he was going to use to get my engagement ring. Additionally, the jewelry store had the ring on hold and was calling him daily to see when he would pick it up.
    Two weeks after being back in the US, I called him one night and he was out and we got into a very insignificant argument and I did not call him for one week. When I called him after the week, he seemed very mad and said that he thought I had decided to leave him because I did not call and that he was so upset that one night he tried to take his life. I confirmed with him that I did not call because I was busy but that I did not break with him. Within 5 minutes of the conversation, he broke up with me!
    HE broke into tears and cried and said that he tried everything but that things were not going to work out because he had lost his passion towards me. He said he loved me soo much but the passion was just not there and he didnt understand why and that this hurt him soo much.
    I called him everyday to try to get him to change his mind and to give us a chance to fix things but he refused, the more I insisted the more aggressive he became. He blamed it all on me saying things like “i would call all the time and you never picked up the phone” you did this and that and it was disrespectul, bla blah blah. He made me feel like it was my fault that our relationship had ended.
    So i finally got into researching depression and realized that all his symptoms just fit in. I tried to tell him repeatedly that he was feeling empty inside because of his depression and/or the medication and he would say “well whatever the case may be, our relationship is now over and you may actually want to seek some help because I think you are the depressed one”.
    He went through the agressive phase first. after 2-3 weeks, he went through the empty feeling, he was so emotionless and nothing faze him. I would cry, I told him this depression was taking away our lives and what we loved the most and his response was “it is too late, the person you knew died that night when I tried commiting suicide, I am no longer the same person, I dont have a soul. You need to save yourself from me, I dont want to hurt you, I want you to be happy and when I see that you find happiness, I will die happy”
    I did not talk to him for one week because i was traumatized by how he would be with me. It killed me to feel that he was so distant and agressive and nothing fazed him and even though I knew it was the illness, I would still take things personal. When I then called him again, he picked up the phone and said he was busy and that he would call me back. Of course he didnt call back that day but surprisingly enough, he called me 5 days later and his mood was so positive. He wanted to know how i was doing and when I asked how he was doing he actually was honest and said he was feeling better and was taking the medication, etc. etc.
    After this good week of feeling better, I tried to take advantage of the fact that he was in a good mood and suggested that he starts seeing a therapist formally and so that he could get the appropiate medication (unfortunately the psychologist that treated him initially gave up on him because he would not open up during therapy sessions and basically gave him a prescription with as many refills as possible for antidepressants without the need of check ups every so often, I know this sounds weird but thats how things are in South America). He agreed to it, but then he got into the stages of feeling guilty and lots of remorse which he indicated was suffocating him. He felt guilty that he gave up so many things after being depressed (he was referring to our relationship) and he felt the need to scape from it by taking a vacation outside of the city he lives in because again he thought this would solve the problem. I dont know why he was feeling guilty at this stage, perhaps he came off the medication, I am not sure. All he said was that he was going to leave town and was going to the pharmacy to get his medication. He came back from that trip a couple of days ago and was back to what he calls “normal” just feeling nothing.
    I couldnt deal with just talking to him and seeing how he wont do the right thing to help himself, he’s convinced that by making new friends, moving into new things and leaving the past behind and going to the gym 7 days a week, working all day and isolating himself to what he calls the past (me, his family, old friends) wil make him feel better. Yesterday I called him and I broke into tears and told him how much it was hurting me to not only see that depression was taking evrything away from us but it was also destroying his life and it was painful to see that he did not want to seek the appropiate treatment. He listened to me calmly and begged me to calm down and stop crying. In the past when he was not depressed, if I cried, he would freak out and break into tears with me. Yesterday he just heard me cry and I realized that he listened to everything I said, but it was like he did not feel anything. After talking for two hours he then said that the solution could that I find another man to be with and that would solve things for both of us. However, its ironic that when he hears that I am hanging out with other guys (friendship) he gets pissed off, so of course its confusing.
    I know deep inside, he loves me because feelings do not change from one day to another. BUt the person he’s turned into now is completely cold hearted and distant. Not soo much agressive anymore but just cold and distant. When I ask him if he realizes that he’s distancing himself from me by cutting communication he says “no I am not, I am just making new friends and trying to move on from all this and travel and do new things that I now enjoy without any sadness and my friends never talk about anything negative, we laugh and talk about positive things”. Another important thing I forgot to mention is that he has not disclosed to his family that about the suicide attempt and I am the only one that knows. I called his sister to inform her but in South America, they dont always think depression is that serious so she didnt pay much attention to me. Additionally he hides his depression so well from everyone and does not allow anyone to get into his private life, I am the only one that he’s actually opened up to about everything. The friends he hangs out with dont know the real situation, he told them that he broke up with his girlfriend that that he was a BIT depressed so of course they are hanging out with him to support him and providing advice based on what he said.
    Does this hurt me? I honestly have never gone through such pain before. This is the man I was going to marry and spend teh rest of my life with. He still wants to maintain communication with me and has promised that when he’s ready to get help, he will tell me. I told him that I will be there for him that that he needed to initiate the process first.
    I guess what I would like to know is (based on your experience). He;s going through sooo much and I want him to get better and I have hope that he will (not soo much expectation) and I am telling myself that our relationship is over so I can go through the grieving process which is extremely painful but this is my mind talking. My heart wants him to get better so that we can pick up our relationship where we left off. He does not have the family support where he lives. I am afraid that if I cut communication, he will think that I have forgotten about him and that now there is nothing to live for. I know I have no control over him or what he does at all but I want to help him. Any suggestions, advice is highly appreciated.

    john says:
    October 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm
    Dear Shelly -
    There’s so much anguish and hurt in your writing, and your words bring me right into the center of this storm you’re in. I wish I could wave a wand to help you or list the five sure-fire things to do in a situation like this (there are many writers who will give you a list, of course), but I can’t. The man has put himself so out of reach that it is hard for me to see any way that you could help him. And I hope you understand that you cannot bring him back from depression – or help him in any decisive way. Only he can do that, and right now he’s cutting himself off not just from you and the rest of his old life but from reality. He wants to hear only positive things, hang out with people who don’t know him deeply, won’t remind him of anything unpleasant and actually “protect” him from facing the fullness of life. Talking to a therapist only makes him feel “worse” so he rejects that, and that decision helps keep him at a distance from what he actually feels – and from whatever it is he so deeply needs to avoid. He also seems not to be feeling much of anything. All of these are symptoms and experiences come with depression.
    I’ve lived through periods of behaving as he is now. Depression was so dominant that it didn’t seem to be a serious problem. I was taking medication and didn’t feel so down all the time. I was sure everything was looking up – all I needed was a completely new life, and I’d be fine! I didn’t for a moment question that kind of thinking.
    The depth of feeling you have seems inaccessible to him at this point. If anything, it scares him – and that may come across as anger. That’s why attempts to get through and be helpful might backfire and only put you through more pain. It’s hard to reawaken or appeal to the feelings you have shared in the past when that’s exactly what he’s shutting out.
    I may be way off base with this – and that makes me all the more hesitant to suggest really specific things for you to do. All I can describe is what my wife did when I was in a very similar state. She kept reminding me that I had her love and that of my children and also that I was jeopardizing everything I had. She learned the hard way that she couldn’t change what I was going through and that it was better for her to let me know what her limits were. She was firm and loving at the same time and never hesitated to show her anger as well as hurt. While I was dishing out emotional abuse and living in a fantasy land, she was a touchstone of real, complicated life and feelings. But if I hadn’t turned myself around and decided to get on top of depression, we couldn’t have stayed together. I’ve written about all this in several posts here because all that was about the most powerful painful set of experiences I’ve ever gone through.
    That example is really what I have to offer. I so hope this can offer some help to you at a terrible time.
    All love to you -

    Shelly says:
    October 18, 2009 at 6:07 pm
    I am glad to have found this blog because it helps me understand what my partner is going through at this moment. We’ve been on a long distance relationship for 6 years and he broke up with me after trying to commit suicide a few months ago. Yes he went through the 4 phases that are mentioned on this blog (anger, emptyness, remorse feelings, etc.
    At first I did not understand what was happening, he is the one that told me that he tried to commit suicide and that our long distance relationship was destroying him (even though one week before this happened, we were planning our engagement and wedding to finally be together) and he cried so much saying that he tried everything but his passion for our relationship disappeared (although his thoughts were different one week prior, we were soooo in love). I was confused and in denial, I called him everyday to try to convince him to think things through and he said “no”.
    He finally asked for some space and asked me to stop contacting him. Surprisingly enough, he decided to make new friends and wanted to start a new life. I was still soo confused and extremely hurt. I gave him the space he asked for because it was better than talking to him and getting hurt by his distant attitute and aggressiveness towards me (keeping in mind this man is known to be extremely passive and sweet).
    After two weeks, I contacted him as I was dying to know how he was doing, he picked up the phone and still seemed surprised to hear from me and told me he was busy and would call me back. Of course he did not call back that night and I was finally told by friends to leave him alone for at least one month. Surprisingly enough, he called 3 days later with a different attitude, wanting to know how I was doing, concerned and at that point I asked him how he was doing and he was actually open about his situation and said he was feeling better.
    I took advantage of his positive attitude and suggested he seeks therapy, well he was not in agreement with this. He is on the medication (for 8 weeks now) but aside from his positive attitude its hard to tell how he’s feeling as he does not want to talk about it.
    Just last week, we agreed to talk on the internet (something he hates doing since he’s been depressed because he wants to isolate away and the internet makes him feel really exposed)he logged in and basically told me that he did not want to talk about his situation and wanted to put it in the past because otherwise the remorse feelings for ending our relationship was going to smother him and he did not want this so he wanted to scape from the physical location he was in and decided to leave the city for the weekend. He told me I was very special in his life and that he wanted me to take care of myself and that everything that was going on had nothing to do with me and that it was him and his life and things that were happening with him.
    Sorry to give soo many details but as you can see, this man sees that he’s depressed and he has admitted this to mme. However, he does not want to seek therapy because he does not think it will help him even though he’s on medication. Another reason for not seeking therapy is because he says that the therapist/psychologist opens up wounds that he wants to heal overtime and his belief is that by going to therapy, he feels worse.
    I love this man to death and yes I know that I am supposed to be taking care of myself which I’m trying to do but I do not want to lose him to his depression. Now at times it seems that he’s getting better, whereas other times, I feel (through his moods swings) that he’s sstill stuck in that hole. He’s been working out excessively, changed his friends for new ones (weird) and changed his hobbies to something else as well.
    I would like to know based on our situation (long distance in different countries), what I can do to help? HI have huge influence over him and I know he cares for me in a huge way. I am even willing to go see him but I am asking myself if that would even help. I dont nag about getting help but I would like to get through his depression so that he seeks the appropiate treatment.

    john says:
    October 21, 2009 at 11:57 am
    Hi, Shelly -
    I’m really sorry to be so late in responding to your comment and the last several here – it’s just a busy time!
    This is such a difficult thing to go through with your partner – especially when he won’t talk and breaks contact. Refusing to get therapy after a suicide attempt is pretty extreme and just shows how much he’s wrapped up in the idea – I would call fantasy – that he can deal with everything on his own by getting a whole new life. Of course he can’t. Until he finds this isn’t working, though, and starts to deal with those wounds that he thinks will heal on their own, it’s hard to see that you can do very much. Even though I think he’s relying on a fantasy of external change as the answer to internal pain, his feelings and conviction are certainly real, if desperate. It’s really hard to get through the barriers he’s put up. The encouraging thing is that he tells you what’s happening to him has nothing to do with you. That’s exactly right – and it’s an important realization.
    I know how frustrating and hurtful it has to be, but if my experience is any guide, at this point he’s just not the person you know. One thing I’m not clear on from what you’ve written is whether or not you’ve told him the whole truth of what this is doing to you. I think that’s important – though it might not make an immediate difference.
    It’s so hard for me to give advice, not knowing you or the full extent of this. All I can really do is speak from what happened to me and my marriage – perhaps that’s of some help.
    And, yes, I do hope you can take care of yourself. That’s no easy thing to do.
    All my best to you – John

    Anonymous1 says:
    June 26, 2009 at 11:43 am
    About 2 1/2 months ago, my partner of many years broke up with me out of nowhere. He had been suffering from depression, which seemed to be getting worse and worse. He lived his life prior to that with GAD and then he had a car accident, not his fault, someone hit him and that’s when the depression started. His anxiety worsened and he started getting panic attacks, etc. His family doctor put him on several medicines and suggested that he seek psychiatric help. He had many reservations, but as he too felt his condition was worsening he sought help but only wanted to have his medicine regulated and not to talk about it with anyone. The first medicine made a markedly good change in him but it gave him palpitations so they had to change it. The second medicine made him worse and what was even worse than that is they continually put him off when he asked to have it changed. They told him it takes time.
    After about 1 month on it he started staying in his room all the time withdrawing from people and social situations, etc. And then about 1 week and a half before he broke up with me he was very short, always seemed angry and when I would call he seemed mad. At that time, I did not really understand what was happening to him and didn’t even try to pretend I did. I just kept asking if there was anything I could do? He always told me no. I told him if he needed sometime alone I would respect that (big mistake)he responded with “I will have to think about it” Even worse, I told him I didn’t know what to say to him anymore because I felt like everything I said was just making him angry (another big mistake). I tried my hardest to apologize in a way that would make him understand why I was feeling this way. I told him that the way he was feeling affected me to that if he hurt, i hurt, if he was happy, i was happy (later I learned not a good thing to do) For the next two days, he had very brief conversations with me. He never even told me goodnight or that he loved me after that.
    On that last day, i called him while he was napping so I offered to call him later. He seemed in a reasonable mood and so I called him later as I said he would and when his mom told him I was on the phone, I could feel the anger and rage when he told her “Tell her I will call her back” About half an hour later he called me and said “I just called you back because I said I would, It’s over, we’re done, I am breaking up with you!” When I asked “Why?” he told me “You don’t deserve to know!” Then he was silent for a bit while I continued asking “Why?” and he just hung up. I have not heard from him since. I had trying texting professing my love for him, telling him I would be here if he needed me, that sort of thing. No response. I then switched to trying to leave light-hearted messages, just asking how he was doing. No reponse. I would wave to him in the street and he would pretend I didn’t exist.
    I decided to take sometime and look at myself as the source of the problem and realized that many of the problems that we had in our relationship pre- and during his depression were because I was needy and clingy and after a great deal of self-introspection and work on my own issues, I have been able to become a better more confident person, secure in myself as an individual. It led me to believe that I was probably the worst thing for him at that time in his life. I had to take care of me first to be at all helpful to him. I even sent him a message when I came upon this epiphany telling him that we both needed space right now, etc.
    My trouble is I still love him and I just wonder do you think it is possible that he could even consider getting back together with me? Somewhere on his road to recovery. There is a lot I do not understand about depression and men and I just wonder if you know of anyone where this has happened before. And if he does go into depression again (it runs in his family) or is still suffering from it what can I do or not do to make it easier for us both? Also, how long would you wait before you would contact him again. I want to give him some time to heal. He went back to work for about a month, but about two weeks ago he seems to have taken another leave and I saw him earlier today on my way to the post office coming out of the counselor’s office and he lost sooo much weight. Does it go back and forth like that?

    john says:
    June 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    Hi, Anonymous1 -
    Thank you for your willingness to share such a painful story. As I’ve said before here, I can only speak from my own experience. I’m not a therapist, and, of course, there is much more to know about a long-term relationship.
    Is it possible he could consider getting back together with you? Anything is possible, but I think he would first have to face the full impact of depression, realize that it’s not you that causing whatever pain he’s been experiencing and take charge of his own treatment. And, of course, start talking to you about what he’s going through.
    It’s great that you’ve had that moment of insight about the need to take care of yourself. That’s basic as well. I’d be tolerant of whatever feelings you’ve been going through since a breakup like this is so traumatic – it takes a lot of time to settle down enough to get some distance about what’s happened. Getting some form of counseling or therapy has been helpful to me, but that may not be the right approach for you. Support of some kind for yourself can really help. I know a few people who have isolated themselves after being left – in those cases, they felt embarrassed, humiliated and had a hard time facing friends. That can be another part of the loss.
    You can email me if you want to talk further about this.
    All my best to you -

    Jaliya says:
    June 25, 2009 at 12:50 am
    Hi, John … I’ve been awake through this night and have been perusing your beautiful blog … I love the garden photos … and Sylvie! Is she yours?
    About books: the one book I would recommend above all others is *A General Theory of Love*, by Lewis Thomas et. all (three authors altogether). This book states the most obvious things in a way that lyrically conjoins clinical and human truths with philosophy and a poetic sensibility … Essentially, the authors state that loving relation is the pivot around which our health turns …

    john says:
    June 25, 2009 at 10:16 am
    Thank you, Jaliya (that’s such a beautiful name!) -
    I’ll let my wife know you like the photos – those are hers as well. And Sylvie is definitely ours – one of four cats, each so different.
    Thanks for recommending the book. I actually got it some time ago, but for some reason never got into it – I’ll do that now.
    And thank you for your kind words about the blog – though I hope it wasn’t the reason you were up all night. Get some sleep!
    All my best -


    Talking to Depression – 2
    by John Folk-Williams

    I’ve written an overview post in this series on Depression Central, and I hope you’ll have a look at that. Thanks.

    Talking to a depressed partner can be more than frustrating. It can feel hopeless when you’re faced with a slammed door shutting you out completely or a furious attack full of blame and rejection. If your partner says anything, the words are likely either accusing you as the cause for the onset of severe depression, or angrily denying there’s any problem at all. Or you may not get any response and have to deal with someone who is emotionally absent, empty of feeling, gone from the relationship. This is likely the worst crisis you’ve ever faced with your partner.

    The First Step

    I discussed in a previous post some approaches recommended by prominent authors to the partners of depressed people and mentioned Julie Fast’s “big picture” plan as the one that made the most sense to me.

    The first step toward healing for your partner, as well as yourself and the relationship, is to recognize that it’s depression driving you apart. Both partners need to be able to sense the early signs of its onset. But only your partner can make a commitment to action and take charge of their own treatment. There are some ways you can help with this process, but you can’t do it for them or take on the leading role in recovery. That’s not your job. You didn’t cause the problem. You can’t cure it.

    I’d like to describe here how difficult that first step of recognition was in my case and then look at a method for getting a clearer picture of what’s happening, one that proved effective for my wife and for me. With the understanding and insight gained from that work, it slowly became possible to communicate without getting caught up in confrontations driven by depression.

    Recognizing the Shadow in the House

    As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, for years I had a very limited understanding of what depression could do. Apart from the feelings of bleakness and despair, I never grasped that so many other things I was experiencing were linked to this condition. That’s important to know because a partner may be in treatment for depression but not be dealing with all its effects and distortions of thought and feeling.

    I assumed that other symptoms, now so familiar to those who have tried to educate themselves about this condition, were either a part of my nature or were caused by some external circumstance. The anxiety, the obsessive way of thinking, the inability to focus and mental blank-outs seemed to be limitations that I could not change, even though they were by no means permanent.

    My constant negative thinking and the shame I felt seemed justified by my inner failings. Projecting negative judgments about myself into the minds and attitudes of others also felt like reality. That’s the way they must be judging me. Everyone should think badly of me because I was empty inside.

    On the other hand, I blamed my wife for the problems I imagined were plaguing our relationship. I could certainly see that I was contributing to them, but that didn’t stop me from raging at her and our kids for everthing – and for nothing.

    All of this made any real communication about what was happening completely impossible. I cast around me a net of control to capture and hold everything still. Most of my crazy behavior was based on fear of ripping that net. Everything I saw felt like part of me, an extension of my nervous system. On the surface, I was enraged at each unexpected tremor, sudden shift, raised voice, spontaneous action.

    But anger can be a mask for fear, and inwardly I often burned in fear, even panic. Any effort by my wife to tell me what she was seeing in me and the effect it was having on her and our children only prompted more anger as I denied I had any problem and shut her out even more.

    How did we begin to cut through the defenses and barriers to real communication? At calmer moments, we applied some tools we had learned from a therapist and gradually retrained our reactions to each other. That process made a breakthrough possible, but it was a long time coming.

    Ideas on Coping with a Depressed Partner

    As Julie Fast suggests in Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, making lists of what works with your partner and yourself is a helpful starting point. That process begins by writing down changes in behavior and learning how those changes relate to the symptoms of depression.

    Then, it’s important to list the specific actions, tones of voice, words and physical gestures – everything you perceive when the familiar partner is slipping away into depression. These steps make it clear that depressed partners are no longer the same people you’ve known but have been transformed by a condition they may not recognize at all or just can’t control. Next, think about your own responses to what the “new” and estranged partners are doing. By writing down those reactions – not just the feelings but also what you’ve said and done – it may be possible to separate the responses that seemed to get nowhere from those that helped move toward a truer dialogue.

    Julie Fast gives many examples of how to focus on what works, but she also understands how hard it is. Faced with irrational and abusive attacks that threaten the core relationship and tear into one’s own self-esteem, no one can stand back and calmly set aside the raw emotions of the moment. For one thing, the “well” partners have plenty of issues of their own. They may have experience with depression, anxiety, fears of abandonment, damaged self-esteem, a history of abuse. Everyone has vulnerabilities, and it is often those dimensions that are the targets of of a depressed partner’s abuse.

    To be most effective, though, learning from such methods has to be shared, if at all possible. The burden can’t fall on one person. In our case, I had enough periods when depression receded that I could work with my wife in therapy and begin practicing ways of catching myself early on. That didn’t stop repeated episodes of illness, but it did give my wife something to appeal to when I started going into a tailspin. She could tell me what she was observing before I got out of control – the initial irritability, obsessive thinking, secluding myself, constant frowning, never looking directly at her. Her ability to do this gave me pause because I could see where I was heading. If I could admit to her that she was right, I was getting depressed, we could both focus on the illness instead of getting into a blaming match.

    Many depressed partners are beyond reach and refuse to talk at all. Even in those cases, though, working through this method alone at least helps partners of the depressed avoid self-blame or the trap of believing they can fix the problem on their own.

    But no matter how severe the depression, the effects of abuse and irrationality are real and can’t be allowed to continue. It’s especially important for the unreachable partners to face the consequences of the pain and damage they inflict on their familes. If nothing else works, a boundary has to be sharply drawn. More than once, I faced an ultimatum from my wife, and that forced me to acknowledge the havoc I was causing and to get serious about treatment. As addicts often say, it wasn’t until they lost everything that they finally admitted they were out of control and could begin recovery. Unchecked depression can be that bad. The illness pushes everyone affected by it toward destruction, and it can take extreme measures to stop it.

    These methods helped us avoid the extreme, but every relationship has different needs. Does this one sound feasible in your case? Have you found any method that works for you?

  • Virtual Chitchatting 2:00 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    purpose of hope in a purposeless life 

    2014-07-10 01:43 PM
    20140321 1400

    raising hope
    building hope
    hope & purpose of life
    systems of survival
    reinventing hope & purpose in life
    rediscover purpose
    finding an overarching purpose

    The very purpose of our life is happiness,…
    Dalai Lama
    18 April 2014

    The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about the future, but we exist in the hope of something better. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.


    The Purpose of Hope, and namely, Life
    seekinghelp1000 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:06 pm

    I would just like to pose an open-ended question to everyone who visits these forums. What is the purpose of hope in a purposeless life?

    Before you start to think that I’m in the midst of a suicidal tirade, let me politely explain that life is purposeless because whatever we do here on earth ultimately ends and that we all share the same fate (death), regardless of our stature with respect to society or monetary value.

    Certainly, we can hope for afterlife. In fact, that makes sense. Hoping for things that will make a lasting impact, as opposed to an ephemeral impact, on our souls should be the driving force in our hopes.

    And certainly we can hope for a better life. But as stated, life is short. It is misdirected hope. Why waste all of your hope on something that will inevitably end anyway? Let’s direct it all toward the one thing that truly matters anyway.

    Chucky » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:27 pm
    What is the one thing that ‘truly matters’? You’ve lost me on that. You are correct though: Life is meaningless and there’s little point in doing anything. That’s the way a depressed person thinks, however, and another way to look at it is that we only have finite amount of time and should make the best of it. There is no apparent purpose – true – but we can make our own purpose(s). To be honet with you, I draw comfort from the fact that nothing I do will ever matter in the grand scale of the Universe. It takes pressure off me and gives me a sense of freedom.

    seekinghelp1000 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:45 am
    The one thing that truly matters is eternal afterlife, by the way.
    As far as your points, you have a lot of points that I agree with it, however, I don’t necessarily believe someone has to be depressed to have these feelings. Someone that finally understands that life is more or less useless doesn’t have to be sad. He/she could be happy, as you say, to know that nothing he/she does will ever matter in the cosmic grand scheme of things.

    by bruceselfhelpguy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:00 am
    I once heard someone say the whole point of life is to appreciate it and be happy. It’s a gift. Enjoy it while you have it. It was so simple, and it rang true for me.
    Having hope / optimism contributes to happiness. I recall reading psychological newsbits that optimistic people are happier in general.
    favorite site: http://www.zentactics.com
    Do not take my advice, or anyone else’s, before talking to your doctor/counselor/other professional. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find free, confidential care. And most importantly, sometimes your therapist can be wrong. So get a second opinion.

    by seekinghelp1000 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:18 pm
    bruceselfhelpguy wrote:
    I would agree that hope and optimism contributes to happiness, but isn’t it true that your happiness is hollow or baseless when your hope is false?

    by antisthenes » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:25 pm
    seekinghelp1000 wrote:
    bruceselfhelpguy wrote:
    but is it better to be “real” and miserable, or falsely happy? i am strongly inclined to the former- give me both barrels and put some stank on it. i’d rather know the truth and deal, than live on false pretenses. lol ironic. nevermind that.
    false happiness is a form of ignorance, and ignorance leads to failure. any happiness obtained on false pretenses in tenuous at best. the slightest knock and you are off your pedestal.
    however, if it is a matter of “glass half empty/glass half full”, then the only semantic involved is perspective. guess it all depends on how thirsty you are….
    it is easier to get forgiveness than permission….

    by seekinghelp1000 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:34 pm
    I like how you think. Real and miserable means more than fake and happy, as far as experiences go. But if you can’t deal with real/miserable, I guess fake/happy is where it’s at.

    by antisthenes » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:53 pm
    hope is a tool. and… no i’m not gonna finish that statement lol.

    but hope is, in fact a tool. it is why so many people make so many ridiculous decisions. they “hope” they will keep their job long enough to pay off that new SUV. they “hope” they get that promotion next year to keep up with the adjustable rate on their mortgage. they “hope” someday, someone will swoop in on a big white horse and make everything peachy. i call it “happily ever after syndrome”. it’s always hope that keeps them chasing that dangling carrot. relegate “hope” to the ash bin, and what is left? freedom.
    it is easier to get forgiveness than permission….

    by seekinghelp1000 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:28 pm
    so you’re saying hope confines us? interesting, i like it.

    by FrayedEndOfSanity » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:28 pm
    Oh, I like this topic! And Bruce–I’m flattered. ;)
    I’ve heard the saying that an optimist sets herself up for disappointment, and a pessimist for pleasant surprises–to the extent that a pessimist can enjoy a “pleasant surprise.”
    I’ve been struggling with hope lately. I’ve recently experienced a backslide with my social anxiety, mistrust and paranoia. I’m feeling like the runt of the litter. Shortly before I read this topic, I lay there thinking, “Why do I set myself up for a fall by hoping that I’ll get better?”
    And then there’s this thread. :)
    My personal opinion is this: Hope is passive. It’s a crutch, but it’s also a trap. Too many people just hope that things will get better without doing a damn thing about it. You can “hope” all day that the chicken will fall out of the fridge and cook itself. Or, you can get your ass up and go make some soup. That’s being active. It might be crappy soup, but at least you won’t be hungry. It might be excellent soup, and you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll lick the spoon. The point is that I’ve decided to not sit there and “hope” that things will get better for me someday. I’m going to make the best of things right now.
    Screw the glass and whether it’s half full or half empty. It’s what’s IN the glass that matters. If it’s a good red wine, at least I had half a glass. If it’s sh!t, at least I didn’t have to drink the whole thing.
    I’m gonna go make some soup.
    Do not take my advice or anyone else’s before talking to your doctor/counselor/other professional. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find free, confidential care. Most importantly, sometimes your shrink can be wrong. Get a second opinion.
    If I don’t respond to a thread and there’s an issue–PM me.

    by antisthenes » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:31 pm
    excellent- hope betrays and murders action. action is freedom. thank you for so eloquently outlining my point. :)

    by FrayedEndOfSanity » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:17 pm
    My pleasure. Although I have to disagree on one thing. I don’t think that hope is an automatic or inherent killer of action.
    I agree that hope is like a warm bed: easy to get into, hard to get out of and do anything. And the more you lie there, the more things stagnate. However, I think that a bit of hope can be motivational. If you’re faced with a difficult task, it can help to envision a positive outcome. On the other hand–repeated, chronic failure to achieve an expected result does pretty much kill any future motivation. And it does feel like betrayal. So I agree with you 99%, with the 1% being the difference in how hope is used.
    Mmmm…soup. :)

    by bruceselfhelpguy » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:20 pm
    My personal opinion is this: Hope is passive. It’s a crutch, but it’s also a trap. Too many people just hope that things will get better without doing a damn thing about it. You can “hope” all day that the chicken will fall out of the fridge and cook itself. Or, you can get your ass up and go make some soup. That’s being active…
    Right on Frayed. Action is the key to change.
    Oh, I like this topic! And Bruce–I’m flattered.
    :D Yes, it sounds like you don’t mind I “borrowed” your disclaimer. I can change my sig if you do :oops:
    favorite site: http://www.zentactics.com

    by FrayedEndOfSanity » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:59 pm
    I don’t mind at all. :)

    by bruceselfhelpguy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:26 am
    Thanks Frayed :D

    by dominicjoel » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:25 am
    Hope. Such a lot of meaning in a little word. It’s so hard to hold onto any of it. Hope in the afterlife? I try to believe, but even my tiny smattering of historical knowledge tells me that the afterlife, in it’s Christian guise at least – Heaven and Hell, call it what you will – is a fiction, a made-up thing. Maybe I am missing the bigger picture, maybe I don’t know how to look, how to hope, but I have tried.
    So, hope in this life. That’s even harder. Someone said ‘we create our own meaning.’ How exactly? And what happens if, after decades of trying, you come slowly to the realisation that everything you’ve created, the life you’ve made for yourself, is just rubbish, what then? :?

    by StanleyMalloy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:37 pm
    You shouldn’t worry about the if’s and what’s. Those words exist in the same realm as hope. They’re questions- indicators of The Unknown. If there is no possible way to define the unknown (answering the question) and make it known (understanding the answer), then avoid it at all costs! All faith is blind, as faith by definition, is the complete conviction of an unanswered answer.
    Although if you find comfort in the timeless creed of “ignorance is bliss” (and in certain situations, I agree with its use) then by all means, make use of it in the way you would an ointment- apply a small amount to the painful area and seek help immediately if your condition worsens.
    But of course people always will worry, and I don’t blame us. The Unknown is one of the most fearsome things that is constantly looming over our heads and all around us, so at times it can be very difficult to avoid worrying about it.
    (Here’s an interesting afterthought- are there any unanswerable answers? Hard to tell with this whole “future” thing you have to take into account. Anything can happen in the future because the future is unknown… right? Hell- I’ll leave it to the professionals to respond to that)


    Purpose of Life
    by Mike Bennett

    Why were you born? What is the purpose of life?

    Why were you born? We all hope that our lives have meaning, though most are still searching for the purpose of life. What does God intend for us?

    Many of us keep ourselves so busy between work, chores and our leisure activities that there’s really little time to think deep thoughts about the meaning of life.

    But occasionally, somewhere in the back of our minds, we have a nagging feeling that there must be something more. There must be a purpose for our lives-something we were meant to be or accomplish.

    Thoughts like these can come to our minds at those emotionally charged transition periods of our life: when we leave home, get our first job, get married, have children, have an empty nest or retire.

    Even more, questions about the purpose of life come when we lose a loved one or friend. Being reminded of our own mortality can lead us to analyze our lives and seek deeper meaning to it all.

    It’s the most important philosophical question; yet at the same time, it is deeply practical. Knowing our purpose gives direction to our lives. A life full of purpose is a life of vitality, excitement and ultimately success.

    So what is the purpose of life-of your life?

    A grand experiment

    Is the purpose of life to pursue happiness-through comedy, music and other entertainment? Through mood-altering substances? Through enjoying fine food and other perks of the rich and famous?

    Or what about through great building projects or other great accomplishments that will make a mark on this world and be remembered for years to come?

    Many have attempted these and similar pursuits in their attempt to find true purpose in life. One wealthy man in particular experimented with all these things and more, and still came to a disconcerting conclusion:

    “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).

    God had given King Solomon great wealth and great wisdom. His experiments in seeking purpose in life were not half-hearted! And he did find some satisfaction in the things he tried. But he, like the rest of us in quiet moments of reflection, still wondered, Is this all there is? Are these physical and temporary things really why I was born? It is all so fleeting and temporary-like trying to catch the wind.

    If all the money in the world can’t buy a meaningful life or give us its purpose, what can deprivation teach us?

    A view from the depths

    Viktor E. Frankl experienced the depths of human misery in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Soon after the war, he wrote Man’s Search for Meaning and described the degrading and dehumanizing conditions prisoners experienced.

    Even during a frozen predawn march punctuated with blows from rifle butts, his mind searched for meaning through vivid thoughts about his wife:

    “A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment” (pp. 56-57).

    What a beautiful, yet tragic, thought. Viktor Frankl’s wife died in the camps, and he never had the chance to see her again.

    Love and family

    Dr. Frankl and the poets were on to something. Love and family are essential elements of the true purpose of life. But there’s so much more to it than Dr. Frankl experienced in those fleeting moments of bliss. In fact, there’s much more to life’s purpose than any human being, in the very best of circumstances, has experienced yet during this short lifetime.

    All of us, whether in a concentration camp, a beautiful chateau or a cancer ward, face a mortal enemy that robs us of life and purpose. That enemy is death.

    But the purpose God has for our lives goes beyond our physical bodies and our temporary lives. God offers human beings the chance to prepare now to have a purposeful, meaningful life-forever! God has put “eternity in their hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He didn’t create us to burn like a candle for just a short time, but-if we will accept the incredible mission and purpose He has for us-to shine “like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3)!

    God’s essential characteristic is love (1 John 4:8). He created us and gives us purpose in life because He loves us. And He wants us to learn the eternal joys of this complete and perfect love!

    And as we explore the Bible, just when we think it can’t get any better, it does! Not only does God want to love us and to love us forever-He wants us to become His children! Not just servants, and not even just friends of God-but His literal children!

    Children of God

    “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call His faithful followers “brethren,” and His plan and our purpose include helping bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10-11).

    God is expanding His family, and the purpose of life is to become part of that family! He wants us to be His children and heirs forever, helping Him in His work.

    Inspired by the purpose of life

    Some have derided Christians for being so heavenly-minded that they were no earthly good. But true Christianity and true understanding of the purpose of life is very practical and beneficial for this life.

    The Bible teaches that this life is preparation for eternity. We are to learn to treat others as we want to be treated-for eternity! We fulfill our responsibilities and grow in the godly, righteous character that will allow us to be like our Father-forever!

    We are in training now for an incredible inheritance beyond our comprehension. The things we suffer now prepare us for that purpose. Tests and trials are all part of that training process to help us be ready to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years-and beyond (Revelation 20:4)!

    Looking back, we will consider, as the apostle Paul said, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

    Explore in your own Bible this amazing purpose of your life! We hope this website will help you understand and act on the purpose God has for you.


    Finding Purpose in Life – Viktor Frankl
    by John Folk-Williams
    December 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Viktor Frankl’s central theme was the necessity of finding purpose in life. As he tells the powerful story in Man’s Search for Meaning, he learned that this was the only way to survive the tortures of a Nazi concentration camp.

    In creating his own form of psychotherapy, which he called logotherapy, he identified three ways of arriving at meaning in one’s life. They are work, love and the one he believed was most important, the ability to rise above oneself.

    When faced with tragedy and situations that were unalterable, he believed that a person could escape the feeling of being a helpless victim. The key was to find meaning in the suffering itself and to define a guiding purpose that could change the direction of one’s life.

    These are the themes of this brief video. It is an excerpt from a talk he gave to a group of Canadian Youth Corps volunteers in 1972. The quality is poor, and the excerpt begins in mid-sentence. Nevertheless, it captures the spirit of Frankl’s own driving purpose in helping people change their lives.

    Do you think this is a feasible way to turn around the feeling of being helpless in the face of depression? Has this idea aided your search for a way to begin recovery?

    Noch Noch says:
    December 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm
    agreed – once i decided that my “suffering” was the beginning of something “greater”, i started to embrace it, and search for what is “greater” within me, and stopped feeling so helpless and a victim. that was the day i began my recovery…

    John Folk-Williams says:
    December 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm
    Hi, Noch -
    That’s fortunate – to see the suffering itself as part of something greater. So often I’ve been stuck trying to get rid of the suffering altogether, as if that could never be part of a meaningful life.

    Judy says:
    December 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm
    I loved this, John! I do believe that this is a way to turn around feelings of helplessness. Sometimes I stop and think about the journey my depression has taken me on and I am awed, mostly because of the people that I’ve met along the way who have been of so much help and also the people I’ve met whom I’ve been able to help. Healing myself has allowed me to be of use to others – a purpose greater than myself. I also feel like I’ve become a much more spiritual person than I was when I was part of an organized religion; I found out that the “organization” is not the same thing as the spirit. What Frankl says is so basic to emotional health and growth. I know examples of both people who have never seemed to have a higher purpose than themselves and those who certainly do possess that quality and the difference is very striking. Thanks for sharing this.

    John Folk-Williams says:
    December 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm
    Hi, Judy -
    I loved this too and posted right after seeing it. Finding a purpose in communicating with people about depression is a mainstay for me. The problem is: how high can you aim when you’re deeply depressed and convinced everything is hopeless? I’ve always had a lot of plans for big things, and carried some of them off, but those purposes never helped me resolve depression. Yet when I did feel recovered at long last, I could devote myself more completely to writing than had ever been possible. So higher purpose is part of the turnaround but not the most decisive part for me.
    Thanks for commenting.


    Changing Belief, Discovering Purpose in a Work Life
    by John Folk-Williams

    There is a lot to explore in the idea of changing the mindset of recovery to that of finding purpose for the future. Just as I could undo the belief in my perpetual illness, I could also undo the belief that there had been little meaning or value in what I had done in the past. In other words, purpose might not be something I have yet to discover.

    The insistent verdict of depression that I’ve accepted for so long, with its refrain of my worthlessness and failure as a person, only undermined the idea that I could ever have done anything of value in the past, or could in the future. I’ve known for a long time that what depression told me wasn’t true, but I believed that it was. I had to be able to change that mindset, and I remembered a couple of famous quotes:

    • Pascal said in his Pensees about the search of a doubting man for God:

    “You would not be seeking Him, if you had not already found him.”

    • Gandhi once said in a speech, as quoted in Conquest of Violence:

    “The bond of the slave is snapped the moment he considers himself a free being. He will plainly tell the master: I was your bondslave till this moment, but I am a slave no longer…”

    I had to stop thinking I was a slave to this condition; I had to see the purpose I had already found.

    I do not in any way mean to imply that major depression is only a matter of mindset and belief. No distortion of thought and emotion that can drive people to kill themselves could only be that. But it has been true for me that until belief, conviction and thinking had started to change, there was no hope for dislodging depression as the major force in my life.

    How could I begin to sort out my experience and find this purpose and direction – or meaning, as Viktor Frankl puts it? I wanted to focus first on my work life, where I had recently made a huge breakthrough. The new sense of excitement, however, had only served to heighten the contrast with the negative feelings I still had about what I had done in the past. To change that old belief about my life up to that point – especially my work life – I needed some method to start sorting it out and help me cut through the confusion that had previously made this task so difficult.

    Though it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit it, I found a simple tool not in the writing of a philosopher, spiritual leader or psychologist but in a blog post by one of the online gurus of marketing. Chris Brogan *wrote* about the idea that people trying to market their own services needed to present a simple story about who they were, what their passion was and what unifying purpose tied together everything they had done in their careers.

    Taking this method out of the context of “personal branding,” I looked back at the types of work I had done to find that unifying story. A couple of things stood out.

    * I have always tried to interpret between groups and individuals of different values, cultures and histories so they could more effectively communicate and learn from each other.
    * I have always done this work with people in conflict and have had a driving interest in learning what they had faced in their life experiences and how these encounters had shaped their values and beliefs.
    * I have worked through many media and professional roles, but my most effective and fulfilling has been writing.

    To get to the heart of my work life: I’m a writer, interpreter and mediator. Writing is what I’m most passionate about because I love the written word and because it is my method of discovery. It doesn’t even matter how good I might be. It’s what I do.

    This is not news to me at an intellectual level. What has been building for some time – and is new – is the inner conviction, the felt belief, that there is plenty of meaning and value in the essential work I have always done. My purpose is already there, and I’m running with it. This is my way of acting in the world instead of hiding my fearful and doubting self in a thick blanket and imagining I’m invisible.

    That’s an insight about my work life. It’s only step one.

    What have you found in looking back in time to find the purposes that have shaped what you’ve tried to do? Whether you’ve been successful or frustrated is not the point. What’s been there all along?

    Jaliya says:
    April 21, 2009 at 8:24 pm
    Isn’t it amazing to discover / uncover our vocation? In my experience, there’s been an organic unfolding over time … over many years, since I was about 21 years old. I’m now 50 and just beginning to *convict myself* to the work that I do best: writing, editing, reading, thinking, conversing. It’s so much more challenging for those of us who aren’t market-oriented (?) to create our place in the working world … but to arrive at this place of conviction, no matter what happens with it, is such a gift … and a relief.
    Viktor Frankl’s convictions have been reminding me of what is possible (in so many ways) for about 26 years now …
    Thanks, John …

    john says:
    April 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm
    Jalya – It’s also taken me a long time, not so much to find out what my work was, but to knock down a lot of inner walls that stood between me and getting into it as my primary activity. I wish I had found Frankl 26 years ago – and discovered everything I’ve learned in the past two years back then. However, it’s onward from here! I’m so glad you’ve gotten to this point – and can communicate so beautifully what your experience has been.
    My best – John

    Bobby Revell says:
    April 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm
    Hi John! This is an very meaningful article. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is possibly the most important book I’ve ever read (in a deeply personal way).
    Had I not been a drug addict, had I not been homeless, had I not suffered tremendous depression; lack of self belief and really poor self-image, I would have been a totally different person, and I honestly in no way could imagine who that person would have been. I’d say more than anything, it was the horrific events and rising up through it all that shaped exactly who I am. I should be dead, but I am not and I thank God for this gift of life I hold so dear at this very moment. My true love is writing fiction, and I am absolutely dedicated to what I do. I will be published and only death can stop me. Death is my guide to life, and knowing I will die makes me appreciate living. I cannot cry for or bask in past mistakes, but I can live now and for the remainder of my days :smile:

    john says:
    April 15, 2009 at 9:19 pm
    Hi Bobby – What a powerful statement this is! Living now without worry about the past and with determination to do what you’re dedicated to – that is the same lesson I’ve learned. Reading Frankl also helped me see that the struggle I’ve been through to get here is part of my purpose – it has taught me so much, painfully to be sure, but taken me places I needed to go.
    Thanks so much for summing up your profound sense of the gift of life.
    All my best to you – John

    Wellness Writer says:
    April 14, 2009 at 11:35 pm
    I enjoyed this post a lot. I have recently gone through a similar period, and I’ve decided that for me, it’s all a question of perception.
    When I am depressed, it seems like nothing I’ve done has been important, and I can’t find the threads that suggest I’ve been perfecting the skills I’m now using.
    I think about the failures rather than the successes. I look back on years when I wasn’t happy at work, or decided I was pursuing the “wrong career,” and think of it as time-wasted.
    When the depression is over, I look back and realize that everything I’ve done has enabled me to be where I am today, and that’s a good thing. I realize that even when I wasn’t writing about themes that are as important as what I’m currently writing about, I was perfecting my skills.
    And even though it sometimes feels as if I haven’t learned one thing from a lifetime of depressive episodes, I’ve learned a lot.
    When I read the comments from the people who read my blog, I realize that my ability to help and motivate others is due to everything I’ve learned, and my ability to write about it with the clarity that comes from years of perfecting my craft!

    john says:
    April 15, 2009 at 10:30 am
    Hello, Susan – Damn straight your writing is clear – always beautiful work. And you’re so right about all the past work helping to perfect skills rather than being something negative. Isn’t it strange how we can flip from one way of looking at life and another – it’s very opposite?
    One thing that helps me stop the negativity about the past is to realize that whatever regret, pain, harm to others happened – all that was part of a purpose too. That struggle with life in my particular way was what had to be for me to get a much deeper understanding – and, as you say, to inform my writing and help me to share insights with others.
    Thanks so much for this really helpful comment!
    All my best to you – John

    Melinda says:
    April 10, 2009 at 6:16 am
    Great food for thought, John. I need to stop by more regularly (things have been so incredibly hectic for me-as usual, lol).
    One of the things that I have struggled so mightily with is accepting myself as a ‘good person’ -and it really is as simple as that. Likely because of the abuse I endured as a child, I grew up thinking something was terribly wrong with me-I was insecure and lacked self confidence. I believe what happened to me (in part) was a self-fulfilling prophecy; where I had become so used to believing I was ‘bad’ that I became a ‘bad’ person in many ways.
    In recovery, I had to reframe how I viewed myself. And this was on the deepest, most fundamental level. I was not even ready to think of what ‘purpose’ I might have in the world (such as being a psychologist, or a teacher, or a writer), but just in viewing myself in simple, positive terms. That had to be my purpose.
    And it became a real purpose with me-to become a better person and it is something I still work on constantly. To help people who need my assistance-either in small or big ways and to do whatever I could to be of service to the world. That was my purpose and it still is.
    Those random acts of kindness and in giving myself in service to the world have greatly redefined how I view myself. Because I finally started viewing myself in a more positive light-I could then go in further directions with my purpose-such AS being an insightful psychologist, a passionate teacher, or a fledgling writer.
    I loved thinking about this again-thank you, dear friend-
    Take care,

    john says:
    April 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm
    Melinda -
    That’s so true – I’ve been through a similar process – first dealing with the feeling of being wrong, fulfilling some of the negative expectations my parents conveyed, then working for years to change my inner beliefs about myself. For some of us, I suppose, the difficulty of simply trying to live and figuring out how to do that forms the purpose of life. Once through that, we can feel and believe that we are at last who we’d hoped to be – if we survive to get that far. That sense of service to the world – trying to help people through these struggles – is something I should probably have emphasized at the end of this post.
    Thanks, friend, for telling that part of your story here.
    All love to you – John

    Evan says:
    April 10, 2009 at 12:00 am
    I’m here to shed light. Once someone understands or finds their core my distinctive work is over. They will probably want support, help along the way and so – all that is follow up. My job is the shedding of light. The other stuff other people could probably do just as easily (though usually people want to maintain the relationship). I hope this makes sense.

    john says:
    April 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm
    Evan -
    That does make sense, and it’s a wonderful way to put it. Being able to say it in a concise way like that indicates real clarity about who you are and what you do. No surprise, of course, given the wisdom and calmness of your posts.
    Thank you – my best as always -

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:18 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    your unfulfilled sexual desire may lead you to adopt heavy destructive behaviour
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-21 13:18

    Freud’s psychoanalytical theory that almost all of humankind’s actions can be traced to sexual instinct is formulated around the idea that unfulfilled sexual desire leads to frustration, which is expressed by aggression. In Frustration and Aggression by John Dollard, et al. (1939), Freud’s theory is further developed with the frustration-aggression hypothesis, which proposes that whenever something prevents a person from achieving a goal, it’s perceived as an obstruction, whether animate or inanimate, and needs to be injured, hence the aggressive drive.

