It took awhile, but finally I “got it.”
In the work Depressed Anonymous, which provides a step by step commentary for individuals and group members, Dr. Dorothy Rowe points out that if you want to get yourself depressed this is what you must do. You must hold these six options as if they were real, absolute and immutable truths
1)No matter how good and nice I appear to be, I am really bad, evil, valueless, and unacceptable to myself and others.
2) Other people are such that I must fear, hate or envy them.
3)Life is terrible and death is worse.
4)Only bad things happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.
5)Anger is evil.
6)I must never forgive, least of all myself.
What I envision as the best possible world for the depressed and to prevent relapse and recurrence is a model that may include the medication treatment, the psychotherapy interaction between therapist and client and then the holistic model of the mutual aid group, to name a few. What happens in the group support system is basically a replication of what happens in a person’s childhood environment. We can determine if trust is there, can the child have the assumed permission to show initiative, is the child made to feel safe and can the child venture out beyond the boundaries of his home and feel safe? Or does he come from a home which is closed and the world perceived as enemy and unsafe- indeed a setup for a mistrustful attitude about life. All this comes into play in early childhood development. We need to look again at anything in a child’s life where he/she experienced a loss, a separation or a life filled with anger and hurt.
The community in which the child is raised presents all types of messages and this in the beginning is how he or she sees the world. Chemicals in the brain don’t produce thoughts that say ” I’m worthless or unacceptable,” etc. It’s more the messages that one receives when one is in the formative years of one’s life that may predict how one perceives his or her future.”
You might want to ask yourself this question: What messages did you receive as a child growing up. Did you feel that the messages you received give you freedom to explore the world and your environment, or did you feel unsafe and insecure?
SOURCES: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. KY
(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 25-26.