    As it originates from your OCD tendencies, the Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic.

    You’ll become more reckless, changes or escalation to the torturous behavior. And to deal with such pain, your mind had just snapped. Your mind let you think that it was someone else. You shall become mentally incapacitated. You shall adopt dual personality. The strong woman, the woman who escaped, and the woman who wants to get better.

    “There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow, it hides itself in insanity. There are times when reality is nothing but pain. And to escape that pain, the mind must leave reality behind.”
    Patrick Rothfuss


    Aggressive Behavior
    by Kendra Cherry

    Innovative technological advancements result in many positive improvements to our society as a whole as well as in relation to other societies, but they consequently lead to inevitable negative aspects such as weapons of mass destruction. In return, the presence of aggressive behavior in our society continues to rise in part because of our continual exposure to it via the media, movies, and video games, and also in part because of our innate, primitive drive toward instinctive aggression.

    Behind the Wheel of Aggression

    Freud’s psychoanalytical theory that almost all of humankind’s actions can be traced to sexual instinct is formulated around the idea that unfulfilled sexual desire leads to frustration, which is expressed by aggression. In Frustration and Aggression by John Dollard, et al. (1939), Freud’s theory is further developed with the frustration-aggression hypothesis, which proposes that whenever something prevents a person from achieving a goal, it’s perceived as an obstruction, whether animate or inanimate, and needs to be injured, hence the aggressive drive.

    Steering the Wheel of Aggression

    Almost all reported instances of violence, whether in newspapers or on the local news network, fail to give the complete history of the aggressor. More often than not, the chain of events that led up to the eventual crime is pertinent information in attempting to trace the nature of aggressive behavior. The snowball effect, which begins with repressed frustration and leads to a buildup of destructive behavior patterns that manifest themselves in a variety of hostile ways, comes to an end with an ultimate, barbaric act. If the root of this eventual act is not discovered, understood, and treated, the cycle may be triggered and the sequence will begin all over again.

    From a biological standpoint, arousing specific regions of the brain causes equally specific aggressive reactions. Stimulating different regions of a cat’s hypothalamus causes the cat to react either in a wild display of aggression by hissing and striking out or in a sophisticated form of premeditated hunting that results in the prey’s death. Monkeys, on the other hand, follow a hierarchy of dominance and act accordingly based on recollections of past experiences.

    In Chapter 2 you learned about one famous experiment in which children observed an adult beating up and abusing an inflatable doll. When children were later placed in a room with the same doll, many of them imitated the aggressive behavior they observed previously. The children were even more likely to mimic the angry actions if they had observed the adults being rewarded for this type of behavior.

    Since parents possess the most influential power over their children by constantly being observed by their children in natural settings, the way they treat violence and the frequency with which they resort to aggressive behavior is likely to be imitated by their children.

    The Effect of Television and Video Game Violence on Children

    As seen in the experiment with the Bobo doll, young children often imitate viewed aggression because they associate people on television with being role models for adulthood. Children believe the action is justified because a “grownup” did it, and therefore understand it to be a part of “growing up” in today’s society. Television violence’s effect on children results in aggressive behavior for a number of other reasons, including the following:

    1. Elevated levels of arousal – D. K. Osborn and R. C. Endsley’s study published in the journal Child Development (1971) shows how children are more apt to become emotionally aroused while viewing violent programs by measuring the increase in their galvanic skin responses. The increase is notably higher when viewing violent behavior.

    #Excessive exposure leads to desensitizing people to violence – The shock of violent behavior subsides after repeated incidents of violence are experienced, thus stunting our ability to react appropriately and effectively to real-life situations and provide help when needed.

    #Mixed messages on settling conflicts – Children don’t often recognize whether a situation is fictional or based in reality, so when they see the timeless struggle of good versus evil played out on television by their favorite cartoon characters, they also develop a positive image of how good triumphs over evil through violent means.

    The potential impact of video game violence has become a hot topic among psychologists, educators and, parents. In one study by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill (2000), researchers found that participants who played a violent video game scored higher on a measurement of aggression than those who had played a nonviolent video game. Some psychologists suggest that the influence of violent video games may even be more pronounced than television and movies since children are actually taking on the role of the aggressor during game play. In a 2005 report, the American Psychological Association concluded that, based upon their research, exposure to violent video games increases aggressive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:17 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    how to deal with a paranoid, loser, controller, abuser: kill your shrink !
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-21 PM 01:17

    when you talk or have paid discussion(s) with any shrink, there is no way, rest assured, you are assessed to be in and to have a normal life and a meaningful one, but a pathetic life.

    mana ada orang gila mengakui dirinya gila.
    yang gila itu ya dokternya yang mencap orang lain gila dan pasiennya gila.

    the lunatic creeps!
    taunya cuma men-judge dan men-judge, ngasih stigma, me-label-kan seseorang itu loser. fyyff !

    mereka membuat tulisan, analogi, analisis dalam perspektif untuk menguntungkan dirinya. tidak dalam kapasitasnya sebagai loser.
    kehidupan seseorang itu sangat dinamis. tidak dalam hitungan hari, tetapi dalam hitungan detik. something can happen in a blink of an eye, in the twinkles of the stars.

    when your mind snaps a memory hidden and buried deep inside, triggered by any means necessary and unnecessary, ye shall may inflict “Superfluous Injury or Unnecessary Suffering”. They call it the SIRUS Project…. ;P http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/SIrUS-project.pdf

    please read the following lunatic perspectives and analysis.


    Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers in Relationships
    By Dr Joseph M Carver, PhD

    If you’re dating a ‘loser’, you may recognize in your partner some of these characteristics described by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Joseph M. Carver, PhD. This article continues with a note on dangerous versions of the ‘loser’ and offers guidelines for detachment. Also see the new “Relationship Quiz: True Love or True Loser?”, which may help you to identify and highlight experiences of concern within your relationship.

    Author’s Comment

    This article was published to the Internet several years ago and was originally written to help identify “Losers” in relationships. The e-mail feedback I have received on the article has been tremendous. It’s clear the article is a way of identifying not only “losers” but controlling, abusive, and manipulating individuals. It’s also obvious these warning signs are not only found in dating relationships – but in our spouse, our parents, our friends, and our relatives. There are more victims in the environment of the Loser than his or her partner.

    I’ve been contacted for help by the friends and loved ones of people involved in relationships with Losers (controlling and/or abusive partners). The loved ones want to understand the situation and ask for recommendations and guidance. For this group I have also recently published “Stockholm Syndrome: The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser”.

    Obviously, this article has created the need for sequels. I hope to publish a guide to assist Losers who want to change their life and behavior. An article addressing sons and daughters who were parented by Losers is also being planned. If our parent or parents have the characteristics listed in this article, our ability to function as a healthy adult may be hindered due to the dysfunctional family/parent model. My goal is to follow this issue and provide help and guidance to all those involved with controlling and abusive individuals – from partners to extended victims.


    Very few relationships start on terms other than sweetness and politeness. In the beginning, “the honeymoon” of the relationship, it’s difficult to determine what type of individual you are dating. Both you and the date are guarded, trying to obtain information about the other as much as possible without seeming like a police detective.

    Romantic relationships can be wonderful with the right person. A relationship with the wrong individual however can lead to years of heartache, emotional/social damage, and even physical damage. A damaging adult partner can damage us, damage our loved ones, and even damage the way we feel about love and romance in the future. They can turn what is supposed to be a loving, supporting, and understanding relationship into the “fatal attraction” often described in movies. A variety of “bad choices” may be encountered each week – most of which are easy to identify and avoid. We all know to avoid people that appear insane or abusive and not select them as a dating partner. However, some individuals are better at hiding their personality and behavior abnormalities. In an effort to provide some warning about these very damaging individuals, this paper will outline a type of individual commonly found in the dating scene, a male or female labeled “The Loser”.

    “The Loser” is a type of partner that creates much social, emotional and psychological damage in a relationship. “The Loser” has permanent personality characteristics that create this damage. These are characteristics that they accept simply as the way they are and not a problem or psychological difficulty. In one sense, they have always lived with this personality and behavior, and it is often something they learned from their relatives/family. Psychologists usually treat the victims of “The Loser”, women or men who arrive at the office severely depressed with their self-confidence and self-esteem totally destroyed.

    The following list is an attempt to outline the characteristics of “The Loser” and provide a manner in which women and men can identify potentially damaging relationships before they are themselves severely damaged emotionally or even physically. If your partner possesses even one of these features, there is risk in the relationship. More than three of these indicators and you are involved with “The Loser” in a very high risk relationship that will eventually create damage to you. When a high number of these features are present – it’s not a ‘probably’ or a ‘possibly’. You will be hurt and damaged by “The Loser” if you stay in the relationship.

    1. Rough Treatment: “The Loser” will hurt you on purpose. If he or she hits you, twists your arm, pulls your hair, kicks you, shoves you, or breaks your personal property EVEN ONCE, drop them. Male losers often begin with behaviors that move you physically or hit the wall. Female losers often slap, kick and even punch their male partners when upset.

    2. Quick Attachment and Expression: “The Loser” has very shallow emotions and connections with others. One of the things that might attract you to “The Loser” is how quickly he or she says “I Love You” or wants to marry or commit to you. Typically, in less than a few weeks of dating you’ll hear that you’re the love of their life, they want to be with you forever, and they want to marry you. You’ll receive gifts, a variety of promises, and be showered with their attention and nice gestures. This is the “honeymoon phase” – where they catch you and convince you that they are the best thing that ever happened to you. Remember the business saying “If it’s too good to be true it probably is (too good to be true)!” You may be so overwhelmed by this display of instant attraction, instant commitment, and instant planning for the future that you’ll miss the major point – it doesn’t make sense!! Normal, healthy individuals require a long process to develop a relationship because there is so much at stake. Healthy individuals will wait for a long time and a lot of information before offering a commitment – not three weeks. It’s true that we can become infatuated with others quickly – but not make such unrealistic promises and have the future planned after three dates. The rapid warm-up is always a sign of shallow emotions which later cause “The Loser” to detach from you as quickly as they committed. “The Loser” typically wants to move in with you or marry you in less than four weeks or very early in the relationship.

    3. Frightening Temper: “The Loser” has a scary temper. If your boyfriend or girlfriend blows up and does dangerous things, like driving too fast because they’re mad, breaking/throwing things, getting into fights, or threatening others – that temper will soon be turned in your direction. In the beginning of the relationship, you will be exposed to “witnessed violence” – fights with others, threats toward others, angry outbursts at others, etc. You will also hear of violence in their life. You will see and witness this temper – throwing things, yelling, cursing, driving fast, hitting the walls, and kicking things. That quickly serves to intimidate you and cause you to fear their potential for violence, although “The Loser” quickly assures you that they are angry at others or situations, not at you. At first, you will be assured that they will never direct the hostility and violence at you. But they are clearly letting you know that they have that ability and capability – and that it might come your way. Later, you fear challenging or confronting them – fearing that same temper and violence will be turned in your direction.

    4. Killing Your Self-Confidence: “The Loser” repeatedly puts you down. They constantly correct your slight mistakes, making you feel “on guard”, unintelligent, and leaving you with the feeling that you are always doing something wrong. They tell you that you’re too fat, too unattractive, or don’t talk correctly or look good. This gradual chipping away at your confidence and self-esteem allows them to treat you badly later – as though you deserved it. In public, you will be “walking on eggshells” – always fearing you are doing or saying something that will later create a temper outburst or verbal argument.

    5. Cutting Off Your Support: In order to control someone completely, you must cut off their supportive friends – sometimes even their family. “The Loser” feels your friends and family might influence you or offer negative opinions about their behavior. “The Loser” begins by telling you these friends treat you badly, take advantage of you, and don’t understand the special nature of the love you share with them. In some cases, if they can’t get rid of your best same-sex friend, “The Loser” will claim he or she made a pass at them. If you talk to your friends or family, “The Loser” will punish you by asking multiple questions or making nasty accusations. Eventually, rather than face the verbal punishment, interrogation, and abuse, you’ll develop the feeling that it’s better not to talk to family and friends. You will withdraw from friends and family, prompting them to become upset with you. “The Loser” then tells you they are treating you badly again and you’d be better to keep your distance from them. Once you are isolated and alone, without support, their control over you can increase.

    6. The Mean and Sweet Cycle: “The Loser” cycles from mean to sweet and back again. The cycle starts when they are intentionally hurtful and mean. You may be verbally abused, cursed, and threatened over something minor. Suddenly, the next day they become sweet, doing all those little things they did when you started dating. You hang on, hoping each mean-then-sweet cycle is the last one. The other purpose of the mean cycle is to allow “The Loser” to say very nasty things about you or those you care about, again chipping away at your self-esteem and self-confidence. “The Loser” often apologizes, but the damage to your self-esteem is already done – exactly as planned.

    7. It’s Always Your Fault: “The Loser” blames you for their anger as well as any other behavior that is incorrect. When they cheat on you, yell at you, treat you badly, damage your property, or embarrass you publicly – it’s somehow your fault. If you are ten minutes late for a date, it’s your fault that the male loser drives 80 miles per hour, runs people off the road, and pouts the rest of the evening. “The Loser” tells you their anger and misbehavior would not have happened if you had not made some simple mistake, had loved them more, or had not questioned their behavior. “The Loser” never, repeat never, takes personal responsibility for their behavior – it’s always the fault of someone else. If they drive like a maniac and try to pull an innocent driver off the highway to assault them – it’s actually the fault of the other driver (not his), as they didn’t use a turn signal when they changed lanes. They give you the impression that you had it (anger, yelling, assault) coming and deserved the anger, violence, pouting, or physical display of aggression.

    8. Breakup Panic: “The Loser” panics at the idea of breaking up – unless it’s totally their idea, and then you’re dropped like a hot rock. Abusive boyfriends often break down and cry, they plead, they promise to change, and they offer marriage/trips/gifts when you threaten to end the relationship. Both male and female losers may threaten suicide, threaten to return to old sweethearts (who feel lucky they’re gone!), or threaten to quit their job and leave the area – as though you will be responsible for those decisions. “The Loser” offers a multitude of “deals” and halfway measures, like “Let’s just date one more month!”

    They shower you with phone calls, often every five minutes, hoping that you will make an agreement or see them just to stop the telephone harassment. Some call your relatives, your friends, their friends, and anyone else they can think of – telling those people to call you and tell you how much they love you. Creative losers often create so much social pressure that the victim agrees to go back to the bad relationship rather than continue under the social pressure. Imagine trying to end a relationship and receiving tearful calls from all his or her relatives (they secretly hope you’ll keep them so they don’t have to), seeing a plea for your return in the newspaper or even on a local billboard, receiving flowers at work each day, or having them arrive at your place of work and offer you a wedding ring (male loser technique) or inform you that they might be pregnant (female loser technique) in front of your coworkers! Their reaction is emotionally intense, a behavior they use to keep you an emotional prisoner. If you go back to them, you actually fear a worse reaction if you threaten to leave again (making you a prisoner) and they later frequently recall the incident to you as further evidence of what a bad person you are. Remember, if your prize dog jumps the fence and escapes, when you get him back you build a higher fence. Once back in the grasp of “The Loser” – escape will be three times as difficult the next time.

    9. No Outside Interests: “The Loser” will encourage you to drop your hobbies, interests, and involvement with others. If you have an individual activity, they demand that they accompany you, making you feel miserable during the entire activity. The idea behind this is to prevent you from having fun or interests other than those which they totally control.

    10. Paranoid Control: “The Loser” will check up on you and keep track of where you are and who you are with. If you speak to a member of the opposite sex, you receive twenty questions about how you know them. If you don’t answer their phone call, you are asked where you were, what were you doing, who you were talking to, etc. They will notice the type of mud on your car, question why you shop certain places, and question why you called a friend, why the friend called you, and so forth. Some losers follow you to the grocery, then later ask if you’ve been there in an attempt to catch you in a lie. In severe cases, they go through your mail, look through your purse/wallet, hit your redial on the phone when they arrive, or search through your garbage for evidence. High-tech losers may encourage you to make “private” calls to friends from their residence, calls that are being secretly taped for later reference. They may begin to tell you what to wear, what to listen to in music, and how to behave in public. Eventually, they tell you that you cannot talk to certain friends or acquaintances, go certain places, or talk about certain issues in public. If no date is planned on Friday night, “The Loser” will inform you that they will call you that night – sometime. That effectively keeps you home, awaiting the call, fearing the verbal abuse and questions you might receive if you weren’t home for the call. This technique allows “The Loser” to do what they want socially, at the same time controlling your behavior from a distance or a local bar.

    If you’re dating a ‘loser’, you may recognize in your partner some of these characteristics described by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Joseph M. Carver, PhD. This article continues with a note on dangerous versions of the ‘loser’ and offers guidelines for detachment. Also see the new “Relationship Quiz: True Love or True Loser?”, which may help you to identify and highlight experiences of concern within your relationship.

    11. Public Embarrassment: In an effort to keep you under control while in public, “The Loser” will lash out at you, call you names, or say cruel or embarrassing things about you in private or in front of people. When in public, you quickly learn that any opinion you express may cause them to verbally attack you, either at the time or later. If you stay with “The Loser” too long, you’ll soon find yourself politely smiling, saying nothing, and holding on to their arm when in public. You’ll also find yourself walking with your head down, fearful of seeing a friend who might speak to you and create an angry reaction in “The Loser”.

    12. It’s Never Enough: “The Loser” convinces you that you are never quite good enough. You don’t say “I love you” enough, you don’t stand close enough, you don’t do enough for them after all their sacrifices, and your behavior always falls short of what is expected. This is another method of destroying your self-esteem and confidence. After months of this technique, they begin telling you how lucky you are to have them – somebody who tolerates someone so inadequate and worthless as you.

    13. Entitlement: “The Loser” has a tremendous sense of entitlement, the attitude that they have a perfectly logical right to do whatever they desire. If cut off in traffic, “The Loser” feels they have the right to run the other driver off the road, assault them, and endanger the lives of other drivers with their temper tantrum. Keep in mind, this same sense of entitlement will be used against you. If you disobey their desires or demands, or violate one of their rules, they feel they are entitled to punish you in any manner they see fit.

    14. Your Friends and Family Dislike Him: As the relationship continues, your friends and family will see what “The Loser” is doing to you. They will notice a change in your personality or your withdrawal. They will protest. “The Loser” will tell you they are jealous of the “special love” you have and then use their protest and opinion as further evidence that they are against you – not him. The mention of your family members or friends will spark an angry response from them – eventually placing you in the situation where you stop talking about those you care about, even your own family members. “The Loser” will be jealous and threatened by anyone you are close to – even your children. In some cases, your parents or brothers/sisters will not be allowed to visit your home.

    15. Bad Stories: People often let you know about their personality by the stories they tell about themselves. It’s the old story about giving a person enough rope and they’ll hang themselves. The stories a person tells inform us of how they see themselves, what they think is interesting, and what they think will impress you. A humorous individual will tell funny stories of himself. “The Loser” tells stories of violence, aggression, being insensitive to others, rejecting others, etc. They may tell you about past relationships and in every case, they assure you that they were treated horribly despite how wonderful they were to that person. They brag about their temper and outbursts because they don’t see anything wrong with violence and actually take pride in the “I don’t take nothing from nobody” attitude. People define themselves with their stories, much like a culture is described by it’s folklore and legends. Listen to these stories – they tell you how you will eventually be treated and what’s coming your way.

    16. The Waitress Test: It’s been said that when dating, the way an individual treats a waitress or other neutral person of the opposite sex is the way they will treat you in six months. During the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship, you will be treated like a king or queen. However, during that time “The Loser” has not forgotten how he or she basically feels about the opposite sex. Waitresses, clerks, or other neutral individuals will be treated badly. If they are cheap – you’ll never receive anything once the honeymoon is over. If they whine, complain, criticize, and torment – that’s how they’ll treat you in six months. A mentally healthy person is consistent – they treat almost all people the same way all the time. If you find yourself dating a man who treats you like a queen and other females like dirt, hit the road.

    17. The Reputation: As mentioned, mentally healthy individuals are consistent in their personality and their behavior. “The Loser” may have two distinct reputations – a group of individuals who will give you glowing reports and a group that will warn you that they are serious trouble. If you ask ten people about a new restaurant – five say it’s wonderful and five say it’s a hog pit – you clearly understand that there’s some risk involved in eating there. “The Loser” may actually brag about their reputation as a “butt kicker”, “womanizer”, “hot temper” or “being crazy”. They may tell you stories where others have called them crazy or suggested that they receive professional help. Pay attention to the reputation. Reputation is the public perception of an individual’s behavior. If the reputation has two sides, good and bad, your risk is high. You will be dealing with the bad side once the honeymoon is over in the relationship. With severe behavior problems, “The Loser” will be found to have almost no friends, just acquaintances. Emotionally healthy and moral individuals will not tolerate friendships with losers that treat others so badly. If you find yourself disliking the friends of “The Loser”, it’s because they operate the same way he or she does and you can see it in them.

    18. Walking on Eggshells: As a relationship with “The Loser” continues, you will gradually be exposed to verbal intimidation, temper tantrums, lengthy interrogations about trivial matters, violence/threats directed at others but witnessed by you, paranoid preoccupation with your activities, and a variety of put-downs on your character. You will quickly find yourself “walking on eggshells” in their presence – fearful to bring up topics, fearful to mention that you spoke to or saw a friend, and fearful to question or criticize the behavior of “The Loser”. Instead of experiencing the warmth and comfort of love, you will be constantly on edge, tense when talking to others (they might say something that you’ll have to explain later), and fearful that you’ll see someone you’ll have to greet in public. Dates and times together will be more comfortable and less threatening when totally alone – exactly what “The Loser” wants, no interference with their control or dominance.

    19. Discounted Feelings/Opinions: “The Loser” is so self-involved and self-worshipping that the feelings and opinions of others are considered worthless. As the relationship continues and you begin to question what you are feeling or seeing in their behavior, you will be told that your feelings and opinions don’t make sense, they’re silly, and that you are emotionally disturbed to even think of such things. “The Loser” has no interest in your opinion or your feelings – but they will be disturbed and upset that you dare question their behavior. “The Loser” is extremely hostile toward criticism and often reacts with anger or rage when their behavior is questioned.

    20. They Make You “Crazy”: “The Loser” operates in such a damaging way that you find yourself doing “crazy” things in self-defense. If “The Loser” is scheduled to arrive at 8:00 pm – you call Time & Temperature to cover the redial, check your garbage for anything that might get you in trouble, and call your family and friends to tell them not to call you that night. You warn family/friends not to bring up certain topics, avoid locations in the community where you might see co-workers or friends, and not speak to others for fear of the 20 questions. You become paranoid as well – being careful what you wear and say. Nonviolent males find themselves in physical fights with female losers. Nonviolent females find themselves yelling and screaming when they can no longer take the verbal abuse or intimidation. In emotional and physical self-defense, we behave differently and oddly. While we think we are “going crazy,” it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as “normal behavior” in a combat situation. Rest assured that your behavior will return to normal if you detach from “The Loser” before permanent psychological damage is done.

    Dangerous Versions of “The Loser”

    There are more severe if not dangerous versions of “The Loser” that have been identified over the years. If you are involved in a relationship with one of these versions, you may require professional and legal assistance to save yourself.

    Physical Abuser

    Physical abusers begin the relationship with physical moving – shoving, pushing, forcing, etc. That quickly moves into verbal threats with physical gestures – the finger in the face, clenched fist in the face, and voiced physical threats such as “You make me want to break your face!” Eventually, these combine to form actual physical abuse – hitting, slapping, and kicking. “The Loser” is always sorry the next day and begins the mean-then-sweet cycle all over again. Getting away from physical abusers often requires the assistance of family, law enforcement agencies, or local abuse agencies. Female losers often physically attack their partner, break car windows, or behave with such violence that the male partner is forced to physically protect himself from the assault. If the female loser is bruised in the process of self-protection, as when physically restraining her from hitting, those bruises are then “displayed” to others as evidence of what a bad person the partner is and how abusive they have been in the relationship.

    Psychotic Losers

    There are losers that are severely ill in a psychiatric sense – the movie description of the “Fatal Attraction”. Some may tell you wild stories and try to convince you that they are connected to The Mob or a government agency (CIA, FBI, etc.). They may fake terminal illness, pregnancy, or disease. They intimidate and frighten you with comments such as “I can have anyone killed…” or “No one leaves a relationship with me…”. If you try to end the relationship, they react violently and give you the impression that you, your friends, or your family are in serious danger. People often then remain in the abusive and controlling relationship due to fear of harm to their family or their reputation. While such fears are unrealistic as “The Loser” is only interested in controlling you, those fears feel very real when combined with the other characteristics of “The Loser”.

    Psychotic or psychiatrically ill losers may also stalk, follow, or harass you. They may threaten physical violence, show weapons, or threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave them. If you try to date others, they may follow you or threaten your new date. Your new date may be subjected to phone harassment, vandalism, threats, and even physical assaults. If you are recently divorced, separated, or have recently ended another relationship, “The Loser” may be intimidating toward your ex-partner, fearing you might return if the other partner is not “scared off”. Just remember – everything “The Loser” has ever done to anyone will be coming your way. “The Loser” may send you pictures of you, your children, or your family – pictures they have taken secretly – hinting that they can “reach out and touch” those you love. You may need help and legal action to separate from these individuals.

    Guidelines for Detachment

    Separating from “The Loser” often involves three stages: The Detachment, Ending the Relationship, and the Follow-up Protection.

    The Detachment

    * Observe the way you are treated. Watch for the methods listed above and see how “The Loser” works.
    * Gradually become more boring, talk less, share fewer feelings and opinions. The goal is almost to bore “The Loser” into lessening the emotional attachment, while at the same time not creating a situation which would make you a target.
    * Quietly contact your family and supportive others. Determine what help they might be – a place to stay, protection, financial help, etc.
    * If you fear violence or abuse, check local legal or law enforcement options such as a restraining order.
    * If “The Loser” is destructive, slowly move your valuables from the home if together, or try to recover valuables if in their possession. In many cases, you may lose some personal items during your detachment – a small price to pay to get rid of “The Loser”.
    * Stop arguing, debating or discussing issues. Stop defending and explaining yourself – responding with comments such as “I’ve been so confused lately” or “I’m under so much stress I don’t know why I do anything anymore”.
    * Begin dropping hints that you are depressed, burned out, or confused about life in general. Remember – “The Loser” never takes responsibility for what happens in any relationship. “The Loser” will feel better about leaving the relationship if they can blame it on you. Many individuals are forced to “play confused” and dull, allowing “The Loser” to tell others “My girlfriend (or boyfriend) is about half nuts!” They may tell others you’re crazy or confused but you’ll be safer. Allow them to think anything they want about you as long as you’re in the process of detaching.
    * Don’t start another relationship. That will only complicate your situation and increase the anger. Your best bet is to “lay low” for several months. Remember, “The Loser” will quickly locate another victim and become instantly attached as long as the focus on you is allowed to die down.
    * As “The Loser” starts to question changes in your behavior, admit confusion, depression, emotional numbness, and a host of other boring reactions. This sets the foundation for the ending of the relationship.

    Ending the Relationship

    Remembering that “The Loser” doesn’t accept responsibility, responds with anger to criticism, and is prone to panic detachment reactions – ending the relationship continues the same theme as the detachment.

    * Explain that you are emotionally numb, confused, and burned out. You can’t feel anything for anybody and you want to end the relationship almost for his or her benefit. Remind them that they’ve probably noticed something is wrong and that you need time to sort out your feelings and fix whatever is wrong with you. As disgusting as it may seem, you may have to use a theme of “I’m not right for anyone at this point in my life.” If “The Loser” can blame the end on you, as they would if they ended the relationship anyway, they will depart faster.
    * If “The Loser” panics, you’ll receive a shower of phone calls, letters, notes on your car, etc. React to each in the same manner – a boring thanks. If you overreact or give in, you’ve lost control again.
    * Focus on your need for time away from the situation. Don’t agree to the many negotiations that will be offered – dating less frequently, dating only once a week, taking a break for only a week, going to counseling together, etc. As long as “The Loser” has contact with you they will feel there is a chance to manipulate you.
    * “The Loser” will focus on making you feel guilty. In each phone contact you’ll hear how much you are loved, how much was done for you, and how much they have sacrificed for you. At the same time, you’ll hear about what a bum you are for leading them on, not giving them an opportunity to fix things, and embarrassing them by ending the relationship.
    * Don’t try to make them understand how you feel – it won’t happen. “The Loser” is only concerned with how they feel – your feelings are irrelevant. You will be wasting your time trying to make them understand and they will see the discussions as an opportunity to make you feel more guilty and manipulate you.
    * Don’t fall for sudden changes in behavior or promises of marriage, trips, gifts, etc. By this time you have already seen how “The Loser” is normally and naturally. While anyone can change for a short period of time, they always return to their normal behavior once the crisis is over.
    * Seek professional counseling for yourself or the support of others during this time. You will need encouragement and guidance. Keep in mind, if “The Loser” finds out you are seeking help they will criticize the counseling, the therapist, or the effort.
    * Don’t use terms like “someday”, “maybe”, or “in the future”. When “The Loser” hears such possibilities, they think you are weakening and will increase their pressure.
    * Imagine a dead slot machine. If we are in Las Vegas at a slot machine and pull the handle ten times and nothing happens – we move on to another machine. However, if on the tenth time the slot machine pays us even a little, we keep pulling the handle – thinking the jackpot is on the way. If we are very stern and stable about the decision to end the relationship over many days, then suddenly offer a possibility or hope for reconciliation – we’ve given a little pay and the pressure will continue. Never change your position – always say the same thing. “The Loser” will stop playing a machine that doesn’t pay off and quickly move to another.

    Follow-up Protection

    “The Loser” never sees their responsibility or involvement in the difficulties in the relationship. From a psychological standpoint, “The Loser” has lived and behaved in this manner most of their life, clearly all of their adult life. As they really don’t see themselves as at fault or as an individual with a problem, “The Loser” tends to think that the girlfriend or boyfriend is simply going through a phase – their partner (victim) might be temporarily mixed up or confused, they might be listening to the wrong people, or they might be angry about something and will get over it soon. “The Loser” rarely detaches completely and will often try to continue contact with the partner even after the relationship is terminated. During the Follow-up Protection period, some guidelines are:

    * Never change your original position. It’s over permanently! Don’t talk about possible changes in your position in the future. You might think that will calm “The Loser” but it only tells them that the possibilities still exist and only a little more pressure is needed to return to the relationship.
    * Don’t agree to meetings or reunions to discuss old times. For “The Loser”, discussing old times is actually a way to upset you, put you off guard, and use the guilt to hook you again.
    * Don’t offer details about your new life or relationships. Assure him that both his life and your life are now private and that you hope they are happy.
    * If you start feeling guilty during a phone call, get off the phone fast. More people return to bad marriages and relationships due to guilt than anything else. If you listen to those phone calls from a little distance, as though you were taping them, you’ll find “The Loser” spends most of the call trying to make you feel guilty.
    * In any contact with the ex “Loser”, provide only a status report, much like you’d provide to your Aunt Gladys. For example: “I’m still working hard and not getting any better at tennis. That’s about it.”
    * When “The Loser” tells you how difficult the breakup has been, share with him some general thoughts about breaking-up and how finding the right person is difficult. While “The Loser” wants to focus on your relationship, talk in terms of Ann Landers – “Well, breaking up is hard on anyone. Dating is tough in these times. I’m sure we’ll eventually find someone that’s right for both of us.” Remember – nothing personal!
    * Keep all contact short and sweet – the shorter the better. As far as “The Loser” is concerned, you’re always on your way somewhere, there’s something in the microwave, or your mother is walking up the steps to your home. Wish “The Loser” well but always with the same tone of voice that you might offer to someone you have just talked to at the grocery store. For phone conversations, electronics companies make a handy gadget that produces about twenty sounds – a doorbell, an oven or microwave alarm, a knock on the door, etc. That little device is handy to use on the phone – the microwave dinner just came out or someone is at the door. Do whatever you have to do to keep the conversation short – and not personal.


    In all of our relationships throughout life, we will meet a variety of individuals with many different personalities. Some are a joy to have in our life and some provide us with life-long love and security. Others we meet pose some risk to us and our future due to their personality and attitudes. Both in medicine and mental health, the key to health is the early identification and treatment of problems – before they reach the point that they are beyond treatment. In years of psychotherapy and counseling practice, treating the victims of “The Loser”, patterns of attitude and behavior emerge in “The Loser” that can now be listed and identified in the hopes of providing early identification and warning. When those signs and indicators surface and the pattern is identified, we must move quickly to get away from the situation. Continuing a relationship with “The Loser” will result in a relationship that involves intimidation, fear, angry outbursts, paranoid control, and a total loss of your self-esteem and self-confidence.

    If you have been involved in a long-term relationship with “The Loser”, after you successfully escape you may notice that you have sustained some psychological damage that will require professional repair. In many cases, the stress has been so severe that you may have a stress-produced depression. You may have severe damage to your self-confidence/self-esteem or to your feelings about the opposite sex or relationships. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and counselors are available in your community to assist and guide you as you recover from your damaging relationship with “The Loser”.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:16 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    Failed to deal with the PTSD shall transform you to have at least dual personality
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-21 PM 01:16


    Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)
    * American Psychiatric Association
    * National Institute of Mental Health
    * Handbook of Psychology, Vol. 8 (John Wiley)

    Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder).

    Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities. Sufferers of this rare condition are usually victims of severe abuse.


    Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in-and alternately take control of-an individual. The person also experiences memory loss that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

    DID is a disorder characterized by identity fragmentation rather than a proliferation of separate personalities. The disturbance is not due to the direct psychological effects of a substance or of a general medical condition, yet as this once rarely reported disorder has become more common, the diagnosis has become controversial.

    Some believe that because DID patients are easily hypnotized, their symptoms are iatrogenic, that is, they have arisen in response to therapists’ suggestions. Brain imaging studies, however, have corroborated identity transitions in some patients. DID was called Multiple Personality Disorder until 1994, when the name was changed to reflect a better understanding of the condition-namely, that it is characterized by a fragmentation, or splintering, of identity rather than by a proliferation, or growth, of separate identities.

    DID reflects a failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness in a single multidimensional self. Usually, a primary identity carries the individual’s given name and is passive, dependent, guilty and depressed. When in control, each personality state, or alter, may be experienced as if it has a distinct history, self-image and identity. The alters’ characteristics-including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood-contrast with those of the primary identity. Certain circumstances or stressors can cause a particular alter to emerge. The various identities may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict.


    * The individual experiences two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).
    * The reported range of identities is from 2 to more than 100. Half of the reported cases include individuals with 10 or fewer.
    * At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior. Each may exhibit its own distinct history, self-image, behaviors, and, physical characteristics, as well as possess a separate name.
    * Particular identities may emerge in specific circumstances. Alternative identities are experienced as taking control in sequence, one at the expense of the other, and may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict. Transitions from one identity to another are often triggered by psychosocial stress.
    * Frequent gaps are found in memories of personal history, including people, places, and events, for both the distant and recent past. Different alters may remember different events, but passive identities tend to have more limited memories whereas hostile, controlling or protective identities have more complete memories.
    * Symptoms of depression, anxiety, passivity, dependence and guilt may be present.
    * In childhood, problem behavior and an inability to focus in school are common.
    * Self-destructive and/or aggressive behavior may take place.
    * Visual or auditory hallucinations may occur.
    * The average time that elapses from the first symptom to diagnosis is six to seven years.
    * The disturbance is not due to the direct psychological effects of a substance or of a general medical condition.


    Why some people develop DID is not entirely understood, but they frequently report having experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during childhood. Though the accuracy of such accounts is disputed, they are often confirmed by objective evidence. Individuals with DID may also have post-traumatic symptoms (nightmares, flashbacks, and startle responses) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Several studies suggest that DID is more common among close biological relatives of persons who also have the disorder than in the general population. As this once rarely reported disorder has grown more common, the diagnosis has become controversial. Some believe that because DID patients are highly suggestible, their symptoms are at least partly iatrogenic- that is, prompted by their therapists’ probing. Brain imaging studies, however, have corroborated identity transitions.


    The primary treatment for DID is long-term psychotherapy with the goal of deconstructing the different personalities and uniting them into one. Other treatments include cognitive and creative therapies. Although there are no medications that specifically treat this disorder, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs or tranquilizers may be prescribed to help control the mental health symptoms associated with it.


    Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)
    Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on May 26, 2012

    Dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) is an effect of severe trauma during early childhood, usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

    What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    Most of us have experienced mild dissociation, which is like daydreaming or getting lost in the moment while working on a project. However, dissociative identity disorder is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Dissociative identity disorder is thought to stem from trauma experienced by the person with the disorder. The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism — the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful to assimilate with his conscious self.

    Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real?

    You may wonder if dissociative identity disorder is real. After all, understanding the development of multiple personalities is difficult, even for highly trained experts. But dissociative identity disorder does exist. It is the most severe and chronic manifestation of the dissociative disorders that cause multiple personalities.

    Other types of dissociative disorders defined in the DSM-IV, the main psychiatry manual used to classify mental illnesses, include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and depersonalization disorder.

    What Are the Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behavior. With dissociative identity disorder, there’s also an inability to recall key personal information that is too far-reaching to be explained as mere forgetfulness. With dissociative identity disorder, there are also highly distinct memory variations, which fluctuate with the person’s split personality.

    The “alters” or different identities have their own age, sex, or race. Each has his or her own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking. Sometimes the alters are imaginary people; sometimes they are animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals’ behavior and thoughts, it’s called “switching.” Switching can take seconds to minutes to days. When under hypnosis, the person’s different “alters” or identities may be very responsive to the therapist’s requests.

    Along with the dissociation and multiple or split personalities, people with dissociative disorders may experience any of the following symptoms:
    * Depression
    * Mood swings
    * Suicidal tendencies
    * Sleep disorders (insomnia, night terrors, and sleep walking)
    * Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias (flashbacks, reactions to stimuli or “triggers”)
    * Alcohol and drug abuse
    * Compulsions and rituals
    * Psychotic-like symptoms (including auditory and visual hallucinations)
    * Eating disorders

    Other symptoms of dissociative identity disorder may include headache, amnesia, time loss, trances, and “out of body experiences.” Some people with dissociative disorders have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and even violence (both self-inflicted and outwardly directed). As an example, someone with dissociative identity disorder may find themselves doing things they wouldn’t normally do such as speeding, reckless driving, or stealing money from their employer or friend, yet they feel they are being compelled to do it. Some describe this feeling as being a passenger in their body rather than the driver. In other words, they truly believe they have no choice.

    What’s the Difference Between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia?

    Schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder are often confused, but they are very different.

    Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness involving chronic (or recurrent) psychosis, characterized mainly by hearing or seeing things that aren’t real (hallucinations) and thinking or believing things with no basis in reality (delusions). People with schizophrenia do not have multiple personalities. Delusions are the most common psychotic symptom in schizophrenia; hallucinations, particularly hearing voices, are apparent in about half of people.

    Suicide is a risk with both schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder, although patients with multiple personalities have a history of suicide attempt more often than other psychiatric patients.

    How Does Dissociation Change the Way a Person Experiences Life?

    There are several main ways in which the psychological processes of dissociative identity disorder change the way a person experiences living, including the following:
    * Depersonalization. This is a sense of being detached from one’s body and is often referred to as an “out-of-body” experience.
    * Derealization. This is the feeling that the world is not real or looking foggy or far away.
    * Amnesia. This is the failure to recall significant personal information that is so extensive it cannot be blamed on ordinary forgetfulness. There can also be micro-amnesias where the discussion engaged in is not remembered, or the content of a meaningful conversation is forgotten from one second to the next.
    * Identity confusion or identity alteration. Both of these involve a sense of confusion about who a person is. An example of identity confusion is when a person sometimes feels a thrill while engaged in an activity (such as reckless driving, DUI, alcohol or drug abuse) which at other times would be revolting. In addition to these apparent alterations, the person may experience distortions in time, place, and situation.

    It is now acknowledged that these dissociated states are not fully-mature personalities, but rather they represent a disjointed sense of identity. With the amnesia typically associated with dissociative identity disorder, different identity states remember different aspects of autobiographical information. There is usually a host personality within the individual, who identifies with the person’s real name. Ironically, the host personality is usually unaware of the presence of other personalities.

    What Roles Do the Different Personalities Play?

    The distinct personalities may serve diverse roles in helping the individual cope with life’s dilemmas. For instance, there’s an average of two to four personalities present when the patient is initially diagnosed. Then there’s an average of 13 to 15 personalities that can become known over the course of treatment. While unusual, there have been instances of dissociative identity disorder with more than 100 personalities. Environmental triggers or life events cause a sudden shift from one alter or personality to another.

    Who Gets Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    While the causes of dissociative identity disorder are still vague, research indicates that a combination of environmental and biological factors work together to cause it. As many as 98% to 99% of individuals who develop dissociative disorders have recognized personal histories of recurring, overpowering, and often life-threatening disturbances at a sensitive developmental stage of childhood (usually before age 9). Dissociation may also happen when there has been insistent neglect or emotional abuse, even when there has been no overt physical or sexual abuse. Findings show that in families where parents are frightening and unpredictable, the children may become dissociative.

    How Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosed?

    Making the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder takes time. It’s estimated that individuals with dissociative disorders have spent seven years in the mental health system prior to accurate diagnosis. This is common, because the list of symptoms that cause a person with a dissociative disorder to seek treatment is very similar to those of many other psychiatric diagnoses. In fact, many people who have dissociative disorders also have secondary diagnoses of depression, anxiety, or panic disorders.

    The DSM-IV provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:
    1. Two or more distinct identities or personality states are present, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.
    2. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior.
    3. The person has an inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
    4. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition (such as complex partial seizures).

    Are There Famous People With Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    Famous people with dissociative identity disorder include retired NFL star Herschel Walker, who says he’s struggled with dissociative identity disorder for years but has only been treated for the past eight years.

    Walker recently published a book about his struggles with dissociative identity disorder, along with his suicide attempts. Walker talks about a feeling of disconnect from childhood to the professional leagues. To cope, he developed a tough personality that didn’t feel loneliness, one that was fearless and wanted to act out the anger he always suppressed. These “alters” could withstand the abuse he felt; other alters came to help him rise to national fame. Today, Walker realizes that these alternate personalities are part of dissociative identity disorder, which he was diagnosed with in adulthood.

    How Common Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    Statistics show the rate of dissociative identity disorder is .01% to 1% of the general population. Still, more than 1/3 of people say they feel as if they’re watching themselves in a movie at times, and 7% percent of the population may have undiagnosed dissociative disorder.

    What’s the Recommended Treatment Plan for Dissociative Identity Disorder?

    While there’s no “cure” for dissociative identity disorder, long-term treatment is very successful, if the patient stays committed. Effective treatment includes talk therapy or psychotherapy, medications, hypnotherapy, and adjunctive therapies such as art or movement therapy.

    Because oftentimes the symptoms of dissociative disorders occur with other disorders, such as anxiety and depression, dissociative disorder may be treated using the same drugs prescribed for those disorders. A person in treatment for a dissociative disorder might benefit from antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:15 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    Realising to incur PTSD
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-21 PM 01:15

    It is your psychological resilience that can help you yourself deal with the PTSD.


    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms, Treatment and Self-Help for PTSD
    Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., February 2014

    After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the upset doesn’t fade and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can seem like you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But by seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life.

    In This Article:
    * What is PTSD?
    * PTSD vs. normal reaction to trauma
    * Signs & symptoms of PTSD
    * PTSD symptoms in children
    * PTSD causes and risk factors
    * Getting help for PTSD
    * Finding a therapist for PTSD
    * Self-help & support for PTSD

    What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

    Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers-and military combat is the most common cause in men-but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.

    PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.
    Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:
    * War
    * Natural disasters
    * Car or plane crashes
    * Terrorist attacks
    * Sudden death of a loved one
    * Rape
    * Kidnapping
    * Assault
    * Sexual or physical abuse
    * Childhood neglect
    Or any shattering event that leaves you stuck and feeling helpless and hopeless

    The difference between PTSD and a normal response to trauma

    The traumatic events that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder are usually so overwhelming and frightening that they would upset anyone. Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. When your sense of safety and trust are shattered, it’s normal to feel crazy, disconnected, or numb. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. These are normal reactions to abnormal events.

    For most people, however, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.

    A normal response to trauma becomes PTSD when you become stuck:
    After a traumatic experience, the mind and the body are in shock. But as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions, you come out of it. With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, you remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to move on, it’s important to face and feel your memories and emotions.

    Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.
    While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:
    1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
    2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
    3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

    Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event
    * Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
    * Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
    * Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
    * Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
    * Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

    Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing
    * Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
    * Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
    * Loss of interest in activities and life in general
    * Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
    * Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

    Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
    * Difficulty falling or staying asleep
    * Irritability or outbursts of anger
    * Difficulty concentrating
    * Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
    * Feeling jumpy and easily startled

    Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    * Anger and irritability
    * Guilt, shame, or self-blame
    * Substance abuse
    * Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
    * Depression and hopelessness
    * Suicidal thoughts and feelings
    * Feeling alienated and alone
    * Physical aches and pains

    Symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents

    In children-especially those who are very young-the symptoms of PTSD can be different than the symptoms in adults. Symptoms in children include:
    * Fear of being separated from parent
    * Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training)
    * Sleep problems and nightmares without recognizable content
    * Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated
    * New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as a fear of monsters)
    * Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings
    * Aches and pains with no apparent cause
    * Irritability and aggression

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes and risk factors

    While it’s impossible to predict who will develop PTSD in response to trauma, there are certain risk factors that increase your vulnerability.

    Many risk factors revolve around the nature of the traumatic event itself. Traumatic events are more likely to cause PTSD when they involve a severe threat to your life or personal safety: the more extreme and prolonged the threat, the greater the risk of developing PTSD in response. Intentional, human-inflicted harm-such as rape, assault, and torture- also tends to be more traumatic than “acts of God” or more impersonal accidents and disasters. The extent to which the traumatic event was unexpected, uncontrollable, and inescapable also plays a role.

    Other risk factors for PTSD include:
    * Previous traumatic experiences, especially in early life
    * Family history of PTSD or depression
    * History of physical or sexual abuse
    * History of substance abuse
    * History of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness
    * High level of stress in everyday life
    * Lack of support after the trauma
    * Lack of coping skills

    Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is confronted, the easier it is to overcome. If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.

    It’s only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will only get worse. You can’t escape your emotions completely-they emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guard-and trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.

    Why Should I Seek Help for PTSD?
    * Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
    * PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
    * PTSD can be related to other health problems. PTSD symptoms can make physical health problems worse. For example, studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD you could also improve your physical health.
    Source: National Center for PTSD

    Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    Treatment for PTSD relieves symptoms by helping you deal with the trauma you’ve experienced. Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, treatment will encourage you to recall and process the emotions and sensations you felt during the original event. In addition to offering an outlet for emotions you’ve been bottling up, treatment for PTSD will also help restore your sense of control and reduce the powerful hold the memory of the trauma has on your life.

    In treatment for PTSD, you’ll:
    * Explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma
    * Work through feelings of guilt, self-blame, and mistrust
    * Learn how to cope with and control intrusive memories
    * Address problems PTSD has caused in your life and relationships

    Types of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    * Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD and trauma involves carefully and gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts, feelings, and situations that remind you of the trauma. Therapy also involves identifying upsetting thoughts about the traumatic event-particularly thoughts that are distorted and irrational-and replacing them with more balanced picture.
    * Family therapy. Since PTSD affects both you and those close to you, family therapy can be especially productive. Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what you’re going through. It can also help everyone in the family communicate better and work through relationship problems caused by PTSD symptoms.
    * Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety. Antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft are the medications most commonly used for PTSD. While antidepressants may help you feel less sad, worried, or on edge, they do not treat the causes of PTSD.
    * EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation, such as hand taps or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation are thought to work by “unfreezing” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress.

    Finding a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    When looking for a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can start by asking your doctor if he or she can provide a referral to therapists with experience treating trauma. You may also want to ask other trauma survivors for recommendations, or call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.

    Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe, so there is no additional fear or anxiety about the treatment itself. Trust your gut; if a therapist doesn’t feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel respected and understood. To find a trauma therapist, see the Resources and References section below.

    Help for veterans with PTSD

    If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD or trauma, there are organizations that can help with counseling and other services. To find help in your country, see the Resources and references section below.

    Self-help treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    Recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a gradual, ongoing process. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, nor do the memories of the trauma ever disappear completely. This can make life seem difficult at times. But there are many things you can do to cope with residual symptoms and reduce your anxiety and fear.

    PTSD self-help tip 1: Reach out to others for support
    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. Support from other people is vital to your recovery from PTSD, so ask your close friends and family members for their help during this tough time.
    Also consider joining a support group for survivors of the same type of trauma you experienced. Support groups for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can help you feel less isolated and alone. They also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery. If you can’t find a support group in your area, look for an online group.

    PTSD self-help tip 2: Avoid alcohol and drugs
    When you’re struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But while alcohol or drugs may temporarily make you feel better, they make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) worse in the long run. Substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, including emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression. It also interferes with treatment and can add to problems at home and in your relationships.

    PTSD self-help tip 3: Challenge your sense of helplessness
    Overcoming your sense of helplessness is key to overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. It’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times.
    One of the best ways to reclaim your sense of power is by helping others: volunteer your time, give blood, reach out to a friend in need, or donate to your favorite charity. Taking positive action directly challenges the sense of helplessness that is a common symptom of PTSD.

    Positive ways of coping with PTSD:
    * Learn about trauma and PTSD
    * Join a PTSD support group
    * Practice relaxation techniques
    * Pursue outdoor activities
    * Confide in a person you trust
    * Spend time with positive people
    * Avoid alcohol and drugs
    * Enjoy the peace of nature

    PTSD self-help tip 4: Spend time in nature
    The Sierra Club in the United States offers wilderness expeditions for veterans who have served in recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Anecdotal evidence suggests that pursuing outdoor activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing may help veterans cope with PTSD symptoms and transition back into civilian life.
    It’s not just veterans who can benefit from spending time outdoors. Anyone with post-traumatic stress disorder can benefit from the relaxation, seclusion, and peace that come with being in the natural world. Focusing on strenuous outdoor activities can also help challenge your sense of helplessness and help your nervous system become “unstuck” and move on from the traumatic event. Seek out local organizations that offer outdoor recreation or teambuilding opportunities.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the family

    If a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s essential that you take care of yourself and get extra support. PTSD can take a heavy toll on the family if you let it. It can be hard to understand why your loved one won’t open up to you-why he or she is less affectionate and more volatile. The symptoms of PTSD can also result in job loss, substance abuse, and other stressful problems.

    Letting your family member’s PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout. In order to take care of your loved one, you first need to take care of yourself. It’s also helpful to learn all you can about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The more you know about the symptoms and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one and keep things in perspective.

    Helping a loved one with PTSD
    * Be patient and understanding. Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment for PTSD. Be patient with the pace of recovery and offer a sympathetic ear. A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on.
    * Try to anticipate and prepare for PTSD triggers. Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the trauma; and certain sights, sounds, or smells. If you are aware of what triggers may cause an upsetting reaction, you’ll be in a better position to offer your support and help your loved one calm down.
    * Don’t take the symptoms of PTSD personally. Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include emotional numbness, anger, and withdrawal. If your loved one seems distant, irritable, or closed off, remember that this may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.
    * Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It is very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Never try to force your loved one to open up. Let the person know, however, that you’re there when and if he or she wants to talk.


    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    20 March 2014 at 23:25

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury, or the threat of death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal (high levels of anxiety) continue for more than a month after the traumatic event.

    Most people having experienced a traumatizing event will not develop PTSD. Women are more likely to experience higher impact events, and are also more likely to develop PTSD than men. Children are less likely to experience PTSD after trauma than adults, especially if they are under ten years of age. War veterans are commonly at risk to PTSD.


    Posttraumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder; the characteristic symptoms are not present before exposure to the violently traumatic event. In the typical case, the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts and emotions, and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it. However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks, and nightmares. The characteristic symptoms are considered acute if lasting less than three months, and chronic if persisting three months or more, and with delayed onset if the symptoms first occur after six months or some years later. PTSD is distinct from the briefer acute stress disorder, and can cause clinical impairment in significant areas of functioning.


    PTSD is believed to be caused by the experience of a wide range of traumatic events and, in particular if the trauma is extreme, can occur in persons with no predisposing conditions.

    Persons considered at risk include combat military personnel, victims of natural disasters, concentration camp survivors, and victims of violent crime. Individuals not infrequently experience “survivor’s guilt” for remaining alive while others died. Causes of the symptoms of PTSD are the experiencing or witnessing of a stressor event involving death, serious injury or such threat to the self or others in a situation in which the individual felt intense fear, horror, or powerlessness. Persons employed in occupations that expose them to violence (such as soldiers) or disasters (such as emergency service workers) are also at risk.

    Children or adults may develop PTSD symptoms by experiencing bullying or mobbing.

    Family violence

    Trauma from family violence can predispose an individual to PTSD. Approximately 25% of children exposed to family violence can experience PTSD in a study of 337 school age children. Preliminary research suggests that child abuse may interact with mutations in a stress-related gene to increase the risk of PTSD in adults, in a cross-sectional study of 900 school age children. However, being exposed to a traumatic experience does not automatically indicate they will develop PTSD. It has been shown that the intrusive memories, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and the memories themselves, are greater contributors to the biological and psychological dimensions of PTSD than the event itself. These intrusive memories are mainly characterized by sensory episodes, rather than thoughts. People with PTSD have intrusive re-experiences of traumatic events that lack awareness of context and time. These episodes aggravate and maintain PTSD symptoms, since the individual re-experiences trauma as if it were happening in the present moment.

    Multiple studies show that parental PTSD and other posttraumatic disturbances in parental psychological functioning can, despite a traumatized parent’s best efforts, interfere with their response to their child as well as their child’s response to trauma. For example, in two studies by Schechter, one of 67 mothers and another of 25 mothers, this was shown to be the case. Parents with violence-related PTSD may, for example, inadvertently expose their children to developmentally inappropriate violent media due to their need to manage their own emotional dysregulation. Clinical findings indicate that a failure to provide adequate treatment to children after they suffer a traumatic experience, depending on their vulnerability and the severity of the trauma, will ultimately lead to PTSD symptoms in adulthood.

    Evolutionary psychology

    Evolutionary psychology views different types of fears and reactions caused by fears as adaptations that may have been useful in the ancestral environment in order to avoid or cope with various threats. In general, mammals display several defensive behaviors roughly dependent on how close the threat is: avoidance, vigilant immobility, withdrawal, aggressive defense, appeasement, and finally complete frozen immobility (the last possibly to confuse a predator’s attack reflex or to simulate a dead and contaminated body). PTSD may correspond to and be caused by overactivation of such fear circuits. Thus, PTSD avoidance behaviors may correspond to mammal avoidance of and withdrawal from threats. Heightened memory of past threats may increase avoidance of similar situations in the future as well as be a prerequisite for analyzing the past threat and develop better defensive behaviors if the threat should recur. PTSD hyperarousal may correspond to vigilant immobility and aggressive defense. Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (and phenomena such as the Stockholm syndrome) may in part correspond to the appeasement stage and possibly the frozen immobility stage.

    There may be evolutionary explanations for differences in resilience to traumatic events. Thus, PTSD is rare following traumatic fire that may be explained by events such as forest fires’ long being part of the evolutionary history of mammals. On the other hand, PTSD is much more common following modern warfare, which may be explained by modern warfare’s being a new development and very unlike the quick inter-group raids that are argued to have characterized the paleolithic.


    There is evidence that susceptibility to PTSD is hereditary. Approximately 30% of the variance in PTSD is caused from genetics alone. For twin pairs exposed to combat in Vietnam, having a monozygotic (identical) twin with PTSD was associated with an increased risk of the co-twin’s having PTSD compared to twins that were dizygotic (non-identical twins). There is also evidence that those with a genetically smaller hippocampus are more likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Research has also found that PTSD shares many genetic influences common to other psychiatric disorders. Panic and generalized anxiety disorders and PTSD share 60% of the same genetic variance. Alcohol, nicotine, and drug dependence share greater than 40% genetic similarities.

    Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. A recent study reported significant interactions between three polymorphisms in the GABA alpha-2 receptor gene and the severity of childhood trauma in predicting PTSD in adults. A study found those with a specific genotype for G-protein signaling 2 (RGS2), a protein that decreases G protein-coupled receptor signaling, and high environmental stress exposure as adults and a diagnosis of lifetime PTSD. This was particularly prevalent in adults with prior trauma exposure and low social support.

    Recently, it has been found that several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) interact with childhood trauma to predict severity of adult PTSD. These findings suggest that individuals with these SNPs who are abused as children are more susceptible to PTSD as adults.

    This is particularly interesting given that FKBP5 SNPs have previously been associated with peritraumatic dissociation in a study of polymorphisms in FKBP5 associated with peritraumatic dissociation in medically injured children (that is, dissociation at the time of the birth trauma), which has itself been shown to be predictive of PTSD. Furthermore, FKBP5 may be less expressed in those with current PTSD.[34] Another recent study found a single SNP in a putative estrogen response element on ADCYAP1R1 (encodes pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide type I receptor or PAC1) to predict PTSD diagnosis and symptoms in females. Incidentally, this SNP is also associated with fear discrimination. The study suggests that perturbations in the PACAP-PAC1 pathway are involved in abnormal stress responses underlying PTSD.

    PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that requires an environmental event that individuals may have varied responses to so gene-environment studies tend to be the most indicative of their effect on the probability of PTSD then studies of the main effect of the gene. Recent studies have demonstrated the interaction between PFBP5 and childhood environment to predict the severity of PTSD. Polymorphisms in FKBP5 have been associated with peritraumatic dissociation in mentally ill children. A study of highly traumatized African-American subjects from inner city primary-care clinics indicated 4 polymorphisms of the FKBP5 gene, each of these functional. The interaction between the polymorphisms and the severity of childhood abuse predicts the severity of the adult PTSD symptoms. A more recent study of the African-American population indicated that the TT genotype of the FKBP5 gene is associated with the highest risk of PTSD among those having experienced childhood adversity, however those with this genotype that experienced no childhood adversity had the lowest risk of PTSD. In addition alcohol dependence interacts with the FKBP5 polymorphisms and childhood adversity to increase the risk of PTSD in these populations. Emergency room expression of the FKPB5 mRNA following trauma was shown to indicate a later development of PTSD.

    Catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) is an enzyme that catalyzes the extraneuronal breakdown of catecholamines. The gene that codes for COMT has a functional polymorphism in which a valine has been replaced with a methionine at codon 158. This polymorphism has lower enzyme activity and has been tied to slower breakdown of the catecholamines. A study, of Rwandan Genocide survivors, indicated that carriers of the Val allel demonstrated the expected response relationship between the higher number of lifetime traumatic events and a lifetime diagnosis of PTSD. However, those with homozygotes for the Met/Met genotype demonstrated a high risk of lifetime PTSD independent of the number of traumatic experiences. Those with Met/Met genotype also demonstrated a reduced extinction of conditioned fear responses with may account for the high risk for PTSD experienced by this genotype.

    Many genes impact the limbic-frontal neurocircuitry as a result of its complexity. The main effect of the D2A1 allele of the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) has a strong association with the diagnosis of PTSD. The D2A1 allele has also shown a significant association to PTSD in those having engaged in harmful drinking. In addition a polymorphism in the dopamine transporter SLC6A3 gene has a significant association with chronic PTSD. A polymorphism of the serotonin receptor 2A gene has been associated with PTSD in Korean women. The short allele of the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) has been shown to be less efficient then the long allele and is associated with the amygdala response for extinction of fear conditioning. However, the short allele is associated with a decreased risk of PTSD in a low risk environment but a high risk of PTSD in a high risk environment. The s/s genotype demonstrated a high risk for development of PTSD even in response to a small number of traumatic events, but those with the l allele demonstrate increasing rates of PTSD with increasing traumatic experiences.

    Genome-wide association study (GWAS) offer an opportunity to identify novel risk variants for PTSD that will in turn inform our understanding of the etiology of the disorder. Early results indicate the feasibility and potential power of GWAS to identify biomarkers for anxiety-related behaviors that suggest a future of PTSD. These studies will lead to the discovery of novel loci for the susceptibility and symptomatology of anxiety disorders including PTSD.


    Gene and environment studies alone fail to explain the importance the developmental stressor timing exposure to the phenotypic changes associated with PTSD. Epigenetic modification is the environmentally induced change in DNA that alters the function rather than the structure of the gene. The biological mechanism of epigenetic modification typically involves the methylation of cytosine within a gene that produces decreased transcription of that segment of DNA. The neuroendocrine alteration seen in animal models parallel those of PTSD in which low basal cortisol and enhanced suppression of cortisol in response to synthetic glucocorticoid becomes hereditary. Lower levels of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA have been demonstrated in the hippocampus of suicide victims with histories of childhood abuse. It has not been possible to monitor the state of methylation over time, however the interpretation is early developmental methylation changes are long-lasting and enduring. It is hypothesized that epigenetic-mediated changes in the HPA axis could be associated with an increased vulnerability to PTSD following traumatic events. These findings support the mechanism in which early life trauma strongly validates as a risk factor for PTSD development in adulthood by recalibrating the set point and stress-responsivity of the HPA axis. Studies have reported an increased risk for PTSD and low cortisol levels in the offspring of female holocaust survivors with PTSD. Epigenetic mechanisms may also be relevant to the intrauterine environment. Mothers with PTSD produced infants with lower salivary cortisol levels only if the traumatic exposure occurred during the third trimester of gestation. These changes occur via transmission of hormonal responses to the fetus leading to a reprogramming of the glucocorticoid responsivity in the offspring.

    Risk factors (Psychological resilience)

    Most people (more than half) will experience at least one traumatizing event in their lifetime.[36] Men are more likely to experience a traumatic event, but women are more likely to experience the kind of high impact traumatic event that can lead to PTSD, such as interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Only a minority of people who are traumatized will develop PTSD, but they are more likely to be women. The average risk of developing PTSD after trauma is around 8% for men, while for women it is just over 20%. The risk is believed to be higher in young urban populations (24%): 13% for men and 30% for women. Rates of PTSD are higher in combat veterans than other men, with a rate estimated at up to 20% for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Posttraumatic stress reactions have not been studied as well in children and adolescents as adults. The rate of PTSD may be lower in children than adults, but in the absence of therapy, symptoms may continue for decades. One estimate suggests that the proportion of children and adolescents having PTSD in a non-wartorn population in a developed country may be 1% compared to 1.5% to 3% of adults, and much lower below the age of 10 years.

    Predictor models have consistently found that childhood trauma, chronic adversity, and familial stressors increase risk for PTSD as well as risk for biological markers of risk for PTSD after a traumatic event in adulthood. Peritraumatic dissociation in children is a predictive indicator of the development of PTSD later in life. This effect of childhood trauma, which is not well-understood, may be a marker for both traumatic experiences and attachment problems. Proximity to, duration of, and severity of the trauma also make an impact, and interpersonal traumas cause more problems than impersonal ones.

    Quasi-experimental studies have demonstrated a relationship between intrusive thoughts and intentional control responses such that suppression increases the frequency of unwanted intrusive thoughts. These results suggest that suppression of intrusive thoughts may be important in the development and maintenance of PTSD.

    Military experience

    Schnurr, Lunney, and Sengupta identified risk factors for the development of PTSD in Vietnam veterans. The subjects were 68 women and 414 men of whom 88 were white, 63 black, 80 Hispanic, 90 Native Hawaiian, and 93 Japanese American. Among their findings were:
    * Hispanic ethnicity, coming from an unstable family, being punished severely during childhood, childhood asocial behavior, and depression as pre-military factors
    * War-zone exposure, peritraumatic dissociation, depression as military factors
    * Recent stressful life events, post-Vietnam trauma, and depression as post-military factors

    They also identified certain protective factors, such as:
    * Japanese-American ethnicity, high school degree or college education, older age at entry to war, higher socioeconomic status, and a more positive paternal relationship as pre-military protective factors
    * Social support at homecoming and current social support as post-military factors.[45] Other research also indicates the protective effects of social support in averting PTSD or facilitating recovery if it develops.

    Glass and Jones found early intervention to be a critical preventive measure:
    “PTSD symptoms can follow any serious psychological trauma, such as exposure to combat, accidents, torture, disasters, criminal assault and exposure to atrocities or to the sequelae of such extraordinary events. Prisoners of war exposed to harsh treatment are particularly prone to develop PTSD. In their acute presentation these symptoms, which include subsets of a large variety of affective, cognitive, perceptional, emotional and behavioral responses which are relatively normal responses to gross psychological trauma. If persistent, however, they develop a life of their own and may be maintained by inadvertent reinforcement. Early intervention and later avoidance of positive reinforcement (which may be subtle) for such symptoms is a critical preventive measure.

    Studies have shown that those prepared for the potential of a traumatic experience are more prepared to deal with the stress of a traumatic experience and therefore less likely to develop PTSD.

    Drug misuse

    Alcohol abuse and drug abuse commonly co-occur with PTSD.[49] Recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders may be hindered, or the condition worsened, by medication or substance overuse, abuse, or dependence; resolving these problems can bring about a marked improvement in an individual’s mental health status and anxiety levels.

    Yohimbine (not considered specifically appropriate for PTSD) increases arousal by increasing release of endogenous norepinephrine and can worsen PTSD symptoms.

    Foster care

    In the Casey Family Northwest Alumni Study, conducted in conjunction with researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Oregon and Washington state, the rate of PTSD in adults who were in foster care for one year between the ages of 14-18 was found to be higher than that of combat veterans. Up to 25% of those in the study meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as compared to 12-13% of Iraq war veterans and 15% of Vietnam War veterans, and a rate of 4% in the general population. The recovery rate for foster home alumni was 28.2% as opposed to 47% in the general population.

    Dubner and Motta (1999) found that 60% of children in foster care having experienced sexual abuse had PTSD, and 42% of those having been physically abused met the PTSD criteria. PTSD was also found in 18% of the children not abused. These children may have developed PTSD due to witnessing violence in the home, or as a result of real or perceived parental abandonment.



    PTSD symptoms may result when a traumatic event causes an over-reactive adrenaline response, which creates deep neurological patterns in the brain. These patterns can persist long after the event that triggered the fear, making an individual hyper-responsive to future fearful situations. During traumatic experiences the high levels of stress hormones secreted suppress hypothalamic activity that may be a major factor toward the development of PTSD.

    PTSD causes biochemical changes in the brain and body that differ from other psychiatric disorders such as major depression. Individuals diagnosed with PTSD respond more strongly to a dexamethasone suppression test than individuals diagnosed with clinical depression.

    In addition, most people with PTSD also show a low secretion of cortisol and high secretion of catecholamines in urine, with a norepinephrine/cortisol ratio consequently higher than comparable non-diagnosed individuals. This is in contrast to the normative fight-or-flight response, in which both catecholamine and cortisol levels are elevated after exposure to a stressor.

    Brain catecholamine levels are high, and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) concentrations are high. Together, these findings suggest abnormality in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

    The HPA axis is responsible for coordinating the hormonal response to stress. Given the strong cortisol suppression to dexamethasone in PTSD, HPA axis abnormalities are likely predicated on strong negative feedback inhibition of cortisol, itself likely due to an increased sensitivity of glucocorticoid receptors.

    Translating this reaction to human conditions gives a pathophysiological explanation for PTSD by a maladaptive learning pathway to fear response through a hypersensitive, hyperreactive, and hyperresponsive HPA axis.

    Low cortisol levels may predispose individuals to PTSD: Following war trauma, Swedish soldiers serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina with low pre-service salivary cortisol levels had a higher risk of reacting with PTSD symptoms, following war trauma, than soldiers with normal pre-service levels. Because cortisol is normally important in restoring homeostasis after the stress response, it is thought that trauma survivors with low cortisol experience a poorly contained-that is, longer and more distressing-response, setting the stage for PTSD.

    Other studies indicate that people that suffer from PTSD have chronically low levels of serotonin, which contributes to the commonly associated behavioral symptoms such as anxiety, ruminations, irritability, aggression, suicidality, and impulsivity. Serotonin also contributes to the stabilization of glucocorticoid production.

    Dopamine levels in patients with PTSD can help contribute to the symptoms associated. Low levels of dopamine can contribute to anhedonia, apathy, impaired attention, and motor deficits. Increased levels of dopamine can cause psychosis, agitation, and restlessness.

    Hyperresponsiveness in the norepinephrine system can be caused by continued exposure to high stress. Overactivation of norepinephrine receptors in the prefrontal cortex can be connected to the flashbacks and nightmares frequently experienced by those with PTSD. A decrease in other norepinephrine functions (awareness of the current environment) prevents the memory mechanisms in the brain from processing that the experience, and emotions the person is experiencing during a flashback are not associated with the current environment.

    However, there is considerable controversy within the medical community regarding the neurobiology of PTSD. A review of existing studies on this subject showed no clear relationship between cortisol levels and PTSD. However, the majority of reports indicate people with PTSD have elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone, lower basal cortisol levels, and enhanced negative feedback suppression of the HPA axis by dexamethasone.


    Regions of the brain associated with stress and posttraumatic stress disorder

    Three areas of the brain in which function may be altered in PTSD have been identified: the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. Much of this research has utilised PTSD victims from the Vietnam War. For example, a prospective study using the Vietnam Head Injury Study showed that damage to the prefrontal cortex may actually be protective against later development of PTSD. In a study by Gurvits et al., combat veterans of the Vietnam War with PTSD showed a 20% reduction in the volume of their hippocampus compared with veterans having suffered no such symptoms. This finding could not be replicated in chronic PTSD patients traumatized at an air show plane crash in 1988 (Ramstein, Germany).

    In human studies, the amygdala has been shown to be strongly involved in the formation of emotional memories, especially fear-related memories. Neuroimaging studies in humans have revealed both morphological and functional aspects of PTSD. However, during high stress times the hippocampus, which is associated with the ability to place memories in the correct context of space and time, and with the ability to recall the memory, is suppressed. This suppression is hypothesized to be the cause of the flashbacks that often plague PTSD patients. When someone with PTSD undergoes stimuli similar to the traumatic event, the body perceives the event as occurring again because the memory was never properly recorded in the patients memory.

    The amygdalocentric model of PTSD proposes that it is associated with hyperarousal of the amygdala and insufficient top-down control by the medial prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus in particular during extinction. This is consistent with an interpretation of PTSD as a syndrome of deficient extinction ability. A study at the European Neuroscience Institute-Goettingen (Germany) found that fear extinction-induced IGF2/IGFBP7 signalling promotes the survival of 17-19-day-old newborn hippocampal neurons. This suggests that therapeutic strategies that enhance IGF2 signalling and adult neurogenesis might be suitable to treat diseases linked to excessive fear memory such as PTSD. Further animal and clinical research into the amygdala and fear conditioning may suggest additional treatments for the condition.

    The maintenance of the fear involved with PTSD has been shown to include the HPA axis, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic systems, and the connections between the limbic system and frontal cortex. The HPA axis that coordinates the hormonal response to stress, which activates the LC-noradrenergic system, is implicated in the over-consolidation of memories that occurs in the aftermath of trauma. This over-consolidation increases the likelihood of one’s developing PTSD. The amygdala is responsible for threat detection and the conditioned and unconditioned fear responses that are carried out as a response to a threat.

    The LC-noradrenergic system has been hypothesized to mediate the over-consolidation of fear memory in PTSD. High levels of cortisol reduces noradrenergic activity, and it is proposed that individuals with PTSD fail to regulate the increased noradrenergic response to traumatic stress. It is thought that the intrusive memories and conditioned fear responses to associated triggers is a result of this response. Neuropeptide Y has been reported to reduce the release of norepinephrine and has been demonstrated to have anxiolytic properties in animal models. Studies have shown people with PTSD demonstrate reduced levels of NPY, possibly indicating their increased anxiety levels.

    The basolateral nucleus (BLA) of the amygdala is responsible for the comparison and development of associations between unconditioned and conditioned responses to stimuli, which results in the fear conditioning present in PTSD. The BLA activates the central nucleus (CeA) of the amygdala, which elaborates the fear response, (including behavioral response to threat and elevated startle response). Descending inhibitory inputs from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) regulate the transmission from the BLA to the CeA, which is hypothesized to play a role in the extinction of conditioned fear responses.


    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

    The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, stipulated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR), may be summarized as:

    A: Exposure to a traumatic event. This must have involved both (a) loss of “physical integrity”, or risk of serious injury or death, to self or others, and (b) a response to the event that involved intense fear, horror, or helplessness (or in children, the response must involve disorganized or agitated behavior). (The DSM-IV-TR criterion differs substantially from the previous DSM-III-R stressor criterion, which specified the traumatic event should be of a type that would cause “significant symptoms of distress in almost anyone,” and that the event was “outside the range of usual human experience.”)

    B: Persistent re-experiencing. One or more of these must be present in the victim: flashback memories, recurring distressing dreams, subjective re-experiencing of the traumatic event(s), or intense negative psychological or physiological response to any objective or subjective reminder of the traumatic event(s).

    C: Persistent avoidance and emotional numbing. This involves a sufficient level of:
    * avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, such as certain thoughts or feelings, or talking about the event(s)
    * avoidance of behaviors, places, or people that might lead to distressing memories as well as the disturbing memories, dreams, flashbacks, and intense psychological or physiological distress
    * inability to recall major parts of the trauma(s), or decreased involvement in significant life activities
    * decreased capacity (down to complete inability) to feel certain feelings
    * an expectation that one’s future will be somehow constrained in ways not normal to other people.

    D: Persistent symptoms of increased arousal not present before. These are all physiological response issues, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or problems with anger, concentration, or hypervigilance. Additional symptoms include irritability, angry outbursts, increased startle response, and concentration or sleep problems.

    E: Duration of symptoms for more than 1 month. If all other criteria are present, but 30 days have not elapsed, the individual is diagnosed with Acute stress disorder.

    F: Significant impairment. The symptoms reported must lead to “clinically significant distress or impairment” of major domains of life activity, such as social relations, occupational activities, or other “important areas of functioning”.


    Since the introduction of DSM-IV, the number of possible events that might be used to diagnose PTSD has increased; one study suggests that the increase is around 50%. Various scales to measure the severity and frequency of PTSD symptoms exist. Standardized screening tools such as Trauma Screening Questionnaire and PTSD Symptom Scale can be used to detect possible symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and suggest the need for a formal diagnostic assessment.


    In DSM-5, published in May, 2013, PTSD is classified as a trauma- and stress-related disorder.
    * Criterion A: (applicable to adults, adolescents and children over 6. There is a separate Posttraumatic stress disorder for children 6 years and younger.) Exposure to real or threatened death, injury, or sexual violence.
    * Several items in Criterion B (intrusion symptoms) are rewritten to add or augment certain distinctions now considered important.
    * Special consideration is given to developmentally appropriate criteria for use with children and adolescents. This is especially evident in the restated Criterion B-intrusion symptoms. Development of age-specific criteria for diagnosis of PTSD is ongoing at this time.
    * Criterion C (avoidance and numbing) has been split into “C” and “D”:
    o Criterion C (new version) now focuses solely on avoidance of behaviors or physical or temporal reminders of the traumatic experience(s). What were formerly two symptoms are now three, due to slight changes in descriptions.
    o New Criterion D focuses on negative alterations in cognition and mood associated with the traumatic event(s) and contains two new symptoms, one expanded symptom, and four largely unchanged symptoms specified in the previous criteria.
    * Criterion E (formerly “D”), which focuses on increased arousal and reactivity, contains one modestly revised, one entirely new, and four unchanged symptoms.
    * Criterion F (formerly “E”) still requires duration of symptoms to have been at least one month.
    * Criterion G (formerly “F”) stipulates symptom impact (“disturbance”) in the same way as before.
    * Criterion H stipulated the disturbance is not due to the effects of a substance or another medical condition.

    Specify whether:
    With dissociative symptoms: (not due to effects of a substance or another medical condition)
    1. In addition, meets the criteria of Depersonalization
    2. In addition, meets the criteria of Derealization

    Specify if:
    With delayed expression Full criteria not met until more than 6 months after the event

    Research-based groups

    Emerging factor analytic research suggests that PTSD symptoms group empirically into four clusters, not the three currently described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. One model supported by this research divides the traditional avoidance symptoms into a cluster of numbing symptoms (such as loss of interest and feeling emotionally numb) and a cluster of behavioral avoidance symptoms (such as avoiding reminders of the trauma). An alternative model adds a fourth cluster of dysphoric symptoms. These include symptoms of emotional numbing, as well as anger, sleep disturbance, and difficulty concentrating (traditionally grouped under the hyperarousal cluster). A literature review and meta-analysis did not find strong support across the literature for one of these models over the other.

    International Classification of Diseases

    The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, stipulated in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10 (ICD-10), may be summarized as:
    * Exposure to a stressful event or situation (either short or long lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which is likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone.
    * Persistent remembering or “reliving” the stressor by intrusive flash backs, vivid memories, recurring dreams, or by experiencing distress when exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
    * Actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor (not present before exposure to the stressor).
    * Either (1) or (2):
    1. Inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the period of exposure to the stressor
    2. Persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal (not present before exposure to the stressor) shown by any two of the following:

    * difficulty in falling or staying asleep
    * irritability or outbursts of anger
    * difficulty in concentrating
    * hyper-vigilance
    * exaggerated startle response.

    The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10 diagnostic guidelines state: In general, this disorder should not be diagnosed unless there is evidence that it arose within 6 months of a traumatic event of exceptional severity. A “probable” diagnosis might still be possible if the delay between the event and the onset was longer than 6 months, provided that the clinical manifestations are typical and no alternative identification of the disorder (e.g., as an anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder or depressive episode) is plausible. In addition to evidence of trauma, there must be a repetitive, intrusive recollection or re-enactment of the event in memories, daytime imagery, or dreams. Conspicuous emotional detachment, numbing of feeling, and avoidance of stimuli that might arouse recollection of the trauma are often present but are not essential for the diagnosis. The autonomic disturbances, mood disorder, and behavioural abnormalities all contribute to the diagnosis but are not of prime importance. The late chronic sequelae of devastating stress, i.e. those manifest decades after the stressful experience, should be classified under F62.0.

    Differential diagnosis

    A diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an extreme stressor such as one that is life-threatening. Any stressor can result in a diagnosis of adjustment disorder and it is an appropriate diagnosis for a stressor and a symptom pattern that does not meet the criteria for PTSD, for example a stressor like a partner being fired, or a spouse leaving. If any of the symptom pattern is present before the stressor, another diagnosis is required, such as brief psychotic disorder or major depressive disorder. Other differential diagnoses are schizophrenia or other disorders with psychotic features such as Psychotic disorders due to a general medical condition. Drug-induced psychotic disorders can be considered if substance abuse is involved.

    The symptom pattern for acute stress disorder must occur and be resolved within four weeks of the trauma. If it lasts longer, and the symptom pattern fits that characteristic of PTSD, the diagnosis may be changed.

    Obsessive compulsive disorder may be diagnosed for intrusive thoughts that are recurring but not related to a specific traumatic event.

    Malingering should be considered if a financial and/or legal advantage is a possibility.

    Prevention (Traumatic memories)

    Modest benefits have been seen from early access to cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as from some medications such as propranolol. Critical incident stress management has been suggested as a means of preventing PTSD, but subsequent studies suggest the likelihood of its producing iatrogenic outcomes. A review “…did not find any evidence to support the use of an intervention offered to everyone”, and that “…multiple session interventions may result in worse outcome than no intervention for some individuals. The World Health Organization recommends against the use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in those having experienced trauma.

    Early detection

    The ability to prescreen individuals would be of great help in getting treatment to those at risk of PTSD prior to development of the syndrome. Several biological indicators have been identified that are related to later PTSD development. First, Delhanty found that higher response times and a smaller hippocampal volume were identified as linked to later PTSD development. However, both of these indicators are relatively difficult to test for and need specialized tests or equipment, or both, to identify. A blood biomarker is much easier to test for. Van Zuiden et al. found a biomarker when testing U.S. Army soldiers prior to deployment. They found that soldiers with more glucocorticoid receptors (GR) were more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD six months after deployment. However, higher GR levels have not been identified as a cause of PTSD, and may instead be an intermediator, or even an indicator that the individual has previously experienced traumatic events. There is a great deal of overlap between high GR levels and those later diagnosed with and without PTSD. Thus, the identification of high GR is simply a vulnerability indicator at this time.

    Delhanty found that biological precursors existed directly following traumatic exposure in those that later developed chronic PTSD and were significantly different from those who did not. Directly following the traumatic event, later sufferers often have significantly lower levels of hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal activity and a corresponding decrease in Cortisol. Other methods of early detection include the identification of specific risk factors associated with later PTSD symptoms. Resnick, Acierno, Holmes, Kilpatrick, and Jager, for example, were able to identify that the forensic exam given to victims after a rape was associated with PTSD. Finally, global treatments attempt to avoid the problems of early detection by simply treating everyone involved. However, many studies have found this to be often ineffective and for global treatments to at times increase prevalence rates of PTSD. Stepped collaborative care is where individuals who are at risk are monitored for symptoms. As symptoms of PTSD appear the level of care is increased to treat those symptoms.

    Psychological debriefing

    The first form of preventive treatment is that of a psychological debriefing.[95] Psychological debriefing is the most often used preventive measure. One of the main reasons for this is the relative ease with which this treatment can be given to individuals directly following an event. It consists of interviews that are meant to allow individuals to directly confront the event and share their feelings with the counselor and to help structure their memories of the event. However, while this form of therapy is the most often used, it is the least effective. Studies have had mixed findings concerning psychological debriefings and have ranged from being of significant help to helping in the formation of PTSD in individuals who would otherwise have not developed PTSD. Several meta-analyses have been published, including by the Cochrane Collaboration. They all concluded psychological debriefing is unhelpful and potentially harmful. The first Cochrane meta-analysis concerned single-session debriefing. More recently a Cochrane review on multiple session interventions was conducted and also found negative results. The American Psychological Association judges the status of psychological debriefing as No Research Support/Treatment is Potentially Harmful.

    Risk-targeted interventions

    Risk-targeted interventions are those that attempt to mitigate specific formative information or events. It can target modeling normal behaviors, instruction on a task, or giving information on the event. For example, rape victims were given an instruction video on the procedures for a forensic exam. Also included in the video was advice on how to identify and stop avoidance behavior and control anxiety. Finally, the individuals modeling the forensic exam were shown to be calm and relaxed. PTSD diagnosis for those having seen the video were 33% less than for those having gone through the standard forensic procedure.


    Some medications have shown benefit in preventing PTSD or reducing its incidence, when given in close proximity to a traumatic event. These medications include:
    Alpha-adrenergic agonists: Anecdotal report of success in using clonidine (“Catapres”) to reduce traumatic stress symptoms suggests that it may have benefit in preventing PTSD.
    Beta blockers: Propranolol (“Inderal”), similar to clonidine, may be useful if there are significant symptoms of “over-arousal”. These may inhibit the formation of traumatic memories by blocking adrenaline’s effects on the amygdala.
    Glucocorticoids: There is some evidence suggesting that administering glucocorticoids immediately after a traumatic experience may help prevent PTSD. Several studies have shown that individuals who receive high doses of hydrocortisone for treatment of septic shock, or following surgery, have a lower incidence and fewer symptoms of PTSD.

    Psychobiological treatments have also found success, especially with cortisol. Psychobiological treatments target biological changes that occur after a traumatic event. They also attempt to chemically alter learning or memory formation. Cortisol treatments after a traumatic event have found success in mitigating later diagnosis of PTSD. As discussed earlier, cortisol is often lower in individuals at risk of PTSD after a traumatic event than their counterparts. By increasing cortisol levels to normal levels this has been shown to reduce arousal post event as well prevent GR upregulation.



    Many forms of psychotherapy have been advocated for trauma-related problems such as PTSD. Basic counseling practices common to many treatment responses for PTSD include education about the condition and provision of safety and support.

    The psychotherapy programs with the strongest demonstrated efficacy include cognitive behavioral programs, variants of exposure therapy, stress inoculation training (SIT), variants of cognitive therapy (CT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and many combinations of these procedures. A 2010 review disagrees that these treatments have proven efficacy and points out methodological flaws in the studies and previous meta-analyses.

    EMDR and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) were recommended as first-line treatments for trauma victims in a 2007 review; however, “the evidence base [for EMDR] was not as strong as that for TFCBT … Furthermore, there was limited evidence that TFCBT and EMDR were superior to supportive/non-directive treatments, hence it is highly unlikely that their effectiveness is due to non-specific factors such as attention.” A meta-analytic comparison of EMDR and cognitive behavioral therapy found both protocols indistinguishable in terms of effectiveness in treating PTSD; however, “the contribution of the eye movement component in EMDR to treatment outcome” is unclear.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy

    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) seeks to change the way a trauma victim feels and acts by changing the patterns of thinking or behavior, or both, responsible for negative emotions. CBT has been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD and is currently considered the standard of care for PTSD by the United States Department of Defense. In CBT, individuals learn to identify thoughts that make them feel afraid or upset and replace them with less distressing thoughts. The goal is to understand how certain thoughts about events cause PTSD-related stress.

    Recent research on contextually based third-generation behavior therapies suggests that they may produce results comparable to some of the better validated therapies. Many of these therapy methods have a significant element of exposure and have demonstrated success in treating the primary problems of PTSD and co-occurring depressive symptoms.

    Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy[120] that involves assisting trauma survivors to re-experience distressing trauma-related memories and reminders in order to facilitate habituation and successful emotional processing of the trauma memory. Most exposure therapy programs include both imaginal confrontation with the traumatic memories and real-life exposure to trauma reminders; this therapy modality is well supported by clinical evidence. The success of exposure-based therapies has raised the question of whether exposure is a necessary ingredient in the treatment of PTSD. Some organizations have endorsed the need for exposure. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has been actively training mental health treatment staff in prolonged exposure therapy and Cognitive Processing Therapy in an effort to better treat US Veterans with PTSD.

    Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing

    Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy developed and studied by Francine Shapiro. She had noticed that, when she was thinking about disturbing memories herself, her eyes were moving rapidly. When she brought her eye movements under control while thinking, the thoughts were less distressing.

    In 2002, Shapiro and Maxfield published a theory of why this might work, called adaptive information processing. This theory proposes that eye movement can be used to facilitate emotional processing of memories, changing the person’s memory to attend to more adaptive information. The therapist initiates voluntary rapid eye movements while the person focuses on memories, feelings or thoughts about a particular trauma. The therapists uses hand movements to get the person to move their eyes backward and forward, but hand-tapping or tones can also be used. EMDR closely resembles cognitive behavior therapy as it combines exposure (re-visiting the traumatic event), working on cognitive processes and relaxation/self-monitoring. However, exposure by way of being asked to think about the experience rather than talk about it has been highlighted as one of the more important distinguishing elements of EMDR.

    There have been multiple small controlled trials of four to eight weeks of EMDR in adults as well as children and adolescents. EMDR reduced PTSD symptoms enough in the short term that one in two adults no longer met the criteria for PTSD, but the number of people involved in these trials was small. There was not enough evidence to know whether or not EMDR could eliminate PTSD. There was some evidence that EMDR might prevent depression. There were no studies comparing EMDR to other psychological treatments or to medication. Adverse effects were largely unstudied. The benefits were greater for women with a history of sexual assault compared with people who had experienced other types of traumatizing events (such as accidents, physical assaults and war). There is a small amount of evidence that EMDR may improve re-experiencing symptoms in children and adolescents, but EMDR has not been shown to improve other PTSD symptoms, anxiety, or depression.

    The eye movement component of the therapy may not be critical for benefit. As there has been no major, high quality randomized trial of EMDR with eye movements versus EMDR without eye movements, the controversy over effectiveness is likely to continue.

    Interpersonal psychotherapy

    Other approaches, in particular involving social supports, may also be important. An open trial of interpersonal psychotherapy reported high rates of remission from PTSD symptoms without using exposure. A current, NIMH-funded trial in New York City is now (and into 2013) comparing interpersonal psychotherapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and relaxation therapy.


    A variety of medications has shown adjunctive benefit in reducing PTSD symptoms, but “there is no clear drug treatment for PTSD”. In general, positive symptoms (re-experiencing, hypervigilance, increased arousal) respond better to medication than negative symptoms (avoidance, withdrawal), and it is recommended that any drug trial last for at least 6-8 weeks. With many medications, residual symptoms following treatment is the rule rather than the exception, which has led to increased research in the aggressive treatment of PTSD symptoms.

    Some studies have shown that treatment with hydrocortisone shortly after a traumatic event, in comparison to a placebo, decreases the likelihood that the patient will suffer from PTSD. Other studies have indicated that propranolol administered within 6 hours of a traumatic event decreases the physiological reactivity to a reminder of the traumatic event. However propranolol had no effect on the rate of PTSD. Despite these studies, there is not significant evidence that medication can prevent PTSD, therefore none is routinely administered.

    Symptom management
    SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs are considered to be a first-line drug treatment. SSRIs for which there are data to support use include: citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline.
    Among the anti-depressants described in this section, bupropion and venlafaxine have the lowest patient drop-out rates. Sertraline, fluoxetine, and nefazodone have a modestly higher drop-out rate (~15%), and the heterocyclics and paroxetine have the highest rates (~20%+). Where drop-out is caused or feared because of medication side-effects, it should be remembered that most patients do not experience such side-effects.
    Tricyclic antidepressants: Amitriptyline (“Elavil”) has shown benefit for positive distress symptoms and for avoidance, and imipramine (“Tofranil”) has shown benefit for intrusive symptoms.
    Alpha-adrenergic antagonists: Prazosin (“Minipress”), in a small study of combat veterans, has shown substantial benefit in relieving or reducing nightmares. Clonidine (“Catapres”) can be helpful with startle, hyperarousal, and general autonomic hyperexcitability.
    Anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, anti-aggression agents: Carbamazepine (“Tegretol”) has likely benefit in reducing arousal symptoms involving noxious affect, as well as mood or aggression. Topiramate (“Topamax”) has been effective in achieving major reductions in flashbacks and nightmares, and no reduction of effect was seen over time. Zolpidem (“Ambien”) has also proven useful in treating sleep disturbances.
    Lamotrigine (“Lamictal”) may be useful in reducing reexperiencing symptoms, as well as avoidance and emotional numbing. Valproic acid (“Depakene”) and has shown reduction of symptoms of irritability, aggression, and impulsiveness, and in reducing flashbacks. Similarly, lithium carbonate has worked to control mood and aggressions (but not anxiety) symptoms. Buspirone (“BuSpar”) has an effect similar to that of lithium, with the additional benefit of working to reduce hyperarousal symptoms.
    Antipsychotics. Risperidone can be used to help with dissociation, mood issues, and aggression.
    Serotonin antagonists. Cyproheptadine (Periactin) can be used to help with sleep disorders and nightmares.
    Atypical antidepressants: Nefazodone (“Serzone”) can be effective with sleep disturbance symptoms and with secondary depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction symptoms. Trazodone (“Desyrel”) can also reduce or eliminate problems with anger, anxiety, and disturbed sleep.
    Beta blockers: Propranolol (“Inderal”) has demonstrated possibilities in reducing hyperarousal symptoms, including sleep disturbances.
    Benzodiazepines: These drugs are not recommended by clinical guidelines for the treatment of PTSD due to a lack of evidence of benefit. Nevertheless some doctors use benzodiazepines with caution for short-term anxiety relief, hyperarousal, and sleep disturbance. However, some authors believe that the use of benzodiazepines is contraindicated for acute stress, as this group of drugs promotes dissociation and ulterior revivals. While benzodiazepines can alleviate acute anxiety, there is no consistent evidence that they can stop the development of PTSD, or are at all effective in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Additionally, benzodiazepines may reduce the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions, and there is some evidence that benzodiazepines may actually contribute to the development and chronification of PTSD. Other drawbacks include the risk of developing a benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal syndrome; additionally, individuals with PTSD are at an increased risk of abusing benzodiazepines.
    Glucocorticoids: In addition, post-stress high-dose corticosterone administration was recently found to reduce “PTSD-like” behaviors in a rat model of PTSD. In this study, corticosterone impaired memory performance, suggesting that it may reduce risk for PTSD by interfering with consolidation of traumatic memories. The neurodegenerative effects of the glucocorticoids, however, may prove this treatment counterproductive.
    Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Phenelzine (“Nardil”) has for some time[when?] been observed to be effective with hyperarousal and depression and is especially effective with nightmares.
    Miscellaneous other medications: Clinical trials evaluating methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “Ecstasy”) in conjunction with psychotherapy are being conducted in Switzerland and Israel.

    Medications by symptom group affected

    Medications can affect one or more of the symptoms, in one or more of the three major symptom classes[4] involved in diagnosing PTSD, which can be summarized in the following table:
    Symptom class Symptom Medication

    Reexperiencing Reexperiencing Reexperiencing
    intrusive recall amitriptyline; fluoxetine; imipramine; lamotrigine; sertraline
    intrusive reexperiencing amitriptyline; fluoxetine; imipramine; nefazodone; sertraline (women only); topiramate;
    sleep disturbance, nightmares benzodiazepines; carbamazepine; clonidine; nefazodone; phenelzine; prazosin; topiramate; trazodone; zolpidem
    dissociative recall risperidone
    intense psychological distress (anger, anxiety) when exposed to reminders of traumatic event(s) benzodiazepines; buspirone; carbamazepine; lithium (not for anxiety); nefazodone; trazodone

    Avoidance Avoidance Avoidance
    avoidance amitriptyline; fluoxetine; lamotrigine; nefazodone; sertraline
    feelings of detachment or estrangement from others amitriptyline; risperidone
    restricted range of affect (numbing) amitriptyline; lamotrigine; sertraline (women only)

    Hyperarousal Hyperarousal Hyperarousal
    general hyperarousal amitriptyline; nefazodone; phenelzine; sertraline (women only)
    sleep disturbance, nightmares benzodiazepines; carbamazepine; clonidine; nefazodone; phenelzine; trazodone; zolpidem
    irritability, anger (and impulsiveness) carbamazepine; nefazodone; valproic acid
    anger buspirone; fluoxetine; lithium; trazodone
    aggression risperidone
    exaggerated startle response; general autonomic hyperexcitability benzodiazepines; buspirone; carbamazepine; clonidine; propranolol; valproic acid

    Some medications can also help with symptoms that may occur secondary to PTSD:
    Secondary symptom Medication
    depression nefazodone; phenelzine
    dream content distortions nefazodone
    relapse of symptoms carbamazepine
    self-mutilation clonidine; buprenorphine
    sexual function reduction nefazodone
    sleep hours reduction nefazodone

    Other (Exercise, sport and physical activity)

    Physical activity can have an impact on people’s psychological wellbeing and physical health. The U.S. National Center for PTSD recommends moderate exercise as a way to distract from disturbing emotions, build self-esteem and increase feelings of being in control again. They recommend a discussion with a doctor before starting an exercise program.

    Some uncontrolled studies have found benefits for people with PTSD from exercise programs. A small trial studied adding a physical component to biofeedback-based CBT with traumatized refugees. The authors concluded that physical activity may lead to clinical improvement, but bigger trials are needed. More trials are underway.

    Play therapy for children

    Play is thought to help children link their inner thoughts with their outer world, connecting real experiences with abstract thought. Repetitive play can also be one of the ways a child relives traumatic events, and that can be a symptom of traumatization in a child or young person.

    Play is a familiar way for children and young people to indirectly address what worries them, so it is often used as an element of psychological treatment – for example, using play materials or drawing to help a child focus on their feelings and events. Play therapy means using games, drawings and play materials to express, understand and control feelings rather than as a means of communication. Although it is commonly used, there have not been enough studies comparing outcomes in groups of children receiving and not receiving play therapy, so the effects of play therapy are not yet understood.


    There is debate over the rates of PTSD found in populations, but, despite changes in diagnosis and the criteria used to define PTSD between 1997 and 2007, epidemiological rates have not changed significantly.

    The United Nations’ World Health Organization publishes estimates of PTSD impact for each of its member states; the latest data available are for 2004. Considering only the 25 most populated countries, ranked by overall age-standardized Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) rate, the top half of the ranked list is dominated by Asian/Pacific countries, the USA, and Egypt. Ranking the countries by the male-only or female-only rates produces much the same result, but with less meaningfulness, as the score range in the single-sex rankings is much-reduced (4 for women, 3 for men, as compared with 14 for the overall score range), suggesting that the differences between female and male rates, within each country, is what drives the distinctions between the countries.

    United States

    The National Comorbidity Survey Replication has estimated that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans is 6.8%, with women (9.7%) more than twice as likely as men (3.6%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives. More than 60% of men and more than 60% of women experience at least one traumatic event in their life. The most frequently reported traumatic events by men are rape, combat, and childhood neglect or physical abuse. Women most frequently report instances of rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon and childhood physical abuse.[18] 88% of men and 79% of women with lifetime PTSD have at least one comorbid psychiatric disorder. Major depressive disorder, 48% of men and 49% of women, and lifetime alcohol abuse or dependence, 51.9% of men and 27.9% of women, are the most common comorbid disorders.

    The United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 830,000 Vietnam War veterans suffered symptoms of PTSD. The National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study (NVVRS) found 15.2% of male and 8.5% of female Vietnam Vets to suffer from current PTSD at the time of the study. Life-Time prevalence of PTSD was 30.9% for males and 26.9% for females. In a reanalysis of the NVVRS data, along with analysis of the data from the Matsunaga Vietnam Veterans Project, Schnurr, Lunney, Sengupta, and Waelde found that, contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD symptoms (but not the disorder itself). Four out of five reported recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.

    A 2011 study from Georgia State University and San Diego State University found that rates of PTSD diagnosis increased significantly when troops were stationed in combat zones, had tours of longer than a year, experienced combat, or were injured. Military personnel serving in combat zones were 12.1 percentage points more likely to receive a PTSD diagnosis than their active-duty counterparts in non-combat zones. Those serving more than 12 months in a combat zone were 14.3 percentage points more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD than those having served less than one year. Experiencing an enemy firefight was associated a 18.3 percentage point increase in the probability of PTSD, while being wounded or injured in combat was associated a 23.9 percentage point increase in the likelihood of a PTSD diagnosis. For the 2.16 million U.S. troops deployed in combat zones between 2001 and 2010, the total estimated two-year costs of treatment for combat-related PTSD are between $1.54 billion and $2.69 billion.


    Earliest reports
    Psychiatrist Jonathan Shay has proposed that Lady Percy’s soliloquy in Henry IV, Part 1 (act 2, scene 3, lines 40-62), written around 1597, represents an unusually accurate description of the symptom constellation of PTSD.

    Military settings
    According to Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, “One-tenth of mobilized American men were hospitalized for mental disturbances between 1942 and 1945, and, after thirty-five days of uninterrupted combat, 98% of them manifested psychiatric disturbances in varying degrees.”
    Although PTSD-like symptoms have also been recognized in combat veterans of many military conflicts since, the modern understanding of PTSD dates from the 1970s, largely as a result of the problems that were still being experienced by US military veterans of the war in Vietnam.
    Previous diagnoses now considered historical equivalents of PTSD include railway spine, stress syndrome, nostalgia, soldier’s heart, shell shock, battle fatigue, combat stress reaction, or traumatic war neurosis.

    The term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was coined in the mid-1970s, in part through the efforts of anti-Vietnam War activists and the anti-war group Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Chaim F. Shatan, who worked with them and coined the term post-Vietnam Syndrome; the condition was added to the DSM-III as posttraumatic stress disorder.

    Early in 1978, the term was used in a working group finding presented to the Committee of Reactive Disorders. The term was formally recognized in 1980.

    In the DSM-IV, the spelling “posttraumatic stress disorder” is used, while in the ICD-10 the spelling is “post-traumatic stress disorder”.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:14 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    how to deal with a person ‘labeled’ to incur Stockholm Syndrome
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-21 PM 01:14

    You must know their background, the history of their life, how they live their life, and mostly how they deal with the inflicting pains, physically or emotionally, romantically or the least to say, sexually, and financially. The keep on coming and incoming pains, the incredible ones.

    If that one is losing perspectives of that one’s, than that one must be institutionalised in mental institutions. Rumah Sakit Jiwa……

    They say the victim is and was a success to have been brainwashed.


    What causes Stockholm syndrome?
    by Julia Layton

    The room Natascha Kampusch lived in from age 10 to age 18
    Photo courtesy AP Photo/Austrian Police

    Ten-year-old Natascha Kampusch disappeared on her way to school in Austria in 1998. In 2006, 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch reappeared in a Vienna garden after escaping from her captor’s home while he wasn’t paying attention. In a statement to the media read by her psychiatrist, Kampusch had this to say about spending eight years in a locked cell beneath her kidnapper’s basement: “My youth was very different. But I was also spared a lot of things – I did not start smoking or drinking and I did not hang out in bad company.” By most experts’ accounts, Kampusch is in a traumatized state and appears to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

    People suffering from Stockholm syndrome come to identify with and even care for their captors in a desperate, usually unconscious act of self-preservation. It occurs in the most psychologically traumatic situations, often hostage situations or kidnappings, and its effects usually do not end when the crisis ends. In the most classic cases, victims continue to defend and care about their captors even after they escape captivity. Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome have also been identified in the slave/master relationship, in battered-spouse cases and in members of destructive cults.

    Symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome

    This photo was taken by the Stockholm police with a camera drilled through the roof to the main vault in the Kreditbanken bank in Sweden. The bearded man on the right is captor Jan Erik Olsson.

    Many people have a pretty good idea of what Stockholm syndrome is based on the origin of the term alone. In 1973, two men entered the Kreditbanken bank in Stockholm, Sweden, intending to rob it. When police entered the bank, the robbers shot them, and a hostage situation ensued. For six days, the robbers held four people at gunpoint, locked in a bank vault, sometimes strapped with explosives and other times forced to put nooses around their own necks. When the police tried to rescue the hostages, the hostages fought them off, defending their captors and blaming the police. One of the freed hostages set up a fund to cover the hostage-takers’ legal defense fees. Thus “Stockholm syndrome” was born, and psychologists everywhere had a name for this classic captor-prisoner phenomenon.

    In order for Stockholm syndrome to occur in any given situation, at least three traits must be present:
    * A severely uneven power relationship in which the captor dictates what the prisoner can and cannot do
    * The threat of death or physical injury to the prisoner at the hands of the captor
    * A self-preservation instinct on the part of the prisoner

    ­­Included in these traits are the prisoner’s belief (correct or incorrect, it doesn’t matter) that he or she cannot escape, which means that survival must occur within the rules set by the all-powerful captor; and the prisoner’s isolation from people not being held by the captors, which prohibits any outside view of the captors from infringing on the psychological processes that lead to Stockholm syndrome.

    Learn how a person develops Stockholm syndrome on the next page.

    The Stockholm Syndrome Process

    In the most basic, generalized way, the Stockholm syndrome process as seen in a kidnapping or hostage situation looks something like this:

    1. In a traumatic and extraordinarily stressful event, a person finds herself held captive by a man who is threatening to kill her if she disobeys him in any way. She may be abused – physically, sexually and/or verbally – and having trouble thinking straight. According to the captor, escape is not an option. She will end up dead. Her family may end up dead, too. Her only chance at survival is obedience.

    2. As time goes on, obedience alone may become less of a sure thing – the captor is under stress as well, and a change in his mood could mean harmful consequences to his prisoner. Figuring out what might set off her captor’s violence so she can avoid those triggers becomes another survival strategy. In this way, she gets to know her captor.

    3. A minor act of kindness on the part of the captor, which can include simply not killing the prisoner yet, positions the captor as the prisoner’s savior, as “ultimately good,” to quote young Anne Frank’s famous characterization of the Nazis who ultimately led to her death. In the traumatic, life-threatening circumstances in which the prisoner finds herself, the slightest act of kindness – or the sudden absence of violence – seems a sign of friendship in an otherwise hostile, terrifying world, and the prisoner clings to it for dear life.

    4. The captor slowly seems less threatening – more an instrument for survival and protection than one of harm. The prisoner undergoes what some call an act of self-delusion: In order to survive psychologically as well as physically – to lessen the unimaginable stress of the situation – the prisoner comes to truly believe that the captor is her friend, that he will not kill her, that in fact they can help each other “get out of this mess.” The people on the outside trying to rescue her seem less like her allies. They are going to hurt this person who is protecting her from harm. The fact that this person is also the source of that potential harm gets buried in the process of self-delusion.

    I­f you’ve read How Brainwashing Works, you’ve probably noticed the similarities between brainwashing and Stockholm syndrome. The two are actually closely related as effects of abnormal power relationships. In the case of publishing heiress Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped in the early ’70s by the political extremist group SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army), experts have pointed to both Stockholm syndrome and brainwashing as potential reasons for her subsequent actions. After Patty was locked in a closet and severely abused for weeks on end, she joined the SLA, changed her name, became engaged to one of its members and was caught robbing a bank with the group. However, once the police arrested members of SLA and Patty was returned to her family, she reversed her position. Instead of defending the group and holding the police officers in contempt, she distanced herself from the SLA and condemned their actions. It’s possible that what Hearst experienced was in fact neither true brainwashing nor Stockholm syndrome, but instead was a series of conscious choices designed to ensure her survival.

    For more on brainwashing and related topics, check out the links on the next page.

    Pola Muzyka · May 17, 2013 at 11:44am
    What you just said is called denial. When you begin to take sides, you stop seeing the truth.


    Societal Stockholm Syndrome
    Kathleen Trigiani, 1999

    The term, Stockholm Syndrome, was coined in the early 70’s to describe the puzzling reactions of four bank employees to their captor. On August 23, 1973, three women and one man were taken hostage in one of the largest banks in Stockholm. They were held for six days by two ex-convicts who threatened their lives but also showed them kindness. To the world’s surprise, all of the hostages strongly resisted the government’s efforts to rescue them and were quite eager to defend their captors. Indeed, several months after the hostages were saved by the police, they still had warm feelings for the men who threatened their lives. Two of the women eventually got engaged to the captors.

    The Stockholm incident compelled journalists and social scientists to research whether the emotional bonding between captors and captives was a “freak” incident or a common occurrence in oppressive situations. They discovered that it’s such a common phenomenon that it deserves a name. Thus the label, Stockholm Syndrome, was born. It has happened to concentration camp prisoners, cult members, civilians in Chinese Communist prisons, pimp-procured prostitutes, incest victims, physically and/or emotionally abused children, battered women, prisoners of war, victims of hijackings, and of course, hostages. Virtually anyone can get Stockholm Syndrome it the following conditions are met:

    * Perceived threat to survival and the belief that one’s captor is willing to act on that threat
    * The captive’s perception of small kindnesses from the captor within a context of terror
    * Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor
    * Perceived inability to escape.

    Stockholm Syndrome is a survival mechanism. The men and women who get it are not lunatics. They are fighting for their lives. They deserve compassion, not ridicule.

    Psychologist Dee Graham has theorized that Stockholm Syndrome occurs on a societal level. Since our culture is patriarchal, she believes that all women suffer from it–to widely varying degrees, of course. She has expanded on her theories in Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men’s Violence, and Women’s Lives, which is well worth reading. While Graham’s book can get quite harsh, it does end on a hopeful note: The most reliable way to deal with Socketal Stockholm Syndrome is to develop strong friendships and political alliances with feminist women.

    Graham’s theory is controversial and it tends to put many women on the defensive. Still, I think it’s a much more convincing explanation of women’s “self-destructive” behavior than such theories as “masochism” and “codependency”. I also know from personal experience that Graham is “right on” with her view that feminist activism is the best way to deal with Societal Stockholm Syndrome. In college, my feminist friends saved me from some emotionally abusive romantic relationships. In discussing why many women like John Gray’s books, I think we should take Graham’s theory seriously.

    As I read Loving to Survive, I thought of all the women who lambasted Susan Hamson for criticizing John Gray. It reminded me of the Stockholm captives who resisted the police and protected their captors. I also thought of Oprah Winfrey, who understandably wants a soul mate but gets ridiculed for that desire because she’s “too successful and too independent”. The lack of social support undoubtedly has had an isolating effect, especially considering the groundless rumors a few years ago about her “lesbianism”. While I cringe at her support of John Gray, I must admit that he’s never ridiculed her for wanting a “great guy”. Gray’s anatomy plays very well into Societal Stockholm Syndrome, as it manipulates women’s fear of being alone but also shows “compassion” for their problems. “Dr” Gray did say, “Men are notorious for giving less in relationships” (MMWV, p. 191). But he never told them how to really give more.

    Graham’s Societal Stockholm Syndrome Theory probably can’t be “proven”, but neither can most other psychological theories. Nonetheless, I think Graham’s ideas are invaluable resources for anyone who wants to build alternatives to Mars&Venus.


    Stockholm Syndrome
    By Laura Fitzpatrick Monday, Aug. 31, 2009


    Among the most troubling aspects of the Jaycee Lee Dugard abduction case is her “strong feelings,” according to her stepfather, for her alleged abductor. Victims have a long history of identifying with their captors – and it often keeps them alive

    Time and again during the 18 harrowing years she allegedly spent in captivity, Jaycee Lee Dugard must have had the chance to cry for help. She assisted her alleged abductor, Phillip Garrido, with his home business, sorting out orders by phone or e-mail. She occasionally greeted customers alone at the door. She even went out in public. But she apparently never made a run for it, returning each day instead to a shed in the backyard of the man who allegedly kidnapped and raped her. “Jaycee has strong feelings with this guy,” her stepfather Carl Probyn – who saw…


    • who saw Dugard snatched at age 11 from a bus stop in 1991 – said Aug. 28. “She really feels it’s almost like a marriage.”

    Baffling it may be, but Dugard’s response to her years in captivity is hardly unusual. Explaining it precisely is impossible, but one of the most common theories is the so-called Stockholm syndrome, the phenomenon in which victims display compassion for and even loyalty to their captors. It was first widely recognized after the Swedish bank robbery that gave it its name. For six days in August 1973, thieves Jan-Erik Olsson and Clark Olofsson held four Stockholm bank employees hostage at gunpoint in a vault. When the victims were released, their reaction shocked the world: they hugged and kissed their captors, declaring their loyalty even as the kidnappers were carted off to jail. Though the precise origin of the term Stockholm syndrome is debated, it is often attributed to remarks during a subsequent news broadcast by the Swedish criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who had assisted the police during the robbery.

    No widely accepted diagnostic criteria exist to identify Stockholm syndrome – also known as terror-bonding or traumatic bonding – and critics insist its apparent prevalence is largely a figment of the media’s overactive imagination. One FBI report called such close victim-captor relationships “overemphasized, overanalyzed, overpsychologized and overpublicized.” Nonetheless, the Swedish clerks’ puzzling response to their ordeal has been emulated over and over again in a series of high-profile cases. When heiress Patty Hearst was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974, for example, she famously became their accomplice, adopting an assumed name and abetting the radical political group in a bank robbery.

    A decade later, shortly after TWA Flight 847 took off from Athens in 1985, two gun-toting terrorists forced their way into the cockpit, demanding that the plane touch down in Lebanon. Once on the ground, they held passengers captive, threatened them with guns and murdered one hostage, dumping his body onto the tarmac. Nonetheless, after the captives were rescued, one of them reportedly later said of his captors, “They weren’t bad people; they let me eat, they let me sleep, they gave me my life.”

    Victims held captive for brief but intense periods aren’t the only ones to display curiously positive feelings for the perpetrators. Shawn Hornbeck, a Missouri boy kidnapped and held captive by pizzeria worker Michael Devlin in 2002 for more than four years, identified himself as Shawn Devlin when he contacted the police to report a stolen bike just 10 months after his abduction – using his captor’s name and giving no hint of what had happened. In an interview aired on CBS the year after Hornbeck was freed, the reporter noted that the boy’s parents had requested that Shawn not be asked why he never spoke up.

    Natascha Kampusch’s story is perhaps even more troubling. The Austrian girl was abducted at age 10 and held for eight years in a windowless cellar by her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil. She ran away in August 2006. Yet upon learning that he had thrown himself in front of a train a few hours after she escaped, she reportedly burst into tears. “All I can say is that, bit by bit, I feel more sorry for him,” Kampusch said in a 2007 documentary intended to mark her first year of freedom, calling Priklopil a “poor soul – lost and misguided.” (Experts note that because they are especially vulnerable and impressionable, children may be particularly prone to forming bonds with their captors, a phenomenon that may differ from Stockholm syndrome in adults.) Victims generally stand a good chance of recovering from Stockholm syndrome, mental-health experts say, but the prognosis and road to recovery depend on the nature and intensity of the hostage situation and the victim’s individual way of coping.

    But as critics of Stockholm syndrome maintain, these captives were the exceptions. According to a 2007 FBI report, 73% of victims displayed no signs of such affection for their abductors. Nonetheless, crisis negotiators often actually try to encourage captor-hostage bonding by telling perpetrators about the victims’ families or personal lives. Being viewed as a fellow human being, the theory goes, may be a victim’s best hope for staying alive. Which means Dugard’s apparent reluctance to attempt an escape may ultimately have been her ticket to freedom.


    What is Stockholm syndrome?
    By Kathryn Westcott BBC News Magazine
    21 August 2013 Last updated at 23:18 GMT

    Police snipers opposite Kreditbanken where Jan-Erik Olsson held workers hostage for six days

    Forty years ago, the term Stockholm Syndrome was coined at the end of a six-day bank siege. What is it and why is it cited time and again in hostage situations?

    Most people know the phrase Stockholm Syndrome from the numerous high-profile kidnapping and hostage cases – usually involving women – in which it has been cited.

    The term is most associated with Patty Hearst, the Californian newspaper heiress who was kidnapped by revolutionary militants in 1974. She appeared to develop sympathy with her captors and joined them in a robbery. She was eventually caught and received a prison sentence.

    But Hearst’s defence lawyer Bailey claimed that the 19-year-old had been brainwashed and was suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome” – a term that had been recently coined to explain the apparently irrational feelings of some captives for their captors.

    More recently the term was applied in media reports about the Natascha Kampusch case. Kampusch – kidnapped as a 10-year-old by Wolfgang Priklopil and held in a basement for eight years – was reported to have cried when she heard her captor had died and subsequently lit a candle for him as he lay in the mortuary.

    Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped as a 10-year-old by Wolfgang Priklopil

    While the term is widely known, the incident that led to its coinage remains relatively obscure.

    Outside Sweden few know the names of bank workers Birgitta Lundblad, Elisabeth Oldgren, Kristin Ehnmark and Sven Safstrom.

    It was 23 August 1973 when the four were taken hostage in the Kreditbanken by 32-year-old career-criminal Jan-Erik Olsson – who was later joined at the bank by a former prison mate. Six days later when the stand-off ended, it became evident that the victims had formed some kind of positive relationship with their captors.

    Stockholm Syndrome was born by way of explanation.

    The phrase was reported to have been coined by criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot. Psychiatrist Dr Frank Ochberg was intrigued by the phenomenon and went on to define the syndrome for the FBI and Scotland Yard in the 1970s.

    At the time, he was helping the US National Task Force on Terrorism and Disorder devise strategies for hostage situations.

    His criteria included the following: “First people would experience something terrifying that just comes at them out of the blue. They are certain they are going to die.

    “Then they experience a type of infantilisation – where, like a child, they are unable to eat, speak or go to the toilet without permission.”

    Small acts of kindness – such as being given food – prompts a “primitive gratitude for the gift of life,” he explains.

    “The hostages experience a powerful, primitive positive feeling towards their captor. They are in denial that this is the person who put them in that situation. In their mind, they think this is the person who is going to let them live.”

    But he says that cases of Stockholm Syndrome are rare.

    So, what went on in the bank on Stockholm’s Norrmalmstorg square that enabled the captives to experience positive feelings towards their captors, despite fearing for their lives?

    In a 2009 interview with Radio Sweden, Kristin Ehnmark explained: “It’s some kind of a context you get into when all your values, the morals you have change in some way.”

    It was Ehnmark that, according to reports, built up the strongest relationship with Olsson. There were even erroneous reports afterwards that the pair had become engaged.

    Employees taken hostage in the bank’s vault by Jan-Erik Olsson

    In one phone call from the bank’s vault to the country’s prime minister Olof Palme, Ehnmark begged to be allowed to leave the bank with the kidnappers. One of Olsson’s demands had been the delivery of a getaway car in which he planned to escape with the hostages. The authorities had refused.

    Telling Palme that she was “very disappointed” with him, Ehnmark said: “I think you are sitting there playing chequers with our lives. I fully trust Clark and the robber. I am not desperate. They haven’t done a thing to us. On the contrary, they have been very nice. But you know, Olof, what I’m scared of is that the police will attack and cause us to die.”

    American journalist Daniel Lang interviewed everyone involved in the drama a year later for the New Yorker. It paints the most extensive picture of how captors and captives interacted.

    The hostages spoke of being well treated by Olsson, and at the time it appeared that they believed they owed their lives to the criminal pair, he wrote.

    On one occasion a claustrophobic Elisabeth Oldgren was allowed to leave the vault that had become their prison but only with a rope fixed around her neck.

    She said that at the time she thought it was “very kind” of Olsson to allow her to move around the floor of the bank.

    Safstrom said he even felt gratitude when Olsson told him he was planning to shoot him – to show the police understood he meant business – but added he would make sure he didn’t kill him and would let him get drunk first.

    “When he treated us well, we could think of him as an emergency God,” he went on to say.

    Stockholm Syndrome is typically applied to explain the ambivalent feelings of the captives, but the feelings of the captors change too.

    Police officers wearing gas masks escort Jan-Erik Olsson from the bank

    Olsson remarked at the beginning of the siege he could have “easily” killed the hostages but that had changed over the days.

    “I learned that the psychiatrists I interviewed had left out something: victims might identify with aggressors as the doctors claimed, but things weren’t all one way,” wrote Lang.

    “Olsson spoke harshly. ‘It was the hostages’ fault,’ he said. ‘They did everything I told them to do. If they hadn’t, I might not be here now. Why didn’t any of them attack me? They made it hard to kill. They made us go on living together day after day, like goats, in that filth. There was nothing to do but get to know each other.'”

    The notion that perpetrators can display positive feelings toward captives is a key element of Stockholm Syndrome that crisis negotiators are encouraged to develop, according to an article in the 2007 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. It can improve the chances of hostage survival, it explained.

    But while Stockholm syndrome has long been featured on police hostage negotiating courses, it is rarely encountered, says Hugh McGowan, who spent 35 years with the New York Police Department.

    McGowan was commanding officer and chief negotiator of the Hostage Negotiation Team, which was set up in April 1973 in the wake of a number of hostage incidents that took place in 1972 – the bank heist that inspired the film Dog Day Afternoon, an uprising that came to a violent end at Attica prison in New York and the massacre at the Munich Olympics.

    “I would be hard pressed to say that it exists,” he says. “Sometimes in the field of psychology people are looking for cause and effect when it isn’t there.

    “Stockholm was a unique situation. It occurred at around the time when we were starting to see more hostage situations and maybe people didn’t want to take away something that we might see again.”

    He acknowledges that the term gained currency partly because of the bringing together of the fields of psychology and policing in the field of hostage negotiating.

    There are no widely accepted diagnostic criteria to identify the syndrome, which is also known as terror-bonding or trauma bonding and it is not in either of the two main psychiatric manuals, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).

    But the underlying principles of how it works can be related to different situations, say some psychologists.

    “A classic example is domestic violence, when someone – typically a woman – has a sense of dependency on her partner and stays with him,” says psychologist Jennifer Wild, a consultant clinical psychologist at the University of Oxford.

    “She might feel empathy rather than anger. Child abuse is another one – when parents emotionally or physically abuse their children, but the child is protective towards them and either doesn’t speak about it or lies about it.”

    Forty years on and the term is evoked nearly every time an abductee is found after many years out of public sight. Some argue that its very nature implies a criticism of the survivor – a weakness perhaps.

    In a 2010 interview with the Guardian, Kampusch rejected the label of Stockholm Syndrome, explaining that it doesn’t take into account the rational choices people make in particular situations.

    “I find it very natural that you would adapt yourself to identify with your kidnapper,” she says. “Especially if you spend a great deal of time with that person. It’s about empathy, communication. Looking for normality within the framework of a crime is not a syndrome. It is a survival strategy.”

    Patricia “Patty” Hearst

    * 19-year-old American newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped and held hostage by little-known group the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974
    * She was apparently brainwashed into accepting their ideas
    * In April 1974 she was caught on CCTV helping the group to rob a bank
    * She went on the run, but was caught by the FBI
    * Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released after three years
    * She was pardoned in January 2001 by President Bill Clinton

    1974: Newspaper heiress kidnapped



    Stockholm syndrome
    11 March 2014 at 05:43

    Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.

    Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual’s response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be a threat.

    Battered-person syndrome is an example of activating the capture-bonding psychological mechanism, as are military basic training and fraternity bonding by hazing.[dubious - discuss].

    Stockholm syndrome is sometimes erroneously referred to as Helsinki syndrome. Helsinki syndrome is more of a case of group think and inattentional blindness to the negative in order to achieve some perceived benefit, a reference to the non-binding Helsinki Accords that attempted to settle post WWII Cold War tensions.


    Stockholm syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, Sweden, in which several bank employees were held hostage in a bank vault from August 23 to 28, 1973, while their captors negotiated with police. During this standoff, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, rejected assistance from government officials at one point, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot as “Norrmalmstorgssyndromet” (Swedish) but it became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” abroad. It was originally defined by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg to aid the management of hostage situations.

    Evolutionary explanations

    In the view of evolutionary psychology, “the mind is a set of information-processing machines that were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors.”

    One of the “adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors”, particularly females, was being abducted by another band. Life in the human “environment of evolutionary adaptiveness” (EEA) is thought by researchers such as Israeli military historian Azar Gat to be similar to that of the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies. “Deadly violence is also regularly activated in competition over women. . . . Abduction of women, rape, … are widespread direct causes of reproductive conflict …” Being captured and having their dependent children killed might have been fairly common. Women who resisted capture in such situations risked being killed.

    Azar Gat argues that war and abductions (capture) were typical of human pre-history. When selection is intense and persistent, adaptive traits (such as capture-bonding) become universal to the population or species.

    Partial activation of the capture-bonding psychological trait may lie behind battered-wife syndrome, military basic training, fraternity hazing, and sex practices such as sadism/masochism or bondage/discipline.[6] Being captured by neighbouring tribes was a relatively common event for women in human history, if anything like the recent history of the few remaining primitive tribes. In some of those tribes (Yanomamo, for instance) practically everyone in the tribe is descended from a captive within the last three generations. Perhaps as high as one in ten of females were abducted and incorporated into the tribe that captured them.

    In economics

    In June 2012, at the 9th International Conference on Developments in Economic Theory and Policy, in Bilbao, organised by the Department of Applied Economics of the Spanish University of the Basque Country and the British Cambridge Centre for Economic and Public Policy, Department of Land Economy of the University of Cambridge, the concept of Stockholm syndrome was introduced in economics referring to governments that have been “kidnapped” by financial capital because of their need to refinance public debt. They are coerced into accepting high interest rates and conditions that compromise their sovereignty.

    Lima syndrome

    A converse of Stockholm syndrome called Lima syndrome has been proposed, in which abductors develop sympathy for their hostages. It was named after an abduction at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru, in 1996, when members of a militant movement took hostage hundreds of people attending a party at the official residence of Japan’s ambassador. Within a few hours, the abductors had set free most of the hostages, including the most valuable ones, owing to sympathy.

    Oslo syndrome

    A corollary of the Stockholm syndrome, was proposed by Kenneth Levin in his 2005 book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege in which he argued that the syndrome can afflict an entire people.


    Stockholm Syndrome

    Described as a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser, Stockholm Syndrome was given its name following a hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden when, following the end of a bank robbery, the hostages identified with and supported their captor.

    Dr. Joseph Carver, a clinical psychologist, describes emotionally bonding with an abuser as a survival strategy for victims of abuse and intimidation. For example, a victim who was abducted and raped may, years later, describe the captor as a “great person” with whom he/she formed an emotional bond, may be showing characteristics of a victim suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.1

    It is important to remember that Stockholm Syndrome develops subconsciously and on an involuntary basis. The strategy is a survival instinct that develops as an attempt to survive in a threatening and controlling environment.

    The Components and Progression of Stockholm Syndrome

    Following are the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Common symptoms include:1
    * Victim having positive feelings toward the abuser
    * Victim having negative feelings toward family, friends, or authorities
    * Abuser having positive feelings toward the victim
    * Victim supporting or helping the abuser

    Following are several stages in the progression of Stockholm Syndrome:1
    * The victim dissociates from his or her pain, helplessness or terror by subconsciously beginning to see the situation / world from the abuser’s perspective. The victim begins to agree with the abuser and certain aspects of his or her own personality, opinions, and views will fade into the background.
    * By doing this, the victim begins to learn how to appease and please the abuser, which may keep him or her from being hurt or worse. Similarly this tactic can be used to manipulate the abuser into being less dangerous, at least for a little while.
    * After a while the victim begins to realize that his or her abuser portrays the same human characteristics as anyone else. At this point he or she will begin to see the abuser as less of a threat. Some abusers may even share personal information in an effort to bond with the victim and to promote pity rather than anger.
    * This bonding, in turn, leads to conflicting feelings (e.g., rage and pity) and illogical concern for the abuser. The victim may even ignore his or her own needs.
    * Once the traumatic event has ended, however, the victim must again learn not to dissociate from his or her emotions and not focus on the abuser. This can be a very difficult transition.

    Four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome:1
    1. Perceived or real threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and belief that the abuser will carry out the threat. The abuser may:
    * Assure the victim that only cooperation keeps loved ones safe.
    * Offer subtle threats or stories of revenge to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.
    * Have a history of violence leading the victim to believe they could be a target.
    2. Presence of a small kindness from the abuser to the victim
    * In some cases, small gestures such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water are enough to alter the victim’s perception of the abuser.
    * Other times, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat can be seen as proof that the abuser is not “all bad.”
    3. Victim’s isolation from other perspectives
    * Victims have the sense they are always being watched. For their survival they begin to take on the abuser’s perspective. This survival technique can become so intense that the victim develops anger toward those trying to help.
    * In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome the victim may feel the abusive situation is their fault.
    4. Perceived or real inability to escape from the situation
    * The victim may have financial obligations, debt, or instability to the point that they cannot survive on their own.
    * The abuser may use threats including taking the children, public exposure, suicide, or a life of harassment for the victim.

    How to Help: What to do and what not to do

    While each situation is different, there are general guidelines to consider if you know or suspect that someone you love is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome:1
    * Your loved one has probably been given a choice – the “relationship” or the family. Because the victim believes that choosing the family will result in adverse consequences, the family always comes second.
    * Your loved one is being told the family is trying to ruin their wonderful “relationship.” Remember: the more you pressure the victim, the more you prove that point.
    * Your goal is to remain in contact with your loved one during the abusive “relationship.” There are many channels of communication, including phone calls, letters, cards, emails, etc. Keep contact brief and consider contacting him or her at “traditional” times such as holidays, birthdays, and special occasions.
    * Your loved one may open up communication and provide subtle hints about his or her “relationship” with the abuser. If so, listen and let them know that you are behind any decision they need to make. Remember: he or she may be exploring what support is available but may not be ready to ask for help just yet.

    1. Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser. Counseling Resource. Dr. Joseph M Carver, PhD. January 2004. http://drjoecarver.makeswebsites.com/clients/49355/File/love_and_stockho…

    This product was supported by grant number 2009-D1-BX-KO23 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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    Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser
    By Dr Joseph M Carver, PhD

    If you’re in a controlling and abusive relationship, you may recognize several of the characteristics described in this article by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Dr Joseph M. Carver, PhD. Beginning with a description of how bonds form between victim and abuser, the article continues with observations about cognitive dissonance and offers suggestions for friends and family of victims.


    People are often amazed at their own psychological conditions and reactions. Those with depression are stunned when they remember they’ve thought of killing themselves. Patients recovering from severe psychiatric disturbances are often shocked as they remember their symptoms and behavior during the episode. A patient with Bipolar Disorder recently told me “I can’t believe I thought I could change the weather through mental telepathy!” A common reaction is “I can’t believe I did that!”

    In clinical practice, some of the most surprised and shocked individuals are those who have been involved in controlling and abusive relationships. When the relationship ends, they offer comments such as “I know what he’s done to me, but I still love him”, “I don’t know why, but I want him back”, or “I know it sounds crazy, but I miss her”. Recently I’ve heard “This doesn’t make sense. He’s got a new girlfriend and he’s abusing her too…but I’m jealous!” Friends and relatives are even more amazed and shocked when they hear these comments or witness their loved one returning to an abusive relationship. While the situation doesn’t make sense from a social standpoint, does it make sense from a psychological viewpoint? The answer is – Yes!

    On August 23rd, 1973 two machine-gun carrying criminals entered a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. Blasting their guns, one prison escapee named Jan-Erik Olsson announced to the terrified bank employees “The party has just begun!” The two bank robbers held four hostages, three women and one man, for the next 131 hours. The hostages were strapped with dynamite and held in a bank vault until finally rescued on August 28th.

    After their rescue, the hostages exhibited a shocking attitude considering they were threatened, abused, and feared for their lives for over five days. In their media interviews, it was clear that they supported their captors and actually feared law enforcement personnel who came to their rescue. The hostages had begun to feel the captors were actually protecting them from the police. One woman later became engaged to one of the criminals and another developed a legal defense fund to aid in their criminal defense fees. Clearly, the hostages had “bonded” emotionally with their captors.

    While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” due to the publicity, the emotional “bonding” with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:
    * Abused Children
    * Battered/Abused Women
    * Prisoners of War
    * Cult Members
    * Incest Victims
    * Criminal Hostage Situations
    * Concentration Camp Prisoners
    * Controlling/Intimidating Relationships

    In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The “Stockholm Syndrome” reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing “Stockholm Syndrome” will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

    Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

    It’s important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it’s easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

    Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:
    * Positive feelings by the victim toward the abuser/controller
    * Negative feelings by the victim toward family, friends, or authorities trying to rescue/support them or win their release
    * Support of the abuser’s reasons and behaviors
    * Positive feelings by the abuser toward the victim
    * Supportive behaviors by the victim, at times helping the abuser
    * Inability to engage in behaviors that may assist in their release or detachment

    Stockholm Syndrome doesn’t occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

    It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:
    * The presence of a perceived threat to one’s physical or psychological survival and the belief that the abuser would carry out the threat.
    * The presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser to the victim
    * Isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser
    * The perceived inability to escape the situation

    By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

    If you’re in a controlling and abusive relationship, you may recognize several of the characteristics described in this article by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Dr Joseph M. Carver, PhD. Beginning with a description of how bonds form between victim and abuser, the article continues with observations about cognitive dissonance and offers suggestions for friends and family of victims.

    Perceived Threat to One’s Physical/Psychological Survival

    The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

    Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as “I know people who can make others disappear”. Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller – how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

    Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

    The “Small Kindness” Perception

    In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope – a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser’s benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

    In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not “all bad” and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn’t happen, that “small kindness” is interpreted as a positive sign.

    Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a “soft side”. During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past – how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a “victim”. Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with “I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he’s troubled. He had a rough childhood!” Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it’s almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food – now known as the “Twinkie Defense”. While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While “sad stories” are always included in their apologies – after the abusive/controlling event – their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the “sad stories”, they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say “I’m beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!”

    Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

    In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always “walking on eggshells” – fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser’s perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser’s potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

    Taking the abuser’s perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family – fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as “causing trouble” and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to “interfere” or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations – the victim quickly realizes it’s safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn’t work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

    In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault – they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim’s safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

    Perceived Inability to Escape

    As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it’s easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can’t escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships – locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

    * Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. Controllers who sense their partner may be leaving will often purchase a new automobile, later claiming they can’t pay alimony or child support due to their large car payments.

    * The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. A Controller who has an income that is “under the table” or maintained through legally questionable situations runs the risk of those sources of income being investigated or made public by the divorce/separation. The Controller then becomes more agitated about the possible public exposure of their business arrangements than the loss of the relationship.

    * The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim’s personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. In severe cases, the Controller may threaten an action that will undercut the victim’s support such as “I’ll see that you lose your job” or “I’ll have your automobile burned”.

    * Controllers often keep the victim locked into the relationship with severe guilt – threatening suicide if the victim leaves. The victim hears “I’ll kill myself in front of the children”, “I’ll set myself on fire in the front yard”, or “Our children won’t have a father/mother if you leave me!”

    * In relationships with an abuser or controller, the victim has also experienced a loss of self-esteem, self-confidence, and psychological energy. The victim may feel “burned out” and too depressed to leave. Additionally, abusers and controllers often create a type of dependency by controlling the finances, placing automobiles/homes in their name, and eliminating any assets or resources the victim may use to leave. In clinical practice I’ve heard “I’d leave but I can’t even get money out of the savings account! I don’t know the PIN number.”

    * In teens and young adults, victims may be attracted to a controlling individual when they feel inexperienced, insecure, and overwhelmed by a change in their life situation. When parents are going through a divorce, a teen may attach to a controlling individual, feeling the controller may stabilize their life. Freshmen in college may be attracted to controlling individuals who promise to help them survive living away from home on a college campus.

    In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with “trouble”. Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, “trouble” is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create “trouble” in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding “trouble”! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid “trouble”. In this situation, children who are noisy become “trouble”. Loved ones and friends are sources of “trouble” for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

    Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation – making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don’t bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don’t personally apologize for the situation – as though it was their fault.

    Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It’s also the reason they continue to see “the good side” of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

    If you’re in a controlling and abusive relationship, you may recognize several of the characteristics described in this article by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Dr Joseph M. Carver, PhD. Beginning with a description of how bonds form between victim and abuser, the article continues with observations about cognitive dissonance and offers suggestions for friends and family of victims.

    Is There Something Else Involved?

    In a short response – Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as “cognitive dissonance”. As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

    “Cognitive Dissonance” explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation – few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance – the fact that our cognitions don’t match, agree, or make sense when combined. “Cognitive Dissonance” can be reduced by adding new cognitions – adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

    * Heavy smokers know smoking causes lung cancer and multiple health risks. To continue smoking, the smoker changes his cognitions (thoughts/feelings) such as 1) “I’m smoking less than ten years ago”, 2) “I’m smoking low-tar cigarettes”, 3) “Those statistics are made up by the cancer industry conspiracy”, or 4) “Something’s got to get you anyway!” These new cognitions/attitudes allow them to keep smoking and actually begin blaming restaurants for being unfair.

    * You purchase a $40,000.00 Sport Utility Vehicle that gets 8 miles a gallon. You justify the expense and related issues with 1) “It’s great on trips” (you take one trip per year), 2) “I can use it to haul stuff” (one coffee table in 12 months), and 3) “You can carry a lot of people in it” (95% of your trips are driver-only).

    * Your husband/boyfriend becomes abusive and assaultive. You can’t leave due to the finances, children, or other factors. Through cognitive dissonance, you begin telling yourself “He only hits me open-handed” and “He’s had a lot of stress at work.”

    Leon Festinger first coined the term “Cognitive Dissonance”. He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment – they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with “I’ll get them next time”. If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

    Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding – even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island – you bet!

    Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

    Emotional Investment
    We’ve invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.

    Social Investment
    We’ve got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.

    Family Investments
    If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.

    Financial Investment
    In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.

    Lifestyle Investment
    Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.

    Intimacy Investment
    We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

    In many cases, it’s not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship – it’s often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is “You just don’t understand!”

    Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

    The combination of “Stockholm Syndrome” and “cognitive dissonance” produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed “all their eggs in one basket”. The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

    For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

    Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn’t work and can’t be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

    If you’re in a controlling and abusive relationship, you may recognize several of the characteristics described in this article by Consulting Clinical Psychologist Dr Joseph M. Carver, PhD. Beginning with a description of how bonds form between victim and abuser, the article continues with observations about cognitive dissonance and offers suggestions for friends and family of victims.

    Family and Friends of the Victim

    When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a ‘Loser’ or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See “Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers”.) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are:

    * Your loved one, the “victim” of the Loser/Abuser, has probably been given a choice – the relationship or the family. This choice is made more difficult by the control and intimidation often present in abusive/controlling relationships. Knowing that choosing the family will result in severe personal and social consequences, the family always comes in second. Keep in mind that the victim knows in their heart the family will always love them and accept their return – whenever the return happens.

    * Remember, the more you pressure the “victim” of the Loser/Abuser, the more you prove their point. Your loved one is being told the family is trying to ruin their wonderful relationship. Pressure in the form of contacts, comments, and communications will be used as evidence against you. An invitation to a Tupperware party is met with “You see! They just want to get you by yourself so they can tell you bad things about me!” Increasing your contacts is viewed as “putting pressure” on their relationship – not being lovingly concerned.

    * Your contacts with your loved one, no matter how routine and loving, may be met with anger and resentment. This is because each contact may prompt the Loser/Abuser to attack them verbally or emotionally. Imagine getting a four-hour lecture every time your Aunt Gladys calls. In a short time, you become angry each time she calls, knowing what the contact will produce in your home. The longer Aunt Gladys talks – the longer your lecture becomes! Thus, when Aunt Gladys calls, you want to get her off the phone as quickly as possible.

    * The 1980?s song, “Hold on Loosely”, may be the key to a good family and friend approach. Holding on too tightly produces more pressure. When the victim is out of the home, it’s often best to establish predictable, scheduled contacts. Calling every Wednesday evening, just for a status report or to go over current events, is less threatening than random calls during the week. Random calls are always viewed as “checking up on us” calls. While you may encounter an answering machine, leave a polite and loving message. Importantly, don’t discuss the relationship (the controller may be listening!) unless the victim brings it up. The goal of these scheduled calls is to maintain contact, remind your loved one that you are always there to help, and to quietly remind the controller that family and loved ones are nearby and haven’t disappeared.

    * Try to maintain traditional and special contacts with your loved one – holidays, special occasions, etc. Keep your contacts short and brief, with no comments that can be used as evidence. Contacts made at “traditional” times – holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. – are not as threatening to a controller/abuser. Contacts that provide information, but not questions, are also not as threatening. An example might be a simple card reading “Just a note to let you know that your brother landed a new job this week. You might see him on a Wal-Mart commercial any day now. Love, Mom and Dad”. This approach allows the victim to recognize that the family is there – waiting in the wings if needed. It also lessens the lectures/tantrums provided by the Loser as the contacts are on a traditional and expected basis. It’s also hard to be angry about brother’s new job without looking ridiculous. Also, don’t invent holidays or send a reminder that it’s Sigmund Freud’s birthday. That’s suspicious…even in my family.

    * Remember that there are many channels of communication. It’s important that we keep a channel open if at all possible. Communication channels might include phone calls, letters, cards, and e-mail. Scheduled monthly shopping trips or outings are helpful if possible. The goal is to maintain contact while your loved one is involved in the controlling/abusive relationship. Remember, the goal is contact, not pressure.

    * Don’t feel the victim’s behavior is against the family or friends. It may be a form of survival or a way of lowering stress. Victims may be very resistive, angry, and even hostile due to the complexity of their relationship with the controller/abuser. They may even curse, threaten, and accuse loved ones and friends. This hostile defensiveness is actually self-protection in the relationship – an attempt to avoid “trouble”.

    * The victim needs to know and feel they are not rejected because of their behavior. Keep in mind, they are painfully aware of their situation. They know they are being treated badly and/or controlled by their partner. Frequent reminders of this will only make them want less contact. We naturally avoid people who remind us of things or situations that are emotionally painful.

    * Victims may slightly open the door and provide information about their relationship or hint they may be considering leaving. When the door opens, don’t jump through with the Marines behind you! Listen and simply offer support such as “You know your family is behind any decision you need to make and at any time you make it.” They may be exploring what support is available but may not be ready to call in the troops just yet. Many victims use an “exit plan” that may take months or even years to complete. They may be gathering information at this point, not yet ready for an exit.

    * We can get messages to people in two ways – the pipeline and the grapevine. The pipeline is face-to-face, telling the person directly. This seldom happens in Loser situations as controllers and abusers monitor and control contacts with others. However, the grapevine is still open. When we use the grapevine, we send a message to our loved one through another person. Victims of controlling and abusive individuals are often allowed to maintain a relationship with a few people, perhaps a sibling or best friend. We can send our loved one a message through that contact person, a message that voices our understanding and support. We don’t send insults (“Bill is such a jerk!) or put-downs (“If he doesn’t get out of this relationship he’ll end up crazy!) – we send messages of love and support. We send “I hope she/he (victim) knows the family is concerned and that we love and support them.” Comments sent on the grapevine are phrased with the understanding that our loved one will hear them in that manner. Don’t talk with a grapevine contact to express anger and threaten to hire a hit man, and then try to send a message of loving support. Be careful what and how the message is provided. The grapevine contact can often get messages to the victim when we can’t. It’s another way of letting them know we’re supporting them, just waiting to help if and when needed.

    * Each situation is different. The family may need to seek counseling support in the community. A family consultation with a mental health professional or attorney may be helpful if the situation becomes legally complex or there is a significant danger of harm.

    * As relatives or friends of a victim involved with a controller or abuser, our normal reaction is to consider dramatic action. We become angry, resentful, and aggressive at times. Our mind fills with a variety of plans that often range from rescue and kidnapping to ambushing the controller/abuser with a ball bat. A rule of thumb is that any aggression toward the controller/abuser will result in additional difficulties for your loved one. Try to remain calm and await an opportunity to show your love and support when your loved one needs it.

    * In some cases, as in teenagers and young adults, the family may still provide some financial, insurance, or other support. When we receive angry responses to our phone calls, our anger and resentment tells us to cut off their support. I’ve heard “If she’s going to date that jerk, it’s not going to be in a car I’m paying for!” and “If he’s choosing that woman over his family, he can drop out of college and flip hamburgers!” Withdrawing financial support only makes your loved one more dependent upon the controller/abuser. Remember, if we’re aggressive by threatening, withdrawing support, or pressuring – we become the threatening force, not the controller/abuser. It actually moves the victim into the support of the controller. Sadly, the more of an “ordeal” they experience, the more bonding takes place, as noted with both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance.

    * As you might imagine, the combination of Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance may also be active when our loved one is involved in cults, unusual religions, and other groups. In some situations, the abuser and controller is actually a group or organization. Victims are punished if they are viewed as disloyal to the group. While this article deals with individual relationships, the family guidelines may also be helpful in controlling-group situations.

    Final Thoughts

    You may be the victim of a controlling and abusive partner, seeking an understanding of your feelings and attitudes. You may have a son, daughter, or friend currently involved with a controlling and abusive partner, looking for ways to understand and help.

    If a loved one is involved with a Loser, a controlling and abusing partner, the long-term outcome is difficult to determine due to the many factors involved. If their relationship is in the “dating” phase, they may end the relationship on their own. If the relationship has continued for over a year, they may require support and an exit plan before ending the relationship. Marriage and children further complicate their ability to leave the situation. When the victim decides to end the unhappy relationship, it’s important that they view loved ones as supportive, loving, and understanding – not as a source of pressure, guilt, or aggression.

    This article is an attempt to understand the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. Separately, I’ve outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual, but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. (See “Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers”.) It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

    Please consider this article as a general guideline. Some recommendations may be appropriate and helpful while some may not apply to a specific situation. In many cases, we may need additional professional help of a mental health or legal nature.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:09 PM on 2014/03/21 Permalink  

    Criminal Minds – Season 9, Episode 19: The Edge of Winter 

    ♪ Criminal Minds 9×19 ♪
    The Edge of Winter
    Original Air Date on March 19, 2014
    == sync, corrected by elderman ==

    Criminal Minds – 09×19 – The Edge of Winter.DIMENSION.English.HI.C.orig.Addic7ed.com.srt



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    00:00:05,828 –> 00:00:08,130
    [Gasping, sobbing]

    00:00:26,316 –> 00:00:28,550
    Oh, God!

    00:00:28,552 –> 00:00:30,519

    00:00:31,788 –> 00:00:33,789
    [Vehicle approaching]

    00:00:40,863 –> 00:00:42,531
    [Brakes screeching,
    horn blaring]

    00:01:01,084 –> 00:01:03,352
    Morgan, voice-over:
    How’s she doing?

    00:01:03,354 –> 00:01:05,155
    Woman: She’s was little
    agitated this morning,

    00:01:05,156 –> 00:01:07,122
    but I gave her a sedative.

    00:01:07,124 –> 00:01:09,425
    Does she know I’m coming?

    00:01:09,427 –> 00:01:11,427
    Yes, but it’s been a year.

    00:01:11,429 –> 00:01:13,362
    I’m sure she doesn’t want
    to go back over this.

    00:01:13,364 –> 00:01:16,799
    [Beep, door buzzer]

    00:01:16,801 –> 00:01:18,300
    How long will it take?

    00:01:18,302 –> 00:01:21,170
    3, 4 hours, tops.

    00:01:21,172 –> 00:01:22,805
    Because I have to
    prep her for trial.

    00:01:22,807 –> 00:01:24,473
    I didn’t think
    profilers did that.

    00:01:24,475 –> 00:01:26,408
    Profiling is only
    one-tenth of what we do.

    00:01:26,410 –> 00:01:29,178
    We also assist the prosecution
    once we find the killers.

    00:01:29,180 –> 00:01:30,245
    Agent Morgan. Hi.

    00:01:30,247 –> 00:01:32,648
    Ellen. How are you?

    00:01:32,650 –> 00:01:33,615

    00:01:33,617 –> 00:01:35,417
    Daria is really

    00:01:35,419 –> 00:01:37,052
    It’s amazing.
    If all goes well,

    00:01:37,054 –> 00:01:39,588
    they say I can
    take her home after the trial.

    00:01:39,590 –> 00:01:41,723
    Let’s just get through
    this first.

    00:01:41,725 –> 00:01:43,959
    This way.

    00:01:49,866 –> 00:01:51,333
    [Door opens]

    00:01:51,335 –> 00:01:53,902
    Daria. You got
    a friend here.

    00:01:53,904 –> 00:01:55,404
    Remember agent Morgan?

    00:01:55,406 –> 00:01:56,972
    I’ll leave you two alone.

    00:01:56,974 –> 00:01:58,440
    Thank you.

    00:02:03,480 –> 00:02:04,713

    00:02:04,715 –> 00:02:05,948
    How you doing?

    00:02:05,950 –> 00:02:08,617
    How do you think?

    00:02:08,619 –> 00:02:10,252
    I’m sure it’s been hard.

    00:02:10,254 –> 00:02:13,589
    Look, can we just
    get this over with?

    00:02:18,795 –> 00:02:21,430
    Today we’re going to talk about
    what your testimony will be.

    00:02:21,432 –> 00:02:24,032
    And I’m going to tell you
    how our investigation has progressed

    00:02:24,034 –> 00:02:26,635
    to prepare you for
    your cross-examination, all right?

    00:02:26,637 –> 00:02:29,304
    All right, let’s talk
    about the weekend

    00:02:29,306 –> 00:02:31,073
    that you escaped.

    00:02:31,075 –> 00:02:33,809
    What do you remember?

    00:02:33,811 –> 00:02:36,445

    00:02:36,447 –> 00:02:39,314
    I remember Ben.

    00:02:39,316 –> 00:02:40,449

    00:02:40,451 –> 00:02:44,286
    When was the last time
    that you saw him?

    00:02:44,288 –> 00:02:46,622
    I was over by the window

    00:02:46,624 –> 00:02:48,991
    when they took Ben out.

    00:02:52,629 –> 00:02:55,697
    So you knew that
    they were gonna hurt him.

    00:02:55,699 –> 00:02:58,634
    Carrie and I waited
    by the door for Ben,

    00:02:58,636 –> 00:03:01,670
    but when they came back,
    he wasn’t with them.

    00:03:03,940 –> 00:03:07,109
    Do you know what
    happened to him?

    00:03:07,111 –> 00:03:09,311
    Yes, I do.

    00:03:16,219 –> 00:03:17,719
    Man: Straighten it out.
    Straighten it out.

    00:03:17,721 –> 00:03:19,421
    Hold it steady.
    Relax your arms.

    00:03:19,423 –> 00:03:20,856
    You’re holding on
    a little too tight.

    00:03:20,858 –> 00:03:22,925
    You’re doing it.

    00:03:22,927 –> 00:03:24,459

    00:03:24,461 –> 00:03:25,928
    Enjoy the ride.

    00:03:26,863 –> 00:03:28,764
    This is a lucky man’s work.

    00:03:31,668 –> 00:03:33,435
    Dad, what the hell?

    00:03:33,437 –> 00:03:36,238
    What? What–oh,
    stop, stop, stop.

    00:03:36,240 –> 00:03:38,640
    Daria: I knew
    it would be bad.

    00:03:38,642 –> 00:03:41,076
    Every time I think about it,
    I just want to kill myself.

    00:03:41,078 –> 00:03:43,979
    I should have done
    something to stop them.

    00:03:43,981 –> 00:03:46,411
    No, Daria. There’s nothing
    you could have done.

    00:03:46,436 –> 00:03:48,251
    That was our job.

    00:03:48,252 –> 00:03:51,920
    3 victims have been found
    in upstate New York

    00:03:51,922 –> 00:03:55,057
    in a town called Hamilton
    over the past 10 days.

    00:03:55,059 –> 00:03:58,126
    All of the bodies were discovered in
    a sort of public place,

    00:03:58,128 –> 00:04:01,129
    the first on a dead-end street,
    the second in a desolate alley,

    00:04:01,131 –> 00:04:04,733
    and this is the last one–
    in a field.

    00:04:04,735 –> 00:04:07,236
    Dorothy, we’re not
    in Kansas anymore.

    00:04:07,238 –> 00:04:10,639
    Although each victim was abducted
    from a neighboring city,

    00:04:10,641 –> 00:04:12,574
    they all have something
    in common.

    00:04:12,576 –> 00:04:13,675
    Blake: Yikes.

    00:04:13,677 –> 00:04:16,378
    28 puncture wounds
    to the chest in groups of 4.

    00:04:16,380 –> 00:04:18,046
    Looks like it was made
    by a 4-pronged hay fork

    00:04:18,048 –> 00:04:19,815
    or some other kind
    of farming equipment.

    00:04:19,817 –> 00:04:21,216
    Only the latest victim
    was displayed like that.

    00:04:21,218 –> 00:04:22,818
    The first two were
    unceremoniously dumped.

    00:04:22,820 –> 00:04:25,687
    The display method and the disposal
    suggests the unsub’s evolving.

    00:04:25,689 –> 00:04:27,356
    He wanted them to be found.

    00:04:27,358 –> 00:04:28,724
    Perhaps it’s some kind
    of warning.

    00:04:28,726 –> 00:04:31,026
    It could be a deity symbol.
    In a Japanese book

    00:04:31,028 –> 00:04:33,829
    from the year 712
    called “Kojiki,” the scarecrow is seen

    00:04:33,831 –> 00:04:36,098
    as a symbol of someone
    who knew everything in the world.

    00:04:36,100 –> 00:04:37,899
    I’m more concerned
    with the M.O.

    00:04:37,901 –> 00:04:40,002
    Is this piqueristic
    or flat-out sadistic?

    00:04:40,004 –> 00:04:43,405
    It could be a combo platter,
    with a side order of psycho.

    00:04:43,407 –> 00:04:46,275
    His pace and determination mean
    he’s going to kill again soon.

    00:04:46,277 –> 00:04:48,210
    Let’s go to New York.
    Wheels up in 30.

    00:04:49,412 –> 00:04:51,980
    After they dumped Ben,
    how were they acting?

    00:04:51,982 –> 00:04:53,649
    They were drinking.

    00:04:53,651 –> 00:04:57,786
    They always drank
    after they got rid of a body.

    00:04:57,788 –> 00:04:59,288
    [Men laughing]

    00:04:59,290 –> 00:05:01,290
    How many bodies were there?

    00:05:01,292 –> 00:05:02,291
    I don’t know.

    00:05:02,293 –> 00:05:03,292

    00:05:03,294 –> 00:05:04,426
    I stopped counting.

    00:05:04,428 –> 00:05:07,162
    What did they do with
    you and Carrie after that?

    00:05:07,164 –> 00:05:09,264
    They put us in the shed.

    00:05:09,266 –> 00:05:12,234
    That’s when Carrie
    had the idea.

    00:05:13,636 –> 00:05:15,537
    We gotta run.

    00:05:16,572 –> 00:05:18,140
    Are you crazy?

    00:05:18,142 –> 00:05:20,475
    They’re probably
    passed out by now.

    00:05:25,815 –> 00:05:27,549
    No. They’re still up.

    00:05:27,551 –> 00:05:29,418
    Then we wait until
    they go to bed.

    00:05:29,420 –> 00:05:31,653

    00:05:32,822 –> 00:05:34,056
    I got this earlier.

    00:05:34,058 –> 00:05:35,824

    00:05:35,826 –> 00:05:39,428
    As soon as I get the door open,
    we have got to make a run for it.

    00:05:39,430 –> 00:05:40,924
    Daria, Joe is evil.

    00:05:40,949 –> 00:05:42,790
    If we don’t do this now,
    they’re gonna kill us.

    00:05:43,167 –> 00:05:44,933
    You know this.

    00:05:44,935 –> 00:05:48,570
    Daria: We waited two hours,

    00:05:48,572 –> 00:05:50,972
    until we thought
    it was safe.

    00:06:10,660 –> 00:06:13,028
    They must have heard
    a noise.

    00:06:13,030 –> 00:06:14,529
    That didn’t stop us,

    00:06:14,531 –> 00:06:16,064
    We ran and ran.

    00:06:16,066 –> 00:06:17,332
    Looky here.

    00:06:17,334 –> 00:06:19,501
    We got runners.

    00:06:19,503 –> 00:06:21,536

    00:06:22,405 –> 00:06:23,572

    00:06:23,574 –> 00:06:25,574

    00:06:26,743 –> 00:06:28,176
    Oh, no!

    00:06:28,178 –> 00:06:30,545

    00:06:30,547 –> 00:06:32,280
    No, don’t leave me!
    Don’t leave me!

    00:06:32,282 –> 00:06:34,316
    I’m sorry!

    00:06:34,318 –> 00:06:35,817

    00:06:35,819 –> 00:06:36,785
    I’m sorry!

    00:06:36,787 –> 00:06:38,286

    00:06:38,288 –> 00:06:42,491
    Ohh! Oh, Daria,
    don’t leave me!

    00:06:45,485 –> 00:06:49,485
    ♪ Criminal Minds 9×19 ♪
    The Edge of Winter
    Original Air Date on March 19, 2014

    00:06:49,489 –> 00:06:54,489
    == sync, corrected by elderman ==

    00:06:54,495 –> 00:07:02,495

    00:07:22,762 –> 00:07:24,630
    Morgan: “No one
    is ever a victim,

    00:07:24,744 –> 00:07:28,045
    “although your conquerors would have
    you believe in your own victimhood.

    00:07:28,222 –> 00:07:29,989
    How else could they
    conquer you?”

    00:07:30,260 –> 00:07:31,759
    Barbara Marciniak.

    00:07:32,258 –> 00:07:35,092
    How far did you run?

    00:07:35,094 –> 00:07:38,429
    I don’t know.
    I just kept going.

    00:07:38,431 –> 00:07:41,232
    Then I got to the edge
    of the road.

    00:07:42,768 –> 00:07:45,236
    Do you have a girlfriend?

    00:07:47,139 –> 00:07:48,806
    Yes, I do.

    00:07:49,875 –> 00:07:52,443
    I used to have a boyfriend.

    00:07:53,612 –> 00:07:55,913
    I miss him.

    00:07:55,915 –> 00:07:57,081

    00:07:57,083 –> 00:07:58,516

    00:07:58,518 –> 00:08:01,285
    When you ran, weren’t you
    afraid they might find you?

    00:08:01,287 –> 00:08:06,657
    Yeah. But I was hoping someone
    else would find me first.

    00:08:06,659 –> 00:08:08,392
    Where were you?

    00:08:08,394 –> 00:08:10,294
    We were on our way.

    00:08:12,531 –> 00:08:15,266
    These 3 victims vary in age
    and were last seen

    00:08:15,268 –> 00:08:17,501
    in various public locations
    on different days.

    00:08:17,503 –> 00:08:19,870
    Our unsub clearly employs
    an abduction method that works

    00:08:19,872 –> 00:08:21,205
    with both men and women.

    00:08:21,207 –> 00:08:22,873
    The female victims had
    signs of sexual assault

    00:08:22,875 –> 00:08:25,876
    while the male did not.
    That means the rapes are situational.

    00:08:25,878 –> 00:08:27,645
    He also knew where
    to stab the victims

    00:08:27,647 –> 00:08:29,146
    without killing them right away.

    00:08:29,148 –> 00:08:30,781
    Piquerism is usually
    sexual in nature,

    00:08:30,783 –> 00:08:33,284
    and it’s not often found
    in mixed gender victimology.

    00:08:33,286 –> 00:08:35,252
    He’s probably a sadist who’s
    getting immense pleasure

    00:08:35,254 –> 00:08:36,620
    from his victims’

    00:08:36,622 –> 00:08:39,156
    Guys, I just found out
    that the second victim,

    00:08:39,158 –> 00:08:41,358
    Chloe Reynolds,
    she’s Muslim.

    00:08:41,360 –> 00:08:43,360
    The first victim, Marlene,
    is black.

    00:08:43,362 –> 00:08:46,397
    Maybe the most recent
    killing is a hate crime

    00:08:46,399 –> 00:08:47,731
    similar to Matthew Shepard.

    00:08:47,733 –> 00:08:49,600
    Garcia, do we know Ben’s
    sexual orientation?

    00:08:49,602 –> 00:08:51,535
    I’ll start digging.

    00:08:51,537 –> 00:08:54,638
    So after you escaped and started running,
    what were you thinking?

    00:08:54,640 –> 00:08:57,274
    I wanted to go back
    for Carrie.

    00:08:57,276 –> 00:08:58,843
    I couldn’t do that.

    00:08:58,845 –> 00:09:02,379
    Why not? What did you
    think was happening?

    00:09:02,381 –> 00:09:04,849
    I knew she’d be punished
    for what we did.

    00:09:04,851 –> 00:09:06,217
    You were gonna run?! Huh?

    00:09:06,219 –> 00:09:09,053
    Daria: He’d blame her
    for the escape.

    00:09:13,225 –> 00:09:15,292
    [Door opens]

    00:09:15,294 –> 00:09:18,729

    00:09:20,165 –> 00:09:22,566

    00:09:22,568 –> 00:09:25,536
    I–I told her not to.

    00:09:25,538 –> 00:09:27,238
    No you didn’t.

    00:09:27,240 –> 00:09:28,739
    This was your idea.
    No, it wasn’t.

    00:09:28,741 –> 00:09:30,040
    All your idea!

    00:09:30,042 –> 00:09:32,476
    Morgan: When Joe got mad,
    was he always out of control?

    00:09:32,478 –> 00:09:35,512
    What did he do to you?
    I need the details, Daria.

    00:09:35,514 –> 00:09:39,817
    He’d punch us so hard,
    we couldn’t see for a week.

    00:09:39,819 –> 00:09:43,721
    He’d tie us to the radiator.

    00:09:43,723 –> 00:09:46,924
    God, I hated that radiator.

    00:09:46,926 –> 00:09:48,859
    Help me! Help me!

    00:09:48,861 –> 00:09:51,428
    So you knew there was no way
    you could go back to help Carrie.

    00:09:51,430 –> 00:09:52,730
    How could I?

    00:09:52,732 –> 00:09:54,698
    You saw what they did to Ben.

    00:09:54,700 –> 00:09:57,801
    They would have done that to me.

    00:10:05,076 –> 00:10:07,745
    So this is where
    Ben was hung.

    00:10:07,747 –> 00:10:09,413
    I don’t see any blood.

    00:10:09,415 –> 00:10:11,015
    Crime scene’s incredibly neat.

    00:10:11,017 –> 00:10:13,284
    The scarecrow looks like
    it was gently placed.

    00:10:13,286 –> 00:10:15,119
    It’s quite a distance
    from the road, too.

    00:10:15,121 –> 00:10:18,122
    There aren’t any tire tracks
    to suggest he drove a vehicle out here.

    00:10:18,124 –> 00:10:19,790
    How much do you think
    Ben weighed?

    00:10:19,792 –> 00:10:21,125
    A buck 75, maybe.

    00:10:21,127 –> 00:10:23,661
    Ok, so, our unsub
    parks his vehicle,

    00:10:23,663 –> 00:10:26,764
    carries a mutilated guy
    who’s practically dead weight

    00:10:26,766 –> 00:10:29,767
    through a field, strings him up
    like a scarecrow,

    00:10:29,769 –> 00:10:30,901
    alone, and no one
    sees anything.

    00:10:30,903 –> 00:10:32,136
    I’m not buying.

    00:10:32,138 –> 00:10:33,304
    You think he had help.

    00:10:33,306 –> 00:10:34,672
    He couldn’t have
    done it alone.

    00:10:34,674 –> 00:10:36,674
    He must’ve had a partner.

    00:10:47,285 –> 00:10:50,421
    Hey there, Joe, you got
    everything you need?

    00:10:50,423 –> 00:10:51,922
    Could be snow, ice.

    00:10:51,924 –> 00:10:55,326
    I got ropes, chains, ammonia to clean up,
    and ice picks.

    00:10:55,328 –> 00:10:57,695
    You and your ice picks.
    You sure you don’t want me to come?

    00:10:57,697 –> 00:11:00,431
    You always take care
    of this stuff. I got this one.

    00:11:00,433 –> 00:11:04,068
    You need me, I’ll meet you
    up there in a couple days.

    00:11:11,509 –> 00:11:14,144
    You’re going on a road trip,

    00:11:16,948 –> 00:11:19,750
    Rossi: Were the markings
    similar on everyone?

    00:11:19,752 –> 00:11:23,320
    2-millimeter holes,
    almost 1.27 centimeters apart.

    00:11:23,322 –> 00:11:25,422
    There are microscopic

    00:11:25,424 –> 00:11:27,658
    in the distances
    between the wounds.

    00:11:27,660 –> 00:11:30,527
    This one’s
    one millimeter shorter.

    00:11:34,966 –> 00:11:37,334
    This is not the work
    of a hay fork or a farming implement.

    00:11:37,336 –> 00:11:39,036
    The holes are too small.

    00:11:39,038 –> 00:11:40,771
    I think it’s most likely
    an ice pick.

    00:11:40,773 –> 00:11:43,741
    So the killers carefully jab the ice pick
    into the skin to set the pattern.

    00:11:43,743 –> 00:11:45,576
    Exactly. Then they
    replicated it on the other victims.

    00:11:45,578 –> 00:11:49,313
    The unsubs would have had to
    stand over the body during the torture.

    00:11:49,315 –> 00:11:51,015
    It’s actually quite masterful.

    00:11:51,017 –> 00:11:53,617
    Whoever did this
    was extremely controlled.

    00:11:53,619 –> 00:11:55,152
    Add that to the neatness
    of the crime scene

    00:11:55,154 –> 00:11:56,653
    and I think we’re looking for
    someone with OCD.

    00:11:56,655 –> 00:11:58,322
    The precision is astounding.

    00:11:58,324 –> 00:11:59,823
    You guys were right.

    00:11:59,825 –> 00:12:01,458
    Joe was messy.

    00:12:01,460 –> 00:12:04,395
    He made his friend
    keep things neat.

    00:12:04,397 –> 00:12:07,431
    Can you give me
    an example?

    00:12:07,433 –> 00:12:10,434
    The table was always scrubbed.

    00:12:12,237 –> 00:12:15,172
    The ice picks
    were scrubbed, too.

    00:12:16,908 –> 00:12:21,011
    Every drop of blood
    was cleaned from the floor.

    00:12:21,013 –> 00:12:24,081
    Every day they would tell us
    how they would kill us.

    00:12:24,083 –> 00:12:25,282
    …chop his head off.

    00:12:25,284 –> 00:12:28,619
    They had sick minds.

    00:12:28,621 –> 00:12:30,254

    00:12:30,256 –> 00:12:32,289
    We could try.

    00:12:32,291 –> 00:12:36,627
    We could. Slice ‘em up,
    scatter them around town.

    00:12:36,629 –> 00:12:39,430

    00:12:39,432 –> 00:12:41,231
    I want to do
    something freaky.

    00:12:41,233 –> 00:12:42,633
    You know?

    00:12:42,635 –> 00:12:43,967
    Really make a statement.

    00:12:43,969 –> 00:12:46,770
    Daria: Sick, hateful minds.

    00:12:46,772 –> 00:12:50,507
    That’s probably why we originally
    thought this was a hate crime.

    00:12:50,509 –> 00:12:54,745
    I just talked to Ben’s sister,
    and according to her, he wasn’t gay.

    00:12:54,747 –> 00:12:57,114
    We’re not looking at another
    Matthew Shepard situation.

    00:12:57,116 –> 00:12:58,182
    And the second victim’s
    parents said

    00:12:58,184 –> 00:12:59,616
    that she was not
    a practicing Muslim.

    00:12:59,618 –> 00:13:02,219
    Garcia, have you found any connection
    at all between the victims?

    00:13:02,221 –> 00:13:05,122
    They have about as much in common
    as dinosaurs and goldfish.

    00:13:05,124 –> 00:13:06,256
    The cracker kind.

    00:13:06,258 –> 00:13:07,858
    Then they might be
    victims of opportunity.

    00:13:07,860 –> 00:13:10,127
    Found another vic.
    She was badly abused.

    00:13:10,129 –> 00:13:11,462
    Where did they find
    the body?

    00:13:11,464 –> 00:13:12,863
    Oh, she’s not dead.

    00:13:12,865 –> 00:13:14,765
    She got hit by a car last night.
    She’s been in the E.R.

    00:13:14,767 –> 00:13:16,500
    A cop that had heard about the
    chest wounds and made the connection.

    00:13:16,502 –> 00:13:18,669
    Call you back, Garcia.

    00:13:25,844 –> 00:13:27,077
    BP’s 80 over 30.

    00:13:27,079 –> 00:13:29,346
    Give me two large-bore
    IVs, wide open.

    00:13:30,415 –> 00:13:32,416
    I’m agent Jareau.
    What is your name?

    00:13:32,418 –> 00:13:34,985
    Please, help us.

    00:13:34,987 –> 00:13:37,020
    Us? Are there other girls?

    00:13:37,022 –> 00:13:39,289
    They’re coming after us.

    00:13:39,291 –> 00:13:41,859
    Find Carrie.

    00:13:41,861 –> 00:13:43,961
    Carrie. Who’s Carrie?

    00:13:43,963 –> 00:13:45,963
    Who’s Carrie?
    [Monitor beeping rapidly]

    00:13:45,965 –> 00:13:48,932
    We’re losing blood.
    Sorry, guys.

    00:13:48,934 –> 00:13:52,769
    Give me etomidate.
    Let’s move back to surgery.

    00:13:54,906 –> 00:13:56,306
    There’s another girl.

    00:13:56,308 –> 00:13:56,992
    And she said “they.”

    00:13:57,017 –> 00:13:59,017
    Which confirms we were
    right about a team.

    00:14:00,312 –> 00:14:03,447
    With one girl escaping,
    Carrie’s probably in extreme danger.

    00:14:03,449 –> 00:14:07,551
    Or the unsubs are panicking
    and they’re looking for someone else.

    00:14:11,656 –> 00:14:13,524
    Joe liked bars.

    00:14:13,526 –> 00:14:15,592
    That’s usually where
    he’d find girls.

    00:14:15,594 –> 00:14:17,694
    Where would he find guys?

    00:14:17,696 –> 00:14:18,996
    Anywhere he could.

    00:14:18,998 –> 00:14:21,098
    But he had a way
    with women.

    00:14:24,435 –> 00:14:26,436
    He’d charm us.

    00:14:26,438 –> 00:14:28,172
    Tell us we were

    00:14:28,174 –> 00:14:31,375
    smart, pretty,

    00:14:31,377 –> 00:14:33,243

    00:14:33,245 –> 00:14:35,712
    Well, it was really fun
    talking to you.

    00:14:37,015 –> 00:14:38,215
    Where you goin’?

    00:14:38,217 –> 00:14:41,552
    Car’s in the shop.
    I’m walkin’ it.

    00:14:41,554 –> 00:14:43,320
    You want a ride?

    00:14:44,189 –> 00:14:45,389

    00:14:45,391 –> 00:14:47,491

    00:14:47,493 –> 00:14:51,695
    ♪ I’m the devil… ♪

    00:14:51,697 –> 00:14:54,731
    Daria: Then when we woke up,
    we wouldn’t know what had happened.

    00:15:02,674 –> 00:15:04,141

    00:15:04,143 –> 00:15:08,879
    [Muffled screams]

    00:15:10,748 –> 00:15:14,017

    00:15:29,386 –> 00:15:32,254
    Do you remember what happened
    the day we found you?

    00:15:32,256 –> 00:15:34,924
    I remember doctors,

    00:15:34,926 –> 00:15:37,460
    nothing else.

    00:15:37,462 –> 00:15:40,095
    Our Jane Doe is stable.

    00:15:40,097 –> 00:15:42,798
    She suffered severe trauma
    from the car accident

    00:15:42,800 –> 00:15:44,066
    as well as the torture.

    00:15:44,068 –> 00:15:45,734
    There are also signs of
    long-term sexual assault.

    00:15:45,736 –> 00:15:48,137
    And wounds on her wrists
    that have healed.

    00:15:48,139 –> 00:15:49,472
    So she’d been held
    for a while.

    00:15:49,474 –> 00:15:52,107
    Yes. And she’s experiencing
    retrograde amnesia.

    00:15:52,109 –> 00:15:53,609
    She only remembers snippets
    about her past.

    00:15:53,611 –> 00:15:55,644
    Is this from the accident
    or the abuse?

    00:15:55,646 –> 00:15:57,112
    Probably a combination
    of both.

    00:15:57,114 –> 00:16:00,149
    Time may restore memory.
    Questions can jog it.

    00:16:00,151 –> 00:16:01,684
    It’s important
    that we talk to her.

    00:16:01,686 –> 00:16:02,751
    You can try.

    00:16:02,753 –> 00:16:05,654
    All right.
    I’ll head back in.

    00:16:05,656 –> 00:16:07,256
    Do you remember what happened

    00:16:07,258 –> 00:16:09,725
    when we came in that hospital room
    to talk to you again?

    00:16:09,727 –> 00:16:12,728
    Nope. I just remember
    I was upset.

    00:16:12,730 –> 00:16:16,332
    He hit me again!

    00:16:16,334 –> 00:16:18,534
    I’m sorry. I’m sorry, ok?

    00:16:18,536 –> 00:16:21,303
    I promise I’ll come back for you.
    I’m gonna send somebody!

    00:16:21,305 –> 00:16:23,272
    I left you, but they’re
    gonna find you!

    00:16:23,274 –> 00:16:24,573

    00:16:24,575 –> 00:16:27,910
    We just want to ask you
    a few questions, ok?

    00:16:27,912 –> 00:16:29,111
    Aah! Don’t touch me!

    00:16:29,113 –> 00:16:31,680
    We’re not here to hurt you.

    00:16:31,682 –> 00:16:33,082
    It’s ok.

    00:16:33,084 –> 00:16:34,350
    Look at me.
    Look at me.

    00:16:34,352 –> 00:16:36,185

    00:16:36,187 –> 00:16:38,153
    You are ok.

    00:16:38,155 –> 00:16:40,289
    Listen, in order for us
    to help you or Carrie,

    00:16:40,291 –> 00:16:43,526
    we need to ask you
    some questions.

    00:16:43,528 –> 00:16:44,827
    Do you remember your name?

    00:16:44,829 –> 00:16:46,262
    Just find Carrie.

    00:16:46,264 –> 00:16:47,429
    We will. We will.

    00:16:47,431 –> 00:16:49,999
    But right now
    we need to help you.

    00:16:50,001 –> 00:16:52,701
    You want that, don’t you?

    00:17:04,114 –> 00:17:06,015
    We’ve got to get
    her picture out.

    00:17:06,017 –> 00:17:09,718
    I’m just afraid no one’s going
    to recognize her, she’s so beat up.

    00:17:09,720 –> 00:17:11,487
    We’ll improvise.
    I’ll call local P.D.

    00:17:11,489 –> 00:17:13,289
    And get a forensic artist.

    00:17:13,291 –> 00:17:15,324
    Do you think one of
    the unsubs is a woman?

    00:17:15,326 –> 00:17:17,426
    She freaked out on me,
    not you.

    00:17:17,428 –> 00:17:19,161
    That didn’t happen
    when she first met you.

    00:17:19,163 –> 00:17:20,596
    But with improving memory,

    00:17:20,598 –> 00:17:22,398
    you may have reminded her
    of Carrie.

    00:17:25,068 –> 00:17:27,069
    Yeah, she did
    look like Carrie.

    00:17:27,071 –> 00:17:29,905
    Same hair, same smile.

    00:17:29,907 –> 00:17:32,274
    You know, they could
    have picked anyone,

    00:17:32,276 –> 00:17:34,376
    but they picked me.

    00:17:34,378 –> 00:17:36,946
    I was going to be
    a doctor.

    00:17:36,948 –> 00:17:38,747
    Help people.

    00:17:38,749 –> 00:17:42,718
    Now I got doctors
    poking at me all day.

    00:17:45,722 –> 00:17:49,258
    Why did they go from dumping
    their victims to displaying them?

    00:17:49,260 –> 00:17:50,759
    I don’t know.

    00:17:50,761 –> 00:17:54,430
    Do you think it’s because they wanted
    the public to see their work?

    00:17:54,432 –> 00:17:56,432
    Why are you asking me that?

    00:17:56,434 –> 00:17:58,834
    Because of how we found
    our next victim.

    00:18:00,170 –> 00:18:03,672
    She was discovered hanging
    in a rest stop bathroom.

    00:18:06,676 –> 00:18:08,377
    Do we know her name?

    00:18:08,379 –> 00:18:11,380
    Still checking, but our unsubs
    are getting bolder.

    00:18:11,382 –> 00:18:13,949
    Their disposal sites
    have gone from remote and rural

    00:18:13,951 –> 00:18:16,418
    to high-traffic areas.

    00:18:18,688 –> 00:18:20,889
    Same signature,
    but the puncture wounds

    00:18:20,891 –> 00:18:22,291
    are bigger
    than the other ones,

    00:18:22,293 –> 00:18:24,226
    and they aren’t
    the same distance apart.

    00:18:24,228 –> 00:18:26,061
    I think they used
    a different ice pick.

    00:18:26,063 –> 00:18:27,963
    The wounds look deeper
    and more forceful, too.

    00:18:27,965 –> 00:18:29,531
    They’re continuing
    to display the bodies,

    00:18:29,533 –> 00:18:32,534
    which means they want
    everyone to see their handiwork.

    00:18:32,536 –> 00:18:36,672
    Yet the OCD’s not present in the
    wound patterns or at the crime scene.

    00:18:36,674 –> 00:18:38,607
    Reid: Maybe they’re losing
    control and devolving.

    00:18:38,609 –> 00:18:39,842
    Or they know we have Jane Doe

    00:18:39,844 –> 00:18:42,111
    and now their rage
    is already out of control.

    00:18:42,113 –> 00:18:44,546
    There are also indicators
    of sexual assault.

    00:18:44,548 –> 00:18:46,749
    Let’s get that photo
    to Morgan and JJ at the hospital.

    00:18:46,751 –> 00:18:49,685
    This could be the Carrie that
    the Jane Doe’s been going on about.

    00:18:49,687 –> 00:18:52,354
    Morgan: And that’s when
    I showed you a picture of this woman.

    00:18:52,356 –> 00:18:54,323
    I’ve never met this woman.

    00:18:54,325 –> 00:18:55,357
    That’s not Carrie.

    00:18:55,359 –> 00:18:56,925
    I know. But that’s why

    00:18:56,927 –> 00:18:59,928
    we had to get our profile
    out fast.

    00:19:01,097 –> 00:19:03,766
    We believe we’re looking for a pair
    of sadistic killers

    00:19:03,768 –> 00:19:05,367
    who are trying to terrorize
    the community by torturing

    00:19:05,369 –> 00:19:06,935
    and displaying
    their victims.

    00:19:06,937 –> 00:19:09,505
    One of the partners is dominant
    and fulfilling an emotional need.

    00:19:09,507 –> 00:19:12,741
    The other is submissive and displays
    obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

    00:19:12,743 –> 00:19:14,610
    We believe the stabbing
    in the chest is symbolic

    00:19:14,612 –> 00:19:16,545
    of unfulfilled sexual

    00:19:16,547 –> 00:19:19,648
    Their M.O. is deteriorating,
    and this is evidenced by the fact

    00:19:19,650 –> 00:19:22,985
    that for the first time
    a victim successfully escaped.

    00:19:22,987 –> 00:19:25,238
    Blake: So they’re improvising
    now, breaking their own rules

    00:19:25,263 –> 00:19:27,157
    and becoming even more reckless.

    00:19:27,158 –> 00:19:29,258
    This could cause a rift
    in the partnership,

    00:19:29,260 –> 00:19:32,695
    and it may result in changes or escalation
    to the torturous behavior.

    00:19:32,697 –> 00:19:34,930
    Now, we do have one
    hospitalized victim,

    00:19:34,932 –> 00:19:36,298
    but her abuse
    and length of captivity,

    00:19:36,300 –> 00:19:38,367
    along with the injuries
    sustained in the car accident,

    00:19:38,369 –> 00:19:39,868
    have left her in
    a dissociative state.

    00:19:39,870 –> 00:19:43,238
    At this point, we believe she was held
    for at least 10 months,

    00:19:43,240 –> 00:19:45,607
    which is much longer
    than any of the other victims.

    00:19:45,609 –> 00:19:47,643
    This means that she held
    a very special place

    00:19:47,645 –> 00:19:49,511
    in the dominant unsub’s

    00:19:49,513 –> 00:19:51,480
    Losing her will only
    increase his anger.

    00:19:51,482 –> 00:19:54,049
    That’s why he feels compelled
    to display his victims

    00:19:54,051 –> 00:19:55,918
    in a more public way.

    00:19:55,920 –> 00:19:58,387
    He wants others to feel
    the full force of his outrage.

    00:19:58,389 –> 00:20:01,423
    Also, since another victim was found
    within the last two hours,

    00:20:01,425 –> 00:20:03,325
    we believe the kills
    are accelerating.

    00:20:03,327 –> 00:20:05,127
    [Indistinct shouting]

    00:20:05,129 –> 00:20:07,162

    00:20:07,164 –> 00:20:10,032
    Oh. You liked him,

    00:20:10,034 –> 00:20:11,900
    Huh?! Huh?

    00:20:11,902 –> 00:20:13,302

    00:20:13,304 –> 00:20:16,305

    00:20:16,307 –> 00:20:17,873

    00:20:17,875 –> 00:20:19,441
    No! No!

    00:20:19,443 –> 00:20:20,642

    00:20:20,644 –> 00:20:21,844
    No, please!

    00:20:21,846 –> 00:20:24,580

    00:20:24,582 –> 00:20:27,349
    I could have stopped them.

    00:20:27,351 –> 00:20:28,684
    I could have stopped this.

    00:20:28,686 –> 00:20:30,619
    You did, Daria.

    00:20:30,621 –> 00:20:31,749
    Getting your I.D.

    00:20:31,774 –> 00:20:33,323
    led to a break in the case.
    Don’t you remember that?

    00:20:33,324 –> 00:20:34,323

    00:20:34,325 –> 00:20:35,491

    00:20:35,493 –> 00:20:36,492

    00:20:36,494 –> 00:20:37,893
    Finding out who you were

    00:20:37,895 –> 00:20:39,695
    opened everything up.

    00:20:42,832 –> 00:20:44,967
    This is the area where the bodies
    are being dropped.

    00:20:44,969 –> 00:20:46,435
    It’s basically
    a 10-mile radius.

    00:20:46,437 –> 00:20:49,238
    But the hunting zone
    extends another 20 miles.

    00:20:49,240 –> 00:20:50,739
    Probably lives
    somewhere in there.

    00:20:50,741 –> 00:20:51,874
    The police captain
    just called from Brooklyn.

    00:20:51,876 –> 00:20:53,675
    Says she recognized
    our Jane Doe.

    00:20:53,677 –> 00:20:55,110
    Her name is Daria Samsen.

    00:20:55,112 –> 00:20:56,645
    They’re sending
    a relative now.

    00:20:56,647 –> 00:20:57,913
    What’s their relationship?

    00:20:57,915 –> 00:20:59,615
    It’s her sister. She’s
    on the next train up.

    00:20:59,617 –> 00:21:01,650
    About a year ago,

    00:21:01,652 –> 00:21:04,787
    Daria was a med student
    at Cornell.

    00:21:04,789 –> 00:21:08,257
    She went to work one day
    and just vanished.

    00:21:08,259 –> 00:21:10,058
    We looked everywhere.

    00:21:10,060 –> 00:21:13,762
    Put up flyers, billboards.

    00:21:13,764 –> 00:21:15,764
    I thought she was murdered.

    00:21:15,766 –> 00:21:18,133
    When was the last time
    you saw her?

    00:21:19,969 –> 00:21:22,137
    The day she went missing.

    00:21:23,139 –> 00:21:25,641
    I dropped her off at work.

    00:21:25,643 –> 00:21:28,744
    She had a part-time job
    at a diner.

    00:21:28,746 –> 00:21:32,681
    She would…she would
    hook me up with coffee.

    00:21:33,650 –> 00:21:37,419
    Do you remember anything
    strange about that day?

    00:21:37,421 –> 00:21:40,389
    What was the weather like?

    00:21:40,391 –> 00:21:42,491

    00:21:45,461 –> 00:21:48,964
    It was cold.
    It was very cold.

    00:21:48,966 –> 00:21:51,366
    When we headed to the door,
    we walked by a truck.

    00:21:51,368 –> 00:21:52,968
    Blake: Was there anyone
    inside of it?

    00:21:52,970 –> 00:21:55,504
    There was this guy.
    A white guy.

    00:21:55,506 –> 00:21:56,872
    Blake: Did he say anything?

    00:21:56,874 –> 00:21:59,441
    He just looked at Daria
    and he said…

    00:21:59,443 –> 00:22:01,109
    You’re about as pretty
    as a stack of new 100s.

    00:22:01,111 –> 00:22:02,311
    Reid: What did he look like?

    00:22:02,313 –> 00:22:03,745
    He was built.

    00:22:03,747 –> 00:22:06,081
    Probably mid-30s.

    00:22:06,083 –> 00:22:07,649
    Reid: Did your sister
    say anything to him?

    00:22:07,651 –> 00:22:09,084
    She smiled back at him.

    00:22:09,086 –> 00:22:12,254
    He told her he was waiting
    for his mom who was in…

    00:22:12,256 –> 00:22:14,356
    My mother’s in physical therapy
    across the street.

    00:22:14,358 –> 00:22:16,024
    Physical therapy
    across the street.

    00:22:16,026 –> 00:22:19,027
    Blake: Was there anything
    identifiable on the truck?

    00:22:19,029 –> 00:22:21,530
    Bumper stickers.

    00:22:21,532 –> 00:22:23,232
    Uh, it was–
    it was blue.

    00:22:23,234 –> 00:22:25,100
    Kind of dingy.

    00:22:25,102 –> 00:22:28,337
    Is that all you can see?
    Think back.

    00:22:28,339 –> 00:22:30,973
    I can see part
    of his license plate.

    00:22:30,975 –> 00:22:34,476
    Uh, 543L…

    00:22:34,478 –> 00:22:36,979
    But I hear a dispatcher.

    00:22:36,981 –> 00:22:38,313
    Reid: What is
    the dispatcher saying?

    00:22:38,315 –> 00:22:40,476
    Dispatcher: We got a broken furnace
    at Ridley and West.

    00:22:42,352 –> 00:22:44,419
    There was a broken furnace.

    00:22:44,421 –> 00:22:46,421

    00:22:46,423 –> 00:22:49,558
    Yes. There’s a Joe Bachner
    of Conway Electric.

    00:22:49,560 –> 00:22:52,728
    Pulling up his records now.

    00:22:52,730 –> 00:22:54,329
    Booyah, this is our guy.

    00:22:54,331 –> 00:22:55,631
    What’s his background?

    00:22:55,633 –> 00:22:57,165
    He is a member of the upright
    citizens brigade,

    00:22:57,167 –> 00:22:58,634
    she says with biting sarcasm.

    00:22:58,636 –> 00:23:01,103
    In and out of jail,
    for battery, 15 years ago.

    00:23:01,105 –> 00:23:04,006
    Once accused of kidnapping a woman,
    but then she dropped the charges.

    00:23:04,008 –> 00:23:05,841
    We were pretty sure that
    Joe was one of our guys,

    00:23:05,843 –> 00:23:09,211
    but we just needed you
    to I.D. him to be sure.

    00:23:18,788 –> 00:23:20,322

    00:23:20,324 –> 00:23:21,790

    00:23:21,792 –> 00:23:22,991

    00:23:22,993 –> 00:23:24,760
    Hey, it’s me.

    00:23:24,762 –> 00:23:28,430
    Listen, I need to show you
    another picture.

    00:23:28,432 –> 00:23:31,199
    Do you know who this is?

    00:23:33,169 –> 00:23:34,736
    Daria, do you know this man?

    00:23:34,738 –> 00:23:37,005
    [Moans] Get…

    00:23:37,007 –> 00:23:38,674
    Get him away from me.

    00:23:38,676 –> 00:23:42,277
    Get him away from me.

    00:23:42,279 –> 00:23:45,380
    Daria, honey.

    00:23:45,382 –> 00:23:47,616
    Honey, I’m here.

    00:23:47,618 –> 00:23:49,384
    You I.D.ing Joe helped
    us get his address

    00:23:49,386 –> 00:23:51,720
    and led us straight
    to his place.

    00:23:54,490 –> 00:23:56,158

    00:23:56,160 –> 00:23:58,427
    But you got the story wrong.

    00:23:59,495 –> 00:24:00,929

    00:24:00,931 –> 00:24:03,799
    That’s exactly what you told me
    a year ago, Daria.

    00:24:03,801 –> 00:24:06,234
    Yeah, but I remember
    more now.

    00:24:07,437 –> 00:24:11,473
    Joe didn’t abduct me
    in front of the diner.

    00:24:13,076 –> 00:24:15,444
    I got into his truck

    00:24:17,113 –> 00:24:19,014
    What are you saying?

    00:24:19,016 –> 00:24:20,882
    He seemed nice.

    00:24:20,884 –> 00:24:25,420
    After work,
    Joe took me out for dinner.

    00:24:25,422 –> 00:24:28,090
    The next thing I knew,
    I woke up…

    00:24:28,092 –> 00:24:31,626
    in the shed
    and I was all–all tied up.

    00:24:31,628 –> 00:24:35,364
    Joe used a ruse.
    He did that with everyone.

    00:24:38,801 –> 00:24:42,471
    Did they all
    fall in love with him?

    00:24:42,473 –> 00:24:43,739

    00:24:43,741 –> 00:24:47,342
    That’s what I thought.

    00:24:47,344 –> 00:24:50,245
    I liked being there.

    00:24:50,247 –> 00:24:52,514
    I let him touch me

    00:24:52,516 –> 00:24:56,952
    and then I wouldn’t get beat.

    00:24:56,954 –> 00:24:59,021
    I kissed him.

    00:24:59,023 –> 00:25:01,723
    I liked it.

    00:25:07,430 –> 00:25:11,099
    It’s my fault!

    00:25:11,101 –> 00:25:13,135
    This is all my fault.

    00:25:13,137 –> 00:25:16,138

    00:25:17,507 –> 00:25:20,008

    00:25:30,570 –> 00:25:31,770
    Daria just told me

    00:25:31,772 –> 00:25:34,439
    that she got into the car
    with Joe voluntarily.

    00:25:34,441 –> 00:25:36,975
    That’s all right.
    She’ll still be a sympathetic witness.

    00:25:36,977 –> 00:25:38,710
    She said she fell in love
    with him, Hotch.

    00:25:38,712 –> 00:25:40,278
    We’ll explain that it’s
    Stockholm syndrome,

    00:25:40,280 –> 00:25:42,380
    but I need to know
    if there are any more surprises.

    00:25:42,382 –> 00:25:43,815
    All right, I’m about
    to go back in there.

    00:25:43,817 –> 00:25:45,550
    I just wanted to
    give her a break.

    00:25:45,552 –> 00:25:48,086
    It’s critical that we get all the details
    of her testimony.

    00:25:48,088 –> 00:25:49,554
    I know.

    00:26:07,206 –> 00:26:09,274
    All right.

    00:26:09,276 –> 00:26:11,543
    Let’s get back
    to where we were.

    00:26:11,545 –> 00:26:15,313
    Once we got Joe’s I.D.,
    we headed to the house.

    00:26:28,594 –> 00:26:30,161
    Blake and Reid.

    00:27:07,299 –> 00:27:08,694
    We went out to that house

    00:27:08,719 –> 00:27:10,537
    and we searched the place
    and it was empty.

    00:27:10,837 –> 00:27:12,604

    00:27:15,441 –> 00:27:16,841

    00:27:16,843 –> 00:27:18,109

    00:27:18,111 –> 00:27:19,511
    And after we dug deeper
    into Joe’s background,

    00:27:19,513 –> 00:27:21,479
    we still couldn’t figure out
    who his partner was.

    00:27:21,481 –> 00:27:22,547
    Nothing out back.

    00:27:22,549 –> 00:27:24,582
    He’s burned papers, clothes.

    00:27:24,584 –> 00:27:27,352
    The shed’s been completely
    ammonia’d down.

    00:27:27,354 –> 00:27:29,688
    Checked the basement.
    Clean as a whistle.

    00:27:29,690 –> 00:27:31,823
    Well, if he’s not here,
    maybe he’s with the partner.

    00:27:31,825 –> 00:27:34,492
    Garcia, where else has Joe worked
    besides Conway Electric?

    00:27:34,494 –> 00:27:36,428
    He’s had random construction
    jobs over the last two years.

    00:27:36,430 –> 00:27:37,996
    And what do we know
    about his background?

    00:27:37,998 –> 00:27:39,364
    Raised in Pennsylvania.

    00:27:39,366 –> 00:27:40,899
    His parents died
    in a car accident.

    00:27:40,901 –> 00:27:43,101
    Rossi: Where’d he go
    after that?

    00:27:43,103 –> 00:27:45,103
    His juvie records are sealed
    with crazy glue.

    00:27:45,105 –> 00:27:47,105
    But it looks like
    he was sent away

    00:27:47,107 –> 00:27:48,673
    to live with his
    alcoholic nurse aunt,

    00:27:48,675 –> 00:27:52,110
    who makes Mommy Dearest
    look like a Saint.

    00:27:52,112 –> 00:27:54,345
    According to reports,
    she locked him in a shed,

    00:27:54,347 –> 00:27:59,317
    didn’t feed him for days,
    siccing bees on him when she was mad.

    00:27:59,319 –> 00:28:02,854
    Get away! [Screaming]

    00:28:02,856 –> 00:28:05,757
    Please! Stop it!

    00:28:05,759 –> 00:28:08,727
    That’s how social services
    found him when he got to school.

    00:28:08,729 –> 00:28:11,062
    Hundreds of beestings
    on his chest.

    00:28:11,064 –> 00:28:12,897
    So those torture wounds
    copied the stings.

    00:28:12,899 –> 00:28:14,365
    It also explains
    the display method

    00:28:14,367 –> 00:28:16,735
    of his last two victims.
    He wants to show the world the horrors

    00:28:16,737 –> 00:28:18,703
    of what he was forced
    to endure as a child.

    00:28:18,705 –> 00:28:20,739
    And Daria was
    a medical student.

    00:28:20,741 –> 00:28:23,441
    So we were right.
    She’s a surrogate for Joe’s aunt.

    00:28:23,443 –> 00:28:25,009
    Where’s the aunt now?

    00:28:25,011 –> 00:28:26,811
    Uh, she died
    February 2012.

    00:28:26,813 –> 00:28:28,847
    A month before
    Daria was abducted.

    00:28:28,849 –> 00:28:30,815
    So the aunt’s death
    was the trigger.

    00:28:30,817 –> 00:28:32,851
    Any known associates?
    We need to find the partner.

    00:28:32,853 –> 00:28:36,087
    Looks like he hangs out with
    local biker dudes and former cellmates.

    00:28:36,089 –> 00:28:38,223
    Compile a list. We’ll run this
    by Daria at the hospital.

    00:28:38,225 –> 00:28:42,393
    Yes. Yes. Bad people
    make bad people. Bye.

    00:28:42,395 –> 00:28:45,196
    Morgan: You said there was
    another man with Joe.

    00:28:45,198 –> 00:28:46,664
    Do you remember that?

    00:28:46,666 –> 00:28:48,066
    I’m not sure.

    00:28:48,068 –> 00:28:49,534
    All right.

    00:28:49,536 –> 00:28:52,437
    You were hesitant
    back then, too.

    00:28:55,307 –> 00:28:57,809
    Daria, this is important.

    00:28:57,811 –> 00:28:59,944
    Who else was in that shed?

    00:29:07,253 –> 00:29:08,953

    00:29:08,955 –> 00:29:11,556
    [Door opens]

    00:29:11,558 –> 00:29:14,259
    [Door closes]

    00:29:14,261 –> 00:29:17,061
    No. No! No!

    00:29:17,063 –> 00:29:19,898
    No, let me go!

    00:29:19,900 –> 00:29:24,836
    No, please!

    00:29:30,943 –> 00:29:32,510
    Hurry up, Coby!

    00:29:32,512 –> 00:29:34,078
    We don’t have all day.

    00:29:34,080 –> 00:29:36,581

    00:29:36,583 –> 00:29:38,683
    His name’s Coby.

    00:29:43,689 –> 00:29:45,657
    Oh, God.

    00:29:45,659 –> 00:29:46,991
    It’s ok, honey.

    00:29:46,993 –> 00:29:48,426
    You’re ok.

    00:29:48,428 –> 00:29:50,762
    I don’t want
    to do this anymore.

    00:29:50,764 –> 00:29:52,797
    I know.
    It was Coby.

    00:29:52,799 –> 00:29:55,333
    I know. Shh.

    00:29:55,335 –> 00:29:58,603

    00:29:58,605 –> 00:30:01,005
    I cross-checked the name Coby
    with the guys in the biker gang.

    00:30:01,007 –> 00:30:02,373
    I’m coming up empty there.

    00:30:02,375 –> 00:30:04,909
    Try men released from prison with whom
    he might have done time.

    00:30:04,911 –> 00:30:06,945

    00:30:06,947 –> 00:30:09,447
    Bada-bing bada-boom,
    the floodgates are opening.

    00:30:09,449 –> 00:30:11,716
    There’s a Coby Peters.
    He was released a year before Joe.

    00:30:11,718 –> 00:30:14,319
    He lives about 3 miles away.
    He’s a part-time electrician,

    00:30:14,321 –> 00:30:15,687
    full-time alcoholic.

    00:30:15,689 –> 00:30:17,388
    That’s our guy.
    Let’s go. Thanks, Garcia.

    00:30:22,328 –> 00:30:24,028

    00:30:37,576 –> 00:30:39,010

    00:30:39,012 –> 00:30:40,011

    00:30:40,013 –> 00:30:42,347

    00:30:42,349 –> 00:30:44,849
    Look. He took
    all his guns.

    00:30:44,851 –> 00:30:46,684
    Look at this place.

    00:30:48,520 –> 00:30:51,022
    [Cell phone rings]
    This guy’s the one with OCD.

    00:30:51,024 –> 00:30:52,690
    Go ahead, Garcia.

    00:30:52,692 –> 00:30:55,126
    Sir, I got a ping
    off Coby Peters’ credit card.

    00:30:55,128 –> 00:30:57,028
    He’s around the corner
    at Mike & Sons.

    00:31:01,367 –> 00:31:04,035
    [Brakes screeching]

    00:31:04,037 –> 00:31:05,670
    Coby Peters, FBI!

    00:31:09,742 –> 00:31:10,742

    00:31:10,744 –> 00:31:12,577

    00:31:12,579 –> 00:31:14,112
    Don’t move!

    00:31:31,516 –> 00:31:33,750
    Let’s talk about Coby.

    00:31:33,752 –> 00:31:35,319
    Tell me about him.

    00:31:35,321 –> 00:31:37,955
    He was evil.

    00:31:37,957 –> 00:31:41,358
    You must have seen
    how mean Coby was.

    00:31:41,360 –> 00:31:43,460
    He wasn’t what we expected.

    00:31:43,462 –> 00:31:45,262
    I didn’t kill anyone.

    00:31:45,264 –> 00:31:47,664
    We have 4 bodies, Coby.
    You’re part of a team.

    00:31:47,666 –> 00:31:49,433
    What team?
    I’m an electrician.

    00:31:49,435 –> 00:31:52,336
    Who used to be
    a medical tech.

    00:31:52,338 –> 00:31:55,639
    Is that how you learned
    to torture like this?

    00:31:55,641 –> 00:31:57,140
    What the hell is this?

    00:31:57,142 –> 00:31:58,976
    I thought you brought me
    in here for the guns.

    00:31:58,978 –> 00:32:01,445
    We don’t care about
    the guns. What about Daria?

    00:32:01,447 –> 00:32:03,480
    You know her?

    00:32:06,684 –> 00:32:07,784
    We’re getting warmer,
    aren’t we?

    00:32:07,786 –> 00:32:08,919
    Looks familiar,
    doesn’t she?

    00:32:08,921 –> 00:32:10,454
    Except you didn’t
    kill this one,

    00:32:10,456 –> 00:32:11,922
    because she’s laying up
    in a hospital room

    00:32:11,924 –> 00:32:13,857
    with torture wounds
    all over her body.

    00:32:13,859 –> 00:32:15,158
    That’s my friend’s girl.

    00:32:15,160 –> 00:32:16,093
    Who’s your friend?

    00:32:16,095 –> 00:32:17,928
    Joe Bachner.
    She come around

    00:32:17,930 –> 00:32:19,396
    when we were playing poker.

    00:32:19,398 –> 00:32:21,298
    What happened to her?
    You tell us.

    00:32:21,300 –> 00:32:22,499
    How should I know?

    00:32:22,501 –> 00:32:23,967
    What’s your relationship
    with your friend?

    00:32:23,969 –> 00:32:25,769
    He’s my drinking buddy, and he works
    for me from time to time.

    00:32:25,771 –> 00:32:27,537
    When was the last time
    you saw him?

    00:32:27,539 –> 00:32:30,607
    I went to his house to give him the keys
    to my client’s cabin.

    00:32:30,609 –> 00:32:32,109
    Water heater broke.
    He said he’d fix it.

    00:32:32,111 –> 00:32:33,276
    Reid: How was he acting?

    00:32:33,278 –> 00:32:34,978
    Fine. He was packing up
    his car.

    00:32:34,980 –> 00:32:36,113
    Did he have anyone
    with him?

    00:32:36,115 –> 00:32:38,782
    Just some equipment and…

    00:32:40,685 –> 00:32:42,853
    Ice picks.

    00:32:44,589 –> 00:32:47,824
    Look, if Joe hurt these people,
    go talk to him.

    00:32:47,826 –> 00:32:50,460
    He’s still up
    at my client’s cabin.

    00:32:52,530 –> 00:32:53,764
    He seems forthcoming.

    00:32:53,766 –> 00:32:56,600
    It could be the behavior
    of an innocent or a psychopath.

    00:32:56,602 –> 00:32:59,469
    You know, I know his house was clean,
    but did you see his shirt and shoes?

    00:32:59,471 –> 00:33:01,538
    They were messy.
    There’s no way this guy is OCD.

    00:33:01,540 –> 00:33:04,908
    I find it interesting that Daria
    never asked Coby for help.

    00:33:04,910 –> 00:33:06,510
    She was there
    when they played poker.

    00:33:06,512 –> 00:33:08,779
    Maybe she couldn’t because she
    was still under Joe’s control.

    00:33:08,781 –> 00:33:11,281
    We searched Coby’s home.
    Nothing connected to the crime.

    00:33:11,283 –> 00:33:13,083
    Let’s head up
    to that cabin.

    00:33:23,294 –> 00:33:25,662
    You kids ready
    to have some more fun?

    00:33:25,664 –> 00:33:27,130
    Huh? Huh?
    Please don’t. No!

    00:33:27,132 –> 00:33:28,331

    00:33:28,333 –> 00:33:29,966
    Come on,
    just let us go.

    00:33:30,768 –> 00:33:32,903
    Let you go.
    Let you go?!

    00:33:32,905 –> 00:33:35,672
    You think I brought you all the way up
    here just to let you go?

    00:33:35,674 –> 00:33:38,241
    Joe Bachner, FBI!

    00:33:40,645 –> 00:33:42,813

    00:33:44,882 –> 00:33:47,184
    We need medics.

    00:33:49,854 –> 00:33:51,655
    You can’t outrun
    a bullet, Joe!

    00:33:53,991 –> 00:33:57,561

    00:34:02,433 –> 00:34:05,335
    Tell us where your partner is, Joe.
    Who is he?

    00:34:06,537 –> 00:34:07,804

    00:34:07,806 –> 00:34:09,406
    Morgan: That’s why
    I came back to the hospital

    00:34:09,408 –> 00:34:12,375
    to talk to you, because we were trying
    to find out who Joe’s partner was.

    00:34:12,377 –> 00:34:17,114
    [Ellen talking indistinctly]

    00:34:17,116 –> 00:34:19,716
    Your sister didn’t want us
    to bother you again,

    00:34:19,718 –> 00:34:21,384
    but she knew
    we were desperate.

    00:34:21,386 –> 00:34:23,887
    We’re looking for a team and
    we have to find both of them.

    00:34:23,889 –> 00:34:26,356
    They could have
    more girls right now.

    00:34:26,358 –> 00:34:27,958
    Every minute counts.

    00:34:33,531 –> 00:34:36,266
    Do you remember
    what you said?

    00:34:38,970 –> 00:34:42,105
    Yeah. It’s coming back.

    00:34:42,107 –> 00:34:43,306
    It was Coby.

    00:34:43,308 –> 00:34:44,875
    Are you sure, Daria?

    00:34:44,877 –> 00:34:46,243
    Yeah, it was him.

    00:34:46,245 –> 00:34:48,612
    I need you to think back.

    00:34:48,614 –> 00:34:51,214
    We were in the shed.
    He had an ice pick.

    00:34:51,216 –> 00:34:53,350
    Ok. Ok. And what
    was he doing with it?

    00:34:53,352 –> 00:34:58,355
    Joe and Coby were
    about to hurt Ben.

    00:34:58,357 –> 00:35:00,056
    And you’re sure it was Coby?

    00:35:00,058 –> 00:35:01,191
    Look at his face again.

    00:35:01,193 –> 00:35:03,493
    It’s too blurry.
    I can’t see.

    00:35:03,495 –> 00:35:05,662
    Keep looking, Daria.

    00:35:08,099 –> 00:35:09,666

    00:35:09,668 –> 00:35:12,936
    Yeah, it was Coby.
    I’m telling you.

    00:35:14,071 –> 00:35:19,009
    He, uh, started
    poking holes in Ben.

    00:35:26,584 –> 00:35:30,153
    He put the ice pick
    in a box.

    00:35:35,293 –> 00:35:38,662
    Where did they put this box?

    00:35:40,097 –> 00:35:41,798
    On a shelf.

    00:35:43,134 –> 00:35:45,669
    In the house.

    00:35:56,480 –> 00:35:57,547

    00:35:57,549 –> 00:35:58,982
    Yeah, what’s up?

    00:35:58,984 –> 00:36:00,417
    I think I figured it out.

    00:36:00,419 –> 00:36:02,853
    Check every shelf
    in that house for a wooden box.

    00:36:02,855 –> 00:36:04,054
    What’s in the box?

    00:36:04,056 –> 00:36:06,690
    The answer to this case.

    00:36:11,395 –> 00:36:13,730
    So I had Blake
    search that house

    00:36:13,732 –> 00:36:15,899
    for that ice pick
    in a box,

    00:36:15,901 –> 00:36:18,001
    and then I presented
    that box to you.

    00:36:18,003 –> 00:36:20,503
    Is that coming back to you?

    00:36:20,505 –> 00:36:24,007
    Yeah. Yeah.

    00:36:30,781 –> 00:36:32,148
    Is that it?

    00:36:33,251 –> 00:36:35,352
    Yes, it is.

    00:36:35,354 –> 00:36:37,287
    We found it
    in Joe’s bedroom.

    00:36:37,289 –> 00:36:40,156
    Was the ice pick
    in there?

    00:36:40,158 –> 00:36:43,159
    Yes, Daria.

    00:36:43,161 –> 00:36:45,996
    Along with
    some of your things.

    00:36:45,998 –> 00:36:47,664
    The reason Joe
    hung on to Carrie

    00:36:47,666 –> 00:36:52,168
    is because after you escaped,
    he needed another partner.

    00:36:52,170 –> 00:36:53,303

    00:36:53,305 –> 00:36:55,238
    What are you talking about?

    00:36:58,809 –> 00:37:00,844
    Often when someone’s
    held captive,

    00:37:00,846 –> 00:37:03,246
    they’re forced to do
    the unthinkable.

    00:37:08,519 –> 00:37:11,221
    [Daria, indistinct]

    00:37:11,223 –> 00:37:13,990
    Your prints were found
    on that ice pick, Daria.

    00:37:13,992 –> 00:37:15,258

    00:37:15,260 –> 00:37:17,427
    I wasn’t Coby who put
    the holes in those victims.

    00:37:17,429 –> 00:37:18,762
    It was you.

    00:37:20,164 –> 00:37:22,265
    What? You’re–you’re wrong.

    00:37:22,267 –> 00:37:23,266
    No, I’m not.

    00:37:23,268 –> 00:37:25,201
    Ellen, just listen.
    Agent Morgan–

    00:37:25,203 –> 00:37:26,202
    these are facts.

    00:37:26,204 –> 00:37:28,305
    Daria, you’re the one
    with OCD.

    00:37:31,375 –> 00:37:34,277
    You’re the one
    who kept that place clean.

    00:37:34,279 –> 00:37:37,414
    Joe forced you to participate.

    00:37:37,416 –> 00:37:40,717
    And he made you clean up
    after his crimes.

    00:37:41,953 –> 00:37:45,755
    It’s how he controlled you,

    00:37:45,757 –> 00:37:48,925
    And to deal with the pain,
    your mind had just snapped.

    00:37:48,927 –> 00:37:51,094
    It let you think
    that it was someone else

    00:37:51,096 –> 00:37:52,963
    who was participating–
    his friend Coby.

    00:37:52,965 –> 00:37:55,098
    It’s not true.
    It’s not true.

    00:37:55,100 –> 00:37:56,533
    I’m sorry, but it is.

    00:37:56,535 –> 00:37:58,468
    It is. He made you do it.

    00:37:58,470 –> 00:38:00,136
    Do it now!

    00:38:00,138 –> 00:38:02,772

    00:38:02,774 –> 00:38:05,075
    Aah! Aah!

    00:38:05,077 –> 00:38:07,744
    Do it or I’ll kill her!

    00:38:07,746 –> 00:38:09,813
    Go on!

    00:38:09,815 –> 00:38:12,482
    Daria, it’s not your fault.

    00:38:12,484 –> 00:38:14,584
    Do you hear me?
    It’s not your fault.

    00:38:14,586 –> 00:38:15,719
    You had no choice.

    00:38:15,721 –> 00:38:16,820

    00:38:16,822 –> 00:38:17,754
    It’s not your fault.

    00:38:17,756 –> 00:38:19,589

    00:38:19,591 –> 00:38:21,157
    Daria, baby…

    00:38:21,159 –> 00:38:24,694

    00:38:29,600 –> 00:38:31,935
    No! No!

    00:38:31,937 –> 00:38:35,038
    [Screaming, shouting]

    00:39:11,575 –> 00:39:13,443
    I loved him.

    00:39:13,445 –> 00:39:15,945
    That’s why
    I did those things.

    00:39:21,652 –> 00:39:24,921
    After a while, he didn’t even have
    to ask me to do it.

    00:39:24,923 –> 00:39:27,524
    I just…I just did it.

    00:39:28,893 –> 00:39:30,660
    Wait a minute.

    00:39:31,896 –> 00:39:34,831
    Did you torture people
    on your own?

    00:39:36,267 –> 00:39:38,668
    That’s what he wanted.

    00:39:41,238 –> 00:39:43,039
    He loved me.

    00:39:51,682 –> 00:39:54,751
    He kept me
    for a whole year.

    00:40:01,258 –> 00:40:05,195
    The other ones he just
    had for a few weeks.

    00:40:09,733 –> 00:40:13,903
    Daria, would you hurt
    someone again if Joe asked you to?

    00:40:15,473 –> 00:40:18,208
    If he wanted.

    00:40:19,443 –> 00:40:22,779
    He’s my boyfriend.

    00:40:22,781 –> 00:40:25,982
    I loved him.

    00:40:25,984 –> 00:40:28,952
    I still love him.

    00:40:34,959 –> 00:40:38,061
    Excuse me, but it’s time
    for Daria to take her medicine.

    00:40:38,063 –> 00:40:40,263

    00:40:42,032 –> 00:40:43,700
    We’re done.

    00:40:50,007 –> 00:40:52,375

    00:40:52,377 –> 00:40:55,812
    I’m gonna step outside
    and speak with your sister.

    00:41:03,821 –> 00:41:06,923
    How did it go?

    00:41:06,925 –> 00:41:09,626
    Unfortunately, there is no way
    that the government

    00:41:09,628 –> 00:41:11,261
    can call your sister
    as a witness.

    00:41:11,263 –> 00:41:13,296
    Wait, what?

    00:41:13,298 –> 00:41:15,965
    That was the deal.
    If she doesn’t testify,

    00:41:15,967 –> 00:41:17,100
    she goes to jail.

    00:41:17,102 –> 00:41:19,068
    Daria admitted to me
    that at some point

    00:41:19,070 –> 00:41:20,603
    she became a willing
    participant in the murders,

    00:41:20,605 –> 00:41:22,305
    and she said
    she would do it again.

    00:41:22,307 –> 00:41:23,773
    I don’t believe that.

    00:41:23,775 –> 00:41:25,575
    Your sister is mentally

    00:41:25,577 –> 00:41:28,611
    and I am protecting her
    by not letting her take that stand.

    00:41:28,613 –> 00:41:30,446
    But then they will
    keep her in here forever.

    00:41:30,448 –> 00:41:32,615
    My sister is not crazy.

    00:41:32,617 –> 00:41:37,220
    Ellen, I know you see flashes
    of the Daria that you remember,

    00:41:37,222 –> 00:41:39,189
    the strong woman,
    the woman who escaped,

    00:41:39,191 –> 00:41:41,457
    and the woman
    who wants to get better,

    00:41:41,459 –> 00:41:44,294
    but your sister
    is permanently damaged

    00:41:44,296 –> 00:41:47,030
    because of what
    he did to her.

    00:41:47,032 –> 00:41:50,366
    This is where
    she needs to be.

    00:41:50,368 –> 00:41:52,869
    I am truly sorry.

    00:41:56,941 –> 00:41:59,375
    She just wanted
    to say good-bye.

    00:41:59,377 –> 00:42:01,578
    It’s time
    for therapy now.

    00:42:01,580 –> 00:42:03,346
    So, that’s it?

    00:42:03,348 –> 00:42:05,215
    Was I helpful?

    00:42:05,217 –> 00:42:08,418
    Yes, you were.

    00:42:08,420 –> 00:42:11,921
    I have everything
    that I need.

    00:42:13,724 –> 00:42:16,059
    You take care, Daria.

    00:42:22,700 –> 00:42:27,670
    Hey. Do you think
    you’ll ever catch Joe’s partner?

    00:42:40,317 –> 00:42:42,151
    I’m not sure.

    00:42:42,153 –> 00:42:45,488
    But we’re still looking.

    00:42:45,490 –> 00:42:48,458
    Well, good luck.

    00:42:49,493 –> 00:42:51,194
    Good-bye, Daria.

    00:43:10,848 –> 00:43:13,583
    Morgan: “There are times
    when the mind is dealt such a blow,

    00:43:13,585 –> 00:43:15,752
    “it hides itself
    in insanity.

    00:43:15,754 –> 00:43:19,289
    “There are times when
    reality is nothing but pain.

    00:43:19,291 –> 00:43:24,627
    And to escape that pain,
    the mind must leave reality behind.”

    00:43:24,629 –> 00:43:27,597
    Patrick Rothfuss.

    00:43:27,599 –> 00:43:32,599
    == sync, corrected by elderman ==


    15 December 2013 at 17:01

    Piquerism or picquerism (from the French piquer – “to prick”) is sexual interest in penetrating the skin of another person, sometimes serious enough to cause death. Piquerism is a paraphilia. The most frequently targeted areas of the body are the breasts, buttocks, or groin.


    Andrei Chikatilo
    Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo was impotent and could only achieve sexual arousal through stabbing and cutting people with a knife.

    Jack the Ripper
    Dr. Robert D. Keppel and his colleagues concluded in an analysis of London’s Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 that “the injuries sustained by the victims displayed the signature characteristic of picquerism.”

    Albert Fish
    Notorious serial killer Albert Fish has been said to have engaged in piquerism upon his victims and his own body, flagellating himself constantly with a nail-studded board. After his arrest and subsequent jailing for the murder of Grace Budd, an X-Ray revealed at least 29 needles that were inserted into his groin.
    X-Ray of pelvis of Albert Fish showing over a dozen needles inserted.


    Jack the Ripper
    20 March 2014 at 18:34

    Jack the Ripper is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was widely disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by a journalist in a deliberate attempt to heighten interest in the story. Within the crime case files as well as journalistic accounts the killer was known as “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron”.

    Attacks ascribed to the Ripper typically involved female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums of London and whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. The removal of internal organs from at least three of the victims led to proposals that their killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge. Rumours that the murders were connected intensified in September and October 1888, and letters from a writer or writers purporting to be the murderer were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard. The “From Hell” letter, received by George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, included half of a preserved human kidney, supposedly from one of the victims. Mainly because of the extraordinarily brutal character of the murders, and because of media treatment of the events, the public came increasingly to believe in a single serial killer known as “Jack the Ripper”.

    Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper. An investigation into a series of brutal killings in Whitechapel up to 1891 was unable to connect all the killings conclusively to the murders of 1888, but the legend of Jack the Ripper solidified. As the murders were never solved, the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term “ripperology” was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are now over one hundred theories about the Ripper’s identity, and the murders have inspired multiple works of fiction.


    In the mid-19th century, Britain experienced an influx of Irish immigrants, who swelled the populations of the major cities, including the East End of London. From 1882, Jewish refugees from pogroms in Tsarist Russia and other areas of Eastern Europe emigrated into the same area. The civil parish of Whitechapel in London’s East End became increasingly overcrowded. Work and housing conditions worsened, and a significant economic underclass developed. Robbery, violence and alcohol dependency were commonplace, and the endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution. In October 1888, London’s Metropolitan Police Service estimated that there were 62 brothels and 1,200 women working as prostitutes in Whitechapel. The economic problems were accompanied by a steady rise in social tensions. Between 1886 and 1889, frequent demonstrations, such as that of 13 November 1887, led to police intervention and further public unrest. Anti-semitism, crime, nativism, racism, social disturbance, and severe deprivation fed public perceptions that Whitechapel was a notorious den of immorality. In 1888, such perceptions were strengthened when a series of vicious and grotesque murders attributed to “Jack the Ripper” received unprecedented coverage in the media.


    The large number of attacks against women in the East End during this era adds uncertainty to how many victims were killed by the same person.[7] Eleven separate murders, stretching from 3 April 1888 to 13 February 1891, were included in a London Metropolitan Police Service investigation, and were known collectively in the police docket as the “Whitechapel murders”. Opinions vary as to whether these murders should be linked to the same culprit, but five of the eleven Whitechapel murders, known as the “canonical five”, are widely believed to be the work of the Ripper. Most experts point to deep throat slashes, abdominal and genital-area mutilation, removal of internal organs, and progressive facial mutilations as the distinctive features of Jack the Ripper’s modus operandi. The first two cases in the Whitechapel murders file, those of Emma Elizabeth Smith and Martha Tabram, are not included in the canonical five.

    Smith was robbed and sexually assaulted on Osborn Street, Whitechapel, on 3 April 1888. A blunt object was inserted into her vagina, rupturing her peritoneum. She developed peritonitis, and died the following day at London Hospital. She said that she had been attacked by two or three men, one of whom was a teenager. The attack was linked to the later murders by the press, but most authors attribute it to gang violence unrelated to the Ripper case.

    Tabram was killed on 7 August 1888; she had suffered 39 stab wounds. The savagery of the murder, the lack of obvious motive, and the closeness of the location (George Yard, Whitechapel) and date to those of the later Ripper murders led police to link them. The attack differs from the canonical murders in that Tabram was stabbed rather than slashed at the throat and abdomen, and many experts today do not connect it with the later murders because of the difference in the wound pattern.

    Canonical five

    The canonical five Ripper victims are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. Nichols’ body was discovered at about 3:40 a.m. on Friday 31 August 1888 in Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), Whitechapel. The throat was severed by two cuts, and the lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. Several other incisions on the abdomen were caused by the same knife.

    Chapman’s body was discovered at about 6 a.m. on Saturday 8 September 1888 near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. As in the case of Mary Ann Nichols, the throat was severed by two cuts. The abdomen was slashed entirely open, and it was later discovered that the uterus had been removed. At the inquest, one witness described seeing Chapman at about 5:30 a.m. with a dark-haired man of “shabby-genteel” appearance.

    Stride and Eddowes were killed in the early morning of Sunday 30 September 1888. Stride’s body was discovered at about 1 a.m., in Dutfield’s Yard, off Berner Street (now Henriques Street) in Whitechapel. The cause of death was one clear-cut incision which severed the main artery on the left side of the neck. Uncertainty about whether Stride’s murder should be attributed to the Ripper, or whether he was interrupted during the attack, stems from the absence of mutilations to the abdomen. Witnesses who thought they saw Stride with a man earlier that night gave differing descriptions: some said her companion was fair, others dark; some said he was shabbily dressed, others well-dressed.

    Eddowes’ body was found in Mitre Square, in the City of London, three-quarters of an hour after Stride’s. The throat was severed, and the abdomen was ripped open by a long, deep, jagged wound. The left kidney and the major part of the uterus had been removed. A local man, Joseph Lawende, had passed through the square with two friends shortly before the murder, and he described seeing a fair-haired man of shabby appearance with a woman who may have been Eddowes. His companions were unable to confirm his description. Eddowes’ and Stride’s murders were later called the “double event”. Part of Eddowes’ bloodied apron was found at the entrance to a tenement in Goulston Street, Whitechapel. Some writing on the wall above the apron piece, which became known as the Goulston Street graffito, seemed to implicate a Jew or Jews, but it was unclear whether the graffito was written by the murderer as he dropped the apron piece, or merely incidental. Police Commissioner Charles Warren feared the graffito might spark anti-semitic riots, and ordered it washed away before dawn.

    Black and white photograph of an eviscerated human body lying on a bed. The face is mutilated.
    Official police photograph of Mary Kelly’s murder scene in 13 Miller’s Court

    Kelly’s mutilated body was discovered lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields, at 10:45 a.m. on Friday 9 November 1888. The throat had been severed down to the spine, and the abdomen almost emptied of its organs. The heart was missing.

    The canonical five murders were perpetrated at night, on or close to a weekend, and either at the end of a month or a week or so after. The mutilations became increasingly severe as the series of murders proceeded, except for that of Stride, whose attacker may have been interrupted. Nichols was not missing any organs; Chapman’s uterus was taken; Eddowes had her uterus and a kidney removed and her face mutilated; and Kelly’s body was eviscerated and her face hacked away, though only her heart was missing from the crime scene.

    Historically, the belief that these five crimes were committed by the same man derives from contemporary documents that link them together to the exclusion of others. In 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, Assistant Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police Service and Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), wrote a report that stated: “the Whitechapel murderer had 5 victims-& 5 victims only”. Similarly, the canonical five victims were linked together in a letter written by the police surgeon Thomas Bond to Robert Anderson, head of the London CID, on 10 November 1888. Some researchers have posited that while some of the murders were undoubtedly the work of a single killer, an unknown larger number of killers acting independently were responsible for the others. Authors Stewart P. Evans and Donald Rumbelow argue that the canonical five is a “Ripper myth” and that while three cases (Nichols, Chapman, and Eddowes) can be definitely linked, there is less certainty over Stride and Kelly, and less again over Tabram. Conversely, others suppose that the six murders between Tabram and Kelly were the work of a single killer. Dr Percy Clark, assistant to the examining pathologist George Bagster Phillips, linked only three of the murders and thought the others were perpetrated by “weak-minded individual[s] … induced to emulate the crime”. Macnaghten did not join the police force until the year after the murders, and his memorandum contains serious factual errors about possible suspects.

    Later Whitechapel murders

    Kelly is generally considered to be the Ripper’s final victim, and it is assumed that the crimes ended because of the culprit’s death, imprisonment, institutionalisation, or emigration. The Whitechapel murders file does, however, detail another four murders that happened after the canonical five: those of Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street torso and Frances Coles.

    Mylett was found strangled in Clarke’s Yard, High Street, Poplar on 20 December 1888. As there was no sign of a struggle, the police believed that she had accidentally choked herself while in a drunken stupor, or committed suicide.[39] Nevertheless, the inquest jury returned a verdict of murder.

    McKenzie was killed on 17 July 1889 by severance of the left carotid artery. Several minor bruises and cuts were found on the body, discovered in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. One of the examining pathologists, Thomas Bond, believed this to be a Ripper murder, though another pathologist, George Bagster Phillips, who had examined the bodies of three previous victims, disagreed.[40] Later writers are also divided between those who think that her murderer copied the Ripper’s modus operandi to deflect suspicion from himself, and those that ascribe it to the Ripper.

    “The Pinchin Street torso” was a headless and legless torso of an unidentified woman found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on 10 September 1889. It seems probable that the murder was committed elsewhere and that parts of the dismembered body were dispersed for disposal.

    Coles was killed on 13 February 1891 under a railway arch at Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. Her throat was cut but the body was not mutilated. James Thomas Sadler, seen earlier with her, was arrested by the police, charged with her murder and was briefly thought to be the Ripper. He was, however, discharged from court for lack of evidence on 3 March 1891.

    Other alleged victims

    In addition to the eleven Whitechapel murders, commentators have linked other attacks to the Ripper. In one case, that of “Fairy Fay”, it is unclear whether the attack was real or fabricated as a part of Ripper lore. “Fairy Fay” was a nickname given to a victim allegedly found on 26 December 1887 “after a stake had been thrust through her abdomen”, but there were no recorded murders in Whitechapel at or around Christmas 1887. “Fairy Fay” could have been created by the press through confusion of the details of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith with a separate non-fatal attack the previous Christmas. Most authors agree that “Fairy Fay” never existed.

    Annie Millwood was admitted to Whitechapel workhouse infirmary with stab wounds in the legs and lower abdomen on 25 February 1888. She was discharged but died from apparently natural causes aged 38 on 31 March 1888. She was later postulated as the Ripper’s first victim, but the attack cannot be linked definitely. Another supposed early victim was Ada Wilson, who reportedly survived being stabbed twice in the neck on 28 March 1888. Annie Farmer, who resided at the same lodging house as Martha Tabram, reported an attack on 21 November 1888. She had a superficial cut on her throat, but it was possibly self-inflicted.

    Drawing of three men discovering the torso of a woman
    “The Whitehall Mystery” of October 1888

    “The Whitehall Mystery” was a term coined for the discovery of a headless torso of a woman on 2 October 1888 in the basement of the new Metropolitan Police headquarters being built in Whitehall. An arm belonging to the body was previously discovered floating in the river Thames near Pimlico, and one of the legs was subsequently discovered buried near where the torso was found. The other limbs and head were never recovered and the body was never identified. The mutilations were similar to those in the Pinchin Street case, where the legs and head were severed but not the arms. The Whitehall Mystery and the Pinchin Street case may have been part of a series of murders, called the “Thames Mysteries”, committed by a single serial killer, dubbed the “Torso killer”. Whether Jack the Ripper and the “Torso killer” were the same person or separate serial killers active in the same area is debatable. As the modus operandi of the Torso killer differed from that of the Ripper, police at the time discounted any connection between the two. Elizabeth Jackson, a prostitute whose various body parts were collected from the river Thames between 2 and 25 June 1889, may have been another victim of the “Torso killer”.

    John Gill, a seven-year-old boy, was found murdered in Manningham, Bradford, on 29 December 1888. His legs had been severed, his abdomen opened, his intestines drawn out, and his heart and one ear removed. The similarities with the murder of Mary Kelly led to press speculation that the Ripper had killed the boy. The boy’s employer, milkman William Barrett, was twice arrested for the murder on circumstantial evidence but was released.[60] No-one else was ever prosecuted.

    Carrie Brown (nicknamed “Shakespeare”, reportedly for quoting Shakespeare’s sonnets) was strangled with clothing and then mutilated with a knife on 24 April 1891 in New York City. Her body was found with a large tear through her groin area and superficial cuts on her legs and back. No organs were removed from the scene, though an ovary, either purposely removed or unintentionally dislodged, was found upon the bed. At the time, the murder was compared to those in Whitechapel, though the Metropolitan Police eventually ruled out any connection.


    Sketch of a whiskered man in profile
    Inspector Frederick Abberline, 1888

    The surviving police files on the Whitechapel murders allow a detailed view of investigative procedure in the Victorian era. A large team of policemen conducted house-to-house inquiries throughout Whitechapel. Forensic material was collected and examined. Suspects were identified, traced and either examined more closely or eliminated from the inquiry. Police work follows the same pattern today. More than 2,000 people were interviewed, “upwards of 300″ people were investigated, and 80 people were detained.

    The investigation was initially conducted by the Metropolitan Police Whitechapel (H) Division Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the murder of Nichols, Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore, and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. After the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London, the City Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were involved. However, overall direction of the murder enquiries was hampered by the fact that the newly appointed head of the CID, Robert Anderson, was on leave in Switzerland between 7 September and 6 October, during the time Chapman, Stride and Eddowes were killed. This prompted the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to coordinate the enquiry from Scotland Yard.

    Drawing of a blind-folded policeman with arms outstretched in the midst of a bunch of ragamuffin ruffians
    “Blind man’s buff”: Punch cartoon by John Tenniel (22 September 1888) criticising the police’s alleged incompetence. The failure of the police to capture the killer reinforced the attitude held by radicals that the police were inept and mismanaged.

    Partly because of dissatisfaction with the police effort, a group of volunteer citizens in London’s East End called the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters, petitioned the government to raise a reward for information about the killer, and hired private detectives to question witnesses independently.

    Butchers, slaughterers, surgeons and physicians were suspected because of the manner of the mutilations. A surviving note from Major Henry Smith, Acting Commissioner of the City Police, indicates that the alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the inquiry. A report from Inspector Swanson to the Home Office confirms that 76 butchers and slaughterers were visited, and that the inquiry encompassed all their employees for the previous six months. Some contemporary figures, including Queen Victoria, thought the pattern of the murders indicated that the culprit was a butcher or cattle drover on one of the cattle boats that plied between London and mainland Europe. Whitechapel was close to the London Docks, and usually such boats docked on Thursday or Friday and departed on Saturday or Sunday. The cattle boats were examined but the dates of the murders did not coincide with a single boat’s movements and the transfer of a crewman between boats was also ruled out.

    Criminal profiling

    At the end of October, Robert Anderson asked police surgeon Thomas Bond to give his opinion on the extent of the murderer’s surgical skill and knowledge.[73] The opinion offered by Bond on the character of the “Whitechapel murderer” is the earliest surviving offender profile. Bond’s assessment was based on his own examination of the most extensively mutilated victim and the post mortem notes from the four previous canonical murders. He wrote:

    All five murders no doubt were committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right, in the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman’s head must have been lying. All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was first cut.

    Bond was strongly opposed to the idea that the murderer possessed any kind of scientific or anatomical knowledge, or even “the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer”. In his opinion the killer must have been a man of solitary habits, subject to “periodical attacks of homicidal and erotic mania”, with the character of the mutilations possibly indicating “satyriasis”. Bond also stated that “the homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that religious mania may have been the original disease but I do not think either hypothesis is likely”.

    While there is no evidence of any sexual activity with any of the victims, psychologists suppose that the penetration of the victims with a knife and “leaving them on display in sexually degrading positions with the wounds exposed” indicates that the perpetrator derived sexual pleasure from the attacks. This view is challenged by others who dismiss such hypotheses as insupportable supposition.


    Cartoon of a man holding a bloody knife looking contemptuously at a display of half-a-dozen supposed and dissimilar likenesses
    Speculation as to the identity of Jack the Ripper: cover of the 21 September 1889, issue of Puck magazine, by cartoonist Tom Merry

    The concentration of the killings around weekends and public holidays, and within a few streets of each other, has indicated to many that the Ripper was in regular employment and lived locally. Others have thought the killer was an educated upper-class man, possibly a doctor or an aristocrat, who ventured into Whitechapel from a more well-to-do area. Such theories draw on cultural perceptions such as fear of the medical profession, mistrust of modern science, or the exploitation of the poor by the rich. Suspects proposed years after the murders include virtually anyone remotely connected to the case by contemporary documents, as well as many famous names, who were never considered in the police investigation. As everyone alive at the time is now dead, modern authors are free to accuse anyone, “without any need for any supporting historical evidence”. Suspects named in contemporary police documents include three in Sir Melville Macnaghten’s 1894 memorandum, but the evidence against them is circumstantial at best.

    Despite the many and varied theories about the identity and profession of Jack the Ripper, authorities are not agreed upon any of them and the number of named suspects reaches over one hundred.


    Jack the Ripper letters
    “Dear Boss” letter
    “Saucy Jacky” postcard
    “From Hell” letter
    Openshaw letter

    Over the course of the Ripper murders, the police, newspapers and others received hundreds of letters regarding the case. Some were well-intentioned offers of advice for catching the killer but the vast majority were useless.

    Hundreds of letters claimed to have been written by the killer himself, and three of these in particular are prominent: the “Dear Boss” letter, the “Saucy Jacky” postcard and the “From Hell” letter.

    The “Dear Boss” letter, dated 25 September, was postmarked 27 September 1888. It was received that day by the Central News Agency, and was forwarded to Scotland Yard on 29 September. Initially it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter’s postmark with one ear partially cut off, the letter’s promise to “clip the ladys (sic) ears off” gained attention. However, Eddowes’ ear appears to have been nicked by the killer incidentally during his attack, and the letter writer’s threat to send the ears to the police was never carried out. The name “Jack the Ripper” was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied this letter’s tone. Some sources claim that another letter, dated 17 September 1888, was the first to use the name “Jack the Ripper”, but most experts believe this was a fake inserted into police records in the 20th century.

    Scrawled and misspelled note reading: From hell-Mr Lusk-Sir I send you half the kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer-Signed Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk
    The “From Hell” letter

    The “Saucy Jacky” postcard was postmarked 1 October 1888 and was received the same day by the Central News Agency. The handwriting was similar to the “Dear Boss” letter. It mentions that two victims were killed very close to one another: “double event this time”, which was thought to refer to the murders of Stride and Eddowes. It has been argued that the letter was mailed before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would have such knowledge of the crime, but it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known by journalists and residents of the area.

    The “From Hell” letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, on 16 October 1888. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the “Dear Boss” letter and “Saucy Jacky” postcard.[99] The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half of a kidney, preserved in “spirits of wine” (ethanol). Eddowes’ left kidney had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he “fried and ate” the missing kidney half. There is disagreement over the kidney: some contend it belonged to Eddowes, while others argue it was nothing more than a macabre practical joke. The kidney was examined by Dr Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital, who determined that it was human and from the left side, but (contrary to false newspaper reports) he could not determine its gender or age. Openshaw subsequently also received a letter signed “Jack the Ripper”.

    Scotland Yard published facsimiles of the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard on 3 October, in the ultimately vain hope that someone would recognise the handwriting. In a letter to Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Charles Warren explained “I think the whole thing a hoax but of course we are bound to try & ascertain the writer in any case.” On 7 October 1888, George R. Sims in the Sunday newspaper Referee implied scathingly that the letter was written by a journalist “to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high”. Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard. The journalist was identified as Tom Bullen in a letter from Chief Inspector John Littlechild to George R. Sims dated 23 September 1913. A journalist called Fred Best reportedly confessed in 1931 that he had written the letters to “keep the business alive”.


    Ghastly murder in the East End. Dreadful mutilation of a woman. Capture: Leather Apron
    Newspaper broadsheet referring to the killer as “Leather Apron”, September 1888

    The Ripper murders mark an important watershed in the treatment of crime by journalists. While not the first serial killer, Jack the Ripper’s case was the first to create a worldwide media frenzy. Tax reforms in the 1850s had enabled the publication of inexpensive newspapers with wider circulation. These mushroomed later in the Victorian era to include mass-circulation newspapers as cheap as a halfpenny, along with popular magazines such as The Illustrated Police News, which made the Ripper the beneficiary of previously unparalleled publicity.

    After the murder of Nichols in early September, the Manchester Guardian reported that: “Whatever information may be in the possession of the police they deem it necessary to keep secret … It is believed their attention is particularly directed to … a notorious character known as ‘Leather Apron’.” Journalists were frustrated by the unwillingness of the CID to reveal details of their investigation to the public, and so resorted to writing reports of questionable veracity. Imaginative descriptions of “Leather Apron” appeared in the press, but rival journalists dismissed these as “a mythical outgrowth of the reporter’s fancy”. John Pizer, a local Jew who made footwear from leather, was known by the name “Leather Apron” and was arrested, even though the investigating inspector reported that “at present there is no evidence whatsoever against him”. He was soon released after the confirmation of his alibis.

    After the publication of the “Dear Boss” letter, “Jack the Ripper” supplanted “Leather Apron” as the name adopted by the press and public to describe the killer. The name “Jack” was already used to describe another fabled London attacker: “Spring-heeled Jack”, who supposedly leapt over walls to strike at his victims and escape as quickly as he came. The invention and adoption of a nickname for a particular killer became standard media practice with examples such as the Axeman of New Orleans, the Boston Strangler, and the Beltway Sniper. Examples derived from Jack the Ripper include the French Ripper, the Düsseldorf Ripper, the Camden Ripper, the Blackout Ripper, Jack the Stripper, the Yorkshire Ripper, and the Rostov Ripper. Sensational press reports, combined with the fact that no one was ever convicted of the murders, have confused scholarly analysis and created a legend that casts a shadow over later serial killers.


    A phantom brandishing a knife floats through a slum street
    The ‘Nemesis of Neglect': Jack the Ripper depicted as a phantom stalking Whitechapel, and as an embodiment of social neglect, in a Punch cartoon of 1888

    The nature of the murders and of the victims drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End, and galvanised public opinion against the overcrowded, unsanitary slums. In the two decades after the murders, the worst of the slums were cleared and demolished, but the streets and some buildings survive and the legend of the Ripper is still promoted by guided tours of the murder sites. The Ten Bells public house in Commercial Street was frequented by at least one of the victims and was the focus of such tours for many years.

    In the immediate aftermath of the murders, and later, “Jack the Ripper became the children’s bogey man.”] Depictions were often phantasmic or monstrous. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was depicted in film dressed in everyday clothes as a man with a hidden secret preying on his unsuspecting victims; atmosphere and evil were suggested through lighting effects and shadowplay. By the 1960s, the Ripper had become “the symbol of a predatory aristocracy”, and was more often portrayed in a top hat dressed as a gentleman. The Establishment as a whole became the villain with the Ripper acting as a manifestation of upper-class exploitation. The image of the Ripper merged with or borrowed symbols from horror stories, such as Dracula’s cloak or Victor Frankenstein’s organ harvest. The fictional world of the Ripper can fuse with multiple genres, ranging from Sherlock Holmes to Japanese erotic horror.

    In addition to the contradictions and unreliability of contemporary accounts, attempts to identify the real killer are hampered by the lack of surviving forensic evidence. DNA analysis on extant letters is inconclusive; the available material has been handled many times and is too contaminated to provide meaningful results.

    Jack the Ripper features in hundreds of works of fiction and works which straddle the boundaries between fact and fiction, including the Ripper letters and a hoax Diary of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper appears in novels, short stories, poems, comic books, games, songs, plays, operas, television programmes and films. More than 100 non-fiction works deal exclusively with the Jack the Ripper murders, making it one of the most written-about true-crime subjects. The term “ripperology” was coined by Colin Wilson in the 1970s to describe the study of the case by professionals and amateurs. The periodicals Ripperana, Ripperologist and Ripper Notes publish their research.

    Unlike murderers of lesser fame, there is no waxwork figure of Jack the Ripper at Madame Tussauds’ Chamber of Horrors, in accordance with their policy of not modelling persons whose likeness is unknown. He is instead depicted as a shadow. In 2006, Jack the Ripper was selected by BBC History magazine and its readers as the worst Briton in history.

  • Virtual Chitchatting 9:33 AM on 2014/03/20 Permalink  

    dana coco williams money laundering 

    She tweeted: ‘Cosmo is always talkin crap about me! Paparazzi took pics while I was at dog park!
    ‘They think I’m skanky cuz I’m wearing a tank top?? So stupid.’
    The blonde took her pups out as she showed an eye-watering amount of cleavage.

    Coco was doing social media well for herself.

    why chicks love high heels




    Regulators Renew Their Focus on Anti-Money Laundering Compliance
    Jamie L. Boucher, Sean M. Thornton, Khalil N. Maalouf
    January 16, 2014 | *Skadden’s 2014 Insights – Financial Regulation |

    A resurgence in anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement over the last few years reflects a renewed post-crisis focus on compliance with the regulatory requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) imposed on banks (AML Compliance). With financial institutions generally on the mend in the wake of the global financial crisis, state and federal prosecutors, as well as the federal banking agencies, have redirected their attention toward AML Compliance lapses. This trend has resulted in a number of notable enforcement actions against major financial institutions leading to deferred prosecution agreements, regulatory sanctions and large fines. Fines have grown substantially during this period; internationally active banks, in particular, have incurred staggering fines up to nearly $2 billion. In addition, for such banks, AML Compliance deficiencies have been associated, from a supervisory perspective, with problems in related areas such as compliance with economic and trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

    In recent statements, regulators have signaled a greater focus on pursuing enforcement efforts. For example, in a speech to the Global Economic Policy Forum in November 2013, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley highlighted “the apparent lack of respect for law, regulation and the public trust” evident by some large financial institutions, adding that “[t]ough enforcement and high penalties will certainly help focus management’s attention on this issue.” This tough enforcement posture, coupled with mounting pressure on Capitol Hill to criminally indict financial institutions for BSA/AML violations, sets the stage for a very active enforcement landscape in 2014.

    At the same time, there has been an increase in enforcement actions and penalties directed at the AML Compliance shortcomings of regional and smaller banks. The growth in such actions also has emerged as an obstacle for institutions contemplating or engaging in mergers and acquisitions.
    Recent Supervisory and Enforcement Actions

    Internationally Active Banks. Authorities have scrutinized large banks with global footprints for AML Compliance in connection with alleged oversight and monitoring deficiencies of their international activities. When entering into deferred prosecution agreements or cease-and-desist orders, authorities have identified a number of AML Compliance issues:

    • Not maintaining an effective AML program and system of internal controls to adequately oversee the institution’s activities.
    • Failure to conduct appropriate due diligence on foreign correspondent account holders.
    • Inadequate monitoring involving remote deposit capture/international cash letter activity in the institution’s foreign correspondent banking business.
    • Deficiencies in ensuring that suspicious activity at a foreign branch is communicated effectively to other affected branches within the institution’s network.
    • Failure to ensure that, on a risk basis, customer transactions at foreign branch locations can be effectively assessed, aggregated and monitored.
    • Conducting inadequate customer due diligence on retail and international banking customers.

    In addition to AML Compliance shortcomings, some institutions were cited for OFAC violations, reflecting a growing interconnection between OFAC and BSA/AML issues as matters of supervisory concern. To address these deficiencies, institutions have been required to take various remedial actions, including:

    • Retaining independent compliance monitors.
    • Improving information sharing systems and increasing AML staffing.
    • Linking executive bonuses to compliance performance.
    • “Clawing back” deferred compensation bonuses given to senior AML and compliance officers.
    • Ensuring compliance officer independence from the business lines.
    • Establishing board-level compliance committees.

    Of note, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, coordinated closely with U.S. authorities, including federal and local prosecutors as well as federal regulators, in a recent multiparty investigation of an internationally active bank. The FCA also independently required the institution to bolster its AML compliance systems and employ an independent monitor.

    Suspicious Activity Report (SARs) Filings. Regulators have taken a closer look at the adequacy and promptness of SARs filings. Last fall, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a civil money penalty against a national bank. The penalty was for the bank’s failure to file a series of SARs relating to suspicious account activity involving a fraudulent investment scheme undertaken by one of the bank’s customers. The SEC also fined the bank and filed charges against one of its former executives who was accused of enabling the scheme. In connection with this matter, Andrew J. Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stated that “[f]inancial institutions are key gatekeepers in the transactions and investments they facilitate and will be held to a high standard of accountability when their officers enable fraud.” Earlier in 2013, the OCC similarly assessed a civil money penalty against another national bank for, among other alleged misconduct, the bank’s late filing of SARs involving cash transactions in which there were indications of illegal “structuring.”

    Smaller Institutions Subject to Scrutiny. Regional and smaller institutions also face greater AML Compliance scrutiny. Regulators and prosecutors have expressed concern that as larger institutions move to reduce risk in their foreign correspondent banking and bulk cash businesses, smaller banks will assume these activities despite having less developed systems of controls and infrastructure to manage the associated risks. For example, FinCEN and the OCC levied a fine on a community bank in September 2013 in conjunction with a civil forfeiture action brought by the DOJ. Regulators identified AML Compliance deficiencies in connection with the bank’s failure to conduct adequate due diligence on foreign correspondent accounts, and to detect and adequately report in a timely manner suspicious activities in the accounts of foreign money exchange houses.

    Impact on an Institution’s Growth. Federal banking agencies’ response to AML Compliance deficiencies includes enforcement actions and assessing money penalties, but also places limits on institutions’ growth via mergers and acquisitions. The Federal Reserve recently exercised such powers by suspending a bank acquisition pending the implementation of a comprehensive plan to fix deficiencies in the acquiror’s internal BSA/AML controls. As an institution expands, whether organically or through acquisitions, regulators expect compliance resources, staffing and expertise to keep pace with growth. Changes in regulatory compliance and bank examination priorities have created greater uncertainty for buyers and sellers alike for transactions that may require at least six months to complete.
    Key Takeaways From Recent Supervisory and Enforcement Actions

    A review of the publicly available actions reveals the following important takeaways:

    High-Risk Areas. Institutions should ensure adequate and effective AML Compliance programs, systems and procedures. Specifically, BSA/AML programs need to be updated to take into account higher risk areas, such as foreign correspondent banking practices and bulk cash transactions. AML information technology and transaction monitoring systems should be updated to reflect these risks.

    Compliance Infrastructure. Institutions should commit more resources to ensure strong compliance programs. Moreover, compliance staff must have the authority to fully implement a BSA compliance program consistent with the risks and the institution’s profile, and, as needed, to question account relationships and business plans.

    Independent Compliance Function. Compliance staff also should be independent from the business line and not subject to evaluation or performance determinations from the business.

    Independent Reviews. In scrutinizing the adequacy and promptness of SARs filings, enforcement actions increasingly are requiring institutions to conduct independent reviews of transaction and account activity.

    This memorandum is provided by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and its affiliates for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. This memorandum is considered advertising under applicable state laws.

    • This article appeared in the firm’s sixth annual edition of Insights on January 16, 2014.

    Hitha Prabhakar: Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists


    Part I The Piracy Economy

    Chapter 1
    Organized Retail Crime Goes Global . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
    Why Is ORC Such a Threat? . 11
    The Promised Land: Money Talks 13
    Made in America: Homegrown Terrorism 17
    Recruiting from the Inside 19
    From Prison to Gangs to the World’s Most Notorious Terrorist Group 21
    Access to Funding Gets Creative 25
    Burrowing In: The Hezbollah Finds a Home in the U.S. and South America 27
    From America to South America: Ties Get Stronger in the Tri-Border Region . 28

    Chapter 2
    When a Deal Isn’t a Deal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
    Getting a Slice of Luxury the Cheapest Way Possible . 34
    The “Real Deal” . 36
    Dying for a Deal: The Recession Doesn’t Make Aspirations Go Away 38
    Big Takedowns Take Precedence Over Smaller Offenders 39
    Counterfeiters and ORC Move Their Operations Online 40
    eBay’s Swift Response 42
    Too Little, Too Late . 44
    Lurking in the Shadows: Stolen Gift Cards Bought Online 45
    Easy to Obtain, Easy to Sell 46
    Fake-out: Retailers Fronting as Legitimate Stores 48
    Protecting Yourself: Know the Signs of E-fencing/ORC . 51

    Chapter 3
    The Cost to the Stores . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
    The Blame Game . 54
    Insider Information: Employee Theft and ORC 54
    Human Resources Fail: Hiring the Wrong People 56
    Wholesale Scam: Terrorist-Affiliated Warehouses Sell to the Little Guy 61
    Taking a Bite Out of the Balance Sheet: Economic Downturn Fosters Cargo Theft . 64
    Coordinating Information in Real Time: LAPD and APD Case Studies . 67

    Part II Follow the Money

    Chapter 4
    The Money Trail and the Business of Cross-Border Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
    The Warehouse: Ground Zero for Cross-Border Trade . 80
    Profile of a Purchaser 81
    Keeping Shelves Stocked Through Cargo Theft 83
    Coveted Items: Over-the-Counter Drugs . 84
    Profile of a Cargo Thief . 86
    “Shell Stores”: A Conduit for Organized Retail Crime . 87
    Shell Stores Move Online 89
    A Hotbed of Stolen Merchandise: Flea Markets . 91
    Nabbing the Bad Guys: Classifying Organized Retail Crime as a Felony 91
    Insurance Companies: The Missing Link . 93
    The Gray Market: Another Retail Facilitator of ORC . 94
    Laws Have Been Passed, But Are They Helping? . 95

    Chapter 5
    Profile of a Booster and a Fence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
    Moving the Merchandise: The Role of a Fence . 100
    Being Convicted as a Level 1 Fence: More Like a Slap on the Wrist Than a Slap in the Face . 101
    The Level 2 Booster: Inside the Mind of a Potentially Dangerous Criminal . 104
    Other Forms of Theft from a Level 2 Booster . 106
    Level 3 Boosters and Fences: A High-Level Organization Equals High Profits . 108
    Level 3 Boosters: Frequently Lifted Merchandise 112
    Curbing Boosters and Fences: What Does and Doesn’t Work 115

    Chapter 6
    Family Ties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
    When Family Funds Support Terrorism 121
    Assad Muhammad Barakat and His “Family” 123
    Illegal Entry into the U.S. Is Not Difficult—if You Have Money . 127
    The Great Entrepreneurs: Terrorists 132
    The Trust Factor: The Basis of Any Organized Retail Crime Ring 136
    Chapter 7 Money Laundering 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
    The Three Stages of Money Laundering 141
    Organized Retail Crime and Latin America . 151
    Funneling Money Through the Black Market Peso Exchange . 152
    The South American, Mexican, and African Connection 155
    Chapter 8 The Political Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
    Homegrown Terrorism: How Retail Theft and Piracy Has Funded Terrorist Operations 160
    Rebel Kids: Extremist Ideas Financed Through International ORC . 163
    When Things Went Awry . 164
    ORC Funding by Way of Somalia: A Tale of Two Misguided Kids 165
    As Local as Down the Street . 168
    Funding Evil Under the Guise of Charitable Contributions: The Mosques . 168
    Muslim Charities: Capitalizing on Natural Disaster and Religious Empathy . 169
    Terrorist Fund-Raising Via Charities Finds Roots in the U.S. 172
    Charitable Donation Loopholes: How the IRS and Banking Systems Failed to Prevent Fraudulent ORC Funds from Financing Terrorist Groups . 173
    Charities Turn to a Cyber Audience . 175
    Why the Government Can’t Regulate Charities . 175
    Chapter 9 Strange Bedfellows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
    How Banned TVs Funded Bombings . 180
    The Business of Cigarette Smuggling . 183
    The EC Versus R.J. Reynolds Tobacco . 185
    The Role of Money Brokers and Money Launderers 186
    The History of Cigarette Smuggling . 188
    Cigarette Smuggling Funds Local Terrorism Around the World 189
    Chiquita International Brands: “Either You Pay Me, or I Am Going to Kill You.” . 192
    Dole Foods’ Involvement with the Colombian Paramilitary 195

    Part III Putting a Band-Aid on a Broken Leg

    Chapter 10
    The Failure of Preventative Measures . . . . . . . . . . .201
    Acting Locally, Thinking Globally . 202
    Types of ORC Theft Prevention That Are Supposed to Work But Don’t 204
    A Bottom-Line Breakdown of Costs . 207
    Legal Issues: Defining ORC Versus Shoplifting and Shrinkage 215
    Regulating the Resale Market . 216
    Chapter 11 Letting the Bad Guy Get Away . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .219
    Regulation Epic Fail: How Banking BSAs and AML Programs Let Terrorist Funding Slip
    Through the Cracks . 222
    Continued Failure to Regulate IFTs: The Costs to Local and Federal Governments as Well as Retailers 223
    Failure to Regulate Hawalas . 224
    IFTs Get Sophisticated: Stored Value Cards 227
    Bulk Cash Smuggling Comes in a Smaller Package . 228
    Retailers Feel the Pain of SVC Fraud 230
    Credit Card Fraud Is Even Worse 231
    RICO Defined . 234
    Why ORC Rings Still Exist: Money Laundering and the RICO Statute 235
    More Problems with RICO: It’s in the Definition . 236
    Laws That Once Protected Potential Terrorists Have Changed 239
    Defining “Material Support” and “Coordination” . 239

    Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
    Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
    Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
    Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299

  • Virtual Chitchatting 2:09 PM on 2014/03/19 Permalink  

    there was a time for everyone 

    Can You Feel The Love Tonight
    Elton John

    There’s a calm surrender
    To the rush of day
    When the heat of the rolling world
    Can be turned away
    An enchanted moment
    And it sees me through
    It’s enough for this restless warrior
    Just to be with you

    And can you feel the love tonight?
    It is where we are
    It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer
    That we got this far
    And can you feel the love tonight
    How it’s laid to rest?
    It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds
    Believe the very best

    There’s a time for everyone
    If they only learn
    That the twisting kaleidoscope
    Moves us all in turn
    There’s a rhyme and reason
    To the wild outdoors
    When the heart of this star-crossed voyager
    Beats in time with yours

    It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds
    Believe the very best

    CIX Lyric Service

    Elton John – Can You Feel The Love Tonight (High Quality) – YouTube

    28 Oct 2008 – 4 min – Uploaded by Frenky121212
    ► 3:55

    Can you feel the love tonight – Elton John (Lyrics) – YouTube

    13 Nov 2008 – 4 min – Uploaded by Ravnen95
    ► 4:00

    Lion King – Can You Feel The Love Tonight – YouTube

    16 Oct 2007 – 3 min – Uploaded by WaItDisneyWorId
    ► 3:28

    Elton John – Can You Feel the Love Tonight | Music | Disney Video


    23 Mar 2012 – 4 min
    ► 3:60

  • Virtual Chitchatting 1:10 PM on 2014/03/18 Permalink  

    Jumhur Hidayat: Sang Kutu Loncat, Korlap Demo, Mantan Napi, Penghisap Darah TKI, dan Biang Mafia Kejahatan terhadap TKI
    by S3ra Sutan Rajo Ali
    Jakarta, 2014-03-18 11:02

    Beberapa waktu yang lalu, kala penulis sedang melakukan penelitian tentang TKI, penulis terpesona dengan ketertutupan data tentang TKI oleh para punggawa yang pongah di BNP2TKI.

    Kebanyakan manusia-manusia yang direkrut berasal dari Depnakertrans, yang nota bene birokrat yang tidak tahu apa-apa tentang TKI di lapangan.

    Prosedur pendaftaran dan pemberangkatan yang ribet, njelimet, tidak konsisten membuat penulis meyakini, wah ini ladang pemerasan dan penghisapan darah TKI dan CTKI.

    Ternyata, Jumhur Hidayat, bekas anggota tim sukses SBY dan piaraan bininya SBY.

    Mampuslah kau SBY. Membusuklah engkau SBY dan seluruh keturunanmu di dunia.


    “Korelasi Jumhur ‘Mafia TKI’ HIdayat Dengan Cikeas Corp”
    by @AzanIndonesia, 24/Jan/2013 01:30:12 AM PST

    #1. Jumhur Hidayat bukan kerabat Cikeas, namun dia mendekati Ibu Ani lewat istrinya Ali Febyani Prabandari
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:20:53 PM PST

    #2. Alia atau biasa dipanggil Feby ini adalah sahabat dekat Angelina Sondakh yg sama2 mantan Putri Indonesia
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:21:17 PM PST

    #3. Dari pertemanan di alumni Putri Indonesia inilah, mereka bersahabat dan mulai sering diajak masuk ke Cikeas
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:21:34 PM PST

    #4. Anggi, Feby dan Albertine Endah(penulis buku) adalah “Gosiper”/penggemar gosip infotainment yg selalu setia menemani Bu Ani
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:22:07 PM PST

    #5. Dari loby Anggi dan Feby inilah Jumhur Hidayat ini bertahan dengan rajin kirim “bingkisan” ke Bu Ani.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:22:43 PM PST

    #6. Ada satu lagi team loby ke Cikeas, yaitu Aam Sapulete & Andi Arif. Melalui jaringan ini, Jumhur aman menjalankan kejahatannya memeras TKI
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:23:37 PM PST

    #7. Selain “mengamankan” Cikeas. Jumhur jg memakai Faizol Reza dan Dita Indahsari mengamankan Muhaimin Iskandar & Dirjen Binapenta Rena Usman
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:25:19 PM PST

    #8. Melalui bisikan Reza dan Dita inilah Jumhur “memainkan” kebijakan Menaker dan Dirjen Binapenta utk mendukung kejahatan Jumhur.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:25:42 PM PST

    #9. Pemilihan konsorsium Paladin sbg pemenang tender Asuransi yg bersedia memberi diskon premi asuransi tak lepas dr main mata Reza & Jumhur
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:26:33 PM PST

    #10. Agung, Candra, Reza adalah kaki tangan Jumhur dalam merampok seluruh urat nadi kepentingan TKI sejak dan setelah pulang.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:26:55 PM PST

    #11. Para tangan kotor Jumhur ini dapat bekerja dengan aman dari incaran KPK, Bareskrim dan Kejaksaan krn dilindungi Dirpam BNP2TKI.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:27:09 PM PST

    #12. Peran Bambang selaku Dirpam BNP2TKI sgt strategis untuk mengamankan mereka dari pantauan para penegak hukum di Indonesia.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:27:23 PM PST

    #13. Bambang menjadi Dirpam BNP2TKI tak lepas dari kompromi Agung dan Candra krn sepakat akan mengamankan kejahatan mereka.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:27:40 PM PST

    #14. Jumhur memang real Mafia TKI berdarah dingin yg sudah 6 tahun bebas menghisap darah para TKI.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:28:05 PM PST

    #15. Jangan harap Cikeas akan marah mendengar ttg kejahatan Jumhur Hidayat, krn Feby selalu jadi anak manis dan disayang sama Bu Ani.
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:28:37 PM PST

    #16. Setelah Anggi masuk penjara KPK, loby ke Bu Ani tetap jalan melalui Albertine Endah(mantan wartawan Kompas).
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:28:56 PM PST

    #17. Sekian kisah tentang Kisah Mafia Perampok TKI yg dilindungi Cikeas. @TrioMacan2000
    AzanIndonesia 23/Jan/2013 08:29:34 PM PST


    Selusin Dosa Jumhur Hidayat – Kepala BNP2TKI
    KianSanter, 22nd June 2011, 09:09

    Jumhur Hidayat Orang Kaya Baru peliharaan Istana


    Sewaktu Migran Justice bikin demo di depan Istana Merdeka 31 Juli, ada 1 bundel dokumen yang diedarkan. Isinya adalah dosa-dosa Jumhur Hidayat selaku ketua BNP2TKI. Menurut dokumen ini, dosa Jumhur tak hanya moral tetapi juga mencakup pelangaran BNP2TKI terhadap UU No. 39 Tahun 2004, Perpres No. 81 Taahun 2006 dan PERMENAKER No. 18 dan No. 20 Tahun 2007 maupun peraturan lainnya. agar tak capai membacanya, saya kutipkan pokok-pokoknya dalam beberapa postingan. selamat membaca:

    1. Klaim Jumhur Hidayat sebagai aktivis NGO, tak lebih hanya mendompleng kelompok Gaspermindo. Sebagai aktivis Jumhur diragukan kemampuannya menjadi seorang birokrat. Dalam hal kapasitas dan kapabilitas Jumhur dianggap tidak akan mampu menyelesaikan berbagai permasalahan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (TKI) yang begitu komplek, baik ketika sebelum maupun setelah di luar negeri, mengingat Jumhur tidak memiliki latar belakang dan pengalaman sedikutpun tentang perbutuhan/ TKI.

    2. Di dalam Perpres 81 Tahun 2006 disebutkan bahwa Kepala Badan hanya diberikan fasilitas setingkat Eselon I a, hanya setingkat Dirjen. Dalam kenyataan Kepala BNP2TKI justru merasa sebagai kepala lembaga pemerintah non departemen super body dan setingkat Menteri, bahkan melebihi seorang Menteri, paling tidak dalam hal protoler, dimana Jumhur menggunakan 7-8 orang pengawal 2 ajudan, 3 sekretaris pribadi, 10 staff khusus. Padahal yang diamanatkan UU No. 39 Tahun 2004 maupun Perpres No. 81 Tahun 2006 adalah mengangkat 5 orang tenaga profesional. Hal ini membuktikan bila Jumhur tidak memahami sama sekali tentang birokrasi. Jumhur bahkan memaksa Kepala Biro Keuangan BNP2TKI untuk membayar sewa kontrak rumah (rumah dinas?) sebesar 250 Juta pertahun, hal yan belum pernah terjadi dala sejarah pemberian fasilitas kepada pejabat Esekon Ia.

    hijau_hijau, 22nd June 2011, 09:24
    Kalau nggak salah dulu pernah aktif di salah satu Parpol,
    Partai Daulat Rakyat bersama dengan Mantan Menkop Adi Sasono.

    ESENZA, 22nd June 2011, 10:10
    Partai busuk dengan orang2 busuk, memang paling suka berkumpul di pemerintahan busuk….dengan pemimpin busuk….klop dah!


    Sekilas Mohammad Jumhur Hidayat
    REP | 01 November 2011 | 00:00

    Moh Jumhur Hidayat Mantan Aktivis Pergerakan Mahasiswa ITB Sekarang Kepala BNP2TKI
    (Disarikan dari Manuskrip Biografi Mohammad Jumhur Hidayat, “Tetaplah Menjadi Rajawali”)

    MOHAMMAD Jumhur Hidayat lahir di Bandung, Jawa Barat pada Minggu 18 Februari 1968, sebagai anak ketiga dari empat bersaudara pasangan Mohammad Sobari Sumartadinata (almarhum) dan Ati Amiyati. Dua kakaknya, Endah Sulastiana dan Mohammad Imam Afandi, sedangkan adiknya bernama Mohammad Agung Anugerah. Pria yang sehari-hari gemar berbatik serta hobi bermain musik ini, menikah dalam usia 39 tahun dengan mempersunting runner up “Puteri Indonesia 2001″, Alia Febyani Prabandari. Perbedaan usia Jumhur dengan isterinya terpaut 12 tahun. Alia lahir di Jakarta pada Rabu 13 Februari 1980.

    Dari pernikahannya Jumhur dikaruniai dua orang anak yang masih tergolong kecil, masing-masing Ahmad Moqtav Hidayat menjelang usia 3 tahun (lahir 16 Desember 2007), dan Naeva Hilya Athahira yang kini baru sepuluh bulan (lahir 3 Desember 2010). Jumhur menikah di Jakarta pada 19 Januari 2007, sepekan setelah diangkat menjadi Kepala Badan Nasional Penempatan dan Perlindungan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (BNP2TKI) oleh Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono melalui Kepres No 02/2007 tertanggal 11 Januari 2007.

    Masa kecil Jumhur dilalui di lingkungan perumahan perusahaan perbankan nasional kawasan Palbatu, Tebet, Jakarta Selatan. Semasa hidup, ayahnya seorang pejabat di Bapindo (Bank Pembangunan Indonesia). Namun Jumhur lebih senang bermain dengan anak-anak ‘kampung’ di luar kompleks perumahannya, berikut kesukaannya bermain catur di pos ronda milik warga yang berbeda dari tempat tinggalnya.

    “Kulit saya menjadi hitam sekali dan bau karena sering bermain-main di got dengan teman sebaya luar kompleks. Sangat berbeda dengan kakak sendiri atau orang kompleks yang bersih dan wangi,” katanya tentang masa kecilnya. Ia juga dikenal dikenal sebagai anak pemberani, penuh perhatian pada orang lain, sekaligus dididik secara sederhana yang tetap melekat dalam kesederhaan hidupnya hingga saat ini.

    Mengomentari sosok Jumhur yang penuh nilai-nilai kepedulian sosial dan bersikap sederhana, seorang sahabatnya, Mochammad Fadjroel Rachman berkomentar, “Jumhur Hidayat merupakan pribadi yang menarik. Ia berangkat dengan latarbelakang sosial berkecukupan, pintar dan berprestasi, tapi justru hidupnya banyak sekali membantu orang lain,” ujarnya. “Tak ada secuil pun pakaian mahal pada diri Jumhur yang selalu berbatik itu,” tambah Fadjroel.

    Boleh jadi kesederhanaan begitu mengakar dalam jiwa Jumhur. Saat celana atau bajunya robek ia juga spontan menjahitnya sendiri. Memang, ke mana pun Jumhur pergi, kopernya tak pernah luput dari peralatan alat jahit seumpamabenang dan jarum, sehingga sewaktu-waktu dapat digunakan untuk menjahit (menyulam) pakaiannya jika kedapatan robek. Kesederhaan lain pada dirinya menyangkut soal makanan. Jumhur terbiasa menyantap indomie rebus, cireng (aci digoreng), atau bakso saat sedang berada di kantor.

    Jumhur mengenyam pendidikan dasar di SD Negeri Menteng 02 Pagi Jakarta Pusat pada 1974-1980. Lalu melanjutkan ke SMP Negeri 1 Cikini, Jakarta Pusat sampai naik kelas dua, kemudian pindah ke SMP Negeri 1 Denpasar, Bali, mengikuti penugasan ayahnya ke daerah. Pada 1983 ia masuk di SMA Negeri 1 Denpasar, Bali, sebelum pindah lagi ke SMA 3 Bandung di kelas dua.

    Aktivis Mahasiswa ke Penjara

    Selepas dari SMA 3 Bandung, Jumhur masuk Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) dan mengambil jurusan Teknik Fisika pada 1986. Sejak tercatat mahasiswa tingkat pertama di ITB, Jumhur sudah telah berkali-kali ambil bagian dalam aksi unjuk rasa mahasiswa di kampus maupun aksi lain bersama mahasiswa di kota Bandung, utamanya terkait pembelaan hak-hak petani ataupun menentang penggusuran tanah rakyat seperti dalam kasus tanah Badega, Kacapiring, Cimacan, dan Kedung Ombo yang isunya menonjol pada 1988.

    Akibat berkali-kali menyelenggarakan aksi turun ke jalan, Jumhur merasa dirinya acap menjadi target aparat keamanan. Jumhur pertama kali dijadikan target penangkapan (tepatnya oleh aparat intelijen Badan Koordinasi Stabilitas Nasional Daerah/Bakorstanasda Jawa Barat) saat ia dan kawan-kawan mengadakan pergelaran musik menyambut tahun baru 1988, menghadirkan kalangan penyanyi rakyat yang diadakan di Lapangan Basket ITB, diikuti massa sekitar 10 ribu orang terdiri mahasiswa berbagai kampus di Bandung dan masyarakat luas.

    Pada acara bertajuk “The Blue Night” itu, Jumhur menjadi pembawa acara namun kerap menggelorakan seruan-seruan perlawanan terhadap rezim Orde Baru. Selepas acara itu, beberapa hari lamanya Jumhur dan pihak penyelenggara dari ITB dicari aparat berwenang. Tapi Jumhur bersama lainnya urung ditangkap pada waktu itu.

    Penangkapan terhadap Jumhur terjadi dalam momentum peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989, yang juga melibatkan kawan-kawannya di antaranya Mochammad Fadjroel Rachman, Arnold Purba, Supriyanto alias Enin, Amarsyah, dan Bambang Sugiyanto Lasijanto.

    Salah satu alasan mengapa ia ditangkap setelah menyelenggarakan aksi mahasiswa menentang kedatangan Menteri Dalam Negeri Rudini pada hari Sabtu pukul 13.00 WIB tanggal 5 Agustus 1989 di depan kampus ITB, karena memang telah berkali-kali melakukan aksi unjuk rasa. “Aparat keamanan mendapat momentum untuk menangkap saya. Jadi, saya lalui saja karena sudah menduga hal itu,” paparnya. Tentu saja, peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989 yang membuatnya dijebloskan ke penjara merupakan pemicu utama atas penangkapannya.

    Pada sisi lain, kasus pemecatan dirinya dan lima orang rekannya sesama mahasiswa ITB-dalam peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989-telah menjadi sejarah baru dalam pergerakan mahasiswa melawan penguasa, yang sebelumnya tidak pernah terjadi. “Pemecatan saya dan kawan-kawan sebagai mahasiswa ITB itu sangat menyakitkan karena tidak fair,” tandas Jumhur, yang duduk di tahun ketiga saat dirinya dipecat. Mengenai penangkapan atau pemenjaraan yang dilaluinya tidak lah ia sesali sama sekali. Semua itu ia terima sebagai risiko perjuangan menegakkan kebenaran dan keadilan.

    Jumhur bersama rekan-rekan aktivis mahasiswa ITB pada hari Sabtu 5 Agustus 1989 menolak kehadiran Menteri Dalam Negeri Jenderal (Purn) Rudini di kampus Ganesha ITB untuk memberikan kuliah perdana pada kegiatan Penataran Pedoman Penghayatan dan Pengamalan Pancasila (P-4) mahasiswa baru ITB.

    Saat itu, sejumlah mahasiswa menghadang Mendagri di depan Kampus ITB, karena dianggap bertanggungjawab membawahi pemerintah daerah yang berkolusi dengan pengusaha dalam menggusur tanah-tanah milik rakyat. Jumhur yang berperan komandan aksi lapangan berpidato mendramatisasi situasi dan memerintahkan pembakaran ban kepada para demonstran, selain berbagai poster berisi protes pada pemerintahan Orde Baru yang juga diusung mahasiswa hinga dengan sendirinya menambah aksi semakin panas.

    Tuntutan agar Orde Baru dibubarkan salah satunya disimbolkan dengan penolakan kedatangan Rudini ke kampus ITB, teriakan kecaman dengan menuntut Soeharto turun, Orba dibubarkan, termasuk menolak indoktrinasi P-4 ke dalam lembaga pendidikan seperti ITB.

    Namun, aksi yang bermula di Jalan Tamansari dan Jalan Ganesha depan Kampus ITB itu serta merta menjadi tidak terkendali setelah aparat keamanan bersenjata lengkap menghadapinya secara represif. Aparat tidak sekadar membubarkan paksa dengan pentungan, tetapi menempatkan panser berikut ratusan polisi tambahan, sehingga membuat kemarahan mahasiswa peserta aksi. Dampak aksi pun melebar ke berbagai lokasi di sekitar kampus ITB maupun kampus lain di kota Bandung, yang menjadikan aksi 5 Agustus 1989 mendapat dukungan dari berbagai kampus.

    Akibat peristiwa “Sabtu Kelabu” itu, 11 mahasiswa ITB ditangkap aparat TNI dari Badan Koordinasi Pemantapan Stabilitas Nasional Daerah (Bakorstanasda) Jawa Barat dan dijebloskan di penjara militer Jalan Sumatra 37 Bandung selama hampir setahun tanpa pengacara dan tidak bisa dijenguk keluarga. Puluhan mahasiswa ITB lainnya dikenai skorsing 1-2 semester.

    Salah satu hal menarik yang perlu digambarkan secara khusus di sini adalah proses penangkapan terhadap Jumhur pada hari Senin 7 Agustus 1989 sekitar pukul 14.00 WIB di rumahnya di Jalan Babakan Jeruk I Nomor 6 Bandung.

    “Anda lebih setia pada orangtua Jumhur atau setiap pada negara. Kalau setia pada negara, tangkap Jumhur Hidayat!” kata Jumhur menceritakan perintah Panglima Kodam III/Siliwangi selaku Ketua Bakorstanasda Mayjen TNI Arie Sudewo kepada Letkol Inf Syamsiar.

    Syamsiar yang juga paman Jumhur atau adik ipar ibunya, langsung menyatakan “siappp…!” menjalankan perintah. Syamsiar saat itu menjabat Wakil Asisten Intelijen Kodam III/Siliwangi.

    Dalam situasi rumah yang sepi, karena kedua orangtua Jumhur sedang berada di Jakarta, Syamsiar mendatangi Jumhur yang sedang berada di kamar. “E, mang, kumaha damang,” kata Jumhur mencoba menyapa sambil bangun dari tidurnya. Syamsiar sempat mengajak bicara keponakannya.

    Tak disangka, beberapa menit kemudian sejumlah prajurit TNI anak buah Syamsiar masuk ke kamar dalam kondisi siaga untuk membawa Jumhur ke tahanan militer di kantor Bakorstanasda Jawa Barat Jalan Sumatera 37 Bandung.

    Jumhur pun langsung diinterogasi oleh sejumlah aparat keamanan berwajah garang. Jumhur sempat dipukul di bagian leher belakang oleh petugas. Interogasinya penuh dengan ancaman yang berlangsung secara keras dan mencekam. “Saya sempat disodori surat pernyataan untuk bersedia tidak bertemu lagi dengan orangtua bila terjadi apa-apa. Saya tidak mau menandatangani. Semakin saya diancam semakin keras sikap saya untuk melawan ketika itu,” tegas Jumhur.

    Jumhur tetap menyatakan aksinya merupakan spontanitas tetapi aparat tidak mempercayai. Aparat juga memberitahu bahwa rekannya, Arnold Purba alias Ucok, telah ditangkap pada hari itu pula sekitar pukul 17.00 WIB. Hingga pada Senin malam, Jumhur sempat diperlihatkan dengan Ucok sebentar, sebelum diinterogasi lagi secara maraton sampai keesokan harinya. Selanjutnya, interogasi berlangsung berkali-kali, diikuti penangkapan kawan-kawannya yang menjadi ‘pelaku’ utama peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989.

    Sebelas mahasiswa yang ditangkap aparat dan dipecat dari ITB adalah Mohammad Jumhur Hidayat, Mochammad Fadjroel Rachman, Supriyanto alias Enin, Amarsyah, Arnold Purba, Bambang SLN, Lendo Novo, A.Sobur, Wijaya Santosa, Adi SR, dan Dwito Hermanadi.

    Hampir setahun setelah peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989 itu, lima orang di antara mereka dibebaskan yakni Lendo Novo, Wijaya Santosa, A. Sobur, Adi SR, dan Dwito Hermanadi. Sementara Jumhur, Fadjroel, Enin, Arnold, Bambang, dan Amarsyah diadili dan dijatuhkan hukuman tiga tahun penjara potong masa tahanan. Selama persidangan, keenam aktivis mahasiswa ITB itu juga menjalani tahanan di Rumah Tahanan Kebonwaru, Bandung.

    Jumhur mulai diadili di Pengadilan Negeri Bandung pada hari Rabu 29 November 1989. Ia orang pertama yang diadili. Pada Kamis 8 Februari 1990, majelis hakim Pengadilan Negeri Bandung memvonis Jumhur Hidayat, Amarsyah, dan Bambang masing-masing tiga tahun penjara dipotong masa tahanan sementara.

    Majelis hakim menolak pledoi Jumhur yang diberi judul “Menggugat Rezim Anti-Demokrasi”. “Dalam pledoi yang tebal itu, saya bersama pengacara menyampaikan apa yang ada di kepala saat itu. Nggak ada lagi yang disensor,” kata Jumhur.

    Vonis terhadap Jumhur, Amarsyah, dan Bambang lebih tinggi dari tuntutan jaksa penuntut umum yang hanya menuntut hukuman atas para terdakwa itu dua tahun tiga bulan. Ketua majelis hakim Soegianto dalam amar putusan bagi Jumhur antara lain menyatakan, hal yang memberatkan terdakwa adalah tidak menunjukkan penyesalan dan perbuatannya bisa membahayakan stabilitas nasional. Sedangkan hal yang meringankan terdakwa belum pernah dihukum, masih muda, serta berlaku sopan dalam persidangan.

    Pada Kamis 15 Februari 1989, Mochamad Fadjroel Rachman dijatuhi hukuman penjara tiga tahun oleh majelis hakim yang diketuai Eko Wardoyo, SH di Pengadilan Negeri Bandung. Arnold Purba juga dijatuhi hukum tiga tahun. Pada Senin 19 Februari 1990, giliran Supriyanto alias Enin divonis hukuman penjara tiga tahun dikurangi masa penahanan.

    Mereka mengajukan banding tetapi ternyata Pengadilan Tinggi Bandung pada persidangan majelis hakim yang terpisah, Sabtu 14 April 1990 dan hari Sabtu 21 April 1990 masing-masing diketuai Moenarso, SH dan L Rukmini, SH dalam putusan banding menguatkan vonis Pengadilan Negeri Bandung. Dengan putusan itu, Jumhur, Arnold, Fadjroel, Enin, dan Amarsyah tetap divonis tiga tahun sedangkan Bambang dihukum tiga tahun tiga bulan. Kasasi yang diajukan ke Mahkamah Agung oleh para mahasiswa itu juga menguatkan putusan pengadilan sebelumnya.


    Jumat malam, 7 September 1990 tepat pukul 23.00 Wib saat langit kota Bandung beranjak gelap, sebuah mobil truk tahanan diberangkatkan dari penjara Kebonwaru, tanpa diberitahu tujuan yang jelas. Hanya ada pengawalan polisi bersenjata laras panjang, seorang supir, dan keenam terpidana mahasiswa ITB yaitu Mohammad Jumhur Hidayat, Arnold Purba alias Ucok bin Japhet Purba, Supriyanto alias Enin alias Cian Ning, Mochammad Fadjroel Rachman bin A Hisaini Suriansyah, Amarsyah, dan Bambang Sugianto Lasijanto bin Notodarmoto. Tak ada secuil barang ataupun pakaian lain yang dibawa, kecuali sebatas yang ada di badan keenam mahasiswa ITB pelaku peristiwa 5 Agustus 1989 itu.

    Sejak berangkat, suasana hati keenam mahasiswa ‘naas’ itu berkecamuk tidak menentu. Segalanya serba galau, dihantui rasa takut teramat berat. Entah mau dikirim ke mana malam-malam yang mulai sunyi dan dingin itu. Bisa saja, pikir mereka dalam kekalutan, hidupnya akan segera berakhir di ujung laras senapan dengan mayat dibuang ke tengah hutan.

    Sebelum berangkat, Jumhur memimpin doa untuk keselamatan nasib dan atas kebenaran yang mereka perjuangkan. “Kita sudah memahami bagaimana cara kerja kapitalisme dengan kekuasaan otoriter. Malam ini adalah risiko perjuangan karena kita melawan itu semua. Jadi, ini adalah risiko perjuangan. Mari kita berdoa ke hadapan Tuhan Yang Maha Esa agar diberi keselamatan untuk sebuah keyakinan yang kita perjuangkan,” kata Jumhur mengenang.

    Dalam perjalanan, Bambang Sugianto Lasijanto mengetahui dari balik mobil tersebut bahwa mereka melewati wilayah Nagrek, Garut, karenanya Jumhur dan kawan-kawan berkesimpulan akan dibawa ke penjara Nusakambangan. Keenam terpidana korban kesewenang-wenangan rezim Ore Baru itu terdiam dan keadaan di dalam mobil semakin senyap, kecuali senapan yang siap dikokang kepada mereka. Jumhur tak henti-henti bertanya dalam hati, mengapa harus dibawa ke Nusakambangan, tempat yang sebenarnya tidak pantas untuk dia dan kawan-kawan.

    Tapi pertanyaan itu seperti tak ada artinya sama sekali, hinggap sebentar dan terus-menerus mendatangi pikirannya, kemudian pergi ditelan angin serta kengerian malam di perjalanan. Dia pun menelan keheranannya secara getir.

    Selang beberapa saat ketika malam semakin pekat, para terpidana kembali dibuat terkejut. Mobil tahanan mendadak berhenti di tepi jalan pinggiran hutan, yang lokasinya diperkirakan perbatasan Jawa Barat-Jawa Tengah. Masing-masing mereka berusaha melongok ke luar jendela mobil yang dipatri jeruji besi itu, untuk mencari tahu mengapa mobil tiba-tiba dihentikan sang supir.

    “Jangan-jangan kami akan ditembak mati oleh petugas,” begitu perasaan terburuk yang bergulat di hati Jumhur dan kelima kawannya. Betapa tidak, pikir Jumhur, hegemoni rezim Orde Baru yang represif kala itu memungkinkan berbuat apa saja. Alasan bisa direkayasa seolah-olah para terpidana berusaha kabur dan petugas terpaksa “melumpuhkan”-istilah halus untuk menembak mati di tengah hutan.

    Dan dengan tangan terus terborgol erat mereka berusaha menenangkan diri walaupun kegelisahan semakin memuncak. Jumhur kembali menegaskan kepada rekan-rekannya bahwa sebagai aktivis pergerakan harus menerima risiko terburuk apa pun.

    Namun tak berapa lama, perasaan buruk di benak mereka menjadi sirna. Dari Bambang, mereka akhirnya mengetahui truk sempat berhenti karena sopirnya ‘kebelet’ buang air kecil. Jumhur sempat tersenyum dibalut perasaannya yang pahit.

    Mobil lalu melanjutkan perjalanan sampai di Lembaga Pemasyarakatan Nusakambangan, persisnya Sabtu selepas shubuh. Dalam perjalanan pun ternyata tak terjadi apa-apa. Mereka merasa lega bebas dari ketakutan yang melekat hingga ke pembuluh darah itu. Dan selama perjalanan Jumhur sempat diberi makan sekadarnya dalam posisi tangan tetap terborgol. Ia pun melakukan shalat di mobil tahanan itu dengan tangan terborgol.

    Di Nusakambangan, yang dikenal sebagai “hotel prodeo” dengan pengamanan paling maksimum (Super Maximum Security) di tanah air, para terpidana aktivis mahasiswa ITB satu-persatu dimasukkan ke sel yang berbeda. Setelah itu rasa was-was yang baru mulai menghinggapi pikiran mereka karena berbagai kemungkinan terburuk di penjara Nusakambangan bisa terjadi sewaktu-waktu, seperti pembunuhan oleh narapidana lain yang umumnya terdiri para penjahat kelas kakap, padahal sisa hukuman yang harus mereka jalani masih cukup lama.

    Hal itu pula yang membuat hati Jumhur berang tidak karuan. Tempat ini, ujarnya dalam hati, sangat tidak pantas bagi mereka dan hanya penguasa ‘keterlaluan’ saja membiarkan aktivis mahasiswa dijebloskan ke Nusakambangan.

    Toh, uniknya, sejumlah aparat keamanan yang mengawal mereka ternyata ikut sedih, tak tega menyaksikan penusakambangan keenam mahasiswa yang tidak patut itu. Tapi, kesedihan itu tak ada artinya setelah para petugas meninggalkan mereka.

    Jumhur menempati sel penjara Permisan yang paling ujung sekaligus terpencil, menjorok persis ke seberang lautan Samudera Indonesia yang mahaganas. Ia satu blok dengan Amarsyah meski di sel terpisah. Jumhur mendekam sendiri dalam sel yang bau apek berukuran sekitar 4X6 meter persegi, dirangka tembok tinggi yang amat kokoh dan dibatasi oleh dua pintu pagar yang dikunci rantai besar. Jumhur tidur beralaskan semen pekat kemudian untuk keperluan mandi atau buang air. Jumhur harus melewati jeruji pagar pertama yang terkunci itu, karena letaknya di kamar sebelah. Sementara Fajroel, Enin, Bambang, serta Arnold Purba (Ucok) menempati sel penjara Kembang Kuning dan sel penjara Besi, yang kurang lebih sama keadaannya.

    Selama beberapa hari di Nusakambangan, Jumhur menghabiskan waktu dengan membaca buku Biografi Inggit Garnasih, “Kuantar Kau Ke Gerbang” karya Ramadhan KH yang dia pinjam dari sesama penghuni Nusakambangan, Bambang Isti Nugroho.

    “Di malam hari, saya membaca buku itu dengan penerangan lampu sumbu yang saya pegang dengan tangan kiri dan saya dekatkan di bagian belakang kepala, sementara tangan kanan memegang buku yang saya baca,” kata Jumhur.

    Pernah suatu saat Jumhur ditanya oleh seorang tahanan residivis Nusakambangan, “Berapa lama kamu kena hukuman.” Jumhur menjawab tiga tahun. “Kalau cuma segitu, sih jemuran aja belum kering,” timpal sang penanya. Kontan Jumhur dibuat kaget. Tapi itulah, agaknya, suasana kehidupan penjara di Pulau Nusakambangan, yang hanya berlaku untuk mereka dengan kasus berat serta hukuman yang juga berat.

    Pikiran Jumhur tetap kacau-balau. Ia kembali meradang dan mengumpat bahwa penusakambangan dirinya bersama kawan-kawan sarat dengan penistaan kemanusiaan, selain di luar batas kepatutan untuk tahanan ‘politik’ yang dialami mahasiswa. Jumhur menilai cara penusakambangan itu merupakan perbuatan tidak punya hati serta hanya pantas dilakukan oleh orang yang tak punya kehormatan alias tidak beradab. Segudang pertanyaan apa sesungguhnya yang mendasari hingga mereka dipaksakan ke Nusakambangan, terus menggelayut dalam pikiran Jumhur tanpa mengetahui sedikit pun jawabannya sampai saat ini.

    Penempatan Jumhur cs ke LP Nusakambangan juga merupakan sejarah baru dari serangkaian keganasan rezim Orde Baru yang berusaha menghanguskan gerakan mahasiswa. Perlakuan terhadap mereka yang disamakan dengan penjahat kelas kakap seperti residivis dan pembunuh sadis seolah pesan kepada kaum aktivis mahasiswa di Indonesia untuk tidak melawan pemerintah, sehingga bisa “dinusakambangkan” sebagaimana enam mahasiswa Institut Teknologi Bandung yang telah dipecat dari almamaternya itu.

    Jumhur sendiri berusaha keras menyesuaikan dengan kondisi itu meskipun merasakan pemindahan mereka ke LP Nusakambangan terlalu berlebihan. Namun keberadaan mereka di LP Nusakambangan hanya berlangsung beberapa hari, tepatnya tiga malam empat hari. “Selama di Nusakambangan, tak ada yang bisa saya lakukan kecuali meringkuk di sel tahanan sambil membaca atau hanya merenungi ketidakpatutan penusakambangan saya dan kawan-kawan,” kata Jumhur seraya menghela napas.

    Semasa di Nusakambangan, Jumhur merasa mendapat hikmah yang unik. Suatu malam di dalam sel penjara yang bertembok tinggi dengan kunci grendel besi sebesar lingkaran jari dan hanya diberi lampu listrik berdaya 10 watt dan tergantung tinggi di langit-langit hingga pukul 22.00 WIB, untuk selanjutnya hingga pagi gelap gulita, ia mendengar suara tokek berkali-kali.

    Jumhur yang merasa takut luar biasa dengan bunyi tokek tidak bisa berbuat apa-apa, dan dengan sekuat tenaga berusaha menguasai dirinya mengatasi rasa takut yang amat kepalang. Tapi, setelah beberapa malam tidur di balik jeruji besi yang sempit serta kerap mendengar suara tokek, nyatanya binatang melata itu tak juga mau menggigitnya. Bahkan, menghampiri saja tidak. Ia menjadi sadar tokek memang tak pernah mengigit manusia. Sejak peristiwa itu, Jumhur tak lagi merasa takut pada binatang tokek.

    Dari Nusakambangan ke Sukamiskin

    Pada Selasa malam 11 September 1990, Jumhur cs sudah berada kembali di Bandung tetapi tidak dimasukkan ke Rumah Tahanan Kebonwaru, melainkan ke LP Sukamiskin untuk menjalani masa hukuman sampai akhir Februari 1992.

    Meskipun sangat dibatasi tembok dan jeruji besi pemisah dengan alam luar, penjara ternyata tak mematikan kreativitas Jumhur cs. Jumhur banyak menulis. Sejumlah tulisannya bahkan disiarkan oleh sebuah suratkabar di Bandung walau harus memakai nama samaran.

    Berbagai tulisan Jumhur bahkan dibukukan dengan judul “Surat-surat dari Penjara” dan “Pikiran-pikiran dari Penjara” yang belum diterbitkan. Selama di penjara, Jumhur juga menulis berbagai puisi berjudul “Nurani”, “Untuk Aki Aleh”, “Surat untuk Ibu”, “Kepada Orang-Orang Bebas”, “Persaudaraan”, “Dekaplah Aku”, “Senyum Sang Penjaga”, “Khayalan Kebebasan”, dan “Sebuah Interogasi”.

    Jumhur juga rupanya sering menulis berbagai artikel yang disiarkan di berbagai suratkabar seperti Pikiran Rakyat, Sinar Harapan, dan Harian Terbit. “Tentu saja dengan memakai nama samaran di antaranya AA Basya, dan lain-lain,” katanya.

    Honor tulisan tersebut ia pakai untuk makan sate bersama rekan-rekan di penjara. “Ada petugas yang dimintai tolong untuk membelikan sate. Honor satu tulisan di koran Pikiran Rakyat ketika itu Rp 60 ribu, sehingga bisa membeli banyak sekali sate,” ujar Jumhur, tersenyum.

    Lantaran cukup sering menulis artikel di suratkabar, isi dan gaya penulisannya yang cenderung berbau sosialis dan membela kepentingan rakyat tertindas, lagi-lagi aktivitas Jumhur tercium aparat keamanan. Redaktur Pelaksana Pikiran Rakyat Muhammad Ridlo Eisy, misalnya, sempat ditanyai aparat keamanan tentang siapa penulis artikel tersebut. Sejak itu artikel Jumhur dari penjara tak pernah muncul di suratkabar.

    Selama mendekam di LP Sukamiskin pula, Jumhur dan kelima aktivis mahasiswa ITB sempat mendirikan grup band “Orziza” yang dikomandaninya. Kegiatan lain Jumhur di LP Sukamiskan adalah memceri ceramah kepada para narapidana lain yang kemudian dihentikan oleh petugas LP.

    Keluar dari Penjara

    Pada 25 Februari 1992, Jumhur cs menghirup udara bebas dari Lembaga Pemasyarakatan Sukamiskin. Untuk beberapa lama Jumhur tak beraktivitas “tetap” sampai akhirnya diajak Adi Sasono aktif di CIDES (Center for Information and Development Studies) pada awal 1993, sebuah lembaga pusat kajian pembangunan yang dibidani tokoh-tokoh Ikatan Cendekiawan Muslim se-Indonesia (ICMI). Jumhur dipercaya menggerakkan CIDES sebagai direktur eksekutifnya dengan Adi Sasono sebagai Ketua Dewan Direktur CIDES. Dan saat di CIDES Jumhur kembali kuliah di Teknik Fisika Universitas Nasional (Unas) Jakarta serta menamatkannya pada 1996. Jumhur berada di CIDES sejak 1993-1999.

    Sebagai direktur pelaksana CIDES, Jumhur berupaya menjadikan lembaga itu bukan hanya eksklusif ‘milik’ ICMI, melainkan dengan mengembangkan terobosan kepada agenda lintas agama, aliran politik, maupun dimensi penguatan hak-hak rakyat (pro rakyat) sehingga CIDES bisa diterima khalayak luas. Keberhasilan CIDES yang dipimpinnya juga ditandai dengan melaksanakan berbagai kegiatan pemberdayaan masyarakat kecil, sebagai bagian upaya menjalankan konsep ekonomi kerakyatan.

    Hal ini tak lepas dari prinsip Jumhur bahwa CIDES harus menjadi jembatan masyarakat dan pemerintah. Artinya, CIDES berdiri di antara keduanya sehingga lembaga itu tampil lebih jernih dalam melihat persoalan yang berkembang di masyarakat. Juga bisa untuk mengkritisi kebijakan pemerintah.

    Pada akhirnya, Jumhur diakui telah menjadikan CIDES sebagai lembaga kajian kebijakan publik yang kokoh. Berbagai kegiatan kajian mengenai kebijakan publik dilakukan baik pada tingkat lokal, nasional, dan internasional, termasuk penelitian serta penerbitan yang cukup intens dan beragam.

    Jumhur juga tak ingin seperti katak dalam tempurung. Di sela-sela waktu penuhnya menggerakkan CIDES, ia meluaskan kiprah dalam menyebarkan pemahaman demokrasi tidak hanya di dalam negeri, tetapi juga di pentas internasional, seperti menjadi pembicara tunggal yang memberikan gambaran ekonomi-politik Indonesia di hadapan para top eksekutif bisnis internasional yang memimpin regional office Asia Tenggara. Tema yang diusung pada acara itu adalah Guarding the Reform Agenda to Build Indonesia Anew. Penyelengaranya IDDS Singapura (International Defense and Strategic Studies), Singapura, Desember 1998.

    Kemudian Jumhur menjadi pembicara tunggal memaparkan proses perubahan politik saat reformasi dan masa depan ekonomi-politik Indonesia kepada para top eksekutif perusahaan Amerika Serikat yang beroperasi di Indonesia seperti Freeport, Mobil Oil, Unocal 76 dan lain-lain. Acara ini diselenggarakan oleh The United States-Indonesia Society, Washington DC, Februari 1999.

    Jumhur pun tak segan mengikuti kursus dan pelatihan, di antaranya To Win the Party Through Democratic Principles yang dihadiri oleh sekitar delapan negara ASEAN (Associations Southeast Asian Nations) di Manila, September 1996. Penyelenggaranya Friedrich Naumann Stiftung. Kemudian, Strategy for Development Alternatives yang dihadiri oleh 5 Negara ASEAN di Kuala Lumpur, Juni 1992. Pelatihan ini diselenggarakan oleh SEAFDA (Southeast Asian Forum for Development Alternatives).

    Selain itu menghadiri beberapa Regional Meeting, yakni Pertemuan Serantau antara Indonesia, Malaysia, dan Singapura yang diadakan The Mastery of Science and Technology in The Context of Human Resources Development, Kuala Lumpur, 1996. Selanjutnya, Bilateral Conference on Enhancing Indonesia-Australia Relations, Jakarta, November 1996. Bilateral Conference on Indonesia-South Africa: New Beginnings and Future Relations, Capetown, South-africa, April 1996.

    Belum lagi keikutsertaanya pada International Conference on Methodological Problems in The Study of Religions, Montreal Canada, Februari 1997, dan Regional Conference on Comparisons of Election System: Problems and Prospects yang dihadiri enam negara ASEAN di Bandung, Juli 1998. Juga, International Conference on The Future of Asia’s Cities yang dihadiri beberapa negara ASEAN dan India) di Jakarta, Desember 1996.

    Aktivitas Jumhur tak pelak mendapat perhatian negeri Paman Sam. Pemerintah Amerika Serikat mengundangnya selama sebulan pada 1999 untuk memperdalam pengetahuan tentang Amerika Serikat terutama sistem ketatanegaraannya. Selanjutnya, Pemerintah Hongkong juga mengundangnya seminggu pada 1998 untuk memperdalam pengetahuan mengenai Hongkong setelah bergabung dengan Republik Rakyat China.

    Di lain sisi, Jumhur pernah berjuang sebagai politisi dengan menjabat Sekretaris Jenderal/Pejabat Ketua Umum Partai Daulat Rakyat (PDR) untuk Pemilihan Umum 1999 dan Sekjen Partai Sarikat Indonesia (PSI) untuk Pemilu 2004. Satu pengalaman yang sangat menarik ketika mengurusi PDR yang tak berhasil merebut suara maksimal dalam Pemilu 1999, Jumhur menjadi orang terakhir yang mempertahankan PDR hingga akhir hayat partai itu (tidak boleh ikut Pemilu 2004 karena tidak melampaui electoral threshold pada Pemilu 1999, dan PDR tidak membentuk partai baru) dengan mengontrak kantor kecil sederhana di kawasan Lapangan Roos, Tebet, Jakarta Selatan.

    Kemudian ia menjadi Sekjen Partai Sarikat Indonesia (PSI) menjelang Pemilu 2004, dan Koordinator Nasional Koalisi Kerakyatan pendukung SBY-JK menjelang Pilpres (Pemilu Presiden) 2004, serta Koordinator Nasional Koalisi Kerakyatan II pendukung SBY-Boediono menjelang Pilpres 2009.

    Menggeluti Dunia Buruh

    Aktivitas Jumhur dalam dunia perburuhan dimulai dengan mendirikan Yayasan Kesejahteraan Pekerja Indonesia (YKPI) dan Gabungan Serikat Pekerja Merdeka Indonesia (Gaspermindo) sekaligus menjadi ketua umumnya hingga kini. YKPI utamanya bergerak dalam bidang pemberdayaan buruh/pekerja. Di antaranya memberikan pelatihan kepada para buruh/pekerja serta membentuk serikat pekerja tingkat perusahaan di masa Orde Baru, yaitu suatu serikat pekerja yang tidak berafiliasi dengan Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia (SPSI).

    Jumhur juga pernah menjadi Ketua Bidang Buruh dan Ketenagakerjaan ICMI Pusat, serta Anggota Dewan Pakar ICMI. Selanjutnya, Jumhur menjabat sebagai Ketua Dewan Pembina Gapersi (Gabungan Persatuan Supir Indonesia). Organisasi ini merupakan ormas sektoral yang khusus memperdayakan para supir, seperti supir taksi, mikrolet, angkutan kota, metromini, bus dan sebagainya.

    Kegiatan yang dilakukan Gapersi di antaranya mengurangi pungutan-pungutan liar, pelatihan etika berkendaraan dan sebagainya. Gapersi juga memiliki perwakilan di daerah tingkat propinsi dan kabupaten/kota.

    Aktivitasnya yang bersinggungan dengan sektor informal terus meningkat ketika menjabat sebagai Ketua Dewan Penasehat APGKI (Asosiasi Pedagang Grosir Keliling Indonesia). Organisasi ini merupakan ormas sektoral tingkat nasional yang memiliki perwakilan di propinsi dan kabupaten/kota yang khusus memberdayakan para pedagang grosir keliling. Pedagang grosir keliling adalah mereka yang menghubungkan antara pedagang besar grosir (pusat grosir) dengan warung-warung atau toko-toko yang tersebar di lingkungan masyarakat.

    Pedagang grosir keliling membeli barang kepada pusat grosir dan menjualnya kembali kepada sekitar 10 sampai 15 warung atau toko di masyarakat. APGKI di antaranya memberikan pelatihan dan membantu penyaluran permodalan.

    Tak jauh berbeda, Jumhur juga menjadi anggota Dewan Penasehat APKLI (Asosiasi Pedagang Kaki Lima Indonesia). Organisasi ini juga merupakan ormas sektoral tingkat nasional yang khusus menangani pedagang kaki lima. Di antara upaya pemberdayaan pedagang kaki lima oleh APKLI adalah pelatihan manajemen, penyaluran permodalan, pengadaan ruang usaha dan memberikan masukan kepada pemda-pemda setempat perihal tata ruang yang layak bagi kehidupan. APKLI memiliki perwakilan di tingkat propinsi dan kabupaten/kota di Indonesia.

    Sementara keberadaaan Gaspermindo yang dipimpinnya terus mengawal upaya peningkatan posisi tawar pekerja, tak heran bila organisasi ini menjadi salah satu motor Aliansi Buruh Menggugat (ABM) yang sempat menggelar aksi unjuk rasa buruh menentang penjajahan bentuk baru dan menuntut Pemerintah membuat standar upah nasional, di depan Istana Negara. Aksi yang digelar sejak pukul 13.00 WIB pada 1 Mei 2006 itu-dalam rangka memperingati Mayday-diikuti kumpulan massa sebagian besar organisasi buruh yang tergabung di bawah ABM seperti KASBI (Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia), Gaspermindo, SPOI (Serikat Pekerja Metal Otomotif Indonesia), SBTPI (Serikat Buruh Transportasi Pelabuhan Indonesia), dan FNPBI (Front Nasional Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia), dan lain-lain.

    Para pengunjuk rasa yang sebagian besar menggunakan kaus ABM berwarna merah itu memulai aksi di Bunderan Hotel Indonesia sebelum kemudian berjalan beriringan menuju Istana Negara sambil melakukan orasi memprotes sejumlah kebijakan pemerintah.

    Program nasional pemerintah yang selama ini ditandai dengan ketergantungan pada utang luar negeri sehingga menghasilkan kebijakan-kebijakan seperti pencabutan subsidi listrik, BBM (Bahan Bakar Minyak), air dan politik upah murah dinilai ABM merupakan suatu cara untuk kemakmuran pemodal bukan rakyat.

    Karena itu politik upah murah disebut sebagai dagangan pemerintah nasional dari masa Orde Baru untuk menarik investasi asing masuk ke Indonesia, seakan-akan buruh Indonesia akan dengan rela hati menerima berapa pun upah yang diberikan asalkan bekerja.

    Komponen upah layak nasional menurut ABM berarti penentuan upah buruh tidak lagi sekedar membuat buruh hidup dan kembali bekerja layaknya seperti mesin, tetapi upah nasional harus dapat memanusiakan kaum buruh. ABM menilai akar pemiskinan kaum buruh dan seluruh rakyat Indonesia saat ini adalah akibat sistem ekonomi yang dijalankan oleh pemerintah nasional tidak berpihak kepada kaum buruh.

    Oleh karena itu ABM meminta kaum buruh dan seluruh rakyat Indonesia berjuang secara bersama-sama guna terbentuknya pemerintahan nasional, yang berani melakukan penghapusan utang luar negeri dan nasionalisasi terhadap sumber daya alam serta aset-aset vital Indonesia.

    Sehubungan dengan pemilihan presiden 8 Juli 2009, Jumhur terus memperjuangkan posisi tawar buruh di hadapan para calon presiden. Karenanya, Gaspermindo dan berbagai organisasi buruh menginginkan ada kontrak politik dengan calon presiden 2009-2014 untuk memastikan bahwa pemerintahan mendatang membela kepentingan buruh. Jangan sampai terulang seperti Pemilu 2004 tidak ada kontrak politik dengan calon presiden sehingga nasib buruh kurang diperhatikan.

    Jumhur dan pimpinan dari sekitar lebih 20 serikat pekerja dan organisasi buruh, pada 20 April 2009 di Jakarta, menyampaikan pernyataan sikap atas pelaksanaan Pemilu 2009. Dia menegaskan pemerintahan mendatang harus ramah terhadap gerakan perburuhan dan menyerap berbagai ide dan kepentingan buruh Indonesia. Jumhur mencontohkan kebijakan outsourcing tenaga kerja asing di Indonesia harus dibatasi.

    Agar tidak terjadi gelombang pemutusan hubungan kerja (PHK) terhadap buruh, katanya, maka pemerintah perlu menambah besaran stimulus fiskal, lebih menggencarkan PNPM (Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Masyarakat) Mandiri, dan mendorong penempatan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia sektor formal. Sektor-sektor PNPM juga lebih dimasifkan agar cepat orang bekerja.

    Fenomena yang mengerikan sudah terjadi, yakni pengangguran bertambah banyak akibat krisis global. Maka pemerintahan mendatang harus dapat menanggulangi permasalahan itu. Jumhur mengimbau pemerintah juga segera menciptakan lapangan kerja dan mengembangkan usaha kecil dan menengah untuk mengurangi pengangguran.

    Selain Gaspermindo yang menyampaikan pernyataan sikap, ikut pula Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (KSBSI), Gabungan Serikat Buruh Islam Indonesia (Gasbiindo), Serikat Buruh Aspirasi Perjuangan Indonesia (SB-API), Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia (SBMI), dan Federasi Serikat Pekerja Nasional Indonesia (FSPNI).

    Keberpihakan Jumhur pada masalah perburuhan dilandasi oleh kerisauannya bahwa nasib buruh dari rezim ke rezim tidak bertambah baik. Bahkan, semakin kemari nasib buruh semakin terpuruk. Pemerintah terkesan tidak berkutik bila menghadapi tekanan pengusaha dan ancaman hengkangnya investor asing bila pemerintah membela perbaikan nasib pekerja.

    Bukan tidak mungkin, bila pemerintahan hasil Pemilu 2009 tidak berpihak pada buruh, kondisi perburuhan nasional berada di tubir jurang. Menghadapi hal tersebut, Jumhur menyadari semua elemen perburuhan perlu kerja keras, bersatu padu memperjuangkan nasib buruh ke arah yang lebih baik. Bagaimanapun juga, buruh adalah aset nasional, bagian anak bangsa yang mesti diperhatikan kesejahteraannya. Jumhur meminta pengusaha jangan menganggap buruh sebagai sekrup dari mesin produksi, habis manis sepah dibuang.

    Politik perburuhan yang tidak pro-buruh, menurut Jumhur, berkaitan dengan menggejalanya demokrasi liberal yang merambah ke semua sektor, seperti politik, ekonomi, sosial, dan sebagainya. Padahal sejak awal pembentukan Indonesia sebagai negara moderen, tidaklah pernah ada keinginan menerapkan pemikiran demokrasi yang liberal. Terlebih lagi, rasa penderitaan yang dialami bangsa Indonesia selama ratusan tahun adalah akibat berkembangnya paham liberalisme di Eropa dan Amerika Serikat.

    Demokrasi liberal yang tidak lain adalah demokrasinya kaum borjuasi telah memisahkan secara nyata antara kehidupan politik, ekonomi dan aspek-aspek sosial lainnya, sehingga dengan menerapkan demokrasi liberal itu, telah terbukti membawa malapetaka pada sebagian besar masyarakatnya. Demikianlah keadaan yang terjadi di Eropa pada masa-masa awal pertumbuhan demokrasinya.

    Demokrasi liberal ini adalah suatu demokrasi yang bersendikan paham individualisme, yaitu paham yang mengutamakan kepentingan pribadi dalam cara bermasyarakatnya. Karena itu, kaum nasionalis kerakyatan haruslah meninggalkan jauh-jauh sistem demokrasi liberal ini.

    Sebaliknya, yang harus kita bangun adalah suatu sistem demokrasi yang dengan seluas-luasnya memberikan dorongan penuh kepada rakyat untuk dapat mengembangkan kegiatan ekonomi dan berbagai kegiatan sosial lainnya di samping kegiatan politik.

    Menurut Jumhur, sistem demokrasi yang harus kita terapkan adalah demokrasi dalam bidang politik, demokrasi dalam bidang ekonomi serta demokrasi dalam bidang-bidang sosial lainnya secara sekaligus, tanpa dipisah-pisahkan. Sistem demokrasi inilah yang kita sebut dengan demokrasi sosial. Dengan penerapan sistem ini, maka kesejahteraan rakyat akan mengiringi kebebasan politik. Bukan sebaliknya, kebebasan politik meninggalkan kesejahteraan rakyat jauh di belakang seperti sekarang ini.

    Penerapan demokrasi sosial dalam bidang ekonomi yaitu dengan cara meningkatkan peran pemerintah sehingga lebih efektif dalam mengatur alokasi sumberdaya ekonomi. Terlebih lagi, keadaan ekonomi bangsa kita saat ini sangat timpang, baik itu ketimpangan yang bersifat regional, sektoral, desa-kota dan kaya-miskin. Kaum nasionalis-kerakyatan harus berkeyakinan bahwa tidak pernah ada dalam sejarah eknomi bangsa-bangsa di dunia, pemberdayaan rakyat dapat terjadi hanya dengan menyandarkan pada mekanisme pasar bebas semata. Bahkan sebaliknya yang terjadi adalah berupa krisis yang bersifat periodik yang pada akhirnya juga mengundang intervensi pemerintah.

    Apabila dalam demokrasi liberal kehidupannya bersendikan paham individualisme, maka dalam demokrasi sosial bersendikan paham kolektivisme atau kebersamaan. Paham kolektivisme yang pernah dikemukakan Bung Hatta ini, sesungguhnya merupakan paham dasar dari masyarakat Indonesia.

    Karena itulah, paham kolektivisme harus juga mewarnai semua bidang kehidupan dan haruslah menganggap bahwa seluruh masyarakat Indonesia bagaikan satu tubuh. Apabila ada bagian-bagian tubuh tertentu sakit, maka kita harus berlomba-lomba menyembuhkannya. Apabila ada bagian-bagian tubuh tertentu tertinggal jauh di belakang, maka kita harus mendorongnya maju.

    Setiap ketertinggalan yang dirasakan masyarakat kita harus pula dirasakan sebagai ketertinggalan kita semua. Karena itu, kemajuan, kemandirian, dan kemartabatan harus dirasakan serentak oleh seluruh rakyat. Tidak dibenarkan, kata Jumhur, dalam paham kolektivisme kemajuan hanya dirasakan oleh segelintir orang, sementara sebagian besar yang lainnya hidup dalam keterbelakangan. Kata Jumhur, buruh harus dianggap sebagai bagian utuh dari tubuh bangsa ini.

    Memimpin BNP2TKI

    Pasang surut kehidupan Jumhur dan rekam jejaknya membuat dia dipercaya pemerintah memimpin sebuah Badan Nasional Penempatan dan Perlindungan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (BNP2TKI), sebuah lembaga pemerintah nonkementerian yang dibentuk berdasarkan Peraturan Presiden Nomor 81 Tahun 2006 tertanggal 8 September 2006. Keberadaan BNP2TKI itu merupakan amanat dari Undang-Undang Nomor 39 Tahun 2004 tentang Penempatan dan Perlindungan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia di Luar Negeri.

    Tugas barunya itu amat menarik dalam kehidupan pribadinya. Hari Kamis 12 Januari 2007 Menteri Tenaga Kerja dan Transmigrasi Erman Suparno mengumumkan nama Moh Jumhur Hidayat sebagai Kepala BNP2TKI, tanggal 19 Januari 2007 atau seminggu kemudian, Jumhur menikah dengan Alia Febyani Prabandari, dan selang berikutnya, pada hari Senin 22 Januari 2007 Jumhur dilantik menjadi Kepala BNP2TKI oleh Erman Suparno berdasarkan Keputusan Presiden Nomor 2 Tahun 2007 tertanggal 11 Januari 2007 yang menunjuk Moh Jumhur Hidayat sebagai Kepala BNP2TKI. ***

    Fera Nuraini http://www.kompasiana.com/fera_nuraini, 1 August 2013 13:29:07
    Kapan masa jabatan Jumhur berakhir? atau mau seumur hidup di BNP2TKI ni
    Banyak yang sudah eneg sama tingkahnya, terutama soal KTKLN
    Kapan ke HK? Ke lapangan gitu lo, diskusi sama kawan2. Kebiasaan kalau ke HK kucing2an takut didemo


    “Loket-Loket Yang Sering Mempermasalahkan Keberangkatan TKI”
    by @InfoBuruhMigran, 20/Jan/2013 10:17:30 PM PST

    #Untuk itu kami akan twit beberapa hal yg perlu dipersiapkan TKI untuk mencegah penolakan keberangkatan karena KTKLN #SaveTKI
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:42:22 AM PST

    #1. Pastikan kelengkapan dokumen pokok untuk keberangkatan anda, antara lain: paspor, tiket, visa atau workpermit atau work pass #SaveTKI
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:42:23 AM PST

    #2. Siapkan alat komunikasi u/ menghubungi pihak yg bs dimintai bantuan (help desk) seperti Serikat Buruh Migran, Lembaga Bantuan Hukum, dll
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:47:33 AM PST

    #3. Persiapkan diri menghadapi 3 loket layanan yang berkemungkinan menjadi titik pencegahan TKI tnp KTKLN, antara lain:
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:47:34 AM PST

    #4. (a) Loket Maskapai: Saat check in di loket u/ memperoleh boarding pass. Maskapai yg sering melakukan pencegahan adalah Air Asia.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:47:35 AM PST

    #5. (b) Loket BNP2TKI/BP3TKI: TKI yg akan kembali ke luar negeri biasanya akan didata pemilikan KTKLN. Jika punya, maka KTKLN akan divalidasi
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:51:59 AM PST

    #6. (b) .. jika TIDAK, maka biasanya petugas akan menolak keberangkatan Anda; atau berdalih meminta Anda mengurus KTKLN terlebih dahulu.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:51:59 AM PST

    #7. (c) Loket Imigrasi: Loket Imigrasi merupakan loket pemeriksaan untuk dokumen-dokumen kelayakan milik TKI yg akan berangkat ke luar negeri
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:52:00 AM PST

    #8. (c) Sesuai UU Keimigrasian No. 6 tahun 2011 dokumen wajib hanya PASPOR. mk pencegahan hny bs dilakukan Imigrasi pada TKI jika …
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:57:03 AM PST

    #9. (c) TKI tdk memiliki PASPOR atau ia masuk Daftar Pencegahan (CEKAL) sehingga tdk boleh bepergian ke LN.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:57:03 AM PST

    #10. Jk ada yg menghalangi atau akan mencegah keberangkatan (petugas Maskapai, BNP2TKI / BP3TKI, Imigrasi), sampaikan hal berikut pd ybs:
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 05:57:04 AM PST

    #11. Dengan tenang dan berani, katakan secara tegas kepada Petugas bahwa Anda memang tidak mau membuat KTKLN.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:29 AM PST

    #12. Apabila petugas menolak, mintalah surat penolakan resmi yg menyebut identitas lengkap Anda, dasar hukum penolakan, TTD dan cap instansi
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:29 AM PST

    #13. Biasanya, apabila anda berani menolak , maka si petugas loket akan memanggil atasannya untuk menghadapi anda.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:34 AM PST

    #14. Atau sebaliknya anda-lah yang dapat meminta agar dapat bertemu atasannya (sesuai UU Pelayanan Publik).
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:38 AM PST

    #15. Tanyakan dan catat siapa nama dan posisi atau jabatan petugas yang menolak keberangkatan atau mempermasalahkan KTKLN Anda.
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:39 AM PST

    #16. Maksimalkan peralatan sederhana yang anda miliki seperti HP, untuk merekam perbincangan, mengambil gambar, atau video
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:05:39 AM PST

    #17.Tegaskan argumen berikut: “Maskapai penerbangan, petugas BNP2TKI / BP3TKI, Pejabat Imigrasi bukanlah pejabat yg memiliki kewenangan hukum
    infoburuhmigran 17/Jan/2013 06:12:40 AM PST

    #18. u/ mencegah / membatalkan